ASCO spotlight on Yervoy, Zytiga and more

As the big ASCO meeting nears, melanoma drugs are set for a lot of attention, thanks to one newly approved treatment and a few others waiting in the wings. And so are prostate cancer treatments, for the same reasons.

In melanoma's case, the spur is Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy, approved by FDA in March. A big study of that drug will be released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. The first new melanoma treatment in years--and the first approved treatment to show a significant improvement in overall survival--Yervoy will step onto the ASCO stage with data on its use in newly diagnosed patients.

It's Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga--and other drugs in its class awaiting approval--leading the conversation about prostate cancer, Bloomberg reports. Zytiga is the first of a new type of treatment, and analysts are expecting it to surpass $2 billion in sales. What's more, says Cowen & Co.'s Eric Schmidt, similar candidates from Medivation and Takeda Pharmaceutical could further boost the prostate cancer market. If they're approved, drugs for that form of the disease could reach $5 billion by 2015, up from less than $1 billion now.

Other existing drugs expected to capture new attention at ASCO include Gleevec, the Novartis drug, which has some new data on treatment of stomach and intestinal tumors, Dow Jones notes. Eli Lilly's Alimta drug is the subject of a maintenance study in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Plus, Roche will present data on Avastin as an ovarian cancer treatment.

- read the Bloomberg news
- see the story from Dow Jones