Our top oncology content of 2018 – a note from the Editor

Written by Jade Parker, Editor

Welcome to 2019 on the new, redesigned Oncology Central! To kick off the New Year we are taking the opportunity to look back on the hottest themes across the site in 2018. Did your 2018 highlights make the list? Let us know in the comments below!  

Once again, immuno-oncology was an immensely popular hot topic throughout 2018, with conferences and news stories highlighting the ground-breaking results achieved using drugs such as pembrolizumab, ipilimumab and nivolumab.  

One of our most read news stories from the year was that of a case of personalized immunotherapy resulting in a complete response in metastatic breast cancer patient. Other key news stories in this area of interest included; olaparib shows promise for glioblastoma  as well as several key drug approvals, which we have collated at the bottom of this article.

Meanwhile, back-to-back presentations at American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2018 (April 14–18, IL, USA) highlighted immunotherapy advancements for lung cancer – major studies being the KEYNOTE-189, Checkmate-227 and IMpower150 trials. If you would like to find out more about these trials then make sure to read our interview with CheckMate-227 trial investigator Christian Ottensmeier, T.J Sharpe’s blog article which explores how the findings will translate into clinic or our news round up.     

The past year also yielded several notable screening advancements such as a blood test that could detect eight types of cancer and research which demonstrated that inviting men with no symptoms to a one-off prostate specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer does not save lives.  

On this topic, one of the most talked about studies presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (ASCO, 1–5 June 2018, IL, USA) was TAILORx. This trial demonstrated that most women with a specific early-stage breast cancer and midrange score on the Oncotype DX® do not need chemotherapy after surgery, these practice-changing results will spare thousands of women from the harmful side effects of chemotherapy. Whilst at ASCO, we had the chance to speak with Genomic Health insider details of the trial, click here to listen to the interview and find other highlights from the meeting here. 

Looking onto the latter half of 2018, the breakthroughs in cancer research and care continued, with several studies being highlighted at the ESMO 2018 Congress (19–23 October 2018, Munich, Germany). At ESMO two of the key studies presented were results from the  KEYNOTE-048 trial and the SOLO-1 study; both of which are expected to change the standard of care in head and neck cancer and ovarian cancer, respectively.  

To wrap up the year, we hosted our inaugural photography competition, which proved immensely popular. You can view all the finalists, as well as find out more about the winners here.   

These are just some of the highlights of the last 12 months on Oncology Central; I look forward to sharing many more with you all in 2018 as we continue to advance oncology together.  

Best wishes, 

Jade Parker 

Editor, Oncology Central 

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Our five most popular headlines 

  1. PARP-inhibitor olaparib shows promise for glioblastoma 
  2. New blood test could detect eight types of cancer 
  3. Personalized immunotherapy leads to complete response in metastatic breast cancer patient 
  4. Nivolumab, ipilimumab combination succeeds in Checkmate-227 lung cancer trial 
  5. Prostate cancer deaths are not prevented by one-off PSA screening 

Five key drug approvals 

  1. Pembrolizumab becomes the first and only immunotherapy to be recommended by NICE for urothelial carcinoma patients 
  2. Nivolumab, ipilimumab combination approved as first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma 
  3. Imfinzi approved for unresectable Stage III non-small cell lung cancer by the US FDA 
  4. US FDA approves larotrectinib, a unique DNA-targeting drug, for NTRK+ cancers 
  5. NICE approves atezolizumab for advanced bladder cancer patients on the NHS