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Emerging Therapies

Many presentations at ASH 2015 focused on novel therapies currently in development for the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies, including a second generation of new agents recently approved by the FDA for a variety of hematologic cancers.
The oral, investigational, small-molecule BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax has shown excellent and durable responses in patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). All patients in the trial harbored the 17p deletion (del 17p), which signals poor prognosis.
Barcelona, Spain—Locoregional therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma and for colorectal cancer (CRC) metastases to the liver continue to demonstrate promising outcomes in clinical trials, according to findings presented at the 2015 European Society for Medical Oncology World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer.
“Everolimus is the first targeted agent to show robust antitumor activity with acceptable tolerability across a broad spectrum of NETs,” said James C. Yao, MD.
Vienna, Austria—Patients with advanced, pretreated renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) who have limited treatment options got good news from 2 important practice-changing trials, CheckMate 025 and METEOR, which were presented as late-breaking abstracts at the 2015 European Cancer Congress (ECC). CheckMate 025 showed a survival benefit for nivolumab (Opdivo) over standard therapy with everolimus (Afinitor) in patients with previously treated advanced RCC. This is the first trial to show a survival benefit for an immune checkpoint inhibitor after standard therapy has failed. METEOR showed that cabozantinib (Cometriq) nearly doubled progression-free survival (PFS) compared with standard everolimus in patients with advanced RCC whose disease progressed with previous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor (VEGFR)-targeted therapy.
Vienna, Austria—Immunotherapy is poised to become a game changer for patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Copenhagen, Denmark—Biosimilar filgrastim (Nivestim; Hospira), which was approved earlier this year by the European Commission but not yet by the FDA, showed effectiveness for the treatment of neutropenia and febrile neutropenia (FN) in patients undergoing cytotoxic chemotherapy for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, according to a study presented at the 2015 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology meeting.
The treatment of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) may benefit from immunotherapy with anti–PD-1 agents, based on results of a recent study using pembrolizumab (Keytruda).
Clinicians will soon have more targeted therapies at their disposal, including drugs with novel mechanisms of action.
Boston, MA—Rociletinib, a specially engineered third-generation EGFR inhibitor, is accumulating an impressive track record in early studies of non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The drug is specifically designed for use in patients with NSCLC and the T790M mutation, a heretofore patient population with unmet needs. T790M, the most common mutation associated with resistance to first-line EGFR-directed tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy, is present in 60% of patients with resistance to TKIs.
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