Bevacizumab/Lomustine Combinations Falls Short in Phase III Glioblastoma Trial

Excerpt:

“Treatment with lomustine (Gleostine) plus bevacizumab (Avastin) provided a slightly improved progression-free survival (PFS), but did not demonstrate an overall survival (OS) advantage over treatment with lomustine alone in patients with progressive glioblastoma, according to results of a randomized phase III trial published in theNew England Journal of Medicine.

“There were a total of 329 OS events (75.3%) in patients who received the combination, which did not meet the endpoint for a statistically significant benefit. The median OS was 9.1 months (95% CI, 8.1-10.1) in the group of patients who received the combination of lomustine and bevacizumab and 8.6 months (95% CI, 7.6-10.4) in the monotherapy group (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.74-1.21). Locally assessed PFS was 4.2 months in the combination group versus 1.5 months in the monotherapy group (HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.39-0.61).”

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For Now, Sequencing Cancer Tumors Holds More Promise Than Proof

Excerpt:

“People diagnosed with cancer understandably reach for the very best that medical science has to offer. That motivation is increasingly driving people to ask to have the DNA of their tumors sequenced. And while that’s useful for some malignancies, the hype of precision medicine for cancer is getting far ahead of the facts.

“It’s easy to understand why that’s the case. When you hear stories about the use of DNA sequencing to create individualized cancer treatment, chances are they are uplifting stories. Like that of Ben Stern.”

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Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Begins Phase 3 Clinical Trial with TSC in Glioblastoma Multiforme

Excerpt:

“Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. DFFN, +2.38% (“Diffusion” or “the Company”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on extending the life expectancy of cancer patients, today announced that a Phase 3 clinical trial using its lead small molecule trans sodium crocetinate (“TSC”) in patients with newly-diagnosed inoperable glioblastoma multiforme (“GBM”) brain cancer, is now open for enrollment. The trial, which has been named INTACT (INvestigating Tsc Against Cancerous Tumors), follows a previous Phase 2 GBM study in which the inoperable patient subgroup showed a nearly four-fold increase in survival compared with historical controls when TSC was added to their treatment regimen (40% alive at two years vs. 10.4%). TSC’s innovative mechanism of action affects the tumor micro-environment, making treatment-resistant cancer cells more susceptible to the tumor-killing power of conventional radiation therapy (“RT”) and chemotherapy (temozolomide) by re-oxygenation of the hypoxic portion of the tumor. The Company believes that a largely intact GBM tumor vasculature with limited surgical resection is conducive to TSC’s tumor re-oxygenation properties, and that this contributed to the survival increase in the Phase 2 GBM inoperable patient subgroup.”

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Electric Fields Therapy Improved Survival for Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“The addition of tumor-treating fields to maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy significantly delayed progression and improved overall survival in patients with glioblastoma who had received standard radiochemotherapy compared with maintenance temozolomide alone, according to final results of a trial published in JAMA.

“Tumor-treating fields use low-intensity, alternating electric fields delivered via transducer arrays applied to the scalp. Patients treated with combined tumor-treating fields and temozolomide had a 37% improvement in progression-free and overall survival.”

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New Guidelines on Clinical Trial Design for Patients with Brain Metastases

Excerpt:

“Clinical trials of new anti-cancer therapies have often excluded patients whose disease has spread to the brain or central nervous system (CNS) or, if such patients were allowed on trial, trials have often failed to clearly capture information on the drug’s effect in the brain. Today new guidelines from an international, multidisciplinary group published in the journal Lancet Oncology describe how to most appropriately address cancer patients with CNS involvement within clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs.”

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Electric Fields Therapy Improved Survival for Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“The addition of tumor-treating fields to maintenance temozolomide chemotherapy significantly delayed progression and improved overall survival in patients with glioblastoma who had received standard radiochemotherapy compared with maintenance temozolomide alone, according to final results of a trial published in JAMA.

“Tumor-treating fields use low-intensity, alternating electric fields delivered via transducer arrays applied to the scalp. Patients treated with combined tumor-treating fields and temozolomide had a 37% improvement in progression-free and overall survival.”

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Cancer Clinical Trials Exclude Many Desperate Patients. Should That Change?

Excerpt:

“When 29-year-old Carly Bastiansen was diagnosed in January 2016 with advanced pancreatic cancer, doctors told her a clinical trial was her best shot at slowing the notoriously quick-killing and hard-to-treat disease. She found one that appeared promising and went through the screening process. But the trial would not accept her.

“ ‘Participating in a clinical trial is really my only chance at living longer,’ Bastiansen, a children’s librarian in Baltimore, said this fall as she was growing weaker. ‘To have had that option taken off the table was devastating.’ ”

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FDA Approves First-of-a-Kind Test for Cancer-Gene Profiling

Excerpt:

“U.S. regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind test that looks for mutations in hundreds of cancer genes at once, giving a more complete picture of what’s driving a patient’s tumor and aiding efforts to match treatments to those flaws.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Foundation Medicine’s test for patients with advanced or widely spread cancers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed covering it.

“The dual decisions, announced late Thursday, will make tumor-gene profiling available to far more cancer patients than the few who get it now and will lead more insurers to cover it.”

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Vulnerability Identified for Subtypes of Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer, typically fails to respond to treatment or rapidly becomes drug resistant. In a paper published online in the journal Cancer Cell on November 30, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers identified a strategy that pinpoints a genetically distinct subpopulation of patients with glioblastoma that is particularly sensitive to drugs like cilengitide that target a cell adhesion receptor known as integrin αvβ3.

“Cilengitide was developed based on early studies by David Cheresh, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues who demonstrated that αvβ3 expression was linked to the progression of glioblastoma. The  was tested in clinical trials but production was halted in 2014 when it failed to show significant improvement in overall survival among participants during phase III trials.”

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