The ASCO Annual Meeting brings together physicians, researchers, patient advocates, and other health care professionals to present and discuss significant new research across all types of cancer and the spectrum of cancer care, from prevention, through treatment, and into survivorship. But with more than 5,800 abstracts presented at the meeting and online, it’s hard to keep up with all of the research news.
The Cancer.Net Associate Editors are here to help sort through the science. In the Research Round Up podcast series, they share their thoughts on what is exciting and practice-changing research in their area of expertise from the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting.
Listen to this first podcast in the Research Round Up series or read on to find out scientific highlights in 4 areas of cancer care: sarcomas, gastrointestinal cancers, kidney cancer, and glioblastoma.
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Treating sarcomas in younger and older patients [1:50]
Dr. Vicki Keedy, the Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Sarcoma, discusses a study on a new treatment for osteosarcoma, a rare bone sarcoma that is most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults:
“These data showed that 2 out of 3 patients receiving regorafenib did not have their tumor grow in 8 weeks, and 1 out of 3 patients did not have their tumor grow after 24 weeks. This is a particularly significant finding.”
She also discusses 2 studies that looked at the treatment of older adults with soft-tissue sarcoma:
“What I take from both of these studies is that the older patients actually did tolerate doxorubicin quite well, with only a small portion of patients coming off due to toxicity... And therefore it's important for us to not make treatment decisions, particularly, to not hold chemotherapy in patients purely based on their age.”
Highlights in gastrointestinal cancers [5:56]
Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, the Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Gastrointestinal Cancers, discusses 3 studies across a range of gastrointestinal cancers: adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas, and liver cancer.
“These are 3 exciting trials that were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In my mind, these are all trials that are going to lead to change of care for patients with these individual diseases. They're clear advancements in adding to the armamentarium for all these diseases to help patients have control of their disease and improve their quality of life and overall survival.”
Treatment options for kidney cancer [17:28]
Dr. Brian Rini, the Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Genitourinary Cancers, discusses 3 studies that looked at different treatment options for kidney cancer: 1 that explored whether surgery was needed for some people with kidney cancer, 1 study on pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a first treatment for kidney cancer, and third, a study on axitinib (Inlyta) after immunotherapy for advanced kidney cancer.
“We need to carefully select patients for surgery or not upfront: it's still a very individualized decision. We are moving towards immune-based therapies, including combinations in the front-line setting, although the data presented at ASCO tells us that single-agent immune therapy may have a significant role for patients, and there are active drugs after immune therapy... So we're rearranging the way we approach patients with this sequence of therapies, and I think the data presented at the ASCO 2018 Annual Meeting helps us to move forward and reconstruct that sequence of therapy for metastatic kidney cancer patients.”
Precision medicine and glioblastoma [24:35]
Dr. Susan Chang, the Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Central Nervous System Tumors, discusses the theme of this year’s meeting, “Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine,” and outlines several studies that show how the focus on precision medicine is leading to important new research in treating glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain tumor.
“Over the last few years, we have learned how the molecular and cytogenetic makeup of tumors can serve as important predictors of outcome and response to treatment. And several of the scientific abstracts this year demonstrated how improved understanding of the biology of disease can translate into personalized treatment strategies and novel approaches.”