A Special Preview of Research from the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting

ASCO 50th Annual Meeting Science and Society
May 15, 2014
Amber Bauer, ASCO staff

From May 30 until June 3, more than 25,000 cancer specialists from around the world will gather in Chicago for the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 50th Annual Meeting.

“The study findings being presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting on the year of the Society’s 50th anniversary show there is unprecedented reason for hope in cancer research and care,” said Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, ASCO President. “Clinical trials are delivering on the promise of personalized medicine for both common and rare cancers. We’re finding relatively simple ways to improve the quality of patients’ lives during treatment and improving our understanding of how societal challenges, like obesity, can shape our patients’ care and outcomes.”

In this podcast, Robert S. Miller, MD, FACP, Editor in Chief of Cancer.Net; Jyoti D. Patel, MD, Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee; and Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO, ASCO’s Chief Medical Officer, discuss the results of five studies that will be presented at the meeting. These studies are among the more than 5,000 abstracts detailing new advances in cancer prevention, treatment, and patient care that are now available online

Highlights from these studies include:

Waiting to Receive Hormone Therapy May Be Safe for Men with Rising PSA Levels after Treatment for Prostate Cancer. According to this large study, men who have rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels after surgery or radiation therapy may be able to safely hold off on receiving hormone therapy until they experience symptoms or other signs that the cancer has returned. Because common side effects of hormone therapy, such as sexual problems and hot flashes, can worsen the longer it is given, delaying hormone therapy may improve quality of life.

Early Results Suggest New EGFR Targeted Therapy Shrinks Worsening Lung Cancers with Fewer Side Effects. Results from a phase I study show that a new targeted therapy directed at changes or mutations to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) shrank the cancer in  about 50% of patients with worsening non-small cell lung cancer. There is currently no standard treatment for patients whose lung cancer gets worse after initial treatment with EGFR targeted therapy.

In the Future, Patients with a Rare Neoplastic Joint Disease May Have a New Treatment OptionEarly-stage research suggests that a new targeted drug could become a treatment option for people with a rare joint condition called pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS). PVNS usually causes tumors to form in the hip or knee, which then destroy joint tissue and cause severe, life-changing symptoms.

Nationwide Lung Cancer Screening Could Find More Early-Stage Cancers, but at an Increased Cost. A new model predicts that nationwide lung cancer screening for people enrolled in Medicare who are at high risk for the disease due to smoking would double the percentage of early-stage lung cancers diagnosed over five years. However, it would add about $2.0 billion in Medicare costs annually.

Obesity Linked with Higher Risk of Death for Premenopausal Women with ER-Positive Breast Cancer. A recent analysis of data from 80,000 women showed that obesity increases the risk of death from estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer by one-third for women who have not been through menopause. However, obesity was not linked to an increased risk of death from cancer for women with ER-positive cancer who have gone through menopause or for women with ER-negative disease.

If you are interested in staying up-to-date on all of the news and advances announced throughout the ASCO Annual Meeting, subscribe to Cancer.Net’s e-newsletter to receive daily research highlights or get real-time social media updates by following the official #ASCO14 hashtag or the Twitter handles of ASCO’s expert tweeters.

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