News Highlights of the Day

2016 ASCO Annual Meeting

The 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting, held June 3-7 in Chicago, IL, was the platform for the release of thousands of scientific abstracts -- highly anticipated cancer research news for many people, including patients, caregivers, and the public. ASCO is pleased to share this timely information with the public in a variety of ways. On this page, you can find highlights of the scientific news program from each day of the meeting.

Stay on top of news from additional ASCO meetings, as well as articles, videos, podcasts, and events featured on Cancer.Net by signing up now to receive the free monthly newsletter Inside Cancer.Net. You can also follow Cancer.Net on TwitterFacebook or Google+.

To search the collection of meeting abstracts, visit ASCO’s website.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Thank you for using Cancer.Net as your resource for breaking news, research highlights, and expert discussions over the last four days of the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting. In case you missed any of the research presented this weekend, you can find highlights of the latest advances from the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting on the Cancer.Net Blog or by following Cancer.Net on Facebook and Twitter.

The Latest Research from ASCO 

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement surrounding new treatments. But, cancer research is more than exploring new treatment options. An important part of patient-centered care involves finding the best ways to get patients the care they need and to make sure they have the highest quality of life possible. These studies offer a glimpse into how the research community constantly strives to make sure that treatments help everyone in need. Learn more about these highlighted studies on the Cancer.Net Blog.

Web-based follow-up application helps patients with lung cancer live longer. Researchers in France studied using a web-based application that allowed patients with advanced lung cancer to report their symptoms to their doctors. By using this web application, patients were able to spend less time going to office visits and experienced a better quality of life. They also improved their chances of having a recurrence identified early, which could help them live longer. 

Black women with BRCA gene changes are less likely to receive preventive surgery. In a study of breast cancer survivors across Florida, researchers found that black women were less likely to receive recommended genetic testing and preventive treatments than white or Hispanic women. The researchers do not know precisely why black women are receiving less treatment. Patricia Ganz, MD, ASCO Expert in breast cancer, notes that “it’s important that all women and their physicians have that discussion about the benefits and risks [of preventive treatment], no matter their race.”

Cancer drug affordability is a worldwide issue. There is a lot of anecdotal news about the differences in costs of cancer drugs between countries. However, there is little actual research to support claims about drug prices. In this study, researchers looked at differences in prices for 23 cancer drugs in 7 countries to compare affordability. This study showed that even though cancer drugs may cost less in low-income countries, the drugs are less affordable than they are in countries like the United States or United Kingdom. However, more studies are needed to examine patients’ ability to pay for their medications.

Aggressive cancer treatment at the end of life. When is it right? In 2012, ASCO’s Choosing Wisely® recommendations advised against giving patients treatments that slow, stop, or eliminate cancer when it is unlikely that the patient will benefit from the treatment. Instead, these patients should receive palliative care to make the end of life as comfortable and pain-free as possible. However, in this new study, researchers found that the recommendations had little effect on how many people received aggressive care, including invasive medical procedures or admission to the hospital or intensive care.

Patients and their caregivers need to be informed about their options when it comes to the end of life and communicate their wishes to their health care team. Open communication between patients and doctors can help prioritize a patient’s quality of life and temper expectations.

Vice President Joe Biden to Speak at 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting Special Session

ASCO is pleased to announce that Vice President Joe Biden will deliver remarks during the ASCO Annual Meeting on Monday, June 6, at 3 PM US Central time in Hall B1. Vice President Biden will discuss the Cancer Moonshot Initiative — his ambitious project to double the pace of progress against cancer in coming years. Since the Moonshot initiative launched in January, ASCO has worked with the Vice President to support and offer guidance. The event will be open to all meeting attendees and will be streamed online. Learn more.

Video Highlighting Research News
With Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, President of ASCO, and Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, ASCO President-Elect

In these 2 new videos, ASCO leaders discuss new research and what it means for people with cancer and their loved ones. Watch Dr. Vose discuss a study about a new drug that could change standard treatment for multiple myeloma, and Dr. Hayes discuss new research on the quality of cancer care.

Join the Campaign to Conquer Cancer

Take part in The Campaign to Conquer Cancer, established by the Conquer Cancer Foundation to do one BIG thing—take down cancer. Your gift will help fund breakthrough research and share cutting-edge knowledge with patients and their families through resources like Cancer.Net. Donate today and make an immediate impact helping build a world free from the fear of cancer.

Look for Research Round Up Podcasts This Summer

Although the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting will be ending soon, watch for the Cancer.Net Research Round Up podcast series throughout the summer, covering additional scientific findings and highlights from the meeting. Led by experts, these topic-specific podcasts are designed to help deepen your knowledge about the wave of cancer research released at this meeting.

For questions or to receive more information about Cancer.Net, send an email to contactus@cancer.net


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Research news continues to emerge from the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting. Today’s plenary session highlights research that has the greatest potential impact on care for people with cancer. Additionally, new research in the fields of immunotherapy and targeted therapy continue to show promising results for cancers with limited treatment options.

Plenary Session Research Highlights

Learn more about these potentially practice-changing research advances on the Cancer.Net Blog.

Extending hormonal therapy for breast cancer to 10 years. Hormonal therapy for early breast cancer has been used after breast cancer treatment for many years. A new study shows that extending hormonal therapy may lower the chance of recurrence without increasing side effects for many women.

Daratumumab: A potential addition to standard care for multiple myeloma. Adding daratumumab (Darzalex) to standard treatment for multiple myeloma could significantly lower the chance of the disease worsening. Those who received daratumumab were 70% less likely to have the disease worsen than those who had only standard treatment. In addition, patients taking daratumumab were twice as likely to experience a decrease in the amount of abnormal cells associated with multiple myeloma.

Longer lives for older patients with glioblastoma.  Adding temozolomide (Temodar) to radiation therapy may lengthen the lives of older adults with glioblastoma. Currently, there are no guidelines on the best treatment options for older adults with glioblastoma. This study is the first to look at temozolomide plus radiation therapy for older adults, and the results suggest it could be a promising option.

Double stem cell transplant keeps neuroblastoma away longer. Using 2 stem cell transplants for high-risk neuroblastoma increases the chance that children will stay cancer-free longer. Neuroblastoma is a cancer that starts in the nerves outside of the brain. Overall it is a rare tumor, but it is the second most common solid tumor in children. Less than half of children with the high-risk form of neuroblastoma live 5 or more years after diagnosis. This is why it is so important to find treatments that can lengthen these patients’ lives. While this study is very promising, it is too early to know if this approach will accomplish that.

Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy Research Highlights

In 2016, ASCO named the emerging field of immunotherapy the Clinical Cancer Advance of the Year. Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. There are many forms of immunotherapy. Watch this video to see how 1 method of immunotherapy, a monoclonal antibody that blocks the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, works in melanoma and lung cancer.

Targeted therapy uses drugs to stop cancer from growing and spreading. They work by targeting specific genes or proteins. These genes and proteins are found in cancer cells or in cells related to cancer growth, like blood vessel cells.

Learn more about new advances in immunotherapy and targeted therapy in these highlighted studies on the Cancer.Net Blog.

Atezolizumab helps patients with advanced bladder cancer. Patients with advanced bladder cancer who were treated with atezolizumab (Tecentriq) lived longer than patients who received the current standard treatment. This therapy offers a new alternative to people who are unable to tolerate the current standard treatment.

Stomach cancer antibody can lengthen life in patients. A new antibody called IMAB362 holds promise for patients with advanced stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer. This therapy nearly doubles how long a patient can survive with stomach cancer if the tumor has high levels of a specific protein. The antibody is also promising because it may be effective in treating other types of cancer.

Early promise in treating small cell lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is very difficult to treat. In a small, early clinical trial, researchers found that a form of targeted therapy (antibody drug conjugate, ADC) that combines an antibody with an anticancer drug shows promise in treating SCLC.

Video Highlighting Research News
With Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, ASCO President-Elect

In this video, Dr. Hayes discusses new research on immunotherapy and targeted therapy and what it means for people with cancer and their loved ones.

#WeConquerCancer: Create Your Own Fundraiser

We run. We ride. We conquer. Fundraising in honor of a special occasion, person, or event is easy with #WeConquerCancer. Set up your online fundraiser today and help make a difference in the lives of all who have been affected by cancer.

Follow #ASCO16 for Up-to-Date Information

You can keep up with the news coming from the ASCO Annual Meeting by following Cancer.Net on Facebook and Twitter. Or visit the Cancer.Net Blog every day for more reports from Chicago.

For questions or to receive more information about Cancer.Net, send an email to contactus@cancer.net.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

As the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting continues in Chicago, new research emerged today on the significance of precision medicine. Precision medicine may also be called personalized medicine. In this approach, doctors look at a person’s genetic makeup or look for specific genetic changes within a tumor. By using this information, doctors hope to find strategies for prevention, screening, and treatment that are more effective and customized for each person.

Learn more about the basics of how looking for specific gene changes in a tumor can guide treatment:

The Latest Research from ASCO

Learn more about precision medicine in these highlighted studies on the Cancer.Net Blog.

Matching treatment to tumor genetics increases patients’ options. Early results from an ongoing study suggest that identifying specific genetic changes in a tumor may add to patients’ treatment options in the future. Participants in this study have all had testing to find genetic changes to specific pathways in the tumor cells. A tumor can use changes in these pathways to grow. Then, patients received drugs that targeted these pathways, called targeted therapies. Matching treatments to a tumor’s specific genetic changes holds a lot of promise for the future of cancer treatment, although more research is needed on this topic.

Advancing breast cancer research: Asking patients for help. In an innovative research approach, researchers joined with patients and patient advocacy groups to create the online Metastatic Breast Cancer Project. Participants are asked about their cancer and the treatment they have received, and with their permission, researchers are given access to each patient’s medical records and any stored tumor samples. Patients can also use an at-home collection kit to provide a saliva sample for testing. So far, more than 2,000 patients from across the country have joined this study. The hope for this project is that more information about metastatic breast cancer can lead to new advances in treatment.

A less invasive way to identify tumor genetics. Researchers have found that genetic changes normally found through a biopsy can also be detected in a blood sample. In this study, researchers took blood samples from more than 15,000 patients, a group that included 50 different types of cancer. Then, they compared the information from these blood samples with information from tumor biopsy samples. Researchers found that 94% to 100% of the time, the genetic changes detected in the blood samples were also seen in the tumor tissue.

Videos Highlighting Research News
With Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, President of ASCO

In these 2 videos, Dr. Vose discusses how new research on existing treatments can lead to improvements in cancer care and what new research on precision medicine means for people living with cancer.

Women Who Conquer Cancer

Women are essential to the global movement to conquer cancer, yet female researchers still face unique challenges in the workplace. Help ensure that the best and brightest female researchers get the funding they need by joining Women Who Conquer Cancer. Learn more about this important movement today.

Follow #ASCO16 for Up-to-Date Information

You can keep up with the news coming from the ASCO Annual Meeting by following Cancer.Net on Facebook and Twitter. Or visit the Cancer.Net Blog every day for more reports from Chicago.

For questions or to receive more information about Cancer.Net, send an email to contactus@cancer.net.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Beginning today, more than 30,000 cancer specialists—including doctors, researchers, and patient advocates—are gathering in Chicago to talk about the latest research in state-of-the-art treatments, new therapies, and patient care.

The theme for this year’s meeting is Collective Wisdom: The Future of Patient-Centered Care and Research. According to ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, “the patient is at the center of a very complex system trying to assist them through their journey of cancer care. I selected the theme of collective wisdom to represent the importance of the multimodality care that is necessary for our patients.”

Cancer.Net Editor in Chief, Lidia Schapira, MD, FASCO, explains what the ASCO Annual Meeting means for people with cancer and their families: “It’s important to remember that cancer research is a joint enterprise between scientists and patients, with the common goal of improving available treatments and, in so doing, lessening suffering and loss.”

The Latest Research from ASCO 

New research released today at the ASCO Annual Meeting focuses on new ways to use existing treatments to improve cancer care. Learn more about these highlighted studies on the Cancer.Net Blog.

Mixing old and new chemotherapies to treat pancreatic cancer. Researchers found that adding capecitabine, a drug commonly used to treat breast and colorectal cancer, to standard treatment with gemcitabine helped people with pancreatic cancer live longer.

Adding temozolomide (Temodar) to radiation therapy keeps anaplastic glioma stable. People with a certain form of anaplastic glioma (an uncommon and aggressive form of brain tumor) are normally treated with radiation therapy because chemotherapy does not work well. However, researchers have found that adding the chemotherapy temozolomide to radiation therapy stopped or slowed the tumor’s growth for almost 2 years longer than treatment with only radiation therapy.

Advanced ovarian cancer: Giving chemotherapy in 2 ways. Early results from a recent study suggests that for some women with advanced ovarian cancer, delivering chemotherapy into the abdomen (intraperitoneal, or IP) as well as into a blood vessel (intravenously, or IV) may be more effective than IV chemotherapy alone. IP chemotherapy allows higher doses of chemotherapy to get to the tumor and helps other parts of the body avoid side effects.

Biosimilar therapy for breast cancer shows effectiveness. In this study, researchers looked at how well a new form of trastuzumab, known as a biosimilar, worked for breast cancer. A biosimilar is a product that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says must be “highly similar” to a product that has already been approved and licensed for use in the United States in terms of safety, purity, and strength. Every biosimilar cancer drug must be rigorously tested to make sure that it is safe and effective for patients. This may be the first trial to show strong similarity between a patented cancer drug and a biosimilar. A trastuzumab biosimilar could increase the worldwide availability of this effective treatment for breast cancer.

Patient Advocates: Visit the Patient Advocate Lounge!

The Patient Advocate Lounge (McCormick Place Convention Center, Room S402, South Building) is a space set aside for advocates to gather in a relaxed environment. Take a coffee break, network with others, and attend special sessions designed just for advocates. Find the full lounge hours and learn more about programs for patient advocates at the ASCO Annual Meeting.

Join the Campaign to Conquer Cancer

Take part in The Campaign to Conquer Cancer, established by the Conquer Cancer Foundation to do one BIG thing—take down cancer. Your gift will help fund breakthrough research and share cutting-edge knowledge with patients and their families through resources like Cancer.Net. Donate today and make an immediate impact helping build a world free from the fear of cancer.

Follow #ASCO16 for Up-to-Date Information

You can keep up with the news coming from the ASCO Annual Meeting by following Cancer.Net on Facebook and Twitter. Or visit the Cancer.Net Blog every day for more reports from Chicago.

For questions or to receive more information about Cancer.Net, send an email to contactus@cancer.net.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It’s almost time for the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting! From June 3rd to June 7th, more than 30,000 cancer specialists from around the world will gather in Chicago to discuss the latest advances in cancer care, treatment, prevention, and survivorship.

Throughout the meeting, ASCO's patient education website, Cancer.Net, will keep you up-to-date on the latest news with this special series of Inside Cancer.Net newsletters and with posts on the Cancer.Net Blog discussing what this news means for patients. Please feel free to share these newsletters and posts with others interested in learning more about the latest cancer research news from the ASCO Annual Meeting.

Preview of the Latest Research from ASCO 

On May 18, ASCO made public thousands of scientific abstracts on the ASCO website. An abstract is a summary of a research study that allows readers to quickly learn about the important aspects of a study. Learn more about these highlighted studies on the Cancer.Net Blog:

Location Matters When It Comes to Colorectal Cancer. Researchers have discovered that a colorectal tumor on the left side of the body may be different from one on the right side. This can alter the effectiveness of drugs used to treat the disease.

Palliative care: Not just for patients. Researchers found that beginning palliative care shortly after a cancer diagnosis results in better quality of life and fewer symptoms of depression for family caregivers.

Stem cell transplant is still important for multiple myeloma. In this study, patients with multiple myeloma who received an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) were 24% less likely to have the disease worsen in the future than patients who received only chemotherapy.

Using biomarkers may improve treatment. A look at data from several early studies showed that patients whose treatment was selected based on the molecular characteristics of their tumor were more likely to have the tumor shrink and less likely to have the disease worsen.

Immunotherapy works for melanoma. An early study finds that 40% of patients with advanced melanoma are alive 3 years after starting treatment with pembrolizumab, a type of immunotherapy called a PD-1 inhibitor.

Researcher Spotlight: Conquering Cancer with Dr. Hu-Lieskovan

Learn more about the breakthrough work of Conquer Cancer Foundation-funded researcher Dr. Siwen Hu-Lieskovan. Her research focuses on immunotherapy, a type of treatment that motivates the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. The results of her work could improve outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma.

Follow #ASCO16 for Up-To-Date Information

Whether you are coming to Chicago or following the news from home, find up-to-date information by following @CancerDotNet on Twitter and liking Cancer.Net on Facebook. Cancer.Net provides a guide to this year’s Annual Meeting social media coverage, including how to get topic-specific coverage and follow ASCO’s expert tweeters.

And, if you are headed to Chicago and are on Twitter, be sure to join the June 4th Tweet-up for #ASCO16. Learn more and RSVP here!

For questions or to receive more information about Cancer.Net, send an email to contactus@cancer.net.