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250 Years of Advances Against Cancer

  • Updated: 02/10/2014

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250 Years of Advances Against Cancer - 2010 - Present

2010
Sipuleucel-T, a cancer treatment vaccine that is made using a patient's own immune system cells, is approved by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormonal therapy. It is the first (and so far only) human cancer treatment vaccine approved.

Results of an international, randomized controlled clinical trial show that treatment with the drug cabazitaxel lengthened the survival of men with hormone therapy-resistant, metastatic prostate cancer whose disease had progressed after treatment with the drug docetaxel. Based on the results of this trial, cabizataxel was approved by the FDA.

Results of a randomized controlled clinical trial in the United Kingdom show that one-time screening of people between the ages of 55 and 64 with flexible sigmoidoscopy reduced colorectal cancer incidence by about 20 percent and colorectal cancer mortality by about 30 percent.

Results of an NCI-supported, randomized controlled clinical trial show that women with breast cancer whose sentinel lymph node is negative for cancer can avoid additional lymph node surgery and be treated safely with breast surgery, systemic adjuvant therapy (hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, or both), and radiation therapy.

Initial results of the NCI-sponsored Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST) show that screening with low-dose helical computerized tomography (CT) reduced lung cancer deaths by about 20% among current and former heavy smokers.
2011
The FDA approves the ALK protein inhibitor crizotinib for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancers that harbor ALK fusion genes. Objective response rates of 50 percent or better and progression-free survival durations of more than 8 months were found in early phase clinical trials.

The FDA approves the drug abiraterone acetate for the treatment of prostate cancer that is resistant to hormonal therapy. Abiraterone acetate blocks the activity of an enzyme involved in testosterone synthesis in the testes, adrenal glands, and prostate cancer tissue.

The FDA approves the drug vemurafinib for the treatment of melanomas that have a specific mutation in the BRAF gene that occurs frequently in this cancer. Vemurafinib had been shown in a randomized controlled clinical trial to lengthen the survival of patients with metastatic or inoperable melanomas that had the mutation.

The FDA approves the use of the monoclonal antibody ipilimumab for the treatment of inoperable or metastatic melanoma. Ipilimumab stimulates the immune system to attack cancer cells by removing a "brake" that normally controls the intensity of immune responses.

Results from a large, international randomized controlled clinical trial show that the aromatase inhibitor exemestane can reduce the incidence of breast cancer by 65 percent among postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease. Exemestane does not have some the serious side effects associated with tamoxifen.

Results from an NCI-supported, randomized controlled clinical trial show that women with breast cancer that has spread to the sentinel lymph node but who have no clinical signs of other lymph node involvement can be treated safely with breast surgery, systemic therapy (hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, or both), and radiation therapy without the need for additional lymph node surgery.
2012
Results of the NCI-sponsored PLCO Cancer Screening Trial confirm that screening people 55 years of age and older for colorectal cancer using flexible sigmoidoscopy reduces colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. In the PLCO, screened individuals had a 21 percent lower risk of developing colorectal cancer and a 26 percent lower risk of dying from the disease than the control subjects.

Results of the NCI-supported, randomized controlled Prostate Cancer Intervention versus Observation Trial (PIVOT) show that, among men with localized prostate cancer, radical prostatectomy did not reduce the risk of death compared with observation (deferring treatment until prostate cancer symptoms developed). These findings suggest that many men might be able to delay or entirely avoid the harmful side effects of prostate cancer treatment, including urinary incontinence and sexual impotence.

Results of an NCI-supported, randomized controlled clinical trial show that patients with a type of brain cancer called oligodendroglioma whose tumor cells have a chromosomal abnormality known as the 1p 19q co-deletion, which is common in this disease, survive much longer than those without the co-deletion regardless of the type of treatment they receive. Moreover, among patients whose tumors have the co-deletion, those treated with the drugs procarbazine (an alkylating agent), lomustine (an alkylating agent), and vincristine in addition to radiation therapy live much longer than those treated with radiation therapy alone.

The FDA approves the drug cabozantinib-S-malate for the treatment of patients with medullary thyroid cancer that has progressed after other treatments. Results of an international randomized controlled clinical trial showed that patients treated with cabozantinib lived nearly three times longer without their disease getting worse than patients treated with a placebo (11.2 months versus 4 months).
2013
The FDA approves ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) for the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer who were previously treated with trastuzumab and/or a taxane drug. T-DM1 is an immunotoxin (an antibody-drug conjugate) that is made by chemically linking the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab to the cytotoxic agent mertansine, which inhibits cell proliferation by blocking the formation of microtubules.

The FDA approves radium 223 dichloride for the treatment of patients with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones and is causing painful symptoms. Results of an international randomized controlled clinical trial showed that men given intravenous injections of this radioactive drug survived longer and had improved quality of life compared with men who received a placebo.

The drug dabrafenib is approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with inoperable or metastatic melanoma that carries the same BRAF gene mutation that is targeted by vemurafenib. Dabrafenib is the second BRAF protein inhibitor approved by the FDA.

The drug trametinib is approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with inoperable or metastatic melanoma that has a mutation in same amino acid of the BRAF protein that is targeted by vemurafenib and dabrafenib. Unlike vemurafenib and dabrafenib, however, trametinib targets a protein called MEK, which is a component of the same cellular signaling pathway that includes BRAF.