Noted This Week

This week: Special content from the ESMO Virtual Congress 2020 and other news

September 18–24

The KRASG12C inhibitor sotorasib (AMG 510; Amgen) may be effective in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a KRASG12C mutation and have received prior therapies, according to results of the phase I CodeBreaK100 trial. Overall, 19 of 59 patients responded to the drug, and 33 more had stable disease; the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 6.3 months, and the median duration of response was 10.9 months. The results were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 and concurrently published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Sacituzumab govitecan-hziy (Trodelvy; Immunomedics) may significantly improve survival in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer who have received prior therapies, researchers reported at ESMO. In the phase III ASCENT trial, patients treated with the agent had a median overall survival of 12.1 months and a median PFS of 5.6 months, compared with 6.7 months and 1.7 months, respectively, in patients who received chemotherapy. Approved in April, sacituzumab govitecan-hziy consists of a monoclonal antibody against human trophoblast cell-surface antigen 2 conjugated to the topoisomerase I inhibitor SN-38.

Adjuvant osimertinib (Tagrisso; AstraZeneca) may improve outcomes in EGFR-mutant NSCLC, according to findings presented at ESMO and concurrently published in NEJM. In the phase III ADAURA trial, 89% of patients treated with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor after surgery were alive and disease-free at 24 months, compared with 52% of those who received a placebo.

Also at ESMO, researchers reported that adding abemaciclib to endocrine therapy following surgery may lead to better responses in patients with HR-positive, HER2-negative early breast cancer. In the phase III monarchE trial, patients treated with the combination had a 2-year invasive disease–free survival rate of 92.2% and a 2-year distant relapse–free survival rate of 93.6%, compared with 88.7% and 90.3%, respectively, in patients who received endocrine therapy alone. Findings were concurrently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Illumina announced it will acquire Grail for $8 billion up front. Grail was founded by Illumina in 2016 and became a stand-alone company. It is developing a blood-based test that uses targeted sequencing of methylation regions in circulating cell-free DNA to detect early-stage cancers. The test has had strong preliminary results and is being further validated in the STRIVE and SUMMIT studies.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released its 2020 Cancer Progress Report, available at The 10th annual report includes the latest information on cancer mortality, drug approvals, and research, as well as a special section on cancer and COVID-19. The AACR also led the eighth annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, joining almost 500 organizations in a virtual event to advocate for robust, sustained, and predictable annual funding increases for the NIH.

A consortium of 17 cancer centers will receive NCI funding to investigate the intersection of COVID-19 and cancer. The centers, which are coordinated by the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will examine how the COVID-19 pandemic may be delaying cancer detection, care, and prevention. Their research will also explore whether demographic differences are affecting cancer prevention, management, and survivorship during the pandemic.


Research Watch