Issue 41 - Nov 2, 2018
  • Minimally invasive surgery lowers survival in cervical cancer, new studies show

    Women who were subjected to minimally invasive surgery for early-stage cervical cancer were four times more likely to die from that disease within three years, three times more likely to have a recurrence within three years, and had shorter overall survival, compared to women who underwent open surgery, according to two groundbreaking studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine Oct. 31.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Ramirez: We no longer offer minimally invasive radical hysterectomy at MD Anderson

    When cervical cancer patients were referred to MD Anderson Cancer Center for a prospective, phase III trial testing for noninferiority of minimally invasive vs. open abdominal radical hysterectomy, many requested the minimally invasive approach, because their referring physicians said it was better, said Pedro Ramirez, a professor of gynecologic oncology at MD Anderson.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    SGO’s Kesterson: Future studies are needed to define role of minimally invasive surgery in cervical cancer

    Gynecologic oncologists need to reduce oncologic risk, but it’s not going to happen without knowing why minimally invasive radical hysterectomies decrease survival of patients with cervical cancer, said Joshua Kesterson, chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Penn State  Cancer Institute.

  • Experts: Minimally invasive procedures in gynecology gained universal acceptance before hard questions were asked

    think these investigators should be commended in doing this trial and coming up with these results. It shows that, in a clear way, we can’t make assumptions in anything we do. The assumption that robotic surgery would be just as good as open surgery is clearly demonstrated here that it’s not a fair assumption.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Waksal: Reflecting on the Tree of Life shooting and new American anti-Semitism

    It made me step back and think that things can happen anywhere, and when they happen, it certainly makes one take pause and think, life is fragile in that way as a Jew anywhere, and anti-Semitism has been more in the news than it ever was.

  • In Brief

    • Barry Kramer retires from NCI
    • Adam Margolin to lead new $200M program to accelerate precision medicine at Mount Sinai
    • Andrzej Dlugosz to oversee basic science research at Rogel Cancer Center
    • Leonard Freedman named chief science officer at Frederick National Laboratory
    • Johnathan Whetstine to lead Cancer Epigenetics Program at Fox Chase
    • Syapse to utilize NCCN Biomarkers Compendium for clinical care
    • ONS and other groups ask nurses to lead by example to promote advance care planning
    • SU2C announces fundraising at CVS pharmacies
  • Funding Opportunities

    Global challenge aims to open new direction in breast cancer research

    The California Breast Cancer Research Program has launched the Global Challenge to Prevent Breast Cancer, a competition designed to surface game-changing research ideas to advance breast cancer prevention.

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  • Clinical Roundup

    • Survey shows 4 in 10 Americans believe alternative therapies can cure cancer
    • Study identifies factors for reducing risk of immunosuppression, fever in people treated with chemotherapy
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Keytruda + carboplatin and either paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel for first-line metastatic squamous NSCLC
    • FDA accepts sNDA for Lonsurf for metastatic gastric/gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma; grants Priority Review
    • Venclexta + Gazyva reduced risk of disease worsening or death in previously untreated CLL with co-morbidities
    • TESARO achieves Zejula prostate cancer development milestone by Janssen
    • Cofactor Genomics launches ImmunoPrism kit for use in clinical sequencing laboratories
  • NCI Trials

    NCI Trials for November

    The National Cancer Institute Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program approved the following clinical research studies last month.

    For further information, contact the principal investigator listed.

Issue 40 - Oct 26, 2018
  • Long-awaited trial of checkpoint inhibitor in breast cancer produces 2-month PFS gain; no final OS advantage seen—yet

    Tecentriq, Genentech’s PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, is the first immunotherapy agent to report positive outcomes in breast cancer in a phase III trial—providing proof of principle that these drugs are active in treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    NCI’s Korde: Follow-up needed to validate PFS with mature OS results for Tecentriq

    In talking to patients, I think it’s difficult to ignore the possibility of a 10-month improvement in overall survival in patients with PD-L1 positive tumors. If this result is confirmed with longer follow-up and seen in future studies, it would certainly be a major step forward in the treatment of TNBC.

  • Has Tecentriq earned a role in treatment of triple-negative breast cancer? Here is what experts say

    Obviously, the field of immune-oncology has been one of the great success stories in our field over the last five years, based on our molecular understanding of the mechanisms of immune tolerance (or checkpoints) and how to disrupt that. Not only has ASCO declared Checkpoint Inhibition (as well as cellular-based immunotherapy) the “Advance of the Year,” the Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Prize to Drs. Allison and Honjo for their fabulous observations that led to these great breakthroughs.

  • Trump’s drug pricing plan pegs Medicare Part B payments to international levels

    The Trump administration earlier this week said it intends to start the rulemaking process aimed at aligning Medicare payments for drugs with prices paid outside the US.

  • In Brief

    • Ken Cowan to step down as director of Nebraska’s Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
    • Otis Brawley, Patricia Ganz, James Wade receive ACCC awards
    • Taylor Ripley to join Baylor College of Medicine
    • Alastair Thompson to lead breast surgical oncology at BCM
    • Rutgers’s Richard Drachtman receives Melvyn H. Motolinsky Award
    • Mount Sinai mammography van intended to break down disparities in screening
  • TCCL Logo

  • Clinical Roundup

    • Keytruda improved OS as monotherapy and in combination with chemo in first-line recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer
    • Keytruda shows nearly 40% CR in high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer unresponsive to standard of care
    • Loxo Oncology announces larotrectinib clinical update in patients with TRK Fusion cancers
    • Pfizer provides update on PALOMA-3 trial of IBRANCE in HR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer
    • Data monitoring committee recommends continuation of SGX301 trial in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
    • Data on Merck’s investigational STING agonist presented at ESMO 2018
    • Zoledronic acid improves DFS in premenopausal HR+ early breast cancer
    • SOLO-1 phase III trial demonstrates Lynparza maintenance therapy cut the risk of disease progression or death by 70% in advanced BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer
    • Study shows surgery, radiation extend survival of patients with limited metastatic lung cancer
    • Lonsurf meets OS and PFS endpoints in phase III trial
    • AVEO Oncology, EUSA Pharma announce updated interim results from phase II portion of the TiNivo study in renal cell carcinoma
    • Celsion announces PFS data from GEN-1 phase I immuno-oncology study in stage III/IV ovarian cancer
    • Study: Racial disparity in colorectal cancer incidence not due to biology
    • Marker found for condition that causes skin tumors
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA accepts sNDA for Lonsurf for metastatic gastric/gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma; grants Priority Review
    • BMS provides update on regulatory review of Opdivo + Yervoy in first-line lung cancer
    • Zai Lab announces approval of Zejula in relapsed ovarian cancer in Hong Kong
    • NCCN awarded $2M to study Taiho’s Trifluridine and Tipiracil in various cancers
Issue 39 - Oct 19, 2018