Ludwig researchers present new findings at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting

Ludwig Cancer Research unveiled the full scope of Ludwig’s participation at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, June 2-6. Ludwig scientists will present findings on efforts to diagnose and treat a variety of cancers, including melanoma, glioblastoma, multiple myeloma and lymphoma.

“The ASCO Annual Meeting provides a unique opportunity for scientists from around the world to share information about new and innovative treatment strategies and identify new research opportunities,” said Bob Strausberg, deputy scientific director, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. “Ludwig is pleased to present data on many advances, in cancer immunotherapy in particular, a field that has long been a focus of Ludwig research.”

Ludwig scientists will present four clinical trials of checkpoint antibody combination immunotherapies, which are jointly managed by Ludwig’s Clinical Trials Management team and the Cancer Research Institute’s Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Accelerator. These include the evaluation of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies (i) to treat patients with advanced solid tumors, (ii) in combination with high dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant in multiple myeloma patients, and (iii) in-situ checkpoint immunotherapy in select accessible cancers. As part of this partnership, scientists will also share an update of a Phase II study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an anti-PD-L1 therapy in newly diagnosed and relapsed glioblastoma patients. Further, a fifth study evaluating anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD1 antibodies in combination with two different dose/fraction radiotherapy schemes will be presented.

Ludwig researchers will also share findings on other topics, including the potential use of circulating tumor DNA in early diagnosis and treatment, immunotherapy to treat pediatric patients, how changes to DNA repair genes influence checkpoint blockade therapy, identifying biomarkers for melanoma treatment and diagnostic criteria for a type of lymphoma.

Long Term Survival Indicated for Advanced Stage Colorectal Cancer Patients who Survive at Least Two Years

Improvements in chemotherapy and liver surgery have resulted in increased overall survival in patients with advanced stage colorectal cancer in recent decades. In order to better predict outcomes for these patients, researchers at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey conducted a retrospective analysis and found that stage IV colorectal cancer patients who survived at least two years have a better prognosis than originally thought. Results of the work will be presented as part of a poster presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting being held in Chicago early next month.

“With patients in this population living longer, it is imperative we refine prognostic information to more accurately predict survival.  This data will assist multi-disciplinary cancer management teams in making treatment decisions that ultimately will impact a patient’s quality of life,” notes Darren Carpizo, MD, PhD, surgical oncologist and director of the Hepatobiliary Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute and senior investigator of the work (pictured).

Investigators examined data on more than a thousand stage IV colorectal cancer patients seen at Rutgers Cancer Institute between 2005 and 2015. This included patients who had their cancer removed through surgery and were treated with follow-up therapies, as well as those patients who were not eligible for surgery. Complete data was available for 125 patients who survived for more than two years (75 had surgical removal of their cancer; 50 did not).  Median overall survival of patients who underwent surgery was not reached, while median overall survival for those who were not eligible for surgery was six years and three months.

“For those patients not eligible for initial surgery who survive two years, these findings indicate they may benefit from future surgery, if feasible, to treat remaining disease. For those patients who initially had surgery, this information may be helpful to identify patients who might benefit from repeat surgery to resect any recurrent metastatic disease,” adds Dr. Carpizo, who is also an associate professor of surgery and pharmacology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (www.cinj.org) is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers Cancer Institute is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention both at its flagship New Brunswick location and at its Newark campus at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital. Physician-scientists across Rutgers Cancer Institute also engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice that supports patients on both campuses.