Phase III BELLE-2 Trial Meets Primary Endpoint of Progression-free Survival

“Among women with locally advanced or metastatic hormone receptor-positive breast cancer that was resistant to hormone therapy, those who had mutated PIK3CA detected in their blood benefited from a combination of the investigational PI3K inhibitor buparlisib and fulvestrant, according to data from the phase III BELLE-2 trial presented at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 8–12.

“ ‘BELLE-2 is a randomized, phase III clinical trial designed to assess the efficacy of the investigational PI3K inhibitor buparlisib in combination with fulvestrant in breast cancer patients whose tumors no longer respond to aromatase inhibitors,’ said José Baselga, MD, PhD, physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.”


HER2-Enriched Molecular Subgroup Highly Sensitive to Breast Cancer Regimens

“The primary analysis of the phase III CALGB 40601 trial found that pathologic complete response (pCR) to dual HER2 blockade was not statistically higher than anti-HER2 monotherapy. However, there was a high level of intertumoral heterogeneity, and patients with the HER2-enriched subtype had a high pCR with both single and dual anti-HER2 therapy, according to data recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“ ‘This trial paves the way for integrating molecular analyses into other trials in HER2-positive breast cancer, and may allow us to take a less-is-more approach for women who are selected to be highly sensitive to targeted treatments and to have a good prognosis,’ said lead study author Lisa Carey, MD, a UNC Lineberger member, the Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and the physician-in-chief of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, in a statement.”


Checkpoint Inhibitors Improve QoL in Melanoma Survivors

“The checkpoint inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab not only prolong survival in advanced melanoma patients but also maintain health-related quality of life (QoL), according to two presentations at the Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress, held November 18–21 in San Francisco.

“In the international, randomized, open-label phase III KEYNOTE-006 study, the anti–programmed death-1 (PD-1) humanized monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab provided superior overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and response, and with less high-grade toxicity compared with the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor ipilimumab in 834 patients with ipilimumab-naive advanced melanoma who received up to one prior therapy.”


Shorter-Course Radiation Non-Inferior to Conventional Therapy for Low-Risk Prostate Cancer

“Hypofractionated radiation therapy yielded a similar rate of DFS and toxicity profile as conventional radiotherapy among men with low-risk prostate cancer, according to results of a randomized phase 3 non-inferiority study presented at the ASTRO Annual Meeting.

“Given in larger doses over a shorter period, hypofractionated radiation therapy is being studied as a possible improved treatment option for some patients.

“Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO, professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in New York, and colleagues sought to evaluate whether the hypofractionated therapy schedule — or 70 Gy in 28 fractions over 5.6 weeks — resulted in a 5-year DFS that was not lower than that of the conventional schedule, or 73.8 Gy in 41 fractions over 8.2 weeks, by more than 7%.”


Lu-Dotatate Shows Unprecedented PFS in Midgut NETs

“The radiopharmaceutical Lu-Dotatate (177Lutetium DOTATATE; Lutathera) demonstrated an unprecedented 79% reduction in the risk of progression or death compared with high-dose octreotide LAR (60 mg) in patients with progressive, metastatic midgut neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), according to results from NETTER-1 trial presented by Jonathan Strosberg, MD, at the 2015 NANETS Symposium.”

” ‘The findings were, in my opinion, extraordinarily impressive, the median progression-free survival improved by nearly 80%, which is fairly unprecedented in oncologic studies,’ said Strosberg, a medical oncologist and researcher at the Moffitt Cancer Center. ‘The finding is important because limited therapeutic options exist for such patients, who comprise 20% to 45% of neuroendocrine tumor cases.’ ”

“The NETTER-1 trial is the first prospective, randomized, phase III study for patients with midgut NETs, specifically those in the ileum and cecum. Patients in the trial had progressed on prior therapy with octreotide at 30 mg and had inoperable, somatostatin receptor positive tumors.”


Exelixis Announces Positive Overall Survival Results from Phase 3 Pivotal Trial of Cobimetinib in Combination with Vemurafenib in Patients with BRAF V600 Mutation-Positive Advanced Melanoma

“Exelixis, Inc.EXEL, -1.02% today announced positive overall survival (OS) results from coBRIM, the phase 3 pivotal trial evaluating cobimetinib, a specific MEK inhibitor discovered by Exelixis, in combination with vemurafenib in previously untreated patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic melanoma carrying a BRAF V600 mutation. Exelixis’ collaborator Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, informed the company that coBRIM met its secondary endpoint of demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful increase in overall survival for patients receiving the combination of cobimetinib and vemurafenib, as compared to vemurafenib monotherapy. Ongoing study monitoring did not identify any new safety signals. Long-term safety data are expected later this year. These data will be the subject of a presentation at an upcoming medical meeting.”


Lexicon's Telotristat Etiprate Shows Clinical Benefit In Treating Carcinoid Syndrome In Cancer Patients When Added To Standard Of Care

“Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: LXRX) telotristat etiprate was shown to have clinical benefit in treating carcinoid syndrome in cancer patients not adequately controlled by long-acting somatostatin analog (SSA) therapy, the current standard of care, according to data from the Phase 3 TELESTAR study presented today at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria.

“Telotristat etiprate, Lexicon’s most advanced product candidate, met the study’s primary endpoint with clinically meaningful reductions in bowel movement frequency in patients whose condition was not adequately controlled by SSA therapy. Carcinoid syndrome is characterized by frequent and debilitating diarrhea that often prevents patients from leading active, predictable lives, as well as by facial flushing, abdominal pain, heart valve damage and other serious consequences.

” ‘We are pleased with the efficacy and safety results of telotristat etiprate and also with the durability of the response shown in this study,’ said Lexicon Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Pablo Lapuerta, M.D. ‘The data also support that the compound is acting directly on the cause of carcinoid syndrome, by reducing serotonin production within tumor cells.’ “


APF530 Could Improve Nausea Control in Cancer Patients

“A phase III study showed that APF530, a delayed release formulation of granisetron, could improve control of emesis in cancer patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy (HEC). The results were presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco (abstract 68).

“Ian D. Schnadig, MD, of Compass Oncology in Portland, Oregon, presented the study, and said that with regards to supportive care, ‘we still have a ways to go to move the ball down the field in this important domain of cancer care.’ Specifically, managing delayed-phase chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is an unmet medical need, he said.

“The MAGIC trial was a phase III, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-dummy, double-blind trial including 942 patients receiving an HEC regimen. In one arm, patients received ondansetron and a placebo injection; in the other, they received an ondansetron placebo and a APF530 injection. Both groups received fosaprepitant and dexamethasone. The most common chemotherapy regimens were doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide-based and cisplatin-based.”


Results of International Trial Show Promise in Rare, Difficult to Treat Cancer

“Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) develop in the neuroendocrine system, responsible for producing the hormones that regulate the working of different organs in the body. They are rare, incurable, and treatments for them are limited, especially once they have become advanced. Now an international team of researchers has shown that the use of the mTOR inhibitor, everolimus, can delay tumour growth among both gastrointestinal and lung NETs. This is particularly important for patients with the lung tumours, the researchers say, because there is currently no approved treatment for such cases.

“Reporting on the results of the RADIANT-4 trial, a placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase III study carried out in centres in 13 European countries, Korea, Japan, Canada, and the US, Professor James Yao, MD, Chair of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, will tell the 2015 European Cancer Congress today (Sunday) that the treatment had a significant effect in non-functional NETs. Non-functional NETs either do not secret a hormone, or secrete one that does not cause symptoms, and are therefore often diagnosed later when the cancer has become advanced. ‘About 80% of all NETs are thought to be non-functional, so, unfortunately, late diagnosis is common and poses a major problem for these patients,’ he will say.”