New Guidelines Aim Treat Brain Tumors More Effectively

Excerpt:

“A University of Portsmouth academic has helped to develop European guidelines to treat brain tumours more effectively.

“Geoff Pilkington, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neuro-oncology and one of the UK’s leading brain tumour specialists, was one of only three UK academics who devised the European Association for Neuro-Oncology (EANO) guidelines on the diagnosis and  of  with astrocytic and oligodendroglial gliomas, including glioblastomas.”

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Puma Biotechnology Submits Marketing Authorization Application for PB272 (Neratinib) as Extended Adjuvant Treatment of HER2-Positive Early Stage Breast Cancer in Europe

Excerpt:

“Puma Biotechnology, Inc. (NYSE: PBYI), a biopharmaceutical company, announced that it has submitted its Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for neratinib. The potential indication is for the extended adjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early stage breast cancer that has previously been treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin®)-based adjuvant therapy. The submission is based upon the ExteNET Phase III study, which reached its primary endpoint whereby neratinib demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of risk of invasive disease recurrence or death versus placebo.”

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Bevacizumab/Erlotinib Combo Approved in Europe for NSCLC

Excerpt:

“The European Commission approved bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with erlotinib (Tarceva) as a frontline treatment for patients with unresectable advanced, metastatic, or recurrent EGFR-mutant non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“The approval was based on findings from the phase II JO25567 study, which showed a 46% reduction in the risk of progression or death with the combination versus single-agent erlotinib. The median progression-free survival (PFS) with the addition of bevacizumab was 16 versus 9.7 months with erlotinib alone (HR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.36-0.79; P = .0015).

“ ‘The combination of Avastin and Tarceva represents a new standard of care for patients with this type of lung cancer,’ Sandra Horning, MD, chief medical officer and Global Head of Product Development at Roche, the company developing the combination, said in a statement. ‘This approval provides physicians in Europe with a powerful combination therapy that can significantly extend progression-free survival beyond 1 year, representing important progress for a group of patients who typically face a poor prognosis.’ ”

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Roche's Perjeta Regimen Approved in Europe for Use Before Surgery in Early Stage Aggressive Breast Cancer

“Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved the use of Perjeta® (pertuzumab) in combination with Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and chemotherapy for the neoadjuvant treatment (use before surgery) of adult patients with HER2-positive, locally advanced, inflammatory, or early stage breast cancer at high risk of recurrence. The Perjeta regimen is the first neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment approved by the EC based on pCR data.

“Every year in Europe nearly 100,000 people are diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer, an aggressive type of the disease that is more likely to progress than HER2-negative cancer.1,2 Treating people with breast cancer early, before the cancer has spread, may improve the chance of preventing the disease from returning. Neoadjuvant treatment is given before surgery and is aimed at reducing tumour size so it is easier to surgically remove. pCR is achieved when there is no tumour tissue detectable at the time of surgery in the affected breast or in the affected breast and local lymph nodes. It is a common measure of neoadjuvant treatment effect in breast cancer and it can be assessed more quickly than traditional endpoints in eBC.

“ ‘Today’s approval is a significant milestone in the neoadjuvant treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer, bringing Perjeta to patients years earlier than typical adjuvant treatment,’ said Sandra Horning, M.D., Roche’s Chief Medical Officer and Head, Global Product Development. ‘We are committed to making the Perjeta regimen available to appropriate patients in the EU as early as possible.’ “


European Commission Approves Nivolumab BMS, the First PD-1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor in Europe Proven to Extend Survival for Patients with Previously-Treated Advanced Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today announced that the European Commission has approved Nivolumab BMS for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic squamous (SQ) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after prior chemotherapy. This approval marks the first major treatment advance in SQ NSCLC in more than a decade in the European Union (EU). Nivolumab is also the first and only PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor to demonstrate overall survival (OS) in previously-treated metastatic SQ NSCLC. This approval allows for the marketing of nivolumab in all 28 Member States of the EU.

“ ‘With the EU approval of nivolumab, patients in Europe have for the first time in more than ten years access to an entirely new treatment modality for advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer, which has the potential to replace the current standard of care,’ said Emmanuel Blin, senior vice president, Head of Commercialization, Policy and Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb. ‘Bristol-Myers Squibb is passionate about changing survival expectations and the way patients live with advanced cancers, and is committed to continually deliver, with speed and urgency, new approaches to pursue this goal.’ “


ABRAXANE® Approved by European Commission for First-Line Treatment of Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

“Celgene International Sàrl, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation CELG, -0.88% today announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved ABRAXANE® (paclitaxel formulated as albumin-bound nanoparticles, or nab-paclitaxel) in combination with carboplatin for the first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in adult patients who are not candidates for potentially curative surgery and/or radiation therapy.

“The ABRAXANE Marketing Authorisation has been updated across 28 member states in the European Union to include this new indication in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), adding to the existing indications for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic and breast cancers.

“Lung cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women, however it is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in Europe. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common form of lung cancer, accounting for 85 to 90% of all cases. The predominant cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, although environmental and occupational factors also can cause the cancer.

“The EC decision follows the positive CHMP opinion received on 23 January and is based on the results of a multicenter, randomized, open-label study including 1,052 chemotherapy-naive patients with Stage IIIb/IV non-small cell lung cancer. The study compared ABRAXANE in combination with carboplatin versus solvent-based paclitaxel in combination with carboplatin as first-line treatment in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. The primary efficacy endpoint, overall response rate, was significantly higher for patients in the ABRAXANE/carboplatin arm at 33%, compared with patients in the control arm, at 25%. The most common adverse reactions (greater-than or equal to 20%) of ABRAXANE in combination with carboplatin for NSCLC were anaemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, peripheral neuropathy, nausea, and fatigue.”


Early Access Program to Make ThermoDox Available in Europe for Patients with Recurrent Chest Wall Breast Cancer

The gist: Patients with recurrent chest wall (RCW) breast cancer in the European Union and Switzerland will now have access to a new treatment called ThermoDox. ThermoDox is a new way of delivering the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. ThermoDox is spread throughout the body by the bloodstream, but it is not activated unless a doctor heats a body part to 39.5 – 42 degrees Celsius. That way, the patient can have the drug activated only to the part of the body where it is needed. Based on promising results in patients in clinical trials, ThermoDox will now be available in Europe in an Early Access Program.

“Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ:CLSN), a fully-integrated oncology company focused on the development of a portfolio of innovative cancer treatments,  today announced that it has signed a license and distribution agreement with myTomorrows to implement an Early Access Program for ThermoDox®, its proprietary heat-activated liposomal encapsulation of doxorubicin, in all countries of the European Union (EU) territory plus Switzerland for the treatment of patients with recurrent chest wall (RCW) breast cancer.

“RCW breast cancer is difficult to treat and has a poor prognosis with a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life.  Patients with highly resistant tumors found on the chest wall often see their cancer progress despite previous treatment attempts including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy.  There are approximately 25,000 to 35,000 incidence of RCW breast cancer in the EU alone and thermal therapy is a well-accepted strategy for treating patients.  Recent findings from two Phase I studies and an ongoing open label Phase II study indicate that when combined with thermal therapy, ThermoDox can demonstrate significant overall response rates and tumor control in post mastectomy, refractory patients.”


UK’s NICE Proposes to Recommend GSK’s Tafinlar for Melanoma

“UK drugs watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued final draft guidance recommending UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline’s (LSE: GSK) Tafinlar (dabrafenib) for the treatment of melanoma which has spread or can’t be completely removed by surgery and tests positive for the BRAF V600 mutation.

“NICE proposes recommending dabrafenib on the basis that GSK provides the drug to the National Health Service with a discount on the list price. The size of the discount is commercial in confidence.

“Carole Longson, Centre for Health Technology Evaluation director at NICE, said: ‘For a long time the treatments available for skin cancer which has spread have been very limited. However, in recent years a number of breakthrough treatments that can potentially significantly improve the prognosis for some people with malignant melanoma have become available. NICE has already recommended vemurafenib and ipilimumab and we hope to add dabrafenib to the list of options available. The information provided by GlaxoSmithKline, who markets the drug, suggested that dabrafenib works just as well as vemurafenib which also targets melanoma with the BRAF V600 mutation. Drugs like dabrafenib are also thought to have very rapid positive effect for patients, even in those who are very unwell or bed-ridden. In some cases, it has enabled people to resume everyday activities.’ ”

Editor’s note: Tafinlar is a targeted drug used to treat patients whose melanoma has spread (metastasized) or cannot be removed by surgery, and has a mutation called BRAF V600, as detected by molecular testing.


Journal Maturitas Publishes Position Statement on Breast Cancer Screening

“Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the publication of a position statement by the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) in the journal Maturitas on the topic of breast cancer screening.

“Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women, with slightly more than ten percent developing the disease in Western countries. Mammography screening is a well-established method to detect breast cancer. However there are concerns about over diagnosis with population-based screening programmes.. Some tumors grow so slowly that they will not threaten the health of women during their lifetime. The women will die from another cause and thus it is argued that these tumors should not have been treated. Treatments can be invasive and painful, have major side-effects, especially in those with significant co-morbidities. While this is easy from an epidemiological standpoint, it is a dilemma for the treating physician dealing with individual women. It is virtually impossible to make the diagnosis of breast cancer and to predict the future behavior of that tumor. Thus individualization is proposed so that women may be categorized into ‘low to moderate’ and ‘high’ risk based on familial risk and the first screening mammogram so that further screening can be tailored.”