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American Society of Clinical Oncology, June 4-8

Last Updated: June 15, 2021.

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was held virtually from June 4 to 8 and attracted participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in oncology. The conference featured the latest advances in clinical cancer research, including 250 oral abstract presentations and 2,500 poster presentations in 24 disease-based and specialty tracks. Presentations focused on novel targeted therapies as well as improvements in chemotherapy and radiation therapy approaches.

As part of the phase III CHECKMATE 648 study, Ian Chau, M.D., of the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, England, and colleagues found that nivolumab added to chemotherapy and nivolumab plus ipilimumab may each serve as a potential new first-line standard of care in patients with advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).

The authors evaluated the survival benefit of using nivolumab plus chemotherapy, nivolumab plus ipilimumab, or chemotherapy alone, and randomly assigned patients with untreated, unresectable advanced, recurrent or metastatic ESCC to each of the three treatment arms. The researchers found significant overall survival benefit in both the primary patient population of tumor programmed death-ligand 1 expression that was 1 percent or more as well as in all randomized populations for both immunotherapy-containing regimens. Progression-free survival was significantly improved with nivolumab plus chemotherapy in the primary patient population. In addition, objective response rates were higher with nivolumab plus chemotherapy as well as nivolumab plus ipilimumab in the primary patient population. The duration of response was more prolonged when achieved by the immunotherapy-containing arms compared with chemotherapy alone.

"When these agents are approved in relevant countries, these two regimens will likely become the new standard of care," Chau said. "The clinical question will be how to choose between the two in an individual patient."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Bristol Myers Squibb, which manufactures nivolumab and ipilimumab and funded the study.

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In a retrospective cohort study, Edmund Qiao, of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues found that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening may improve prostate cancer outcomes for young African American men.

The authors used multivariable logistic regression to examine the influence of PSA screening intensity on metastatic disease at diagnosis and Fine-Gray competing risk regression, with noncancer death as a competing event and prostate cancer-specific mortality as the event, to evaluate prostate cancer-specific mortality. The researchers found that increased PSA screening intensity was associated with a nearly 40 percent reduced risk for metastatic disease at diagnosis as well as a nearly 25 percent decreased risk for death due to prostate cancer in younger African American men.

"While additional prospective validation is needed, our study supports increased conversation regarding initiation of PSA screening for young African American men, consistent with current National Comprehensive Cancer Network PSA guidelines," Qiao said.

One author disclosed financial ties to Seattle Genetics/Astellas.

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Jingxuan Zhao, M.P.H., of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues found that patients with cancer living in states with lower Medicaid income eligibility limits had worse long-term survival within stage across multiple cancer sites.

The authors examined associations between state Medicaid income eligibility limits and long-term survival among newly diagnosed cancer patients. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used, with age as a time scale, to assess associations of eligibility limits and stage-specific survival, while controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, metropolitan statistical area, number of health conditions other than cancer, year of diagnosis, facility type, and the random effect of state of residence. The researchers found that patients in states with higher Medicaid income eligibility limits experienced better long-term survival compared with patients in states with lower eligibility limits.

"This study indicates policies to increase Medicaid income eligibility limits, such as Medicaid expansion, may help improve survival following cancer diagnosis," Zhao said.

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ASCO: Sotorasib Targets KRAS p.G12C-Mutated NSCLC

WEDNESDAY, June 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Sotorasib therapy yields clinical benefit for patients with previously treated KRAS p.G12C-mutated non-small cell lung cancer, according to a study published online June 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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ASCO: Bladder Sparing Studied in Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer

MONDAY, June 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer, transurethral resection and combination treatment with gemcitabine, cisplatin, plus nivolumab with bladder sparing is feasible in selected patients, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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ASCO: Targeted RT Treats Certain Advanced Prostate Cancers

MONDAY, June 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For previously treated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer that is positive for prostate-specific membrane antigen, 177Lu-PSMA-617 plus standard of care improves radiographic progression-free survival and overall survival compared with standard of care alone, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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ASCO: Adding Olaparib Slows High-Risk Early Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, June 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of therapy with the poly polymerase inhibitor olaparib in an adjuvant setting improves invasive disease-free survival in early-stage human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative breast cancer with germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, according to a study scheduled for presentation June 6 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting and simultaneously published June 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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ASCO: Pembrolizumab Ups DFS in High-Risk Resected Clear-Cell RCC

FRIDAY, June 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with fully resected intermediate-high-risk or high-risk clear-cell renal cell carcinoma, adjuvant therapy with pembrolizumab yields a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in disease-free survival compared with placebo, according to a study scheduled for presentation June 6 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

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ASCO: COVID-19 Infections, Deaths Not Up With Breast Cancer Chemo

WEDNESDAY, June 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer do not have an increased risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection or mortality, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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ASCO: Incidence of Cervical Cancer Has Decreased in the United States

TUESDAY, June 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of cervical cancer has decreased, while the incidence of other human papillomavirus-related cancers has increased in the United States, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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ASCO: Oncologists Underestimate Patient Use of Complementary Medicine

TUESDAY, June 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Oncologists may substantially underestimate how many breast cancer patients are using complementary medicine, according to the results of a survey scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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ASCO: Nivolumab, Relatlimab Combo Slows Advanced Melanoma

FRIDAY, May 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Combination therapy with nivolumab and relatlimab prolongs progression-free survival compared with nivolumab alone among patients with previously untreated, unresectable or metastatic melanoma, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually from June 4 to 8.

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