The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology was held virtually from May 29 to June 2, and attracted participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in oncology. The conference featured the latest advances in clinical cancer research, including 250 oral abstract presentations and 2,500 poster presentations in 24 disease-based and specialty tracks. Presentations focused on novel targeted therapies as well as improvements in chemotherapy and radiation therapy approaches.
In a phase II study, Benoit You, M.D., Ph.D., of the Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud and Lyon Investigational Center for Treatments in Oncology and Hematology in France, and colleagues found that firstline avelumab shows potential for treating gestational trophoblastic tumors resistant to single-agent chemotherapy with methotrexate or actinomycin-D.
“About 50 percent of patients resistant to single-agent chemotherapy experienced human chorionic gonadotropin normalization, enabling avelumab discontinuation, without any further relapse, despite stopping treatment. These patients are likely to be cured, and the safety profile was favorable,” You said. “Avelumab may be an option in low-risk gestational trophoblastic tumor patients who have resistance to either or both standard single-agent chemotherapy regimens (methotrexate and/or actinomycin-D) and who have an indication of polychemotherapy because they have high human chorionic gonadotropin greater than 1,000 IU/L, resistance to monochemotherapy, or contraindication to the other single-agent chemotherapy.”
The study was funded by EMD Serono-Pfizer, the manufacturer of avelumab.
As part of the INdividualized Therapy FOr Relapsed Malignancies in Childhood (INFORM) registry, Cornelis van Tilburg, M.D., Ph.D., of Hopp Children’s Cancer Center Heidelberg in Germany, and colleagues explored the clinical potential of precision oncology by providing state-of-the-art molecular diagnostics in children and evaluating clinical outcomes.
“INFORM gave children a chance to benefit from off-label targeted drugs and enrollment in biomarker-driven clinical trials,” Tilburg said. “This is the first time clinical outcomes were assessed in a real-world setting (not a clinical trial) of a large-scale, multinational personalized pediatric oncology platform.”
The investigators found that high-priority level targets identified by INFORM provided therapeutic opportunities (e.g., off-label adult drugs or enrollment in clinical trials) and resulted in prolonged progression-free survival for subgroups of children.
“Now that INFORM has shown that it is possible to identify precision targets in children, more children should be offered molecular testing. In addition, to increase the number of patients benefiting, further layers of molecular and functional data should be incorporated,” Tilburg said. “As shown by our data, a relevant proportion of children had potential targets but were not treated with according target agents. This shows that drug accessibility should be increased by, for example, biomarker-driven interventional pediatric clinical trials, like the INFORM2 series of clinical trials.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.
In a phase III study, Roy S. Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues found that use of osimertinib following surgery in patients with primary nonsquamous stage IB-IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation led to an improvement in disease-free survival.
In patients with stage II to IIIA NSCLC with an EGFR mutation, the investigators observed an 83 percent reduction in the risk for disease recurrence or death.
“This is a highly effective and safe approach that has met the primary end point and will represent a new standard of care for this disease setting,” Herbst said.
In patients with stage II to IIIA NSCLC with an EGFR mutation, the investigators found that disease-free survival at two years was 90 percent with osimertinib versus 44 percent with placebo. In addition, patients with stage IB to IIIA NSCLC with an EGFR mutation had a 79 percent reduction in the risk for disease recurrence or death. Disease-free survival at two years among these patients was 89 percent with osimertinib versus 53 percent with placebo.
“This represents a new practice-changing regimen that will help patients with this disease,” Herbst said.
The study was funded by AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of osimertinib.
In the largest reported study of patients with cancer and COVID-19 to date, Jeremy L. Warner, M.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues found that 30-day all-cause mortality was approximately double in cancer patients than the general population.
“Large and important subpopulations of patients with cancer are at even higher risk: older patients, male patients, those with two or more comorbidities, former smokers, those with a moderate or poor Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, and those with progressing cancer,” Warner said. “Patients receiving the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin had three times the risk of dying, although this finding may be due to confounding by indication and requires further investigation, ideally in a prospective clinical trial.”
The investigators found that patients with no comorbidities and excellent performance status appeared to be at the lowest risk, with no deaths seen in this group.
“With caution, treatment could likely be continued for patients in excellent health other than their cancer,” Warner said. “Older patients and those with progressing cancer should consider whether the risks of continuing active cancer treatment outweigh the benefits in this COVID-19 era.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.
ASCO: At-Home Ovarian, Breast Cancer Genetic Testing Feasible
THURSDAY, June 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Women at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer who undergo genetic testing without receiving pretest and posttest counseling and only receive electronic education are at no increased risk for posttest stress, according to a study presented at ASCO20, a virtual scientific program hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
ASCO: Drop in Cancer Mortality Greater With Medicaid Expansion
THURSDAY, June 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) — States that expanded Medicaid (EXP) had a greater decrease in age-adjusted cancer mortality than those that did not, according to a study presented at ASCO20, a virtual scientific program hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
ASCO: Mortality High for Cancer Patients With COVID-19
MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For patients with cancer and COVID-19, mortality is high and is associated with risk factors such as age, male sex, comorbidities, and active cancer, according to a study published online May 28 in The Lancet to coincide with ASCO20, a virtual scientific program hosted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
ASCO: Relugolix Superior to Leuprolide in Advanced Prostate Cancer
FRIDAY, May 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For men with advanced prostate cancer, the oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist relugolix maintains testosterone suppression compared with the GnRH agonist leuprolide, while enzalutamide is associated with improved survival versus placebo in nonmetastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer, according to two studies published online May 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with the American Society of Clinical Oncology Virtual Scientific Program.
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