At the close of 2022, we celebrate accomplishments of the past year, even as we look forward to the multiple opportunities and challenges of 2023. The end of this year signals the closing of NCI-MATCH, the first large-scale, genomically-driven precision medicine trial, supported by a close collaboration between ECOG-ACRIN and NCI. We will soon report an update on this trial, detailing that 7/27 substudies (26%) met the endpoint for a positive outcome, and that these results enabled tumor type-agnostic FDA approval of two of the arms’ agents (nivolumab in MSI-H cancers and dabrafenib/trametinib in BRAF V600 mutant tumors).
The broad inclusion of patients with diagnoses of uncommon or rare tumors afforded insights into the practical impact of next-generation sequencing in the metastatic situation: the sequencing had the potential to identify an option for 38% of the initial 6000 registered patients. This figure is highly supportive of the value of tumor testing for all patients. The lessons learned from the NCI-MATCH trial have been applied to the next generation of precision medicine trials, as was presented in a special NCI-MATCH session at our Fall 2022 Group Meeting. Both MyeloMATCH, for patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, and ComboMATCH, testing combinations of targeted drugs, are on track to activate early next year. Dr. Jim Ford of Stanford University and Dr. Funda Meric-Bernstam of MD Anderson Cancer Center will lead ComboMATCH, while Dr. Selina Luger of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Mark Litzow of Mayo Clinic represent ECOG-ACRIN on the MyeloMATCH senior leadership team.
At the close of 2022, ECOG-ACRIN researchers presented the results of several high-profile trials at the year-end scientific conferences. At the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition, Dr. Litzow presented practice-changing results in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL): the E1910 study demonstrated that the addition of blinatumomab to consolidation chemotherapy should be the new standard of care for certain patients with newly diagnosed B lineage ALL who are in remission. Also at ASH, Dr. Anand Jillella shared the findings from EA9131, a unique clinical trial that led to a dramatic decrease in early deaths from the rare and aggressive—yet highly curable—acute promyelocytic leukemia. Additionally, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dr. Joe Sparano presented long-term recurrence and survival data from the groundbreaking TAILORx breast cancer trial. With 12 years of follow-up, the updated analysis confirms the original findings that chemotherapy has no benefit for a large proportion of women with early-stage breast cancer.
Finally, the New Year will bring with it a renewed focus on our structure and our science. Fresh from celebrating our tenth anniversary as ECOG-ACRIN in October, we will have the opportunity through 2023 to plan and write our renewals for the cooperative agreements that fund our NCTN and NCORP grants. We have begun the review processes for both grants, and these will continue through the next year. As always, we will engage as many people as possible in defining our priorities and operational strategies for the next six years. The Group is a dynamic organism, and this recurring renewal process is in itself a form of regeneration: we evolve with each iteration. Our membership drives this transformation, and your input in the next year will be critical to our future success.
We wish you the best for the holidays, and a happy New Year.
Read the December 2022 issue here.