New Option for Preserving Fertility in Women Being Treated With Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

“One of the most reported studies emanating from the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting involves the use of the luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist goserelin (Zoladex) to reduce the risk of ovarian failure among women being treated with chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, and to increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy afterward (see page 22).1 Network and cable television, national and regional newspapers, and international news services covered the study and what it might mean to women concerned about preserving fertility after being treated for cancer.

“In an interview with The ASCO Post, the study’s lead author, Halle Moore, MD, said that she welcomed the media coverage because ‘the more the public is aware of fertility preservation options for patients receiving chemotherapy, the more likely it is that those patients will ask their doctors about [such measures].’ Dr. Moore is a Staff Physician and Chair of the Survivorship Program at the Cleveland Clinic. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Moore was hopeful that the extensive media coverage might also help the public see ‘where our dollars are going’ and understand the importance of federally funded research.”


ASCO 2014: Highlights for People Dealing with Melanoma


Every year, new cancer treatment insights are shared at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Here are some of the most notable recent developments in melanoma treatment, gleaned from researchers’ presentations at ASCO last month: Continue reading…


ASCO 2014 — Takeaways for Prostate Cancer Patients


Every year, thousands of people gather for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting took place in Chicago, Illinois. Here are some of the most notable new developments in prostate cancer treatment presented at ASCO 2014: Continue reading…


Docetaxel Plus Ramucirumab Improves Outcomes in Advanced NSCLC

“The addition of ramucirumab to docetaxel improved outcomes over placebo with docetaxel as a second-line treatment of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results of the REVEL trial presented at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“ ‘Despite advancements in genomics and identification of predictive biomarkers such as EGFR mutations or ALK rearrangement, there is still no… targeted therapy for the majority of patients with squamous and non-squamous carcinoma,’ said Maurice Pérol, MD, of the Cancer Research Center of Lyon in France. Ramucirumab specifically targets VEGFR-2 and inhibits angiogenesis, and it has been shown to improve outcomes in gastric cancer as monotherapy.”

Editor’s note: This article describes a treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that combines a new targeted drug called ramucirumab with the standard chemotherapy drug docetaxel. In a clinical trial to test the treatment in volunteer patients who had already received one previous treatment, it was found that ramucirumab plus docetaxel provided better patient outcomes than docetaxel plus a placebo.


At ASCO, Next-Gen EGFR Inhibitors Show Early Promise in Lung Cancer Patients with T790M Mutations

“Next-generation EGFR inhibitors for treating metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients who have acquired resistance to first-generation drugs in this class accurately hit mutant EGFR tumor cells and caused fewer serious side effects, early data presented at a major cancer conference showed.

“Researchers at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting here this week, presented preliminary data from human studies on three next-generation EGFR inhibitors: AstraZeneca’s AZD9291, Clovis Oncology’s CO-1686, and Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s HM61713. All three agents showed promising activity against patients who had EGFR mutations, had received prior treatment with a first-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor – such as Roche’s Tarceva (erlotinib) and AstraZeneca’s Iressa (gefinitib) – and had T790M mutations.”

Editor’s note: For a more reader-friendly explanation of these new drugs, check out the “Drug resistance” section of our Chief Scientist’s latest blog post.


ASCO 2014 Lung Cancer Roundup


Every year, thousands of people gather in Chicago, Illinois, for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. The largest meeting of its kind, ASCO brings together doctors, researchers, nurses, patient advocates, pharmaceutical company representatives, and more to discuss the latest in cancer research. Here are some of the most exciting new developments in lung cancer research presented last week at ASCO 2014: Continue reading…


Early Trial of Cabozantinib and Abiraterone Shows Promise in Prostate Cancer

“A phase I trial that combined the investigational therapy cabozantinib with the already approved abiraterone acetate in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients shows that the two agents are tolerable, with the potential for improved efficacy.

“Christopher Sweeney, MBBS, medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, presented the results (abstract #5027) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, held May 30–June 3 in Chicago.”

Editor’s note: A clinical trial to test a new treatment on volunteer patients found that a combination of the drugs cabozantinib and abiraterone acetate may be beneficial for treating metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), but further testing is needed.


ASCO: Targeting PD-1 Works in Advanced Melanoma

“Two studies indicate that using investigative immunotherapy drugs improves survival and response in patients with metastatic melanoma, researchers said here.

“In one study, the agent pembrolizumab (MK-3475) which targets the programmed death (PD-1) pathway produced a 1-year 69% survival rate, said Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.

“In a second study reported in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Mario Sznol, MD, professor of medicine at the Yale Cancer Center, demonstrated that a combination of the investigative PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab in combination with another targeted agent ipilimumab (Yervoy) produced a 1-year survival rate of 85% and 2-year survival rate of 79% for advanced melanoma patients.”

Editor’s note: Immunotherapy drugs boost a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. Promising research into new immunotherapy drugs for melanoma was recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. Two treatments that received special attention were MK-3475 (aka pembrolizumab) and a combination of the drugs ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab.


ASCO: Visceral Spread Guts Prostate Ca Survival Odds

“Lung, liver, and other visceral metastases are associated with the poorest survival in advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer, according to results from a meta-analysis that sets the benchmark for prognosis.

“Lung metastases were associated with 30% higher adjusted odds of death compared with bone metastases (median survival 17 versus 20 months, P<0.002), Susan Halabi, PhD, of Duke University, and colleagues found.

“Liver metastases were even worse, with 40% higher adjusted odds of death compared with lung metastases after adjustment for performance status, prostate specific antigen (PSA), and age (median 12 months, P<0.001), the group reported here at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.”