Oncology Collaborations Highlight Recent Cancer Developments

Catch up with the latest news in cancer research.

Catch up with the latest news in cancer research.

CHAARTED Results Published in NEJM

Potentially practice-changing results from the phase III CHAARTED study were published in The New England Journal of Medicine recently. In the study, concomitant therapy with docetaxel and ADT initiated at the start of treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer resulted in an increased survival of 13.6 months compared with men who received ADT alone. The median overall survival with the combination was 57.6 versus 44.0 months with ADT alone (HR, 0.61; P <.001). The median time to progression was 20.2 months in the combination group, compared with 11.7 months in the ADT-only group (HR, 0.61; P <.001). In patients with high-volume disease, the median OS was 49.2 months with the combination versus 32.2 months with ADT alone (HR, 0.60; P <.001). Based on these findings and those from the large multi-arm STAMPEDE trial, the standard of care is likely to transition toward a combined approach for men with hormone-sensitive advanced prostate cancer, explained lead study author Dr Chris Sweeney. See more at http://www.onclive.com/web-exclusives/early-docetaxel-adt-combo-increased-survival-by-13-months-in-advanced-prostate-cancer

IP Chemo Uptake Slow, Despite Benefits

Utilization of frontline treatment with intraperitoneal chemotherapy has yet to gain widespread acceptance for a majority of patients with optimally cytoreduced stage III ovarian cancer, despite recommendations for its use and a clear demonstration of improved overall survival, according to a prospective cohort study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Utilization of IP regimens began to increase in 2005 and spiked after 2006, based on a more than 16-month OS advantage seen with IP versus IV therapy in the GOG-172 trial. However, following the initial climb, IP/IV therapy usage plateaued at approximately 50%, according to the study. In the analysis, the 3-year OS rates were 81% and 71% with IP/IV and IV chemotherapy, respectively (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.47-0.99). However, this barely passed the bar for statistical significance (P = .47). The rates of adverse events were lower in this cohort study compared with other clinical trials but were still higher in the IP/IV arm versus IV alone. These high rates of grade 3/4 AEs are the main deterrent to widespread use of IP therapy, according to James Tate Thigpen, MD. The phase III GOG-252 trial is currently assessing the role of bevacizumab with IP and IV therapy. See more at http://www.onclive.com/web-exclusives/intraperitoneal-chemotherapy-uptake-sluggish-in-ovarian-cancer

Medicare Will Cover Blinatumomab

In a flip decision, Medicare has decided to pay for the anti-CD19 immunotherapy blinatumomab as a treatment for patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative relapsed/refractory B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In April, Medicare seemed unwilling to pay for the $178,000 medication; however, after reviewing the evidence and hearing appeals from patients, the insurance program changed its course. Payment for the drug will begin on October 1, 2015, and the final rulling will be published in the Federal Register on August 17. The FDA approved Blinatumomab December 2014 after a very rapid review. The agent, which is a novel bispecific T cell engager antibody specific to CD19 and CD3, demonstrated a complete remission rate of 32% for a median duration of 6.7 months, according to the FDA. Additionally, the rate of CR or CR with partial hematological recovery was 42%. The FDA decision came approximately 5 months ahead of scheduled and followed a priority review and a breakthrough therapy designation. Blinatumomab is the first approved agent to target CD19, a promising target under exploration for patients with B-cell malignancies. In the pivotal trial, the median age of patients enrolled was 39 years. See more at http://www.onclive.com/web-exclusives/FDA-Approves-Blinatumomab-for-Acute-Lymphoblastic-Leukemia

Immuno-Oncology Collaborations Continue

An explosion in clinical trial collaborations between large pharmaceutical companies has taken place recently, with a specific focus on immune-oncology. Merck announced plans to collaborate with Immune Design on studies involving pembrolizumab in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma. These trials will pair pembrolizumab with either G100, a TLE4 agonist, or LV305, a NY-ESO-1 inhibitor. Terms of the agreement were not released. See more at http://www.specialtypharmacytimes.com/news/merck-announces-partnership-for-clinical-trials-in-lymphoma-melanoma-patients

MedImmune and Inovio Pharmaceuticals have entered into a large collaboration with milestone payments of up to $700 million. The agreement focuses heavily on the HPV-targeted cancer vaccine INO-3112, which MedImmune will explore in combination with other cancer immunotherapies and vaccines. These combination strategies will focus on cervical and head and neck cancers. Outside of collaborations to further new immunotherapy development, both Pfizer and BMS have resurrected research into CD137 inhibitors. These immunotherapies help activate the immune system and are being combined with other antibodies, such as rituximab for patients with types of lymphoma and with cetuximab in colon and head and neck cancers.