Is Keytruda Better than Opdivo?

Excerpt:

“Recent clinical trial results are likely to lead doctors to treat more patients who have a common form of lung cancer with a Merck drug at the expense of a Bristol-Myers Squibb medication at least until more data emerges, oncologists and analysts say.

“The yet-to-be-published studies involve drugs in a new class designed to enable the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

“A recent trial of Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) showed that it worked better than chemotherapy as an initial treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients with high levels of the PDL1 protein, believed to help identify those most likely to benefit from this type of immunotherapy.”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Cuba's Lung Cancer Vaccine: Hype or Hope?

Excerpt:

“Now that relations between the United States and Cuba are thawing, there has been a growing interest in forming medical partnerships.

“Of particular interest is a lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax, which was developed for non-small cell lung carcinoma. Available in Cuba since 2011, the vaccine has caught the attention of researchers and physicians not only in the United States but in other countries as well.

“But while intriguing, the question remains: Is it really a breakthrough in lung cancer treatment?”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Incidence of PD-1 Inhibitor–Related Pneumonitis Highest in NSCLC, Renal Cell Carcinoma

Excerpt:

“PD-1 inhibitor–related pneumonitis occurred most frequently among patients with non–small cell lung cancer or renal cell carcinoma, according to results of a meta-analysis.

“The incidence of this adverse event also appeared greater during treatment with combination therapy.

“PD-1 inhibitors — including FDA–approved nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda, Merck) — are associated with unique toxicities known as immune-related adverse events. Pneumonitis is one such adverse event that, although rare, can be serious and life threatening.”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 2 of 2)


Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a 2-part post on the latest research in melanoma. To learn about research into drug combinations for melanoma that may work better than single drugs, check out Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2).

As always, the more new treatments become available in melanoma, the more new challenges arise. With eight new drugs approved for melanoma in the last five years, oncologists may sometimes face the difficult choice of what drugs to choose for a patient’s first-line treatment. Immune checkpoint drugs sometimes cause serious side effects, but progress is being made on how to treat these and also how to treat patients with pre-existing autoimmune conditions. New approaches are needed in efforts to prevent recurrence of melanomas diagnosed at earlier stages of disease progression. These and other challenges are discussed below. Continue reading…


Bristol-Myers' Opdivo Fails Lung Cancer Trial; Shares Plunge

Excerpt:

“Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said its blockbuster Opdivo immunotherapy failed to slow progression of symptoms in previously untreated patients with advanced lung cancer, a major setback expected to benefit Merck & Co’s rival medicine.

“Shares of Bristol-Myers fell almost 16 percent to $63.54 on Friday after the company announced failure of the late-stage trial. Shares of Merck gained 8.7 percent to $62.89.

” ‘This is the worst-case scenario’ for Opdivo and Bristol-Myers, Leerink analyst Seamus Fernandez said in a research note. ‘There appears to be no silver lining.’ ”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2)


New targeted and immunotherapy drugs have changed the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma from a death sentence into a disease that can potentially be managed and even cured. Nevertheless, these new drugs do not work in all patients, or they may stop working after a transient response. This post (part one of two) will describe ongoing efforts to find drug combinations with higher efficacy than single drugs and decipher the mechanisms underlying drug resistance. Continue reading…


Novel Combination Study Planned for SCLC

Excerpt:

“A phase I/II study will explore the delta-like protein 3 (DLL3)-targeted antibody-drug conjugate rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T) with the PD-1 inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo) alone or in combination with the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for patients with relapsed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).

“AbbVie, the developer of rovalpituzumab tesirine, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company marketing nivolumab and ipilimumab announced the phase I/II study in a joint press release. As single-agents, rovalpituzumab tesirine and nivolumab have each demonstrated promising early findings for patients with SCLC. Additionally, nivolumab plus ipilimumab sparked promising response rates and overall survival (OS) findings. Data for the 3 agents were recently presented at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting.”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Immunotherapy/Chemo Combinations Show Potential in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) have both made a significant difference for a high number of patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is still a great deal to learn about the optimal use of PD-1 inhibitors in the disease, says Shirish Gadgeel, MD.

“ ‘Both pembrolizumab and nivolumab are approved for the management of NSCLC and have shown activity,’ says Gadgeel, medical oncologist, leader of the Thoracic Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State University. ‘When these agents do work, the benefit is for a prolonged period of time. However, these agents are only efficacious in a minority of patients—probably in the range of 20%.’ ”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.


Combination of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Moves Forward in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“How best to combine new immunotherapies is a burning question in oncology. A new study in the CheckMate series suggests that nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) can be safely and effectively combined as first-line treatment of advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but further study is needed. This combination is being studied in the phase III CheckMate 227 trial. For now, a platinum-containing doublet is still the standard of care.

“ ‘Nivolumab plus ipilimumab has promising efficacy in advanced NSCLC. The combination is well tolerated, with no treatment-related deaths. Overall response rates range from 39% to 47%, and median duration of response has not yet been reached,’ said lead author Matthew Hellmann, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

“Both nivolumab and ipilimumab enhance T-cell antitumor activity. The combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab has been approved for the treatment of melanoma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Nivolumab monotherapy has been approved by the FDA for adults with locally advanced NSCLC progressing after platinum-doublet chemotherapy.”

Go to full article.

Do you have questions about this story? Let us know in a comment below. If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our Ask Cancer Commons service.