Are GI cancers still marooned on an island or are they catching up with other solid tumours in terms of progress?
San Francisco – In the past, whenever I posted updates on any of the GI cancers they attracted noticeably less attention than other solid tumours and rightly so, especially given the lack of new agents and compelling data. If the highlight of a meeting is debating the merits of left versus right side tumour responses or bolus versus infusional administration then the plot has kind of been lost in the morass of abstracts available.
This year, however, things are looking up with a tidy group of studies that have what I call ‘interestingness’ – in other words, results that will tempt us to look deeper rather than merely skim in the hope of something new and shiny.
This weekend in San Francisco saw some highlights (and also lowlights) in the form of new clinical data emerging from the 2020 ASCO GI conference. That means we’re due a review so let’s rock ’n roll though the important studies to see what stands out from the crowd…
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We saw at ASCO last year that response to checkpoint immunotherapy is feasible in some patients with colorectal cancer, but what about other gastrointestinal tumours such as pancreatic, duodenal and biliary cancers?
Can their activity extend beyond the obvious hypermutated tumours such as melanoma, lung, renal and bladder cancers?
Many of you will know that most pancreatic cancers, for example, are detected late and prognosis in metastatic disease is generally poor. You also typically don’t see much coverage of the other GI non-CRC cancers from cancer conferences in the medical media outside of pancreatic cancer occasionally.
At the ASCO Gastrointestinal symposium (#GI16) this past weekend, there was some new data of note in these tumour types that is well worth highlighting and discussing because it may have a major impact on the GI landscape.
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It’s time for the August mailbag where we answer questions about cancer research and R&D from subscribers.
After the recent queries about immuno-oncology, it’s time to focus a little on targeted therapies again. Neither chemotherapies nor targeted therapies are going to go away – they are still the bedrock of many treatment approaches in the clinic today. Sadly though, much of the new data for the latter trials were easily swamped by the sheer tsunami of immunotherapy data in Philadelphia (AACR) and Chicago (ASCO).
One important area that we have been discussing on both blogs for some time is the value of well designed basket trials. It’s time to revisit this concept in the light of new data relating to the BRAF V600 mutation outside of metastatic melanoma.
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