White Blood Cell Count Predicts Response to Lung Cancer Immunotherapy

Excerpt:

“White blood cell counts can predict whether or not lung cancer patients will benefit from immunotherapy, according to research presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC).

” ‘Immune checkpoint inhibitors such as and pembrolizumab significantly improve overall survival in some – but not all – patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC),’ said lead author Dr Marcello Tiseo, Coordinator of DMT Thoracic Oncology, University Hospital of Parma, Italy. ‘Researchers are looking for a predictive biomarker to select patients that will benefit from this treatment to avoid unnecessary toxicity and a waste of resources in patients who will not respond.’ ”

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Some Lung Cancer Patients Benefit from Immunotherapy Even after Disease Progression

Excerpt:

“Some advanced lung cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy even after the disease has progressed as evaluated by standard criteria, according to research presented at the European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC). The findings pave the way for certain patients to continue treatment if the disease is not progressing according to new, more specific, criteria.

“The Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST) evaluates changes in size and identifies whether are responding to or progressing. An enlarging tumour on a CT scan signals that patients are progressing, and treatment is changed to best supportive care or a different drug. Immune-related RECIST was developed to account for the fact that tumours enlarge temporarily in patients taking .”

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Results of Glioblastoma Clinical Trial Show Safety and Clinical Benefit of CAR T Cell Therapy

Excerpt:

“Glioblastoma is the most common brain tumor in humans and also one of the most difficult cancers to treat; patients with this type of cancer only survive about one year from time of diagnosis. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Cancer Center, and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor, Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Methodist are investigating a new treatment option using modified T cells with anti-tumor properties with the goal of improving outcomes for patients with glioblastoma.

Their research focuses on engineered T cells that target the protein HER 2 expressed in low levels in . Results of a Phase 1 study published in the current issue of JAMA Oncology established the safety of these HER 2-specific, chimeric antigen receptor modified T cells (CAR T cells) when infused in to patients in increasing doses and, importantly, results also showed a clinical benefit to patients.”

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Immunotherapy Agents, Combinations to Compete for Frontline NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Immunotherapy agents, both as monotherapy and in combination, are emerging in the pipeline of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and could end up competing as frontline treatment for patients, explains Sukhmani Padda, MD.

“For example, the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is the sole immunotherapy agent approved in the first-line setting for patients with NSCLC; however, many other immunotherapy agents and combination regimens are in development that are aimed at this line of therapy.”

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Vaccine/Chemotherapy Combination Improves Survival in Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-targeted vaccination plus high-dose chemotherapy with temozolomide can lead to long-term progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM), according to a new study published in Clinical Care Research.

“Despite surgical resection, high-dose radiation, and chemotherapy with temozolomide, GBM patients typically survive a median of 15 months. CMV proteins are expressed in more than 90% of GBM. ‘Recent evidence has also demonstrated that CMV-specific T-cell immunity can be generated to recognize and effectively kill autologous GBM tumor cells expressing endogenous levels of the immunodominant pp65 antigen, providing compelling support for the development of CMV-directed immunotherapy for the treatment of GBM,’ stated the researchers, led by Kristen A. Batich, MD, PhD, a researcher in the departments of neurosurgery and pathology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.”

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Immunotherapy Combination Promising in Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Combination treatment with an intratumoral injection of Coxsackievirus A21 (CVA21) and the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor ipilimumab has demonstrated durable response with minimal toxicity among patients with advanced melanoma, according to data (abstract CT114) presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2017, held April 1–5 in Washington, DC.

“Response to the combination occurred even among several patients whose melanoma had progressed despite prior treatment with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.”

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Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Patients Who Responded to Immunotherapy Had Long-Term Survival Benefit

Excerpt:

“Among patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) who were treated with the anti-PD-L1 cancer immunotherapy atezolizumab (Tecentriq), those who responded to the medicine lived significantly longer (overall survival) compared with those who did not respond, according to data from a phase I clinical trial presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting 2017, April 1-5.

” ‘Triple-negative is an aggressive subtype of breast cancer often affecting younger women and, unfortunately, the current options for metastatic disease remain limited,’ said Peter Schmid, MD, PhD, director of the St. Bartholomew’s Breast Centre at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and Barts Cancer Institute in London.”

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Opdivo (nivolumab) in Combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) and Opdivo Monotherapy Significantly Improved Overall Survival Versus Yervoy Alone in Patients with Previously Untreated Advanced Melanoma

Excerpt:

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced the first overall survival (OS) data from the Phase 3 CheckMate -067 clinical trial. With a minimum follow-up of 28 months, the median OS had not yet been reached in either of the two Opdivo treatment groups and was 20 months for the Yervoy monotherapy group (95% CI: 17.1-24.6). Opdivo in combination with Yervoy and as a monotherapy reduced the risk of death 45% [hazard ratio (HR) 0.55; 95% CI: 0.42-0.72; P<0.0001] and 37% (HR 0.63; 95% CI: 0.48-0.81; P<0.0001), respectively, compared with Yervoy alone. The two-year OS rates were 64% for the Opdivo plus Yervoy combination, 59% for Opdivo alone and 45% for Yervoy alone. Results will be presented today in the press program and an oral presentation during the Update, Novel Indication, and New Immuno-oncology Clinical Trials session from 3:35 to 3:50 p.m. ET (Late-Breaking Abstract CT075) at the American Association for Cancer Research Meeting 2017 in Washington, D.C.”

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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…