FDA Approves Verzenio for Hormone Receptor-Positive, HER-2-Negative Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“The FDA approved abemaciclib for the treatment of women with hormone receptor-positive HER-2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer who progressed following endocrine therapy.

The agency approved abemaciclib (Verzenio, Eli Lilly) — an investigational cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor —in combination with fulvestrant (Faslodex, AstraZeneca) following progression on endocrine therapy, and as a monotherapy for patients with metastatic disease previously treated with endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.”

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FDA Accepts Resubmission of Lutathera NDA for GEP-NETs

Excerpt:

“The FDA has accepted a resubmitted new drug application (NDA) for Lutathera (lutetium [177Lu] oxodotreotide) for the treatment of patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs). Under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the FDA is scheduled to make a final approval decision on or before January 26, 2018.

“The NDA is based on the phase III NETTER-1 trial, which compared Lutathera with high-dose octreotide LAR for patients with grade 1 or 2 metastatic midgut NETs. In this trial, there was a 79% reduction in the risk of progression or death with Lutathera compared with octreotide.”

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FDA Approves Tafinlar Plus Mekinist for BRAF V600E–Mutant Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“The FDA approved use of dabrafenib in combination with trametinib for treatment of patients with metastatic non–small cell lung cancer whose tumors harbor BRAF V600E mutations, according to the agents’ manufacturer.

“The combination of dabrafenib (Tafinlar, Novartis) — a BRAF inhibitor — and trametinib (Mekinist, Novartis), a MEK1/2 inhibitor — is the first targeted treatment approved in the United States specifically for patients with BRAF V600E–positive metastatic NSCLC.”

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FDA Broadens Ceritinib Indication to Previously Untreated ALK-Positive Metastatic NSCLC

Excerpt:

“On May 26, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted regular approval to ceritinib (ZYKADIA, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.) for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive as detected by an FDA-approved test.

“In April 2014, ceritinib received accelerated approval for patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC whose disease has progressed or who are intolerant to crizotinib based on a blinded independent review committee (BIRC)-assessed overall response rate (ORR) of 44% among 163 patients in a single-arm trial.”

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In Bold Move, FDA Approves Cancer Drug For Any Advanced Tumor With Genetic Changes

Excerpt:

“For the first time, the FDA has approved a drug for use in cancer—of any type—that harbors certain molecular features. Merck’s Keytruda, an immune oncology drug, may be prescribed for any resistant, metastatic tumor with microsatellite instability (MSI) or other evidence for defective DNA mismatch repair.

“This is good news for patients. Previously, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) was approved by the FDA for use in some forms of lung cancer, melanoma, head and neck cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now, patients can try this medication if they have advanced cancer of any form with pathological MSI or DNA mismatch repair defects. Microsatellite instability most often appears in colon cancers, affecting around 15% of cases. Variants of DNA mismatch repair genes are implicated in heritable cancer dispositions such as Lynch syndrome.”

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FDA Approves Combining Merck’s Keytruda With Chemotherapy in Lung Cancer Patients

Excerpt:

“U.S. health regulators approved expanding the use of Merck & Co.’s cancer drug Keytruda to include adding it to chemotherapy to treat lung cancer, broadening the drug’s potential market though evidence for the combination’s benefit is mixed.

“Keytruda, introduced in 2014, is one of a new wave of cancer drugs designed to work by harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved combining it with two chemotherapy agents, pemetrexed and carboplatin, to treat patients with an advanced form of lung cancer. Eli Lilly & Co. markets pemetrexed under the brand Alimta, and carboplatin is available generically.”

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FDA Approves Co-Packaging of Ribociclib With Letrozole for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“The FDA has approved co-packaging of the oral medications ribociclib (Kisqali) and letrozole (Femara) for the treatment of postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer.

“With the new Kisqali Femara Co-Pack, patients can obtain a full 28-day cycle of the 2 medicines in 1 package with 1 prescription and 1 copay, and the cost will be the same as that for Kisqali alone, according to Novartis, which manufactures both medications.”

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FDA Approves Alunbrig (brigatinib) for Rare Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“On Friday evening, Takeda Pharmaceuticals announced the FDA has approved Alunbrig (brigatinib) to treat patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive (ALK+) metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib.

“Brigatinib is a kinase inhibitor that can be taken orally. The recommended dose is 90 mg orally once daily for the first 7 days. If 90 mg is tolerated during the first 7 days, patient should increase the dose to 180 mg orally once daily. The pill can be taken with or without food.”

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Metastatic Melanoma: Not Quite Curable…But Getting There


By 2050, the number of deaths due to malignant melanoma in the U.S. could be three times lower than peak levels reached before 1960. Researchers presented the data behind this prediction at the 2017 European Cancer Congress in January.

It is unclear how much of this anticipated decline in deaths can be attributed to the availability of new, effective treatments. However, it is obvious that much-increased awareness of sunlight exposure as the single factor most responsible for the development of skin melanoma has contributed to lower incidence of the disease.

In any case, the armament of treatments available for metastatic melanoma is currently such that this diagnosis has transformed from being almost universally fatal (even just a few years ago) into a being largely treatable. Since 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved eight new drugs for melanoma. Continue reading…