Top 3 news from ASCO 2023

June 13, 2023
3 min read

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting was held between the 2nd and 6th June in Chcago, USA. As the last year, here we look at the top 3 highlights we take from this year’s ASCO.

1. AstraZeneca: Revolutionizing Treatment for EGFR-Mutated Lung Cancer

AstraZeneca's Tagrisso, a lung cancer therapy, has demonstrated exceptional efficacy in patients diagnosed with early-stage EGFR-mutated NSCLC. In the 682-patient trial called ADAURA, Tagrisso was compared to a placebo in patients who had undergone surgery to remove their primary tumors - which are cancers with notoriously high recurrence rates. The data revealed that Tagrisso reduced the risk of death by over 51% and increased five-year survival rates (88%) compared to the placebo (78%). This breakthrough establishes Tagrisso as the backbone treatment for EGFR-mutated lung cancer, offering hope to patients who would otherwise have limited treatment options.

2. Illumina: The Urgent Need for Comprehensive Genomic Profiling in Cancer

Comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) has shown immense potential in guiding treatment decisions and improving outcomes for cancer patients. Illumina's studies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting shed light on the importance of democratizing genomic profiling in cancer care. The studies revealed that a significant proportion (50-80%) of eligible insured patients are not receiving recommended CGP tests, highlighting the need to bridge this gap.

In a study focused on achieving specific outcomes, Illumina collaborated with Providence Health Network to create a testing plan for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer. This plan automatically ordered free comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) testing for these patients.

The study included over 1,400 patients, with the most common types of cancer being NSCLC, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer. The CGP tests revealed actionable biomarkers (genetic markers that can guide treatment decisions) in nearly half of the patients. Only a small portion of these patients received chemotherapy alone, while the majority underwent treatments that involved targeted therapies, immunotherapies, or a combination of approaches.

After following the patients for at least a year, the one-year survival rates were compared. The group that received chemotherapy alone had a survival rate of just under 63%, while all the patients treated with targeted therapies, regardless of biomarker match, had a survival rate of over 70%. In total, the median survival for the two groups was 17 months for the chemotherapy-only group and 25 months for the group treated with targeted therapies.

By integrating CGP into the standard of care, healthcare providers can identify actionable biomarkers and personalize treatment plans, leading to better outcomes for patients and payers alike.

3. The Power of Tumor Treating Fields in Solid Tumors

Novocure's Tumor Treating Fields technology (TTFields) has shown promise in significantly improving survival rates for patients with platinum-resistant, metastatic NSCLC and other solid tumors. In the LUNAR trial, participants receiving TTFields in combination with standard therapies exhibited a median overall survival rate of over 13 months, compared to just 10 months for those receiving standard therapies alone. The study highlighted the potential synergy between TTFields and immune checkpoint inhibitors, which could enhance treatment outcomes and provide a new avenue for tackling difficult-to-treat cancers.

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