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ASCO Releases Studies From Approaching Annual Meeting

May 17, 2012

Important advances in treatment for aggressive cancers and supportive care

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today highlighted five studies in a press briefing from among more than 4,500 abstracts publicly posted online at abstract.asco.org in advance of ASCO’s 47th Annual Meeting.

Plenary, late-breaking and other major studies will be released in on-site press conferences at the Annual Meeting to be held June 1-5, 2012, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The meeting, which will feature the theme Collaborating to Conquer Cancer, is expected to draw approximately 30,000 cancer specialists from around the world.

“Nearly 50 years into the era of modern oncology, we can clearly see the fruits of our research investments,” said Michael Link, MD, President of ASCO. “Findings to be presented at ASCO’s Annual Meeting are part of the latest chapter in the history of progress against cancer. Today’s studies demonstrate improvements in precision medicine that identify and exploit cancer’s genetic weak spots to halt tumor growth and in some cases eradicate disease. Other studies give us valuable new tools and information to lessen the short- and long-term side effects of cancer treatment for our patients.”

Studies highlighted in today’s press briefing include:

In early study, crizotinib induces strong, long-lasting responses in aggressive pediatric cancers: Phase I study reports that crizotinib (Xalkori) — an oral drug that targets genetic abnormalities in the ALK gene — stalled tumor growth and, in some cases, eliminated all signs of cancer in select children with neuroblastoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma or inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors, cancers commonly driven by ALK gene abnormalities.

Combination of two molecularly targeted oral drugs show promise for advanced melanoma with BRAF mutations: Results from an early-phase trial show that combination therapy with two investigational targeted drugs — the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib — causes tumor regression and with a lower level of skin side effects than published studies of the current standard single-agent BRAF-targeted therapy, vemurafenib (Zelboraf), have shown.

Anti-psychotic medicine effective in treating severe chemotherapy-related nausea: A Phase III trial shows olanzapine (Zyprexa), an anti-psychotic medication, is superior to current standard treatment for breakthrough chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. These results address an important unmet need for patients who experience such side effects, despite routine preventive treatment.

Adding abiraterone to standard hormone therapy eliminates cancer in some men with earlier-stage, aggressive prostate cancer: A randomized Phase II study shows that six months of neo-adjuvant (pre-surgical) treatment with the targeted drug abiraterone (Zytiga) and hormonal therapy eliminated or nearly eliminated cancer in one-third of men with localized high-risk prostate cancer (which has spread throughout the prostate and is likely to spread further). Abiraterone is currently approved for men with advanced prostate cancer, following chemotherapy.

Survey highlights need for greater physician education, communication about late effects of common chemotherapy drugs: A large survey finds that many primary care providers and some oncologists are not fully aware of major long-term side effects of four chemotherapy drugs that are widely used to treat breast and colorectal cancers, two of the most common forms of cancer.




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