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issues in oncology
covid-19

Harvard Medical Student’s Innovation: Disinfection You Can See

In 2014, three undergrads at Columbia University had a crazy idea for a hackathon challenge: colorize bleach so health-care workers could spot missed areas on the surfaces and personal protective equipment they are trying to disinfect. Five years later, the result is a product called Highlight®,...

covid-19

Oncologists on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Conversation With Miriam A. Knoll, MD

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, The ASCO Post will be interviewing oncologists on how they and their centers are dealing with the crisis. Here, we speak with Miriam A. Knoll, MD, a radiation oncologist at the John Theurer Cancer Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, ...

multiple myeloma
covid-19

Irene M. Ghobrial, MD, on How COVID-19 is Changing the Conduct of Clinical Trials

Irene M. Ghobrial, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, talks about PROMISE—her screening study for people at high-risk of developing precursor conditions of multiple myeloma­­—and how this and other trials have been altered in the wake of the pandemic, as well as what might be considered a silver...

hematologic malignancies
immunotherapy

Bispecific Antibodies: Successes and Challenges

Bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibodies, such blinatumomab, may be the most appealing type of bispecific antibodies, a class of manufactured constructs that is expected to expand into the solid tumor space, according to Hermann Einsele, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Würzburg,...

colorectal cancer

Expert Point of View: John M. Carethers, MD

The analysis of the National Cancer Database is one of a number of studies describing  sociodemographic-related disparities in colorectal cancer outcomes, according to session Co-Chair John M. Carethers, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan,...

colorectal cancer

Studies Aim to Understand Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer

The incidence of colorectal cancer among adults younger than age 50 has risen more than 50% over the past 25 years. Researchers are attempting to understand this phenomenon, as described in several studies presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium that offered new insights....

covid-19

Oncologists on the Front Lines of COVID‑19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is dramatically affecting health-care systems. This is the first in a series of interviews The ASCO Post will conduct with oncologists, to learn what they and their cancer centers are doing to deal with the crisis. In this article, we talk with John Cole, MD, a...

immunotherapy
gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

Expert Point of View: Daniel V.T. Catenacci, MD

The analysis by Chao et al “highlights how well patients with MSI-H tumors do, compared to microsatellite-stable patients, and how much better they do in a randomized setting, being exposed to immunotherapy as compared to standard-of-care chemotherapy…The data also show that this is a...

colorectal cancer
hepatobiliary cancer
immunotherapy

Selected Abstracts on Novel Treatments in Colon, Hepatocellular, and Biliary Tract Cancers

The ASCO Post has reported on the pivotal trials presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in several issues. Featured here are the findings of several additional abstracts worthy of mention. Intermittent Oxaliplatin in Stage II or III Colon Cancer As adjuvant treatment for stage II...

pancreatic cancer

Study Focuses on Role of Microbes in Pancreatic Cancer

Although bacteria are predominant in the gastrointestinal tract, they also reside on and in other parts of the body, including some unexpected places, such as malignant tumors. There are numerous reports of this phenomenon, but most have not identified a functional role for the microbes. In the...

immunotherapy
gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

Expert Point of View: Daniel V.T. Catenacci, MD

Daniel V.T. Catenacci, MD, of the University of Chicago Medical Center and Biological Sciences, emphasized the value of the patient having microsatellite instability–high (MSI-H) status as a biomarker for immunotherapy. The analysis by Chao et al “highlights how well patients with MSI-H tumors do,...

immunotherapy
gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

Survival Benefits Achieved With Pembrolizumab in MSI-H and CPS ≥ 10 Gastric/Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer

Post hoc subanalyses of three KEYNOTE trials established the survival benefit of pembrolizumab in advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer with microsatellite instability–high (MSI-H) tumors or a programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) combined positive score (CPS) ≥ 10 (ie, the number of...

kidney cancer
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Navid Hafez, MD, MPH

Ilixadencel is essentially a dendritic cell vaccine without preloaded antigens. In the MERECA study, ilixadencel produced “a great signal,” though this approach is still very experimental, said the study’s invited discussant, Navid Hafez, MD, MPH, of Yale Cancer Center. Dr. Hafez is a member of the ...

kidney cancer
immunotherapy

Off-the-Shelf Dendritic Vaccine Shows Benefit in Kidney Cancer

Ilixadencel is a cell-based, allogeneic, off-the-shelf product aimed at priming the anticancer immune response when injected intratumorally. The phase II MERECA study evaluated this allogeneic dendritic cell product given with sunitinib in 88 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. The study ...

breast cancer

Brief Highlights From the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

In addition to our regular coverage of the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the following reports from the meeting include studies you may have missed. We hope you find them of interest. Ribociclib/Letrozole as Neoadjuvant Therapy As neoadjuvant therapy in women with high-risk hormone...

colorectal cancer
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO

Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO, ASCO’s Chief Medical Officer and a gastrointestinal oncologist himself, was pleased to see the TAPUR study bearing fruit among patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. “Colorectal cancer is a very common disease, but we have not made much progress in...

colorectal cancer
immunotherapy

ASCO’s TAPUR Study: Biomarker-Driven Treatment Paying Off in Colorectal Cancer

New data presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium are validating the purpose of ASCO’s Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) study, a multibasket trial that matches patients’ genomic alterations to commercially available targeted therapies. The aim is to learn...

immunotherapy
symptom management

Expert Point of View: Jarushka Naidoo, MBBCh

“The investigators of the current study tested the hypothesis that vitamin D supplementation is associated with a reduced risk of checkpoint-induced colitis by rigorously assessing 37 variables in both discovery and validation cohorts,” said invited discussant Jarushka Naidoo, MBBCh, Assistant...

immunotherapy
symptom management

Vitamin D Supplementation May Protect Against Checkpoint Inhibitor–Induced Colitis

Vitamin D supplementation prior to starting immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy may significantly reduce the odds of developing colitis, according to a study conducted at Harvard Medical School. Although this was a retrospective chart review, the association was relatively strong in the...

covid-19

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, Relays Opinions on Coronavirus

Scott Gottlieb, MD, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had some advice for attendees of the 37th Annual Miami Breast Cancer Conference in his keynote address at the meeting. While his formal presentation pertained to innovations in oncology drug development and...

gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Daniel V.T. Catenacci, MD

Daniel V.T. Catenacci, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at the University of Chicago, was the JAVELIN Gastric 100 study’s invited discussant. After offering an extensive background on the use of immunotherapy in gastric or gastroesophageal...

gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer
immunotherapy

No Survival Benefit for Maintenance Avelumab in Advanced Gastric or Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer

In the phase III JAVELIN Gastric 100 trial, a strategy called “switch maintenance” with the immune checkpoint inhibitor avelumab after 12 weeks of first-line induction chemotherapy did not statistically improve overall survival for treatment-naive patients with HER2-negative advanced gastric or...

pancreatic cancer

New POLO Data Further Support Maintenance Olaparib in BRCA1/2-Positive Pancreatic Cancer

In posters presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, POLO investigators reported that health-related quality of life was preserved during maintenance olaparib in patients with BRCA 1/2-positive pancreatic cancer, as evidenced by a low symptom burden over time.1 Other studies...

pancreatic cancer
genomics/genetics

Automated Referral Process for Genetic Counseling and Testing of Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Routine genetic counseling and multigene testing of patients with pancreatic cancer result in the detection of mutations that are actionable, not only for patients, but also for at-risk family members. At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the use of a systemized, automated referral system that does ...

immunotherapy

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients

As the number of solid organ transplants in the United States rises, cancer in this patient population is a growing concern. In fact, solid organ transplant recipients have an up to 50 times greater risk than the general population of developing skin cancers, and for kidney transplant recipients,...

breast cancer
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS

Commenting on SAFIR02-IMMUNO for The ASCO Post, Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Medicine at ­NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said the findings of the analysis were in accordance with other studies in metastatic breast cancer, but they came...

breast cancer
immunotherapy

Mixed Results With Durvalumab Maintenance in HER2-Negative Advanced Breast Cancer

Given as maintenance therapy, the checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab significantly improved overall survival in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer and yielded a numerical but not significant benefit as well for patients expressing programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), in...

gastrointestinal cancer

Expert Point of View: George A. Fisher, Jr, MD, PhD

George A. Fisher, Jr, MD, PhD, the Colleen Haas Chair in Medicine-Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, commented on the cell-free DNA methylation blood-based test from the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA) study. The findings presented by Dr. Wolpin, he said, “lead us to the ...

gastrointestinal cancer

Use of Cell-Free DNA Methylation–Based Blood Test in Detecting Gastrointestinal Cancers

A noninvasive, blood-based, cell-free DNA test focused on the presence of DNA methylation appears to be highly sensitive in detecting gastrointestinal cancers and may pinpoint the tissue of origin in the vast majority of these cancers.1 The assay was developed based on findings from the...

hepatobiliary cancer
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: A. Craig Lockhart, MD

The invited discussant of the IMbrave150 trial, A. Craig Lockhart, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, applauded the study for making patient-­reported outcomes a prespecified endpoint and described the value of having this information. “The U.S....

hepatobiliary cancer
immunotherapy

Patient-Reported Outcomes From IMbrave150: Better Quality of Life With Doublet

For the first-line treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, atezolizumab plus bevacizumab provided a significant overall survival benefit in the pivotal IMbrave150 trial. New findings from a prespecified analysis also showed numerous benefits for the doublet in terms of quality of life,...

multiple myeloma

Expert Point of View: Suzanne Lentzsch, MD, PhD

Suzanne Lentzsch, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis Service at Columbia University, offered her thoughts on venetoclax-based regimens, such as the one described by Dr. Kaufman. “Despite tremendous progress in the treatment of multiple myeloma, the...

multiple myeloma

Venetoclax Plus Dexamethasone Shows Activity in t(11;14) Multiple Myeloma

In a phase I/II study of patients with advanced multiple myeloma and t(11;14) translocations, the combination of venetoclax and dexamethasone showed strong, durable activity, even in patients refractory to daratumumab, study investigators reported at the 2019 American Society of Hematology (ASH)...

immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Basem M. William, MD, MRCP

Basem M. William, MD, MRCP, Director of the T-Cell Lymphoma Program and Cutaneous Lymphoma Multidisciplinary Clinic at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Columbus, commented on the newly reported findings...

immunotherapy

Strong Activity Shown for Lisocabtagene Maraleucel CAR T-Cell Therapy in Aggressive Large B-Cell Lymphoma

Another CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy may be poised to enter the marketplace for aggressive relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma, based on a high rate of rapid and durable complete responses achieved with lisocabtagene maraleucel. The phase I TRANSCEND NHL...

Expert Point of View: Christopher M. Booth, MD

Patients with BRAF-mutated metastatic colorectal cancer “pose clinical challenges for us every day,” said Christopher M. Booth, MD, Professor of Medical Oncology and the Canada Research Chair in Population Cancer Care at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, the invited discussant of the...

colorectal cancer

BEACON-CRC: Quality of Life May Be Well Maintained With Targeted Treatment

For patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer harboring BRAF V600E mutations, the phase III BEACON-CRC study showed the benefit for combining two or three targeted agents vs the standard of care.1 The study has now also shown a benefit for the triplet and doublet in maintaining ...

pancreatic cancer

Expert Point of View: Andrea Wang-Gillam, MD, PhD

Andrea Wang-Gillam, MD, PhD, Clinical Director of the GI Oncology Program and Director of Developmental Therapeutics at Washington University in St. Louis, was the invited discussant of SEQUOIA and HALO 109-301. She tried to make sense of the two negative studies of pegylated agents in advanced...

pancreatic cancer

Two Novel Pegylated Agents Fail in Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Two novel treatments once thought to hold promise in the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer have not proved to be effective in phase III trials, investigators reported at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. When combined with standard chemotherapy, a pegylated form of human...

lymphoma
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Edmund K. Waller, MD, PhD

Edmund K. Waller, MD, PhD, Professor, Departments of Medicine, Pathology, and Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine and Medical Director, Center for Stem Cell Processing and Apheresis at Emory, said he was not surprised to learn that bridging therapy was associated...

lymphoma
immunotherapy

Study Finds ‘Bridge’ to CAR T-Cell Therapy May Be Detrimental to Survival

The use of bridging therapy before treatment with axicabtagene ciloleucel was associated with worse overall survival in univariate, multivariate, and propensity score–matched analyses performed on data from the U.S. Lymphoma CAR T Consortium, investigators reported at the 2019 American Society of...

gastroesophageal cancer

Expert Point of View: Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD

Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico and Adjunct Professor of Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, congratulated the investigators on the conduct of the PANGEA trial and the outcomes it achieved for patients. “When...

gastroesophageal cancer

PANGEA Trial Shows Personalized Antibody Selection May Improve Outcomes in Gastroesophageal Cancer

A personalized approach to selecting antibody therapy for patients with newly diagnosed stage IV gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma resulted in a 1-year overall survival rate of 66% and a median overall survival of 16.4 months in the PANGEA study (see Table 1).1 The study used a novel clinical...

breast cancer

Expert Point of View: Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH

Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Director of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Boston, commented on KEYNOTE-890. “Previous work has suggested minimal activity of...

breast cancer

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Responds to Novel Therapy

The phase II KEYNOTE-890 trial is a small but interesting study in patients with inoperable advanced triple-negative breast cancer. After one injection of intratumoral tavokinogene telseplasmid, a plasmid encoding the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-12 (IL-12), followed by electroporation and...

lymphoma
immunotherapy
symptom management

Expert Point of View: Jeremy S. Abramson, MD

Jeremy S. Abramson, MD, Director of the Jon and JoAnn Hagler Center for Lymphoma at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, commented on the study by Topp et al for The ASCO Post. “Earlier use of steroids with axicabtagene ciloleucel...

lymphoma
immunotherapy
symptom management

Early Steroid Use May Reduce Toxicity With CAR T-Cell Therapy

In patients with large B-cell lymphoma undergoing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy with axicabtagene ciloleucel, earlier-than-usual intervention with corticosteroids and tocilizumab may reduce the incidence of severe cytokine-release syndrome, according to the findings of a...

lymphoma
immunotherapy

Expert Point of View: Basem M. William, MD, MRCP(UK), FACP

Basem M. William, MD, MRCP(UK), FACP, Director of the T-Cell Lymphoma Program and Member of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Columbus, Ohio, commented on the...

lymphoma
immunotherapy

CAR T-Cell Therapy Comes to Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Advanced mantle cell lymphoma appears to be a good target for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Treatment with KTE-X19, an anti-CD19 CAR T-cell product, led to unprecedented outcomes in patients with relapsed or refractory disease in the phase II ZUMA-2 study presented at the 2019 ASH ...

pancreatic cancer

Expert Point of View: Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO

Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of ASCO, who is also a gastrointestinal oncologist, called the 74% response rate to cisplatin/gemcitabine “remarkable.” “What’s impressive to me is the high response rate, as well as the progression-free ...

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