Treatment - Cancer Currents Blog
Cancer treatment related news, with context from leading experts. Includes articles on new therapies, treatment side effects, and important trends in treatment-related research.
- Drug Combination May Target the Unique Metabolism of Leukemia Stem Cells
Two new studies show how the drugs venetoclax (Venclexta) and azacitidine (Vidaza) team up to block the unique metabolism of leukemia stem cells and may explain why the drug combination is effective against acute myeloid leukemia.
- Targeted Treatment for Rare Digestive Tract Cancers May Extend Survival
In an early-phase trial, dabrafenib plus trametinib shrank tumors in patients with biliary tract cancer and adenocarcinoma of the small intestine whose tumors had a specific mutation in the BRAF gene.
- Tailored Radiation to Treat Brain Metastases Reduces Impact on Cognitive Function
Results from a clinical trial suggest that, in patients with brain metastases, an advanced radiotherapy technique limits harm to patients’ cognitive function without affecting the treatment’s effect on tumors.
- Olaparib after Initial Treatment Delays Ovarian Cancer Progression
In a recent trial, the PARP inhibitor olaparib substantially delayed ovarian cancer from coming back after the first line of chemotherapy. Could the findings change the standard of care for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer with a BRCA mutation?
- Immunotherapy Drug Cemiplimab Approved for Advanced Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration approved the immunotherapy drug cemiplimab (Libtayo) for an advanced form of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a common type of skin cancer. It is the first agent to be approved specifically for advanced SCC.
- Trial Results Highlight Changing Lung Cancer Treatment Landscape
Results from two large clinical trials should cement the value of the drugs brigatinib (Alunbrig) and durvalumab (Imfinzi) in treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The trial results, several experts said, confirm that the drugs can improve the outcomes of patients with advanced NSCLC.
- For Small Cell Lung Cancer, Immunotherapy Drug Finally Brings Improved Survival
In a large clinical trial, the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (Tecentriq), combined with a standard chemotherapy regimen, modestly increased survival in patients with advanced small cell lung cancer (SCLC). The trial is the first in more than 20 years to show a survival improvement in this cancer.
- Stimulating the Immune System Shrinks Some Slow-Growing Lymphomas
In a small trial involving patients with slow-growing B-cell lymphoma, injecting the compound SD-101 directly into tumors (in situ vaccination) and giving low-dose radiation shrank the injected tumors and, frequently, tumors elsewhere in the body.
- Heart Problems: Investigating the Cardiac Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
Certain cancer treatments can damage the heart and the cardiovascular system, a problem known as cardiotoxicity. Cardiologists and oncologists met recently to discuss strategies and future research directions for addressing these side effects.
- Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Effective against Melanoma That Has Spread to the Brain
Results from a clinical trial show that the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) halted the growth of or shrank metastatic brain tumors in more than half of participants with melanoma that had spread to the brain.
- Moxetumomab Approved by FDA for Hairy Cell Leukemia
The FDA has approved moxetumomab pasudotox (Lumoxiti), a bacterial toxin–based drug, for the treatment of some patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL). Moxetumomab is approved to treat patients with HCL who have already undergone at least two lines of standard treatments.
- Integrating Geriatric Assessment into Cancer Care: A Conversation with Dr. Supriya Mohile
Dr. Supriya Mohile discusses the unique issues experienced by older adults with cancer and efforts to incorporate geriatric assessment into patient care, including the publication of recent ASCO clinical guidelines on geriatric cancer care.
- High-Fat Diet or Diabetes Drug May Enhance Response to Targeted Cancer Drug
A study in mice may have identified a way to help overcome resistance to targeted cancer drugs known as PI3K inhibitors. The approach appears to work by reducing insulin levels in patients receiving these drugs.
- Aggressive Prostate Cancer Subtype More Common Than Expected
Researchers have found that men with advanced prostate cancer may be more likely than previously thought to develop a more aggressive form of the disease. The subtype, called t-SCNC, was linked with shorter survival than other subtypes.
- Developing Biomarkers for Immunotherapy: A Conversation with Drs. Magdalena Thurin and Helen Chen
NCI is supporting a new research network to develop biomarkers for cancer immunotherapy. In this interview, NCI’s Dr. Helen Chen and Magdalena Thurin explain the networks’ structure and its goals.
- FDA Alters Approved Use of Two Checkpoint Inhibitors for Bladder Cancer
FDA has changed the approved uses of the immunotherapy drugs pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq) to treat the most common form of bladder cancer. The change is based on whether patients’ tumors have a specific biomarker.
- Can Age Affect Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors?
A new study has linked age with how well patients with melanoma responded to treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Experiments in mice suggested that the response pattern may be due to an age-related shift in the kinds of immune cells in tumors.
- Altering Chemotherapy Improves Outcomes in Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancer
Results from two clinical trials are expected to improve the outlook for some people with early-stage pancreatic cancer. Altering the chemotherapy drugs used and the timing of treatment substantially improved survival.
- Biosimilars for Cancer Emerge as Patents on Widely Used Biological Drugs Expire
As the patents on some widely used drugs to treat cancer expire in the coming years, biosimilar drugs are being developed for the treatment of patients with cancer. Are biosimilars effective and will they expand treatment options for patients?
- Trial Produces Practice-Changing Findings for Some Children, Young Adults with Leukemia
This NCI-funded Children’s Oncology Group trial tested the addition of nelarabine (Arranon) to standard treatment for children and young adults with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL).
- New Treatment Approach Could Help Prevent Recurrences of Some Bladder Cancers
Flushing the bladder with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine after tumors have been removed surgically may reduce the risk of low-grade bladder cancer returning, according to the results of a large clinical trial.
- Experimental Cancer Drug Metarrestin Targets Metastatic Tumors
Researchers have struggled to develop therapies to treat tumors that have spread to other parts of the body. In a new study, researchers tested whether the experimental drug metarrestin can selectively shrink metastases in mouse models of aggressive pancreatic cancer.
- Can Immunotherapy Succeed in Glioblastoma?
Despite continued efforts to develop new therapies for glioblastoma, none have been able to improve how long patients live appreciably. Despite some setbacks, researchers are hopeful that immunotherapy might be able to succeed where other therapies have not.
- Some Children with Wilms Tumor Can Receive Less Therapy, Study Suggests
Results from an NCI-sponsored clinical trial may point to an important change in how some children with advanced Wilms tumor, a form of kidney cancer, are treated.
- Moving Beyond BMI: Low Muscle Mass May Affect Cancer Survival
Researchers compared the risk of death for women with breast cancer who had low skeletal muscle mass, or sarcopenia, at the time of their cancer diagnosis and women who had adequate muscle mass.
- Immunotherapy Drugs Expand Treatment Options for Advanced Lung Cancer
Results from a large clinical trial show combining an immune checkpoint inhibitor with chemotherapy helped some patients with advanced lung cancer live longer than chemotherapy alone. How will this change the lung cancer treatment landscape?
- Take with Food: Study Tests Lowering Dose of Prostate Cancer Drug
In a small clinical trial, researchers compared the efficacy of a much lower dose of the cancer drug abiraterone (Zytiga) taken with a low-fat breakfast with a full dose taken on an empty stomach, as directed on the drug’s label.
- Cancer Immunotherapy Drug Simultaneously Targets Two Proteins that Block Immune Response
Two independent groups of researchers have fused a TGF-beta receptor to a monoclonal antibody that targets a checkpoint protein. The result is a single hybrid molecule called a Y-trap that blocks two pathways used by tumors to evade the immune system.
- NCI Launches New Resource for Specimens and Data from Cancer Clinical Trials
NCI has launched Navigator, a new resource for researchers interested in using specimens and clinical data collected from large cancer clinical trials.
- Many Men with Penile Cancer Do Not Get Recommended Treatments, Study Finds
An analysis of records from a national cancer treatment database has found that many men with penile cancer that has not spread beyond nearby lymph nodes did not undergo lymph node biopsy or receive chemotherapy, as recommended by widely used professional guidelines.
- Drug May Help Prevent Resistance to Toxin-Based Leukemia Therapy
A new study has identified a possible strategy for improving the efficacy of a toxin-based cancer treatment, moxetumomab pasudotox, in some patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
- Targeted Therapy Larotrectinib Shows Promise in Early Trials, Regardless of Cancer Type
Initial results from a series of three small clinical trials of a targeted cancer therapy called larotrectinib suggest that it may be effective in patients—children and adults—with a wide variety of cancer types.
- Cabozantinib Approval Expands Initial Treatment Options for Advanced Kidney Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration has approved cabozantinib (Cabometyx®) as an initial treatment for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer.
- Can Oxygen “Microbubbles” Make Radiation Therapy More Effective?
A new study in mice raises the possibility that using microscopic, oxygen-carrying bubbles may improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy in the treatment of breast cancer.
- Abiraterone Approved for Earlier Use in Men with Metastatic Prostate Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the approval of abiraterone (Zytiga®) for men with prostate cancer. The agency approved abiraterone, in combination with the steroid prednisone, for men with metastatic prostate cancer that is responsive to hormone-blocking treatments (also known as castration-sensitive) and is at high risk of progressing.
- For Rare Melanoma, Checkpoint Inhibitors May Hold Substantial Promise
A new study suggests that patients with a rare form of melanoma, called desmoplastic melanoma, may be particularly likely to benefit from treatments known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. An NCI-sponsored clinical trial is already testing one such drug in patients with this cancer.
- New Cancer Treatment Approach Targets Circadian Clock
Two compounds that target components of the circadian clock killed several types of cancer cells in the lab and slowed the growth of brain tumors in mice without harming healthy cells, a new study showed.
- Oncolytic Virus Therapy: Using Tumor-Targeting Viruses to Treat Cancer
A small but growing number of patients with cancer are being treated with oncolytic viruses, which infect and kill tumor cells. But research now suggests that these treatments also work against cancer by spurring an immune response.
- Gut Bacteria Influence Effectiveness of a Type of Immunotherapy
Using mouse models of cancer, researchers found that altering the gut microbiome could affect whether tumors responded to checkpoint inhibition.
- Study Identifies Potential Cause of Hearing Loss from Cisplatin
A new study has found the commonly used chemotherapy drug cisplatin is retained in the inner ear of mice and humans for long periods. The finding may explain why many patients treated with the drug develop hearing loss and could point toward potential ways to prevent it.
- Nilotinib Can Be Discontinued in Some Patients with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
On December 22, FDA approved an update to the label of nilotinib (Tasignia) that states that some patients with CML who are taking nilotinib and whose cancer has been in remission for an extended period can safely stop taking it.
- Drug Combination Improves Outlook for Some Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Interim results from an ongoing clinical trial show that patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated with rituximab plus venetoclax have longer progression-free survival compared with patients treated with chemotherapy.
- Unique Trial Aims to Decrease Early Deaths in Patients with Rare Leukemia
In a unique clinical trial, a group of oncologists with experience treating acute promyelocytic leukemia are making themselves available around the clock to help clinicians at hospitals across the country treat their APL patients.
- FDA Approves Alectinib For Initial Treatment of ALK-Positive Lung Cancer
FDA has approved alectinib (Alecensa) as a first-line treatment option for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer that is ALK positive. Alectinib is the third ALK inhibitor to be approved in this setting.
- Expanding Smoking Cessation Services at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers: An Interview with Dr. Glen Morgan
NCI’s Dr. Glen Morgan discusses NCI’s Cancer Center Cessation Initiative, including how and why this smoking cessation initiative was developed and its long-term goals.
- Alternate Driver of Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer Identified
Researchers have identified an emerging subtype of metastatic prostate cancer that is resistant to therapies that block hormones that fuel the disease.
- Study Identifies Potential Drug Combination for Ewing Sarcoma
From experiments in cells and mice, researchers have identified a two-drug combination that kills more Ewing sarcoma cells than either drug on its own. The study findings could help inform future clinical trials.
- Liquid Biopsy: Using DNA in Blood to Detect, Track, and Treat Cancer
Research studies show tests that analyze tumor DNA in blood, called liquid biopsies, may help detect cancer early, guide precision cancer treatment, and track treatment response.
- Study Tracks the Evolution of Treatment Resistance in Metastatic Breast Cancer
A new study suggests that the cells in treatment-resistant tumors in women with metastatic breast cancer share important characteristics that could potentially make tumors vulnerable to therapies that otherwise might not have been considered.
- Studies Identify Therapies That May Delay Melanoma Recurrence after Surgery
Two recent clinical trials have identified treatments that may delay cancer from returning in some patients with melanoma. Patients in both trials had advanced melanoma that was surgically removed, and each trial tested different forms of post-surgical, or adjuvant, therapy.