For the Research Round Up podcast series, we asked Cancer.Net’s Associate Editors to answer this question: “What was the most exciting or practice-changing news you heard at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting?” This series is part of the Cancer.Net Blog meetings coverage, where we provide written summaries and audio podcasts that help explain what new research means for patients. Listen to the podcast below or read on to see the highlights in 4 specific areas of cancer research: side effects and symptom management, breast cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia, and myeloma.
If you enjoyed these podcasts and posts, let us know by leaving a comment below or on Facebook or Twitter. This is the last Research Round Up podcast for 2017, but keep visiting Cancer.Net for more coverage of scientific news throughout the year.
This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.
Reporting symptoms and managing side effects [1:07]
Dr. Charles L. Loprinzi, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Psychosocial Oncology, discusses a follow-up of an earlier study that showed that people with advanced cancer who reported their symptoms using a web tool lived longer and had a better quality of life. He also discusses research on ways to prevent and manage fingernail-related side effects caused by a specific type of chemotherapy.
“What they did on this study was recorded in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, in 2016, showing that this actually improved quality of life in the patients who actually reported their information on a regular basis as opposed to patients who got regular care. At this ASCO meeting, however, they looked at survival outcome in this group of patients…and they noted that the groups who actually filled out the questionnaires lived 5 months longer than [those in] the control [group].”
New advances in breast cancer [5:44]
Dr. Erika L. Mayer, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Breast Cancer, discusses new research across 3 major subtypes of breast cancer: hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, HER2-positive breast cancer, and triple-negative breast cancer, which is more common in women with a mutation in the genes breast cancer 1 and breast cancer 2, commonly called BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
“In the OLYMPIAD trial, people with BRCA1 and 2 mutations and metastatic breast cancer were treated with either the PARP inhibitor olaparib, or a standard chemotherapy. The people who received olaparib not only had improved survival outcomes, but also had less toxicity with their treatment and improved quality of life compared with those who received regular chemotherapy… This also means that now more than ever, it may be important for breast cancer patients to pursue genetic testing and learn whether one has a BRCA1 or [BRCA]2 mutation and could be a candidate for this kind of medication.”
More on the OLYMPIAD study can be found here, and Dr. Mayer talks about 2 other studies, called MONARCH 3 and APHINITY, on breast cancer research as well.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors for CML [11:14]
Dr. Bruno Medeiros, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Leukemia, discusses a study called BFORE that compared 2 tyrosine kinase inhibitors—imatinib (Gleevec) and bosutinib (Bosulif)—in the treatment of people who have been newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). A tyrosine kinase inhibitor is a type of drug that targets specific proteins found in cancer cells.
“This is a unique study because it validates the utilization of a third second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor for patients with previously untreated CML. And the value of this particular randomized trial is that it demonstrates this efficacy without an increase in toxicity to bosutinib compared to imatinib, and previous studies have demonstrated that bosutinib appears to be very well tolerated long-term without any evidence of cardiovascular or pulmonary toxicities.”
Immunotherapy and targeted therapy for multiple myeloma [16:15]
Dr. Paul G. Richardson, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Multiple Myeloma, discusses 2 new studies in the treatment of multiple myeloma. First, he discusses a phase I study looking at a potential new immunotherapy for recurrent, refractory multiple myeloma. Then, he discusses an updated study findings about a targeted therapy, lenalidomide (Revlimid), that helps patients live longer after an autologous stem cell/bone marrow transplant.
“There was an updated presentation on the CALGB ECOG 10104 alliance study comparing lenalidomide maintenance to placebo after stem cell transplantation for patients with multiple myeloma. And in this particular analysis was an overall survival and progression-free survival evaluation adjusted for treatment crossover. What this helps us understand is whether or not using lenalidomide maintenance later in management is potentially as good as starting from the beginning.”