“Pembrolizumab, an antibody drug already used to treat other forms of cancer, can be effective in the treatment of the most common form of mesothelioma, according to a new study led by investigators from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, published this month in The Lancet Oncology, is the first to show a positive impact from checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy drugs on this disease.
“Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that represents about 90 percent of all malignant mesothelioma cases. It’s primarily caused by the inhalation of asbestos, a fiber commonly found in some forms of insulation, vinyl floor tiles, and other material. Tumors form in the pleura, a thin membrane of cells that line the lungs and chest wall. Most patients survive less than a year. This poor prognosis is partially due to the fact that most patients are not diagnosed until they are already at a late stage of the disease. The standard first-line therapy treatment involves chemotherapy, and currently there is no approved second-line therapy.”
“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.”
“Array BioPharma has some explaining to do. Fifteen months after the Boulder, CO-based biotech said that it had the data needed for its first approval of binimetinib for NRAS-positive melanoma, execs are walking back the application and its plans for a launch.
“In a statement out Sunday evening, Array $ARRY said that after getting feedback from the FDA, execs ‘concluded that the clinical benefit demonstrated in the Phase 3 NEMO clinical trial would not be found sufficient to support approval of the NRAS-mutant melanoma NDA.’ ”
“Eli Lilly and Co’s combination of its experimental breast cancer drug and another widely used treatment slowed disease progression in patients who relapsed or did not benefit enough when treated with the anti-estrogen therapy.
“In August, an independent data monitoring committee recommended the late-stage study continue without modification, even though interim evaluation suggested the combination treatment was not delaying cancer progression.
“Lilly’s drug, abemaciclib, is part of the same new class of breast cancer treatments as Pfizer Inc’s Ibrance, and Novartis AG’s newly approved Kisqali.”
“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.”
“The MEK inhibitor binimetinib improved progression-free survival compared with dacarbazine in patients with NRAS-mutant melanoma, according to the phase III results of the NEMO trial published in Lancet Oncology.
“In addition, improved progression-free survival was seen in patients who had previously failed immunotherapy, the current guideline-recommended first-line treatment.
” ‘Future treatment algorithms for metastatic melanoma might incorporate binimetinib therapy in patients with advanced NRAS-mutant melanoma, including after the failure of immunotherapy,’ wrote Reinhard Dummer, MD, of the department of dermatology at the University Hospital Zurich Skin Cancer Center in Switzerland, and colleagues.”
“Results from a prospective clinical trial showed that a blood test looking at specific biomarkers was able to detect recurrences of lung cancer an average of six months before conventional imaging methods found evidence of recurrence. In the largest prospective clinical trial to date of circulating tumor cells (CTC) as biomarkers for locally advanced lung cancer, the findings indicate that blood tests potentially can be used in conjunction with CT and PET/CT scans to guide personalized treatment planning for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The study will be presented today at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.”
“Hutchison China MediTech Limited (“Chi-Med”) (AIM/Nasdaq: HCM) presented data from the ongoing Phase Ib/II clinical trial of sulfatinib in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors (“NET”) at the 14th Annual Conference of European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (“ENETS”), held in Barcelona, Spain from March 8 to 10, 2017. Sulfatinib is an oral, novel angio-immunokinase inhibitor that selectively targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (“VEGFR”), fibroblast growth factor receptor (“FGFR”) and colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (“CSF-1R”), three key tyrosine kinase receptors involved in tumor angiogenesis and immune evasion. Five other sulfatinib clinical trials are underway in China and the US, including two Phase III studies in NET patients (SANET-p and SANET-ep), one Phase II study in thyroid cancer patients and one Phase II study in biliary tract cancer patients.”