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ESMO 2011 Conference

Stockholm, Sweden—Investigators appear to be closer to identifying a biomarker that may predict response to bevacizumab (Avastin).

At the European Society for Medical Oncology’s 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, several presentations focused on baseline levels of a short isoform of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), plasma (p) VEGF-A. Thanks to a novel, highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, this can now be measured.

Stockholm, Sweden—The development of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with cancer has a significant impact in terms of morbidity and mortality and healthcare costs, according to a “real-world analysis” reported at the 2011 European Multi - disciplinary Cancer Congress.

Stockholm, Sweden—A consortium of world cancer specialists, economists, and policymakers is tackling the issue of equitable cancer care in the face of rising cost of care in high-income countries. Their report (Sullivan R, et al. Lancet Oncol. 2011;12:933-980) coincided with a key presentation at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress.

The report focused on the delivery of equitable and affordable care in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Stockholm, Sweden—With recognition of common tumor mutations and a pipeline full of biologic agents that target them, personalized medicine should be all but a fait accompli. But one expert told attendees at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, “We may be overpromising our patients.”

Stockholm, Sweden—The cost of cancer therapies is a growing concern not only for patients but also for providers and payers. Addressing the cost burden for those involved in cancer care is becoming a priority that cannot be avoided with the growing role of targeted therapies in oncology.

Cost Nearly Doubles in Metastatic Breast Cancer

A study presented by Melissa Brammer, MD, Medical Director, Genentech, San Francisco, CA, shows that complications associated with treating cancer essentially double the cost of treating metastatic breast cancer.

Stockholm, Sweden—An investigational alpha-pharmaceutical not only prevented skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with prostate cancer with bone metastases in a phase 3 study presented at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, but it also improved overall survival.

Stockholm, Sweden—Two expensive drugs may be better than 1 for maintenance treatment of advanced non– small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a study at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress. Adding pemetrexed (Alimta) to bevacizumab (Avastin) maintenance therapy reduced the risk of disease progression in the phase 3 AVAPERL trial.

Stockholm, Sweden—The indefinite use of bevacizumab (Avastin) in patients with re lapsed ovarian cancer got another boost at the 2011 European Multi disciplinary Cancer Congress, with a subanalysis of the phase 3 OCEANS trial showing consistent benefit across subgroups. The main finding of OCEANS, which was reported earlier at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncolo - gy annual meeting, was that the addition of bevacizumab to carboplatin (Paraplatin)/gemcitabine (Gemzar) in patients with advanced ovarian cancer reduced the risk of disease progress - ion by 52%.

Stockholm, Sweden—In patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene rearrangements, treatment with crizotinib (Xalkori) provided clinically meaningful antitumor activity, producing responses in 51% of patients, in the multicenter phase 2 PROFILE 1005 study reported at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Can cer Congress.

Stockholm, Sweden—The use of everolimus (Afinitor) together with the aromatase inhibitor exemestane (Aromasin) more than halved the risk for disease progression in patients with advanced breast cancer, adding an average of 4 disease-free months, investigators reported at the 2011 European Society for Medical Oncology European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress.
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