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Issue 22 - Jun. 2, 2017
  • Flatiron compiles rich data on the uptake of PD-1 inhibitor drugs; A case study in real-world evidence?

    Utilization data compiled by Flatiron Health and made available to The Cancer Letter make it possible to visualize the dramatic uptake of immunotherapy drugs in the academic and community settings.

    The data illustrate nothing less than the real-time anatomy of the creation of a new standard of care in oncology. Charts, bars and tables published here first show these drugs emerge in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in early 2015 and rapidly build momentum.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Cary Gross: We need to learn to analyze real-world evidence rigorously

    Cary Gross, professor of medicine and of epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine, has been working with a dataset of 35,000 non-small cell lung cancer patients, looking for signs of disparities in access to PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors.

    Working with data gathered by Flatiron Health, Gross has also been pondering the role real-world evidence can legitimately play in the development and approval of cancer drugs.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    A nascent group of academics plans to conduct randomized trials to determine value of care

    group of cancer researchers is trying to conducting randomized trials aimed at maximizing the value of oncology treatment regimens. 

    The group, called the Value in Cancer Care Consortium, is headed by Allen Lichter, former CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

  • MD Anderson posts four months of positive operating margins as deficit shrinks to $43.9 million

    MD Anderson Cancer Center reported positive operating margins after posting losses over the first four months of the fiscal year.

    Between September and December, the institution’s losses totaled $169.4 million, but between January and April, operating revenues added up to $125.5 million.

  • MD Anderson settles trademark litigation with Pelotonia, Soon-Shiong

    MD Anderson Cancer Center has settled two separate trademark suits protecting the Houston-based cancer center’s Moonshot program.

    One of the actions settled was filed against Pelotonia, a non-profit that coordinates a bike ride that raises money for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard Solove Research Institute. MD Anderson claimed in a lawsuit that Pelotonia’s taglines “One Goal” and “One Goal: End Cancer” infringe the Houston cancer center’s trademark “One goal. Stop cancer” (The Cancer Letter, April 14).

  • In Brief

    • CancerLinQ partners with FDA to study real-world use of newly approved cancer treatments
    • NCCN and CancerLinQ collaborating to provide evidence-based, decision-making resources to physicians
    • First analysis of AACR Project GENIE data is published in Cancer Discovery
    • National Breast Cancer Coalition partners with DNA.Land to crowdsource large-scale breast cancer genomics database
    • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is dedicated in Omaha
    • University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute becomes UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
    • Markus Müschen named to The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation Professorship in Pediatrics at COH
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Zykadia gets first-line ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC indication
    • Advaxis and BMS announce collaboration focused on metastatic cervical cancer
    • Johns Hopkins and Eisai extend drug collaboration
May 2017PDF

 

Breast cancer

Three-week radiation therapy treatment given post-mastectomy is safe and effective

A shorter course of radiation therapy given to breast cancer patients following mastectomy is safe and effective and cuts treatment time in half. That is according to data from a phase II clinical trial conducted by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey investigators and other colleagues who examined a hypofractionated regimen given over three weeks versus the traditional six week course of treatment.

 

Lung cancer

Imfinzi reduces the risk of disease worsening or death in the phase III PACIFIC trial in stage III disease

AstraZeneca and MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, announced positive results for the phase III PACIFIC trial, a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled multi-center trial of Imfinzi (durvalumab) as sequential treatment in patients with locally-advanced, unresectable non-small cell lung cancer who had not progressed following standard platinum-based chemotherapy concurrent with radiation therapy.

 

Prostate cancer

AUA publishes list of tests and treatments to question as part of “Choosing Wisely”

AUA released a list of recommendations regarding tests and treatments that are commonly ordered but not always necessary in urology, or urologic management that could be improved, as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation.

 

Pancreatic cancer

Mutations in pancreatic cancer provide clues on development of pancreatic cancer

 

Bladder cancer

Tecentriq in previously treated bladder cancer fails to meet OS endpoint

 

Head and neck cancer

HPV vaccine may prevent oropharyngeal cancers

 

Melanoma

Part 2 of phase III study of binimetinib and encorafenib produces positive top-line result

 

Thyroid cancer

NCCN publishes patient education resources for thyroid cancer

 

Brain tumors

Two studies shed light on aggressive brain cancer

 

Sarcoma

First extensive immune profiling of sarcomas shows some likely susceptible to immunotherapy

 

Acute myeloid leukemia

Positive phase II data on AST-VAC1 for the treatment of AML published

 

Hepatocellular carcinoma

SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres improves quality of survival

 

Survivorship

About 150,000 women in the U.S. living with metastatic breast cancer as survival increases

 

Health services research

Pancreatic and thyroid cancer patients may live longer if they travel to an academic hospital for surgical care

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for May

 

Regulatory actions

FDA grants regular, accelerated approvals to Keytruda for urothelial carcinoma

CCL May 2017 - Jun. 1, 2017
Issue 21 - May. 26, 2017
  • Amy Reed, physician and patient who “moved mountains” to end widespread use of power morcellation, dies at 44

    When Amy Reed enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania medical school in 2001, she could not have possibly imagined that she would save more lives as a patient than as a physician.

    The final phase of her medical education began on Oct. 17, 2013, when Reed, then 41, checked in at Brigham & Women’s Hospital—her husband’s workplace at that time—to undergo a common gynecological procedure that would fundamentally redefine her career, and, ultimately, consume her life.

  • Trump would cut over 20 percent of NIH, NCI budgets in new FY18 proposal

    The White House has proposed cutting $7.2 billion from the NIH budget, with $1.2 billion coming out of NCI—a proposal that, if supported by Congress, would eviscerate the cancer research enterprise in the United States, critics say.

    NIH stands to lose 21 percent in the Trump administration’s updated fiscal 2018 budget proposal, which would reduce the NIH budget to $26.92 billion. Also, the White House proposes to cut $1.2 billion from NCI’s budget—a 20 percent loss.

  • Obituary

    H. Jean Khoury, 50, hematologist and pioneer in leukemia research, dies

    H. Jean Khoury, an expert in hematologic malignancies at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, died May 22, after a year spent battling cancer. He was 50.

    Khoury, whose work focused on chronic myeloid leukemia, acute leukemia, and myelodysplasticsyndrome, joined Winship in 2004 as director of the Leukemia Program, director of the Division of Hematology, and associate professor in the Emory School of Medicine. In 2009, he was promoted to professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, and was later named to the R. Randall Rollins Chair in Oncology.

  • ODAC votes 12-4 to recommend approval for kinase inhibitor used after completion of trastuzumab 

    The FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee May 24 voted 12-4 to recommend approval of neratinib for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early-stage ERBB2-positive breast cancer who have received prior adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.

    The drug, which has the trade name Nerlynx, is sponsored by Puma Biotechnology Inc.

  • In Brief

    • Carl June to receive ASCO’s Karnofsky award, Eric Winer—Bonadonna award, Brian Druker—Science of Oncology award
    • ACR Gold Medals go to Bruce Hillman, John Patti, and Jeffrey Weinreb 
    • A $100 million gift establishes a UChicago institute focused on microbiome and immunity 
    • NCI awards Fred Hutch $24 million to operate contact center for patients 
    • Karmanos wins federal grant renewal for membership in Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium 
    • NCCN funds two studies through collaboration with AstraZeneca to evaluate effectiveness of osimertinib
    • Saint Luke’s and Washington University School of Medicine announce clinical trials affiliation 

     

  • Drugs and Targets

    • Keytruda gets accelerated approval based on a genetic feature—first such action
    • Debiopharm acquires antibody-drug conjugate compound from ImmunoGen