Blood Tumor Markers May Warn When Lung Cancer Patients Are Progressing on Targeted Treatments

Excerpt:

“For many years, oncologists have known that cancers can secrete complex molecules into the blood and that levels of these molecules can be easily measured. These so-called ‘tumor markers’ are traditionally associated with a single dominant cancer type, for example Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) linked to prostate cancer, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) to colorectal cancer, CA125 to ovarian cancer, CA19.9 to pancreatic cancer and CA27.29 to breast cancer. However, the real challenge has been to determine a practical use for these markers. They don’t appear to be useful as a means of screening otherwise healthy people for evidence of underlying cancers.”

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First-Line Pembrolizumab plus Chemotherapy Significantly Improves Outcomes in Advanced NSCLC

Excerpt:

“The addition of PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab to standard first-line chemotherapy for treatment-naïve advanced non-small-cell lung cancer significantly improves response rates and progression-free survival, researchers reported at the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen today.

“Pembrolizumab is a class of immunotherapeutic anti-cancer drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, which target the mechanism the tumour uses to shut down the body’s immune response.”

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First-Line Osimertinib Yields Nearly 80% Response in Advanced Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“First-line osimertinib, a targeted therapy against EGFR mutations, was found to be effective in patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), resulting in a 77% overall response rate, according to the results of recent study. In addition, the treatment-naive patients in the study achieved a median progression-free survival of 19.3 months.

“The data from two phase I expansion cohorts were presented by Suresh Ramalingam, MD, professor of hematology and medical oncology at Emory School of Medicine and deputy director of the Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, at the European Lung Cancer Conference 2016 in Geneva (LBA 1_PR).”

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ELCC 2016 News: Updates from CheckMate 063 and 017 Trials Confirm Nivolumab Efficacy in Patients with Advanced Platinum-Refractory Squamous NSCLC

Excerpt:

“The baseline serum cytokine levels of platinum pretreated patients with advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) altered the efficacy of immunotherapy with nivolumab, a fully human IgG4 antibody inhibiting the programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint.

“Updated findings from the phase II CheckMate 063 trial of nivolumab and phase III CheckMate 017 trial of nivolumab versus docetaxel in patients with advanced platinum-refractory squamous NSCLC were submitted by Dr Hervé Lena, Service de Pneumologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rennes, Rennes, France and colleagues, including Suresh Ramalingam who presented the results at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC), held in Geneva, Switzerland, 13 to 16 April, 2016.”

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ELCC 2016 News: Osimertinib Combined With Durvalumab in EGFR-mutant Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Encouraging clinical activity was demonstrated by the combination of osimertinib plus durvalumab in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that had received prior treatment with an epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) and also in EGFR-TKI naive patients that was offset by safety observations over the occurrence of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in some patients.

“Dr. Myung-Ju Ahn, Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology-Oncology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, presented results during the ‘Best Abstracts’ session at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC), held in Geneva, Switzerland, 13 to 16 April, 2016 from the TATTON trial.

“TATTON is a multi-arm phase Ib trial investigating osimertinib 80 mg in combination with durvalumab (anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody), savolitinib (MET inhibitor) or selumetinib (MEK 1/2 inhibitor) in patients with advanced EGFR-mutant lung cancer. The osimertinib and durvalumab combination is just one arm of the TATTON study, which has two parts: Part A was a dose escalation study in patients with advanced NSCLC that had received prior treatment with an EGFR-TKI. Part B was a dose expansion trial conducted in patients with advanced disease that were EGFR-TKI treatment-naive.”

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FDA Grants Priority Review for Genentech’s Cancer Immunotherapy Atezolizumab in Specific Type of Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s Biologics License Application (BLA) and granted Priority Review for atezolizumab (anti-PDL1; MPDL3280A) for the treatment of people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease expresses the protein PD-L1 (programmed death ligand-1), as determined by an FDA-approved test, and who have progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy.

“ ‘In a study of atezolizumab in people with previously treated advanced lung cancer, PD-L1 expression correlated with how well they responded to the medicine,’ said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. ‘The goal of PD-L1 as a biomarker is to identify people most likely to benefit from atezolizumab alone.’ ”

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FDA Accepts Supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s Anti-PD-1 Therapy, in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, and Grants Priority Review

“Merck MRK, -0.23% known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), for the treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy and an FDA-approved therapy for EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, if present. The FDA granted Priority Review with a PDUFA, or target action, date of October 2, 2015; the sBLA will be reviewed under the FDA’s Accelerated Approval program.

“ ‘Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to accelerate the development of immunotherapeutic approaches to treat lung cancer, one of the most deadly malignancies,’ said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories. ‘We believe that data submitted to the FDA illustrate the significant potential of KEYTRUDA to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer – and we look forward to working with the FDA to bring our anti-PD-1 therapy to patients afflicted with this devastating cancer.’ “


CHMP Recommends Afatinib for Second-Line NSCLC

“Afatinib (Giotrif, EU; Gilotrif, US) has received a positive recommendation from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) as a treatment for patients with advanced squamous cell non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following progression on platinum-based chemotherapy, according to Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer of the irreversible EGFR inhibitor.

“The CHMP opinion, which recommends that the treatment should gain approval from the European Medicines Agency in this setting, is based on data from the phase III LUX-Lung 8 trial. In the study, second-line afatinib reduced the risk of both disease progression and death by 19%, compared with erlotinib (Tarceva) in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.”


Alectinib Highly Active in Advanced ALK-Positive NSCLC

“Alectinib showed promising activity in patients with advanced, crizotinib-refractory, ALK-positive non–small cell lung cancer, according to results of a global phase 2 study.

“The regimen also appeared well tolerated.

“In December, the FDA granted accelerated approval to alectinib (Alecensa, Genentech) — an oral, small molecule, ATP-competitive tyrosine kinase inhibitor of ALK — for treatment of patients with metastatic ALK-positive NSCLC who progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib (Xalkori, Pfizer).”