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Cancer research: Amgen drug prolongs survival in some inoperable colon cancers

An Amgen sign is seen at the company’s office in south San Francisco, California October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

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  • Vectibix overtakes Avastin for certain inoperable colon cancers
  • OK to delay stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma
  • Study identifies best treatment for deadly childhood tumor

June 5 (Reuters) – Here are summaries of some of the advances in cancer research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

Amgen drug prolongs survival of some advanced colon cancers

Amgen Inc’s drug Vectibix led to “longest survival ever reported” in a major trial for patients with advanced, inoperable cancer originating on the left side of the colon whose tumors did not have RAS gene mutations , reported researchers on Sunday at ASCO 2022.

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Amgen’s monoclonal antibody, known chemically as panitumumab, belongs to a class of drugs called EGFR inhibitors. The standard treatment in many countries, however, is an anti-VEGF antibody like Roche’s Avastin (ROG.S), meaning many patients with inoperable metastatic cancer may not have received the most effective treatment.

In the trial of more than 800 patients with metastatic colon cancer and unmutated “wild-type” or naturally occurring RAS genes, participants received standard chemotherapy plus Vectibix or Avastin. An average of five years later, patients with right-sided tumors did not see a survival advantage for one drug over the other. But among the 604 patients with left-sided tumors, the risk of death during the study was 18% lower for those who received Amgen’s drug, the researchers said.

Patients treated with the anti-EGFR drug were more likely to have their tumors shrink enough to be eligible for potentially curable surgery, said study leader Dr. Takayuki Yoshino of the National Cancer Center Hospital East in Kashiwa, Japan. Japan, in an interview, adding that treatment “should be the new standard of care.”

Delaying cell transplants for multiple myeloma seems safe

According to research presented on Sunday.

On average, patients who had early transplants remained more than 67 months without worsening of their disease against 46 months for those who delayed their transplants. But the overall survival rates in the two groups were the same, although only 28% of patients in the delayed group eventually had a transplant. Others in this group were able to change treatment.

Participants in the 722-patient trial provided their own stem cells to be stored and re-injected during a transplant. Half then underwent a transplant before receiving multiple cycles of a three-drug protocol that included Bristol Myers Squibb’s Revlimid (BMY.N) – long the standard treatment for multiple myeloma – followed by Revlimid maintenance therapy. . The rest received the three-drug regimen followed by maintenance therapy until the drugs stopped working and transplant was the only option.

Stem cell transplants are grueling and can have serious side effects, but remain the standard of care, study leader Dr. Paul Richardson, of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said in an interview. Doctors can now tell patients, “You have a choice. We can treat you with triple therapy and see how you are doing, and you can keep the transplant in reserve.”

Data shows best drug for deadly childhood cancer

In the first randomized trial comparing treatments for relapsed versus treatment-resistant Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare and deadly childhood cancer, high-dose ifosfamide (IFOS) produced the best results, allowing patients to live around five months moreover, according to data presented on Sunday. at ASCO.

Ewing’s sarcoma only occurs in about 200 American children per year. In about 30 to 40% of patients, it resists treatment or recurs. These patients have a five-year survival rate of only 15%. The nine-country study involved 451 patients. Initial participants were randomly assigned to receive one of four common chemotherapy regimens. The two least effective were removed from the study and patients were then given one of the other two – IFOS or topotecan and cyclophosphamide (TC).

Median event-free survival – the average time patients spent before the disease got worse, the appearance of a second cancer or death – was 5.7 months for IFOS compared to 3.5 months for TC. Overall survival was 15.4 months with IFOS versus 10.5 months with TC, while one-year survival rates were 55% versus 45%, respectively.

Study leader Dr Martin McCabe of the University of Manchester in the UK called the results “relatively strong data”, but noted that IFOS is toxic. “And all these patients are still dying. We need better drugs.”

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Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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