By Nancy Ciancaglini

Photo of McCormick Place

As is the case every year at ASCO, in spite of 4,000 plus studies generated in time for the meeting there are a handful of clinical news stories that really stand-out and grab the attention of researchers, MDs, analysts/investors, and the media. Below, OBR presents a quick overview of what we consider to be the top ten clinical news stories from ASCO 2010. While they correlate pretty well, we usually see a slight difference in what the biggest media stories are and what is most read in OBR daily. To view the most read stories visit the OBR daily News Pulse and find out what others found most interesting at this year’s ASCO.

# 1: Bristol Myers-Squibb’s ipilimumab, a drug designed to enhance the body’s immune system, demonstrated a significant improvement in overall survival in previously-treated advanced melanoma patients in a Phase 3 study. Patients taking ipilimumab lived an average of 10 months compared with 6.5 months for those in a comparison group.  (Takes the # 2, # 3, # 5, and # 10 spot in the OBR daily News Pulse)

# 2: In two separate trials, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Sprycel and Novartis AG’s Tasigna provided newly diagnosed patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) with quicker, better responses as first-line therapies than the gold standard Gleevec, pointing to more favorable long-term outcomes for CML patients. (Figures in the # 2, # 3 and # 7 stories in the OBR daily News Pulse)

# 3: Following front-line therapy with Roche’s Rituxan and chemotherapy, Rituxan maintenance was found to reduce the risk of disease recurrence by 50% in patients with newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma, based on results from the PRIMA study.

# 4: In the Phase 3 GOG 0218 study, adding Roche’s Avastin to initial chemotherapy treatment, and then using it as maintenance therapy in women with advanced ovarian cancer, demonstrated a 39% improvement in the likelihood of women living longer without the disease worsening compared to chemotherapy alone. (Featured in the # 2 most read story in the OBR daily News Pulse)

# 5: In a head-to-head Phase 3 trial of Amgen’s denosumab and Novartis AG’s Zometa, denosumab delayed by 18% the risk of fractures and other bone complications in men with advanced prostate cancer compared with Zometa, the current standard of care for treating cancer patients whose disease has spread to the bone. (Included in the # 2 most ready story in the OBR daily News Pulse)

# 6: Women with advanced breast cancer given Eisai’s experimental chemotherapy drug, eribulin mesylate, derived from a sea sponge, lived longer than those treated with standard cancer therapies—women taking eribulin lived an average of 13.1 months compared to 10.7 months for those receiving conventional cancer treatment.

# 7: In a Phase 2 study, Pfizer’s crizotinib (PF-02341066) reduced tumors in 57% of patients with a rare form of lung cancer caused by a defective ALK gene and stopped the progression of the disease in 87% of patients, providing further clinical evidence in support of personalized cancer treatment.

# 8: In surprising results, Eli Lilly & Co. and Merck KGaA’s Erbitux, successful in treating metastatic colon cancer patients with normal KRAS, failed to prolong survival for patients with early-stage colon cancer (adjuvant) when added to standard treatments. After 16 months follow-up, patients taking Erbitux were actually slightly less likely to survive, with 82% still alive compared with 87% taking chemotherapy alone. (The # 6 most read story in the OBR daily News Pulse)

# 9: Delcath System’s percutaneous hepatic perfusion (PHP) drug delivery system with melphalan extended survival much longer for melanoma patients whose cancer had spread to their liver—patients lived 245 days versus 49 days on best available care.

# 10: In the first, definitive Phase 3 study to show results for patients with advanced medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), AstraZeneca PLC’s vandetanib significantly extended progression free survival (PFS), demonstrating a 54% reduction in the rate of progression compared to placebo.

The July issue of Oncology Business Review will feature more in depth analysis of these important study results. Stay tuned for more.

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