ASCO 2017: Breast Cancer Treatment News


Last month, the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting took place in Chicago. Thousands of oncologists, patients, and journalists gathered to learn about the most recent developments in cancer research and treatment. Here are some breast cancer highlights from the meeting:

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered more responsive to treatment with immune checkpoint drugs than any other type of breast cancer. So far, these drugs have primarily been explored in metastatic TNBC, in combination with chemotherapy. The combination of “anti-PD-L1” and “anti-PD-1” immune checkpoint drugs with chemotherapy has now been examined in early-stage TNBC, in which a breast tumor can be surgically removed after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Continue reading…


First-Line Immunotherapy Treatment Can Improve Survival for Subset of Lung Cancer Patients

Excerpt:

“Findings from a phase III clinical trial for advanced lung cancer patients could help oncologists better predict which patients are likely to receive the most benefit from immunotherapy as a first-line treatment based on the unique molecular characteristics of their tumor, according to a new study reported by a global team led by David Carbone, MD, PhD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

“In this study, researchers compared the effectiveness of the immunotherapy drug nivolumab (pronounced ‘nye VOL ue mab,’ marketed at Opdivo), with standard-of-care chemotherapy in 541 patients with previously untreated or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that expressed PDL-1 antibodies.”

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Updates to NSCLC Guidelines Make Testing at Diagnosis, Resistance Essential

Excerpt:

“Updates to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for the management of advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) stress the importance of multiplexed biomarker testing at diagnosis to aid in the selection of appropriate first-line and subsequent lines of therapy, said presenters at the 2017 NCCN Annual Conference.

“The latest version of the guidelines recommends that PD-L1, in addition to molecular analysis, be employed as a biomarker to direct initial therapy, with ≥50% expression established as the threshold for a positive result. The PD-L1 test ‘decides whether a patient has enough of the marker to warrant initial immunotherapy,’ said presenter Gregory J. Riely, MD, PhD.”

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Flu Vaccine in Lung Cancer Patients Could Increase Immunotherapy Toxicities

Excerpt:

“Seasonal influenza vaccination resulted in increased risk of immune-related adverse events (AEs) in lung cancer patients treated with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in a small study. However, the risks of the flu itself may still outweigh the risks associated with vaccination.

” ‘Use of immune checkpoint inhibitors is now standard clinical practice for many oncology patients, and these same patients—particularly those with lung cancer—also face increased risk for complications from influenza,’ said Sacha Rothschild, MD, PhD, of University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, in a press release. ‘Although routine influenza vaccination has long been recommended for cancer patients, there are concerns that it might trigger an exaggerated immune response in this subgroup receiving checkpoint inhibitors.’ ”

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PD-1 Drug Exceeds Survival History in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Long-term survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) exceeded historical standards among patients treated with the immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab (Opdivo), according to a study reported here.

“The 129 patients in the study had an estimated 5-year overall survival of 16%. Among those with measurable levels of PD-L1 expression, 5-year survival ranged as high as 43%.”

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Pembrolizumab Long-Term Survival Rate Could Reach 25% in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Treatment with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) could elicit long-term survival (LTS) rates of 21% to 25% for previously-treated patients with PD-L1–positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared with 3% to 4% for docetaxel, according to a statistical analysis of findings from the KEYNOTE-010 and -001 trials presented at the 2017 ASCO-SITC Symposium.

“Findings from the analysis shed light on the number of patients with advanced NSCLC expected to benefit for up to 70 months from pembrolizumab. According to survival statistics from the SEER database for 2006 to 2012, the 5-year survival rate was 4.3% for those with lung or bronchus cancer with distant metastases.”

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Atezolizumab Improves Survival vs Docetaxel in Previously Treated Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“In the phase III OAK trial reported in The Lancet by Rittmeyer et al, treatment with the anti–programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibody atezolizumab (Tecentriq) improved overall survival vs docetaxel in previously treated non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Results of the trial supported the recent approval of atezolizumab in metastatic NSCLC in patients who have received prior platinum-containing therapy.”

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Immunotherapy Drug Gives Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Patients Extra Four Months of Life

Excerpt:

“Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer survive four months longer with fewer side effects on an immunotherapy drug called atezolizumab compared to chemotherapy, according to a phase 3 clinical trial published in The Lancet.

“The trial enrolled 1225 advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients who have no more treatment options, but this study used an early analysis of the first 850 patients from the trial. Half of the group were given atezolizumab and the other half were given docetaxel chemotherapy, which is the standard treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

“Patients given atezolizumab – a drug that blocks the programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) protein – survived for an average of 13.8 months, compared with 9.6 months for those on chemotherapy.”

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Early Results Positive for First-Line Avelumab in NSCLC

Excerpt:

“Treatment with first-line avelumab yielded promising clinical benefit and durable antitumor activity in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a presentation at the IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer.

“After a median follow-up of 13 weeks, the objective response rate with the anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy agent was 22.4% (95% CI, 16.2-29.8) and the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 17.6 weeks (95% CI, 11.6-23.6) among 156 patients who participated in one of the NSCLC cohorts of the wide-ranging JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial, Claire Verschraegen, MD, director, The University of Vermont Cancer Center, said in describing early analysis data at the conference in Vienna.”

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