A first peek at ASCO's news bonanza

Brace yourselves for an onslaught of cancer-drug news. That's because the American Society of Clinical Oncology meets later this month, and under a policy launched last year, the medical group has released a slew of findings that will be discussed in further depth at that conference. More than 4,000 studies hit ASCO's website yesterday, and reporters are sifting those for newsworthy tidbits. Here's a sampling of today's line-up:

  • Bayer's cancer drug hopeful Nexavar showed promise as a lung-cancer treatment in a Phase II study. The study authors concluded that the combination of Nexavar and Roche's approved lung cancer drug Tarceva "is safe and has clinically significant anti-tumour activity."
  • Another study of Amgen's Vectibix finds that patients with wild-type KRAS tumors do better on the drug in combination therapy than patients with non-wild KRAS tumors do on the same regimen. An earlier study showed that Vectibix monotherapy produced similar split results.
  • Genentech's Avastin improved progression-free survival in advanced breast cancer patients by three months--on a median basis--when combined with Roche's chemo pill Xeloda, a study known as RIBBON-1 showed.
  • A study of the OSI Pharmaceuticals/Roche-Genentech drug Tarceva as a maintenance therapy in lung cancer may disappoint; patients had a median progression-free survival of 12.3 weeks, compared with 11.1 weeks for patients on placebo. OSI told Dow Jones that this top-line result will be mitigated by release of the full study.
  • Eli Lilly's Gemzar proved to cut the risk of death and tumor growth in patients with advanced cancer of the gallbladder and bile duct; patients receiving cisplatin chemo plus Gemzar lived an average of three months longer compared with patients getting the chemo alone.
  • The first genomic test aimed at predicting colon cancer recurrence may help individualize treatment for patients, leading to less toxic and more targeted therapy choices, scientists say.

As you can imagine, there's much, much more where this came from.

- get a roundup of ASCO news from Dow Jones
- see the Amgen release
- check out the Nexavar piece from Reuters
- read the colon cancer screening story from HealthDay