“A group of doctors and other healthcare industry professionals have set out to develop a more efficient tool for assessing the true value of immuno-oncology (I/O) drugs. They note that these drugs often come with high prices that may distract from their advantages over other types of therapy. For example, Kroger Pharmacy is selling the checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for $140 per mg. At the recommended dose of 3 mg/kg for melanoma patients, the total expense can be high. However, ipilimumab is one of the class of I/O drugs that have improved expectations on supportive care costs and survival benefit. The old measures of value may not apply. Therefore, how does one determine whether $140/mg is a fair price for the drug?”
“Rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T), a DLL3-targeted antibody-drug conjugate, demonstrated encouraging single-agent antitumor activity with a manageable safety profile in the treatment of patients with recurrent small cell lung cancer (SCLC), according to the results of a phase I study published in The Lancet Oncology.
“Eleven of 60 assessable patients (18%) who received an active dose of Rova-T (0.2 mg/kg or 0.4 mg/kg every 3 weeks or 0.3 mg/kg or 0.4 mg/kg every 6 weeks) achieved a confirmed objective response, and 30 patients (50%) had stable disease. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 2.8 months (95% CI, 2.5-4.0).”
“A growing number of patients with cancer are benefitting from research advances in immunotherapy, leading the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to name immunotherapy as the Society’s advance of the year for a second year in a row. Released today, this year’s report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2017: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer highlights the expanding role of immunotherapy. Evolving research findings are providing new insights on how to get the optimal results from these relatively new treatments.”
“A few weeks ago, I was watching veg-out TV, quietly wondering to myself how a show called ‘Pure Genius’ could be so darned dumb.
“Then a commercial break added a new sort of mystification: A long, vivid ad touted the cancer drug Opdivo, a form of immunotherapy — an exciting new type of treatment that harnesses the body’s own immune system — for lung cancer.
“Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer, so, in this anomalous country that allows direct-to-consumer drug ads, it was no surprise to see a lung cancer ad on network TV.”
“About 10 percent of lung cancers in the United States and as many as 40 percent in Asia are driven by mutations in the EGFR gene. EGFR targeted treatment advances over the previous decade now result in multiple options for controlling the disease in the body, but due to the reduced ability of many of these drugs to penetrate into the brain, treating of disease in the brain remains challenging. When brain metastases are seen at diagnosis before a patient has tried EGFR-targeted drugs, it has been an open question whether doctors should try drugs alone just in case they work in the brain or move directly to whole-brain radiotherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery (a tightly focused form of radiation) first, followed by targeted medicines. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology looks back at 351 patients with EGFR mutant lung cancer and brain metastases treated at six institutions to offer compelling preliminary evidence as to the best sequence of these techniques: Radiation followed by targeted medicines resulted in the longest overall survival.”
“Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and AstraZeneca have each announced separate delays in the development of PD-1 and CTLA-4 inhibitor combinations as first-line therapies for patients with advanced or metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to statements from each of the companies.
“In its statement, BMS noted that it would not be pursuing an accelerated approval for the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) as a frontline therapy for NSCLC. Instead, the company plans to delay the submission of data to the FDA until findings from a phase III study are available, most likely from the phase III CheckMate-227 trial.”
“Bristol-Myers Squibb Co on Thursday said it has decided not to seek accelerated U.S. approval for a combination of its two immunotherapy drugs as an initial treatment for lung cancer.
“Shares of Bristol, which closed at $55.49 on the New York Stock Exchange, were down 6.2 percent at $52.08 after hours.
“The pharmaceutical company cited ‘a review of data available at this time’ for the decision to hold off on filing for Food and Drug Administration approval of the combination of its cancer drugs Opdivo and Yervoy.”
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center | Jan 18, 2017
“A national study by researchers at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that a significant number of lung cancer patients are not receiving treatment. Based on data between 1998 and 2012 from the National Cancer Database, 21 percent of patients (190,539) with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) received no specific cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. Many of the untreated patients were women, elderly, minorities, low income and uninsured.”
“Being diagnosed with cancer is a stressful, life-changing event that can evoke feelings of fear, worry, sadness, and anger. Depression gives one feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, disinterest in previously enjoyable activities, and a consistently down and sad mood. Depression often interferes with one’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy life. Patients with cancer are especially at risk for depression because of the physical changes and limitations from symptoms and treatment as well as of the uncertainty their treatment holds on their lives.”