Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab and Chemotherapy Extends PFS in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“The addition of atezolizumab to first-line treatment with bevacizumab and chemotherapy significantly prolonged PFS among individuals with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer, according to the agent’s manufacturer.

Atezolizumab (Tecentriq, Genentech) is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind with PD-L1.

“The randomized, multicenter, open-label phase 3 IMpower150 study assessed the efficacy and safety of atezolizumab in combination of chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) for patients with stage IV nonsquamous NSCLC who had not undergone chemotherapy for their advanced disease.”

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Bevacizumab Does Not Improve Outcomes With Chemotherapy in Early NSCLC

Excerpt:

“The addition of bevacizumab to adjuvant chemotherapy failed to improve survival outcomes in patients with surgically resected early-stage non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a new randomized trial. The agent “does not have a role” in this setting, the investigators concluded.

” ‘In the setting of advanced-stage NSCLC, the first agent to improve survival when added to a platinum doublet was bevacizumab,’ wrote authors led by Heather A. Wakelee, MD, of the Stanford Cancer Institute at Stanford University in California. The researchers tested whether the VEGF-targeted agent would be similarly effective in the early-stage NSCLC adjuvant setting, where patients remain at high risk of relapse despite chemotherapy.”

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Chemotherapy Drug Maintains Quality of Life Despite Side Effects

Excerpt:

“Patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) reported similar health-related quality of life (HRQOL) during treatment with a recently approved chemotherapy drug as compared to patients receiving a placebo treatment, according to a clinical trial published in Lancet Oncology.

“These findings, in conjunction with previous research showing delayed disease progression, suggest the drug, called everolimus, may be able to preserve quality of life even in light of chemotherapy’s often-toxic side effects. The findings support the usefulness of HRQOL as an endpoint in clinical trials studying NETs, in a secondary analysis of their findings, according to the study.”

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Brain Cancer Survival Improves with Novel Electrical Device, Data Suggest

Excerpt:

“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

Excerpt:

“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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Chemotherapy May Not Be Necessary for Intermediate-Risk, Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“Women with early-stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk recurrence score from a 21-gene expression assay may be able to avoid chemotherapy, according to a retrospective study published in Cancer.

” ‘Through years of research discoveries, it became clear that we were overtreating many women with breast cancer, especially those with early-stage breast cancer,’ Carlos H. Barcenas, MD, assistant professor of breast medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a press release. ‘In addition to chemotherapy’s obvious side effects, there were also long-term complications for these women as survivors.’ ”

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Are Cooling Caps the Solution to Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy?

Excerpt:

“Hair loss—one of the most-feared side effects of cancer treatment—may have met its match. Scientists have known since the 80s that cooling a person’s scalp can prevent significant hair loss during chemotherapy. A cooling device called DigniCap was approved for women with breast cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015. This cap was tested in a clinical trial at UCLA led by Dr. Sara Hurvitz, director of hematology and oncology breast cancer program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Two studies published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the cap was effective; results showed that women lost less than 50 percent of their hair. The trial Hurvitz participated in paved the way for physicians to help people with cancer overcome one of the most visible signs of treatment.”

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Chemo Benefit Unclear in Breast Cancer Patients With Higher Recurrence Scores

Excerpt:

“In patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, lymph node–negative breast cancer with a recurrence score (RS) based on a 21-gene expression assay of 11 to 25, outcomes were similar whether chemotherapy was used or not used, according to a retrospective analysis. However, the study’s limited follow-up means a benefit from chemotherapy in these patients cannot be ruled out.

“The Oncotype DX 21-gene expression assay is the most commonly used test of this kind in breast cancer in the United States. It offers an RS, and previous research has shown that patients with an RS below 11 fare very well when treated with endocrine therapy alone. ‘To our knowledge, it is unknown whether chemotherapy provides any additional benefit in outcomes in patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, lymph node–negative, early-stage breast cancer with an RS of 11 to 25 who are treated with endocrine therapy,’ wrote study authors led by Carlos H. Barcenas, MD, MSc, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.”

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More Patients with Early-Stage Breast Cancer May Be Able to Avoid Chemotherapy in the Future

Excerpt:

“Women with early-stage breast cancer who had an intermediate risk recurrence score (RS) from a 21-gene expression assay had similar outcomes, regardless of whether they received chemotherapy, a new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer finds.

“The encouraging research, published in the journal CANCER, still needs to be validated in an ongoing international trial. If verified, women with intermediate scores may one day be able to avoid chemotherapy as standard of care.”

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