August 2017, Vol 10, Special Issue: Payers’ Perspectives in Oncology: ASCO 2017 Highlights

Chicago, IL—The theme of the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting was “Making a Difference in Cancer Care With You.” The meeting attracted 38,000 attendees from around the world over 5 days.
Chicago, IL—The issues underlying financial toxicity are undoubtedly complex, but for oncologists looking to help their patients cope, simply noting the cost of treatment from the outset may be the best place to start. As the cost of cancer care continues to rise, greater transparency throughout the process of drug pricing and drug payment needs to become part of the clinical discussion, said Leonard Saltz, MD, Chief, Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting.
Chicago, IL—Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is changing cancer care. In 2010, there were just 3 CAR T-cell clinical trials. As of May 2017, 183 clinical trials are underway, and for the first time, there are more clinical trials in China than in the United States, according to Carl H. June, MD, Director, Translational Research Program, University of Penn­­sylvania, Philadelphia, at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting. Dr June discussed how this rapidly evolving technology is taking immuno-oncology to the “next level” of precision medicine.
Chicago, IL—Larotrectinib (LOXO-101), an investigational agent that targets tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusions, has demonstrated excellent, consistent, and durable antitumor activity in a range of tumor types in adults and children, reported lead investigator David M. Hyman, MD, Chief, Early Drug Development Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting. Larotrectinib was called “the first oral tumor-agnostic therapy,” because of its unprecedented high response rates in 17 tumor types that express TRK.
Chicago, IL—The investigational, second-generation EGFR inhibitor dacomitinib reduced the risk for disease progression compared with gefitinib as first-line therapy for patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and EGFR mutation. Results from the phase 3 ARCHER 1050 clinical trial demonstrated a >40% reduction in the risk for disease progression and an average 6.5-month improvement in the duration of response with dacomitinib versus gefitinib.
Chicago, IL—Oral cediranib, an investigational vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, in combination with a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor or with chemotherapy, shows survival benefit in women with relapsed platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer, according to data from 2 studies presented at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting.
Chicago, IL—A new high-intensity genomic sequencing strategy (developed by Grail Inc) detects circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) at a high rate. The new approach is a major improvement on previous tests using ctDNA, which focus on a limited number of driver mutations to inform treatment strategies for metastatic disease or to monitor disease burden. The new test offers ultra-deep sequencing with a broad genomic coverage, but it is not ready for prime time to detect occult cancer. At present, the test is a research platform and is not commercially available.
  • Results of a Phase 2 Multicenter Study of Obinutuzumab plus Bendamustine in Patients with Previously Untreated CLL
  • Phase 1a/1b Study of a Novel BTK Inhibitor and Combination Drugs with Everolimus and Pomalidomide in Patients with CLL or Other B-Cell Lymphomas
  • Immunophenotypic and Quantitative Impacts of Ibrutinib and Chlorambucil on Circulating Immune Cells in CLL
  • Ibrutinib in Previously Treated CLL: Up to 4 Years’ Follow-Up of the RESONATE Study
  • Ublituximab and Ibrutinib for Previously Treated, Genetically High-Risk CLL: The GENUINE Study
  • COSMOS: MOR208 plus Idelalisib or Venetoclax in Relapsed/Refractory CLL or SLL Previously Treated with a Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor
Chicago, IL—Survival with the use of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) approved for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in the chronic phase is comparable among the available drugs, so other variables should come into play when selecting a specific TKI. In some instances, a treatment-free remission is possible, said CML experts at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting.
Chicago, IL—The tumor types amenable to immunotherapy with the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) keep expanding and now include sarcoma, which has been difficult to treat.
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