NEWS

Cites data showing that the drug significantly extends survival compared with dacarbazine.

February 3

NCI-designated cancer centers appeal for increased vaccination to prevent HPV-related cancers.

February 3

Everolimus and 177Lutetium-DOTATATE are effective against GI tract tumor subset.

January 29

Drug more than doubles overall survival in patients whose tumors have the highest PD-L1 levels.

January 25

An ALK mutation that confers lorlatinib resistance also restores crizotinib sensitivity.

January 22

Long noncoding RNA, PUMILIO proteins linked to aneuploidy.

January 21

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RESEARCH WATCH

Oncogene-induced transformation results in the expansion of Gzmb-expressing ILC1Is and ILTC1s.

February 4

The FAN1–FANCD2 complex prevents chromosomal instability and tumorigenesis independent of ICL repair.

February 4

FOXO1 levels in Treg cells balance antitumor immunity with increased autoimmunity.

January 28

DNA methylation analysis indicates that CLL arises from a continuum of B-cell development states.

January 28

FBXW7 facilitates NHEJ-mediated repair of DNA DSBs in a DNA-PKcs– and ATM-dependent manner.

January 21

PI5P4Kβ is a sensor of GTP concentration that activates lipid second messenger signaling.

January 21

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NOTED THIS WEEK

February 5, 2016

In conjunction with the National Cancer Moonshot Task Force’s first meeting on February 1, the Obama administration announced plans to kick-start this initiative with $1 billion, of which $195 million already appropriated to the NIH in fiscal year 2016 will be spent immediately on new cancer activities. The President is expected to request another $755 million in his final budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, most of which will go to the NIH, with $75 million allocated for data work at the FDA. A new national public opinion survey shows that a significant majority of Democrats (67%) and more than a third of Republicans (38%) and independents (39%) favor a tax increase to support this initiative.

According to data from the phase III MAPS trial in France, bevacizumab (Avastin; Genentech) should be considered a suitable addition to standard cisplatin/pemetrexed (Alimta; Eli Lilly) for patients with newly diagnosed pleural mesothelioma. In this study, 448 patients with unresectable disease and no prior chemotherapy were randomly assigned to receive cisplatin and pemetrexed, with or without bevacizumab. The overall and progression-free survival of those in the bevacizumab arm improved by 2.7 months and 1.9 months, respectively, with manageable toxicities.

The European Medicines Agency has approved osimertinib (Tagrisso; AstraZeneca) for patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors bear a specific EGFR alteration, T790M. Osimertinib, which was green-lighted by the FDA in November 2015, is the first targeted therapy for this subset of NSCLC; its European approval was based on two phase II studies showing that the drug shrank tumors in 66% of 474 patients. AstraZeneca hopes to make osimertinib a key part of the company’s growth plans, and is continuing to collect data on its safety and efficacy in a phase III study.

On Monday, Sun Pharma launched a generic version of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec; Novartis) in the United States. Having filed first with the FDA, Sun’s generic tablets are approved for 180 days of marketing exclusivity. During these six months, the company hopes to poach a third of sales by reducing the price of their version by approximately 30%—in the U.S., Gleevec costs up to $90,000 annually.

New research from Georgia State University suggests that radiation can make tumor cells more susceptible to immunotherapy. In colorectal cancer cells, the researchers found that low-dose ionizing radiation enhanced the expression of multiple death receptors (Fas, DR4, and DR5) and co-stimulatory molecules (4-1BBL and OX-40L), partly as a result of changes in DNA methylation and histone acetylation. The team hypothesizes that these expression changes could allow the immune system to recognize and go after tumor cells that may have previously escaped elimination, thus maximizing responses to immunotherapy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated childhood immunization schedule, released on Monday, officially recommends Gardasil 9 over two other approved vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV). Gardasil 9 protects against nine HPV strains, compared to four for Gardasil and two for Cervarix. The new schedule also recommends that children with a history of sexual abuse receive the HPV vaccine a few years earlier, between ages 9–10 instead of 11–12.

A new study shows that the time between a positive fecal blood test—part of the screening process for colorectal cancer—and a follow-up colonoscopy varies significantly nationwide. Investigators from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA, evaluated 62,384 patients, all with positive tests, and found that the median time to a colonoscopy ranged from 41–174 days; older patients (ages 70–89) were at the highest risk for not receiving the procedure, and follow-up rates were also low for patients who had never before been tested for colorectal cancer. Next, the investigators will determine whether these delays in getting colonoscopies affected patient outcomes—information that’s critical for making the colorectal cancer screening process as effective as possible, they say.

Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, NC, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, have been jointly awarded $13.4 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. They’ll launch COMET, a national prospective, randomized study aimed at investigating a key question in breast cancer management: Do women with ductal carcinoma in situ, the disease’s earliest form, require invasive surgery, or is active surveillance (mammograms every six months for five years) sufficient? The researchers will also compare quality-of-life measures, including anxiety and depression, in both groups of patients. 

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RESEARCH WATCH