This section contains the latest highlighted research for patients from ASCO medical journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as an archive of research highlights from previous ASCO scientific meetings (2011-2015). For the latest research highlights from more recent ASCO meetings, visit the Cancer.Net Blog or check out Cancer.Net’s audio podcasts and videos for patients.
To search this archive, use the drop-down menu below. You can select a specific year, meeting or publication, and/or a specific topic, such as a type of cancer. Selecting "All" will take you to a complete list of articles that appear under all categories.
A prospective study of more than 100,000 Americans suggests that consuming citrus fruit, specifically whole grapefruit and orange juice, frequently may increase one’s chance of developing melanoma. However, experts stress more research is needed and caution against making any dietary changes based on this study at this time.
Recently, researchers found that nivolumab (Opdivo) either given as a single treatment or in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy) is more effective than treatment with ipilimumab alone for people with advanced melanoma.
According to the results of a recent study, people who have surgery to remove lymph nodes near a melanoma tumor live the same amount of time as those who are watched closely for signs of cancer.
Results from a large clinical study show that treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy) decreases the risk of melanoma coming back after surgery by roughly 25% for people diagnosed with high-risk stage III disease. However, this treatment causes serious side effects.
According to the results of a large phase I study, a new drug called MK-3475 may benefit people with melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body. MK-3475 blocks the function of a protein called PD-1 (programmed death-1) found on T-cells, a type of white blood cell that directly helps fight disease. Because PD-1 keeps the immune system from destroying cancer cells, stopping PD-1 from working allows the immune system to better eliminate melanoma.
An early study shows that half of patients with advanced melanoma who received a combination of ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab, an investigational medication, were alive almost three and a half years later (40 months). That is nearly double the amount of time reported in earlier studies that used either drug by itself.
Long-term follow-up of patients participating in an early study for advanced melanoma showed that nivolumab was able to shrink tumors and continue working for a longer time than other approved melanoma treatments. Nivolumab is a type of immunotherapy, a treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. Specifically, nivolumab targets PD-1, which is found on the surface of tumor cells and prevents the immune system from destroying the cancer. Nivolumab stops PD-1 from working so the immune system can get rid of the cancer.
Results from a new study show that the drug selumetinib keeps metastatic (cancer that has spread) melanoma of the eye from worsening and lengthens patients’ lives. Melanoma of the eye (also called uveal melanoma) is a rare cancer. Most patients with uveal melanoma are diagnosed when the cancer is located in the eye. But, the cancer eventually spreads outside of the eye to other parts of the body in about half of patients, and these patients usually live about nine to 12 months after diagnosis, so a drug that can lengthen patients’ lives is a major breakthrough.
In a recent study, combining a high dose of ipilimumab (Yervoy) with GM-CSF (Sargramostim, Leukine) helped patients with metastatic melanoma live longer than those who received ipilimumab alone. Both ipilimumab and GM-CSF are types of immunotherapy, a treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. Specifically, ipilimumab works to take the brakes off the immune system by targeting CTLA-4, a protein found on the surface of tumor cells that keeps the immune system from destroying the cancer. GM-CSF, on the other hand, is a growth factor that the body produces to help increase the number and function of white blood cells. It is commonly used to boost white blood cell counts after chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation.
Results from an early, ongoing study suggest that pairing the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy) with a new drug called nivolumab works better to shrink advanced melanoma. Currently, ipilimumab is a standard treatment option for advanced melanoma in many countries. Nivolumab, when used by itself, has been shown to effectively treat melanoma, as well as other cancers, in previous studies. Both nivolumab and ipilimumab are types of immunotherapy, a treatment designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. Specifically, nivolumab targets PD-1 and ipilimumab targets CTLA-4, which are both found on the surface of tumor cells and keep the immune system from destroying the cancer. These drugs stop PD-1 and CTLA-4 from working so the immune system can get rid of the cancer.