News in brief: First OS improvement in metastatic uveal melanoma; Grant winners announced for Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research; Cancer diagnoses to increase by 50%

Wednesday, 28 Apr 2021

First treatment to improve OS in metastatic uveal melanoma

A novel therapy, tebentafusp, is the first to shown improvements in overall survival (OS) for people with metastatic uveal melanoma, according to investigators presenting results at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021.

Tebentafusp is a bispecific consisting of an affinity-enhanced T cell receptor (TCR) fused to an anti-CD3 effector that can redirect T cells to target gp100+ cells.

In a phase 3 trial involving 378 patients, those who were randomised to tebentafusp had significantly prolonged OS (HR 0.51) at 14 months compared to investigators’ usual choice of care that included pembrolizumab, ipilimumab or dacarbazine.  Patients treated with tebentafusp had an estimated 1-yr OS rate of 73.2% compared to 57.5% with investigators’ choice of care.

The findings were promising given that no systemic treatment has proven an OS benefit in randomised trials, according to the researchers who included Dr Anthony Joshua of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney.

Adverse events were generally manageable and the rate of treatment discontinuation due to adverse events was low (<4%).

Winners of Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme

The successful applicants for Ideas Grants in the 2020 round of the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme have been announced by Cancer Australia. The projects funded by various groups include research into ‘A combined immuno-molecular biomarker for early breast disease’ (Kylie Gorringe, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne);
‘Unleashing the immune response against melanoma by targeting a crucial epigenetic AxB (Jessamy Tiffen, Centenary Institute, University of Sydney) and ‘Exploiting and enhancing brain-resident immune cells for the treatment of paediatric brainstem glioma’ (Jessica Buck, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia ). According to Cancer Australia, the scheme brings together government and other funders to collaboratively fund cancer research, with a view to fostering collaboration between cancer researchers and to foster consumer participation in cancer research, from design to implementation.

Australian cancer numbers predicted to rise by 50%

The incidence of seven common cancer types in Australia is predicted to increase by 50% by 2031, according to modelling by Cancer Council researchers. Rates of breast, colorectal, liver, lung, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma and stomach cancer will increase about 3% annual overall, although there is considerable variability between cancer types and age groups. Some cancer such as stomach, colorectal and male lung cancers were predicted to have decreases in the age-standardised incidence rates (ASRs) whereas larger increases were projected for liver and female lung cancer. Increases in the percentage of colorectal cancer diagnoses among younger age groups were also projected.

More details: Cancer Epidemiology

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