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March 2014PDF

Metastatic Melanoma

Phase III Trial Retrospective Analysis Finds Talimogene Laherparepvec Reduced Tumors

A retrospective analysis of a phase III study found that talimogene laherparepvec reduced the size of injected tumors and non-injected metastatic melanoma tumors that had metastasized to other parts of the body.

The study evaluated talimogene laherparepvec in patients with injectable unresected stage IIIB, IIIC or IV melanoma compared to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Full results were presented during an oral session at the Society of Surgical Oncology Annual Cancer Symposium in Phoenix.

Ovarian Cancer 
Avastin-Zybrestat Combination Increases Progression-Free Survival in Phase II Trial

A phase II study evaluating Avastin in combination with Zybrestat demonstrated increased progression-free survival in recurrent ovarian cancer. 

The study, known as Gynecologic Oncology Group protocol 186I, met its primary endpoint of a statistically significant increase in progression-free survival (p < 0.05; HR=0.685) for the combination compared to Avastin alone.

The study is the first and currently only randomized trial to test an antiangiogenic therapeutic agent combined with a vascular disrupting agent, without including any cytotoxic chemotherapy.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
IDMC Recommends Halting Phase III Trial Of Onartuzumab in MET-Positive NSCLC

An independent data monitoring committee recommended that the phase III METLung study be stopped due to a lack of clinically meaningful efficacy, following an interim analysis.


Palliative Care
Study: End-of-Life Chemotherapy Leads to More Deaths in Hospital
Y-90 Radioembolization Stabilizes Liver Metastases in 98.5 Percent Of Breast Cancer Patients in Study
Prostate Cancer
Robotic-Assisted Surgery Offers Better Cancer Control, Study Says
NCI Approved Trials for the Month of March
Drug Approvals

  • European Commission approves subcutaneous MabThera

  • Japan approves Lonsurf combination tablet

  • UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends Pixuvri

  • FDA Microbiology Devices Panel recommends cobas HPV test for approval

  • FDA revises prescribing information for Thyrogen

  • And more…

20140331 - Mar. 31, 2014
ISSUE 13 – MARCH 28, 2014PDF

FDA Advisory Panel Unanimously Favors New Stool DNA Colorectal Screening Test


The FDA Molecular and Clinical Genetics Panel voted 10-0 to recommend approval of Cologuard—a noninvasive, multitarget stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer.

Sponsored by Exact Sciences Corp., Cologuard outperformed a standard fecal immunochemical test in a study published March 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

photoRising Costs at NCI Threaten to Overtake
Slim Increases In Budget Appropriations

Sometimes a funding increase can be no increase at all.

NCI’s budget was increased by 2.8 percent for the current 2014 fiscal year, or about $134 million, restoring about 53 percent of previous cuts made by sequestration. The institute’s total budget stands at $4.9 billion.

photoIn Brief

  • Caplan Receives NSB Public Service Award

  • Fazio and Kantarjian Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • Pienta named director of Johns Hopkins Prostate Cancer Program

  • American Society of Hematology awards 15 bridge grants

  • Stewart named incoming president of Patient Advocate Foundation

  • Ohio State signs agreement with MedVax Technologies Inc.

  • UC San Francisco signs agreement with Advaxis Inc.

  • Georgia Regents receives CEO Gold Standard accreditation

  • The winners of the Research!America Advocacy Awards

  • European Commission approves MabThera SC

  • Japan approves LonSurf combination tablet

20140328 - Mar. 28, 2014
ISSUE 12 – MARCH 21, 2014PDF

Does a B from USPSTF Guarantee Coverage? Lung Screening will Define Medicare Stance


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is facing the formidable challenge of deciding what kinds of patients should be screened for lung cancer. 

The agency’s Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee will meet April 30 to decide how the positive findings of a large randomized trial and the recommendation the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force should be translated into policy.

The controversy over screening for lung cancer will demonstrate how scientific findings influence the standard of care in the new healthcare system. Under the Affordable Care Act, USPSTF grades translate into coverage mandates for private insurers.

photoConversation with The Cancer Letter
Kazerooni: The Case for Broad Coverage

The Cancer Letter asked Ella Kazerooni, a professor of radiology at the University of Michigan, chair of the American College of Radiology Committee on Lung Screening, and vice chair of the lung screening panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, to lay out the rationale for a proposal for broad coverage for lung screening.

photoIn Brief

  • Alan Ashford named center director at UCSF

  • Edith Perez receives Claude Jacquillat Award

  • NCI announces 2013 Cancer Center Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Awards

  • Chad Ellis named associate director at UNC Lineberger

  • Tripathy joins MD Anderson as breast medical oncology chair

  • Thayer named chief of surgical oncology at University of Nebraska

  • Bayer Pharma and Ventana enter agreement

  • MD Anderson signs three-year agreement with MedImmune

20140321 - Mar. 21, 2014