Research Summaries

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.

May 29, 2015

Results from a small phase II study suggest that the PD-1 immunotherapy, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), works better when tumors have a large number of genetic changes or mutations.

June 2, 2014

Women with cervical cancer that has spread to other parts of the body have few treatment options, especially if the disease gets worse during or after treatment. As a result, newer approaches to treatment are needed. A small study looking at a new type of personalized immunotherapy, known as adoptive T-cell therapy, has produced some promising results. This treatment approach boosts the body’s natural defenses against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to fight the cancer. 

May 14, 2014

Early-stage research suggests that a new targeted drug, PLX3397, could become a treatment option for people with a neoplastic joint disorder called pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS). PVNS is a rare joint condition that usually affects the hip or knee, causing tumors to form in these joints that destroy joint tissue and cause severe, life-changing symptoms. PVNS is a type of uncontrollable cell growth, similar to a cancer, but it is not considered a cancer because it usually does not spread to other parts of the body.

January 14, 2014

A large study shows that testing for specific genetic changes in tumor cells can tell doctors whether people with metastatic colorectal cancer (colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) are likely to benefit from combining second-line chemotherapy with a targeted therapy called panitumumab (Vectibix). A second-line treatment is given if the first treatment does not work, starts but then stops working, or causes serious side effects.

April 22, 2013

New findings from a retrospective study suggest that targeted anti-HER2 therapy may slow disease progression in patients with advanced lung cancer who carry a specific alteration in HER2—a protein that controls cancer growth and spread, found on some cancer cells, such as breast, ovarian, and lung cancer cells.

January 22, 2013

Recently, researchers developed a new way to classify stage II and III colorectal cancers based on gene expression (which genes within each tumor are turned on or off) into three separate subtypes. Each of these subtypes helps predict a patient’s prognosis (chance of recovery) and how a tumor responds to adjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy given after treatment). Previously studied genetic tests, such as Oncotype or ColoPrint, can help doctors find out which tumors are more likely to grow and spread quickly, but there are still no clear recommendations for identifying which patients should receive  adjuvant chemotherapy and which patients wouldn’t benefit from additional chemotherapy..

January 22, 2013

An early ongoing study suggests that looking at gene expression (which genes within each tumor are turned on or off) may help doctors predict how well chemotherapy will work and monitor how well chemotherapy is treating the cancer. Some genes within pancreatic tumors are similar between patients and some are different. These differences affect how well cancer drugs work for each patient.

June 4, 2012

A study in Germany showed that it is possible for local community hospitals to test non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for molecular factors involved in the cancer. This means that a greater number of patients will have access to these tests. These molecular factors can be genes, proteins, or features of the tissue environment that contribute to cancer growth and survival. The results of tests for molecular factors often determine whether targeted therapy is a treatment option. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the molecular factors involved in cancer growth.

June 3, 2012

A recent study by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) shows that chemotherapy after radiation therapy slowed the growth of anaplastic oligodendroglial tumors (a type of brain tumor). It also lengthened the lives of patients with this type of tumor, especially for those whose tumor was missing specific genetic material in chromosomes 1 and 19 (called 1p/19q co-deletions). Currently, most patients with this disease receive either chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but not both.

June 2, 2012

A new immunotherapy (called BMS-936558) helped shrink melanoma, kidney cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a recent early study. Immunotherapy is 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 bolster, target, or restore immune system function.