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Advanced Coverage Recap: 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting

Ben Leach
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ASCO session crowdOn May 16, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) highlighted the results of five ground-breaking studies in advance of its annual meeting held in Chicago from June 1-5, 2012. In a pre-conference press briefing, the authors of these studies described their findings and the significance of the research, which spanned different tumor types and methods of disease management.

  • A phase I study showed that crizotinib (Xalkori, Pfizer), an oral kinase inhibitor that targets the protein produced by the abnormal ALK gene, stalled tumor growth and eradicated cancer in select children with neuroblastoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors, conditions linked to ALK mutations.
  • In an expanded Phase IB trial, a combination of two targeted drugs–the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib–proved effective in treating patients with advanced melanoma by inducing tumor regression and resulting in a lower incidence of skin side effects than the current standard single-agent BRAF-targeted therapy, vemurafenib (Zelboraf).
  • A phase III trial showed that olanzapine (Zyprexa), an antipsychotic medication, proved to be superior to current standard treatment for breakthrough chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • A randomized phase II trial reported that 33% of men with localized high-risk prostate cancer had their disease eliminated or nearly eliminated through a combination of six months of neoadjuvant treatment with the targeted drug abiraterone (Zytiga, Janssen) and hormonal therapy, suggesting that the drug could be used beyond its current approval for men with advanced prostate cancer following chemotherapy.
  • The results of a large survey revealed that many primary care providers and some oncologists were not fully aware of the side effects associated with four chemotherapy drugs that are widely used to treat breast and colorectal cancers.

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