Yale Cancer Center Scientists Advise Caution in Immunotherapy Research

Excerpt:

“In a new study by Yale Cancer Center, scientists suggest that as the number of clinical trials in cancer immunotherapy grows exponentially, some caution should be exercised as we continue to better understand the biology of these new therapeutic targets.  The findings are published today in the journal Cell.

“Researchers around the world have been racing to create therapies that unleash the power of our immune systems against cancer. The most successful of these immunotherapies, which target a molecular pathway known as PD-1/PD-L1, have brightened the landscape for many people suffering with lung cancer and other types of tumors.”

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ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research Applaud NCI’s Expansion of Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria

Excerpt:

“ASCO and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) applaud the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) recent revision of its clinical trial protocol template to broaden eligibility criteria for cancer clinical trials. The protocol template was expanded to help increase the opportunity for participation in NCI-funded clinical trials for patients with certain health-care conditions, as well as to provide an opportunity for patients younger than age 18 to participate in adult clinical trials in certain circumstances.”

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Roche’s Tecentriq Wins Speedy U.S. FDA Review for Small Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Swiss group Roche Holding AG said on Wednesday its Tecentriq immunotherapy mixed with chemotherapy won priority review from the U.S. regulator for treating a type of lung cancer, a potential boost to the drug that has been trailing rivals’ revenues.

“The announcement comes after Roche in September said patients with untreated extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) lived a median 12.3 months after getting the Tecentriq cocktail, compared to 10.3 months for those getting chemotherapy alone.

“Winning the speedy review from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets up possible U.S. approval for Tecentriq in this indication by March 18, the drugmaker said in a statement.”

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How Can We Unleash the Immune System?

Excerpt:

“Cancer has an insidious talent for evading the natural defenses that should destroy it. What if we could find ways to help the immune system fight back?

“It has begun to happen. The growing field of immunotherapy is profoundly changing cancer treatment and has rescued many people with advanced malignancies that not long ago would have been a death sentence.”

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Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease

Excerpt:

“In recent years, many Americans have embraced vitamin D and fish oil pills, their enthusiasm fueled by a steady trickle of suggestive research studies linking higher levels of vitamin D with lower rates of cancer and other ills, and fish consumption with reduced heart disease.

“Now a large and rigorous government-funded randomized trial — the only such study of omega-3 fish oils ever carried out in healthy adults, and the largest trial ever done of high-dose vitamin D — has found the supplements do not lower cancer rates in healthy adults. Nor do they reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, a composite of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease. The trial is of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine.”

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FDA Approves Lorlatinib for Second- or Third-Line Treatment of ALK-Positive Metastatic NSCLC

Excerpt:

“On November 2, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to lorlatinib (LORBRENA, Pfizer, Inc.) for patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease has progressed on crizotinib and at least one other ALK inhibitor for metastatic disease or whose disease has progressed on alectinib or ceritinib as the first ALK inhibitor therapy for metastatic disease.

“Approval was based on a subgroup of 215 patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC, previously treated with one or more ALK kinase inhibitors, enrolled in a non‑randomized, dose-ranging and activity-estimating, multi‑cohort, multicenter study (Study B7461001; NCT01970865). The major efficacy measures were overall response rate (ORR) and intracranial ORR, according to RECIST 1.1, as assessed by an independent central review committee.”

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Pembrolizumab Regimen Receives FDA Approval for Frontline Treatment of Squamous NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Based on findings from the phase III KEYNOTE-407 trial, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) has been approved by the FDA for use in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) for the frontline treatment of patients with metastatic squamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“Results from the trial showed combining pembrolizumab with chemotherapy reduced the risk of death by 36% compared with chemotherapy alone in patients with metastatic squamous NSCLC. The median overall survival (OS) was 15.9 months (95% CI, 13.2 – not evaluable) with pembrolizumab versus 11.3 months (95% CI, 9.5-14.8) with chemotherapy alone (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.49-0.85; P = .0017). The OS benefit was observed regardless of PD-L1 expression level, choice of taxane, age, sex, and ECOG performance status.”

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Aggressive RT, Surgery Doubles OS in NSCLC With Limited Mets

Excerpt:

“Aggressive local consolidation in stage IV non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) drastically improved overall survival over standard care in patients with up to three metastatic lesions, a small randomized study found.

“Among 49 patients whose disease had not progressed after initial systemic therapy, overall survival was 41.2 months in those treated with radiotherapy or surgery compared with 17.0 months in those on standard maintenance therapy (P=0.017), reported Daniel Gomez, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, at a press briefing here at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting.”

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Liquid Biopsy IDs More NSCLC Mutations, Yields Patient Therapy Response in Study of Guardant Test

Excerpt:

“New data this week has added evidence for the value of blood-based cancer testing in non-small cell lung cancer, demonstrating in a cohort of about 300 that comprehensive liquid biopsy — in this case Guardant Health’s Guardant360 test — can help identify targeted mutations in more patients than tissue sequencing.

“The study also found that patients treated on the basis of blood-based test results respond to treatment similarly to those treated based on tissue test results.”

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