Phoebe Starr


Authored Items

Potentially Practice-Changing Results: PD-L1 Inhibitor for Unresectable, Stage III Lung Cancer

October 2017, Vol 7, No 10 - Lung Cancer

Madrid, Spain—Durvalumab (Imfinzi), a PD-L1 inhibitor, improved progression-free survival (PFS) by 11.2 months compared with placebo in patients with locally advanced, unresectable stage III non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that did not progress after standard treatment with chemoradiotherapy. These results—presented at the 2017 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress—come from PACIFIC, the first phase 3 clinical trial of a PD-L1 inhibitor in patients with locally advanced NSCLC outside of the metastatic setting. [ Read More ]

Novel Drug “Home Run” for TRK Mutation–Positive Tumors

August 2017, Vol 7, No 8: Special Edition – Highlights from ASCO 2017 - Clinical Highlights

Chicago, IL—Larotrectinib (LOXO-101), an investigational agent that targets tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusions, has demonstrated excellent, consistent, and durable antitumor activity in a range of tumor types in adults and children, reported lead investigator David M. Hyman, MD, Chief, Early Drug Development Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, at the 2017 ASCO annual meeting. Larotrectinib was called “the first oral tumor-agnostic therapy,” because of its unprecedented high response rates in 17 tumor types that express TRK. [ Read More ]

Rising Costs of Cancer Drugs Explored

August 2017, Vol 7, No 8 - Value-Based Care

San Antonio, TX—The cost of cancer drugs has increased exponentially over the past decade, straining the healthcare system and patients’ ability to pay for them. Cancer treatments that cost $150,000 or more are not unusual in the United States. Pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to increase drug prices through packaging maneuvers and the use of artificial expiration dates, and as a result, some old drugs “in new clothing” remain expensive. [ Read More ]

Novel Assay Provides 100 Times More Information than Current Liquid Biopsies for Early Cancer Detection

July 2017, Vol 7, No 7 - ASCO 2017 Highlights

Chicago, IL—A new high-intensity genomic sequencing strategy (developed by Grail Inc) detects circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) at a high rate. The new approach is a major improvement on previous tests using ctDNA, which focus on a limited number of driver mutations to inform treatment strategies for metastatic disease or to monitor disease burden. The new test offers ultra-deep sequencing with a broad genomic coverage, but it is not ready for prime time to detect occult cancer. At present, the test is a research platform and is not commercially available. [ Read More ]

Adding Indoximod to Pembrolizumab Boosts Immune Response in Melanoma

June 2017, Vol 7, No 6 - Immunotherapy

Washington, DC—Adding the investigational drug indoximod, an indole­amine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) pathway inhibitor, to the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) led to higher response rates in patients with advanced melanoma than what is reported with pembrolizumab monotherapy, said lead investigator Yousef Zakharia, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Hema­tology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research meeting. [ Read More ]

Excellent Responses to Atezolizumab in Small Subset of Women with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

May 2017, Vol 7, No 5 - AACR 2017 Highlights, Breast Cancer

Washington, DC—Preliminary data show excellent and durable responses to atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in 10% of women with triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancers. Of the responders to atezolizumab, 100% were alive at 1 year compared with only 38% of nonresponders. The trick will be to identify which women will respond to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Thus far, no biomarkers for response have been identified. [ Read More ]

Longest Follow-Up in Patients with NSCLC Who Responded to Immunotherapy with Nivolumab

May 2017, Vol 7, No 5 - AACR 2017 Highlights

Washington, DC—In the longest follow-up on single-agent nivolumab (Opdivo) to date, 5-year overall survival was 16% in patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the updated results of a phase 1b dose-ranging study (CA209-003). This represents a quadrupling of 5-year overall survival with standard platinum doublets, which is approximately 4% for patients with metastatic NSCLC. [ Read More ]

Pacritinib Shows Good Efficacy in Myelofibrosis: Will the FDA Release Hold on the Drug?

March 2017, Vol 7, No 3 - Emerging Therapies

The investigational drug pacritinib, a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor, achieved benefits in patients with myelofibrosis, including a significant reduction in the spleen volume compared with the best available therapy that included the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib (Jakafi), according to the phase 3 PERSIST-2 clinical trial. The results were presented by John O. Mascarenhas, MD, Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, at the 2016 American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting. [ Read More ]

Abemaciclib, a CDK4/CDK6 Inhibitor, Shows Promise in Early-Stage Breast Cancer

March 2017, Vol 7, No 3 - Breast Cancer

Neoadjuvant therapy with the investigational CDK4/CDK6 inhibitor, abemaciclib, alone or in combination with anastrozole (Arimidex) showed promising activity in postmenopausal hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer enrolled in the phase 2 NeoMONARCH study. Correlative tissue studies demonstrated that abemaciclib inhibited cell-cycle proliferation and activated the immune system, supporting its anticancer activity. [ Read More ]

Benefit of Extended Adjuvant Aromatase Inhibition in Breast Cancer Questionable

March 2017, Vol 7, No 3 - Breast Cancer

Extended adjuvant endocrine therapy beyond 5 years with an aromatase inhibitor (AI) failed to improve disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer who were enrolled in the 3 large National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) B-52, IDEAL, and DATA studies, which were presented at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. [ Read More ]

Obinutuzumab Prolongs Survival in Follicular Lymphoma

February 2017, Vol 7, No 2 - ASH 2016 Highlights

Obinutuzumab (Gazyva)-based induction and maintenance chemotherapy extended progression-free survival (PFS) compared with standard-of-care rituximab (Ritux­an)-based chemotherapy in patients with untreated follicular lymphoma, said Robert E. Marcus, MBBS, FRCP, FRCPath, King’s College Hospital, London, who presented the results from the phase 3 GALLIUM clinical trial at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting. [ Read More ]

CAR T-Cell Therapy Succeeds in Aggressive Lymphoma

February 2017, Vol 7, No 2 - ASH 2016 Highlights

The investigational chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy KTE-C19 achieved complete responses that were durable for >1 year in more than 75% of patients with aggressive lymphomas who had no other effective treatment options, according to results from the phase 2 pivotal clinical trial ZUMA-1 that were presented by Sattva S. Neelapu, MD, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting. [ Read More ]

Strategies to Reduce the Use of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

February 2017, Vol 7, No 2 - ASH 2016 Highlights

Although tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), including imatinib (Gleevec), nilotinib (Tasigna), and dasatinib (Sprycel), have dramatically improved outcomes in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the costs of these drugs have spiraled out of control, causing some patients to stop treatment or cut their dosage because of financial toxicity. Data presented at the 2016 American Society of Hematology meeting show that it is possible for some patients with CML to reduce their TKI dose by 50% and maintain remission, perhaps even stop treatment altogether once deep and durable remission has been achieved after approximately 5 years of treatment. [ Read More ]

R-CHOP Prevails Over Dose-Adjusted EPOCH-R as Standard of Care for Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma

February 2017, Vol 7, No 2 - ASH 2016 Highlights

The CALGB/Alliance 50303 clinical trial failed to show that dose-adjusted treatment with the EPOCH-R (etoposide, phosphate, prednisone, vincristine sulfate, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin hydrochloride, and rituximab) regimen was superior to standard therapy with R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin hydrochloride, vincristine sulfate, and prednisone) in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Both treatment regimens were equally effective for event-free survival and overall survival (OS), but dose-adjusted [ Read More ]