The following are brief reviews of some of the cancer research breakthroughs presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.
Some advanced colon cancer patients can now live longer thanks to an Amgen medication.
Researchers revealed on Sunday at ASCO 2022 that Amgen Inc’s medicine Vectibix resulted in “the longest survival ever documented” in a big trial for patients with inoperable advanced cancer originating on the left side of the colon whose tumors did not have RAS gene mutations.
Panitumumab, a monoclonal antibody developed by Amgen, belongs to a class of medicines known as EGFR inhibitors. Anti-VEGF antibodies, such as Roche’s Avastin, are the standard treatment in many countries, which means that many patients with incurable metastatic disease may not have been receiving the most effective treatment.
Over 800 patients with metastatic colon cancer who had “wild-type,” or non-mutated, RAS genes received conventional chemotherapy plus either Vectibix or Avastin in this experiment. Patients with right-side malignancies did not exhibit a survival advantage for one treatment over the other after an average of five years. The risk of death during the study was 18 percent lower for those who received Amgen’s medication among the 604 patients with left-side malignancies, according to researchers.
In an interview, study leader Dr. Takayuki Yoshino of National Cancer Center Hospital East in Kashiwa, Japan, said that patients treated with the anti-EGFR drug were more likely to see their tumors shrink enough to be eligible for potentially curable surgery, and that this treatment “should be the new standard of care.”
It looks that delaying cell transplants for multiple myeloma is safe.
According to data presented on Sunday, younger individuals with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who delay a stem cell transplant do not have a lower survival rate than those who receive the transplant sooner, and newer medication regimens may allow them to forgo the treatment entirely.
Patients who got early transplants were able to go more than 67 months without their condition worsening, compared to 46 months for those who waited. Despite the fact that only 28% of patients in the delayed group had a transplant, overall survival rates were the same in both groups. Others in the group were able to alter their therapies.
The 722-patient trial’s participants donated their own stem cells, which were preserved and reinfused following a transplant. Half of the patients were then transplanted before undergoing numerous cycles of a three-drug strategy that comprised Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid, which has long been the standard treatment for multiple myeloma, as well as Revlimid maintenance therapy. The remaining patients were given the three-drug treatment, followed by maintenance therapy, until their drugs failed and transplantation became the only alternative.
In an interview, study leader Dr. Paul Richardson of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston stated that while stem cell transplants are difficult and can have major side effects, they are still the gold standard of care. “We can treat you with triple-drug therapy and see how you perform, or you can keep transplant in reserve,” doctors can now advise patients.
The best medicine for lethal children cancer, according to data
According to data given on Sunday at ASCO, high-dose ifosfamide (IFOS) achieved the greatest results in the first randomized study comparing treatments for relapsed or treatment-resistant Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare and lethal childhood disease, allowing patients to survive around five months longer.
Only about 200 youngsters in the United States are diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma each year. It is resistant to treatment or recurs in around 30% to 40% of patients. The five-year survival rate for these patients is only 15%. There were 451 patients in the nine-country trial. Participants were initially randomized to one of four common chemotherapy regimens at random. Patients were given one of the final two treatments – IFOS or topotecan plus cyclophosphamide – after the two least effective were dropped from the research (TC).
IFOS patients had a median event-free survival of 5.7 months compared to 3.5 months for TC patients. Overall survival was 15.4 months with IFOS vs 10.5 months with TC, with 55 percent vs 45 percent one-year survival rates, respectively.
Dr. Martin McCabe of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom hailed the findings “pretty robust data,” but warned that IFOS is poisonous. “And yet, every single one of these individuals dies; we need better treatments.”