ASCO Releases Studies from 49th Annual Meeting

For immediate release
May 15, 2013

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Kelly Baldwin
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today highlighted seven studies in a presscast from among more than 4,500 abstracts publicly posted online at abstract.asco.org in advance of ASCO’s 49th Annual Meeting.

Plenary, late-breaking and other major studies will be presented in on-site press conferences at the Annual Meeting to be held May 31 - June 4, 2013, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. The meeting, based on the theme Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer, is expected to draw approximately 30,000 cancer specialists from around the world.

“Fifty years of modern oncology has delivered dramatic progress, offering our patients better treatments, more cures and a better quality of life during and after therapy. We’re also making headway toward preventing cancer from developing in the first place,” said Bruce J. Roth, MD, Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee. “Studies being presented at this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting embody a new era of precision medicine, in which we’re taking better aim at vital targets on cancer and immune cells. Several studies also suggest that ‘less is more’ for some cancer treatments, sparing patients unnecessary side-effects and costs.”

Studies highlighted in today’s presscast include:

  • Men who are fit in their fifties have a lower risk of developing and dying from common cancers: Findings from a 20-year follow-up study of over 17,000 men indicate that being fit in middle age protects men against developing and dying from lung and colorectal cancers later in life. Researchers observed that even a modest improvement in cardiovascular fitness reduces the risk of dying from cancer by 14 percent.
  • New immunotherapy is active against a number of advanced cancers: A phase I study of the PD-L1 targeted antibody MPDL3280A reports tumor shrinkage in 21 percent of patients with advanced melanoma and lung, kidney, colorectal, and stomach cancer. Therapy responses are still ongoing for 26 out of 29 patients who have been on the study between 3-15 months.
  • Early trial suggests a combination of two immunotherapy drugs may be better than either drug alone: A phase I trial shows that concurrent treatment with ipilimumab (Yervoy) and the PD-1 targeted drug nivolumab led to substantial tumor shrinkage in roughly half of patients with difficult-to-treat, advanced melanoma. The authors state this is the strongest immunotherapy response observed in this setting to date.
  • Lower-dose radiation is safer and more effective than higher-dose radiation for advanced NSCLC: A phase III trial shows standard-dose radiation therapy (60 Gy) is superior to high-dose (74 Gy) in terms of both treatment effectiveness and survival. Standard-dose was also associated with significantly fewer treatment- related deaths. Many doctors have been using higher dose therapy, expecting better patient outcomes. These results should discourage this approach and reinforce existing recommendations.
  • Surveillance following surgery for primary cancer is a safe long-term strategy for patients with stage I seminoma: The largest study to date of men with this common form of testicular cancer finds that 99.6 percent of patients followed on surveillance alone after surgery are alive at 10 years. Roughly half of U.S. men currently undergo chemotherapy and radiation following surgery to improve outcomes; these findings suggest such treatments may not be necessary for most patients.
  • Routine surveillance imaging scans may not be needed for many lymphoma survivors: A large study reports that only 1.5 percent of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) relapses are detected through scheduled CT surveillance scans alone. While CT scans have been a routine part of follow-up care for many years, the great majority of relapses in this study were detected through symptoms, abnormal findings on physical exams or abnormal blood tests.
  • New targeted drug shows promising activity against treatment-resistant CLL in early trial: Final results from a phase I study in patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) indicate that treatment with idelalisib, a new PI3K-delta inhibitor, led to tumor shrinkage in half of the patients treated, stalling disease progression by 17 months on average. The encouraging results point to a possible alternative to traditional chemotherapy for delaying CLL progression.

Detailed information about the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting Press Program is available on the Annual Meeting Media Resource Center, including:

  • Media registration instructions
  • Press briefing schedule at-a-glance
  • Press briefing recordings Frequently asked questions
  • On-site press facility hours and locations
  • Print-friendly materials
  • General information about the meeting
  • Links to helpful reporting resources such as, ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net and Cancer.Net websites

Click here to view the full press release.

About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 35,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds groundbreaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. For ASCO information and resources, visit asco.org. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at Cancer.Net.