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American Society of Clinical Oncology, May 29 - June 2

Last Updated: June 03, 2015.

The 51st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago and attracted approximately 20,000 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, with presentations focusing on novel targeted therapies as well as improvements in chemotherapy and radiation therapy approaches.

In one study, Patrick Schöffski, M.D., M.P.H., of the University Hospital Leuven in Belgium, and colleagues demonstrated that eribulin represents an important breakthrough for clinicians and a significant step forward for patients living with advanced soft tissue sarcomas. These patients currently face few treatment options and a poor prognosis. "This is the first and only randomized controlled trial of a single-agent systemic therapy to demonstrate an improvement in overall survival in people previously treated for advanced soft tissue sarcomas. The study met its primary objective for overall survival benefit for investigational use in patients treated with eribulin compared to dacarbazine," Schöffski said.

Median overall survival for eribulin was 13.5 months, compared to 11.5 months for dacarbazine, representing a significant benefit, meaning that patients treated with eribulin may have a 23 percent reduction in mortality risk.

"Furthermore, an additional study end point included progression-free survival at 12 weeks. While there was a numerical difference between arms favoring eribulin versus dacarbazine (33 versus 29 percent), this was not statistically significant. Median progression-free survival was 2.6 months in both arms," Schöffski said. "The results of this investigational study are important because it is the first study to show any extension of survival with a drug treatment in soft tissue sarcoma, and is a robust, randomized phase III trial."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eisai, which manufactures eribulin and sponsored the study.

Abstract No. LBA10502
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In a phase II study, Saad Usmani, M.D., of the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, N.C., and colleagues evaluated patients with multiple myeloma who had undergone at least three prior lines of treatment or were refractory to both proteasome inhibitors and immunomodulatory drugs.

One hundred six multiple myeloma patients with very advanced disease were treated with daratumumab 16 mg/kg. The patients had received five prior lines of treatment and were refractory to the most recent treatment with proteasome inhibitors/immunomodulatory drugs. The investigators found that the overall response rate was 29 percent. Median response to daratumumab was 7.4 months. The investigators also found that the safety profile was good. The only common side effect found with this therapy was infusion-related reactions; however, most patients only had the infusion side effects on the first treatment and they did not recur with subsequent treatments.

"The efficacy and safety of daratumumab are very encouraging. Given the activity and safety of daratumumab, trials are underway to add the medication to existing treatment strategies," Usmani said. "We hope to increase the efficacy of available drugs without causing additional side effects."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Janssen, which manufactures daratumumab and funded the study.

Abstract No. LBA8512
Press Release

In a pair of studies, researchers indicate that physical activity may reduce a woman's risk of lung or breast cancer. In one study, researchers found that women seem less likely to either develop or die from lung cancer if they engage in physical activity, and the benefits increase the more a woman stays on the move. "We saw that as levels of physical activity increase, risk of lung cancer decreased," lead author Ange Wang, a medical student at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, told HealthDay.

The researchers relied on data from the Women's Health Initiative, focusing on about 132,000 postmenopausal women. During nearly 12 years of follow-up, just over 2,200 women developed lung cancer and 1,400 women died from the disease. But women who spent more minutes per week on the move were less likely to either develop lung cancer or die from it, according to the findings. Even active smokers enjoyed some protective benefit from lung cancer, when compared with sedentary smokers, the researchers said.

Abstract No. 1519

In the second study, researchers reviewed 38 previous studies published between 1987 and 2014 that involved 4.18 million women and 116,304 cases of breast cancer. Women with the highest levels of physical activity experienced an 11 to 20 percent reduction in breast cancers, compared to women with the lowest levels of activity.

Overall, a sedentary woman who began engaging in four to seven hours a week of mainly vigorous physical activity seemed to reduce her risk of breast cancer by 31 percent, according to lead author Cecile Pizot, a biostatistician with the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France. "This reduction occurred irrespective of the type of physical activity, the place of residence, obesity, and menopausal status," Pizot told HealthDay. "Also, breast cancer risk seems to decline with increasing physical activity, and we observed no threshold."

However, that benefit only applied to women who had never used hormone replacement therapy. Taking replacement hormones appeared to wipe out whatever protective benefit that exercise conferred.

Abstract No. 1561

ASCO: Melanoma Rates on the Rise for U.S. Youth

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Melanoma incidence has increased by 253 percent among U.S. children and young adults since the 1970s, and young women appear to be especially vulnerable, accounting for two-thirds of cases diagnosed in 2011. These findings are scheduled for presentation this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Elotuzumab Shows Benefit in Multiple Myeloma

TUESDAY, June 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The drug elotuzumab reduces the risk of cancer progression and mortality by 30 percent when combined with the standard two-drug therapy for multiple myeloma, according to a new study. The findings were published online June 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Longevity Improving for Childhood Cancer Survivors

TUESDAY, June 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Mortality rates among five-year childhood cancer survivors 15 years after diagnosis have been halved since the 1970s -- falling from 12.4 to 6 percent, according to new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Risks of Whole Brain Radiotx May Outweigh Benefits

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Targeted radiation in the treatment of brain metastases leads to less cognitive damage than radiation for the entire brain, while survival is similar, researchers reported Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago. In a second study, researchers report that early trials of a new form of gene therapy may give hope to patients battling glioblastoma.

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ASCO: MMR Deficiency Predicts Pembrolizumab Response

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The first genetic marker to predict response to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) has been identified by researchers, according to findings published online May 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Rx Strategies Promising for CLL, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Two new targeted treatments have shown promise in slowing the progression of recurring chronic-lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and slow-growing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, researchers report. Both findings were to be presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Lymph Node Sx Doesn't Benefit All Melanoma Patients

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Not all melanoma patients need surgery to remove lymph nodes surrounding their tumor, according to findings scheduled for presentation Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago. A second study presented Sunday and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that new immunotherapy could significantly extend life expectancy in advanced melanoma.

Press Release - Lymph Node Surgery
Press Release - Nivolumab
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ASCO: Palbociclib Ups Survival in HR+ Metastatic Breast Cancer

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Adding palbociclib (Ibrance) to standard hormone therapy may benefit patients with advanced hormone receptor-positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HR+/HER2−) breast cancer over hormone therapy alone, according to a new study. The findings were published online May 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Greater Breast Tissue Removal Reduces Further Surgery

MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Thousands of breast cancer patients in the United States might be spared a second surgery if more tissue was removed during initial breast-conserving, partial mastectomy surgery, a new study suggests. The study was published online May 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: PD-1 Immunotherapy Benefits Patients With NSCLC

FRIDAY, May 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- An immune checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, may reduce patients' risk of death from non-small-cell lung cancer by 27 percent compared with patients who received docetaxel, according to research scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Many Cancer Patients Interested in Genetic Profiling

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with cancer are interested in comprehensive tumor genetic profiling (CGP), and most are willing to pay out-of-pocket costs for CGP, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to be held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Docetaxel With Hormone Tx May Improve Outcomes

FRIDAY, May 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Giving docetaxel at the same time as hormone therapy (HT) can improve survival for men with newly diagnosed, advanced prostate cancer, according to new research. The study is scheduled for presentation May 30 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to be held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Nicotinamide May Help Prevent Non-Melanoma Skin CA

THURSDAY, May 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A form of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide) is linked to a reduction of non-melanoma skin cancers by 23 percent when taken twice daily, according to new research. The study is scheduled for presentation May 30 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, to be held from May 29 to June 2 in Chicago.

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