The GO2 Science and Research team just returned from the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. We connect you and your loved ones to the latest research and treatment options by keeping up with the latest advances at meetings like ASCO.
While there we saw exciting presentations on new research advances and potential new treatment options for lung cancer patients. Below are some key takeaways:
Key Takeaway: All patients should receive comprehensive molecular testing/biomarker testing because new therapies are being discovered for previously less targetable mutations.
There is promising data on treating lung cancers with historically less targetable mutations, such as RET, KRAS and MET. We saw new therapies presented for targeting existing mutations and historically less targetable mutations. For instance, TAK-788 showed promising activity against a less common EGFR mutation, known as exon 20 insertion, extending hope for EGFR patients. Likewise, a new targeted drug, repotrectinib, was shown to be a promising option for patients with ROS1+ advanced NSCLC.
In addition, we saw a presentation on a new drug, AMG 510, that showed activity against KRAS G12C mutation which is common in lung cancer. This is the one of the first significant treatment advancements for KRAS patients as they have historically not had many treatment options. We also saw data showing efficacy for rare mutations such as BLU-667 for RET fusions, and capmatinib and tepotinib for MET. These new drugs are currently accessible only through clinical trials.
With the increasing amounts of targeted therapies for rarer mutations it is vital that all patients receive comprehensive molecular testing/biomarker testing so that the best treatments can be chosen for their unique cancer.
Key Takeaway: Research continues to demonstrate the benefit of immunotherapy and new ways to use it to effectively treat more patients.
Researchers showed how a group of patients, with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer and high levels of PD-L1, were still doing well even 5 years or more after receiving the immunotherapy, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as their first treatment. This updated data from the KEYNOTE-001 trial showed the potential long-term benefits that immunotherapy can offer for patients. Five-year survival is now a realistic end-point in NSCLC.
Several studies presented looked at using immunotherapy to help enhance treatment for early stage lung cancers. Trials such as LCMC3 and NEOSTAR showed short treatment with immunotherapies such as Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Tecentriq (atezolizumab) before surgery decreased the size of tumors and the amount of viable cancer cells seen in tumors. Ongoing research will see if the effects of this “pre-treatment” decreased the chance of patients ever having their cancer come back.
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Key Takeaway: Data presented explored new treatment options for small cell lung cancer and ways to improve existing therapies for the patient.
A common second-line chemotherapy for SCLC, topetecan, can have side effects that can decrease blood counts leading to anemia. These side effects impact quality of life and the ability of patients to receive treatment for SCLC. However, researchers showed that giving the drug trilaciclib allowed patients to receive more aggressive treatment with reduced side effects and a higher quality of life.
A new chemotherapy, lurbinectedin, was demonstrated to be effective in certain patients as a second treatment, representing a potential additional treatment option.
The key takeaway is hope! Lung cancer research is very active and many clinical trials are actively recruiting patients. Look for more treatment options for all types of lung cancer in the coming months and years.