Vienna, Austria—In the first head-to-head phase 3 clinical trial, the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori) proved more effective than standard chemotherapy with pemetrexed (Alimta) or docetaxel (Taxotere) as a second-line treatment for patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the ALK genetic abnormality.[ Read More ]
October 2012, Vol 3, No 7
Updated Data Confirm Survival Benefits with T-DM1 in Breast Cancer and with Regorafenib in Colon Cancer
Vienna, Austria—The updated analyses of 2 major studies of drugs that were recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirm the benefits of trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer and of regorafenib (Stivarga) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Both studies were presented at the 2012 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress. Regorafenib was approved by the FDA for the treatment of mCRC during the ESMO meeting (see article here).[ Read More ]
Houston, TX—Despite much talk about biomarkers and a field that is exploding, only a few biomarkers can be reliably and routinely used to improve patient care at this time, according to Peter G. Ellis, MD, Deputy Director of Clinical Services, Associate Chief Medical Officer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cancer Centers.
A biomarker is any measure (ie, gene mutation, staining pattern, gene expression microarray) that can be associated with a clinically distinct prognosis, diagnosis, or response to a specific therapy.[ Read More ]
San Francisco, CA—The indirect costs of metastatic breast cancer are substantial and are much higher than the costs of early breast cancer, according to what may be the first study to compare costs related to lost productivity in the population with breast cancer.
The study was reported at the 2012 Breast Cancer Symposium by Yin Wan, MS, of Pharmerit International, Bethesda, MD. The senior research-
er was Lee Schwartzberg, MD, Medical Director of the West Clinic in Memphis, TN.
Using its priority review process, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the oral multikinase inhibitor regorafenib (Stivarga; Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).[ Read More ]
The FDA approved tbo-filgrastim (Neutroval; Sicor Biotech UAB, a member of Teva Corporation) to reduce the duration of severe neutropenia in patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy.
Tbo-filgrastim is a short-acting recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor that is indicated for use in patients with cancer, except blood or bone marrow cancers, who are receiving chemotherapies that cause febrile neutropenia. Tbo-filgrastim is administered as a subcutaneous injection, 5 mcg/kg, 24 hours after chemotherapy treatment.[ Read More ]
The FDA accelerated the approval of vincristine sulfate liposome injection (Marqibo; Talon Therapeutics) for the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome–negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a rare type of leukemia, with a second or greater relapse after treatment with ≥2 antileukemia therapies. The drug is designated as an orphan product.[ Read More ]
The once-daily oral androgen-receptor–signaling inhibitor enzalutamide (Xtandi) differs from current antiandrogen therapies by its ability to inhibit nuclear translocation of the androgen receptor, its DNA binding activity, and its coactivator recruitment, in addition to other clinical benefits in the context of prostate cancer. This novel agent is administered without the need for concomitant prednisone, which has been postulated to activate androgen-receptor signaling. [ Read More ]
Although epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies were initially indicated for the treatment of EGFR-expressing metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), studies conducted in patients with mCRC have failed to show benefits of the EGFR monoclonal antibodies cetuximab (Erbitux) and panitumumab (Vectibix) for patients with KRAS mutations. However, approximately 40% of patients with CRC have one of the KRAS gene mutations, with the most frequent mutations seen with G12D (13%), G12V (9%), or G13D (8%). [ Read More ]
It has been suggested in previous studies that soy isoflavones have anticancer properties; however, it is also known that soy-based foods possess estrogen-like properties and can therefore present complications rather than benefits for patients with breast cancer, potentially even playing a role in the genesis of breast cancer or its progression. Now 2 new studies indicate that daily consumption of soy-based foods may confer benefits for patients with breast cancer.[ Read More ]
Vienna, Austria—Promising preliminary results for 2 novel prostate can-cer drugs—ODM-201 and OGX-427—were reported at the 2012 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress. Both drugs were studied for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).[ Read More ]
Vienna, Austria—A review of 34,000 patients with cancer in an insurance claims database showed that during the first 12 months after the diagnosis of cancer, the overall cost of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE) was approximately $100,000 per patient, reported Duke University researchers at the 2012 European Society for Medical Oncology.[ Read More ]
Vienna, Austria—In a head-to-head comparison of 2 treatments for metastatic renal-cell carcinoma (mRCC), pazopanib (Votrient) showed similar efficacy to sunitinib (Sutent), with a 1-month survival advantage for sunitinib, which was associated with fewer side effects and an increased quality of life (QOL), suggested Robert J. Motzer, MD, Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and an attending physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. [ Read More ]
Continuation of Bevacizumab Beyond Progression Improves Outcome in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Vienna, Austria—More support for the continuation of treatment with bevacizumab beyond disease progression in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer was reported at the 2012 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress, validating a small but growing body of previous data.[ Read More ]
Vienna, Austria—“One of our themes at the 2012 ESMO Congress is personalized oncology,” European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) President Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, Professor of Oncology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Director of the Medicine Department at Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium, said at a press briefing at the meeting. She noted that the numerous presentations on targeted therapy and diagnostics at ESMO are evidence that the field is rapidly moving forward.[ Read More ]
Vienna, Austria—“Is personalized cancer care affordable?” asked Richard Sullivan, MD, PhD, Director of Kings Health Partners Institute of Cancer Policy and Global Health in the United Kingdom, in an invited presentation at the 2012 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress.
The short answer he gave was “no,” barring seismic shifts not only in the oncology landscape but also in the larger societal picture. He described 3 trends that will be disastrous for controlling the cost of care.[ Read More ]
San Francisco, CA—Within weeks of a government-backed recommendation against routine screening mammography in women aged <50 years, the screening rate had fallen below historic levels and subsequently has remained lower than the baseline rate, a group of researchers reported.[ Read More ]
San Francisco, CA—When cancer treatment is equal among patients, the outcomes are equal as well, “but there is not equal treatment” within the US population with cancer, according to Otis W. Brawley, MD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer of the American Cancer Society, and Professor of Hematology, Medical Oncology, Medicine, and Epidemiology at Emory University, Atlanta.[ Read More ]
San Francisco, CA—Women with diabetes taking metformin had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer, an association that appeared to grow stronger with increasing duration of follow-up, results of a recent meta-analysis showed.
Overall, metformin users had a 17% lower risk of breast cancer compared with women who did not use the drug, including diabetic women who were taking other hypoglycemic agents. The reduction in risk increased to 25% among women who took metformin for >3 years and to 32% when follow-up started before 1997.[ Read More ]
The recent discovery of 3 subtypes of high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will soon enable oncologists to determine which of their patients with HGSOC—the most common type of ovarian cancer—are most likely to benefit from a certain class of drugs.[ Read More ]
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently held a roundtable discussion on the status of genome-based drug development. In its summary of the meeting, the IOM stated, “The number of new drug approvals has remained steady for the last 50 years while spending on health-related research and development has tripled since 1990. This trajectory is not economically sustainable for the businesses involved, and, in response, many companies are turning toward collaborative models of drug development. [ Read More ]
In September, Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions announced the launch of a new collaboration initiative with Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and Physician Resource Management to establish an evidence-based clinical pathways program aimed at reducing the costs of cancer care while improving quality of care. [ Read More ]
Early treatment response is a strong predictor of long-term outcomes in children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML); it can further help to determine whether an aggressive treatment approach is needed.[ Read More ]
The search for better diagnostic tools for prostate cancer continues, with current test modalities leaving much room for improvement.[ Read More ]
San Francisco, CA—An analysis of a large claims database showed that patients with breast cancer had fewer delays in chemotherapy and maintained better adherence to their regimens when treated with the 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonist palonosetron (Aloxi) than with other agents in this antiemetic class.[ Read More ]
Houston, TX—To eliminate coverage inconsistencies and enhance relationships with providers, health plans should have specific policies for dealing with off-label use of oncologic drugs, said Kristen M. Reimers, RPh, Specialty Pharmacy Director and Clinical Operations Manager for Excellus Health Plans.
At the Second Annual Association for Value-Based Cancer Care Conference, Ms Reimers described the rationale for and the process of development and benefits of the off-label drug policy that she helped to develop at Excellus.[ Read More ]
Houston, TX—A wealth of new agents and abundant clinical trial data supporting their use have led to multiple “acceptable” evidence-based options for treating tumors. This can make the “real-life” care of patients with cancer confusing with regard to disease outcomes and in the assessment of value propositions related to treatment, according to Atheer A. Kaddis, PharmD, Senior Vice President of Managed Markets, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, Flint, MI.[ Read More ]
Houston, TX—With the onslaught of drugs that will target genetic subsets of patients, companion diagnostic testing will become vitally important, said Jane F. Barlow, MD, MPH, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Innovation, Medco Health Solutions (now Express Scripts), New York, who spoke on personalized medicine during the 2012 Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care.[ Read More ]
Albuquerque, NM—Using yoga and other integrative medicine and complementary therapies can cut oncology-related inpatient costs by more than $150 per day as a result of the reduced need for pain medications, anxiolytics, and antiemetics, according to a recent study conducted at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City; this daily reduction adds up to nearly $1 million annually when the savings are extrapolated to a 24-bed oncology unit in the hospital.[ Read More ]
Toronto, Canada—The first-ever analysis of Medicare payments for head and neck tumors shows that comorbidities and treatment choices are the primary drivers of the costs of each type of cancer; the study results were presented at the 2012 International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer. Consequently, the total 5-year cumulative costs per oral-cavity cancer case are approximately $72,000 and approximately $91,000 for oropharyngeal cancer.[ Read More ]
Montreal, Canada—Telemedicine reduces time spent on new-patient consultations for palliative radiotherapy, according to a study presented at the 2012 World Cancer Congress. Patients spent half as long attending a telemedicine consultation than an in-person consultation, and did not have to spend time on traveling to a radiotherapy center for this.[ Read More ]
Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.1 In the United States, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer, as well as an additional 57,650 cases of carcinoma in situ, were expected to be diagnosed in 2011. Approximately 39,500 deaths from breast cancer were expected to occur in 2011.2[ Read More ]
“Non–small cell is the most common type of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States,” said Mark A. Socinski, MD, Director, Lung Cancer Section, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, and lead investigator of phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials of paclitaxel protein-bound in lung cancer. [ Read More ]