News Highlights of the Day

2017 ASCO Annual Meeting

The 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting, June 2-6 in Chicago, is 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 throughout the event.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Thank you for using Cancer.Net as your source for breaking news and research highlights from the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. If you missed any of the previous days’ research or want to refer back to any of these highlights, you can find everything on the Cancer.Net Blog, which delivers cancer research news, expert perspectives, podcasts, and patient stories year-round.

Keep reading for a summary of today’s research on immunotherapy for multiple myeloma and mesothelioma and targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer. You can visit the Cancer.Net Blog for more information on each study:

  • CAR T-cell therapy sends multiple myeloma into remission. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that involves collecting a person’s own T cells, genetically reprogramming the T cells in a lab, and injecting them back into the patient. A small, early study in China used this type of therapy to treat multiple myeloma in 35 people, causing a remission in most patients. While the results are early, the treatment’s effectiveness in the majority of the patients in the study is encouraging.

  • Early research suggests immunotherapy for mesothelioma may work. Early findings from a phase II clinical trial in France indicate that immunotherapy may be an effective approach to treating people with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) that has come back, or recurred, after standard chemotherapy. The study focused on 2 immunotherapy treatment plans, nivolumab (Opdivo) or a combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab (Yervoy). After 12 weeks of treatment, the cancer had not worsened for 44% of patients who received nivolumab and 50% of patients who received both nivolumab and ipilimumab. For comparison, other treatments used for recurrent MPM stop the cancer from worsening in less than 30% of patients. While more research is needed, this study’s results indicates that immunotherapy may be a new treatment option for people with this hard-to-treat disease after a recurrence.

  • Alectinib halts ALK-positive lung cancer growth more than a year longer than crizotinib. Alectinib (Alecensa) is a therapy that targets a specific genetic change in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. About 5% of all people diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have this genetic change, called ALK-positive NSCLC. The standard therapy used to treat ALK-positive NSCLC is crizotinib (Xalkori), but although it initially works in most patients, the cancer typically starts growing again within a year. In this study, researchers compared alectinib to crizotinib as a first-line treatment for ALK-positive NSCLC. The study showed that it took about 15 months longer for the cancer to start growing again after treatment with alectinib, compared to crizotinib. It also caused fewer side effects.

  • Potential new targeted therapy for EGFR-positive lung cancer. Some people with NSCLC have a genetic change in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), called EGFR-positive cancer. This genetic change leads to an overactive EGFR protein, which fuels the growth of cancer cells. EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been the standard treatment for people with newly diagnosed EGFR-positive NSCLC for several years. Findings from a clinical trial indicate that a new targeted therapy, dacomitinib, is more effective than 1 of the current standard targeted therapies used for EGFR-positive NSCLC. However, the dacomitinib also caused more severe side effects.

  • Adding second HER2 blocker may help some women with breast cancer. Results from a clinical trial with women with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer suggest that adding a second HER2 targeted therapy, pertuzumab (Perjeta), to the standard treatment of trastuzumab (Herceptin) after surgery may help reduce the risk of invasive cancer. Invasive breast cancer begins in the milk ducts or glands and spreads into surrounding tissue. From there, it can spread to nearby lymph nodes and beyond. Treatment with trastuzumab is already very effective. However, patients who received pertuzumab and trastuzumab had a 19% lower chance of developing invasive breast cancer than those who received only trastuzumab. This increased benefit is modest, so while adding pertuzumab to standard treatment might help some women with HER2-positive breast cancer, patients should talk with their doctor about this based on their personal risk level of the disease returning after treatment.

Additional News from ASCO

Videos of Research News Highlights
with ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO

Dr. Hayes discusses an online tool for self-reporting symptoms, new research on 3 months vs 6 months of chemotherapy for colon cancer, and a targeted therapy drug for metastatic breast cancer. Watch these and other videos about the meeting's research news now

Download the Award-Winning Mobile App From Cancer.Net

With the news and research coming out of the ASCO Annual Meeting, you may have questions about how this research could affect your care. Cancer.Net’s award-winning mobile app makes it easy to track questions to ask your health care team at your next appointment. In addition, the app features a newly redesigned dashboard offering easy access to oncologist-approved information and saved data, enhanced symptom tracking, improved data filtering capabilities, and calendar integration.

Cancer.Net Mobile is completely free and available on the iOS App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. It is Spanish enabled as well.

Open Comment for Breast Cancer Guidelines

ASCO and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) are holding a public, open comment period for 2 breast cancer guidelines: 1 on HER2 testing and the other on estrogen and progesterone receptor testing. We invite patients and patient advocates to submit feedback online by June 12.

Follow #ASCO17 for Up-To-Date Information

Whether you are in Chicago or following the news from home, find up-to-date information by following @CancerDotNet on Twitter and liking Cancer.Net on Facebook.

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


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Research news continues to emerge from the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. Today is the plenary session, highlighting research that has the greatest potential impact on care for people with cancer. Read on for a brief summary, or head to the Cancer.Net Blog to learn more about these studies and what they mean for patients:

  • Web-based system for self-reporting symptoms helps patients live longer. Results from a clinical trial of 766 people with advanced cancer show that a simple web-based system can provide major benefits to patients, including living longer. The tool allows patients to report their symptoms in real time and then alerts their health care team if severe or worsening symptoms are reported.

    Online Symptom Reporting Helps People with Advanced Cancer Live Longer. Online tool: 31 months survival vs Usual Care: 26 months survival. 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting

  • For some with colon cancer, shorter chemotherapy is nearly as effective and has fewer side effects. A large international study has found that many people with colon cancer may only need to have half of the 6-month standard course of chemotherapy after surgery. The study found that there was only a 1% overall difference between people who had a cancer recurrence after 6 months and 3 months of chemotherapy. In addition, the shorter term of chemotherapy was associated with fewer side effects and better quality of life.

  • Olaparib slows the growth of BRCA-related metastatic breast cancer. Results from a phase III clinical trial show that a class of medications called PARP inhibitors may be effective at slowing the growth of metastatic breast cancer when there is a BRCA-related genetic mutation. PARP inhibitors block DNA repair in cancer cells, making it difficult for them to replicate and for the cancer to grow. The PARP inhibitor olaparib (Lynparza) is already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in women with BRCA-related ovarian cancer. The results of this study show that olaparib may deliver better results in treating BRCA-related breast cancer and also cause fewer side effects.

Additional News from ASCO

Videos of Research News Highlights
with ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO

Dr. Hayes discusses new research presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting on pregnancy after breast cancer and shares how the results of this study led to further research. Watch the video to learn more.

Why YIA?

“Why YIA?” is a question you’ll often hear at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. The answer? Because curiosity conquers cancer. A Young Investigator Award (YIA) provides seed money for early-career scientists to begin exploring their ideas to conquer cancer. It’s an investment the Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) of ASCO has been making for decades to ensure the brightest minds in research have the resources to uncover new breakthroughs. CCF is aiming to fund four YIAs during the ASCO Annual Meeting. To learn more about inspiring YIA recipients and to support future research, visit conquer.org/why.

ASCO’s TAPUR Study Continues Its Expansion

ASCO’s Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study is a non-randomized clinical trial that offers patients access to molecularly targeted cancer drugs and collects real-world data on clinical outcomes to help learn the best uses of these drugs outside of indications approved by the FDA. Since its launch last year, TAPUR has continued to grow, with more than 285 participants registered and more than 100 clinical sites participating as of mid-May. For more information, please visit tapur.org or cancer.net/tapur.

Follow #ASCO17 for Up-To-Date Information

Whether you are in Chicago or following the news from home, find up-to-date information by following @CancerDotNet on Twitter and liking Cancer.Net on Facebook.

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


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Scientific news and research continues to be released from the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Want up-to-the-minute information? Be sure to follow @CancerDotNet on Twitter and like Cancer.Net on Facebook. Keep reading for a summary of the day’s most exciting news, including new research on breast cancer, prostate cancer, targeted therapy, using blood tests to screen for cancer, and genetic testing. Learn more about these studies on the Cancer.Net Blog.

  • Pregnancy after breast cancer does not increase the risk of recurrence. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of reproductive age, and many women with breast cancer are diagnosed before they plan to have children. Survivors have worried for a long time that pregnancy could increase the chances of breast cancer coming back. A large study of breast cancer survivors shows that pregnancy does not increase the risk of a breast cancer recurrence.


    Read a full-text transcript of this animation. 

  • Abiraterone is shown to help men with advanced prostate cancer live longer in 2 studies. Abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) is approved by the FDA to treat prostate cancer that has worsened even after treatment with androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT). Now, 2 new clinical trials focused on using the drug in combination with ADT for specific groups of patients. Results from these clinical trials show that adding abiraterone to ADT to treat advanced prostate cancer helps men live longer.

  • New targeted therapy may treat many types of cancer in adults and children. A new targeted therapy, larotrectinib (LOXO-101), may be the first targeted cancer medicine taken by mouth that is not specific to a certain cancer type, but instead focuses on a specific genetic abnormality found in a range of tumor types. Larotrectinib stops tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion proteins. Researchers reviewed data from 3 early clinical trials that involved 43 adults and 12 children with over 17 types of cancer, including specific types of colon, lung, pancreatic, thyroid, salivary gland, and gastrointestinal cancers, as well as melanoma and sarcoma. Results indicate that larotrectinib may be a new treatment option in both adults and children for a variety of cancers that have TRK fusion proteins.

  • New blood test technology shows promise as a tool for finding cancer early. A study of 124 people with advanced breast, non-small cell lung, and prostate cancers used a new genomic sequencing approach to find tiny pieces of genetic material that dying cancer cells shed into the bloodstream, called circulating tumor DNA. Results indicate that this new technology could be a step forward in the effort to create a blood test that can screen for cancer earlier, before it causes signs or symptoms.

  • Routine genetic testing of cancer is possible, but only some patients benefit. Targeted therapy is a type of therapy that aims at specific molecular targets, which can be identified with genetic testing. Genomic testing is being done in a growing number of people with advanced cancer, but comprehensive genomic testing is currently not a part of routine cancer care. A French study called ProfiLER shows that routine genomic testing can identify more patients who may benefit from targeted therapy, although the actual number of people who may receive treatment is smaller. If a patient can receive a matched targeted therapy, then he or she has a better chance of living longer.

Additional News from ASCO

Videos of Research News Highlights
with ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO

In these videos, Dr. Hayes discusses a new study on testicular cancer survivorship and what it represents about the field of testicular cancer, as well as new research that looked at ways to provide psychological support for people with cancer.  

New Patient Education Booklet: Managing Cancer-Related Pain

In this new booklet, patients and their family caregivers will learn about the importance of pain relief, as well as the causes of pain, how it is diagnosed, and pain-relief strategies. This booklet also includes a pain tracking sheet to help patients record how pain affects them. Download a free PDF of this booklet or learn more at www.cancer.net/pain.

ASCO’s CancerLinQ® Continues to Grow

ASCO’s powerful CancerLinQ® platform contains growing amounts of real-world cancer information that will allow health care providers to analyze data, uncover patterns and trends, and measure their care against that of their peers and recommended guidelines. Currently, more than 85 practices across 40 states and the District of Columbia have signed agreements to participate in CancerLinQ. For more information, please visit cancerlinq.org.

Follow #ASCO17 for Up-To-Date Information

Whether you are in Chicago or following the news from home, find up-to-date information by following @CancerDotNet on Twitter and liking Cancer.Net on Facebook.


Friday, June 2, 2017

The 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting is here! Over the next 4 days, more than 38,000 people—including doctors, researchers, and patient advocates—from around the world will be in Chicago to present and discuss new scientific advances across the field of oncology. And, as always, Cancer.Net will keep you updated on the latest news with this special series of Inside Cancer.Net newsletters and with daily posts on the Cancer.Net Blog, discussing what this news means for patients, caregivers, and families.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Making a Difference in Cancer Care WITH YOU.” In this patient education video, ASCO President Dr. Daniel Hayes discusses this theme and 3 key reasons the ASCO Annual Meeting is so significant to the cancer care community.

The Latest Research News

A series of studies announced today at the ASCO Annual Meeting explores ways to improve care for survivors, including various ways of offering psychological support during and after cancer treatment, an important part of high-quality cancer care. Learn more about the following studies on the Cancer.Net Blog:

  • Low testosterone common, linked to chronic health problems in testicular cancer survivors. A new study of testicular cancer survivors found that 38% had low testosterone and were more likely to have chronic health problems. This study highlights the connection between low testosterone and other health problems in survivors.2 in 5 testicular cancer survivors have low testosterone. Low T is linked to: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, anxiety/depression. 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.

  • Online therapy program for patients lowers distress. An 8-week, web-based stress management program called STREAM was shown to lower distress and improve quality of life for people newly diagnosed with cancer. This study shows that using online tools can allow patients and their health care team to communicate effectively without being face to face and provide access to psychological support.

  • New face-to-face therapy program lowers fear of recurrence for survivors. Fear of cancer returning, called recurrence, is common among people who have completed cancer treatment. This fear can negatively affect survivors’ follow-up medical care, mood, relationships, work, goal setting, and quality of life. A 10-week program, called Conquer Fear, offered in-person, individual therapy sessions for survivors and was shown to reduce fear of recurrence by a greater amount than relaxation training provided over the same amount of time.

  • Talk therapy lowers distress for people with advanced cancer. Participants in a talk therapy program called CALM, which has been developed specifically for people with advanced cancer, were shown to have fewer symptoms of depression and improved psychological well-being than those who received the usual care. Usual care consisted of screening for distress and basic psychosocial care. These kinds of customized programs could help improve the quality of life for more people with advanced cancer.

  • Severe health problems in childhood cancer survivors steadily decreasing. An analysis of data from 23,600 childhood cancer survivors shows that the occurrence of certain severe health conditions has declined over the past few decades. This data suggests that advances in cancer treatment and supportive care have helped improve the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors. However, regular follow-up care remains important because survivors still have an increased risk of long-term side effects.

  • Single radiation treatment relieves symptoms of spinal cord compression. A study of 688 people with metastatic cancer found that a single dose of radiation therapy is as effective as 5 doses of radiation therapy for metastatic spinal cord compression. Spinal cord compression is when cancer is in the spine and presses on the spinal cord, causing pain, numbness, and difficulty walking. This study suggests that a single dose of radiation therapy is an option for some patients.

Additional News from ASCO

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 attending the ASCO Annual Meeting 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.

Follow #ASCO17 for Up-To-Date Information

Whether you are in Chicago or following the news from home, find up-to-date information by following @CancerDotNet on Twitter and liking Cancer.Net on Facebook. The meeting’s hashtag is #ASCO17.

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


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting Is just a few weeks away! From June 2nd to June 6th, more than 38,000 cancer specialists from around the world will gather in Chicago to present and discuss the latest research in treatment and patient care.

Throughout the meeting, ASCO's patient education website, Cancer.Net, will keep you updated on the scientific highlights with this special series of Inside Cancer.Net newsletters and with daily posts on the Cancer.Net Blog, discussing what this news means for patients, caregivers, and families. Please share these newsletters and blog posts with others who want to know more about the latest cancer research news.

Preview of the Latest Research

This afternoon, ASCO released 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:

Healthy lifestyle helps chances of survival after colon cancer diagnosis. A study of people diagnosed with stage III colon cancer shows that people with a healthy lifestyle had a lower chance of dying from the cancer than those with a less healthy lifestyle. They were also less likely to have the cancer come back after treatment.

Healthy habits help patients after a colon cancer diagnosis: eat a health diet, exercise regularly, limit alcohol, maintain a healthy weight. 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting

Eating tree nuts could help reduce colon cancer recurrence. Another study of people diagnosed with stage III colon cancer who ate 2 or more ounces of tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans) a week had a lower chance of the cancer returning after treatment and a lower chance of dying from cancer.

Oral chemotherapy extends survival in biliary tract cancer. A clinical trial with 447 people diagnosed with biliary tract cancer showed that taking capecitabine (Xeloda) after surgery lengthened their lives by more than a year compared to people who did not take capecitabine. Capecitabine is a type of chemotherapy taken by mouth.

More cancers diagnosed earlier after Affordable Care Act implementation. An analysis of information from about 275,000 patients under age 65 showed a 1% increase in diagnoses of several common cancers at the earliest, most treatable stages between 2013 and 2014, after the full Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect.

Targeted therapy can delay recurrence of some non-small cell lung cancers. A study showed that people with specific stages of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received the targeted therapy gefitinib (Iressa) after surgery lived about 10 months longer without the cancer coming back than patients who received standard chemotherapy. They were also less likely to experience severe side effects.

HPV vaccination may reduce oral HPV infections. In the United States, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is currently approved for the prevention of several types of cancer, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers. HPV is also a known risk factor for some types of head and neck cancer, including oral cancer, but whether HPV vaccination could reduce oral cancer has not yet been studied in clinical trials. However, a new study shows that young adults who received the HPV vaccine were 88% less likely to have high-risk oral HPV infections than those who had not received the vaccine.

Follow #ASCO17 for Up-To-Date Information

Whether you will be in 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 also offers a guide to this year’s Annual Meeting social media coverage.

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