One thing I really miss from attending live conferences – aside from catching up with people in person – is “the living like a local” experience. Last time I was in Madrid, for example, there was this fishmonger (pescaderia) just a block down from the rented apartment. They were only open in the mornings, so you could dash down the hill, quickly nab some fresh produce, refrigerate it and have something nice to look forward to for dinner with a glass of wine at the end of a tiring day while writing up the highlights…
The image also offers another analogy – do some data presented at a meeting end up, well, a bit fishy on closer examination or reflection despite much of the hype enthused or extolled by others?
At the ESMO20 virtual Congress, we covered a tremendous amount of details from the data during both the daily highlights as well as the previews exploring what to watch out in the run-up to the event. You can find all those reviews here.
There are always some surprises in store, however, both good and bad. There’s also layers of obfuscation going on to consider in the form of cheerleading from companies, investigators, or stock holders, which may add positive spin on what is essentially so-so data, cases where great data goes largely ignored for whatever reason, or important lessons to be learned from failure.
In this wrap-up post, we take a sharp look at the ESMO20 winners, losers, and risers from a contrarian’s perspective…
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Not in Madrid: Unlike the Tour de France, which finishes with the peloton procession in Paris today, we’re not yet at the ESMO20 finish line and there’s plenty of the data at Congress yet to come.
As you can see, we’re hoping ESMO21 will actually take place in Paris next year, but it’s definitely too early to make travel plans the way COVID-19 infection rates are increasing in Europe.
If we think of cancer drugs as like macarons that come in many versions – which ones do you like at #ESMO20 so far? There are are also subtle gradations in colour and flavour, reflective of a few trial differences to consider.
In this latest post we’re continuing our coverage of highlights from Saturday at ESMO20 with the second part of our commentary and analysis around some of the oral presentations involving numerous solid tumours, excluding breast cancer (see separate highlights of the day post), which caught our attention.
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Not in Madrid – Saturday was an incredibly busy day at ESMO20 with live oral presentations on multiple channels and the first of the Presidential Sessions.
A conference can be like watching the Tour de France (TdF) which ends this weekend. If you’re standing on the route, you wait a long time for it to come along and then the peloton passes by in a flash. We experienced this in London back in 2014, where there was only a brief moment of time to capture the memory.
Like the TdF, cancer drug development is a team sport that takes place in a dynamic, competitive environment with moments of individual brilliance.
Yesterday at the ESMO20 virtual congress we listened to presentations, discussions, Q&A, interacted with experts, and put together two separate highlights posts, which captures the day so that BSB readers will not have to worry the Congress will pass them by.
When we were all going to live meetings, we anecdotally heard many people in Pharmaland used our conference coverage for writing their trip reports or getting a sense of the nuances around key trials, especially if they were in company meetings most of the time!
If you’re looking to get a picture of what was at ESMO20 then then do consider purchasing access. We put up a paywall seven years ago in September 2013 as a novel way to fund independent science journalism. Thanks to everyone who has been part of a journey that continues on.
In part 1 of our coverage of Saturday at ESMO20, we review and discuss some of the new developments in the breast cancer niche (catch up with part 2 covering key topics in lung, renal and urothelial cancers)…
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Not in San Diego – In normal times of past years, the AACR annual meeting generally takes place once a year in April before we haed onto oter events such as ASGCT, ASCO, and EHA. In these abnormal times in the middle of the COVID–19 pandemic, however, the virtual event was split into two, with the first online event in April covering mainly early clinical data, and now we get to learn from the meaty scientific presentations, which are being highlighted this week.
A network of mutations, tumour suppresses, metabolic and immune processes, as well as other hidden factors can unexpectedly impact therapy outcomes in NSCLC
We have a lot of translational researchers reading BSB, so I wanted to kick off the first of the AACR Virtual Meeting series with a scientific focus, which is likely of interest to many for a number of obvious reasons.
The good news is this a topic we have covered before and so there’s already a body of work to build on for reference since this latest round of information not only adds to what we know, but also highlights some additional unknown unknowns yet to be elucidated.
The dichotomy is an essential part of the very essence and fun of science – the more we think we know, the less we really know in practice, especially as the various layers of the onion get gradually peeled off over time.
This latest review mixes up translational research with clinical research…
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Looping across different types of analyses can yield intriguing and unexpected results
Not in Chicago – It still feels surreal not to have been to windy city and back for the annual meeting at ASCO this year, such was the ongoing effect of the pandemic in the oncology world.
That said, the virtual meeting has produced some gems this year, including some very important findings many may have missed.
In our latest post meeting report we focus on both biomarkers and clinical findings.
We look at how there are various elements may interplay in unexpected ways, whether signatures from one trial are helpful in another, are there likely to be changes in treatment patterns as a result of data presented and where some emerging early signals might be useful.
One other aspect which crossed my mind was how a deep scientific approach used in one particular cancer might have potential applications in other tumour types with few somatic mutations present such as TNBC, prostate cancer or soft tissue sarcomas.
The results might produce quite different results, yet the process itself might be rather useful to consider…
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Checkpoint fight at the Alamo in San Antonio? Say it ain’t so!
This is the $64M question that will be on many people’s mind after seeing two SABCS headlines today:
“Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Treatment with Pembrolizumab Improves Pathologic Complete Response Rates for Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancerwith Lymph Node Involvement.”
“Combining Atezolizumab with Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Does Not Improve Pathologic Complete Response Rates for Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.”
In order to answer the question fairly, there are plenty of critical points we can look at in order to address it.
That’s the topic of today’s post in a nutshell… and yes, we do come to a firm conclusion.
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Imagine arriving at ESMO19 at the crack of dawn for a press briefing and you’re not presenting until after 4.30pm!
To whom is it a benefit is a fundamental principle in modern day medicine given the often vast array of options that oncologists may have at their disposal.
Conversely, we also need to know nec refert – for whom it doesn’t matter or doesn’t benefit – since we don’t want to over-treat people either.
Between those two extremes might be a couple of sweetspots i.e. one subset who may need a boost from chemotherapy and another in whom chemo plus IO therapy might be a better option.
For sure, we are not advocating that all people with early stage triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) should receive the same thing and certainly not everyone will need checkpoint therapy, no matter what the intent-to-treat (ITT) curves or response rates might try to imply.
There’s a lot of factors to think about and consider so here we look at the KEYNOTE–522 data in neoadjuvant and adjuvant TNBC and unearthed with some solid evidence that might help us understand and think about what needs to be done.
Following on from our in-depth ESMO19 Preview on TNBC and what to watch out for, we also now have a thought leader interview to share plus several other commentators chipping in…
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Morning, morning, where’s the strong hot java today?
Barcelona – Here we are on the third day of ESMO 2019 and this is where many presenters and attendees (especially international ones) start to hit the wall with a combination of tiredness, sore feet, late nights, lack of coffee, and jet lag all combine to create a perfect storm of exhaustion.
No matter – the conference schedule marches on!
After the craziness of posting not one, but three, extensive long form posts with commentary and analysis yesterday, I’m delighted to only have to worry about managing the daily highlights today. We’ve also been busy conducting interviews, running round the poster halls and listening to some elegant science talks as well.
If you’ve missed the rest of our ESMO19 coverage, it’s building up nicely so far on this magazine page – do check it out and take your pick of topics to browse.
There are some key phase 3 readouts expected in breast cancer alone, plus a raft of Developmental Therapeutic updates to ponder as well.
As usual, we start off with some known highlights and then move on to updating on oncologic developments that catch our attention through the day.
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One of the expected highlights of the forthcoming European Society for Medical Oncology (Twitter #ESMO19) will be data for breast cancer immunotherapy.
In the first of our pre-ESMO19 previews we are taking a closer look at three breast cancer immunotherapy presentations that we think are noteworthy.
As a reminder, the abstracts are not yet available, so we’re not writing about data that’s not yet been presented, but instead are looking at why the presentations may be of scientific/medical interest, and what the questions we hope they will answer. In cancer biology as we heard from Professor Gerard Evan in a recent expert interview, it’s not about “what” happened, but “why”?
We have “boots on the ground” in Barcelona from Sept 27th to October 1st providing daily posts for BSB subscribers with our unique blend of data, analysis and commentary.
Do download the ESMO19 app if you want to check out what already looks like it will be a busy, informative and interesting congress in Barcelona. Hopefully the rain that struck the recent World Lung meeting in Barcelona will have gone away, leaving us with a sunny and dry spell one normally associates with Spain!
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A rare dry spell in Barcelona as the clouds roll in bringing yet more rain
Barcelona – While the weather for the World Congress on Lung Cancer (WCLC) has been largely gloomy with plenty of rainy spells, there’s much good news to report on the clinical front.
After yesterday’s review of the Amgen KRAS inhibitor data in G12C mutation positive patients receiving AMG 510, it’s now time to turn our attention to immunotherapy developments with several important trial readouts and in-depth analyses to discuss.
We will be posting a separate summary of the key highlights on targeted therapy, but first let’s consider what we learned on the immunotherapy front, including some of the science behind it all…
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