Promising Drug Combination for Advanced Prostate Cancer

“A new drug combination may be effective in treating men with metastatic prostate cancer. Preliminary results of this new approach are encouraging and have led to an ongoing international study being conducted in 196 hospitals worldwide.

” ‘We hope to find a well-tolerated and effective treatment to slow the progression of prostate cancer in men with advanced prostate cancer. The approach combines several drugs and attacks the cancer on several fronts,’ said Dr. Fred Saad, researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) and principal investigator of the study.

“Antonio Paris, 59, is one of the patients participating in the CRCHUM. “Since I started the new treatment 14 months ago, my cancer first remitted and now is stable,” he said.”


Ipilimumab plus Radiotherapy May Benefit Patients with Metastatic Melanoma

“The combination of ipilimumab and palliative radiation therapy reduced tumor growth and the spread of metastases in some patients with metastatic melanoma, according to prospective, phase 2 study results presented at the ASTRO Annual Meeting.

“Local radiation therapy has the potential to augment the induction of systemic anti-melanoma immune responses when used in combination with systemic anti–CTLA-4 immunotherapy, according to study background.

“Thus, Susan M. Hiniker, MD, instructor in the department of radiation oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed the safety and efficacy of combining ipilimumab (Yervoy, Bristol-Myers Squibb) with palliative radiotherapy in patients with stage IV melanoma. Researchers also assessed the induction of anti-melanoma immune response.

“The analysis included data from 20 patients (men, n = 14) aged 18 to 83 years who had stage IV melanoma. Patients received palliative radiotherapy and 3 mg/kg IV ipilimumab every 3 weeks for four treatment cycles. The radiotherapy was initiated within 5 days of the first ipilimumab treatment at one or two melanoma sites.”


Merck's Keytruda Extends Survival in Lung Cancer Study

“Merck & Co’s approved Keytruda lung cancer treatment provided superior overall survival to chemotherapy in a late-stage study of patients with advanced disease whose tumors produce a protein called PD-L1 associated with increased risk of the disease.

“The U.S. drugmaker on Monday said patients taking the approved 2 milligram dosage of Keytruda and those taking an experimental 10 milligram dose had longer overall survival compared with those taking docetaxel, a standard treatment for non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common form of lung cancer. Keytruda thereby met its main goal of the study.

“Patients whose tumors had especially high levels of PD-L1 also went longer without a progression of disease than those taking docetaxel, Merck said. Those whose tumors expressed PD-L1, but not at high levels, did not show such a statistically significant benefit in progression-free survival.”


Super Advocate: Surviving Lung Cancer Revitalizes Dave Bjork’s Life


In 1998, Dave Bjork went to the doctor for a high fever accompanied by chills so intense that he shivered even though he wore three jackets. A chest X-ray revealed pneumonia and Dave went back to his life. “I didn’t think anything of it,” he says.

But then Dave had another bout of pneumonia only a few months later, and his new X-ray and his old one had a terrible similarity. “My radiologist held up the two X-rays and showed me that the infection was in the same spot,” he says. Next came a CAT scan and a call from his doctor saying they’d found a tumor in his lung. Continue reading…


A Subset of Patients with Metastatic Melanoma Achieves Clinical Benefit from Combination of Immunotherapy and Radiation Therapy

“Immunotherapy combined with palliative radiation therapy (RT) for a subset of patients with metastatic melanoma reduces the growth and spread of the cancer, according to research presented today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO’s) 57th Annual Meeting.

“Although melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it is the most serious type. Stage IV melanoma indicates that the cancer has metastasized and spread through lymph nodes to distant sites in the body and/or to the body’s organs. The liver, lungs, bones and brain are areas most frequently affected by these metastatic lesions. Immunotherapy—the use of medicines to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively—can be combined with other cancer therapies to aid in the treatment of stage IV melanoma. Ipilimumab is an immunotherapy approved for use in melanoma patients.

“This phase II clinical trial is one of the first prospective clinical trials to report results from the treatment of metastatic melanoma with the combination of RT and systemic immunotherapy. In this study, 20 patients with stage IV melanoma were treated with palliative RT and intravenous ipilimumab (3mg/kg) every three weeks, for a total of four treatment cycles. RT was initiated to one or two sites of metastatic melanoma within five days of the initial immunotherapy treatment. All patients had at least one nonirradiated (untreated) site of metastasis that could be used for assessment of response to therapy.”


FDA Grants Priority Review to Rociletinib for Advanced NSCLC

“The FDA granted priority review to a new drug application for rociletinib.

“Rociletinib (Clovis Oncology) — a novel, oral, targeted covalent mutant-selective epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor — is intended for patients with advanced EGFR-mutant, T790M-positive non–small cell lung cancer who already received EGFR-targeted therapy.

“The FDA is expected to make a decision about the agent’s status by March 30, 2016.”


JUNIPER Trial Branches Out in KRAS Mutation-Positive Advanced NSCLC

“In 2008 Linardou et al published results of a meta-analysis of studies in advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and metastatic colorectal cancer. They extracted data on 1008 patients; 165 from 17 manuscripts for the NSCLC portion of the meta-analysis had KRAS mutations. They sought to establish whether or not KRAS mutations could be candidate predictive biomarkers for antiepidermal growth factor (EGFR) treatments. The analysis yielded empirical evidence that KRAS mutations are highly specific negative predictors of response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) when given as single agents to patients with advanced NSCLC. Further implicating an association of KRAS mutations with poor outcomes, a retrospective analysis of data from 1036 patients with stage IV lung adenocarcinoma and KRAS mutation evaluated between 2002 and 2009, found the presence of KRAS mutations to be associated with shorter survival (HR, 1.21; P = .48).”


FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for PD-L1-Positive Lung Cancer

“The FDA granted an accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a treatment for patients with pretreated advanced non­–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) across all histologies whose tumors express PD-L1. The PD-1 inhibitor was approved along with a companion diagnostic, the PD-L1 IHC 22C3 pharmDx test, and is indicated for patients who progressed on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy or EGFR-or ALK-targeted agents in patients harboring those mutations.

“The approval was based on data from the phase I KEYNOTE-001 trial, in which the overall response rate (ORR) with the drug was 41% among a subgroup of 61 patients with pretreated PD-L1­–positive advanced NSCLC as determined by the 22C3 pharmDx diagnostic test. Response duration ranged from 2.1 to 9.1 months. A survival improvement has yet to be demonstrated in a clinical trial, and the accelerated approval is contingent upon the eventual outcomes of confirmatory studies.”


Doctors Often Overtreat with Radiation in Late-Stage Lung Cancer

“Almost half of patients with advanced lung cancer receive more than the recommended number of radiation treatments to reduce their pain, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“Radiation therapy that is palliative, or not intended to cure, can reduce the pain from  and improve quality of life. But unnecessary treatments add to costs and require needless trips to the hospital—and can lead to radiation toxicity and difficulty in swallowing.

“Guidelines developed from clinical trials recommend no more than 15 radiation treatments be given for pain in stage 4 . The guidelines recommend that patients not receive chemotherapy at the same time, to reduce the risk of toxicity.”