ASCO 2018 - Take Home Report

Cancer therapy stalwarts blaze trail for immunotherapy

Immunotherapy and precision medicine were the big themes of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (“ASCO”) 2018 meeting in Chicago.

With over 1,000 clinical trials running, there has been an explosion in efforts to identify benefits of immune checkpoint inhibitor (“ICI”) combinations. Although, combining ICIs with the myriad of next generation immunotherapies has yet to deliver, as highlighted by the failure of Incyte‘s much vaunted epacadostat, combination with oncology stalwarts including chemo- and radiotherapy has provided benefits.

The potential benefits of gene-based profiling were well illustrated by data presented for the TAILORx phase III trial, demonstrating that 70% of women with the most common form of breast cancer could be spared chemotherapy. While the consensus is that biomarkers will play an increasing role in guiding therapy, the jury is still out on many of the key markers, and the tests required are likely to be multiple and complex, requiring specialist and eventually algorithmic interpretation.

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