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Sneak Peek Into the ESMO 2017 Press Program

(ESMO) August 11, 2017 - ESMO 2017 is once again the place to be for breaking news on cancer research. ESMO 2017, the annual oncology congress organised by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in partnership with the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) will take place in Madrid, Spain, from 8 to 12 September at IFEMA, Feria de Madrid.

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Howard (Jack) West, MD (Posted: August 30, 2017)

quotesFLAURA was added to the meeting and press program after I wrote these comments. We will still need to see whether the PFS benefit is of a magnitude that is worthy of a change in practice, but it's reassuring that the data will be presented at this first large meeting after the press release.quotes

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H. Jack West, MD (Posted: August 14, 2017)

quotesIt appears that while the PACIFIC trial of durvalumab consolidation after chemoradiation is being presented at ESMO, we won't see data from either the MYSTIC trial (durvalumab/tremelimumab or durvalumab monotherapy vs. chemo doublet first line for advanced NSCLC) or FLAURA (first line osimertinib vs. erlotinib or gefitinib for EGFR mutation-positive advanced NSCLC). We knew MYSTIC is negative for a PFS benefit, so we should perhaps not be surprised that AZ isn't eager to highlight the results, but I think if there were anything favorable to mitigate the disappointment, they'd have tried to stanch the bleeding by presenting the data. I suspect there will be little to encourage us when AZ ultimately deigns to show us real data. More notable is the omission of FLAURA from the ESMO program, a trial reported as positive for a significant improvement in the primary endpoint of PFS that could potentially change practice and broaden the indication for osimertinib to include first line treatment if the PFS benefit is substantial enough. Unless AZ just doesn't want to compete for the limelight with the PACIFIC trial that will likely cause a Beatlemania-reminiscent hysteria by both being an immunotherapy and being positive, this suggests that the results aren't as captivating as some would have hoped. As an alternative, the IASLC may have promised the moon and the stars to AZ to postpone presentation of a high-impact trial for the first time at the World Conference on Lung Cancer, but I would have anticipated that AZ should want to get positive results out on a potentially practice-changing therapy to as broad an audience as possible, as quickly as possible. We'll eventually see what the data show, but I'm disappointed that two of three important lung cancer trials from which we've heard initial results from recent press releases apparently won't be presented at ESMO. Makes you wonder why they're dragging their feet.quotes

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