ASCO Names the Transformation of CLL Treatment as the Cancer Advance of the Year

Feb 24, 2015

Clinical Cancer Advances 2015 report features the year’s top achievements, previews future trends

In just a year’s time, four therapies have been approved for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).The new treatments are more effective and far easier to tolerate than prior therapies.

This standout achievement, ASCO’s Advance of the Year, was announced aspart of Clinical Cancer Advances 2015: ASCO’s Report on Progress Against Cancer. The report was published January 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and is available at CancerProgress.Net/CCA with additional resources.

For patients with newly diagnosed CLL, immunotherapy drugs obinutuzumab and ofatumumab, given with chemotherapy, can delay disease progression by approximately one year. These are the first viable options for many elderly patients who cannot tolerate the adverse effects of standard CLL treatments.

There is also new hope for patients with CLL that has relapsed after or become resistant to standard treatment. New targeted drugs ibrutinib and idelalisib are so effective they are poised to transform CLL care, potentially eliminating the need for chemotherapy.

“These new therapies fill an enormous need for thousands of patients living with CLL,” said Gregory A. Masters, MD, FACP, FASCO, ASCO expert and Co-Executive Editor of the report. “For many older patients, especially, these drugs essentially offer the first chance at effective treatment.”

Now in its 10th year, Clinical Cancer Advances covers a broad range of cancer types and features an eclectic selection of recent trendsand achievements across the entire continuum of cancer care, from prevention and screening to treatment and survivorship.

Special features in the 10th anniversary issue include:

  • A Decade in Review, recounting the biggest changes in cancer care since the report’s introduction
  • The 10 Year Horizon, previewing trends likely to shape the next decade of cancer care, such as genomic technology, nanomedicine, and information technology
  • Progress in Rare Cancers, highlighting promising early achievements against uncommon but devastating cancers

Roughly one-third of the advances featured in the 2015 report were supported in whole or in part by federal research dollars. Among the most significant are:

  • Adding generic chemotherapy to standard advanced prostate cancer treatment yields one of the biggest survival gains ever seen in this disease;
  • Adding a generic, low-cost hormone treatment to standard chemotherapy helps preserve fertility of young women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy, and extends their lives; and
  • Combining standard radiation therapy with chemotherapy adds years of life to patients with low-grade glioma.

In the report, ASCO calls on Congress to provide a strong investment to the National Institutes of Health in 2015 to sustain the search for cancer cures.

Clinical Cancer Advances 2015 was developed through a peer-review process, under the direction of an editorial board comprised of experts in a range of oncology specialties. The editors reviewed research published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at major scientific meetings between October 2013 and September 2014.

Clinical Cancer Advances 2015 is funded in part by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Societyof Clinical Oncology Mission Endowment Fund.

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