After an entertaining morning yesterday – two interviews completed and wrong conference centre visited (yes really, there’s always a first for everything!) by lunchtime, things thankfully settled down.
Friday, for the uninitiated, is company symposia day – the equivalent of ASCO’s Super Friday. I rarely attend these in Europe, as they are more about corporate messages than what I call “proper CME”, meaning scientific or clinical fair balance and independence. This is one area where Europe still has a-ways to catch up the US on.
Before anyone gives me a hard time on this, I’ll never forget a vendor telling me a couple of years ago that I would love a particular symposia as he had personally ‘supervised and written’ the slides for the event, thus ‘ensuring’ it would be excellent while persuading me to attend against my better judgment. Naturally, I hated it – too many company messages or perspectives, and not ones I agreed with either – and left early, sadly disappointed.
We did attend the first ECC Press Briefing Friday afternoon with Drs Sant, Chouieri and Sharma. The last two authors presented on the metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) data after initial therapy, which is being presented in the Presidential Symposium on Saturday morning. It was quite an eye opener in many ways, with some subtleties well worth exploring in additional analysis and discussion.
Beyond the obvious highlights of the day for Saturday (nivolumab and cabozantinib data in mRCC), the first official day here is pretty jam packed with lots of other data to ruminate over. Throughout the day, we’ll be adding additional notes, commentary and insights as the data emerges – and wifi permits.
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LONDON – atezolizumab (Roche/Genentech) is expected to change the standard of care (SOC) for the treatment of metastatic urothelial bladder cancer. That’s the key message I took from a recent interview with Professor Tom Powles (Barts Cancer Institute) on the role checkpoint inhibitors and cancer immunotherapy will play in the treatment of bladder cancer.
Readers will recall the compelling early phase 1 clinical trial data for atezolizumab (formerly MPDL3280A) that Prof Powles (pictured right) presented just over a year ago at the 2014 ASCO annual meeting: “Making a difference in advanced bladder cancer”
Although other checkpoint inhibitors are in bladder cancer trials, and we have written about the pembrolizumab (Merck) data first presented at ESMO 2014 (“Breathing New Life into Bladder Cancer Treatment”), it is expected that atezolizumab will win the race to market in the US and be the first checkpoint inhibitor to gain FDA approval for the second-line treatment of advanced bladder cancer.
Atezolizumab received breakthrough therapy designation (BTD) in May 2014 from the US Food and Drug Administration for PD-L1 positive metastatic urothelial bladder cancer after progression or intolerance of platinum based chemotherapy.
Earlier this summer Genentech announced in a press release that the IMvigor 210 phase 2 study was positive and met it’s primary endpoint, with a greater response rate associated with higher levels of PD-L1 expression.
This data will be presented on Sunday Sept 27 as a late-breaker at the forthcoming 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna (Twitter #ECC2015), the European equivalent of the ASCO annual meeting organized in alternate years by ECCO and ESMO:
Atezolizumab in patients (pts) with locally-advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC): Results from a pivotal multicenter phase II study (IMvigor 210)
Although we won’t know the trial results until they are presented in Vienna by Dr Jonathan Rosenberg (MSKCC), based on the recent press release it’s widely expected that the positive data from this trial will lead to rapid regulatory approval in the United States.
Subscribers can login to read Prof Powles’ opinion on the role checkpoint inhibitors will play in the treatment of bladder cancer, how this may play out in Europe as compared to the United States, and what the future may hold beyond checkpoint monotherapy.
This interview does not discuss the data to be presented at the 2015 European Cancer Congress, the results of which we will have to wait until Vienna to hear.
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