Targetable Mutations in NSCLC: More Testing Needed!


Diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the lung, a major subtype of non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), nowadays triggers mandatory testing of tumor tissue for alterations in four genes: EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and more recently, BRAF. If present, these alterations predict sensitivity to specific targeted drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that work better and often longer than standard chemotherapy, and are better tolerated.

However, there are many more targetable/actionable genomic alterations (also known as “drivers”) in NSCLC. This blog post will briefly discuss most of them, with the goal of promoting molecular testing for more than the four “usual suspects” mentioned above. Some patients with these alterations may benefit from FDA-approved drugs or from enrollment in clinical trials that are testing additional drugs and drug combinations. Continue reading…


FDA Grants Frontline Osimertinib Priority Review for NSCLC

Excerpt:

“The FDA has granted a priority review to a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for the use of osimertinib (Tagrisso) as a first-line treatment for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors harbor EGFR mutations (exon 19 deletions or exon 21 [L858R] substitution mutations).

“The sNDA is based on the phase III FLAURA study, in which frontline osimertinib reduced the risk of progression or death by 54% versus standard TKI therapy—erlotinib (Tarceva) or gefitinib (Iressa). In the double-blind study, the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 10.2 months (95% CI, 9.6-11.1) for standard therapy and 18.9 months (95% CI, 12.5-21.4) with osimertinib (HR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.37-0.57; P <.0001).”

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First Line Combination Therapy Improves Progression-Free Survival in Advanced Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“A new combination therapy for the first line treatment of advanced non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) improves progression-free survival (PFS), according to results of the phase III IMpower150 trial presented at the ESMO Immuno Oncology Congress 2017.

” ‘This is the first phase III trial to report on the combination of chemotherapy, antiangiogenic treatment and immunotherapy as first line treatment for advanced non-squamous NSCLC,’ said lead author Professor Martin Reck, chief oncology physician, Department of Thoracic Oncology, Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf, Germany. ‘The trial met its co-primary endpoint of PFS and the preliminary results of the co-primary endpoint of overall survival (OS), although immature, look encouraging.’ ”

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A Gut Feeling: Bacteria in Your Gut May Affect Cancer Treatment


The human gut contains hundreds of species bacteria, which are known to contribute to various bodily functions (such as digestion, of course!) but they also shape our immune system. Now, recent research has revealed how our microbiomes (the abundant bacteria living in our bodies) may affect the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in cancer treatment.

How it started: about two years ago, an American group of scientists led by Thomas Gajewski of the University of Chicago noticed that melanoma (and some other cancers’) growth in mice was influenced heavily by the type of bacteria found in the mouse gut. They worked with mice purchased from two different vendors, and realized that mice from one vendor had consistently slower-growing tumors. Bifidobacterium bacteria present in the mouse gut were pinpointed to be the culprit, because transfer of Bifidobacterium to mice that did not have it was able to slow down melanoma growth. Treatment with an immune anti-PD-L1 drug was effective in mice that had the bacteria, but not in mice lacking it. Continue reading…


Tecentriq Add-On Improved Outcomes in Untreated Advanced Lung Cancer Patients

Excerpt:

“Adding Tecentriq (atezolizumab) to a treatment of Avastin (bevacizumab) and chemotherapy significantly prolonged the time to disease progression or death in people with previously untreated advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“The results stem from a Phase 3 trial of 1,202 people, with data also indicating better overall survival in patients treated with Tecentriq. Improved progression-free and overall survival were the two main trial outcome measures.”

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Ramalingam Shares Notable Updates in NCCN Guidelines for EGFR+ NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Among the notable updates in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) recently released  treatment guidelines for non–small cell cancer (NSCLC) is the category 2A recommendation to give osimertinib (Tagrisso), a third-generation irreversible EGFR inhibitor designed to inhibit both EGFR-sensitizing and EGFR T790M-resistance mutations, in the first-line setting for patients whose disease is EGFR mutant, explains Suresh A. Ramalingam, MD.

“Osimertinib was also given a category 1 recommendation as a subsequent therapy after patients progressed on treatment with standard EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) erlotinib (Tarceva), gefitinib (Iressa), and afatinib (Gilotrif). The FDA granted a breakthrough therapy designation to a supplemental biologics license application for osimertinib as a frontline treatment for patients with metastatic EGFR-mutation–positive NSCLC in October 2017. The application was based on findings from the double-blind, phase III FLAURA trial, in which frontline osimertinib was associated with a 54% reduction in the risk of progression or death compared with standard therapy.”

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Prior Treatment With PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibitors Improves Responses to Salvage Chemotherapy in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors have significantly reshaped the treatment landscape of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the second-line and, more recently, in the first-line setting. However, only a subset of patients achieves a durable response on immunotherapy, and it is not clear whether prior immunotherapy treatment impacts response to salvage chemotherapy.

A recent retrospective study evaluated responses to salvage chemotherapy in 73 patients with advanced NSCLC who had progressed on prior PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. Ten of the 73 patients had received immunotherapy as first-line treatment, while the remaining 63 patients had received immunotherapy as second-line treatment following first-line chemotherapy. Response to salvage chemotherapy was compared to response to the last chemotherapy administered before immunotherapy (LCBI).”

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IMpower150 Trial Delays Progression in Advanced NSCLC With Atezolizumab/Bevacizumab Combo

Excerpt:

“In topline results announced from the phase III IMpower150 trial, atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin) and chemotherapy delayed progression or death when compared with bevacizumab and chemotherapy alone for patients with advanced nonsquamous non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

“The co-primary endpoints for the IMpower150 study were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Although exact numbers have not yet been released, Roche, the manufacturer of the anti–PD-L1 and anti–VEGF agents, called the reduction in progression or death with the addition of atezolizumab a ‘clinically meaningful reduction’ in a press release. At the interim analysis, data for OS were not yet mature, with the company labeling the findings as ‘encouraging.’ ”

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Update Sustains Osimertinib Activity Against CNS Mets in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“New results again demonstrated the benefit of frontline osimertinib (Tagrisso) in patients with EGFR-positive advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and CNS metastases at baseline, according to data presented at the 2017 ESMO Asia Congress.

“The subgroup analysis from the phase III FLAURA trial included 128 patients with at least 1 measurable and/or nonmeasurable CNS lesion at baseline. Among 61 patients who received osimertinib, the CNS objective response rate (ORR) was 66%, compared to 43% (odds ratio, 2.5; 95% CI 1.2-5.2; P = .011) in 67 patients who received standard EGFR TKI therapy with erlotinib (Tarceva) or gefitinib (Iressa).”

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