It’s an exciting time in the world of cancer research as the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting — the largest conference of cancer doctors — kicks off. New developments are offering hope to patients, caregivers and practitioners, and SurvivorNet is following all of the action.
This week featured a variety of advancements including important news for non-small cell lung cancer patients and early stage breast cancer patients.Read More
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Good news: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug called sotorasib (brand name: Lumakras) for lung cancer patients whose tumors have a mutation called KRAS.
Who this is for: Non-small cell lung cancers patients with the KRAS mutation whose cancer has spread even after treatment with chemotherapy or other medications.
Why it’s significant: In clinical trials, sotorasib shrank tumors with the KRAS mutation in around 36% of patients with 81% of patients achieving disease control. KRAS mutations have long been considered resistant to drug therapy.
Good news: In a study, one year of treatment with a PARP inhibitor pill called olaparib (brand name: Lynparza) following surgery and/or chemotherapy significantly reduced the risk of recurrence and prevented the cancer from spreading.
Who this is for: Early stage, HER2 negative, high risk breast cancer patients with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic variant.
Why it’s significant: The three year survival rate without a recurrence of what’s called invasive breast cancer was 85.9% for patients treated with olaparib, compared to 77.1% in the placebo group. Doctors expect that once the drug is approved, it will become the standard of care for patients fitting the profile.
Good news: A study reports that an experimental drug that delivers radiation directly to prostate cancer tumor cells (called Lu-PSMA-617) improved survival.
Who this is for: Advanced stage, metastatic prostate cancer patients
Why it’s significant: In the trial, the addition of Lu-PSMA-617 to standard treatment slowed progression of prostate cancer. People receiving the drug had a median of 8.7 months of progression-free survival — the period when the disease didn’t worsen — compared with 3.4 months for those receiving only standard treatment. The emergence of this entirely new type of treatment could be a breakthrough.
Good news: An immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab (brand name: Keytruda) given after surgery improved disease-free survival rates in patients with kidney cancer.
Who this is for: Kidney cancer patients with a high risk of recurrence after surgery
Why it’s significant: Treatment with pembrolizumab for one year after surgery revealed a 32% decrease in the risk of recurrence or death compared with a placebo. This study is the first “positive” study of the benefit of post-surgery immunotherapy for kidney cancer patients and is a potential new standard of care.