2018 ASCO Annual Meeting
The 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting, held June 1-5 in Chicago was the platform for the release of thousands of scientific abstracts -- highly anticipated cancer research news for many people, including patients, caregivers, and the public. ASCO is pleased to share this timely information with the public in a variety of ways. On this page, you can find highlights of the scientific news program throughout the event.
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Monday, June 4
Thank you for using Cancer.Net as your source for breaking news and research highlights from the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting. If you missed any of the previous days’ research or want to refer back to any of these highlights, you can find everything on the Cancer.Net Blog, which delivers cancer research news, expert perspectives, podcasts, and patient stories year-round.
Today’s key research highlights include potential treatment changes for longer survival in pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer.
Two studies show changes to pancreatic cancer treatment may work better. Pancreatic cancer is among the most difficult-to-treat cancers, even when the disease is found early enough that it can be surgically removed, called resectable. However, 2 new, separate studies are showing that changes to the current standard approach to resectable pancreatic cancer can help extend patients’ lives.
The first study found that people with non-metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma who received a chemotherapy combination of 4 drugs, called mFOLFIRINOX, after surgery lived longer and were cancer-free longer than those who received the current standard-of-care drug after surgery. Those who received the new combination also had more severe side effects.
The second study showed that people with pancreatic cancer who received chemotherapy with gemcitabine (Gemzar) plus radiation therapy before surgery lived longer than those who were treated with surgery first. Patients in both groups received chemotherapy after surgery.
Heated abdomen chemotherapy is not helpful for many people with advanced colorectal cancer. A type of metastatic colorectal cancer, called peritoneal carcinomatosis, can be treated with heated chemotherapy administered directly into the abdomen during surgery, called hyperthermic intra-peritoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Peritoneal carcinomatosis means that there are metastatic tumors on the lining of the abdominal cavity, which is called the peritoneum. However, a new study comparing patients who received HIPEC and those who received surgery alone found that survival rates were similar between the 2 groups.
Additional News from ASCO
Updated Recommendations on Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer
ASCO has recently published updated recommendations on treating metastatic pancreatic cancer, incorporating new evidence related to second-line therapy, which is generally given when the disease worsens or patients experienced severe side effects during initial treatment.
Cancer.Net Mobile: Version 4
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Version 4 is now available on iOS and coming soon to Android!
Sunday, June 3
Scientific research news continues to emerge from the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. Today is the plenary session, which highlights research that has the greatest potential impact on care for people with cancer.
Today's key research highlights include new treatment options and improved survival for breast cancer, kidney cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and rhabdomyosarcoma.
More women with early-stage breast cancer may be able to avoid chemotherapy. Women who have a high risk of a breast cancer returning, called a recurrence, are typically treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy after surgery to reduce their risk. Some doctors use a test called the 21-gene expression assay (Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score) to determine a woman's risk of recurrence. A higher score means a higher risk of recurrence. Usually, women with a Recurrence Score up to 10 receive only hormone therapy. Women with a score of 26 to 100 receive both hormone therapy and chemotherapy. But there is currently no standard of care for a mid-range score of 11 to 25. Results from a large clinical trial called TAILORx suggests that some women with a mid-range Recurrence Score may now be able to avoid chemotherapy after surgery.
Many people with advanced kidney cancer may not need surgery. Findings from a study of people with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), a type of kidney cancer, showed that most people who receive the medication sunitinib (Sutent) but do not have surgery to remove the kidney may live longer than those who do have surgery. Currently, surgery to remove the kidney is considered the standard treatment for metastatic kidney cancer. But this study suggests that for many people with metastatic kidney cancer the best treatment approach may not include surgery.
Maintenance chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma lengthens lives of younger patients. A European clinical trial of children and young adults up to age 21 with a rare cancer of the muscle called rhabdomyosarcoma found that adding 6 months of low-dose maintenance chemotherapy helped more of these patients remain cancer-free at least 5 years after diagnosis and live longer. Maintenance therapy is the use of ongoing chemotherapy after the initial treatment.
Immunotherapy drug may be more effective than chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer. A large clinical trial found that the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is a more effective initial treatment and has less severe side effects than chemotherapy for most people with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Additional News from ASCO
Updated Recommendations on HER2 Testing for Breast Cancer
ASCO and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) have recently updated their recommendations on testing for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)after a breast cancer diagnosis. The results of this testing can help patients and doctors develop an appropriate treatment plan. Read more about HER2 testing for breast cancer.
Shop or Dine Out to Conquer Cancer
Pick up a copy of the Conquer Chicago City Guide for a full listing of Chicago retailers who are donating a percentage of sales to support cancer research. Just mention “Conquer Cancer” or “ASCO,” and be on the lookout for special pop-up shops inside McCormick Place! Learn more at CONQUER.ORG/Shop. You can also support cancer research by booking your lunch and dinner reservations through Chicago Concierge. A $2 donation for each person in the dining party will be made to Conquer Cancer. Book now at CONQUER.ORG/Dine.
Saturday, June 2
Research news continues to be released at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. For all the meeting news, updates, and scientific highlights, follow @CancerDotNet on Twitter and like Cancer.Net on Facebook. You can also learn more about research from this meeting by following the #ASCO18 hashtag on Twitter.
Today’s key research highlights address the connection between microsatellite instability and Lynch syndrome, a blood test that may be used to find early lung cancer in the future, a new targeted therapy for treating advanced breast cancer, an immunotherapy-chemotherapy combination that slows lung cancer growth, and evidence that personalized medicine helps people with cancer live longer.
Lynch syndrome is common in people with MSI-high tumors. An analysis of more than 15,000 tumor samples has found that people with tumors that have high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) are more likely to have Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome is an inherited disorder linked with several different types of cancer. This study suggests that expanded testing may find more people and families with Lynch syndrome and this syndrome is linked to more types of cancer than previously thought.
A blood test shows potential for finding early lung cancer. An early report from the ongoing, large Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA) study examined using a blood test to detect early-stage lung cancer. This type of testing is already used for people with advanced lung cancer. Researchers evaluated 3 different types of genome sequencing to verify their effectiveness. The tests detected cancer in the blood of 38% to 51% of people with early-stage lung cancer, depending on which test was used. While more research is needed, these results suggest health care providers may be able to screen people for lung cancer using a simple blood test in the future.
New targeted therapy slows the growth of advanced breast cancer. Combining a new targeted therapy called taselisib with standard hormone therapy was shown in a phase III clinical trial to stop the growth of advanced breast cancer for 2 more months than hormone therapy alone. It also lowered the chance of the cancer worsening by 30%. However, this treatment also had an increased risk of serious side effects.
Combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy slows lung cancer growth. Squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is difficult to treat effectively and accounts for up to one-third of diagnoses of NSCLC. The first findings from a phase III clinical trial show that combining an immunotherapy called atezolizumab (Tecentriq) with chemotherapy slowed the growth of advanced squamous NSCLC.
Personalized targeted therapy helps people with advanced cancer live longer. A long-term follow-up study of people with advanced cancer shows that personalized medicine slows cancer growth and helps people live longer. Personalized medicine, also called precision medicine, is the practice of customizing a person’s treatment plan based on the results of genomic testing of the tumor. The type of treatment used in personalized medicine is often targeted therapy. This study showed that people who received targeted treatments matched to the tumor’s genetic changes, or mutations, lived longer than people who did not get a matched therapy.
Additional News from ASCO
The Steps Challenge App
Be a part of ASCO’s Inaugural Step Challenge! Team up with colleagues or join as an individual to participate. McCormick Place is a large building – take advantage of it, and log in some steps for fun and for your health. You can even start a fundraising campaign benefitting Conquer Cancer as part of this challenge! Visit CONQUER.org/Steps to learn more.
Comment on Draft ASCO Guidelines
ASCO is currently seeking feedback from members, patients, and advocates on the draft guideline, Management of the Neck in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity and Oropharynx. Comments will be accepted through Monday, June 4, 2018.
Friday, June 1
The 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting is here! Over the next 4 days, more than 32,000 oncology professionals from around the world will be in Chicago to present and discuss the latest research in cancer treatment and patient care. As always, Cancer.Net will keep you updated on the latest news with this special series of Inside Cancer.Net newsletters and with daily posts on the Cancer.Net Blog, discussing what this news means for patients, caregivers, and families.
The theme of this year’s meeting is “Delivering Discoveries: Expanding the Reach of Precision Medicine.” Precision medicine has led to many advances in cancer care, but there is still much to learn in this growing field of research. And as ASCO President Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO, writes in this year’s Clinical Cancer Advances report, the promise of precision medicine “is only as good as our ability to make these treatments available to all patients.” While much of the cancer research at this year’s meeting will focus on precision medicine, there is also an ongoing effort to increase access to these treatments for all patients.
Watch a patient education video with Dr. Johnson explaining how the ASCO Annual Meeting changes patients’ lives.
The Latest Research News
A series of studies announced today at the ASCO Annual Meeting include the effects of geriatric assessment on patient-doctor communication, treatments for advanced prostate cancer that may work better in black men, the possibility that women are undertreated for head and neck cancer, and treatment for colorectal cancer costs twice as much for U.S. patients than for Canadian neighbors.
Geriatric assessment improves communication between oncologists and older patients. A geriatric assessment is an evaluation of many concerns that are specific to older adults and that are not normally covered during a routine clinical visit, such as aspects of physical and mental health, nutrition, and social support. Results from a federally funded clinical trial found that using a geriatric assessment in the care of older adults with advanced cancer improves doctor-patient communication and patient satisfaction.
ASCO recommends people with cancer who are 65 or older and who are receiving chemotherapy should receive a geriatric assessment to identify any additional problems these people may have. Listen to an expert podcast about geriatric assessment and these recommendations.
Treatments for advanced prostate cancer may work better in black men. Research from 2 new studies shows that black men have a better chance of living longer than white men when they receive chemotherapy or abiraterone acetate to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).
Women with head and neck cancer may be undertreated. Researchers analyzing cancer registry data found several differences between men and women diagnosed with head and neck cancers, including that women with head and neck cancer were less likely to receive intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy and had a higher risk of dying from the disease.
Treatment for colorectal cancer costs twice as much for U.S. patients than Canadian neighbors. An analysis of health claims data from 2 regions on either side of the U.S. and Canada border shows that common treatment for advanced colorectal cancer costs twice as much on the U.S. side. Despite the higher cost, the U.S. patients are not living longer than those in Canada.
Additional News from ASCO
Advocates: Visit the Patient Advocate Lounge!
The Patient Advocate Lounge (McCormick Place Convention Center, Room S402, South Building) is a space set aside for advocates attending the ASCO Annual Meeting to gather in a relaxed environment. Take a coffee break, network with others, and attend special sessions designed just for advocates. Find the full lounge hours and learn more about programs for patient advocates at the ASCO Annual Meeting.
Follow #ASCO18 for Up-To-Date Information
Wednesday, May 16
New Research from the ASCO Annual Meeting
Between June 1 and 5, oncology professionals from around the world will be at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, presenting and discussing the latest research in cancer treatment and patient care. This evening, some of the new research that will be presented at the Annual Meeting was released. Read patient-friendly summaries of several highlighted studies at Cancer.Net.
In one of the presented studies, a clinical trial of 357 people being treated for head and neck cancer found that those who used mobile and sensor technology daily to monitor their health had less severe general and cancer-related symptoms than those who received the usual care.
Additional research released today includes:
6 months of treatment with trastuzumab for HER2-positive breast cancer can be as effective and causes fewer heart problems than 12 months of treatment
New treatment schedules for T-cell leukemia and lymphoma lengthen the lives of younger patients
Most people who smoke heavily are not screened for lung cancer
Broad genetic testing may be a better choice for advanced lung cancer
Psychotherapy and acupuncture are effective for treating insomnia in cancer survivors