Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Stroke / 15.09.2017 Interview with: Dr Jacobo Rogado Medical oncology fellow Hospital de La Princesa Madrid, Spain What is the background for this study? Response: Some publications have suggested that there is an association between stroke and the subsequent diagnosis of cancer, although others have not confirmed this. We have addressed this issue with a study conducted at our hospital during two years. We studied a population of about 1000 patients with stroke. We evaluated the incidence of cancer in this population during the follow-up of 18 months, as well as whether there were factors associated with its occurrence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 14.09.2017 Interview with: Ezra Cohen, MD Associate Director, Moores Cancer Center Professor of Medicine Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego Health - La Jolla Moores Cancer Center La Jolla, CA  92093 What is the background for this study? Response: We have known for a couple of years that anti-PD1 therapy, and specifically pembrolizumab, is active in  head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The KN40 trial now tested pembrolizuamb against standard of care in patients whose cancers progressed on platinum containing regimens. What are the main findings? Response: The main findings really supported what we know about pembrolizumab in this disease - it is active and effective with a favorable side effect profile. Pembrolizumab reduced the risk of death by 19% and was associated with a 14% response rate. The effect was even greater in tumors that expressed PDL1 and, in the highest expressing group, the benefit in reduction of risk of death was 46% with a 27% response rate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, NEJM / 14.09.2017 Interview with: Dr Alexander Menzies BSc(Med) MBBS (Hons) FRACP PhD Medical Oncologist and Senior Research Fellow at Melanoma Institute Australia The University of Sydney and Royal North Shore and Mater Hospital What is the background for this study? Response: For early-stage melanoma, surgical resection is the standard treatment and is associated with an excellent long-term prognosis. However until now, Stage III melanoma patients (where the disease has spread to the lymph nodes) who have had their tumours surgically removed have simply had to play the waiting game to see if their melanoma would metastasise, with many ultimately dying of the disease. Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies and drugs that target the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway have improved the outcome of patients with metastatic melanoma, but their role as adjuvant therapy is still being actively investigated. Prior Phase III trials (COMBI-D and COMBI-V) have shown improved overall survival in patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations. At Melanoma Institute Australia, we were keen to see if this improvement would be seen in the adjuvant setting also. This clinical trial was the first in the world to give targeted therapy to melanoma patients at an earlier stage of the disease to prevent spread and recurrence. (more…)