Bristol-Myers Squibb Announces Results from CheckMate -143, a Phase 3 Study of Opdivo (nivolumab) in Patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced that CheckMate -143, a randomized Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of Opdivo in patients with first recurrence of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), did not meet its primary endpoint of improved overall survival over bevacizumab monotherapy. These data will be presented on May 7, 2017 at the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology Societies (WFNOS) meeting in Zurich, Switzerland.

” ‘GBM is a historically difficult disease to treat and conventional treatment options have demonstrated limited responses,’ said Fouad Namouni, M.D., head of Oncology Development and head of Medical, Bristol-Myers Squibb. ‘We remain steadfast in our pursuit of treatments for diseases with the highest unmet need and continue our work to determine how our Immuno-Oncology agents can potentially improve outcomes for these patients.’ ”

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Brain Cancer Survival Improves with Novel Electrical Device, Data Suggest

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“A wearable medical device that delivers electrical fields through the scalp helped to extend the survival of patients with lethal brain tumors, according to data presented Sunday.

“In a study involving major medical centers in the United States and abroad, the novel treatment was used to administer alternating, low-intensity ‘tumor-treating fields’ to newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients who also were getting chemotherapy. Such electrical fields may block the division of cancer cells and cause their demise, according to Roger Stupp, the study’s lead investigator and a neuro-oncologist at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.”

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Encouraging Results for Patients with Aggressive Brain Cancer

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“Being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor is devastating news for patients and their loved ones. Whereas some types of tumor respond well to treatment, others such as glioblastomas – the most common and aggressive brain tumors – are known to recur and progress within short times from the diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with this type of cancer, and who undergo current standard treatment, have a median survival of 16 months.

Based on recent information on the mechanisms of chemotherapy, a team of researchers of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) developed a new clinical approach to increase the efficiency of treatment in glioblastomas that increased the median survival to 22 months – bringing much needed hope to those affected by this aggressive disease. The findings of this promising phase II clinical trial have been published in the International Journal of Radiology Oncology.”

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Glioblastoma Clinical Trial Shows Combined Therapy Extends Life for Patients 65 and Older

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“Treating older patients who have malignant brain cancer with the chemotherapy drug temozolomide plus a short course of radiation therapy extends survival by two months compared to treating with radiation alone, show clinical trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“For 45% of the study participants, improved survival almost doubled — from 7 months to 13.5 months, says co-principal investigator Normand Laperriere, radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. This was linked to a molecular marker that indicated if a DNA repair mechanism against the drug was active. When the mechanism was ‘off,’ tumours responded better to treatment.”

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Short RT Plus Chemo Benefits Older Brain Cancer Patients

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“Adding temozolomide chemotherapy to short-course radiotherapy for older patients with glioblastoma was tied to longer progression-free and overall survival than with a short course of radiotherapy alone, researchers found.

“In a randomized controlled trial of glioblastoma patients ages 65 and up, those on combination therapy had a significantly lower risk of death during the study than those who had only radiation (HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.56-0.80, P<0.001), James Perry, MD, of Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, and colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

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Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting Shows Diverse Treatment Options Emerging for Glioblastoma

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“The Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day of the Society for Neuro-Oncology — held in November in Scottsdale, Arizona — featured data from key studies on targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

“These data will open the door to new research, and they also offer promise of new therapeutic options for patients with glioblastoma.”

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Promising New Strategy to Attack the Most Lethal Brain Tumor in Children

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“Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago have revealed new insight into how the most deadly pediatric brain tumor, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), may develop. They also have identified a compound that targets the ‘on’ switch for cancer-promoting genes, which resulted in shrinking tumor size and increased survival in an animal model of DIPG. Preparations for a clinical trial at Lurie Children’s are now under way.”

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Clinical Trials Test Treatments for High-Grade Brain Tumors


With a few exceptions, glioblastoma (GBM) remains largely incurable, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved few treatments for the disease. Surgery (when feasible), radiation, and temozolomide are used in most patients. But even if a newly diagnosed tumor can be surgically excised, recurrences are too common.

In this blog post, I simply list some of the new treatments available in clinical trials for GBM and other high-grade brain tumors. Only drugs that have at least some preliminary results of activity are included, and the list is not meant to be fully comprehensive. The interested reader can judge for herself what might be of interest, keeping in mind that no single treatment is suitable or will work for all GBM patients. Continue reading…


Genome Analysis Helps Keep Deadly Brain Cancer at Bay for Five Years

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“An analysis of a patient’s deadly brain tumor helped doctors at Smilow Cancer Hospital identify new emerging mutations and keep a 55-year old woman alive for more than five years, researchers report in the journal Genome Medicine.

“The median survival rate for patients with glioblastoma multiform (GBM) is only 15 months, but three separate genomic analyses of the tumor identified new mutations that allowed doctors to adjust treatment and keep the patient alive for over five years, through two recurrences of the cancer.”

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