ASCO Annual Meeting Promises to Deliver on Important Cancer Advances

Yesterday, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) lifted the embargo on nearly 5000 abstracts that will be presented at ASCO's 51st Annual Meeting to be held in Chicago, May 29-June 2. The results from a few of the studies were released via a presscast that saw participation by the chair of ASCO's clinical communications committee, the current ASCO president, and the ASCO president-elect.

Yesterday, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) lifted the embargo on nearly 5000 abstracts that will be presented at ASCO’s 51st Annual Meeting to be held in Chicago, May 29-June 2. The results from a few of the studies were released via a presscast that saw participation by the chair of ASCO’s clinical communications committee Gregory A. Masters, MD, FACP, FASCO; current ASCO president Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO; and ASCO president-elect, Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO.

The first speaker Diona Damian, MD, from the University of Sydney, presented results from the ONTRAC trial, a phase 3 double-blind, randomized controlled trial that evaluated nicotinamide (vitamin B3) as a chemopreventive agent in high-risk skin cancer patients. Primary endpoint for the 12 month trial was new non-melanoma skin cancers, and the secondary endpoint was premalignant actinic keratosis. The study found a significant reduction in non-melanoma skin cancer and acitinic keratosis in high-risk patients on nicotinamide, compared with placebo. The authors concluded that being safe and inexpensive, this agent could easily be adopted as a chemopreventive tactic in clinical practice among patients who have had skin cancer.

The subsequent presentation by Sagar Lonial, MD, from Emory University, shared the much-anticipated phase 3 results of the ELOQUENT-2 trial, evaluating the inclusion of elotuzumab—a monoclonal antibody—to the lenalidomide/dexamethasone regimen in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. The advantage of this monoclonal antibody is that it targets both, the myeloma cells as well as natural killer cells, thus providing a boost to the body’s immune response. The study participants—at 224 sites across 21 countries—had received at least 1 to 3 prior lines of therapy, and were randomized to receive lenalidomide and dexamethasone, with or without elotuzumab. Tumor response was monitored every 4 weeks and survival every 12 weeks following disease progression. The study found that elotuzumab improved progression-free survival by 30% and overall response rate by 13%.

Nicholas James, MD, from the University of Warwick and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, presented results of the STAMPEDE trial, evaluating the inclusion of docetaxel or zoledronic acid or both to standard hormone therapy in hormone-naïve prostate cancer patients. The study found that including docetaxel, not zoledranic acid, improved survival, and the combination did not offer any benefit over docetaxel alone. The authors propose that docetaxel should be included in men newly diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer as well as in men with high-risk non-metastatic disease.