Immunotherapy Needs a New Math

Excerpt:

“A group of doctors and other healthcare industry professionals have set out to develop a more efficient tool for assessing the true value of immuno-oncology (I/O) drugs. They note that these drugs often come with high prices that may distract from their advantages over other types of therapy. For example, Kroger Pharmacy is selling the checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for $140 per mg. At the recommended dose of 3 mg/kg for melanoma patients, the total expense can be high. However, ipilimumab is one of the class of I/O drugs that have improved expectations on supportive care costs and survival benefit. The old measures of value may not apply. Therefore, how does one determine whether $140/mg is a fair price for the drug?”

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Blood Test Instead of Biopsy for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“There has been a lot of buzz recently about the use of ‘liquid biopsies’ and how these blood tests that show cancer may be able to replace the need for tissue biopsies.

“The latest study shows that such a test could be useful in metastatic prostate cancer, where the biopsy sample would need to be taken from bone, which is painful, risky, and expensive, says an expert.

“This study used the Guardant360 test and found that cell-free, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) was detected in most patients (94%) with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).”

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Adding Antiandrogen Therapy to Radiation Improves Survival in Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“The addition of hormonal therapy to radiation treatment following surgery significantly improved survival in patients with recurrent prostate cancer, according to the results of a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“In the multicenter trial—which initially enrolled 760 men with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy—patients were randomly assigned to treatment with bicalutamide or placebo for 2 years, along with 6.5 weeks of radiation therapy.”

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Optimizing Treatment With Radium-223 for Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“As oncologists await future treatment advances in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), the key is to unleash the full potential of available therapies, Robert Dreicer, MD, asserted during the 2016 CFS Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium.

“One agent that oncologist are focused on optimizing, Dreicer said, is radium-223 (Xofigo). Optimal use of this treatment remains mostly unknown, with current efforts focusing on exploring the agent’s potential in combination regimens.

“For instance, a phase III trial is randomizing patients with bone predominant mCRPC to radium-223 plus abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) or abiraterone alone (NCT02043678). Additionally, a randomized phase IIa study is evaluating the efficacy and safety of radium-223 in combination with abiraterone or enzalutamide (Xtandi) in patients with mCRPC to investigate bone-scan response, radiological progression-free survival, overall survival, and skeletal events (NCT02034552).”

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Precision-Medicine Approach Could Revive Prostate Cancer Test

Excerpt:

“A new study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente has identified genetic predictors of normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in healthy men, which could be used to improve the accuracy of PSA-based prostate cancer screening tests.

“Until recently, PSA tests for prostate cancer were considered an exemplar of successful early cancer detection leading to improved treatment outcomes. But over the past five years, a series of studies has suggested that the tests are not sensitive enough: frequent false positives lead to too many unnecessary medical procedures, and false negatives give men a false sense of security. In 2012, the was given a ‘D’ rating by the U.S. Preventive Task Force, and the test is no longer covered by some insurers.”

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Hormone Blockers Can Prolong Life if Prostate Cancer Recurs

Excerpt:

“Men whose prostate cancer comes back after surgery are more likely to survive if, along with the usual radiation, they also take drugs to block male hormones.

“The finding, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, comes from a long-running study that experts say will help clarify treatment for many patients.

“After surgery to remove the prostate, more than 30 percent of men have a recurrence, and until now there has not been clear evidence about the best way to stop the disease from killing them. Most are given radiation, but prescribing drugs to counter the effects of male hormones has been inconsistent.”

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New Type of PET Imaging Identifies Primary and Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“In the featured article from the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers document the first-in-human application of a new imaging agent to help find prostate cancer in both early and advanced stages and plan treatment. The study indicates that the new agent — a PET radiotracer — is both safe and effective.

“The new agent is a gallium-68 (Ga-68)-labeled peptide BBN-RGD agent that targets both gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) and integrin ?v?3. Dual-receptor targeting provides advantages over single-receptor targeting by allowing tumor contrast when either or both receptor types are expressed, improving binding affinity and increasing the number of effective receptors.”

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Clovis Oncology and Strata Oncology Announce Collaboration to Accelerate Enrollment in Rucaparib Prostate Cancer Development Program

Excerpt:

“Clovis Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLVS) and Strata Oncology, Inc. today announced an agreement to accelerate patient identification and enrollment for Clovis’ ongoing TRITON (Trial of Rucaparib in Prostate Indications) clinical trial program, which includes Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials of rucaparib in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, both of which are open for enrollment.

“Rucaparib is an oral inhibitor of poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP), approved in the U.S. in 2016 as Rubraca™ (rucaparib) as monotherapy for the treatment of patients with deleterious BRCA mutation (germline and/or somatic) associated advanced ovarian cancer, who have been treated with two or more chemotherapies, and selected for therapy by an FDA-approved companion diagnostic. Emerging data suggest PARP inhibition may also provide activity in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancers harboring deleterious mutations in BRCA1/2 and ATM or other human genes associated with DNA damage repair. These mutations may be germline (inherited) or somatic (acquired).”

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Immunotherapy 2.0 Named Advance of the Year in ASCO’s 12th Annual Cancer Progress Report

Excerpt:

“A growing number of patients with cancer are benefitting from research advances in immunotherapy, leading the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to name immunotherapy as the Society’s advance of the year for a second year in a row. Released today, this year’s report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2017: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer highlights the expanding role of immunotherapy. Evolving research findings are providing new insights on how to get the optimal results from these relatively new treatments.”

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