Onc Daily: New Drug for GIST, PARPi for Prostate Cancer

Jennifer Smith

May 19, 2020

Here are the most important stories that Medscape Oncology's editors picked for you to read today.

FDA Approves Ripretinib for Advanced GISTs

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ripretinib (Qinlock, Deciphera Pharmaceuticals) to treat patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) previously treated with three or more kinase inhibitors, including imatinib.

Ripretinib is the first drug specifically approved as a fourth-line treatment for GISTs. In a placebo-controlled trial, ripretinib prolonged progression-free survival by about 5 months in patients with advanced disease.

First PARP Inhibitor Approved for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

The FDA has granted accelerated approval for rucaparib (Rubraca, Clovis Oncology) to treat patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and deleterious BRCA mutations who previously received androgen receptor-directed therapy and a taxane-based chemotherapy.

Rucaparib becomes the first PARP inhibitor approved for use in prostate cancer; it is already marketed for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

The accelerated approval was based on objective response rate (44%) and duration of response (median not reached) in the TRITON2 trial. Patients should receive rucaparib concurrently with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog or should have had bilateral orchiectomy.

Pediatric Cancer Patients May Be No More Vulnerable to COVID-19

In a small study, few pediatric cancer patients developed COVID-19, including patients who had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. These findings were published in JAMA Oncology.

Researchers tested 178 child cancer patients and 74 adult caregivers for COVID-19. Three of 120 (2.5%) asymptomatic patients tested positive for COVID-19, as did 17 of 58 (29.3%) patients who had either symptoms or close contact with someone who tested positive.

There were six caregivers who had symptoms or close contact with an infected person, and three of them tested positive for COVID-19 (50%). Ten of the 68 (14.7%) asymptomatic caregivers tested positive.

ASCO President on 'Making Lemonade' for Virtual Annual Meeting

Howard A. "Skip" Burris, III, MD, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), tells David H. Henry, MD, of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, what the first virtual ASCO Annual Meeting will look like.

Burris notes that all ASCO abstracts will be available online, as well as scientific symposia. Viewers will be able to watch different live sessions, and that content will be available after those sessions take place. The educational program will be presented online in August.

He predicts that holding this year's meeting online will probably change the way the ASCO meeting is held in the future. "People are going to like this ability to go back and review the data and how we present it. We'll take the best of what we learn from this meeting and apply it going forward," he comments.

"Making lemonade out of lemons," Henry replies. "It'll give us something new and different. What an amazing turn of events."

"I Thought Stage IV Cancer Was Bad Enough..."

Science made it possible for cancer patient Caitlin Flanagan to achieve long-term remission. Now, her cancer is back, and she describes having stage IV cancer during a pandemic, under a president who "ignores" science.

In an opinion piece in The Atlantic, Flanagan describes her cancer journey, from initial diagnosis to present day. She notes that scientific advances, particularly the development of Herceptin (trastuzumab), allowed her to achieve an 11-year remission. Though her cancer has recurred, other advances may keep her alive for years to come.

Unfortunately, Flanagan says, President Donald Trump has not embraced science during the COVID-19 pandemic. "He mocked science," Flanagan writes, noting that Trump called COVID-19 "a hoax," said it was no worse than the flu, and claimed the outbreak would end with warmer weather. He continues to claim, despite a lack of evidence, that an antimalarial drug can cure or prevent COVID-19.

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