ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Leukemia, UC Davis / 28.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian A. Jonas, M.D., Ph.D. UC Davis Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? At this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and European Hematology Association (EHA) virtual meetings, we presented data on the rapidity and likelihood of response to venetoclax treatments, and its associated characteristics, in older patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We evaluated data from two clinical trials of venetoclax in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine (M14-358), or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) (M14-387) in this patient population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Yale / 28.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Boffa, MD Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The study examined networks that formed around hospitals that had been previously ranked in the top-50 by US News and World Report.  These top-ranked hospitals have shared their brand with hospitals in their network, which leads some people to believe that the care is the same at top-ranked hospitals and their affiliate hospitals.  We wanted to determine if outcomes after complex surgical procedures were truly the same at affiliate hospitals and top-ranked hospitals.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma, Nature / 21.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kelly Brooks PhD Research Officer QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are approximately 175 new cases a year for melanomas inside the eye called uveal melanomas. These cancers spread to other sites of the body in about half of patients. Uveal melanomas are very different to skin melanomas and so far no effective treatment have been approved to treat uveal melanoma once it has spread. We sequenced uveal melanoma tumours from over 100 different patients to look at what mutations are responsible for tumour growth and development.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paolo A. Ascierto, MD Melanoma. Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics Unit Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione "G. Pascale" Napoli - Italy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As we know, in Covid-19 pneumonia, especially in its complication “acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)”, a key role is played by the immune system. We know that when we treat a tumor with immunotherapy, it could give side effects because the stimulated immune system produces a series of substances to destroy the tumor. Sometimes, the immune system can also give side effects related to a hypersecretion of some cytokines, such as IL 6, the target of tocilizumab. This condition is called cytokine storm, or better, cytokine release syndrome (CRS).Oncologists use tocilizumab in the management of CRS that can occur following the use of bispecific antibodies, or recently, the use of CAR-T cell therapy, where such drug is approved for CRS treatment.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lancet, Nature / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Galsky, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Standard first-line treatment for metastatic urothelial (bladder) cancer has been platinum-based chemotherapy for decades. In 2016, atezolizumab, an immunotherapy that inhibits PD-L1, received accelerated approval by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic urothelial cancer for patients progressing despite prior platinum-based chemotherapy and this was followed by approvals for 4 additional PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors in this setting over the next couple years. With this first new drug class approved, representing the first new drugs approved for metastatic urothelial cancer for decades, logical question arose (a) should we combine these drugs with platinum-based chemotherapy in the first-line metastatic treatment setting and (b) is there a role to replace first-line chemotherapy with atezolizumab monotherapy. The IMvigor 130 trial was designed to address these questions. The trial enrolled 1213 patients who were randomized to treatment with (a) atezolizumab plus platinum-based chemotherapy, (b) placebo + platinum-based chemotherapy, or (c) atezolizumab monotherapy. The trial employed a hierarchical analysis plan such that comparisons between arms for certain endpoints could only be formally tested if other the preceding comparisons demonstrated a significant improvement.  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jesus G. Berdeja, MD Director of Myeloma Research Sarah Cannon Nashville, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite many advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma in recent years, the majority of patients will progress through all available therapies and ultimately succumb to their disease.  Thus there is still a high unmet medical need. The Phase 1b/2 CARTITUDE-1 study evaluates the safety and efficacy of JNJ-4528, an investigational BCMA-directed CAR-T therapy, in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. Participants in this study have already tried approved therapies, and had received a median of five prior treatment regimens and their median overall survival is less than 12 months.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 14.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: AVM BiotechologyTheresa A. Deisher, Ph.D Founder and CEO Chariman of Board AVM Biotechnology Dr. Deisher discusses AVM Biotechnology’s plan to study the immune stimulator AVM0703, developed for it’s anti-tumor effects,  as a potential agent to combat COVID-19.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is AVM0703 currently being studied to treat?   Response: Our lead small molecule, AVM0703, is a novel, patent-pending repurposed formulation of an active pharmaceutical ingredient that has been U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved since 1961. AVM0703 works by supercharging and mobilizing immune cells, including a novel natural killer T-cell (NKT), novel cytotoxic T lymphocytes and a CD11b very high dendritic cell, which invade and destroy tumors more effectively than untreated immune cells. AVM Biotechnology has received clinical trial approval from the FDA to begin Phase I/II trials to characterize the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor activity of AVM0703 administered as a single intravenous infusion to pediatric and adult patients (≥12 years old) with terminal, no-option lymphoid malignancies. In addition, we are planning to study AVM0703 in Phase I/II trials in patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 infection. The proposed study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-ascending dose study of AVM0703 administered as a single intravenous infusion. The study’s objective is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of AVM0703 in patients with COVID-19, as well as assess pharmacokinetics and dosing, including the maximum tolerated dose and the recommended Phase II dose. We hope to begin recruiting patients next month (June 2020). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA / 14.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
  • Sung Jun Ma, MD, resident physician in Radiation Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (first author)
  • Oluwadamilola T. Oladeru, MD, a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: More than 40% of women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer have high recurrence scores (RS) of 26-30. Optimal adjuvant systemic therapy in this subgroup remains unclear, and national guidelines currently recommend either chemoendocrine therapy or endocrine therapy alone. In addition, the difference in overall survival of a patient with a RS 26-30 versus RS >30 is unclear. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cancer Research / 13.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Udai Banerji, MD The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Not only have I been working in the RAS mutations oncology world for a while, but I also have prior preclinical experience working with VS-6766 (RAF/MEK inhibitor) and defactinib (FAK inhibitor), the two drugs in the Phase 1 study that was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual medical meeting on April 27th. It is important to know that there is a great significant medical need for novel treatments for KRAS mutant tumors, which are difficult to treat, aggressive, and quite common across advanced solid tumors, including low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and colorectal cancer (CRC), resulting in the need for novel treatments in an area of significant medical need. I felt that early signals in preclinical research warranted a clinical trial; so that, combined with my RAS experience, made pursuing the Phase 1 study a clear fit. A clinical trial setting allowed us to explore RAF and RAS inhibitor combinations in multiple tumor trials, which was our aim. The data presented at AACR convey safety and dose response results from the dose-escalation portion and expansion cohorts from an open-label, investigator-initiated Phase 1 study evaluating the combination of VS-6766 (RAF/MEK inhibitor) and defactinib (FAK inhibitor) therapy in patients with LGSOC and KRAS mutant NSCLC. The introductory data described in the study suggest that a novel intermittent dosing schedule of RAF/MEK and FAK inhibitor combination therapy has promising clinical activity in patients with KRAS mutant LGSOC and KRASG12V mutant NSCLC, including patients formerly treated with a MEK inhibitor. Expansion cohorts remain ongoing.  (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, MD Anderson, Pharmaceutical Companies / 09.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David S Hong, M.D MD Anderson Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine University of Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Larotrectinib is a first-in-class, CNS active, oral TRK inhibitor exclusively designed to treat tumors with an NTRK gene fusion and does not have secondary targets. In previous presentations and published in The Lancet Oncology, larotrectinib demonstrated robust tumor-agnostic efficacy in an integrated dataset of 159 adult and pediatric patients with TRK fusion cancer across three clinical trials (Feb 2019 data cut-off date). In these studies, the objective response rate (ORR), according to investigator assessment, was 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72 – 85%), with a complete response rate of 16%. In this analysis presented at AACR 2020, we sought to evaluate the outcomes in patients from the integrated data set based on different baseline characteristics, including prior lines of therapy and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status. ECOG measures how the disease impacts a patient. ECOG describes a patient’s level of functioning with a numbering scale (0-5) so physicians can uniformly describe a patient’s ability to care for themselves, daily activity and physical activity (selfcare, walking, working, etc). (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Bayer, Cancer Research / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David S Hong, M.D Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine MD Anderson, University of Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Larotrectinib is a first-in-class, CNS active, oral TRK inhibitor exclusively designed to treat tumors with an NTRK gene fusion and does not have secondary targets. In previous presentations and published in The Lancet Oncology, larotrectinib demonstrated tumor-agnostic efficacy in an integrated dataset of 159 adult and pediatric patients with TRK fusion cancer across three clinical trials (Feb 2019 data cut-off date). In these studies, the objective response rate (ORR), according to investigator assessment, was 79% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72 – 85%), with a complete response rate of 16%. A variety of NTRK genes have been identified in various tumor types including fusions and non-fusions (e.g., amplifications, rearrangements, deletions, slice variants). In the analysis presented at AACR 2020, we sought to evaluate this pooled data to determine the efficacy of larotrectinib in patients with non-fusion alterations in NTRK genes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anurag K. Singh MD Professor of Oncology Director of Radiation Research Leader, Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapy Program Associate Dean Graduate Medical Education, Research Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Buffalo NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: More than 40% of women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative early stage breast cancer with high recurrence scores (RS) have RS of 26-30. Optimal adjuvant systemic therapy in this subgroup remains unclear, and national guideline currently recommends either chemoendocrine therapy or endocrine therapy alone. In addition, the difference in overall survival of a patient with a RS 26-30 versus RS >30 is unclear.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 04.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emerson Y. Chen, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR 97239 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our research group had previously studied how oncology drugs are approved in these two previous papers listed below. One is focused on the time delay trade-off from surrogate endpoints (i.e. response rate and progression-free survival) over definite endpoints (i.e. overall survival and quality of life). The other is focused on how promising the response rate of a drug candidate have to be to be considered for oncology drug approval.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 04.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca Nagy Vice President Medical Affairs Guardant Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer comprises roughly 75% of all cancers of the  breast. While many of these cancers can be cured through multi-modality therapy, there remain many deaths due to metastatic spread to distant organs. These metastatic cancers are marked by their resilience in the face of potent targeted therapies and chemotherapies, with many tumors displaying an initial drug response followed by resistance. Recently, genomic sequencing has identified recurrent, oncogenic alterations in HR+ metastatic breast cancer (MBC) with mutations in the catalytic alpha subunit of PI3K (PI3Kα, PIK3CA gene), in over 40% of cases. This has raised hopes for more durable disease control through precise inhibition of this driver oncogene. The SOLAR-1 Phase III study of alpelisib combined with fulvestrant in PIK3CA-mutated HR+ MBC showed a markedly improved PFS over fulvestrant monotherapy but pervasive resistance nonetheless. To characterize the basis for such resistance to combination hormone plus PIK3CA targeted therapy, we conducted a detailed, longitudinal analysis of tumor and plasma circulating cell-freetumor DNA (ctDNA) among patients with HR+ MBC who participated in a phase I/II dose escalation study of alpelisib in combination with letrozole or exemestane.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Melanoma / 29.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Matthew H. Law, PhD Senior Research Officer, Statistical Genetics QIMR Berghofer MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A large genetic study of melanoma involving a global collaboration of scientists, co-led by QIMR Berghofer, the University of Leeds in the UK, and the National Cancer Institute in the US which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics. Melanoma is a sometimes-deadly skin cancer, with an estimated 350,000 cases worldwide in 2015, resulting in nearly 60,000 deaths. Melanoma begins in melanocytes, cells in the skin responsible for making the pigment melanin that gives colour to the skin. Melanin is able to block some of the harmful effects of UV radiation, which is why people with pale skin are at a higher risk of skin cancer, but the protection is not complete. Moles also develop from melanocytes, and having a high number of moles is a risk factor for melanoma. UK based co-lead author, Dr Mark Iles from the University of Leeds’s Institute for Data Analytics, said the researchers examined DNA from 37,000 people who had been diagnosed with melanoma and compared their genetic information to that of nearly 400,000 people with no history of the disease.” Joint study leader and QIMR Berghofer statistical geneticist Associate Professor Matthew Law said the researchers identified 33 new regions of the genome and confirmed another 21 previously reported regions that are linked to a person’s risk of developing melanoma of the skin. Two of the new regions we’ve discovered that are linked to melanoma have previously been linked to autoimmune disorders. This provides further evidence that the immune system plays an important role in a person developing melanoma. We also found an association between melanoma and common genetic variants in the gene TP53, which is a gene critical in controlling DNA repair when cells divide, and in suppressing cancer.” Co-lead author on the study and senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Dr Maria Teresa Landi, said the research also uncovered other important clues to the genetic causes of melanoma. We used the relationship between moles, pigmentation, and melanoma to identify 31 additional gene regions that potentially influence melanoma risk. For example, one of the regions we identified is involved in melanocyte growth,” Dr Landi said. “Moreover, we also included people from Mediterranean populations involved in the MelaNostrum Consortium. Most studies of melanoma use people with northern or western European ancestry (e.g. British) and by expanding our analysis to include Mediterranean populations, we will gain a greater understanding of the genetics of melanoma in this highly sun exposed group.” (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology / 10.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Galsky, MD Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by switch maintenance immunotherapy? Response: For decades, platinum-based chemotherapy has been standard first-line treatment for metastatic urothelial (bladder) cancer. The standard approach to first-line chemotherapy is to administered approximately 6 cycles of treatment (in the absence of disease progression or prohibitive side effects), and then to stop treatment and monitor. Unfortunately, virtually all patients with metastatic disease will experience disease progression after stopping chemotherapy. However, we know that if we just continue the same platinum-based chemotherapy until progression of cancer (rather than stopping after ~6 cycles), the side effects continue to accumulate but the benefits plateau. Approximately 5 years ago, the first new systemic therapies were approved to treatment metastatic urothelial cancer in decades, immune checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors). In fact, 5 PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with metastatic urothelial cancer progressing despite prior platinum-based chemotherapy. Given that these drugs are non-cross resistant with chemotherapy in at least a subset of patients (i.e., they can provide benefit even when chemotherapy is no longer working), and because they are well tolerated by a large proportion of patients, a logical question is rather than waiting until cancer progresses after stopping first-line chemotherapy, what if we started immunotherapy immediately. Switch maintenance refers to switching from chemotherapy to a different class of drug (e.g., immunotherapy) and maintenance refers to trying to "maintain" the response achieved with initial chemotherapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cancer Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 19.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: https://www.cgen.com/ Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D. President and CEO Compugen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? Would you discuss Compugen’s underlying cancer hypothesis regarding the targeting of multiple checkpoint pathways to enhance tumor response? Response: Cancer immunotherapy has revolutionized the landscape for cancer treatments by providing new drug options leading to lasting benefits for patients. Yet, response rates vary greatly across different cancer indications, leaving a significant unmet medical need for many patients and a continuing challenge to discover new biological pathways that can serve for the development of new cancer immunotherapies for non-responsive and refractory patients. Using a computational approach which is designed to discover new biological pathways and drug targets, we identified PVRIG as a novel immune checkpoint and a newly discovered inhibitory pathway in the DNAM axis. Our hypothesis is that PVRIG and TIGIT (another inhibitory pathway discovered by us and others) are two parallel and complementary inhibitory pathways in the DNAM axis and that in certain tumor types and patient populations, there may be a need to block both PVRIG and TIGIT in order to enhance anti-tumor immune responses. Moreover, reported molecular intersections between the DNAM axis and the PD-1 pathway, the most prevalent pathway targeted by approved immunotherapies, suggest that there is a linkage between these three pathways. As such, our PVRIG inhibitor may work in synergy with PD-1 and TIGIT inhibitors, suggesting that various drug combinations may be required to address these three pathways based on their dominance in different cancer patients and cancer indications. With this recently announced Phase 1/2 triple combination study, we will be directly testing our hypothesis of an intersection between the three parallel immune checkpoint pathways – PVRIG, TIGIT and PD-1 – and that the simultaneous blockade of these pathways has the potential to synergistically enhance anti-tumor immune response and expand the reach of cancer immunotherapy to patients non-responsive or refractory to approved immunotherapies.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer, Occupational Health / 18.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Theresa S. Emory MD Department of Pathology, Peninsula Pathology Associates Newport News, VA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cosmetic talc products can contain asbestos, which is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. We investigated 75 individuals with malignant mesothelioma, whose only known exposure to asbestos was repeated exposures to cosmetic talcum powder. 83% of the individuals were female and several occurred in barbers/cosmetologists. 16% occurred in individuals younger than 45 years old, and on average the subjects were 11 years younger than predicted, based on SEER data. The asbestos fibers in tissue samples that were examined in 11 cases were identical (anthophyllite and tremolite) to those identified in cosmetic talc. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 13.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alyson Haslam, PhD Nutritional Epidemiologist Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy Oklahoma State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Checkpoint inhibitor drugs for the treatment of cancers have received a lot of attention in recent years because of their ability to induce responses in certain tumors. To quantify the eligibility and response of these drugs in the US population, we published an article about a year ago (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2732329). Since that publication, there were several confirmatory studies that failed to show a benefit in important outcomes such as overall survival or progression-free survival, and the US FDA made some revisions to certain checkpoint inhibitor drug labels. This prompted us to re-evaluate the eligibility of these drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Columbia, OBGYNE / 11.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew ESpotnitzMDMPH Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Obstetrics and Gynecology Columbia University Medical Center Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics, and Medical Informatics Services New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our take home message is that copper and hormonal IUDs may have different physiological effects on the female genitourinary system. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Weight Research / 27.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carolyn Ee PhD NICM Health Research Institute Western Sydney University Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide and in Australia, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Weight gain is common after diagnosis of breast cancer and may increase tumour recurrence risk, mortality rate, and worsen quality of life. As there was no national data on the prevalence of weight gain after breast cancer in Australia, we undertook a national survey which was open to any woman living in Australia who had breast cancer. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Yale / 27.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lajos Pusztai, M.D, D.Phil. Professor of Medicine Director, Breast Cancer Translational Research Co-Director, Yale Cancer Center Genetics and Genomics Program Yale Cancer Center Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT 05620  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We analyzed breast cancer tissues obtained before any therapy and the same cancers after 20 weeks of chemotherapy. This setting is ideal to find out what genomic changes have occurred in cancers that survived therapy. Due to the paucity of such specimens few other studies exist in this space. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Mammograms / 25.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xabier Garcia-De-Albeniz MD PhD Research Associate Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Mongan Institute for Health Policy Massachusetts General Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The goal of breast cancer screening is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by finding breast cancer at early, more treatable stages. The main way to screen for breast cancer is periodic mammography, which is an x-ray of the breast that can show tumors before they are large enough to feel. High-quality studies called clinical trials have shown that screening women in their 50s and 60s decreases breast cancer deaths. However, the point at which women can safely stop screening because it no longer decreases breast cancer deaths has not been studied. More than half of women in the United States continue screening mammography after age 75 years.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 20.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samuel Takvorian, MD, MS Instructor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology LDI Associate Professor University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansions have been associated with improved access to care, affordability, and for certain surgical and medical conditions, health outcomes. However, studies have also suggested unintended consequences such as lengthened wait times, and there is continued debate about the overall impact of the expansions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, JAMA / 19.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nikolai Dyrberg Loft MD, Ph.D.-fellow Department of Dermatology and Allergy Gentofte Hospital Hellerup MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Epidemiological studies examining the association between psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis and cancer have reported conflicting results. Some studies report an increased risk of cancer in individuals with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis and others do not. Whether individuals with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis have an increased risk of cancer is important as this might help guiding in clinical practice. In order to determine if there is an increased risk of cancer and the magnitude of this risk, a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis is needed.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Environmental Risks, Melanoma / 19.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many cases of cutaneous melanoma (melanoma) in the United States have been attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but there was little information on the state-by-state burden of melanoma due to UV exposure. We estimated numbers, proportions and age-standardized incidence rates of malignant melanomas attributable to UV radiation in each US state by calculating the difference between observed melanomas during 2011–2015 and expected cases based on rates in a population with theoretically minimum UV exposure. As there is no population completely unexposed to UV radiation, the reference rates we used were historical melanoma incidence rates in Connecticut during 1942–1954, when the melanoma burden was low. For most adults, melanomas diagnosed in that period likely reflected UV exposure accumulated in the 1930s or earlier, when exposure was minimized by clothing style and limited recreational exposure. We estimated that 338,701 melanoma cases (91.0% of total, 372,335) in the United States during 2011–2015 were attributable to UV exposure; 94.3% of all these UV-attributable cases (or 319,412 cases) occurred in non-Hispanic whites. UV-attributable melanoma incidence rates and cases were higher among males than females, but attributable rates and cases in ages <45 years were higher among females. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Bayer, Cancer Research / 13.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David S. Hong MD Deputy Chair Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer MedicineThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX    MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • A rare genomic alteration called a neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusion is a primary oncogenic driver that causes TRK fusion cancer, which has been found in a variety of common tumor types, including GI cancers such as colon, cholangiocarcinoma, pancreatic, and appendiceal cancers. In patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancer, including pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer, NTRK gene fusions are estimated to have a frequency of ~0.3%.
  • Larotrectinib is an oral and highly selective TRK inhibitor used for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with solid tumors that have an NTRK gene fusion. Under the brand name Vitrakvi®, it is the first and only approved TRK inhibitor exclusively designed to treat tumors with an NTRK gene fusion with approval in the US in 2018 and other worldwide markets in 2019.
  • At ASCO GI 2020, we presented results of a new analysis of the efficacy and safety of larotrectinib specifically in patients with TRK fusion with gastrointestinal cancers, which is an often underdiagnosed patient group. The subset included 14 adult patients with GI tumor types with NTRK gene fusions, including colon, cholangiocarcinoma, pancreas, appendix and hepatic; of the eight patients with colon cancer, seven were microsite instability (MSI)-high.
  • In this subset of patients, the overall response rate (ORR) was 43%. Additionally, median overall survival was 33.4 months at 19 months of follow-up (range 2.8–36.5), median progression-free free survival (PFS) was 5.3 months (range 2.2-9.0) and median time to response was 1.8 months (range 1.7-2.1). In colon cancer patients, the ORR was 50% and the median PFS ranged from 1.5+ to 16.7+ months. 
(more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Bayer, Cancer Research / 11.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: bayer-pharmaceuticalsDr. Kirhan Ozgurdal Global Medical Affairs Physician Oncology, Bayer MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Regorafenib is an oral multi-kinase inhibitor that potently blocks multiple protein kinases involved in tumor angiogenesis, oncogenesis, metastasis and tumor immunity. It is approved for the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have previously been treated with sorafenib. The safety and effectiveness of regorafenib is being evaluated in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC),a liver tumor not eligible for curative treatment approaches such as surgery, given the extent of disease.
  • Following the Phase 3 RESORCE trial, which showed that regorafenib significantly improves overall survival versus placebo in patients with uHCC who progressed on prior sorafenib therapy, we conducted an interim analysis (the first 500 of 1000 patients) of the global REFINE observational trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of regorafenib in uHCC in the real-world setting.
  • The REFINE study shows a more varied patient population than the Phase 3 RESORCE trial, including a higher proportion of patients with ECOG performance status ≥1, and a higher proportion with Child–Pugh B liver function.
  • The incidence of regorafenib-related grade ≥3 treatment-emergent adverse events were lower than that reported in the RESORCE trial, possibly indicating improved adverse event management with the use of regorafenib in clinical practice.
  • The median overall survival was longer than that reported in RESORCE, but the proportion of censored patients was high in this interim analysis; the median progression free survival was similar to that reported in RESORCE.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CT Scanning, Lung Cancer / 04.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carlijn M. van der Aalst, Ph.D. MPH Department of Public Health Erasmus MC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among both men and women. About 70% of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed with advanced disease, which results in only 15% surviving five years. About 70% of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed with advanced disease, a stage in which cure is problematic. This results in only 15% surviving five years. Although quit smoking is most effective in preventing lung cancer, about half of all lung cancers are currently diagnosed in former smokers, who remain at high risk for decades after quitting smoking. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST; U.S.) reported a 20% lung cancer-related mortality reduction and a 6.7% reduction in all-cause mortality for CT screening compared with chest radiography screening for lung cancer in 53,454 enrolled subjects at high risk for lung cancer.1 As a consequence, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) requested an independent review and a modelling study. Based on these NLST data, an efficient strategy with a reasonable harm-benefit ratio could be established, resulting in the recommendation to annually screen persons aged 55-80 with ≥30 pack-years of smoking history, who currently smoke or quit smoking <15 years ago. However, data of only one trial provides limited evidence and more trial data are needed. NELSON is the second largest lung cancer screening trial that is adequately designed to provide the evidence that is needed to conclude whether CT screening can reduce lung cancer mortality. (more…)