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News & Updates


Pathologic Complete Response As a Potential Surrogate for the Clinical Outcome in Patients With Breast Cancer After Neoadjuvant Therapy: A Meta-Regression of 29 Randomized Prospective Studies [REVIEW ARTICLES]


To assess the role of pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant therapy as surrogate end point of disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with breast cancer, we performed a trial-based meta-regression of randomized studies comparing different neoadjuvant systemic treatments.


The systematic literature search included electronic databases and proceedings of oncologic meetings. Endocrine therapy trials were excluded. Treatment effects on DFS and OS were expressed as hazard ratios (HRs), and treatment effects on pCR were expressed as odds ratios (ORs). A weighted regression analysis was performed on log-transformed treatment effect estimates to test the association between treatment effects on the surrogate outcome and treatment effects on the clinical outcome.


Twenty-nine trials, 59 arms, and 30 comparisons, for a total of 14,641 patients, were included in the analysis. Using the complete set of data, the regression of either the log(HR) for DFS or the log(HR) for OS on the log(OR) for pCR demonstrated only weak associations (R2 = 0.08; 95% CI, 0 to 0.47; and R2 = 0.09; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.41, respectively). Better associations were found in an exploratory analysis assessing a subset of trials comparing intensified/dose-dense chemotherapy versus standard-dose regimens (DFS: R2 = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.95; P = .003; and OS: R2 = 0.57; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.93; P = .03).


This meta-regression analysis of 29 heterogeneous neoadjuvant trials does not support the use of pCR as a surrogate end point for DFS and OS in patients with breast cancer. However, pCR may potentially meet the criteria of surrogacy with specific systemic therapies.

November 26, 2014
Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Properties of Calaspargase Pegol Escherichia coli L-Asparaginase in the Treatment of Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Results From Children's Oncology Group Study AALL07P4 [Pediatric Oncology]


Asparaginase is a critical agent used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Pegaspargase (SS-PEG), a pegylated form of Escherichia coli L-asparaginase with a succinimidyl succinate (SS) linker, is the first-line asparaginase product used in Children's Oncology Group (COG) ALL trials. Calaspargase pegol (SC-PEG) replaces the SS linker in SS-PEG with a succinimidyl carbamate linker, creating a more stable molecule. COG AALL07P4 was designed to determine the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic comparability of SC-PEG to SS-PEG in patients with newly diagnosed high-risk (HR) B-cell ALL.

Patients and Methods

A total of 165 evaluable patients were randomly assigned at a 2:1 ratio to receive SC-PEG at 2,100 (SC-PEG2100; n = 69) or 2,500 IU/m2 (SC-PEG2500; n = 42) versus SS-PEG 2,500 IU/m2 (SS-PEG2500; n = 54) as part of an otherwise identical chemotherapy regimen. The groups were similar demographically, except more female patients received SC-PEG2500.


The mean half-life of plasma asparaginase activity for both SC-PEG doses was approximately 2.5x longer than that of SS-PEG2500. The total systemic exposure, as defined by induction area under the curve from time 0 to 25 days, was greater with SC-PEG2500 than with SS-PEG2500 or SC-PEG2100. The proportion of patients with plasma asparaginase activity ≥ 100 mIU/mL and ≥ 400 mIU/mL was higher in patients who received SC-PEG as compared with SS-PEG2500. After one dose of pegylated asparaginase on induction day 4, plasma asparagine was undetectable for 11 days for SS-PEG2500 and 18 days for both SC-PEG groups.


SC-PEG2500 achieves a significantly longer period of asparaginase activity above defined thresholds and asparagine depletion compared with SS-PEG2500 and has a comparable toxicity profile in children with HR B-cell ALL.

November 26, 2014
Phase III Study of Iniparib Plus Gemcitabine and Carboplatin Versus Gemcitabine and Carboplatin in Patients With Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer [Breast Cancer]


There is a lack of treatments providing survival benefit for patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (mTNBC), with no standard of care. A randomized phase II trial showed significant benefit for gemcitabine, carboplatin, and iniparib (GCI) over gemcitabine and carboplatin (GC) in clinical benefit rate, response rate, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS). Here, we formally compare the efficacy of these regimens in a phase III trial.

Patients and Methods

Patients with stage IV/locally recurrent TNBC who had received no more than two previous chemotherapy regimens for mTNBC were randomly allocated to gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2 and carboplatin area under the curve 2 (days 1 and 8) alone or GC plus iniparib 5.6 mg/kg (days 1, 4, 8, and 11) every 3 weeks. Random assignment was stratified by the number of prior chemotherapies. The coprimary end points were OS and PFS. Patients receiving GC could cross over to iniparib on progression.


Five hundred nineteen patients were randomly assigned (261 GCI; 258 GC). In the primary analysis, no statistically significant difference was observed for OS (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.88; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.12; P = .28) nor PFS (HR = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65 to 0.98; P = .027). An exploratory analysis showed that patients in the second-/third-line had improved OS (HR = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.46 to 0.91) and PFS (HR = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.92) with GCI. The safety profile for GCI was similar to GC.


The trial did not meet the prespecified criteria for the coprimary end points of PFS and OS in the ITT population. The potential benefit with iniparib observed in second-/third-line subgroup warrants further evaluation.

November 26, 2014

NCI News

St. Jude researchers find that survivors of childhood eye cancer experience normal cognitive functioning as adults

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital study found adults diagnosed with retinoblastoma as infants often performed better on tasks than survivors diagnosed at an older age.

November 25, 2014
Cancer Clinical Trials at the NIH Clinical Center

A fact sheet about cancer clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

November 26, 2014
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for Relapsed or Treatment-Resistant Neuroblastoma

NCI is sponsoring two clinical trials of a monoclonal antibody called ch14.18, in combination with other drugs, to see if the antibody may be helpful for children or young adults (up to age 21) with relapsed or refractory high-risk neuroblastoma.

September 9, 2014
Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity

This article gives an overview of Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE), which involves Historically Black Colleges and Universities working in cancer disparities research.

August 11, 2014

ACE News

American Cancer Society Awards New Research and Training Grants

Nation’s largest non-government, not-for-profit cancer research funder awards 83 grants totaling $44 million in second of two cycles for 2014

October 9, 2014
Breast cancer incidence rates converging among white and African-American women

Rates increasing among African-Americans; reasons unclear

October 1, 2013
Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to quit for good

American Cancer Society Offers Tips to Quit During the Great American Smokeout November 20

November 19, 2014