Afatinib Shows Clinical Benefit for Lung Cancer Patients with Brain Metastases

“Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with common epidermal growth factor (EGFR) mutations and brain metastases showed improved progression-free survival (PFS) and response from the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) afatinib compared to standard platinum doublet chemotherapy.

“More than 25% of with advanced NSCLC experience progression to the brain from their primary lung and this number increases to 44-63% for those NSCLC tumors driven by EGFR mutations. Prognosis is poor and typically ranges for 1-5 months for those with . EGFR TKIs are highly effective therapies for advanced NSCLC driven by EGFR mutations, especially the common mutations, exon 19 deletions and L858R point mutations. Even though there are a number of EGFR TKIs approved for first-line therapy of EGFR mutation positive NSCLC, there is a scarcity of prospective data for EGFR TKIs in patients with brain metastases.”


Early Chemotherapy Improves Survival for Men with Prostate Cancer

“Two papers from UCL show that having early chemotherapy improves survival for men with prostate cancer. The papers, published in the Lancet and Lancet Oncology, report the results from the STAMPEDE clinical trial and a meta-analysis.

“Both papers looked at the use of a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel. Docetaxel is already used for men with prostate cancer once hormone therapy has stopped working. In STAMPEDE and the meta-analysis, the researchers looked at using it earlier, when men are starting long-term hormone therapy. Both studies found that adding docetaxel improved survival for these men.

“The studies also looked at whether the drug zoledronic acid improves survival. Zoledronic acid is used to reduce the risk of bone problems in men whose cancer has spread to their bones, and whose hormone therapy has stopped working. The new studies looked at using it earlier, when men are starting long-term hormone therapy. Both studies found that adding zoledronic acid did not improve survival for these men.”


Capecitabine Improved Outcomes for Breast Cancer Patients with Disease after Presurgery Chemo

“Treatment with the chemotherapy agent capecitabine increased disease-free survival for women with HER2-negative breast cancer that was not eliminated by presurgery chemotherapy, according to results from the phase III CREATE-X clinical trial presented at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 8-12.

“Treatment given to shrink or eliminate a tumor before surgery is called neoadjuvant therapy. In some patients with breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, residual invasive cancer can be detected in breast tissue samples and lymph nodes removed during surgery. These patients tend to have worse long-term outcomes compared with women who respond completely to neoadjuvant therapy.

” ‘It has been suggested that patients with residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant chemotherapy have chemoresistant breast cancer, but there have been no large-scale clinical trials to test whether adjuvant systemic chemotherapy is beneficial for these patients,’ said Masakazu Toi, MD, PhD, a professor at Kyoto University Hospital in Japan, and founder and senior director of the Japan Breast Cancer Research Group (JBCRG). ‘CREATE-X was designed to evaluate this clinical question by testing whether capecitabine could improve disease-free survival for patients with residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.’ “


Drugs Prevent Heart Damage during Breast Cancer Treatment, Study Shows

“Heart medication taken in combination with chemotherapy reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular damage in patients with early-stage breast cancer, according to results from a new landmark clinical trial.

“Existing research has shown some cancer therapies such as Herceptin greatly improve survival rates for , but come with a fivefold risk of heart failure—a devastating condition as life-threatening as the cancer itself.

“A new five-year study, led by researchers at the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services and funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and Alberta Cancer Foundation, shows that two kinds of heart medications, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, effectively prevent a drop in heart function from cancer treatment.”


Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Diminishes Chemo Brain

“Participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program yields robust and sustained improvement in cancer-related cognitive impairment, a prevalent and potentially debilitating condition that affects attention, memory and executive function in survivors, according to a new study from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine.

“Although cancer-related cognitive impairment, sometimes referred to as chemo brain or post-cancer cognitive fuzziness, is common among survivors—disrupting social relationships, work ability, self-confidence, and quality of life—clinicians have few treatment options to offer. Cognitive deficits have been seen to persist for more than a decade following cancer treatment for many survivors.

” ‘Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Breast and Colorectal Cancer Survivors: Effects on Cancer-related Cognitive Impairment,’ published online in advance of print in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, is the first randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction, known as MBSR, on fatigued breast and colorectal cancer survivors, the majority of whom had been treated with chemotherapy.”


Anthracyclines Negatively Impact Brain Function

“Cancer survivors treated with anthracycline-based chemotherapies exhibited poorer performance of certain cognitive skills compared with survivors who received no chemotherapy or other classes of chemotherapies, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Oncology.

“While the study of 62 primary breast cancer survivors is retrospective and small, the results suggest that further studies are needed to understand how the neurologic effects of anthracycline-based chemotherapy agents may be minimized.

“Shelli R. Kesler, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Douglas W. Blayney, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, analyzed both cognitive function and resting state functional magnetic resonance brain imaging data from breast cancer survivors who were treated, on average, 2.1 years prior to undergoing the assessments. The patients were all assessed at Stanford University.”


Big Changes Coming in Treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

“The treatment paradigm for patients with triple-negative breast cancer is set to undergo a dramatic transformation, as standard chemotherapeutic approaches are perfected and novel antibody-drug conjugates are developed.

“The treatment paradigm for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is set to undergo a dramatic transformation, as standard chemotherapeutic approaches are perfected and novel antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are developed. Kimberly Blackwell addressed this topic at the 2015 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium, a meeting of over 1,000 oncologists and oncology professionals in New York City in November.

“ ‘I think we will see significant improvements in triple-negative breast cancer within the next few years,’ said Blackwell, an oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute. ‘There are two ADCs that I am fairly excited about that are in late stage development.’ “


Super Patient: Lyndsay Sung Catches Her Breast Cancer Just In Time


In 2013, Lyndsay Sung noticed something new on the edge of her right breast. “I felt something weird—an odd thickening along the rib,” she recalls. At the time, her son was only a year old, so she thought it might have been related to breastfeeding. But then she felt it again in September 2014. Lyndsay knew she was at risk for breast cancer because her grandmother had had it, and she also knew her breasts from years of self-exams. So she went to see her family doctor. Continue reading…


ADT Plus Chemo Ideal for Oligometastatic Prostate Cancer

“Oligometastatic prostate cancer is optimally treated with the combination of docetaxel and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), according to a presentation at the 7th European Multidisciplinary Meeting on Urological Cancers (EMUC).

“ ‘Oligometastatic disease is a transit state of prostate cancer and is an imaging technique-dependent definition,’ Bertrand Tombal MD, PhD, Chairman of the Division of Urology, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium, explained at the conference. ‘Nevertheless, it is unlikely that metastases targeted treatment will be enough to control the disease.’ “