Direct From ASCO: Highlights & New Approaches


Drs. Nate Pennell from Cleveland Clinic and Mary Pinder from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL sat down with our own Dr. Jack West to discuss early impressions of some of the most provocative research presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago in early June.

Here's a growing list of podcasts covering the topics they discussed:


Is it possible to test for biomarkers in lung cancer on a national scale?

Quick Update from ASCO


I apologize if it seems that the updates about ASCO have been slow in coming. This is mostly because the lung cancer program this year has most of the higher profile presentations occurring in the second half of the meeting, which we're just getting into. And, truth be told, this isn't going to be a blockbuster year for developments in lung cancer. But let's review what we've found out about thus far.

Congratulations, your tumor is stable! So… is that good news or bad news?


There is nothing more disheartening to the patient, and quite frankly for the treating oncologist, than have to hear (or say) the words “I’m afraid the treatment isn’t working”. The scientific term is “disease progression”, but the reality is that the cancer is growing despite the treatment and it doesn’t take an expert to know that isn’t good news.

Maintenance Therapy in Advanced NSCLC? ASCO Update


I had previously mentioned in prior posts that there have been a few studies in advanced NSCLC that indicate that about 4 cycles provides as much treatment benefit as continuing first-line chemo until progression. I also noted that the ECOG 4599 trial (abstract here) gave up to 6 cycles of chemo (with carbo/taxol) and avastin, followed by avastin alone as a maintenance therapy until progression of the cancer.

Issues in Early Stage NSCLC from ASCO 2007


While post-operative chemotherapy has emerged as the standard treatment for patients with stage II and resected IIIA NSCLCC, and some patients with stage IB disease, trials conducted over the past few years are providing information about the option of treating with initial chemotherapy before surgery. A couple of trials were presented at ASCO this year that did not demonstrate a significant survival benefit of pre-operative chemo compared with no treatment.

ASCO Update on Avastin and ED-SCLC Issues


The AVAiL trial in first-line advanced NSCLC, based in Europe, was designed to confirm the role of avastin with chemo using a different regimen of cisplatin and gemcitabine with a placebo or Avastin at 7.5 or 15 mg/mg every three weeks (the European trial was placebo-controlled, unlike the US-based Avastin trial with carbo/taxol). I described it in a prior post that described a glimpse of the results that were reported in a press release a few months ago, but we received more information at ASCO.