“Science and Society” was the theme of this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 50th annual meeting. The meeting showcased cancer research from around the world. Some new findings from Dana-Farber researchers included:
Joyce Liu, MD, MPH, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers reported that, in a phase 2 clinical trial, a combination of olaparib (a drug that blocks DNA repair in cancer cells) and cediranib (which blocks blood vessel growth in tumors) was considerably more effective in women with recurrent ovarian cancer than olaparib alone.. Progression-free survival – the length of time after treatment when the disease doesn’t worsen – was nearly twice as long in patients who received the combined therapy.
Christopher Sweeney, MBBS, of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, reported that, in a phase 3 trial, men with newly diagnosed, metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer lived more than a year longer when they received a chemotherapy drug as initial treatment rather than waiting for the disease to become resistant to hormone-blocking agents. The results should change the way physicians have routinely treated such patients since the 1950s, the research team stated.
Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, director of the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, presented data from a phase 1 trial showing that a new, more precisely targeted drug shrank tumors in about half of non-small cell lung cancer patients whose tumors no longer responded to conventional targeted drugs.. The agent, known as AZD9291, also produced markedly fewer side effects than did earlier targeted therapies for this type of cancer.
F. Stephen Hodi, MD, director of the Melanoma Treatment Program, reported that the immunotherapy drug nivolumab continues to have long-term effectiveness against metastatic melanoma, achieving a three-year survival rate of 41 percent in patients participating in a phase 1 trial of the drug. Nivolumab works by unleashing an immune system attack on certain cancer cells.