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lung cancer

FDA Approves Alectinib for ALK-Positive Metastatic NSCLC

On November 6, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to alectinib (Alecensa) for treatment of patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as detected by an FDA-approved test. In December 2015,...

hematologic malignancies

FDA Approves Vemurafenib for Certain Patients With Erdheim-Chester Disease

On November 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the approval of vemurafenib (Zelboraf) to include the treatment of certain adult patients with Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD), a rare cancer of the blood. Vemurafenib is indicated to treat patients whose cancer cells have a specific ...

gynecologic cancers

FDA Accepts sBLA for Bevacizumab as a Front-Line Treatment for Advanced Ovarian Cancer

On October 25, Genentech announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the company's supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for bevacizumab (Avastin) in combination with chemotherapy (carboplatin and paclitaxel), followed by bevacizumab alone, for the front-line ...

issues in oncology

Hospital Emergency Department Practices for Treating Older Adults With Cancer

A new study published by Lipitz-Snyderman et al in JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found that among patients presenting to the emergency department, those with cancer, especially those aged 75 years or older, are more likely to be admitted to the hospital—and...

New Biosimilar Educational Materials for Health-Care Professionals From the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the release of new educational materials for health-care professionals about biosimilar and interchangeable products. The agency developed these educational materials to help increase understanding about these important new types of...

Norman E. Sharpless, MD, Sworn in as Director of the National Cancer Institute

Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, took the oath of office late Tuesday, October 17, 2017, to become the 15th Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He succeeds Harold E. Varmus, MD, who stepped down as Director in March 2015. Douglas R. Lowy, ...

2017 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium

The 2017 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium took place October 27–28 in San Diego. Photos shown here, from left to right, as follows: 1. Eduardo Bruera, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center leads a group of attendees on a poster walk and discussion; 2. Charles Loprinzi, MD,...

supportive care
palliative care

How Effective Communication Is Integral to Patient-Centered Care

Communicating effectively with patients with advanced cancer not only helps patients and their family members successfully transition to palliative and end-of-life care, it can prevent physicians from experiencing professional burnout, according to Robert M. Arnold, MD, Distinguished Service...

First ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology Presented to Laurence Zitvogel, MD, PhD

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) has granted the newly established ESMO Award for Immuno-Oncology to Laurence Zitvogel, MD, PhD, for her innovating and internationally recognized achievements in the field. Dr. Zitvogel is Professor of Immunobiology at the University of Paris XI...

breast cancer
gynecologic cancers

International Trials Reveal New Findings in the Management of Breast and Ovarian Cancers

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress, held in Madrid, featured important news including at least seven practice-changing or potentially practice-changing trials, which are covered in recent issues of The ASCO Post. Here we present additional highlights of studies in breast ...

gastrointestinal cancer

Quick Takes on Studies in Noncolorectal Gastrointestinal Cancers

In this roundup, The ASCO Post offers a glance at key findings from studies in noncolorectal gastrointestinal malignancies presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress from investigators around the world. Docetaxel-Based Triplet in Gastric Cancer The superiority of...

lymphoma

FDA Approves Novel Therapies for Lymphoma Indications

IN OCTOBER, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two novel agents for lymphoma indications: -acalabrutinib (Calquence), a kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of adults with mantle cell lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy; and axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta), a...

lung cancer

CHEST 2017: American College of Chest Physicians Unveils New Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines

Low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening for lung cancer has become standard practice, mostly due to the results of the National Lung Screening Trial. Related evidence continues to evolve, informing the benefits and risks of low-dose CT in clinical practice. Mazzone et al presented new ...

lung cancer

CHEST 2017: Gender, Language, and Treatment Setting as Barriers in Screening and Patient Care in Lung Cancer

Two new studies from CHEST 2017, held recently in Toronto, reveal disparities in lung cancer screening and care that may impact detection as well as mortality and survival rates in the disease. Risk Status and Screening The first study from Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington,...

multiple myeloma

ENDEAVOR Trial Endeavors to Make Case for Carfilzomib: Despite Survival Advantage, Should We Be Surprised?

LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! That’s what home buyers are frequently cautioned about before purchasing a property. For trialists, and more importantly, practicing oncologists, a study’s design, akin to a property’s location, must be taken into account prior to buying into the results and changing ...

multiple myeloma

Results From Phase III ARROW Study of Once-Weekly Carfilzomib in Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma

On October 23, topline results of the phase III ARROW trial were announced, showing carfilzomib (Kyprolis) administered once weekly at 70 mg/m2 with dexamethasone allowed relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma patients to live 3.6 months longer without their disease worsening than...

skin cancer

Adjuvant Dabrafenib/Trametinib Combination Granted FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Stage III Melanoma With BRAF V600 Mutation

On October 23, Novartis announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for dabrafenib (Tafinlar) in combination with trametinib (Mekinist) for the adjuvant treatment of patients with stage III melanoma with a BRAF V600 mutation following...

hepatobiliary cancer

The Liver Meeting: Daily Aspirin May Reduce Risk for Hepatitis B Virus–Related Liver Cancer

A new study presented at The Liver Meeting, held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, found that daily aspirin therapy was significantly associated with a reduced risk in hepatitis B virus (HBV)–related liver cancer (Abstract 223). According to AASLD’s...

hepatobiliary cancer

The Liver Meeting: Direct-Acting Antiviral Medications as Hepatitis C Treatment May Reduce Risk of Liver Cancer

A new study presented at The Liver Meeting—held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases—found that eradication of the hepatitis C virus induced by direct-acting antiviral medications is associated with a 71% reduction in the risk of liver cancer (Abstract 142)....

pain management

Jeremy Hirst, MD, on My Patient Needs Opiates and Benzodiazepines: What Should I Do?

Jeremy Hirst, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, offers concrete advice on assessing the need for these medications, using them safely, and knowing when to deprescribe them.

survivorship

Long-Term Survivors of Childhood Cancer Prone to ‘Job Lock’ due to Worries About Losing Health Insurance

The results of a national cancer survey reveal a significant number of childhood cancer survivors are worried about keeping their health insurance, to the point of letting it affect their career decisions. The findings were published by Kirchhoff et al in JAMA Oncology. Anne Kirchhoff, PhD,...

breast cancer

ASHG 2017: Quantifying Breast Cancer Risk Based on Rare Variants and Background Risk

Rare variants combined with background genetic risk factors may account for many unexplained cases of familial breast cancer, and knowing the specific genes involved could inform choice of prevention and treatment strategies, according to findings presented in a plenary session at the American...

supportive care

Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, on Promoting Resilience in Young Cancer Patients: Results From the PRISM Trial

Abby R. Rosenberg, MD, of Seattle Children’s Hospital, discusses study findings on a skills-based intervention that helped teens and young adults with cancer manage stress to improve their quality of life and reduce distress (Abstract 176).

palliative care

Areej El-Jawahri, MD, on A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care

Areej El-Jawahri, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses a video tool that helps overcome communication barriers so that patients can make more informed decisions for end-of-life care and their preferences are respected.

issues in oncology
palliative care

Sandip Patel, MD, on Immunotherapy: New Developments and Toxicity Challenges

Sandip Patel, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, discusses diagnosing and managing immune-related adverse events from immune checkpoint blockade and the toxicities of these treatments.

palliative care

Jamie Jacobs, PhD, on Early Integrated Palliative Care: The Positive Effects

Jamie Jacobs, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, discusses study results that showed integrating oncology and palliative care early in the course of treatment helps people with incurable lung and gastrointestinal cancers cope better and have an improved quality of life and less...

lymphoma

FDA Approves New Treatment for Adults With Mantle Cell Lymphoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today granted accelerated approval to acalabrutinib (Calquence) for the treatment of adults with mantle cell lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy. “Mantle cell lymphoma is a particularly aggressive cancer,” said Richard...

issues in oncology

Anthony L. Back, MD, on Physician Burnout: The Response That’s Needed

Anthony L. Back, MD, of the University of Washington, talks about how clinicians can protect themselves from burnout and develop resilience. The default approach––“pretending we are not affected by stress”––often backfires, he says, and makes caregivers more susceptible to workplace pressures.

palliative care

Michael Hoerger, PhD, on Early Palliative Care: Study Results

Michael Hoerger, PhD, of Tulane University, discusses the effect on quality of life, depression, and end-of-life care when physicians focus on coping or on decision-making and advance care planning (Abstract 154).

palliative care
pain management

Jacob J. Strand, MD, on Dealing With Opioid Use Disorders

Jacob J. Strand, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, discusses tips and tools that clinicians can use to develop universal precautions for prescribing opioids in oncology and palliative care practice.

palliative care

Thomas J. Smith, MD, on Palliative Care and Outpatient Treatment: Expert Perspective

Thomas J. Smith, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discusses successful models of integrating palliative care into outpatient oncology.

issues in oncology

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Rising Number of Seamless Clinical Trials in Oncology

The number of early-phase trials in oncology that adopted a seamless approach—as opposed to a traditional trial approach with defined phase I, II, and III plans—is rising, with data from the majority of them presented after 2014, according to a study presented by Barata et al at the...

solid tumors

AACR-NCI-EORTC: NCI-MATCH Reaches Central Patient-Screening Goal

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (MATCH) clinical trial has achieved the goal of screening nearly 6,000 patients in just under 2 years, according to data presented by Chen et al at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer...

solid tumors

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Noninvasive Computational Imaging Approach May Help Predict Response to Immunotherapy

A computational imaging-based signature of immune-cell infiltration in and around a tumor could predict patients’ responses to treatment with anti–programmed cell death protein 1/programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1) immunotherapies, according to data from a study presented by Sun et...

colorectal cancer

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Colorectal Cancer Test Could Detect Early Cancer-Causing Genetic Biomarkers With High Degree of Sensitivity

An investigational test that screens for colorectal cancer could detect genetic mutations that are indicative of the disease with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity, according to results of a study presented by Powell et al at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular...

palliative care

Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD, on Palliative Care in Oncology: A Fellows Curriculum

Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD, of OhioHealth, discusses an online curriculum that changed younger physicians’ use of palliative medicine in practice during the year after fellowship training (Abstract 202).

palliative care
symptom management

Eric Roeland, MD, on Symptom Management: Expert Perspective

Eric Roeland, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, summarizes key papers delivered at the Palliative Care Symposium on managing insomnia, fatigue, nausea, and the ways in which physical therapy and nausea can reduce the side effect burden.

lymphoma

FDA Approves Axicabtagene Ciloleucel for Large B-Cell Lymphoma

On October 18, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma...

health-care policy

Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, Testifies Before Congress on NIH Funding System

Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, President and Director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recently delivered the following testimony and answered questions from members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. His remarks...

head and neck cancer

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Tipifarnib Shows Durable Antitumor Activity in HRAS-Mutant Head and Neck Cancer

Preliminary results from a phase II open-label trial of tipifarnib, a farnesyltransferase inhibitor, in patients with HRAS-mutant head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) were presented by Alan L. Ho, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International...

solid tumors

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Tazemetostat as Treatment for Certain Pediatric Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors

Children with relapsed or refractory malignant rhabdoid tumors, epithelioid sarcomas, or poorly differentiated chordomas with a particular genetic defect tolerated treatment with the investigational drug tazemetostat well, and some had objective and durable responses, according to data from a phase ...

colorectal cancer

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Colorectal Cancers May Mutate to Escape Immune System Detection

Whole-exome sequencing revealed that colorectal cancers with high mutational load (microsatellite instability–high, or MSI-H) predominantly use “immunoediting” to escape immune surveillance, while colorectal cancers with low mutational load (microsatellite stable, or MSS) use...

cns cancers

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Gene Therapy Shows Early Efficacy Against Recurrent Brain Cancer

More than a quarter of patients with recurrent high-grade glioma treated with the retroviral vector Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec) combined with Toca FC (an extended-release formulation of fluorocytosine, a prodrug of fluorouracil [5-FU]) were alive more than 3 years after...

New Biosimilar Educational Materials for Health-Care Professionals From the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the release of new educational materials for health-care professionals about biosimilar and interchangeable products. The agency developed these educational materials  to help increase understanding about these important new types of...

skin cancer

FDA Accepts sBLA for Nivolumab in Resected, High-Risk, Advanced Melanoma

On October 16, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted for priority review its supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for nivolumab (Opdivo) to treat patients with melanoma who are at high risk of disease recurrence following complete...

symptom management

Early Study Suggests Potential Role of Paclitaxel in Peripheral Neuropathy and Possible Preventive Measures

In discovering how certain chemotherapy drugs cause peripheral neuropathy, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have found a potential approach to preventing this common and troublesome side effect of cancer treatment. Their findings were published by Pease-Raissi et al in Neuron. The...

symptom management

FDA Approves Intravenous Rolapitant for Delayed Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

On October 25, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved intravenous (IV) rolapitant (Varubi) in combination with other antiemetic agents in adults for the prevention of delayed nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, including,...

hepatobiliary cancer

CELESTIAL Trial: Cabozantinib Meets Primary Endpoint of Overall Survival in Patients With Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

On October 16, Exelixis announced that its global phase III CELESTIAL trial met its primary endpoint of overall survival, with cabozantinib (Cabometyx) providing a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in median overall survival compared to placebo in patients with...

solid tumors

Potential Treatment of Chordoma With PI3K Inhibitors

Patients with chordoma—a rare bone cancer of the skull and spine—could be helped by existing treatments, suggest scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, University College London Cancer Institute, and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust. In the largest...

breast cancer

FDA Grants Priority Review for Olaparib in Metastatic Breast Cancer

On October 18, AstraZeneca and Merck & Co announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted and granted Priority Review to a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for the use of olaparib (Lynparza) tablets in patients with germline BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative...

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