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issues in oncology
breast cancer

Treating Breast Cancer During Pregnancy Calls for Careful Timing of Therapies and Sensitive Discussions With Patients

Breast cancer during pregnancy is relatively uncommon; however, it poses a significant clinical challenge to the patient and her multidisciplinary care team. To shed light on this difficult issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Carey K. Anders, MD, a medical oncologist and researcher at the University...

Dana-Farber Opens New Facility for Integrative Therapies

DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE has announced the opening of the new Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living.  Increasing data have indicated that integrative therapies can help alleviate the side effects of cancer therapy. The Zakim Center, as it is commonly referred to,...

AMA Awards Research Grants to Advance the Study of Women in Medicine

THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA) recognizes influential female physician leaders as part of Women in Medicine Month each September. To showcase the accomplishments of these leaders, the AMA Women Physicians Section and the AMA Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2017 Joan F....

breast cancer

For Breast Cancer Specialist Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, Medicine Is a Family Tradition

Breast cancer specialist Ann H. Partridge, MD, MPH, was born in Manhasset, Long Island, and grew up several miles east in Muttontown, New York. Since tiny Muttontown didn’t have its own school system, Dr. Partridge went to high school in nearby Locust Valley, a town on Long Island’s North Shore,...

colorectal cancer

Nivolumab in MSI-H or dMMR Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

ON JULY 31, 2017, nivolumab (Opdivo) was granted accelerated approval for treatment of patients 12 years and older with DNA mismatch repair–deficient (dMMR) and microsatellite instability– high (MSI-H) metastatic colorectal cancer progressing following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine,...

colorectal cancer

Immunotherapy for Metastatic Mismatch Repair–Deficient Colorectal Cancer: Game-Changer for Small Group of Patients

PATIENTS WITH DNA mismatch repair–deficient (dMMR) metastatic colorectal cancer display a high level of microsatellite instability (MSI-H)1 and demonstrate poor chemosensitivity and shorter overall survival than patients with mismatch repair–proficient (pMMR) metastatic metastatic colorectal...

colorectal cancer

Nivolumab in Advanced DNA Mismatch Repair–Deficient or Microsatellite Instability–High Colorectal Cancer

THE PHASE II CHECKMATE 142 TRIAL has shown that nivolumab (Opdivo) produces durable responses in previously treated recurrent or metastatic DNA mismatch repair–deficient (dMMR)/ microsatellite instability–high (MSI-H) colorectal cancer. These study findings were reported in The Lancet Oncology...

hepatobiliary cancer

FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Nivolumab for Hepatocellular Carcinoma Previously Treated With Sorafenib

ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients who have been previously treated with sorafenib (Nexavar).  CheckMate 040  APPROVAL WAS BASED on a 154-patient subgroup of ...

leukemia

Cord Blood Transplantation Proves Beneficial in High-Risk Patients With Leukemia

Studies show that only about one-third of patients with acute myeloid leukemia who have detectable amounts of cancer cells in their blood at the time of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation will be alive 3 years later, compared with nearly three-quarters of those patients without minimal...

skin cancer

Overview of the Phase III MSLT-II Trial

THE PHASE III MSLT- II TRIAL showed that completion dissection was not associated with improved melanoma-specific overall survival vs observation in patients with sentinel-node metastasis, although a benefit was observed in regional disease control. The findings were reported in The New England...

skin cancer

Blood-Based Biomarker: Predicting Efficacy of Immunotherapy in Patients With Melanoma

IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE the largest blood-based biomarker study of a checkpoint inhibitor, an RNA transcript–based gene classifier was able to predict for melanoma patients’ response to tremelimumab. The study was recently published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.1  “Our study, in many...

breast cancer

Expert Point of View: Nadia Harbeck, MD, PhD, and Sibylle Loibl, MD

NADIA HARBECK, MD, PhD, of the Breast Center at the University of Munich, Germany, said the findings of LORELEI are among a growing list of indications that “the future is bright for endocrine-based therapy.”  Although the results were hypothesis-generating and not yet practice-changing, she...

breast cancer

Selective PI3K Inhibitor Boosts Effect of Letrozole in Neoadjuvant Setting

FOR THE first time, an inhibitor of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway (taselisib) used in combination with endocrine therapy in the neoadjuvant setting improved response rates over endocrine therapy alone—with good tolerability—in women with early breast cancer, according to the phase...

gynecologic cancers

Expert Point of View: Sandro Pignata, MD

FORMAL DISCUSSANT of ARIEL3, Sandro Pignata, MD, of the IRCCS National Cancer Institute, “Fondazione G. Pascale,” Naples, Italy, said: “This is new evidence for maintenance therapy with rucaparib [Rubraca]. These results are extraordinary, particularly in the BRCA mutation patients, but also in...

gynecologic cancers

Strong Showing for Rucaparib Maintenance Therapy for Platinum-Sensitive Ovarian Cancer

EVIDENCE CONTINUES to mount for the benefits of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibition in ovarian cancer. Rucaparib (Rubraca) maintenance therapy after response to platinum-containing therapy significantly improved progression-free survival in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer compared ...

lymphoma

FDA Approves Copanlisib for Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma

THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to copanlisib (Aliqopa) for the treatment of adults with relapsed follicular lymphoma who have received at least two prior systemic therapies.  Copanlisib is a kinase inhibitor that works by blocking several enzymes that...

Journal of Clinical Oncology Literature Update

STAYING UP-TO-DATE in the fast-paced world of oncology literature is a daunting task at best. To assist with that task, The ASCO Post has assembled an assortment of studies recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Sorafenib Dosing and Outcomes in Hepatocellular Cancer  IN A...

lung cancer

Expert Point of View: Paul Baas, MD, PhD

INVITED DISCUSSANT Paul Baas, MD, PhD, of The Netherlands Cancer Institute, called the MAPS2 trial an “excellent example of how studies in mesothelioma should be run.”  As Dr. Baas pointed out, both arms performed well as second- and third-line treatment, with median progression-free survival with ...

lung cancer

Relapsed Mesothelioma Controlled by Checkpoint Inhibition

IN PATIENTS with malignant pleural mesothelioma, combination immunotherapy with two checkpoint inhibitors in the second or third line of treatment extended survival to at least 15 months in the MAPS2 trial,1 sponsored by the Intergroupe Francophone de Cancérologie Thoracique (IFCT) and reported at ...

lung cancer

‘Clinically Meaningful’ Results With First-Line Osimertinib in EGFR–Positive NSCLC

OSIMERTINIB (TAGRISSO) showed encouraging results as first-line therapy for patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)–mutated non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the phase III FLAURA trial, according to results presented at the 2017 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)...

lung cancer

Expert Point of View: Tony Mok, MD, FASCO

“IN 2008, I presented the IPASS results. FLAURA has beaten me to the ground. The results exceeded expectations, and FLAURA is undoubtedly a positive study,” stated formal discussant Professor Tony Mok, MD, FASCO, Chair of Department of Clinical Oncology, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “It is ...

pain management

Ontario Province–Wide Symptom Screening and Opioid Prescribing Rates in Older Patients With Cancer

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Barbera et al found that a province-wide effort to improve symptom screening and management has increased the frequency of screening but has not improved opioid prescription rates in elderly cancer patients with severe pain. A previous study...

hematologic malignancies

Momelotinib vs Ruxolitinib in Janus Kinase Inhibitor–Naive Myelofibrosis

In the phase III SIMPLIFY-1 noninferiority trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Mesa et al found that the selective Janus kinase (JAK) 1 and 2 inhibitor momelotinib was noninferior to ruxolitinib (Jakafi) in spleen response, but not symptom response, in JAK inhibitor–naive...

palliative care

Integrative Therapies in Palliative Care Project

Palliative care professionals are invited to participate in a unique project sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Collinge and Associates, Inc, is seeking interdisciplinary professionals to help develop and evaluate a new online continuing education (CE/CME) course on the use of integrative...

hepatobiliary cancer

FDA Accepts sNDA for Lenvatinib for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

On September 26, Eisai Inc announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for review a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for lenvatinib  (Lenvima) for potential use in the first-line treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. “Patients with...

kidney cancer

Expert Point of View: Manuela Schmidinger, MD

FORMAL DISCUSSANT, Manuela Schmidinger, MD, of the Medical University of Austria, Vienna, commented on the CheckMate 214 findings. “We have just seen a change in the paradigm in the treatment of metastatic renal cell cancer.”  “More than a decade ago, VEGF [vascular endothelial growth factor]...

kidney cancer

Nivolumab Plus Ipilimumab vs Sunitinib Alone as First-Line Therapy for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

A CHANGE IN PARADIGM may be on the horizon for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. According to the results of CheckMate 214, the combination of ipilimumab (Yervoy) plus nivolumab (Opdivo) outperformed the standard of care—sunitinib (Sutent)—for first-line treatment, with improved...

skin cancer

MSLT-II Completion Lymph Node Dissection Trial: Practice Changing but Not Likely Practice Abandoning

PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT advance in the treatment of newly diagnosed primary melanoma has been the incorporation of sentinel lymph node biopsy as part of initial surgical management. The routine use of sentinel lymph node biopsy, often termed “sentinel lymphadenectomy,” in appropriately...

breast cancer

Expert Point of View: Nicholas Turner, MD

NICHOLAS TURNER, MD, of The Royal Marsden and the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK, called the findings of MONARCH 3 “practice-changing.” The cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors have answered the need for agents that target the biology of estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer, ...

breast cancer

Abemaciclib Extends Progression-Free Survival in First-Line Therapy for Advanced Breast Cancer

THE VALUE OF cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors in advanced breast cancer became ever more certain with the announcement of interim data from MONARCH 3, which evaluated abemaciclib in combination with endocrine therapy as first-line therapy for hormone receptor–positive/HER2-negative...

issues in oncology

Can We Have a Successful Vaccine Against Cancer?

EARLY IN our careers, few of us imagined that a vaccine could one day prevent cancer. Now, there is a vaccine that keeps the risks from human papillomavirus (HPV) at bay, and yet universal adoption of the HPV vaccine has been incomplete. As a result of misinformation about the vaccine—and its...

breast cancer

Study Finds 'Standard Care' Treatments in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Not Always Standard

Historically, randomized controlled trials have served as the state-of-the-art method for determining the efficacy and safety of new, innovative treatment regimens for patients with cancer and other diseases. It is imperative that such trials are carefully designed to ensure that they are...

lymphoma

European Commission Approves Obinutuzumab for Previously Untreated Advanced Follicular Lymphoma

On September 22, Roche announced that the European Commission has approved obinutuzumab (Gazyvaro in Europe; available in the United States as Gazyva) in combination with chemotherapy, followed by obinutuzumab maintenance in patients achieving a response, as a new treatment for previously untreated ...

palliative care

Inpatient Palliative Care During HCT and Psychological Distress After Transplantation

In a single-center study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, El-Jawahri et al found that inpatient palliative care during hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was associated with improvement in depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms at 6 months after...

lung cancer

Comparison of First-Line Treatments for EGFR-Mutant NSCLC

The phase III ARCHER 1050 trial has shown superior progression-free survival with the second-generation irreversible epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor dacomitinib vs gefitinib (Iressa) in the first-line treatment of advanced EGFR-mutant non–small cell lung...

Lymphoma Physician-Scientist Oliver Press, MD, PhD, Dies at 65

Oliver Press, MD, PhD, a blood cancer physician-scientist who made foundational contributions to the development of targeted cancer therapies, died Friday of complications from glioma. He was 65 years old. Dr. Press was the David and Patricia Giuliani/Oliver Press Endowed Chair for Cancer Research ...

issues in oncology

FDA Conducts Global Operation to Protect Consumers From Potentially Dangerous Prescription Drugs Sold Online

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, recently took action against more than 500 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved versions of prescription medicines, including opioids, antibiotics, and...

breast cancer

FDA Grants Priority Review for Pertuzumab for Adjuvant Treatment of HER2-Positive Early Breast Cancer

On September 29, Roche announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company’s supplemental Biologics License Application and granted Priority Review for pertuzumab (Perjeta), in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy, for adjuvant treatment of...

lung cancer

Consolidative Radiotherapy for Limited Metastatic NSCLC

In a single-institution phase II trial reported in JAMA Oncology, Iyengar et al found that consolidative stereotactic ablative radiotherapy improved progression-free survival vs maintenance therapy alone in patients with limited metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Study Details...

breast cancer

10-Year Survival With vs Without Axillary Dissection in Invasive Breast Cancer With Sentinel-Node Metastasis

As reported in JAMA by Giuliano et al, 10-year overall survival in the ACOSOG Z0011 (Alliance) trial with sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) alone was noninferior to that with axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in women with clinical T1 or T2 invasive breast cancer, no palpable axillary...

breast cancer

What Is the Most Important Factor Women Consider in Deciding on SERM Use to Reduce Their Risk of Breast Cancer?

Currently, two medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce the risk of breast cancer: tamoxifen and raloxifene. Both medications, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), have been shown to reduce the risk for breast cancer by up to 50% in prevention...

issues in oncology
legislation

2nd Annual ASCO Advocacy Summit

issues in oncology

Biden Cancer Initiative: Accelerating Progress in Cancer Research

Earlier this year, at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, PhD, launched the Biden Cancer Initiative, their new venture to continue the fight to make progress in cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and care. The Biden Cancer Initiative will...

solid tumors
head and neck cancer
gastroesophageal cancer

Addition of Cetuximab to Concurrent Chemoradiation in Esophageal Cancer

The phase III NRG Oncology RTOG 0436 trial has shown no survival benefit of adding cetuximab (Erbitux) to paclitaxel/cisplatin and radiation therapy in patients with esophageal cancer treated without surgery. These results were reported by Mohan Suntharalingam, MD, MBA, of the Marlene and Stewart...

breast cancer

ASTRO 2017: Shorter Course of Radiation Treatment Safe for Breast Cancer Patients Under 50

A higher-dose, shorter form of radiation is safe, effective, and no more damaging to the breast tissue or skin of breast cancer patients under age 50 than it is in older patients. This is the finding of a study led by researchers from Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University (NYU)...

lymphoma

Molecular Profiling of Key Survival Proteins in B-Cell Lymphoma Subtypes

Investigators at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson uncovered potential new proteins that contribute to the development and progression of several types of lymphoma. Their findings were published by Adams et al in Clinical Cancer Research. The researchers focused their attention on...

gastrointestinal cancer

Nivolumab Approved in Japan for Unresectable Advanced or Recurrent Gastric Cancer That Has Progressed After Chemotherapy

On September 22, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) approved nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment of unresectable advanced or recurrent gastric cancer which has progressed after chemotherapy. This approval was based on the phase III ...

skin cancer

Pooled Analysis Safety Profile of Combination Immunotherapy for Advanced Melanoma

In a retrospective study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Sznol et al have provided a pooled safety profile of combination nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) treatment in patients with advanced melanoma. Study Details The study included data from 448 patients from a phase Ib...

gastrointestinal cancer

Addition of MET Inhibitor to First-Line Chemotherapy in Advanced Gastric Cancer

The phase III RILOMET-1 trial showed no survival benefit of adding the MET inhibitor rilotumumab to first-line epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine in patients with advanced MET-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. These results were reported in The Lancet Oncology by...

solid tumors
prostate cancer

Association Between Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer

A systematic review and meta-analysis has found no association between vasectomy and high-grade, advanced, or fatal prostate cancer but a weak association with any prostate cancer. These findings were reported in JAMA Oncology by Bimal Bhindi et al. R. Jeffrey Karnes, MD, of the Mayo Clinic,...

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