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 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.
According to a recent study, giving bevacizumab (Avastin) along with standard chemotherapy doubled the time it took for platinum-resistant ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers to worsen. These are all cancers of a woman's reproductive system that are treated similarly. Platinum-based chemotherapy is often the first treatment for these cancers and includes the drugs cisplatin (Platinol), carboplatin (Paraplat, Paraplatin), and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin). When platinum-based drugs stop working to control the cancer's growth, it is called platinum-resistant cancer.
In a new study on a type of leukemia called high-risk B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), researchers found that adolescents and young adults (ages 16 to 30) were more likely to have the disease recur (come back after treatment) and more likely to die from the disease than younger patients. Adolescents and young adults (often shortened to AYA) with cancer make up a unique group of patients with different medical, social, and emotional needs than both younger and older patients. The results of this study highlight the importance of finding new ways to treat leukemia and lower the side effects of treatment for these patients.
A recent study showed that patients with metastatic kidney cancer (kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) preferred pazopanib (Votrient) to sunitinib (Sutent), reporting that they had better quality of life while receiving pazopanib. These drugs are a type of treatment called targeted therapy, which targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. To help control cancer growth, patients with metastatic kidney cancer often need to take one of these drugs for many months or years. This means that they are also likely to experience side effects for as long as they take the drug, which can greatly affect their long-term quality of life.
A recent study showed that the drug olanzapine (Zyprexa) helps manage nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy when the usual treatments for these side effects are not working. Nausea and vomiting is a common, but often manageable, side effect of chemotherapy. However, despite treatments given to prevent nausea and vomiting, about 30% to 40% of patients taking certain types of chemotherapy still have nausea and vomiting. When this happens, it is called breakthrough nausea and vomiting.
A small analysis of a larger study showed that combining two different targeted therapy drugs, dabrafenib and trametinib, stopped advanced melanoma from worsening while causing less severe side effects than the current standard targeted therapy drug. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets a cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Specifically, dabrafenib targets changes in the BRAF gene, and trametinib targets changes in the MEK gene to stop melanoma growth.
A new analysis of a large survey showed that many primary care providers (PCPs) are not familiar with the long-term side effects of four types of chemotherapy commonly used to treat breast and colorectal cancers. It is important for cancer survivors to have lifelong follow-up care to watch for long-term side effects (also called late effects), and survivors often visit PCPs for ongoing follow-up care after cancer treatment ends. This study highlights the importance of communication between oncologists, PCPs, and cancer survivors to make sure survivors receive appropriate follow-up care and treatment for any long-term side effects.
In an early study with the targeted therapy drug crizotinib (Xalkori), researchers found that it stopped the growth of neuroblastoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), and inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), and in some instances, removed all signs of the cancer.
About one-third of men with localized, high-risk prostate cancer who received the drug abiraterone (Zytiga) along with hormone therapy before surgery had little to no cancer remaining after six months of treatment, according to a recent clinical trial. Prostate cancer is called localized high-risk prostate cancer when the tumor has grown throughout the prostate, is high grade (meaning the cancer cells barely look like normal cells, called a Gleason score of 8), and the man has a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level higher than 20.
Studies of two different drugs may change treatment for patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma. Advanced melanoma is stage IIIC or IV and cannot be removed with surgery, and metastatic melanoma has spread to other parts of the body. One study showed that the drug vemurafenib increased survival for patients with advanced melanoma when compared with chemotherapy. Vemurafenib is a type of targeted therapy, a treatment that targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Specifically, vemurafenib targets mutations (changes) to a gene called BRAF, which is found in about half of all melanomas.