New Cancer Drugs Bring Doctors Closer To Cure

Marsha Scott
June 6, 2017

Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference.

Drug companies have been showcasing their progress in the fight against many common forms of cancer at the world's largest oncology research meeting in Chicago, which began Friday and will continue through Tuesday.

The STAMPEDE trial was a multi-arm, multi-stage trial that recruited patients with high-risk locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer starting long-term ADT.

The results, to be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, show that adding the drug abiraterone (Zytiga) to hormone therapy lowered the risk of death in men whose disease had spread at the time of diagnosis.

Tests showed the treatment is working and his cancer is being well-managed.

"Based on the magnitude of clinical benefit, we believe that the upfront care for patients newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer should change", James said in a statement.

"Although Dr. James shows the degree of benefit in survival is similar in non-metastatic and metastatic patients, I would argue that further study is needed to determine appropriate candidates for abiraterone who have non-metastatic disease", James said. "This is really clinically important". He was at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City when the study was conducted. "We come into clinical judgment", he said. But he told MedPage Today that the results are "muddy".

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"We have to be careful not to overinterpret or underinterpret the study", he stated.

"At first glance it appears as though the benefit and survival seen with abiraterone mirrors or exceeds the benefit we've seen with chemotherapy", with less toxic side effects, Pal said. But that medication can cause tingling, numbness and pain in the hands and feet. Since the risk of neuropathy is dose-dependent, it made sense to see if shortening the duration of therapy might also cut the adverse events.

Trial doctors hailed the study of the experimental drug as "the biggest breakthrough in ten years". In other words, the two durations would be regarded as non-inferior if the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval of the difference in rates of DFS was less than 1.12, Grothey said.

The rate of clinically meaningful (grade 2 or greater) nerve damage differed depending on the type of chemotherapy regimen received, but was consistently higher for people who received 6 months versus 3 months of chemotherapy (45% vs. 15% with FOLFOX and 48% vs. 17% with CAPOX). The median follow-up was 39 months. But the upper limit of the confidence interval was 1.15, he said, "so non-inferiority was not achieved but the loss of efficacy is very small". Local radiotherapy was mandated for patients with node-negative, nonmetastatic disease and encouraged for those with positive nodes.

Collaborative Effort Highlighted Grothey pointed out that the IDEA research was funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), public agencies in other countries, and philanthropies. Many types of research are going on to find the flawless treatment for this.

Doctors also say the findings may lead to a more individualized treatment duration based on a patient's individual preference, age, tolerance of therapy and risk of recurrence. The colon cancer research is part of a wider effort among oncologists to carefully ratchet back chemo treatments to lessen side effects and, in some cases, lower costs.

Grothey disclosed relevant relationships with Amgen, Bayer, Boston Biomedical, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech/Roche, Lilly, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Eisai.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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