From The Editors September 2022

TOP - September 2022 Vol 15, No 5 - From the Editors
Patrick J. Medina, PharmD, BCOP
Medical Science Liaison
Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline
Collegeville, PA
Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy
University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy
Steven Stricker, PharmD, MS, BCOP
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Samford University
Birmingham, AL

The September issue of The Oncology Pharmacist (TOP) features news and updates relevant to today’s pharmacy professionals working in the field of oncology. We begin our coverage with encouraging results from the phase 3 TOPAZ-1 clinical trial, which demonstrated a significant survival benefit with the addition of durvalumab (Imfinzi) to first-line chemotherapy in the treatment of biliary tract cancer (BTC), a rare malignancy that is typically associated with a poor prognosis (see here).

“Durvalumab plus gemcitabine/cisplatin is an effective first-line therapy and could become a new standard of care for patients with advanced BTC,” said Do-Youn Oh, MD, PhD, who presented data from the study during the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation 2022 annual meeting.

Equally compelling findings were reported at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, where investigators updated attendees on the latest breakthroughs in cancer treatment for a wide range of malignancies. During this meeting, Shanu Modi, MD, discussed the clinically meaningful benefit seen with the antibody–drug conjugate fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu) in women with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer in the DESTINY-Breast04 trial. The results from this trial were the basis for the drug’s recent FDA approval for this population of patients (see here).

“The strong efficacy of T-DXd [trastuzumab deruxtecan] in this HER2-low patient population supports the need to now classify HER2-low as a new therapeutically targetable category of metastatic breast cancer,” Dr Modi noted.

Addressing and eliminating healthcare disparities was an important focus of discussion at ASCO 2022, as evidenced by the overarching theme of the meeting—advancing equitable cancer care through innovation (see here).

“In oncology, innovation can be seen around every corner. Opportunities range from new therapies and smarter use of existing treatments, and offering patients broader and easier access through telemedicine, to rethinking clinical trial eligibility and much more,” said ASCO’s 2021-2022 President Everett E. Vokes, MD, during the opening session.

In a poster session at this meeting, Jessica Y. Islam, PhD, MPH, explained how the COVID-19 pandemic revealed health and social inequities related to the treatment of patients with cancer. Using data obtained from the ASCO Survey on COVID-19 in Oncology Registry, she referred to the higher rates of treatment delays or discontinuations observed among black or African-American patients with cancer and COVID-19 compared with non-Hispanic white patients. Individuals living in urban settings were also more likely to experience these delays and disruptions in treatment (see here).

This issue of TOP also features highlights from other premier oncology meetings, including the 2022 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, where researchers discussed findings from trials assessing emerging therapies that may improve outcomes for patients with advanced or metastatic disease.

In addition, we provide readers with an overview of new cancer drugs and new indications approved by the FDA.

As always, we hope you will enjoy this issue of TOP, and we invite you to visit www.TheOncologyPharmacist.com to share your feedback about this issue with us or send comments to info@TheOncologyPharmacist.com. We look forward to receiving your feedback.

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Last modified: September 21, 2022