News

Melanoma May Recur Decades After Initial Treatment.

HealthDay (6/29, Preidt) reported that, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, “melanoma can recur decades after initial treatment in roughly 9 percent of patients.” Researchers looked at data on more than “4,700 melanoma patients and found that recurrence occurred in 408 patients who had been disease-free for 10 or more years.” The data indicated that “the recurrence rates were nearly 7 percent after 15 years and 11 percent after 25 years.” Additionally, the investigators found that late recurrence was less fatal than early recurrence.


 Red Meat May Be Linked To Worse Outcomes In Colon Cancer Patients.

Reuters (7/2, Seaman) reports that according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, individuals who consume higher amounts of read meat prior to being diagnosed with colon cancer may face a higher risk of death in the following eight years.

        HealthDay (7/2, Norton) reports that the researchers found that those who consumed “at least four to five servings per week before and after their diagnosis were 79 percent more likely to die from colon cancer than patients who consistently” consumed lower amounts. The investigators also found that those who consumed the most red and processed meats prior to “their diagnosis faced a heightened risk of dying from any cause, including heart disease or stroke.” 

Global Anti-Tobacco Measures Will Save 7.4 Million Lives By 2050.

In continuing coverage, HealthDay (7/2, Preidt) reports that according to a study published June 30 in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, anti-tobacco measures “enacted in 41 countries between 2007 and 2010 will prevent about 7.4 million premature deaths by 2050.” Study lead author David Levy, a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said in a medical center news release, “In addition to some 7.4 million lives saved, the tobacco control policies we examined can lead to other health benefits, such as fewer adverse birth outcomes related to maternal smoking, including low birth weight, and reduced health-care costs and less loss of productivity due to less smoking-related disease.”

Nintedanib, Docetaxel May Offer Slight PFS Benefit In Patients With NSCLC.

The Oncology Report (7/3, Osterweil) reports, “A combination of docetaxel and nintedanib, a novel inhibitor of multiple tumor growth factors, was associated with a small but significant improvement in progression-free survival in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer as compared with docetaxel alone.” During “the phase III LUME-Lung I trial in patients with previously treated stage IIIB/IV or recurrent non–-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3.4 months for patients randomized to nintedanib and docetaxel, compared with 2.7 months for patients assigned to placebo and docetaxel (hazard ratio, 0.79; P = .0019), reported Dr. Martin Reck.” The findings were presented at the ASCO annual meeting.

Researchers Not Sure What Is Driving Increase In HPV 16-Linked Oropharyngeal Cancer.

Medscape (7/3, Chustecka) reports that while “there has been a rapid rise in the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer associated with human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV 16),” researchers are not sure what is causing the increase. One recent “study of oral HPV infection in men, published online...in the Lancet, has found no clear link with oral sex.” The researchers, “led by Aimée Kreimer, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, found ‘no significant association between any measure of oral sexual behavior and acquisition of oncogenic HPV after adjustment for potential cofounders.’”

Myasthenia Gravis Associated With High Risk For Cancers Outside Of Thymus.

Medscape (7/3, Keller) reports, “Myasthenia gravis (MG), especially if it is of late onset, carries a high risk for cancers outside of the thymus,” according to research presented at the European Neurological Society meeting. Researchers found that “these extrathymic malignancies were heterogeneous in their organs of origin, and all were solid tumors.”

Commentary: Oncologic Drug Development Should Place Greater Focus On Patients.

Medscape (7/4, Nelson) reported, “Oncologic drug development needs to place a greater focus on the patient, according to a commentary in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.” Ethan Basch, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of the cancer outcomes research program at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, argues that “some experts have argued that the FDA has raised the methodologic bar too high, whereas others accuse the pharmaceutical industry of paying too little attention to patients’ experiences.” However, Basch contends, “The bottom line is that both regulators and industry continue to prioritize survival-based end points rather than patient-experience end points in cancer-drug development.”


NSAIDs May Reduce Cancer Risk By Slowing Accumulation Of Somatic Genome Abnormalities.

The New York Times (7/6, Bakalar, 1.68M) “Well” blog reported that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help reduce cancer risk by slowing “the accumulation of a type of DNA change called somatic genome abnormalities, or S.G.A.’s, that lead to uncontrolled cell growth.” The study, which included 13 individuals with Barrett’s esophagus, was published in PLoS Genetics.


Routine Surveillance Scans In Classic Hodgkin Disease May Not Improve Survival.

Oncology Report (7/9, London) reports, “Routine surveillance imaging does not improve clinical outcomes in patients with classic Hodgkin disease who are in first complete remission and it sharply increases costs, researchers reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.” The investigators came to this conclusion after reviewing “the charts of 241 adult patients who achieved a complete remission after first-line therapy.” Lead researcher Dr. Sai Ravi Pingali said, “We do not feel that potential risks and costs without overall survival benefit or any other clinical benefit justify the practice of routine surveillance imaging in classical Hodgkin lymphoma patients who have achieved a complete remission after first-line therapy.”

Statin Therapy May Reduce Risk Of Cancer In HIV Patients.

MedPage Today (7/9, Susman) reports that researchers at the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention presented research that found that HIV patients on statin therapy were “significantly less likely to develop cancer.” The retrospective analysis looked at ten years’ worth of treatment records and showed “that 363 individuals out of 4617 who were not on statins (7.9%) were diagnosed with cancer, compared with 12 of 740 patients on statins (1.3%).” After adjusting for variables, researchers found that HIV patients on statins “had a 46% reduced risk of cancer (P<0.0001).” The study authors noted that the protections offered by statin therapy increased when looking at AIDS-defining cancers.

Researchers: Afatinib Could Be Considered First-Line Option For Certain NSCLC Patients.

Medscape (7/10, Brooks) reports, “The human epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor afatinib (Boehringer Ingelheim), which is under priority review at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), could be considered a first-line option for patients with metastatic nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have an EGFR mutation, say LUX-Lung 3 investigators.” The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, indicated that “progression-free survival was better with afatinib than with the standard best-in-class chemotherapy of cisplatin and pemetrexed.” Researchers also found that “clinically meaningful improvements in response rate and lung cancer symptoms were better with afatinib.”

Night-Shift Work Linked To Increased Risk For Breast Cancer.

Medscape (7/10, Lowry) reports, “Yet another study, this” one published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “suggests that night-shift work increases the risk for breast cancer.” Investigators “found that the length of time working the night shift is the important risk factor,” with “a duration of 30 years or more...associated with a 2-fold increased risk,” while “a duration of less than 30 years was not associated with increased risk.”

 

Capecitabine, Oxaliplatin May Increase Survival After Surgery For Advanced Gastric Cancer.

Medscape (7/10, Brooks) reports, “After surgery for advanced gastric cancer, treatment with capecitabine and oxaliplatin (XELOX) cuts the risk for death by 34% over 5 years, compared with surgery alone, according to new data from the Capecitabine and Oxaliplatin Adjuvant Study in Stomach Cancer (CLASSIC) study.” The data indicated that “103 (20%) patients treated with XELOX and 141 (27%) treated with surgery alone had died, which represents a 34% reduction in the risk for death with XELOX, compared with surgery alone (HR, 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51 – 0.85; P = .0015 by stratified Cox regression analysis).” The data also indicated that “the 5-year overall survival rate was better with XELOX than with surgery alone (78% vs 69%; P = .0029, log-rank test unstratified).”

 

Study Suggests APL May Be Curable Without Conventional Chemotherapy.

MedPage Today (7/11, Laino) reports, “Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) may be curable without conventional chemotherapy,” according to research published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Investigators found that, “at a median follow-up of 34.4 months, complete remission was achieved in all 77 patients randomized to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) plus arsenic trioxide, compared with 75 of 79 patients (95%) given the chemotherapy-based standard of care of (P=0.12).”

        Medscape (7/11, Nelson) reports that “two-year event-free survival rates were better in the ATRA-arsenic trioxide group than in the ATRA-chemotherapy group (97% vs. 86%; P <.001 for noninferiority and P = .02 for superiority).” Additionally, “overall survival was better in the ATRA-arsenic trioxide group (P = .02).”

 

Experimental Melanoma Vaccine Shows Promise In Early Research.

HealthDay (7/12) reports, “Six of seven advanced melanoma patients had a positive response to an experimental vaccine,” according to research published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

        MedPage Today (7/12, Bankhead) reports that three of those “six patients had confirmed clinical responses, including one patient who remained in complete remission more than 4 years.” The experimental “vaccine consists of the patient’s own dendritic cells, modified to produce interleukin-12p70 (IL-12p70), a protein involved in differentiation of T cells into the cytotoxic Tc1 phenotype.” Prior research has indicated “that IL-12p70 has clinical activity in cancer patients but proved too toxic to incorporate directly into vaccine formulations.”

 

FDA Approves NSCLC Therapy, Companion Genetic Test.

The AP (7/13) reported that the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced that it has approved Boehringer Ingelheim’s metastatic non-small cell lung cancer treatment Gilotrif (afatinib) for NSCLC patients who “test positive for certain gene mutations in their tumors.” The FDA also approved a companion diagnostic test to detect the “epidermal growth factor receptor abnormalities found in roughly 10 percent” of NSCLC patients.

        Reuters (7/13, Dey) added that the diagnostic test, which was developed by Venlo, Netherlands-based Qiagen NV, is called the therascreen EGFR RGQ PCR Kit. Reuters also noted that according to the National Cancer Institute, about 159,480 Americans this year, will die from lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer-related mortalities in the US.

        According to OncLive (7/13, Leach), the FDA based the approval in part, on Phase III clinical trial results, presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. That 345-patient trial, which compared Gilotrif to a “combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed” found that the median progression-free survival for the study participants who were administered Gilotrif was “11.1 months compared with 6.9 months” for the group that was given the cisplatin and pemetrexed combination. The study results were also published online July 1 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

        The joint approval was also covered by HealthDay (7/13, Preidt) and MedPage Today (7/13, Smith).

 

Poliovirus May Help Shrink Brain Tumors.

The Raleigh (NC) News & Observer (7/17, Elder, 130K) reports that poliovirus “may have the potential to cure people with cancerous brain tumors based on early results of a research trial underway at Duke University Medical Center.” At this point, three patients in the study “have experienced dramatic shrinkage of their tumors, while two others failed to improve.” Meanwhile, another “two patients have been treated more recently, and doctors say it is too early to determine the results.”

 

Research: Combined Immunotherapies May Be Beneficial In Metastatic Melanoma.

The Cancer Network (7/18, Lawrence) reports that findings from “two studies indicate that combining antibodies against the programmed death 1 (PD-1) receptor with an antibody against cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) improved treatment outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma, without a significant increase in adverse events.” One study “looked at both sequential and concomitant treatment with the anti–PD-1 antibody nivolumab and ipilimumab.” The other study “looked at the anti–PD-1 antibody lambrolizumab in patients with advanced melanoma with or without prior treatment with the anti–CTLA-4 ipilimumab.” The findings from both studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

 

Radium-223 May Extend Lives Of Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer.

The New York Times (7/18, O'Connor, 1.68M) “Well” blog reports that research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that “a new radiation therapy can extend the lives of men with the most advanced form of prostate cancer.” The research included “a large group of men with late-stage prostate cancer who were expected to live less than” 12 months. Patients who received radium-223, “however, saw their median survival time increase to nearly 15 months, a ‘substantial 30 percent improvement,’ said Dr. Chris Parker, the lead author of the new study.”

        Medscape (7/18, Chustecka) reports that “in addition, meaningful improvement in quality of life was better with radium-223 (25% vs 16%; P = .02).”

        MedPage Today (7/18, Smith) reports that the researchers found that “the isotope, now marketed as Xofigo, was also associated with fewer adverse events.”

        HealthDay (7/18, Norton) reports that the research “was supposed to last three years, but it was stopped early when interim results showed that men on the drug had a clear survival advantage.” The article points out that the medication “emits radioactive particles that zero in on cancerous tissue in the bones.”

 

ASCO’s Hudis Says “Big Data” Can Help Improve Clinical Trials.

In a letter to the editor of the New York Times (7/19, A24, Subscription Publication, 1.68M), American Society of Clinical Oncology president Dr. Clifford Hudis writes about the difficulty in developing new cancer treatments and the limitations of clinical trials. Dr. Hudis argues, “We need to learn from every single patient receiving treatment on or off clinical trials.” According to Dr. Hudis, “Informed by the input of ‘big data’ learning health systems like the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s CancerLinQ, we can determine what treatments work best in real-world clinical practice, so that clinical trials can be smarter, smaller, faster and more broadly relevant.”

 

Study: Vaccine Prevents Oral HPV Infections.

The New York Times (7/19, A6, McNeil, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reports, “A vaccine that protects women against cervical cancer also appears to protect them against throat cancers caused by oral sex, and presumably would protect men as well, according to a study released Thursday.” The study, “supported by the National Cancer Institute, found that” GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix (human papillomavirus vaccine Types 16, 18 [recombinant, adjuvanted, adsorbed]) “provided 93 percent protection against infection with the two types of human papillomavirus that cause most of the cancers.”

        Bloomberg News (7/19, Bennett) adds that the study, which was published July 17 in the journal Plos One, was based on a four-year trial that compared Cervarix against a hepatitis A vaccine and involved “5,800 women in Costa Rica.” The trial was the “first to show that a vaccine already approved to prevent cervical cancer caused by HPV infection can also prevent the virus being acquired orally, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which led the study.”

 

Smart Phone Game Being Developed With Goal Of Discovering New Cancer Treatments.

BBC News (7/19) reports, “A smart phone game which results in players analysing real cancer data is being developed with the aim of discovering new treatments.” According to BBC News, “Cancer Research UK has hired Dundee-based Guerilla Tea to build ‘GeneGame.’” The group “has already enlisted the help of the public to classify variations in vast amounts of gene data using its site Cell Slider.”

 

Aflibercept May Not Prolong Survival In Men With Metastatic CRPC.

Medscape (7/24, Chustecka) reports that data from the phase 3 VENICE trial indicate that adding “the targeted angiogenesis inhibitor aflibercept (Zaltrap, Regeneron/Sanofi) to chemotherapy did not prolong overall survival in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).” The research was published in the Lancet Oncology. Medscape adds that Tomasz Beer, MD, FACP, “who reviewed prostate cancer research in a ‘highlights of the day’ session at the” annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, “noted that the VENICE trial is the eighth trial in which a targeted agent added to docetaxel has failed.”

 

Single Men, Smokers May Have Higher Risk Of Oral HPV Infection.

HealthDay (7/24, Norton) reports that, according to research published in the Lancet, “single men and smokers” may have a higher risk of contracting an oral HPV infection. Investigators followed about 1,600 men. The research indicated that men who smoked “had nearly three times the risk of a cancer-linked HPV infection,” compared to those who did not smoke. Meanwhile, single men were approximately “three to four times more likely to contract a cancer-linked infection than” those who were either “married or living with someone.”

 

HPV May Be Linked To Higher Risk Of Esophageal Cancer.

Bloomberg News (7/25, Matsuyama) reports that, according to research published in PLoS One, human papillomavirus (HPV) may be linked to a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Investigators found that individuals with HPV faced a “threefold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer” compared to individuals who did not have the virus.

        HealthDay (7/25, Preidt) reports that these “findings” may “prove important for vaccination programs worldwide, the study authors said.” 

Study: Papillary Thyroid Cancer May Be Overdiagnosed.

Medscape (7/26, Melville) reports that, according to research published in Thyroid, “the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer has more than tripled in the last 3 decades and directly correlates with several demographic and age-based markers of access to healthcare, suggesting widespread overdiagnosis.” Investigators found that “higher incidence rates were” seen in “counties with higher rates of college education, white collar employment, and family income,” while “lower rates were seen in counties with higher percentages of residents who were uninsured, unemployed, of nonwhite ethnicity, and non–English-speaking; were living in poverty; and did not” graduate from high school.

Immunotherapy Said To Be Most Promising New Approach To Cancer Treatment.

The Miami Herald (7/27, Veciana-Suarez, 139K) reported on “the research community’s enthusiasm for immunotherapy as the most promising new treatment for cancer.” Data on many immunotherapy medications were presented at the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. These treatments “spur the body’s natural immune system to go after cancer cells, just as they would do in the case of a bacterial infection.” Meanwhile, “the concept has already been shown to work in” certain cancers.

Company Releases Early Positive Results On Novel Breast Cancer Treatment.

Bloomberg News (7/30, Tirrell) reports Synta Pharmaceuticals Corporation’s shares rose the “most in more than four years” on Monday, after the company announced that preliminary results from a 12-week clinical trial. The trial, testing its ganetespib in patients with newly diagnosed locally advanced or metastatic HER2 positive or triple-negative breast cancer, showed that the investigational monotherapy achieved the pre-specified goals for advancing to next phase in the study. The Lexington, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical firm said that of the initial “10 patients with triple-negative breast cancer,” two study participants achieved objective tumor response and three achieved stable disease (SD); and of the “five HER2-positive patients,” two achieved objective tumor response and two achieved SD, “warranting expansion of the study.”

        Also covering the trial results are the Wall Street Journal (7/30, Chaudhuri, Subscription Publication, 2.29M) and Reuters (7/30, Manocha).

Forbes Contributor Describes How Big Data Can Improve Cancer Research, Care.

Forbes (8/1, 928K) contributor Paul Howard, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress, in a 3,600-word piece titled “Can We Build A Kickstarter For Cancer?,” describes how big data technologies can potentially lead to advances in cancer research and care. According to Howard, “big data Initiatives, like the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Genome Atlas and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) CancerLinQ, as well as joint ventures between top cancer centers and leading IT vendors, like IBM and Oracle, are already” attempting “to improve how we treat” cancer. Howard specifically discusses CancerLinQ for two paragraphs. He adds that while “snake-oil cures for cancer” are abundant, “it should be possible to create trusted Web tools, apps, and research services – validated by trusted intermediaries like the American Cancer Society, ASCO, NCI, etc.”

Data Support MRD Monitoring In Patients With Ph-Positive ALL.

Medscape (8/2, Brooks) reports that findings “from a decade-long study ‘clearly’ support the monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) in patients with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to” a study published online in Blood. The data indicated “that the detection of MRD with multiparameter flow cytometry and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is an important predictor of outcome in this patient population.” Both “techniques can be used to identify patients in first complete remission who would benefit from treatment intensification, the researchers say.”

Diabetes Drug May Reduce Risk Of Prostate Cancer Death.

HealthDay (8/6, Doheny) reports that according to new research published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, “Metformin, a widely used diabetes drug, may reduce the risk of dying from prostate cancer.” Dr. David Margel, a uro-oncologist at Rabin Medical Center in Israel, who conducted the research while at the University of Toronto, said, “We demonstrated that metformin is associated with improved survival among diabetic patients with prostate cancer. It’s associated in a dose-response manner. The longer you were on metformin, the less likely you were to die of prostate cancer and of all causes.”

        MedPage Today (8/6, Bankhead) reports that “the findings add to a growing volume of evidence that metformin has anticancer properties that span a wide range of cancer types.”


Study: Celiac Disease With Persistent Intestinal Damage Increases Risk Of Lymphoma.

The Huffington Post (8/5) reports on a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which “suggests that for those with” celiac disease, “persistent damage to the intestines raises the risk of the blood cancer lymphoma.” In a statement, study researcher Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and member of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, said, “Our study shows that celiac patients with persistent villous atrophy – as seen on follow-up biopsy – have an increased risk of lymphoma, while those with healed intestines have a risk that is significantly lower, approaching that of the general population.”

        HealthDay (8/6) reports that “this study included more than 7,600 people with celiac disease who had follow-up intestinal biopsies six months to five years after their diagnosis, and were then followed for roughly nine years.” The researchers said that it is “not clear why intestinal healing occurs in some patients with celiac disease but not in others.”

        Also reporting this story are MedPage Today (8/6), Medscape (8/6), and Oncology Report (8/6).

Everolimus Shows No Survival Benefit For Advanced HCC.

Reuters (8/7, Copley) reports Novartis AG announced that its Afinitor (everolimus) did not meet the primary endpoint in a Phase III clinical trial, testing the medication as a treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma. The Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company said Afinitor did not extend overall survival compared to placebo in patients with HCC after progression on or intolerance to sorafenibits. However, Norvatis said it was still reviewing the results, which will be presented at a forthcoming medical conference. Reuters notes that Afinitor already has approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and EU regulators for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma; and it is also approved in the EU as a therapy for post-menopausal women with advanced hormone-receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancer.

Calcium Channel Blockers Linked To Breast Cancer Risk.

The Boston Globe (8/12, Kotz, 250K) “Daily Dose” blog reports that research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that “women taking...calcium channel blockers...may more than double their risk for breast cancer if they continue the medication for longer than” ten years. This is the first time that the medications have been associated with breast cancer risk.

CIRT May Be Promising For Certain Patients With Spinal Tumors.

Medscape (8/13, Brooks, 187K) reports that research published online in Cancer suggests that “carbon ion radiotherapy (CIRT) is a promising option for patients with spinal tumors that cannot be surgically removed.” Investigators “carried out a retrospective review on data on 47 patients (24 men and 23 women) with 48 medically unresectable spinal sarcomas, excluding sacral tumors, who received CIRT between 1996 and 2011.” The investigators “say CIRT yielded a 5-year local tumor control rate of 79% and overall and progression-free survival rates of 52% and 48%, respectively.” Currently, CIRT is not available in the US.

Imatinib Shows Efficacy In Patients With KIT-Mutant Melanoma.

Medscape (8/14, Mulcahy, 187K) reports that research (pdf) published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicates that “imatinib (Gleevec, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation) has shown efficacy in...patients with KIT-mutant melanoma.” Researchers “identified 50” patients “with KIT alterations and treated 25...with KIT-mutant or -amplified melanoma with imatinib.” The investigators found that, “of 24 evaluable patients, 7 achieved a partial response to therapy, with 5 patients’ responses confirmed on subsequent imaging studies, for an overall confirmed response rate (RR) of 21%.”

New Cancer Treatment Improves Lung Cancer Survival.

The Wall Street Journal (8/13, Loftus, Subscription Publication, 5.33M) reports that after a previous study was stopped because of safety issues, Eli Lilly announced a late-stage trial of necitumumab bettered overall survival rates in lung cancer patients. The company expects to ask for FDA marketing approval before the end of next year. Analysts believe the medication could generate over $1 billion in annual sales. Necitumumab works by interfering with the epidermal growth factor rector protein found on certain cancer cells.

        Bloomberg News (8/13, Edney, Armstrong, 1.41M) reports that necitumumab performed better than chemotherapy alone on people with advanced squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer has been proven difficult to treat with tumor-targeting drugs such as Avastin.

        The AP (8/13) reports that Lilly gained control of the biologic when it purchased ImClone Systems in 2008. It worked with Bristol-Myers Squibb on the product until earlier this year.

        Reuters (8/14, Pierson) reports that J.P.Morgan analyst Chris Schott admitted investors had little hope of success for necitumumab. An earlier late-stage trial was terminated because of blood clot issues. Lilly notes that necitumumab would be the first biotech treatment for the squamous form of non-small cell lung cancer.

        Forbes (8/13, Silverman, 5.76M) reports a “pressing unmet medical need” for treatment for lung cancer, which accounts for 85% of cancer deaths.

        MedPage Today (8/13, Gever, 185K) reports that Lilly will disclose the numerical results at a medical meeting next year.

        Medscape (8/13, Chustecka, 187K) reports that the most common side effects observed by Lilly were rash, hypomagnesemia, and thromboembolism.


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