In the News: Oncology - February 2017

The CALGB/Alliance 50303 clinical trial failed to show that dose-adjusted treatment with the EPOCH-R (etoposide, phosphate, prednisone, vincristine sulfate, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin hydrochloride, and rituximab) regimen was superior to standard therapy with R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin hydrochloride, vincristine sulfate, and prednisone) in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Both treatment regimens were equally effective for event-free survival and overall survival (OS), but dose-adjusted
The addition of venetoclax (Venclexta) to bortezomib (Velcade) and dexamethasone yields high response rates in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, especially in patients with disease that is not refractory to bortezomib and who received 1 to 3 previous lines of therapy, according to findings presented by Philippe Moreau, MD, Department of Hematology, Nantes University Hospital, France, at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting.

Although tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), including imatinib (Gleevec), nilotinib (Tasigna), and dasatinib (Sprycel), have dramatically improved outcomes in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the costs of these drugs have spiraled out of control, causing some patients to stop treatment or cut their dosage because of financial toxicity. Data presented at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting show that it is possible for some patients with CML to reduce their TKI dose by 50% and maintain remission, perhaps even stop treatment altogether once deep and durable remission has been achieved after approximately 5 years of treatment.
Delaying medication processing is common, especially when it comes to oral cancer therapies. Oncologists at 3 oncology clinics looked at such barriers and the potential impact on patient outcomes.
Adding the investigational smoothened (SMO) receptor inhibitor glasdegib to low-dose cytarabine (Depo­Cyt) significantly increased overall survival (OS) compared with low-dose cytarabine monotherapy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who were ineligible for intensive chemotherapy, according to a phase 2 study presented by Jorge E. Cortes, MD, Department of Leukemia, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting.
A new economic model suggests that overall survival and drug toxicity profiles are insufficient for assessing the value of a drug. According to a study that incorporated late adverse events in advanced Hodgkin lymphoma, a more comprehensive benefit-to-risk ratio of a drug requires an understanding of its long-term health implications, said Ohad Oren, MD, Pennsylvania Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting.

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