ASCO 2016: Review
Dr Julie Vose - President of ASCO
The plenary session this year has five very important abstracts, all large phase III trials, the first one looking at the long term use of aromatase inhibitor for oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer showing a positive beneficial effect for patients having an additional five years of aromatase inhibitor while not decreasing the quality of life. So very important for a large number of patients worldwide.
The next one was looking at the use of adjuvant temozolomide for older patients, over age 65, with glioblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer in adult patients. They were randomised to standard of care, surgery plus radiation, plus or minus temozolomide adjuvantly and showed a very positive beneficial effect for the use of that regimen again. Very positive and we’ll definitely change the standard of care for patients with glioblastoma.
The next one was the use of a double transplant for high risk neuroblastoma in paediatric patients, again showing a very positive effect for the addition of the second transplant. A large trial, very positive; even though it’s a very rare cancer a very positive effect.
Then finally the use of daratumumab for patients added to standard of care, bortezomib and dexamethasone, for relapsed refractory multiple myeloma. A very highly positive effect at the first interim analysis and so this is also potentially a game-changer for those patients.
So lots of very interesting developments coming from the clinical side of things. And from the patient perspective some of the treatments that you’re talking about, they are treating the elderly patients, they’re treating the very youngest patients and Dr Lemieux was speaking about patient outcomes. It seems like there has been a real push towards incorporation of patient outcomes and patient aspects into trial design as well, do you have any comments on that?
Yes, absolutely. We want to make sure that the survival or progression free survival benefits are there but we also want to make sure that the toxicity isn’t prohibitive to use those treatments. So the inclusion of patient reported outcomes, the inclusion of all different types of patients that actually have the disease is important. So we’re testing that in real world patients and real world outcomes, very important, and we’re trying to add that to all of our trials.
And reviewing ASCO 2016 in a more broad sense, has there been anything that you think is going to really steer the direction of research in the near future?
I think the two big themes this year were immunotherapy and trying to look at long term outcomes of patients on some of the original trials and also trying to broaden immunotherapy to additional patient populations, those are the two big themes there in addition to potential novel combinations. The other area is really precision medicine and trying to use either genomic or protein biomarkers to select patient populations that could have an increased benefit from certain medications, trying to improve the potential outcomes while decreasing the toxicities for patients that the medicine is not going to improve their outcomes in. So I think those are the two big themes and the way of the future.
By way of conclusion, is there anything that you’re looking forward to seeing at ASCO 2017?
Continued use of these to hone down on very specific patient populations and trying to look at more combination therapies based upon that information to see how we can improve patient outcomes.