In the Research Round Up series, members of the Cancer.Net Editorial Board discuss the most exciting and practice-changing research in their field and explain what it means for people with cancer. In today’s episode, 4 Cancer.Net Specialty Editors discuss new research in prostate, bladder, kidney, and testicular cancers presented at the 2022 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium and 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting.
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In the Research Round Up series, members of the Cancer.Net Editorial Board discuss the most exciting and practice-changing research in their field and explain what it means for people with cancer. In today’s episode, 4 Cancer.Net Specialty Editors discuss new research in prostate, bladder, kidney, and testicular cancers presented at the 2022 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium and 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting.
This episode has been adapted from the recording of a live Cancer.Net webinar held June 15th, 2022, led by Dr. Neeraj Agarwal, Dr. Timothy Gilligan, Dr. Petros Grivas, and Dr. Tian Zhang.
Dr. Agarwal directs the Genitourinary Oncology Program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.
Dr. Gilligan is an Associate Professor and Medical Oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig (TOSS-ig) Cancer Center.
Dr. Grivas is the clinical director of the Genitourinary Cancers Program at University of Washington Medicine. He is also an associate member of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Dr. Zhang is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a medical oncologist at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Full disclosures for Dr. Agarwal, Dr. Gilligan, Dr. Grivas, and Dr. Zhang are available at Cancer.Net.
Greg Guthrie: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Greg Guthrie, and I'm a member of the Cancer.Net content team. I'll be your host for today's Research Round Up webinar focusing on cancers of the genitourinary tract. Cancer.Net is the patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, known as ASCO. So today, we'll be addressing research from 2 2022 scientific meetings, the ASCO Annual Meeting held in Chicago in June and the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium held in San Francisco in February. Our participants today are all Specialty Editors of the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, and they are Dr. Neeraj Agarwal of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in University of Utah, Dr. Timothy Gilligan of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, Dr. Petros Grivas of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington, and Dr. Tian Zhang of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. So starting us off today is Dr. Agarwal who will be talking about research in prostate cancer. Go ahead, Dr. Agarwal.
Dr. Agarwal: Hi. Thank you, Greg. So I'd like to start with 2 studies. They both are in prostate cancer which will be followed by my colleagues presenting studies in other cancers in bladder cancer and kidney cancer. So I’ll start with this abstract, which was highly discussed by the doctors at the ASCO Annual Meeting a few weeks ago, and it has a lot of relevance in our practice. So this is abstract #5000 presented by Dr. Michael Hofman, and this was the update on a clinical trial which compared lutetium PSMA-617, or lutetium PSMA, to put it simply, with cabazitaxel in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who had disease progression after receiving docetaxel chemotherapy.
So, who were the patients who were enrolled on the study? These patients had, as I said, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, who had disease progression after docetaxel chemotherapy, and who had to have high PSMA-expressing prostate cancer. And the way they assessed the presence of high PSMA expression was by using a specialized kind of PET scan known as Gallium 68 PSMA-11 PET scan. In addition, they made sure that these patients do not have another type of prostate cancer, also call it dedifferentiated prostate cancer, by making sure that those patients did not have a traditional PET scan-positive disease.
So this was a highly selected patient population who were expressing PSMA on their prostate cancer. Prior to this presentation, the earlier presentation had shown that lutetium PSMA was superior to cabazitaxel as far as progression-free survival is concerned and also was associated with lower incidence of grade 3 or 4 side effects. In this update, after a longer follow-up of 3 years, Dr. Hofman and Dr. Davis, who is a senior author, they presented the data on overall survival, which was a secondary analysis, and overall survival was similar with cabazitaxel as well as lutetium PSMA in the range of 19 months. We did not see any new safety signal.
So, what does it mean for us? What does this mean for our patients? My key takeaway message here is, lutetium PSMA is a suitable option for men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer who are expressing high PSMA on their prostate cancer after they had sustained disease progression after docetaxel. However, cabazitaxel is also a valid option in this setting. I would like to add my own view in addition to this because lutetium PSMA was better tolerated and was also associated with better progression-free survival. In my patients who are progressing on docetaxel chemotherapy, I would like to use lutetium PSMA first followed by cabazitaxel chemotherapy. So that would be my key takeaway from this abstract. Now we can move to the next abstract.
This was also an update, a much longer update, on ENZAMET trial. If you recall, ENZAMET trial was one of those trials which established that deeper androgen blockade, or deeper androgen signaling inhibitors such as enzalutamide, apalutamide, or abiraterone, these trials were conducted in 2015 onwards, and all these trials showed that upfront using deeper androgen signaling inhibitors at the time of metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer onset improved survival. So ENZAMET trial used enzalutamide, and it showed in the first analysis, which was presented by Dr. Davis and Dr. Sweeney in the 2019 ASCO Meeting Plenary session, that adding enzalutamide to androgen-deprivation therapy in patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer significantly improved survival. In this longer follow-up of 68 months, so we are talking about almost 6 years of follow-up, now, these investigators from ENZAMET trial, as presented by Dr. Davis, showed that the combination of enzalutamide with androgen deprivation therapy or testosterone suppression therapy continues to significantly improve survival in patients with newly diagnosed hormone-sensitive prostate cancer or metastatic prostate cancer. One interesting part of this unique aspect of this trial was that patients were allowed to receive docetaxel chemotherapy concurrently to the protocol treatment. And in this trial, 45% patients actually receive docetaxel chemotherapy. So 503 patients exactly out of 1,000-plus patients. So if you look at the subgroup analysis of those patients who received docetaxel chemotherapy, enzalutamide does not seem to benefit those patients from the overall survival perspective.
So on the face of it, it looks like enzalutamide is not helping those patients who are receiving docetaxel concurrently. But there are some caveats with that kind of subgroup analysis. The first one is this is not a randomized assignment of docetaxel chemotherapy. Patients were determined to have docetaxel chemotherapy after discussion with their respective oncologist. This was not a prespecified analysis that so many patients with docetaxel will receive enzalutamide. Also, this was not a randomized assignment of docetaxel. And third, that I don't think this trial had enough power to look for that subgroup analysis.
So my take on this trial is that updated results from this trial, almost 6 years of follow-up now show that enzalutamide continues to improve overall survival with a 30% reduction in risk of death in patients with metastatic castration-sensitive or hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. Furthermore, the effect of enzalutamide, in my view, on overall survival is independent of the receipt of docetaxel. If you look at the whole trial population for which the trial was covered for, enzalutamide improved survival for all patients. And based on these results, I feel more confident in saying that upfront intensification of treatment with deeper androgen inhibition remains a standard of care for our patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and should be offered to all eligible patients with this condition. With that, I would like to wrap up the prostate cancer abstracts. Thank you very much.
Greg Guthrie: And thank you, Dr. Agarwal. Next up, we will have Dr. Gilligan, who is going to be discussing testicular cancer.
Dr. Gilligan: Thank you very much. So I have 2 studies I want to talk about and then just give a headline of some interesting things that I think are kind of coming down the road. Both of these abstracts have to do with improvement over time in specific patient populations we used to worry about. I'm not saying we don't worry about them anymore, but things are looking better now than they had 1 or 2 decades ago. So the first topic addresses late relapses in testicular cancer. And historically, we have been concerned that these patients did worse and had worse outcomes. And late relapse could variously be described as after 2 years or after 5 years. In the current study, they defined late relapse as being after 2 years and very late relapse as being after 5 years. And what was special about the study was that it captured the entire population of patients with testis cancer in Norway and Sweden so that it wasn't based on a center of excellence that gets selective referrals. It was actually a population-based study. And the key conclusion of the study was one I found, once again, that late relapses are rare. So for stage I patients, 2% of patients will relapse after 2 years, 1% after 5 years, and 0.5%, so 5 out of 1,000 patients, after 10 years. So if you're 2 years out, the likelihood of a relapse is quite low.
And if you're 5 years out, it's half of that. In patients with metastatic disease, similarly, 3.6% relapse after 2 years, 1.6% after 5, and 0.8% after 10 years. And what was interesting to me was that if you looked at the more recent patients who were diagnosed after 1995 - I know that doesn't sound very recent, but they had even earlier patients also in the study - the very late relapse rate almost resolved and went away. It went from 2.2% all the way down to 0.8%. So I think with modern imaging, modern care patterns, we're seeing less of this than we used to. But overall, patients were doing better even if they do relapse late.
One thing that was interesting in the study to me also was for stage I disease, we typically recommend surveillance rather than active treatment. So active treatment with non-seminomas would be a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection or more surgery or chemotherapy. With seminoma, it would usually be chemotherapy or radiation, although surgery is being investigated there now. And they did find that in men who chose surveillance, which we still recommend, the late relapse rate was a little bit higher, but it was still affecting a small percent of patients. So the relapse rate beyond 2 years was 4% rather than 1%, but out of 4,000 patients, there were only 3 deaths from late relapse. So this isn't changing the recommendation for surveillance, but it is an alert that patients who are on surveillance for stage I disease have a slightly higher risk of late relapse and that may affect how we follow them and specifically how long we follow them. One of the things that was interesting in the study is in the United States, we often stop scans at 5 years, but in the SWENOTECA countries, they continue scans all the way out to 10 years. I don't know that U.S. guidelines are going to change, but it was a provocative finding.
The key thing, as I alluded to at the beginning, was that 61% of patients with late relapse were alive 10 years later, and while we would like that number to be higher, it used to be around 50% in older studies. So it's a significant improvement from where we were before. A particularly interesting thing to me was that patients relapsing 2 to 5 years out actually had the best prognosis. Patients who relapsed in years 1 to 2 had a worse prognosis and patients relapsing after 5 years had a worse prognosis, whereas the patients relapsing 2 to 5 years had a better prognosis. In the end, I think what this means for us is that patients are doing better. It's not going to really change our treatment patterns, but it's reassuring that we shouldn't be pessimistic about late relapses, and we still have a solid chance of curing them. So again, bottom line, most men with late relapse is cured and late relapse is less common now than it was earlier, particularly in non-seminomas.
Let's go to the next study. So this is a different group of patients who had a particularly ominous prognosis historically and still we have a lot of room for improvement. These are patients with non-seminomas that start in the mediastinum. So in the chest, under the breastbone, under the sternum typically. And patients are treated aggressively upfront, they are considered poor risk at the initial time of diagnosis, and they're treated aggressively at the time with 4 cycles of BEP or 4 cycles of VIP chemotherapy. And then they go for surgery to remove any residual disease. And the hope is they're cured at that point because historically, if there was a relapse after chemotherapy and surgery, it was almost impossible to cure them. Indiana University published their results using high-dose chemotherapy in this population, and they reported that 30% of men who were treated with high-dose chemotherapy had no evidence of cancer after 2 years, and 35% were still alive.
Obviously, we need longer follow-up, but most of the relapses you're going to see are going to be in the first 2 years. So while again, there is significant room for improvement here, this indicates that high-dose chemotherapy is a good option, and that has been a question. So this is reassuring in that regard. But it is a good option for men with relapsed mediastinal non-seminomas of the germ cell tumors. So there's hope there where in the past, this has felt a little bit helpless.
The thing I wanted to also highlight was that there are 3 things I think are going to be interesting to keep an eye on over the next year. One is the use of surgery for early-stage seminomas. There are a number of papers out about that. I still think this is an investigational approach, and so I didn't want to go into great detail about it, but it is looking like that RPLND, or retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, will likely or may be an option for stage I and stage II seminoma in the future. We are getting more evidence for that. It's not quite as promising as we had hoped until there's more data that's needed, but it's looking like that will become an option. So for men with early-stage seminoma, at least raising the question whether surgery is an alternative to chemotherapy or radiation, is an important discussion to have with your oncologist.
Secondly, MRI rather than CT scans for surveillance. So to keep an eye on men who have been treated or men who are just stage I and are being followed and typically come in routinely for CT scans, which expose people to ionizing radiation, which theoretically has a risk of causing cancer, there's more and more data that MRI is just as good as CT, and MRI does not use ionizing radiation. So there's probably going to be an expanding role for MRI as an alternative to CT scans.
And lastly, the use of microRNA rather than just depending on serum tumor markers. So right now, we use the blood tests alpha-fetoprotein, beta hCG, extensively to monitor for relapse, and there's more and more evidence for using what we call microRNAs instead. It may be more accurate in multiple different settings. So it'll be interesting to see how that evolves and that's what I wanted to cover today. Thank you very much.
Greg Guthrie: Thank you, Dr. Gilligan. And now we have Dr. Grivas, who's going to discuss some research in bladder cancer.
Dr. Grivas: Thank you so much, Greg, and thanks Cancer.Net for the great opportunity to discuss this for our patients. We're very excited about the data from the ASCO Annual Meeting, and I would encourage the audience to review as possible other presentations as well. I'm going to cover 3 highlights. I'm going to start with the QUILT-3.032 study. This trial reported the final results of a clinical trial that took place in different centers and involved patients with what we used to call “superficial bladder cancer.” And the modern term is “non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer.” Bladder cancer that does not involve the muscle layers, not that deep in the bladder wall. Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer is usually treated by our colleagues in urology with installation inside the bladder with an older form of immunotherapy which is BCG. And that's the most common way we treat this disease. And proportion of patients may have tumors that may not respond to BCG that may come back or persist despite the installation of the BCG in the bladder.
And these patients usually have a standard of care of getting what we call radical cystectomy, meaning, removal of the bladder and the lymph nodes around the bladder, radical cystectomy and lymph node dissection. However, many patients may not have, I would say, the opportunity to get the surgery because the body may not be that strong to undergo that significant procedure. Very few patients may have that challenge because of other medical conditions or what we call poor performance status. Or some patients for quality-of-life reasons may try to keep their bladder as long as possible. And for some of those patients, that might be an option.
And we have been looking for those options in the last few years. Intravesical, inside the bladder, installations of chemotherapy have been used with some positive results in some other studies. So that's an opportunity. We call this intravesical, inside the bladder, installations of chemotherapy, and the other option is an FDA-approved agent given intravenously inside the vein called pembrolizumab, which is in the form of immunotherapy. Of course, research continues. And this study I'm showing here from Dr. Chamie and colleagues, looked at this combination of BCG plus this molecule called N-803. This is another form of immunotherapy, and this was tested in patients who have this BCG-unresponsive, as we called it, non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The results were very promising. I would say impressive that it was a high response rate if we focus our attention on patients who had the superficial form carcinoma in situ, about 70% had no evidence of cancer upon further evaluation of the bladder. And in many of those patients that this response lasted for more than 2 years. 96% of patients avoided to have worsening of the bladder cancer in 2 years for those who had a response, and about 9 out of 10 avoided cystectomy again from those patients who had received the response. So it was 70% of all the population.
And as you see, all patients, 100% were alive without dying from bladder cancer after 2 years, which again is a very promising finding. This combination, to conclude, this inside the bladder installations of BCG plus the N-803, looks very promising. For those patients with BCG-unresponsive non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, that might be an option down the road, we have to see.
Now I'm going to shift my attention to patients with metastatic or spread urothelial cancer. I want to point out that I’m a co-author in this abstract and I participated in that survey I will show you the results from. This is a population of patients who have spread cancer from the urinary tract, either the bladder was the most common origin or other parts of the urinary tract, for example, what we call kidney, pelvis and ureter, or rarely the urethra. The urothelial cancer that starts from those areas, again more commonly bladder, if it spreads, if it goes outside the urinary tract system, usually those patients get chemotherapy, what we call with an agent called cisplatin if they can tolerate that chemotherapy drug or carboplatin if they cannot tolerate the cisplatin drug. And usually either of these, cisplatin or carboplatin, is combined with a drug called gemcitabine. That's the most common chemotherapy used as initial therapy for patients with spread metastatic urothelial cancer. In this abstract, Dr. Gupta and colleagues tried to survey 60 medical oncologists, including myself, who treat urothelial cancer that considered experts in this disease type, to see if there are any features that could deter us from using chemotherapy in those patients. In other words, are there any features that may make us think that chemotherapy may be too risky for our patients and we should not do it? We should give immunotherapy instead.
This is probably a small proportion of our patients, maybe 10 to 20% in our practice, may not be able tolerate that chemotherapy. And which are those features? Poor performance status, meaning the body is very tired and the patient is not moving too much, is confined in the chair or the bed most of the day, and rely on others on daily activities. This is what defines the performance status of ECOG 3. Peripheral neuropathy, meaning that there is numbness or tingling or weakness in the hands or the feet that impact the quality of life. And patients may have trouble buttoning buttons or tying laces, so impacting the quality of life. That's grade 2 neuropathy. Symptomatic severe heart failure, there is a grading system, like New York Heart Association Class III or IV that is significant, notable heart failure symptoms. And also, patients with kidney failure with what we call creatinine clearance below 30 cc per minute. That's a marker how we measure kidney function and the creatinine clearance more than 60 is usually close to normal. As the creatinine clearance drops and goes below 30, chemotherapy with these platinum agents may become a challenge by itself or if it's combined with the ECOG performance status of 2, which means more patients are not moving most of the day.
So those features again have to do with the functionality of the day-to-day life. The presence of significant neuropathy, heart failure, and poor kidney function may potentially make the oncologist recommend immunotherapy versus the standard of care, which is chemotherapy, in those patients. And I would say if someone gets chemotherapy, which is the majority of patients, usually they may get immunotherapy later. So pretty much I would say discuss with the medical oncologist what is the right treatment for you. Most patients get chemotherapy up front, followed by immunotherapy. Some others may need to get immunotherapy, and those criteria help us make that patient selection for the right treatment at the right time.
So I just alluded to you that most patients with spread or metastatic urothelial cancer, most of them receive chemotherapy. We discussed some criteria in the previous studies that we may use immunotherapy upfront instead of chemo, but for the vast majority of patients, chemotherapy is used upfront and that was based on the results of phase 3 clinical trial called JAVELIN Bladder 100. This was presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in 2020 about 2 years ago, and it was published in a big journal. And that study showed that if you give chemotherapy upfront, those patients who can tolerate the chemotherapy, of course, who do not have the previously listed criteria, those patients benefit and live longer, so longer overall survival, meaning they live longer, and they have longer progression-free survival, meaning they live longer without worsening of the cancer if they get immunotherapy with, immunotherapy drug is given through the vein, called avelumab.
If that is given after the end of chemotherapy for patients who have a response or stable disease, meaning no progression on chemotherapy. So if you get a complete response, meaning that the CAT scans look normal after chemotherapy as at least we can tell visually. Partial response, meaning that the CAT scans look better, but still we can see some cancer spots. Stable disease, meaning that the scans look stable compared to the beginning before we start chemotherapy. If someone has worsening of the cancer in chemotherapy, then the concept of maintenance therapy doesn't apply. So it's only for patients with complete response, partial response, or stable disease, SD.
And the poster we had, and I can tell you - I was a co-author in the abstract and co-investigator in the trial, as a disclosure - was sort of the benefit of the patient with avelumab as maintenance therapy after chemotherapy was notable in patients with complete response, partial response, and stable disease. So in any of these 3 categories, avelumab immunotherapy should be offered as level 1 evidence and benefit patients in terms of overall survival and progression-free survival as long as there's no progression to the upfront initial chemotherapy of the patient with metastatic urothelial cancer received. Many other abstracts on these cancers were presented, and I would encourage you to look at them. Thank you so much for the opportunity today.
Greg Guthrie: And thank you, Dr. Grivas. Next, we have Dr. Zhang who will discuss some research in kidney cancer.
Dr. Zhang: Hi everyone, glad to be here today. I'll be discussing 2 highlights from ASCO 2022 in kidney cancer. The first one we wanted to highlight was a trial called EVEREST: everolimus for renal cancer ensuing surgical therapy, a phase 3 study. And in context, this study is a trial of evaluating everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, in the post-surgical context. And we do have in the landscape 2 approved therapies, sunitinib and pembrolizumab. And as we have seen, some effective therapies in the refractory setting, many of these therapies are being tested in this postoperative space. So this particular study of EVEREST looked at patients with renal cell carcinoma who underwent resection for their primary nephrectomy and looking to evaluate postsurgical treatment. So everolimus has been approved as a treatment on its own in the refractory setting as well as in combination with lenvatinib. And so this question of whether everolimus alone could delay or prevent disease recurrence in the postoperative setting was tested in this EVEREST trial. The study ultimately enrolled more than 1,500 patients and assigned them to receiving either everolimus or placebo in the postoperative setting. Of these patients, 83% had clear cell kidney cancer and the remaining had non-clear cell kidney cancer. And the follow-up was quite long, over 5 years, and actually over 6 years, and the researchers looked at time until disease recurrence. And risk of recurrence was actually decreased by 15% in patients who were treated with everolimus compared to placebo.
But the prespecified cut-off for a statistical significance was not quite reached, and the researchers took a specific look at a group of very high-risk patients defined by larger tumors, invasion of the perinephric fat in renal veins or invasion of nearby organs or known positive disease. And those patients with very high-risk disease had more benefit from everolimus compared to placebo. Of note, 37% of patients who were treated with everolimus had to stop treatment due to their side effects, and the most common severe side effects included mouth ulcers, high triglyceride levels, and high blood sugars. So ultimately this particular study did not show sufficient benefit of everolimus given the toxicity and lack of statistical significance. And so this is a balance between potential benefit in delaying recurrence versus treatment toxicities that we must have in this adjuvant setting.
So what does this particular study mean for patients? Well, it was certainly a large phase 3 trial performed in the cooperative group setting and through the generosity of 1,500 patients and the principal investigators on the study, we learned this answer for a very important question of whether everolimus makes a difference in this postoperative setting. I think we're not using this in clinical context currently, but in this postoperative setting, we are always balancing this risk of toxicity with the potential for benefit and discussing the potential treatment options. I do not think this particular trial changes the standard of care in this adjuvant setting.
And then I think finally for today's prepared talks, this abstract on depth of response and association with clinical outcomes with CheckMate 9ER patients treated with cabozantinib and nivolumab. So this was a post-trial analysis of patients who had kidney cancer with disease spread and treated with cabozantinib and nivolumab compared with sunitinib in the CheckMate 9ER study. And the context, this was the phase 3 trial in which the benefit of cabozantinib and nivolumab was established in the first-line setting and gained the registration and approval of this combination in the first-line treatment of metastatic kidney cancer. This particular analysis, presented at ASCO this year, was a post-trial prespecified analysis evaluating this depth of partial responses and associating those with clinical outcomes of time until disease progression as well as time until death.
These depth of responses were defined as 80 to 100% for PR-1, 60 to 80% for PR-2, and then 30 to 60% as PR-3. And as we saw in this analysis, the deeper the responses on cabozantinib and nivolumab, the more correspondence with higher 12-month rates of disease-free progression compared with those same depths of responses from sunitinib. And there were similar 12-month overall survival rates for patients with similar depth of responses for either the cabozantinib and nivolumab combination compared with sunitinib. So I do think the degree of partial response in these settings is productive of time until progression and establishes further the efficacy and benefit of cabozantinib and nivolumab compared with sunitinib. And what does this trial mean for our patients? I think that early on, as we're looking for responses and radiographic changes for our patients on cabozantinib, nivolumab in the first-line setting, these deeper responses are associated with longer time until disease progression, and we can counsel patients, to discuss whether cabozantinib and nivolumab is working for them. This could be an early indicator for how patients will do overall on this combination. So with that I'd love to wrap up and turn it back over to you, Greg.
Greg Guthrie: Thanks so much Dr. Zhang. And now it's time to move on into our Q&A session.
This is for you, Dr. Agarwal. So the question is utility of triple therapy, ADT plus docetaxel plus ASI and metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer given ENZAMET was inconsistent with PEACE-1 and ARASENS. Would you give ASI concurrent or sequential after chemotherapy for tolerability? I'm assuming ASI here is androgen suppression, correct?
Dr. Agarwal: Yes. Great question. There are 2 questions here. Number 1, if I would use triplet therapy given the negative subgroup analysis of the ENZAMET trial, and number 2, what is the role of triplet therapy in general? The answer to the first question is ENZAMET trial, subgroup analysis is very different from preplanned, prespecified, well-powered analysis from PEACE-1 and the ARASENS trial. So yes, we saw discrepant results, but my impression from ENZAMET trial is enzalutamide is an effective option for all patients regardless of the receipt of docetaxel chemotherapy because that was a subgroup analysis. So I don't think it really affects negatively the results of the ARASENS and the PEACE-1 trial. But a bigger question here is triplet therapy versus doublet therapy? Is triplet therapy for all or doublet therapy for all? Answer is no. Triplet therapy trials only showed that adding a novel hormonal therapy or deeper androgen blockade to the backbone of ADT plus docetaxel improves survival.
These trials did not answer the question, if adding docetaxel chemotherapy to ADT plus, for example, enzalutamide or darolutamide or apalutamide, will improve survival. We do not have that question answered by any of the trials and unlikely any other trial will answer that question. So my take ADT plus docetaxel is replaced by ADT plus docetaxel plus these deeper androgen blocker therapy. So wherever I was going to use docetaxel chemotherapy, so those are the patients with visceral metastases or in my practice, when I do comprehensive genomic profiling, I see those molecular aberrations which predict lack of response to deeper androgen blockade such as baseline AR variants. Or if I see 2 out of 3 mutations of p53, RB loss, p10 loss, if I see 2 out of these 3, I tend to think about docetaxel chemotherapy. So in those patients where I'm using ADT plus docetaxel, I would add another androgen receptor blocker such as abiraterone and darolutamide. But when I'm using enzalutamide or apalutamide which I use for majority of those patients, my patients with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, I do not think about triplet therapy.
Greg Guthrie: Thanks, Dr. Agarwal. We actually have a follow-up question, and this is, what is the role of oncology in low-stage early prostate cancer? Can neoadjuvant chemotherapy reduce the number of people who end up with metastatic prostate cancer?
Dr. Agarwal: This answer is very simple. There is no role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in high-risk localized prostate cancer or any localized prostate cancer setting.
Greg Guthrie: Great. Thank you. Next question. I believe that this is for everybody. How long will it be until the information from the trials discussed will be used in the community clinics? What can patients do to bring this information to their less experienced doctors?
Dr. Grivas: So, Greg, just to clarify the question, is it about the translation of the results of the clinic from ASCO to clinical practice, generically speaking, or any particular tumor type or any particular data results?
Greg Guthrie: The way I read this question, it's more just kind of a broader scope question about just like, how long does the results of clinical trials make it to community practice, and what role can patients have in perhaps fostering this transmission of information?
Dr. Grivas: Of course, I can start briefly, and then my colleagues can add. I would say the world we live in right now, the information travels very quickly. It's much faster compared to the past. And I think there is much more alignment, in my opinion, in terms of information access between academic oncologists and community oncologists. If, for example, a trial result comes at ASCO being presented, and then there's a follow-up approval authority from a regulatory agency, this agent may be accessible to both community and academic practices. Of course, there are always opportunities for education, and Dr. Agarwal is the director of the ASCO Daily News, and he knows that well to disseminate the information well, broadly, in an equitable manner across academic oncologist providers and community providers. And I think CME, continued medical education practices, can help in that regard. And obviously, the other aspect of that is the ongoing clinical trials and how we can do a better job disseminating the opportunity for equitable participation in clinical trials across racial groups, ethnicity groups, minority groups, to give them the chance to participate in ongoing clinical trials that may change the practice down the road, which are just early thoughts. But other colleagues can comment.
Dr. Zhang: Yeah, if I could chime in. I think these continuing medical education programs, particularly in the context after large symposia like the ASCO Annual Meeting we just had, are particularly important. And the Best of ASCO series, as well as ASCO Direct Highlight series - I believe Dr. Grivas and I are hosting 2 of these - are very helpful, I think, to bring the latest findings from the ASCO Annual Meeting to our community colleagues. And they really are our colleagues. We work together with our oncologists within the community to take care of our patients, oftentimes for standard of care treatments. Patients can access them more in their backyards.
And I think from a patient standpoint on the second part of the question, they're able to hear these from patient-friendly platforms and to bring that to the attention of their oncologist, wherever that may be. It all helps in the grand context of clinical care. So I hope that these trial results and the latest findings from ASCO can get inseminated very quickly.
Dr. Grivas: And to also add very briefly, the role of patient advocacy groups, and in the bladder cancer work, there are many, for example, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, World Bladder Cancer Coalition, and many others can help also in that regard and teaming up with all of us to disseminate information and also clinical trial access.
Greg Guthrie: Great. Thank you, everyone. We have a question for Dr. Grivas. After the survey results in the study you described, is there any plan to make a guideline or tool to make sure we standardize the definition of cisplatin/platinum ineligibility?
Dr. Grivas: Great question. Just 1 more thing on my prior answer, kudos to Cancer.Net for serving that mission, Greg and Claire in that-- or the previous question to have a complete answer. Answering this new question here, which is very important. I think the next step is to try to publish the results of the survey. The survey like the previous one done by Dr. Galski about 10 years ago-- it's a survey on expert oncologists, and it's a consensus-based definition. It's criteria that we came up with together. And I think the next step here is to publish this in a peer-review process. And our hope is by publishing these results, we can have a more formal definition to help guide our practices in academia, but also in the community oncology practices and make sure that we have a standardized way that we approach this therapy selection and of course, to help design clinical trials that for this particular patient population in order to improve outcomes in this setting. So hopefully publication will come soon.
Greg Guthrie: Thanks, Dr. Grivas. I'll just drop a really quick pitch there. Here at Cancer.Net, we do have a very broad array of information on clinical trials. And patients can come visit us at Cancer.Net and learn about clinical trials, what they mean, and how they help advance cancer research. We now have a question for Dr. Zhang. Based on the results of EVEREST and other trials approved systemic therapies in the adjuvant setting like sunitinib and pembrolizumab, are there ongoing other trials in this setting and is risk stratification used?
Dr. Zhang: The short answer is yes. There are ongoing adjuvant trials that build on pembrolizumab in the adjuvant setting. There's one that is looking at the addition of belzutifan with pembrolizumab in the adjuvant setting. So that trial is a global trial which is about to get started, if not enrolling already. And in the context of adding on in the adjuvant setting, I do think we really need to discuss with our patients how much of a benefit the treatment will have versus the real toxicity in the postoperative setting, many patients will not have symptoms from their cancer, so they may have some pain or healing side effects from surgery, but they won't have symptoms from cancer. So any toxicities from medications can be further amplified, so are we truly giving a lot of benefit in that context or not. So that's an individualized decision, and I do think conversations must be had to make that decision together.
Greg Guthrie: Thanks, Dr. Zhang. I want to ask a question myself of Dr. Gilligan. You had mentioned that microRNA is an emerging field of study, and I've heard about this in other types of cancer as well. I wonder if you could discuss that a little bit more.
Dr. Gilligan: Yeah, microRNA, the promise that holds is being a more accurate detector, specifically of testicular cancer. So the problem we have with alpha fetoprotein and beta HCG is half of the testicular cancers may not make 1 or both of those markers. So people can relapse without the markers going up, even though markers are most commonly what we see, there are a couple of different scenarios. Someone has stage I testicular cancer, which means their testicles removed and all their scans show no evidence of cancer. We know that 25% or so of non-seminomas and 20% or so of seminomas will relapse, even though we can't see what the cancer is, and the markers are negative in that situation. MicroRNA may be able to detect those people who still have cancer much, much earlier. So we know that they're, in fact, not stage I and that they need active treatment right away. So that's one place. Another place that we're seeing evidence is that men who've had metastatic testicular cancer. They go through chemotherapy, and they have residual masses. And we're wondering if there's cancer in those masses or is it all dead scar tissue or is it teratoma? MicroRNAs may be able to allow us to determine who needs additional treatment, who needs surgery without having it. Right now, we typically go in and operate just to figure that out.
So there are a number of situations in which we could more accurately stage patients and figure out who's cured and who's not cured much earlier in the course of disease. And for a patient, this would be fantastic, because right now, if you've got stage I disease with non-seminomas and you go on surveillance and somebody says you have a 25% risk the cancer is going to come back, that's a 1 in 4 chance that at some point in the next 2 years, most likely, or longer, you're going to have to suddenly drop everything and go through months of chemotherapy. If we knew on day 1, it looks like you're cured, but in fact, there’s cancer hiding there somewhere, and we need to treat you now, that would be helpful to know so they can get it over with. And the other men, we could say we're really extremely confident that there's not a 25% risk, it's a 5% risk or something much lower. So there are a number of ways, if this really gets proven and there's emerging data that's promising, I think we could reassure men, treat them more appropriately, spare them unnecessary treatment, and give them more peace of mind.
Greg Guthrie: Great. Thanks, Dr. Gilligan. I think we have a question from Dr. Grivas now.
Dr. Grivas: Thank you, Greg. This is a great panel. I like to learn from my colleagues here. One question for Dr. Zhang, you have done so much work in the field, leading the field there, Dr. Zhang. Any comments about the ideal end points in the adjuvant setting in kidney cancer, urothelial cancer, disease-free survival or overall survival? Would you comment about how we design trials, and what will be an acceptable benchmark? And what is meaningful for patients, too, in the adjuvant treatment after radical surgery for kidney cancer and urothelial cancer?
Dr. Zhang: Oh, that's a great question, Petros. Thank you so much for asking. We have discussed this many times together because you and bladder cancer and myself and kidney cancer, we're thinking a lot along the same lines right as new immunotherapies get approved in the postoperative setting, so disease-free survival as an endpoint and recurrence-free survival as an endpoint is a valid endpoint. It's a direct result of the randomized treatment on the trial, so I do think that is the valid endpoint, and it's an endpoint that the FDA has approved the sunitinib and pembrolizumab indications in kidney cancer, nivolumab and bladder cancer. So I think it's certainly a valid endpoint to delay disease recurrence. How much of that is meaningful degree of improvement for an individual patient? Their own measure of recurrence is either yes or no. It's much more binary than population effects. So how much does that translate into benefits for the patient? I think that warrants deeper individualized discussion. But these disease-free survival endpoints in all of these studies is a valid endpoint to see whether the treatment is worthy in delaying disease recurrence in each of these disease types.
Greg Guthrie: Thanks, Dr. Zhang. We have one last question here, and I believe this is a follow-up for Dr. Gilligan. And what is the time frame for the rollout of microRNA 371 to the community?
Dr. Gilligan: I don't know the answer to that. I'm not sure that we have enough data right now that it's going to get approved. I think we're headed in the right direction, but it's very hard to know what the timing of that is. There are trials going on, so I don't know at the moment of exactly what the scenarios are in which people are going to be, which patient populations are going to be eligible, but there are trials going on. I think I'm hoping within the next 2 years or so, but I really don't know what the time frame is, unfortunately.
Dr. Grivas: And if I may add a more generic comment to Dr. Gilligan's wonderful answer is that when we have what we call biomarkers that are like metrics that can give us information about how the patient does over time, it's important to tease out what we call prognostic, meaning how can this biomarker give us a sense of the chance of recurrence, as Dr. Gilligan said, or death from the cancer. But also, the bigger question is, is it going to give us information to predict benefit from an individual therapy? And that's a bigger question in oncology that is a harder one. This predictive question and try to identify biomarkers and validate them to make sure they have, they're clinically useful. They can help us make treatment decisions in the clinic. And I'm very excited about what Dr. Gilligan discussed about the promise in the future. But more trials are needed for many biomarkers.
Dr. Gilligan: I think when we do this update next year, we'll have significantly more data then, I'm hopeful.
Greg Guthrie: Thank you to you all. Thank you, Dr. Agarwal. Thank you, Dr. Grivas. Thank you, Dr. Gilligan. Thank you, Dr. Zhang, for sharing this great research with us, as well as your expertise. It's been a real pleasure this afternoon. And to all of our viewers, thank you for joining us. You can find more coverage of the research from ASCO Annual Meeting and other scientific meetings at the Cancer.Net blog, which is at www.cancer.net/blog.
And if you're interested in more Cancer.Net content, please sign up for a monthly Inside Cancer.Net newsletter or follow us on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube where our handle is always @CancerDotNet, with dot spelled out. Thank you all, and be well. Thanks.
ASCO: Thank you, Dr. Agarwal, Dr. Gilligan, Dr. Grivas, and Dr. Zhang. You can find more research from recent scientific meetings at www.cancer.net.
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