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The American Association for Cancer Research, April 6-10

The American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research was held from April 6 to 10 in Washington, D.C., and attracted approximately 18,000 participants from around the world including scientists, cancer survivors, clinicians, allied health professionals, industry professionals, and others interested in cancer. The conference highlighted recent advances in the treatment, management, and prevention of cancer, with presentations focused on cancer mechanisms, diagnostics and therapeutics, translation of advances to the clinic, and cutting-edge science in the prevention of cancer.

In one study, Daniel Lee, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues found that anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy provided responses in children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) that recurred after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The investigators evaluated four pediatric patients with ALL.

"ALL patients have had a response. One had an early but unfortunately transient complete response (CR), despite having only received 2.8 percent of our targeted dose. One post-transplant patient had a CR that lasted 60 days and one, who had never been in remission before despite intensive therapy, achieved a CR with no Minimally Residual Disease (MRD)," Lee said. "The complete side effect profile of these cells remains to be determined, as is the dose of cells that is the most safe and effective to give. Currently, this type of therapy is only available at a handful of very specialized centers. However, because of the responses we have seen so early in the study, I believe this will rapidly move forward in testing and efforts to export this treatment so more pediatric ALL patients may benefit."

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In another study, Geoffrey Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues found that a combination of the nucleoside analog, sapacitabine, and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, seliciclib, was tolerable and safe in patients with incurable BRCA-deficient cancers.

"Of 16 BRCA mutation carriers enrolled, 11 were evaluable for response. Of these 11 patients, four achieved partial response, the longest of approximately 20 months durability. Two additional patients achieved prolonged stable disease. The clinical results are proof-of-principle that the combination may work best in patients with tumors that are deficient in homologous recombination repair, such as those that are BRCA-deficient," said Shapiro. "The combination of sapacitabine and seliciclib has preliminary anti-tumor activity in BRCA mutation carriers with advanced, heavily pre-treated cancers."

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Joyce Liu, M.D., of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues found that DMUC5754A had an acceptable safety profile and encouraging preliminary evidence of activity in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

"We found that DMUC5754A had an acceptable safety profile at the maximum tolerated dose of 2.4mg/kg, with most toxicities related to the drug being Grade 1 or 2. The most commonly observed toxicity that was Grade 3 or higher was fatigue," said Liu. "We saw encouraging preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, with four partial responses and one complete response. Additional patients had minor responses and prolonged stable disease."

The investigators also evaluated MUC16 expression as a biomarker of response to the drug and observed that all five patients who had a response to the drug had tumors that had high expression of MUC16 by immunohistochemistry.

"The results of our study do support further evaluation of DMUC5754A in ovarian cancer," said Liu.

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Candyce Kroenke, M.P.H., Sc.D., of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., and colleagues found that black women with breast cancer had significantly lower survival as compared to women of other racial and ethnic descent.

"Black women had a significantly higher risk of recurrence and breast cancer mortality after diagnosis compared with white women, accounting for breast cancer subtype," said Kroenke. "More work needs to be done to illuminate reasons underlying the black/white disparity in breast cancer survival."

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Lana Kandalaft, Pharm.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues found that a two-stage immunotherapy approach resulted in a clinically beneficial response in advanced ovarian cancer patients.

"We have demonstrated durable progression free survival intervals with one patient, for example, with no evidence of disease for 45 months," said Kandalaft. "Post vaccination, we obtained about 65 percent clinical benefit, and with the two-stage immunotherapy approach, we obtained about 74 percent clinical benefit."

Dr. Kandalaft concludes that vaccines hold promise and might be more beneficial and effective in the primary setting, at remission, where patients have a healthier immune system with the hope of preventing recurrence.

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AACR: Long-Term Selenium Intake Tied to Prostate Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Toenail selenium, which reflects long-term selenium intake, is associated with a decrease in the risk of advanced prostate cancer, especially during later follow-up, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 6 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: Exercise Tied to Reduced Estrogens Post-Menopause

WEDNESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- For post-menopausal women, increased physical activity is associated with lower levels of estradiol and estrone and with lower levels of specific estrogen metabolites, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 6 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: Melanoma Survivors Tend to Be Safer in the Sun

TUESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Although melanoma survivors tend to engage in more sun protection practices than the general population, many do not seek shade and never wear sunscreen, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 4 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: ALL, Other Pediatric Cancers Linked to Air Pollution

TUESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Increased exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and the first year of life is associated with an increased risk of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, germ cell tumors, and retinoblastoma, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 4 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: Novel Treatments Show Promise for Ovarian Cancer

MONDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- A two-step immunotherapy approach and a novel antibody-drug conjugate, DMUC5754A, show promise for advanced ovarian cancer, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held April 4 to 10 in Washington, D.C.

Press Release -- Kandalaft
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