Updates in Mesothelioma Research from ASCO 2017

Melinda Kotzian and Gleneara BatesThe Meso Foundation's Melinda Kotzian, CEO, and Gleneara Bates, Director of Research and Medical Outreach, at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) held its Annual Meeting on June 2-6, 2017 in Chicago. The Meso Foundation’s CEO, Melinda Kotzian, had the opportunity to attend the conference and hear the latest news reported in mesothelioma research.

Hedy Lee Kindler, MD, of the University of Chicago, presented a poster on the results from a phase II clinical trial, funded by a grant from the Meso Foundation, studying the anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab in patients with malignant mesothelioma. The study included 35 previously treated mesothelioma patients, and achieved a 21% response rate and a disease control rate of 80%. Biomarkers established in other cancers did not correlate statistically with response. Part B of the study is ongoing and currently enrolling at the University of Chicago. More information can be found here.

Luana Calabro, MD, PhD, of the University Hospital of Siena in Italy, presented a poster on the safety analysis from the phase II NIBIT-MESO-1 study investigating the efficacy and safety of anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy drug tremelimumab in combination with anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy drug durvalumab in malignant mesothelioma patients. The study included 40 patients, and the safety analysis shows the drug combination is safe and manageable. This clinical trial is currently recruiting participants at the University Hospital of Siena. More information can be found here.

Marjorie G. Zauderer, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, presented a poster on the patterns of comorbidity, treatment, resource utilization, and referral in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients in the US. The data from 1,869 patients showed that only 4.1% of patients received radical surgery, 15.6% had first-line chemotherapy, 33.2% had first-line chemotherapy plus radiotherapy, 11.7% had radiotherapy, and 39.5% had no chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The number of patients who did not receive any treatment indicates a large unmet need for effective treatments. Additionally, the median time from the first lung-related visit up to diagnosis was 77 days, and showed that the pathway to a malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis is challenging and often involves multiple healthcare contacts.

Raphael Bueno, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, presented a poster on the effects of defactinib, an oral focal adhesion kinase inhibitor, for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients prior to surgery. The study included 30 patients, and three cohorts of 10 patients each received defactinib for 12, 35 and 21 days. The data show that brief preoperative use of defactinib was well tolerated, did not alter resectability or mortality, and showed evidence of therapeutic and immunomodulatory effects. More information about the clinical trial can be found here.

Peter Szlosarek, MD, PhD, of St. Batholomew’s Hospital in London, presented a poster on the new ATOMIC-Meso study, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, phase 2/3 global clinical trial to assess the efficacy of ADI-PEG20 with the standard chemotherapy of pemetrexed and cisplatin in up to 386 patients with non-epithelioid malignant pleural mesothelioma. The TRAP Phase 1 trial of ADI-PEG 20 with pemetrexed/cisplatin revealed a 94% disease control rate. The primary endpoint for the phase 2 stage will be overall response rate with a secondary endpoint of overall survival, safety and toxicity. The primary endpoint of the phase 3 stage will be overall survival. This clinical trial is currently recruiting patients in the United States and Asia, and enrollment will open in Europe and Australia soon. More information can be found here.

“The data presented at ASCO 2017 by top experts in the field of mesothelioma is compelling and encouraging,” stated Melinda Kotzian. “The promising results keep us hopeful for new treatment options in the future.”

Read our blog posts covering additional study results reported at the conference here:

BREAKING NEWS FROM ASCO: Promising Results Released from Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

Results Show Encouraging Survival Data: Nintedanib for Mesothelioma

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