Welcome Back!

Hopefully you have visited our site over the last 3 weeks and have read all of the informative feature articles that discussed the major ASCO 2012 presentations on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and prostate cancer, both of which included commentary from members of our Advisory Board. This week I will publish the final article in this series—a feature highlighting major presentations in the area of head and neck cancer, with commentary by Dr. Barbara Burtness of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA.

As with the other features on prostate cancer and NSCLC, I will begin the article by introducing the latest epidemiological statistics for head and neck cancers, with emphasis on malignancies of the esophagogastric region. This introduction will include a discussion of the incidence and prevalence of such malignancies, as well as their health burden.

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With a discussion of REAL3, a large, randomized trial that evaluated the addition of the anti-EGFR antibody panitumumab to epirubicin, oxaliplatin and capecitabine (EOC) in advanced esophagogastric adenocarcinomas, our final coverage of ASCO 2012 begins in earnest. In this study, the investigators discovered that the inclusion of panitumumab to EOC was so toxic that, at one of the interim analyses, they had to close the trial due to an increased number of deaths in the experimental arm. As Dr. Burtness was the discussant for this section at ASCO 2012, she discussed the pitfalls of this trial at length in my article.

I continue my discussion of ASCO 2012 coverage of esophagogastric trials with an abstract presented by the West Japan Oncology Group on the WJOG4007 trial. This is a randomized trial comparing paclitaxel to irinotecan as second-line chemotherapy in resistant advanced esophagogastric cancer. The investigators reported similar responses in both arms: 14% for irinotecan, 21% for paclitaxel; median survival was 8.5 and 9.5 months, respectively. Based on the data presented in the trial, Dr. Burtness provides her opinion on which treatment is a better option for this patient population.

Finally, I discuss Dr. Burtness’ poster in the “trials in progress session” entitled “LUX head and neck 2: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III study of afatinib as adjuvant therapy after chemoradiation in primarily unresected, clinically high-risk, head and neck cancer patients.” 

After you read the full article, which will be published this Thursday, please stop by ChemotherapyAdvisor and let us know how these data might be used to treat patients with esophagogastric cancer.