Mechanism of Action: Key Advances in Hematology Oncology
IntroductionAs evidenced by the 2013 annual meetings of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the European Hematology Association (EHA), the pace at which scientific knowledge is influencing cancer drug development is astounding. Breakthroughs in our collective understanding of the underlying biology of solid and liquid tumors have revolutionized cancer treatment compared with as few as 5 years ago. Today, the “traditional” success stories of personalized cancer medicine—chronic myeloid leukemia and HER2-positive breast cancer—are being joined by reports of impressive gains in overall survival for patients with multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, and advanced prostate cancer. This special issue is designed to give practicing oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, and other cancer care providers a concise update on 3 promising pathways in cancer drug development: BCL-2 inhibition, JAK inhibition, and BRAF inhibition. Each of these sections reviews the biologic rationale for targeting that pathway as well as the current development status of drug therapies in that group, as reported during the AACR, ASCO, and EHA meetings. A final section on other key presentations rounds out the meetings coverage. There are drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that affect JAK and BRAF; this focused update may provide additional insight on relevant clinical applications. Other novel agents are not yet available for standard use in oncology offices and clinics, but clinical trials of promising treatments may be actively recruiting patients.
Tumor expression of PD-L1 has consistently predicted response and survival outcomes in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whereas the role of PD-L1 in immune cells is unclear, said Edward B. Garon, MD, Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, at the 2019 ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium.
For decades, healthcare professionals have worked diligently to teach individuals that screening is a valuable tool for preventing and detecting cancer. This has not been an easy mission, and nurses and physicians have had to debunk the myths, bias, and misinformation that deter patients from getting screened annually or according to specific guidelines set forth by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Cancer Society (ACS). Although clinicians have been telling their patients—and the population at large—not to put off cancer screening because it saves lives, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of this year, the dialogue changed.