Hem/Onc Roundup: FDA’s Controversial Approval, WHO Essential Medicines List, and more

Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this week in the Hematology & Oncology section. This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a multiple myeloma (MM) therapy against the advice of its advisory committee, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its 2019 Essential Medicines List, and more.

The FDA approved Xpovio™ (selinexor) in combination with dexamethasone for adult patients with relapsed/refractory MM who have received at least four prior therapies and whose disease is refractory to at least two proteasome inhibitors, at least two immunomodulatory agents, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody. This is a first-in-class SINE compound that inhibits XPO1.

The WHO released its biannual Essential Medicines List, adding 28 new drugs. The list includes treatments that WHO regards as global standards that should be available everywhere and aims to help governments make the best choices for their health systems. Many new oncology agents were added, but some were left off the list.

According to a study published in JAMA Oncology, premature deaths from cancer cost the U.S. economy more than $94 billion in annual lost earnings. The authors say these findings “suggest the potential for substantial financial benefit through delivery of effective cancer prevention, screening, and treatment to minimize premature cancer mortality in all states.”

Children and young adults with congenital heart disease have more than a two-fold higher risk of developing cancer, according to a study published in JAMA. The authors concluded by writing that their findings “suggests that particular attention should be paid to early warning signs of cancer and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Further research on the mechanisms of cancer in this young patient group is warranted.”