Pembrolizumab improves OS in NSCLC, “increases hope” for patients
Lauren Averett Byers, MD, MS, associate professor in the department of thoracic/head and neck medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the “remarkable” results from the KEYNOTE-001 clinical trial that was presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting, in which patients with advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer received pembrolizumab. The findings, which demonstrated a 5-year OS of 23% among previously untreated patients, have “increased the hope around outcomes in lung cancer,” according to Byers.
Genomic alterations predict response to immunotherapy, other agents
Arielle L. Heeke, MD, a breast medical oncologist at Levine Cancer Institute at Atrium Health, reviews a study she and colleagues conducted that examined whether homologous recombination-deficient breast tumors have genomic alterations that indicate responsiveness to targeted therapies beyond PARP inhibitors. In particular, the researchers found mutations in chromosome remodeling genes, which represent “a newer marker of response to immunotherapy,” according to Heeke, who added that markers of response to immunotherapy represented “the most exciting finding” of the study.
Immunotherapy trials in head and neck cancer focus on combination approaches
Nabil F. Saba, MD, professor in the department of hematology and medical oncology at Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, provides an update on immunotherapy presentations from ASCO 2019 that focused on head and neck cancer. He discusses the KEYNOTE-048 trial, a “practice-changing study” that compared pembrolizumab alone vs. pembrolizumab and chemotherapy with the standard EXTREME regimen (cetuximab [Erbitux, Eli Lilly] with carboplatin or cisplatin plus fluorouracil) in the first-line, recurrent, metastatic setting, as well as several other studies.
Data support inclusion of patients with HIV, cancer in immunotherapy trials
Thomas S. Uldrick, MD, MS, deputy head of global oncology, associate member of the vaccine and infectious disease division and associate member of the clinical research division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, discusses a study demonstrating that pembrolizumab had an acceptable safety profile among patients with HIV and cancer. “For patients with HIV and cancer who are treated with anti-PD-1 therapy based on FDA indications, these drugs are appropriate … and patients with HIV and cancer should be included in immuno-oncology studies,” Uldrick said.
Phase 3 trials offer ‘good news’ for patients with multiple myeloma
Saad Z. Usmani, MD, FACP, chief of plasma cell disorders at Levine Cancer Institute at Atrium Health, discusses two abstracts presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting. The first, a subgroup analysis of the MAIA study, combined daratumumab (Darzalex, Janssen) with lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene) and dexamethasone and compared it with lenalidomide and dexamethasone in older, transplant-ineligible patients. The second, the COLUMBA trial, examined IV vs. subcutaneous formulations of daratumumab.
Chemotherapy-free combination demonstrates ‘incredible results’ in DLBCL subtype
Jason Westin, MD, assistant professor in the department of lymphoma/myeloma and leader of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the results observed in the Smart Start study, in which patients with nongerminal center B-cell diffuse large B-cell lymphoma were treated with the chemotherapy-free combination of rituximab (Rituxan; Genentech, Biogen), ibrutinib (Imbruvica; Pharmacyclics, Janssen) and lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene). The “incredible results” demonstrate that this combination is highly effective, according to Westin, who added that additional research is needed to confirm the positive findings seen in this trial.
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