• Kirk Hartley

ASCO Abstracts – Examples of Science and Change

The annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is almost set to arrive in Chicago. Pasted below is part of the press release issued yesterday afternoon by ASCO with the release of abstracts for new articles related to oncology.  Persons involved in toxic torts could note a few relevant points just from this press release. First, note the scale – 5,000 studies released in abstract form. The number alone exemplifies that the molecular biology revolution is growing and moving even faster. And some of these abstracts will provide new insights into why diseases arise, taking us further along the journey to understanding the pathways to cancers, including causation.

Persons litigating lung disease issues also should note the fourth study below. It’s on a topic addressed many times on this blog – low dose CT scans seeking to find tumors, early. The headline from ASCO is:  “Study projects nationwide low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening will identify more – and earlier-stage – lung cancers, but comes with substantial costs: Implementation of the USPSTF-recommended annual LDCT lung cancer screenings is expected to double early-stage diagnoses, but will add about $2.0 billion in Medicare costs annually.”

The press release follows:

“ASCO Releases More Than 5,000 Studies for Its 50th Annual Meeting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2014 Contact: Kelly Baldwin 571-483-1365 kelly.baldwin@asco.org

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today highlighted results from five major studies to be presented at ASCO’s 50th Annual Meeting, May 30-June 3, 2014, in Chicago. The research found that hormone therapy can be safely delayed following prostate cancer relapse in some men; that implementation of recent U.S. lung cancer screening guidelines would substantially increase early-stage diagnoses, as well as overall health care costs; and that two new targeted drugs offer promise in several hard-to-treat cancers. Another study offers new insight on obesity’s relation to breast cancer mortality in younger women.

The studies are among the more than 5,000 abstracts publicly released today on ASCO’s website, at abstracts.asco.org in advance of the Annual Meeting. Other major research, including studies selected for the meeting’s Plenary session, will be released as Late-Breaking Abstracts on-site at Chicago’s McCormick Place and online on a rolling basis throughout the meeting. The meeting, with the theme “Science and Society: The Next 50 Years,” is expected to draw more than 25,000 cancer specialists from around the world.

“The study findings being presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting on the year of the Society’s 50th anniversary show there is unprecedented reason for hope in cancer research and care,” said Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, ASCO President. “Clinical trials are delivering on the promise of personalized medicine for both common and rare cancers. We’re finding relatively simple ways to improve the quality of patients’ lives during treatment and improving our understanding of how societal challenges, like obesity, can shape our patients’ care and outcomes.”

“Cancer research is paying off with substantial gains,” said Jyoti D. Patel, MD, Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Communications Committee. “In particular, we’re seeing that there is huge value in improving our use of long-time staple treatments, as this new study on hormonal therapy for prostate cancer shows. And in lung cancer, we’re getting a clearer picture of the important benefits of screening, as well as its substantial projected costs for implementation.

Studies highlighted in today’s presscast include:

Delaying androgen deprivation therapy appears safe for men with prostate cancer relapse detected by PSA testing: Study offers new data on hormone therapy timing strategies when prostate cancer relapse is detected by rising PSA levels alone. Deferred ADT therapy offers important quality-of-life benefits for men, such as avoidance of common side effects – like sexual dysfunction and hot flashes – associated with hormone therapy.

New EGFR inhibitor, AZD9291, shows promising activity in treatment-resistant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): Results from a phase I study show that a new EGFR-targeted drug is safe and highly effective for advanced NSCLC that no longer responds to standard first-line EGFR-targeted drugs. There is currently no standard treatment available in this setting.

PLX3397 may provide a new treatment option for patients with recurrent pigmented villonodular synovitis: Early-stage study shows new targeted drug PLX3397 is highly active in patients with a rare neoplastic joint disease.

Study projects nationwide low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening will identify more – and earlier-stage – lung cancers, but comes with substantial costs: Implementation of the USPSTF-recommended annual LDCT lung cancer screenings is expected to double early-stage diagnoses, but will add about $2.0 billion in Medicare costs annually.

Obesity increases breast cancer mortality in pre-menopausal women with ER+ early breast cancer: New analysis of 80,000 pre- and post-menopausal women shows obesity increased breast cancer mortality by one-third only in pre-menopausal women with ER+ disease.”

Media Resources:

Media registration: Pre-registration is required for on-site meeting attendance and must be completed by Friday, May 23. Registration instructions are available here. Online Annual Meeting Media Resource Center: Visit www.asco.org/AMMRC for press releases, the press briefing schedule at-a-glance, embargo policies, high-resolution photos, and the Virtual Press Room, an online repository of corporate and institutional press releases from third-party organizations. CancerProgress.Net: The home of ASCO’s 50th Anniversary and a timeline detailing the progress made against 18 of the most common cancers. Cancer.Net: ASCO’s cancer information website, providing doctor-approved information on more than 120 cancer types. ATTRIBUTION TO THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY ANNUAL MEETING IS REQUESTED IN ALL NEWS COVERAGE.

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”


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