ASCO 2013 – Landmark studies offer new hope for reducing cervical cancer deaths worldwide, first therapies for two rare cancers and treatment advances for breast, brain cancers
CHICAGO – Five pivotal studies were released today ahead of the plenary session of the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Abstracts selected for the ASCO’s plenary session represent the meeting’s most important clinical cancer research, having the highest scientific merit and the greatest impact on oncology research and practice.
“Today’s results show that progress can happen at both ends of the technology spectrum, from cutting-edge drugs to the simple use of vinegar to detect cervical cancer,” said moderator and ASCO spokesperson Jyoti Patel, MD, an oncologist at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. “It is especially gratifying that some of this meeting’s biggest advances are against cervical cancer, which affects the most disadvantaged women in every society. At the same time, patients with thyroid, breast and brain cancers will live better, and in some cases longer, due to studies presented today.”
Key study findings include:
- Effective, affordable cervical cancer screening strategy promises to save thousands of women’s lives in low-income countries: A major clinical trial in India demonstrates that biennial cervical cancer screening using visual inspection with acetic acid (vinegar) delivered by trained primary healthcare workers is effective and can be implemented on a broad scale. The approach reduced cervical cancer death rates by nearly one-third, and researchers estimate it could save 22,000 lives in India and 73,000 worldwide every year.
- First effective biologic treatment for women with metastatic or relapsed cervical cancer: A randomized phase III study reports that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to standard chemotherapy improved survival for women with advanced cervical cancer. This is the first time a biologic drug has significantly prolonged survival in this setting.
- Adding bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy does not benefit patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma: A phase III study in patients with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, suggests that bevacizumab (Avastin) should not be used in first-line therapy. Patients treated with bevacizumab plus temozolomide had more side effects than those treated with temozolomide alone, with no improvement in overall survival.
- Sorafenib is first drug in four decades to be shown effective for certain aggressive thyroid cancers: Interim findings from a phase III study indicate that the multi-targeted drug sorafenib (Nexavar) extends progression-free survival for patients with differentiated thyroid cancer that is resistant to standard radioiodine therapy. The delay in tumor growth improves patients’ quality of life, sparing them from hospitalizations and invasive treatments.
- Longer tamoxifen therapy substantially reduces risk of breast cancer recurrence and death: A randomized phase III study conducted in the UK reports that women with early-stage breast cancer who took tamoxifen for 10 years following treatment for their primary cancer, had roughly 25 percent lower rates of breast cancer recurrence and death compared to those who took the drug for five years, as currently recommended. These findings will likely influence the care of hundreds of thousands of women taking tamoxifen worldwide.
Detailed information about the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting Press Program is available on ASCO’ Annual Meeting Media Resource Center, including:
- Media registration instructions
- Press briefing schedule at-a-glance
- Press briefing recordings
- Frequently asked questions
- On-site press facility hours and locations
- Print-friendly materials
- General information about the meeting
- Links to helpful reporting resources such as, ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net and Cancer.Net websites
The Annual Meeting Media Resource Center will be updated frequently leading up to and throughout the Annual Meeting.
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ATTRIBUTION TO THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY ANNUAL MEETING IS REQUESTED IN ALL NEWS COVERAGE.
Click here to view the disclosures for the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting News Planning Team and Scientific Program Committee.
Additional disclosures: Electra D. Paskett, PhD, Research Funding from Merck Sharp & Dohme