OBR Daily Commentary

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With New Blood Test, Roche Dives Deeper Into Personal Cancer Care

(Reuters) Sept 24, 2018 - Swiss drugmaker Roche upped its bet on personalized cancer treatment on Monday, saying it is now ready to sell a blood test around the world that can identify common gene mutations from solid tumors from a patient’s blood. The blood test, called FoundationOne Liquid, is among initial products to emerge from Foundation Medicine after Roche spent $2.4 billion on the U.S.-based genetic profiling company this year on the conviction that future cancer treatment will be tailored to individual characteristics of a patient’s tumor. Foundation’s new blood test can identify circulating tumor DNA as 70 of the most commonly mutated genes in solid tumors, Roche said, including features which may help identify patients most likely to benefit from cancer immunotherapy.

Winston Wong, PharmD (Posted: October 15, 2018)

quotesFrom a payer perspective, I do not think the clinical utility of the liquid biopsy has been show to warrant wide spread coverage. While I am a proponent of the liquid biopsy, I do not think it has gain "prime time" status. It has shown utility in only a few solid tumors, those of which are know to be active cell shedders. It will be interesting to see if payers will pick up coverage of the test.quotes

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Dismissing Reduced Abiraterone Dose Is 'Absolutely Wrong'

(Medscape Medical News) Sept 17, 2018 - A debate has intensified about cutting the dose — and hence the cost — of the oral prostate cancer drug abiraterone acetate (Zytiga, Janssen) by taking it with food.

Winston Wong, PharmD (Posted: October 15, 2018)

quotesI believe the difficulty here is not so much that a lower dose of drug when taken with a low-fat meal can produce a similar clinical effect, but rather, we are encouraging one to take their medications with food. The lower dose almost becomes a second issue. How many times are we telling patients to take their medication on an empty stomach e.g. antibiotics, biphosphonates? With that aside, in the patients who cannot afford their medication, this is an option. Education on a low-fat meal can serve 2 purposes: 1) offers an affordable option for abiraterone, and 2) promotes a more healthy diet. quotes

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Announces Phase 3 CheckMate -331 Study Does Not Meet Primary Endpoint of Overall Survival with Opdivo Versus Chemotherapy in Patients with Previously Treated Relapsed Small Cell Lung Cancer

(Bristol-Myers) Oct 12, 2018 - Bristol-Myers Squibb Company today announced topline results from the Phase 3 CheckMate -331 study evaluating Opdivo (nivolumab) versus the current standard of care, topotecan or amrubicin (where approved), in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) who relapsed following platinum-based chemotherapy. The study did not meet its primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) with Opdivo versus chemotherapy. The safety profile of Opdivo in this trial was consistent with that observed in previously reported monotherapy studies involving patients with SCLC.

H. Jack West, MD (Posted: October 12, 2018)

quotesDisappointing result, especially since treatment with either topotecan or amrubicin in relapsed SCLC represents a very low bar for any competing idea. This represents an area where the standard of care is particularly unimpressive, so for nivolumab to have failed to beat chemotherapy here represents a major disappointment. With the positive OS data seen with IMpower133 that added atezolizumab to standard first line chemotherapy in NSCLC, we are likely to see immunotherapy move overwhelmingly into the first line setting, but here nivolumab suffers in comparison by failing to beat even a weak competitor.quotes

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Meet the Editorial Board

Prostate Cancer
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Tomasz M. Beer, MD, FACP

Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Medical O...

Community Oncology
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Dean Gesme, MD

FACP FACPE FASCO President, Minnesota Oncology...

Breast Cancer
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Debu Tripathy, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncol...

Lung Cancer
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H. Jack West, MD

Medical Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, Swedish Ca...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Howard S. Hochster, MD

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Woo...

Radiation Oncology
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Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO

Ronald H. Bloom Chair in Cancer Therapeutics
Pr...

Community Oncology
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Jeff Patton, M.D.

CEO Tennessee Oncology...

Precision Medicine Section Editor
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Jennifer Levin Carter, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer and Founder, N-of-One...

Financial Sector
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Michael G. King Jr.

Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Richard Goldberg, MD

Director WVU Cancer Institute Director of Cancer Signa...

Editor-In-Chief
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Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP

Professor and Director, Division of Hematology Oncology...

Health Policy
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Ted Okon

Executive Director Community Oncology Alliance...

Community Oncology
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Thomas Marsland, MD

Vice President Integrated Community Oncology Network ...

Community Oncology
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William Harwin MD

Florida Cancer Specialists President and Managing Part...

Health Policy
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William McGivney, PhD

National Health Policy Expert...

Payer
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Winston Wong, PharmD

President, W-Squared Group...