The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first front-line immunotherapy for the treatment of gastric cancer. Nivolumab was approved in combination with fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy for frontline treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic gastric cancer, gastroesophageal junction cancer, and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Approval was supported by the CheckMate-649 trial, in which nivolumab plus chemotherapy improved survival in this patient population by 20%, with 55% of patients alive at one year.
In other news, research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2021 Annual Meeting found a personalized genomic cancer vaccine was feasible and well-tolerated in a phase 1 trial of patients with cancer. The vaccine was tested in a small pilot trial of 13 patients and after a mean of 30.4 months, 4 patients have not had subsequent therapy or evidence of disease.
New data from researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that one in six patients with colon cancer had an inherited cancer-related gene mutation. “Though the most common mutations were found in genes typically associated with colorectal cancer, we found that a substantial number of mutations were present in genes typically associated with breast and ovarian cancer,” said senior author Niloy Jewel Samadder, MD, gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Mayo Clinic.
Finally, overtreating older women with breast cancer may be detrimental without improving survival or disease recurrence, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. The investigators found that the number of sentinel lymph node biopsy and radiotherapy procedures among patients over age 70 were 65.3% and 54.4%, respectively. Importantly, the researchers observed that the rates of breast cancer recurrence or survival remained unchanged for treated versus untreated patients.