Presurgical Targeted Therapy Delays Relapse of High-Risk Stage 3 Melanoma

Excerpt:

“A pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for melanoma produced at least a six-fold increase in time to progression compared to standard-of-care surgery for patients with stage 3 disease, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report in Lancet Oncology. Patients who had no sign of disease at surgery after combination treatment did not progress to metastasis.

“Early results of the study comparing surgery to pre- and post-surgical treatment with the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib were so strikingly positive that MD Anderson’s data safety monitoring board ordered the randomized, prospective phase II trial halted and changed to a single-arm using the combination.”

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Targetable Mutations in NSCLC: More Testing Needed!


Diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the lung, a major subtype of non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), nowadays triggers mandatory testing of tumor tissue for alterations in four genes: EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and more recently, BRAF. If present, these alterations predict sensitivity to specific targeted drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that work better and often longer than standard chemotherapy, and are better tolerated.

However, there are many more targetable/actionable genomic alterations (also known as “drivers”) in NSCLC. This blog post will briefly discuss most of them, with the goal of promoting molecular testing for more than the four “usual suspects” mentioned above. Some patients with these alterations may benefit from FDA-approved drugs or from enrollment in clinical trials that are testing additional drugs and drug combinations. Continue reading…


Even Smokers May Benefit from Targeted Lung Cancer Treatments

Excerpt:

“Smokers are less likely than non-smokers to have lung cancers caused by targetable genetic changes. But a study published this week in the journal Clinical Cancer Research shows that when they do, smokers benefit just as much as non-smokers from targeted treatments.

” ‘A smoker or former smoker with a targetable alteration has the same probability of benefitting from targeted therapy as a never-smoker with a targetable alteration,’ says Dara Aisner, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and molecular pathologist at CU School of Medicine.”

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Traditional vs Targeted Chemotherapy in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“Traditional neoadjuvant chemotherapy along with dual HER2-targeted blockade yielded significantly better response rates than a novel approach using HER2-targeted chemotherapy plus HER2-targeted blockade, according to a randomized phase III trial.

” ‘Despite the improvements in outcomes associated with HER2-directed therapy, approximately a quarter of patients who receive treatment for their early breast cancer remain at risk of relapse after 8–10 years, and around 15% will die within a decade,’ wrote study authors led by Sara A. Hurvitz, MD, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. A need for new strategies in this setting led the investigators to test a neoadjuvant regimen of the antibody–drug conjugate trastuzumab emtansine along with pertuzumab in comparison with traditional systemic chemotherapy along with trastuzumab plus pertuzumab.”

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Researchers Reveal Biomarker for Guiding Prostate Cancer Treatment

Excerpt:

“Back-to-back discoveries from Cleveland Clinic demonstrate for the first time how a testosterone-related genetic abnormality can help predict individual patient responses to specific prostate cancer therapies.

“The studies, published in the October 12 issue of JAMA Oncology, suggest that men who inherit this  would benefit from a personalized treatment plan that targets specific hormonal pathways.”

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Targeted Therapy Can Delay Recurrence of Intermediate-Stage Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“The targeted therapy gefitinib appears more effective in preventing recurrence after lung cancer surgery than the standard of care, chemotherapy. In a phase III clinical trial, patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive, stage II-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received gefitinib went about 10 months longer without recurrence than patients who received chemotherapy. The study will be presented at the upcoming 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

” ‘Adjuvant gefitinib may ultimately be considered as an important option for stage II-IIIA lung cancer patients with an active EGFR mutation, and we may consider routine EGFR testing in this earlier stage of lung cancer,’ said lead study author Yi-Long Wu, MD, a director of the Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute, Guangdong General Hospital, Guangzhou, China. ‘We intend to follow these patients until we can fully measure overall survival as opposed to disease-free survival, which just measures disease recurrence.’ ”

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Clinical Trial Looks at Targeted Genetic Therapies for Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are enrolling patients in a clinical trial looking at targeted gene therapies in patients with early stage lung cancer who have had surgery.

“This could help researchers gain insight into genetic targets that could aid in earlier intervention and better outcomes for patients.

” ‘Despite therapeutic advances in recent years, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, and effective new therapies are still desperately needed. Additionally, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for women and for men,’ says Sandra Starnes, MD, Dr. John B. Flege Jr. Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery, associate professor of surgery and co-director of the UC Cancer Institute’s Comprehensive Lung Cancer Center. ‘Targeted genetic therapy holds great promise for improved efficacy in treating patients. In this trial, researchers will evaluate the use of a newer targeted therapy for early stage who have had surgery and completed post-operative chemotherapy.’ ”

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Genetic Profile of Treatment-Resistant Lung Cancer More Variable Than Previously Understood

Excerpt:

“The genetic mutations underlying treatment resistance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are more complex and dynamic than previously thought. Analysis of 355 biopsied tumors from patients who acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors, the most common form of targeted therapy for NSCLC, found that mutations frequently varied between biopsies and that nearly one in five patients harbored more than one type of genetic resistance to treatment. Findings will be presented today at the 2017 Multidisciplinary Thoracic Cancers Symposium.”

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Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting Shows Diverse Treatment Options Emerging for Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“The Annual Scientific Meeting and Education Day of the Society for Neuro-Oncology — held in November in Scottsdale, Arizona — featured data from key studies on targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

“These data will open the door to new research, and they also offer promise of new therapeutic options for patients with glioblastoma.”

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