Noted This Week

March 20–26

Patients with cancer admitted to the hospital may have a higher likelihood of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 than the general population, according to findings in JAMA Oncology. Researchers analyzed medical records from 1,524 patients with cancer admitted to Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in China in early 2020. They found that 0.79% of patients at the hospital became infected with SARS-CoV-2, compared with 0.37% of people in the community.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more cancer conferences are being postponed or conducted online. The 2020 World Conference on Lung Cancer has been postponed until January 2021, and the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting will be entirely virtual (dates to be announced). The American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2020 has been postponed—likely until August—but the organization will host a virtual meeting preview starting April 27 that includes basic and clinical research presentations.

A study in The Lancet Oncology suggests that prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET-CT may be better at identifying metastases in men with prostate cancer than CT and bone scans. Researchers assigned 302 men to undergo either PMSA PET-CT or standard CT and bone scans. They found that PMSA PET-CT was more accurate at detecting metastases than conventional imaging—92% vs. 65%, respectively.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare approved the MET inhibitor tepotinib (Tepmetko; Merck) to treat patients with inoperable, advanced, or recurrent non–small cell lung cancer who have MET exon 14 skipping alterations. The approval was based on the phase II VISION trial, in which the agent elicited an objective response rate of 42% and a median duration of response of 12 months.

Tolero Pharmaceuticals announced it will join the Beat AML Master Trial, a multiarm umbrella trial run by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in which patients newly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are matched to targeted agents based on genomic sequencing of tumors. Tolero’s AXL receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor dubermatinib will be available to patients with TP53 mutations and/or complex karyotype.

The FDA issued a warning about the risk of SARS-COV-2 transfer through fecal microbiota transplantation. The agency made several recommendations to prevent transfer of the virus, including screening donors for exposure, testing donors for the virus, and developing exclusion criteria. Fecal microbiota transplantation is being investigated as a strategy to improve the success of allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplants in patients with blood cancer.


Research Watch