A New Drug for ER+ Breast Cancer Shows Promise in Early Trial

“The new investigational estrogen receptor (ER) degrader GDC-0810 was safe and tolerable in postmenopausal women with advanced ER-positive breast cancer, and a subset of the women, all of whom were previously treated with standard endocrine therapy, gained clinical benefit from the drug, according to data from a first-in-human phase I/IIa clinical trial presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, April 18-22.

” ‘Most breast cancers diagnosed in the United States are ER-positive, and their growth is fueled by the hormone estrogen,’ said Maura N. Dickler, MD, associate member of the Breast Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. ‘Resistance to currently available therapies targeting estrogen and the estrogen receptor causes morbidity and mortality for women with metastatic ER-positive breast cancer and new therapies that have activity against tumors resistant to currently available treatments are urgently needed.

” ‘The phase I dose-escalation portion of the study enrolled heavily pretreated patients, and the observed antitumor activity is promising for GDC-0810, which is demonstrating clinical benefit in these patients who have developed resistance to other endocrine therapies for ER-positive breast cancer patients,’ continued Dickler. ‘The phase IIa dose-expansion portion of the study is ongoing. It is evaluating GDC-0810 efficacy in more defined patient subpopulations and will provide more information about how effective this estrogen receptor degrader is.’ “


New Immunotherapy Yields Long-Lasting Responses in Some Patients with Advanced Melanoma

“A first-in-class immunotherapy called IMCgp100 yielded durable responses in patients with advanced cutaneous melanoma and those with advanced ocular melanoma, according to data from a phase I/IIa clinical trial presented here at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, April 18-22.

” ‘IMCgp100 is a new type of immunotherapy that has two functional ends,’ said Mark R. Middleton, MD, PhD, professor of experimental cancer medicine at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ‘The targeting end attaches to melanoma cells and the effector end locks on to any neighboring killer T cell [a type of immune cell], resulting in directed destruction of the tumor. One can think of IMCgp100 as a molecular bridge connecting melanoma cells with killer T cells, encouraging the killer T cells to destroy the melanoma cells.

” ‘Last year at the AACR Annual Meeting, we reported the results of the phase I dose-escalation portion of the clinical trial, which showed that IMCgp100 was well tolerated and had efficacy in some patients with advanced melanoma,’ continued Middleton. ‘This year, we are reporting data from 17 patients treated with the maximum tolerated dose of 600 nanograms of IMCgp100 per kilogram or an absolute dose of 50 micrograms of IMCgp100 as part of the phase I and phase IIa portions of the trial.’ “


New Prospects for Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients (Part II)


Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) accounts for about 15% of lung cancers, but it is the deadliest form of lung malignancy. Only 6% of patients with SCLC survive beyond 5 years after diagnosis. In the last few years, new therapies—targeted therapies in particular—have been developed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating other, more common forms of lung cancer such as adenocarcinoma. However, not much progress has been made in addressing SCLC, which is usually treated with a combination of fairly toxic chemotherapeutics and radiotherapy. Many patients respond to these harsh treatments (ie, their tumors shrink), but only transiently. The disease recurs within a few months to 1 year and, at that point, is no longer treatable. Continue reading…