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Highlights of US cancer meet: immunotherapy, gastrointestinal cancer
  • By Nam Doo-hyun
  • Published 2018.06.14 15:51
  • Updated 2018.06.14 16:45
  • comments 0

Immunotherapies and gastrointestinal cancer drew the most attention during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which closed on June 5, an analyst said Thursday.

According to a report by Lee Tae-young, an analyst at Meritz Securities, participants of the conference announced their clinical data on tumors in the gastrointestinal system (excluding colon and rectum) the most, having 146 presentations.

The immune system treatments came next with 124 presentations.

Others included 117 cases of patient and survivor management, 114 cases of tumor biology, 113 cases of gastrointestinal tumors (large intestine and rectum), 113 on clinical pharmacology and experimental treatment, 111 on healthcare services, clinical information and treatment quality, 106 on metastatic breast cancer, 105 on lung cancer (metastatic non-small cell), and 97 on melanoma and skin cancer.

Immunotherapies were another focus of the ASCO. Pharmaceutical firms revealed results on combination therapies. Merck disclosed data on Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Roche, on Tecentriq (atezolizumab), and BMS-Ono Pharma, on Opdivo (nivolumab).

Therefore, there is a growing interest in the development of biomarkers for predicting response patients in consideration of the characteristics of immunotherapeutic agents that only respond to some patients.

As some immunotherapies respond to some patients only, drugmakers are increasingly interested in developing biomarkers that can predict response patients.

“As companies continue to strive to conquer cancer, the global anticancer market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 12.2 percent in average by 2024,” Lee said. “The key drivers of such growth will be Keytruda, Opdivo, and Tecentriq that can improve anticancer immune circulation as PD-L1 inhibitors.”

Lee emphasized that development of biomarker was a must, not a choice, for a pharmaceutical firm. “It has become essential to demonstrate the correlation between patient status and immune anticancer response rate and use it as a therapeutic biomarker,” he said.

Lee went on to say that drugmakers should enable customized treatment by screening out various factors, along with clinical development.

The ASCO is the world’s largest cancer research conference. In 2017, 39,400 people participated in the event, and among them, 32,100 were experts in oncology.

At the latest meet up classified 25 areas of tumors according to the location of the onset of the disease and the treatment method. In each part, there were oral presentations on abstracts, poster presentations on more than 100 studies, and discussion sessions to compare and analyze similar research.


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