News in brief: PD-1 blockade in classic and endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma; Radiotherapy option for melanoma adrenal mets; Bisphosphonates in prevention of ovarian cancer


PD-1 blockade in classic and endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma

Pembrolizumab shows promising anti-tumour activity in patients with classic and endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma, early research shows.

A French proof-of-concept, phase 2 trial in 30 adults with histologically proven classic or endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma with progressive cutaneous extension requiring systemic treatment administered 200 mg pembrolizumab intravenously every 3 weeks for 6 months (eight cycles) or until severe toxicity.

It found a best overall response rate of 71% – 12% with a complete response and 59% with a partial response.

Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 76% of patients but there were no serious adverse events or treatment-related deaths.

“If this result is supported by further studies, treatment with anti-PD-1 could be part of the therapeutic armamentarium for patients with classic and endemic Kaposi’s sarcoma,” the authors concluded.

Read more in The Lancet Oncology


Radiotherapy option for melanoma adrenal mets

Radiotherapy for melanoma adrenal metastasis is effective and deliverable and could push surgery to a salvage treatment, Australian clinicians say.

A Melbourne study found 20 of 23 adrenal lesions (87%) had an initial response to treatment such as stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy with 12 (60%) maintaining local control until death or end of follow-up.

Median adrenal-specific progression-free survival was 13 months and four patients (17%) required salvage adrenalectomy.

Symptom palliation was achieved in the majority of patients for which it was indicated and there were no grade three toxicities.

The study authors led by Dr Brendan McCann of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, published their findings in Melanoma Research


Bisphosphonates may have role in prevention of ovarian cancer

Use of nitrogen-based bisphosphonates is associated with reduced epithelial ovarian cancer risk (OR 0.81), with an almost 50% lower risk of the endometrioid histotype (OR 0.51) and a 16% lower risk of serous cancers (OR 0.84).

An Australian case-control study using Medicare data from women aged over 50 years – 9,367 cases and 46,830 controls – found the association was weaker for under a year of use (OR=0.94,95%CI:0.79-1.11), compared to longer durations.

There was no apparent association between use of nitrogen-based bisphosphonates and clear cell or mucinous histotypes.

“The possible benefit of using an existing chronic disease medication, potentially just a yearly injection, to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer warrants further investigation,” the researchers concluded.

Read more in Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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