Monday, 29 November 2021

Clinical trial alert: Long-term outcomes from the Checkmate 067 study patients with advanced melanoma

Data collected over 6.5 years fro the CheckMate 067 on clinical outcomes with nivolumab plus ipillimumab or nivolumab vs. impillimumab in patients with advanced melanoma, was recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Overall survival rates (with minimum 6.5 year follow-up was "72.1, 36.9, and 19.9 months in the combination, nivolumab, and ipillimumab groups, respectively."  For patients who discontinued treatment, median treatment-free survival was 27.6, 2.3, and 1.9 months. 

To learn more about CheckMate 067, click here.  

Study mentioned: Wolchok JD, Chiarion-Sileni V, Gonzalez R, et al. Long-Term Outcomes With Nivolumab Plus Ipilimumab or Nivolumab Alone Versus Ipilimumab in Patients With Advanced Melanoma. JCO; Published online 24 November 2021. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.21.02229

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Breast cancer: the role of exercise

 A recent post on Medical News Today re-emphasized the importance of regular exercise for breast cancer patients.  Benefits include increased survival, reduced risk of recurrence, improved mood and energy, improved treatment tolerance, and improved physical function.  The post also goes several tips on starting an exercise routine, namely discussing exercise plans with a medical care team, and referral to a physical therapist.  

To read more, click here

Monday, 15 November 2021

New trial alert: drug combination helps children with acute promyelocytic leukemia avoid conventional chemotherapy

The results of a new clinical trial has determined that "the combination of all-trans retinoic acid, ...a metabolite of vitamin A and arsenic trioxide is highly effective in children with standard- and high-risk acute promyelocytic leukemia, or APL."   The trial, conducted on 154 children between 1-22 years old who were recently diagnosed with standard or high-risk APL, showed 2-year event-free survival rates of 96%-98%, with fewer than 10% experiencing severe side effects. 

To learn more about this trial, click here. 

Study mentioned: Kutny MA, Alonzo TA, Abla O, et al. Assessment of Arsenic Trioxide and All-trans Retinoic Acid for the Treatment of Pediatric Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia A Report From the Children’s Oncology Group AAML1331 Trial. JAMA Oncology November 11, 2021. DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.5206.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

New trial alert: Ibrutinib improves survival for younger people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

 New analysis of a phase 3 trial has unveiled that adding Ibrutinib (Imbruvica) to chemotherapy can improve survival rates for patients younger than 60 with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).  DLBCL is the most common type of lymphoma, occurring in 40% of lymphoma cases.  According to Dr Louis M. Staudt, chief of the Lymphoid Malignancies Branch at the National Cancer Institute, "for years we have only had chemotherapy and rituximab to offer these patients...Now, we hope that adding Ibrutinib to current therapy may give younger patients a better chance of surviving this aggressive cancer." 

To read more about this trial, click here

Source mentioned: Wilson WH, Wright G, Huang DA, et al. Effect of ibrutinib with R-CHOP chemotherapy in genetic subtypes of DLBCL. Cancer Cell November 4, 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccell.2021.10.006.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Cure probability models for evaluation of patients with a previous cancer diagnosis for solid organ transplantation

 A recently published study conducted in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, United States reported on the use of statistical models to calculate cure probabilities for 17 different types of cancer.  These models were applied to patients "with a previous cancer who underwent solid organ transplantation to estimate the probability that those patients had been cured of their cancer at the time of transplantation." Study results shows that of the 5,425 patients studies who went through solid organ translation, the median cure probability at transplantation was 94%. 

To read more about this study, click here. 

Study mentioned: Engels EA, Haber G, Hart A, et al. Predicted Cure and Survival Among Transplant Recipients With a Previous Cancer DiagnosisJCO; Published online 22 October 2021. DOI:10.1200/JCO.21.01195

Monday, 25 October 2021

Research indicates female representation at top of oncology field at a plateau

Recently published results from the ESMO Women for Oncology Monitoring and Authorship Studies has revealed that "women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions despite making up an increasing proportion of the oncology workforce."  Data collected from 2017-2019 from several worldwide oncology societies scrutinized the number of women as board members or presidents of oncology organizations/societies, as well as representation at cancer conferences.  The data has revealed 37% of speaker at oncology congresses are women, while 36% of females are presented on the boards of professional organizations.  In addition, 37-41% of women are lead authors in cancer publications.  

To read more about this study, click here

Studies mentioned: 

  1. A.S. Berghoff, C. Sessa, J.C.-H. Yang, Z. Tsourti, J. Tsang, J. Tabernero, S. Peters, H. Linardou, A. Letsch, J. Haanen, E. Garralda, M.C. Garassino, A.J.S. Furness, E. Felip, G. Dimopoulou, U. Dafni, S.P. Choo, S. Banerjee, J. Bajpai, A.A. Adjei and P. Garrido. Female leadership in oncology—has progress stalled? Data from the ESMO W4O authorship and monitoring studies.
  2. E. Hofstädter-Thalmann, U. Dafni, T. Allen, D. Arnold, S. Banerjee, G. Curigliano, E. Garralda, M.C. Garassino, J. Haanen, C. Robert, C. Sessa, Z. Tsourti, P. Zygoura, S. Peters. Report on the status of women occupying leadership roles in oncology.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Why cancer patients and caregivers need paid leave

A recently conducted survey by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) in the United States concludes that cancer patients and caregivers should receive paid time away from work during the course of their cancer treatment or providing care to loved ones. According to survey results, 10-21% of survey respondents quit their jobs while undergoing cancer treatment, while 40% of survivors made financial sacrifices.  

To read more about this survey, click here.  

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Third dose of BNT162b2 is safe; improves immunity against COVID-19 in patients with solid tumours

Researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center recently unveiled data on a trial comparing "serological and cellular immune response after...BNT162b2 vaccination of patients with solid tumours on active cytotoxic chemotherapy compared to healthy controls..."  The study background informs readers that antibody responses decline after a first dose of the mRNA vaccine for patients with solid or haematological tumours, but markedly improve after a second dose.  20 patients with gastrointestinal and breast cancer diagnoses from the original study cohort agreed to a third dose of the mRNA vaccine. "AT one week after a third immunization, 16 participants demonstrated a median threefold increase in neutralizing antibody responses." 

To read more about this study, click here. 

Study mentioned: Shroff RT, Chalasani P, Wei R, et al. Immune responses to two and three doses of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in adults with solid tumorsNature Medicine; Published online 30 September 2021.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Patients treated with chemotherapy and B cell-targeting agents show impaired serological response to COVID-19 vaccination


A recently completed cohort study conducted in Austria and Italy on patients with haemato-oncological diseases indicates that "patients with cancer are able to develop SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies."  The study, conducted on 595 patients being treated for haematological and solid malignant tumours, compared to 58 healthcare workers acting as controls, showed that in both cohort, "anti-S antibody levels were higher in fully vaccinated patients coparents with patients who received 1 vaccine dose." 

To read more about this study, click here. 

Source mentioned: Mair MJ, Berger JM, Berghoff AS, et al. Humoral Immune Response in Hematooncological Patients and Health Care Workers Who Received SARS-CoV-2 Vaccinations. JAMA Oncology; Published online 30 September 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.5437

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

People with intellectual disability at increased risk of cancer

 A research team from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden recently unveiled a population-based cohort study correlating intellectual disability with a higher prevalence of specific cancer types.  According to Dr. Qianwei Liu, findings from the study conducted between 1974-2013 on over 3.5 million children, of whom 27,956 (0.8%) had a clinical case of intellectual disability, showed a statistically significant increased risk for the following cancers: oesophageal, stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreatic, uterus, kidney, central nervous system, as well as acute lymphoid and acute myeloid leukaemia.  

To read more about this study, click here. 

Source mentioned: 1488O – Liu Q, Adami H-O, Reichenberg A, et al. Cancer risk in individuals with intellectual disability. ESMO Congress 2021 (16-21 September).

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

New drug combination treatment for ovarian cancer patients

 Results of early trials presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology congress suggest a new highly effective drug combination treatment for women in ovarian cancer, "shown to shrink tumours in half of patients with an advanced form of the disease." The unique drug combination blocks cancer cell growth signals and is an alternative treatment for ovarian cancer that does not respond well to chemotherapy or hormone therapy. 

To learn more about this trial, click here

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Origins of lung cancer in never smokers

 A new study lead by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has conducted a genomic analysis of lung cancer in individuals who have never smoked, determining that "a majority of these tumors arise from the accumulation of mutations caused by natural processes in the body."  The epidemiologic study, conducted a genomic analysis on 232 non-smoker patients with a non-small call lung cancer diagnosis, revealing 3 cancer subtypes categorized by musical names according to number of genomic changes in the tumors.  The "piano" subtype had the least number of mutations, with "mezzo-forte" exhibiting chromosomal changes, and "forte" showcasing "whole-genome doubling, a genomic changes that is often seen in lung cancers in smokers." 

To read more about this study, click here

Source mentioned: 

Zhang T, Joubert P, Ansari-Pour N, et al. Genomic and evolutionary classification of lung cancer in never smokers. Nature Genetics. Sept 6, 2021. DOI: 10.1038/s41588-021-00920-0.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Blog postings will resume week of September 13th

  Dear Grey Horizon readers, 

Blog postings will resume the week of September 13, 2021. 

Thank you for reading - stay safe and well. 

New trial alert: postoperative identification of tumor cells at the lumpectomy site of patients with early breast cancer

 A new clinical trial sponsored by the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, is presently recruiting patients to "analyze the lumpectomy fluid (seroma) for the presence or absence of tumor cells..."  Study eligibility criteria includes women 50 years of age or younger diagnosed with stage 1 to stage 2B invasive breast cancer, at 6 weeks or earlier post-lumpectomy. 

To read more about this trial, click here

Monday, 23 August 2021

Opioid use drops among cancer patients at end of life

 A new study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicates that palliative care cancer patients are not receiving adequate opioid medication to control pain.  Conducted over a period of 10 years from 2007-2017 on 270,000 cancer patients, findings determined that the filling of opioid prescriptions during the last month of life dropped from 42% to 35%, correlated with a significant number of emergency departments visits due to pain increasing during this time period.  This translated into an overall 25% drop of daily medication dosage.  

To read more about this study, click here. 

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Alcohol attributed to 750,000 cancer cases worldwide in 2020

 A new report released by the World Health Organization (2020) indicates that 4% (750,000) of total global cancer diagnoses in 2020 were attributed to alcohol consumption.  While most of the cases were due to excessive drinking, the WHO study did show a correlation between light and moderate drinking, believed to be present in 100,000 of the 750,000 cases reported. Alcohol consumption is strongly correlated with an increased risk of head and neck, esophageal, liver, colon, rectal, and breast cancers. 

To read more about this study, click here

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

COVID-19 vaccination efficient in cancer patients receiving active treatment

A recent analysis conducted on 1503 cancer patients undergoing treatment at Centre Leon Berard in Lyon, France concluded that "COVID-19 vaccination is efficient in patients with cancer."   Further, the study authors, lead by professor Jean-Yves Blay of the Department of Medical Oncology at Centre Leon Berard emphasized the importance of cancer patients receiving 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine: "overall death rate in a period of 2 months following the first vaccine dose was significantly higher in patients who received only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine."  

Source mentioned:  Heudel P, Favier B, Assaad S, et al. Reduced SARS-CoV-2 infection and death after two doses of COVID-19 vaccines in a series of 1503 patients. Annals of Oncology; Published online 2 August 2021. DOI:

Monday, 26 July 2021

Blog postings will resume week of August 9th

 Dear Grey Horizon readers, 

Blog postings will resume the week of August 9, 2021. 

Thank you for reading - stay safe and well. 

Prefrail and frail young adult survivors of childhood cancers experience significant neurocognitive decline

 A recently published prospective study conducted in the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, indicates that frail young adult survivors of childhood cancers "experienced significantly larger declines than non frail survivors in memory, attention, processing speed, and executive function domains."  The study, conducted on childhood cancer survivors between 18-45 years old with at least 10 years from diagnosis supported background research findings where cancer-related neurocognitive impairment occurs in up to 35% of childhood cancer survivors.  However, study authors acknowledged that "further research is needed to understand the shared biologic pathways underlying frailty and neurocognitive function."  

To read more about this study, click here

Source mentioned: 

Williams ALM, Krull KR, Howell CR, et al. Physiologic Frailty and Neurocognitive Decline Among Young-Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Prospective Study From the St Jude Lifetime Cohort. JCO; Published online 20 July 2021. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.21.00194

Monday, 19 July 2021

New trial suggests radiation can be tailored for children with medulloblastoma

A new clinical trial conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has determined that customizing radiation levels in children with medulloblastoma, by either "lowering the dose of radiation or delivering radiation to a smaller area of the brain" could result in a higher rate of survival without the negative adverse events associated with radiation therapy.   

Study results conducted on the 464 of 549 children that were able to be evaluated determined that 85% of children were alive beyond 5 years after treatment, and 81% did not experience a cancer-related event during those 5 years.  

To read more about this trial, click here

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Gut microbiome and survival following nivolumab therapy for advanced gastric cancer

 Researchers from the St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan recently presented findings at the 2021 ESMO Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer, indicating that "genomic pathways and bacterial genera in the pre-treatment gut microbiome of patients with advanced gastric cancer...were significantly associated with survival times following treatment with nivolumab."  Further, findings from the translational study determined that genomic pathways in the gut were associated with survival time following nivolumab in patients with advanced gastric cancer.  

To read more about this study, click here

Sources mentioned: 

Sunakawa Y, Matoba R, Inoue E, et al. Genomic pathway of gut microbiome to predict efficacy of nivolumab in advanced gastric cancer: DELIVER trial (JACCRO GC-08). Journal of Clinical Oncology 2021;39(3_suppl):161-161.

O13 – Sunakawa Y, Matoba R, Inoue E, et al. Gut Microbiome to Predict Survival Time in Advanced Gastric Cancer Treated With Nivolumab: the DELIVER Trial (JACCRO GC-08).  ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer 2021 (30 June - 3 July).

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Blog posts will resume week of July 12, 2021

 Dear all Grey Horizon readers, 

Postings will resume the week of July 12, 2021.  

Thank you - take care and stay well 

Blood test for early detection of cancer support screening use

 A recent study published in Annals of Oncology has concluded that a blood test purported to detect over 50 different types of cancer "is accurate enough to be rolled out as a multi-cancer screening test among people at higher risk of the disease, including patients aged 50 years or older, without symptoms." According to study first author, Dr. Eric Klein, chairman of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute in Cleveland, finding conducted on 15.254 participants from 142 clinics across North America, early detection of common cancers via a blood test is a viable option for communities with poor access to medical facilities, 

To read more about this study, click here. 

Study mentioned:  

  1. “Clinical validation of a targeted methylation-based multi-cancer early detection test using an independent validation set”, by Eric Klein et al. Annals of Oncology. doi:

Monday, 21 June 2021

Should people over age 75 be screened for colorectal cancer?


According to a recently published article in JAMA Oncology, "people over age 75 who were screened for colorectal cancer had a 40% lower risk of dying from the disease."  While new recommendation by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) explain the benefits of starting colorectal cancer screening at age 45 instead of 50, a new study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital suggests that a subsequent decade of screening individuals aged 76-85 is beneficial.  While study co-lead Dr. Andrew Chan, professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains that screening for colorectal cancer beyond age 75 should be made on a case-by-case basis, findings from this study on 56,000 people 75 years of age and older showed that "risk of dying from colorectal cancer was reduced by more than a third in people...who had been screened by colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy." 

To read more about this study, click here

Monday, 14 June 2021

Metronomic capecitabine as adjuvant therapy provides compelling evidence in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma

 A study conducted at the Sun Yet-sen University Cancer Center in Guangzhou, China, and recently presented at the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting (June 4-8, 2021), indicated that "patients with loco regionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) experienced improved failure-free survival (FFS) and other survival outcomes with metronomic capecitabine."  Study results showed that metronomic capecitabine was not as toxic as other adjuvant therapies and thereby "significantly improved failure-free survival compared with observation."

To read more about this study, click here.  

Sources mentioned: 

Chen Y-P, Liu X, Zhou Q, et al. Metronomic capecitabine as adjuvant therapy in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a multicentre, open-label, parallel-group, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial. The Lancet, Published online 7 June 2021.

Kerbel RS, Andre N. Adjuvant metronomic chemotherapy for locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The Lancet, Published online 7 June 2021. 

Ma J, Chen Y-P, Zhou Q, et al. Metronomic capecitabine as adjuvant therapy in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: A phase 3, multicenter, randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol 2021;39(suppl 15; abstr 6003). DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.6003

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Efficacy and safety of adjuvant nivolumab for high-risk muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma after radical surgery

Findings from the CheckMate 274 study, a phase III, multi centre, double-blind randomized trial determining the efficacy of adjuvant nivolumab in patients with high-risk muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma was recently published by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.   While study investigators plan additional follow-up to assess overall survival, study results have shown that disease-free-survival "was longer with adjuvant nivolumab than with placebo in the ITT population." 

To read more about this study, click here. 

Source mentioned: Bajorin DF, Witjes JA, Gschwend JE, et al. Adjuvant Nivolumab versus Placebo in Muscle-Invasive Urothelial Carcinoma. N Engl J Med 2021;384:2102-2114. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2034442.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Protective HPV vaccine-induced antibody titres can be detected up to 12 years after vaccination

 2 recently completed phase III trials in Finland indicated that "protective HPV vaccine-induced antibody titres" can be detected as long as 12 years after the HPV vaccine is first administered.  The Finish studies determined that 51 (15%) of the 339 quadrivalent vaccine recipients had "no detectable HPV18 neutralizing antibodies 2 to 12 years after vaccination."  

To read more about this study, click here

Source mentioned: Colaҫo Mariz F, Gray P, Bender N, et al. Sustainability of neutralising antibodies induced by bivalent or quadrivalent HPV vaccines and correlation with efficacy: a combined follow-up analysis of data from two randomised, double-blind, multicentre, phase 3 trials. The Lancet Infectious Diseases; Published online 31 May 2021; DOI:

Monday, 17 May 2021

Blog postings will resume week of June 1, 2021

 To all Grey Horizon readers, 

Blog postings will resume the week of June 1, 2021. 

Thank you for your support.  Take care and stay well. 

Discovery of AMBRA1 suggests new cancer treatment strategies

 Recent research by a joint collaborative effort between scientists in the United States and Europe have uncovered AMBRA1, a protein which functions as a tumour suppressor.  As cancer is caused by innumerable cells that will not stop diving, thus forming a tumour, AMBRA1 "marks other proteins involved in helping cells divide...for destruction when cell division isn't needed." While additional research is needed to determine interactions present between AMBRA1 and cancer cells, these tumour suppressors can indeed be more prominent in one cancer versus another. 

To learn more about this research, click here


Monday, 10 May 2021

Brentuximab for children and teens with Hodgkin lymphoma

 A new study conducted at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital indicates that "it may be possible to reduce or eliminate the need for radiation to treat advanced cancer in children and teens with Hodgkin lymphoma.  According to study lead investigator Dr. Monika Metzger, 27 (35%) of the 77 patients involved in the trial did not require radiation treatments, thus suggesting that the findings "are an important first step in moving forward using even less radiation to treat high-risk pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma." 

To read more about this study, click here.