Androgen Suppression Plus RT Improves DFS in Prostate Ca

“Adding 6 months of androgen suppression (AS) to radiation therapy improved biochemical disease-free survival in high-risk localized prostate cancer patients – even at radiation doses of 78 Gy – and it did so with acceptable adverse effects, according to a randomized European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“At 7.2 years’ median follow-up, the study found that combination therapy led to a 5-year biochemical disease-free survival of 82.6% (95% CI 78.4-86.1) versus 69.8% for radiation alone (95% CI 64.9-74.2) – translating to a hazard ratio of 0.52 (95% CI 0.41-0.66, P=0.001, 319 events). Adjuvant AS also improved clinical progression-free survival, for an HR of 0.63 (95% CI 0.48-0.84, P=0.001, 205 events).

“No statistically significant interaction between treatment effect and radiation dose emerged: heterogeneity P=0.79 and P=0.66, for biochemical disease-free survival and progression-free survival, respectively, according to Michel Bolla, MD, of Grenoble University Hospital in France, and colleagues.”

Neratinib Improves DFS in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

“Treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor neratinib demonstrated a 2-year disease-free survival (DFS) rate of 93.9% in patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, representing a 33% improvement compared with placebo, according to findings from the phase III ExteNET study published in The Lancet Oncology.

“In the phase III study, which was also presented at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting, the 2-year DFS rate with placebo was 91.6% (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.50-0.91; P = .009). In patients with both HER2- and HR-positive disease, the 2-year DFS rate was 95.4% with neratinib and 91.2% with placebo, representing a 49% benefit (HR, 0.51; P = .001).”

Denosumab Benefits Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Patients

“The addition of the bone-targeting drug denosumab to adjuvant hormonal therapy in postmenopausal breast cancer patients improves disease-free survival (DFS), reducing the risk of disease recurrence by 18% compared with placebo, according to the results of the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG)-18 trial.

“The results (abstract S2-02) were presented at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), held December 8–12 in San Antonio, Texas.

“ ‘This is a very safe treatment and my clinical conclusion is that denosumab reduces the risk of disease recurrence or death, and this benefit is similar to what bisphosphonates can do and comes in addition to highly significantly reducing clinical fractures,’ said study author and presenter Michael Gnant, MD, professor of surgery at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, during a press conference. ‘I believe that we should offer this treatment to postmenopausal breast cancer patients on adjuvant aromatase inhibitors.’ “

Shorter-Course Radiation Non-Inferior to Conventional Therapy for Low-Risk Prostate Cancer

“Hypofractionated radiation therapy yielded a similar rate of DFS and toxicity profile as conventional radiotherapy among men with low-risk prostate cancer, according to results of a randomized phase 3 non-inferiority study presented at the ASTRO Annual Meeting.

“Given in larger doses over a shorter period, hypofractionated radiation therapy is being studied as a possible improved treatment option for some patients.

“Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO, professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in New York, and colleagues sought to evaluate whether the hypofractionated therapy schedule — or 70 Gy in 28 fractions over 5.6 weeks — resulted in a 5-year DFS that was not lower than that of the conventional schedule, or 73.8 Gy in 41 fractions over 8.2 weeks, by more than 7%.”

Early Initiation of Chemotherapy May Prolong DFS for Early Breast Cancer

“Shorter time to initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy may reduce relapse and improve outcomes in patients with rapidly proliferating early breast cancer, according results of a phase 3 study.

“Earlier chemotherapy may improve OS and DFS in patients with certain subtypes of breast cancer that are rapidly proliferating and aggressive, such as triple-negative or HER-2–positive disease.

“Alberto Farolfi, a medical oncologist in training at the Scientific Institute of Romagna for the Study and Treatment of Cancer in Meldola, Italy, and colleagues sought to examine the influence of time to chemotherapy on the outcome of these patients and to set a threshold value for time to chemotherapy to better define the clinical outcome.”

Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation Increased DFS in Patients with Stage III NSCLC

Editor’s note: People who are at risk of having their cancer spread (metastasize) to the brain can receive “prophylactic cranial irradiation” to help prevent it. In this procedure, the head is treated with radiation to kill any cancer cells that may have already spread there but are not yet detectable. A recent study investigated the benefits of prophylactic cranial irradiation for people with fully resected (surgically removed), stage IIIA N2 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The study involved volunteer patients at high risk of brain metastases whose lung tumors had been surgically removed and who had received post-surgery chemotherapy to keep the cancer from returning. Some of the patients were given prophylactic cranial irradiation, and some were not. The researchers found that patients who received prophylactic cranial irradiation had a decreased risk of brain metastases and also had a longer period of survival without return of their cancer.


“Prophylactic cranial irradiation prolonged disease-free survival and decreased the incidence for brain metastases in patients with fully-resected stage IIIA N2 non–small cell lung cancer at high-risk for cerebral metastases after completing adjuvant chemotherapy, according to results presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting.

“Si-Yu Wang, MD, of the department of thoracic surgery at the Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center in China and colleagues assessed whether prophylactic cranial irradiation improves survival in this population of patients.

“Between 2005 and 2009, researchers randomly assigned 156 patients to 30 Gy prophylactic cranial irradiation in 10 fractions (n=81) or observation (n=75). DFS served as the primary outcome measure; secondary outcome measures included the incidence for brain metastases, OS and adverse events. The study was halted early due to slow accrual.

“Patients treated with prophylactic cranial irradiation experienced a decreased risk for brain metastases (5-year brain relapse rate, 13.6% vs. 41.3%; OR=0.223; 95% CI, 0.102-0.489).

“DFS was significantly higher in patients assigned prophylactic cranial irradiation (28.5 months) compared with controls (21.2 months; HR=0.67; 95% CI, 0.46-0.98). Three-year DFS was 42% and 5-year DFS was 26.1% in the prophylactic cranial irradiation group vs. 29.8% at 3 years and 18.5% at 5 years for controls.”