“The addition of ipilimumab to targeted therapy for the treatment of EGFR- and ALK-mutated non-small cell lung cancer demonstrated improved survival despite dose-dependent toxicities, according to results from a phase 1b trial presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.
“Ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb), a CTLA-4 inhibitor, has demonstrated long-term responses in patients with melanoma; however, the drug is associated with a high rate of grade 3 and grade 4 immune-related adverse events.”
“Osimertinib improves progression-free survival by 54% compared to standard first line therapy in patients with EGFR mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to late-breaking results from the FLAURA trial presented today at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.
“EGFR mutations are present in around 15% of NSCLC in Western populations, rising to 35% in Asian populations. EGFR inhibitors are superior to chemotherapy in the first line treatment of these patients. However, despite high response rates and good progression-free survival, patients invariably develop resistance to drugs such as erlotinib and gefitinib. In the majority of patients this resistance is mediated by a T790M mutation.”
“Combination immunotherapy as second or third line treatment extends overall survival to at least 15 months in patients with pleural malignant mesothelioma, according to late-breaking results from the MAPS2 trial presented today at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.
“Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare disease usually caused by occupational exposure to asbestos. First line therapy is pemetrexed and platinum chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab. There is no approved second line treatment and drugs that have been tested in this setting had low efficacy, with a disease control rate under 30%. Phase II studies have shown promising activity of checkpoint inhibitors as second line treatment.”
“The jackpot cancer immunotherapy ambitions of AstraZeneca stumbled in July with the failure of a closely watched clinical trial in newly diagnosed lung cancer. Friday, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker attempts a recovery with positive results from a new study, also in lung cancer, but aimed at a niche group of patients.
“AstraZeneca still trails cancer immunotherapy leaders Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, but staking a claim in lung cancer marks progress.”
“Scientists are stepping up the hunt for better diagnostic tests to predict if cancer patients will benefit from costly modern immunotherapy drugs, which are transforming cancer care but remain a hit-and-miss affair.
“Research presented at Europe’s biggest oncology congress in Madrid adds to evidence that patients with an above average number of genetic mutations in their tumors have a better chance of responding to the new treatments, and drugmakers are racing to confirm the idea.”
“Merck’s abstract $MRK on its big study of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) combined with chemo hit early at ESMO, attracting considerable attention for the impressive progression-free survival data the pharma giant posted as a frontline therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.
“The scoop: The median PFS hit 19 months for the combo arm compared to 8.9 months for chemo alone. The 18-month overall survival rate was 70% with pembro + chemo and 56% with chemo. That was an easy winner at the FDA and the new mark to beat in the hottest competition in drug development.”
“The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress is just around the corner, and we can already say with confidence that there will be many provocative presentations, including several that are poised to change practice. At this point, we can only rely on the abstracts and press releases for several of these, but here are my early impressions on the top five presentations in lung cancer for ESMO 2017.”
University of Colorado Cancer Center | Sep 6, 2017
“For many years, oncologists have known that cancers can secrete complex molecules into the blood and that levels of these molecules can be easily measured. These so-called ‘tumor markers’ are traditionally associated with a single dominant cancer type, for example Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) linked to prostate cancer, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) to colorectal cancer, CA125 to ovarian cancer, CA19.9 to pancreatic cancer and CA27.29 to breast cancer. However, the real challenge has been to determine a practical use for these markers. They don’t appear to be useful as a means of screening otherwise healthy people for evidence of underlying cancers.”
“Data from two separate phase 3 studies to be presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid, show alectinib’s particular central nervous system (CNS) activity in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer involving a mutation of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK-positive NSCLC).
Findings from the ALUR trial (1), as well as a secondary analysis of the ALEX trial (2) show alectinib can significantly decrease CNS progression of NSCLC, both in the first-line as well as the second-line treatment setting.
” ‘Patients with NSCLC have a high risk of CNS and brain metastases,’ commented Prof. Fiona Blackhall, from the University of Manchester and The Christie Hospital, UK.”