pre-ASCO highlights 2019

it’s that time of year again. the world of oncology is gathering in chicago this weekend for the american society of clinical oncology’s [ASCO] annual meeting- this year’s meeting, as every year’s meeting, will provide information on new standards of care, practice changing studies and future directions for treating and curing cancer.  this year’s theme is “caring for every patient, learning from every patient”was selected by ASCO president monica bertagnolli to help address how equal access to the highest quality care can be provided to every patient. as highlighted in ASCO’s clinical cancer advances 2019– cancer treatment advances are only as good as patients’ ability to access them.

new this year, are efforts to focus on policy, outcomes, disparities and meta-research, which as we know in canada are equally important aspects that directly affect patient outcomes. some  abstracts highlighted during the meeting will be about new approaches to overcoming limited access to care. of course this will likely be reflective of the american landscape, but any opportunity to overcome limited access to care is a learning opportunity for us all.

from a scientific perspective- the plenary session will highlight a monoclonal antibody from eli lilly- and discuss what went wrong with this study – another far reach from what is typical from an ASCO meeting. 

here are some of the studies that have already started to generate some excitement – the first two specific to pediatric cancers and personalized medicine can make a significant change to how pediatric cancers are treated and outcomes for children with cancer. 

Pediatric MATCH Trial Finds More Frequent Targetable Genetic Alterations in Pediatric Cancers Than Predictedthese results bring us one step closer to bringing the precision medicine era to pediatric cancer care. Now that we know that targetable genetic alterations are fairly common in pediatric cancers, we have an exciting opportunity to boost success rates

Entrectinib Produces Responses in Children and Adolescents With CNS and Other Cancers That Have Specific Gene Fusionsthere have been far fewer studies of targeted cancer medicines in pediatric populations than in adults. while these data are very early and more research is needed, they suggest the exciting possibility of the first treatment for childhood cancers that is effective based on tumor genetics instead of tumor type or location

Balanced, Low-Fat Diet Reduces Risk of Death From Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Womenthis study shows that diet can make a difference in the risk of dying from breast cancer. this study makes clear there are no down-sides, only up-sides to a healthier diet, and it adds to a growing volume of studies showing similar positive effects across cancer types

Low-Dose Chemotherapy Regimen Effective in Older and Frail Patients With Gastroesophageal Cancerthese data are important because they provide a potential new option for patients to slow the progression of the disease

besides these studies, i am expecting some important updates in immuno-oncology, particularly in TILs [tumourinfiltrating lymphocytes], and to hear about advancements in other areas of IO- BITE, stimulators, and the tumour microbiome. 

you’ll find last year’s ASCO report here and look for this year’s report in early june.

make sure to follow me at ASCO @saab021 for live updates.