Incyte Gains as Melanoma Combo Sees Success in Early-Stage Trial

Excerpt:

“Incyte Corp. rose to its highest level since January as one of its experimental drug yielded positive results in an early-stage trial when used in combination therapy for a form of skin cancer.

“About 74 percent of patients with advanced melanoma who received Incyte’s epacadostat in combination with Merck & Co.’s Keytruda saw their disease stabilize or improve, and the treatment was well tolerated. The shares gained 4.6 percent to $93.65 at 12:40 p.m. in New York, after earlier reaching $95.39.”

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Final OS Analysis Confirms Cobimetinib/Vemurafenib Benefit in Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Combination therapy with cobimetinib (Cotellic) and vemurafenib (Zelboraf) reduced the risk of death by 30% compared with vemurafenib alone in patients with BRAF-positive advanced melanoma, according to the final survival analysis of the phase III coBRIM study that has now been published in The Lancet Oncology.

“The targeted combination improved median overall survival (OS) by 4.9 months versus single-agent vemurafenib (HR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.55-0.90; P = .005). The OS rates for the combination at 1 and 2 years were 74.5% and 48.3%, respectively.

“ ‘Melanoma is one of the few cancers that has increased in incidence over the past 30 years, and until recently, people with advanced forms of the disease have had few treatment options. Five years ago, the survival of people with advanced melanoma was measured in months, and now we have medicines that are helping people live years,’ Josina Reddy, MD, PhD, senior group medical director at Genentech, the company that manufactures the combination, said in an interview with OncLive.”

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Adding Pemetrexed to Gefitinib Improves PFS in EGFR-Mutated NSCLC

Excerpt:

“The combination of pemetrexed and gefitinib offered improved progression-free survival (PFS) over gefitinib alone in East Asian patients with advanced nonsquamous non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and activating EGFR mutations, according to a new randomized, open-label study.

“EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) including gefitinib have been shown to improve outcomes in patients with EGFR-mutated NSCLC. ‘Given their different mechanisms of action, combination treatment with EGFR-TKIs and chemotherapy may further improve outcomes,’ wrote study authors led by James Chih-Hsin Yang, MD, PhD, of National Taiwan University Hospital in Taipei. Previous trials of such combinations have not shown clinical benefit, however, though this could have been because of antagonism between the agents used or because wild-type EGFR patients were included.”

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Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2)


New targeted and immunotherapy drugs have changed the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma from a death sentence into a disease that can potentially be managed and even cured. Nevertheless, these new drugs do not work in all patients, or they may stop working after a transient response. This post (part one of two) will describe ongoing efforts to find drug combinations with higher efficacy than single drugs and decipher the mechanisms underlying drug resistance. Continue reading…


Novel Combination Study Planned for SCLC

Excerpt:

“A phase I/II study will explore the delta-like protein 3 (DLL3)-targeted antibody-drug conjugate rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) alone or in combination with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for patients with relapsed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

“AbbVie, the developer of rovalpituzumab tesirine, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company marketing nivolumab and ipilimumab announced the phase I/II study in a joint press release. As single-agents, rovalpituzumab tesirine and nivolumab have each demonstrated promising early findings for patients with SCLC. Additionally, nivolumab plus ipilimumab sparked promising response rates and overall survival (OS) findings. Data for the 3 agents were recently presented at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting.”

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Immunotherapy/Chemo Combinations Show Potential in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) have both made a significant difference for a high number of patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is still a great deal to learn about the optimal use of PD-1 inhibitors in the disease, says Shirish Gadgeel, MD.

“ ‘Both pembrolizumab and nivolumab are approved for the management of NSCLC and have shown activity,’ says Gadgeel, medical oncologist, leader of the Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State University. ‘When these agents do work, the benefit is for a prolonged period of time. However, these agents are only efficacious in a minority of patients—probably in the range of 20%.’ ”

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I-SPY 2: Veliparib–Carboplatin Improves Complete Response Rate in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“The addition of veliparib–carboplatin to standard chemotherapy appeared likely to improve rate of pathologic complete response among women with triple-negative breast cancer, according to results of I-SPY 2 published inThe New England Journal of Medicine.

“Researchers calculated an 88% predictive probability that the veliparib (ABT-888, AbbVie) and carboplatin combination would remain effective when added to standard chemotherapy in phase 3 confirmatory trials.”

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New Research on Triple Negative Breast Cancer Emerges at ASCO 2016


The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting of 2016 is behind us, but oncologists, patients, and journalists are still analyzing the most interesting presentations made there. Below, we describe some of the more prominent results in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), both promising and disappointing.

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Combination of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Moves Forward in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“How best to combine new immunotherapies is a burning question in oncology. A new study in the CheckMate series suggests that nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) can be safely and effectively combined as first-line treatment of advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but further study is needed. This combination is being studied in the phase III CheckMate 227 trial. For now, a platinum-containing doublet is still the standard of care.

“ ‘Nivolumab plus ipilimumab has promising efficacy in advanced NSCLC. The combination is well tolerated, with no treatment-related deaths. Overall response rates range from 39% to 47%, and median duration of response has not yet been reached,’ said lead author Matthew Hellmann, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

“Both nivolumab and ipilimumab enhance T-cell antitumor activity. The combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab has been approved for the treatment of melanoma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nivolumab monotherapy has been approved by the FDA for adults with locally advanced NSCLC progressing after platinum-doublet chemotherapy.”

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