Dr. O'Dwyer and Dr. Schnall
From the Co-Chairs, June 2024
June 11, 2024
Research definition
Trial Results: ECOG-ACRIN Research Round-Up
July 3, 2024
Dr. O'Dwyer and Dr. Schnall
From the Co-Chairs, June 2024
June 11, 2024
Research definition
Trial Results: ECOG-ACRIN Research Round-Up
July 3, 2024

News in Brief, July 2024

News in Brief

Peter O’Dwyer Attends White House Clinical Trials Forum

Dr. O’Dwyer at the Eisenhower
Executive Office Building in
Washington, DC.

In late June, Peter J. O’Dwyer, MD, co-chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN), took part in The White House Clinical Trials Forum in Washington, DC. Together, he and Charles D. Blanke, MD, chair of SWOG, represented the cooperative groups in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network. The event was hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, part of the Executive Office of the President, and brought together national leaders in government, academia, industry, and patient advocacy to discuss actions to increase access to clinical research, lower barriers to participation, and speed the discovery of effective therapies. View a recording of the forum’s opening session.

Robert Ferris to Lead UNC Lineberger

Robert L. Ferris, MD, PhD, is transitioning to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to become executive director, effective October 1. He will also become the chief of oncology services at UNC Health. Dr. Ferris is a head and neck surgical oncologist and an expert in cancer immunotherapy. He currently co-chairs the ECOG-ACRIN Head and Neck Cancer Committee. He co-led the practice-changing E3311 trial that showed the benefits and safety of transoral surgery and low-dose radiation without chemotherapy for patients with HPV-associated head and neck cancer at medium risk.

Dr. Ferris will join UNC from the University of Pittsburgh, where he is director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Hillman Cancer Center and a professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Immunology, and Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Read the UNC press release or read/watch this conversation with The Cancer Letter.

Study E1910 Leads to FDA Approval

Preliminary findings from study E1910, presented in December 2022, demonstrated that adding the immunotherapy drug blinatumomab to standard front-line consolidation chemotherapy keeps most patients with newly diagnosed B lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia in remission and improves their survival. On June 14, 2024, supported by the E1910 findings, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved blinatumomab for use in CD19-positive Philadelphia chromosome-negative B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) adult and pediatric patients in the consolidation phase of multiphase chemotherapy.

ECOG-ACRIN Well-Represented at ASCO Annual Meeting GI Oral Abstract Session

From the left: Drs. Efrat Dotan, Lauren Goff,
Jennifer Eads, Nataliya Uboha, Kim Reiss,
Kristen Spencer, Karen Goodman, and 
Gabriela (Gabi) Chiorean

A number of ECOG-ACRIN researchers participated in the Gastrointestinal Cancer—Gastroesophageal, Pancreatic, and Hepatobiliary Oral Abstract Session at the 2024 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Presenters and discussants included Jennifer R. Eads, MD, Nataliya V. Uboha, MD, PhD, and Efrat Dotan, MD, while Kim A. Reiss, MD and Kristen R. Spencer, DO served as session co-chairs and moderators.

ECOG-ACRIN study results featured during the session included:

  • A phase II/III study of peri-operative nivolumab and ipilimumab in patients with locoregional esophageal and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma: Results of the neoadjuvant pathologic complete response rate (ECOG-ACRIN EA2174) by Eads (Abstract 4000)
  • A randomized phase II study of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel compared with 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and liposomal irinotecan in older patients with treatment-naïve metastatic pancreatic cancer (GIANT): ECOG-ACRIN EA2186 by Dotan (Abstract 4003)

Dr. Uboha discussed several abstracts in a presentation entitled Is Timing Everything in Gastroesophageal Cancers?

If you are an ASCO member, you can access the session’s video and slides on the ASCO website.

ESMO GI Congress Highlights Study EA2201

Lead investigator Kristen K. Ciombor, MD, MSCI (Vanderbilt University) presented data from the ongoing study EA2201 as a Mini Oral Presentation at the 2024 ESMO Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers Annual Congress in June in Munich, Germany. In her presentation, Neoadjuvant nivolumab plus ipilimumab in microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H)/deficient mismatch repair (dMMR) rectal tumors: ECOG-ACRIN EA2201, she discussed data from a planned interim analysis and plans for an important trial redesign. Read the abstract (Annals of Oncology).

Geriatric Society to Showcase GIANT Trial

Acknowledging the importance of the GIANT Trial (EA2186)—ECOG-ACRIN’s first clinical trial exclusively for older patients with cancer—the scientific committee for the International Society of Geriatric Oncology has invited lead investigator Efrat E. Dotan, MD (Fox Chase Cancer Center) to present at the plenary session of its Annual Conference in Montreal, Canada, in October 2024. The GIANT trial evaluated two front-line treatments for elderly patients (70-90 years old) with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

The researchers developed a new clinical tool to better assess patients, and this resource is now available for other elderly-specific clinical trials regardless of cancer type. Dr. Dotan will discuss how the trial offers a new approach in geriatric oncology and also leads the way in conducting clinical trials focused specifically on older patients, who have historically been underrepresented. “The reason for this trial is really the fact that we just don’t know how to take care of these patients because the data that we have is on much younger patients,” she said.

TMIST Update

The study chair for this trial is Etta D. Pisano, MD (American College of Radiology).

Enrollment in the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST) stands at 101,912 women as of July 1, 2024. Participation continues to grow steadily even though screening has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. This ongoing trial of asymptomatic women between the ages of 45 and 74 compares digital tomosynthesis mammography and digital mammography in screening patients for breast cancer, and has the potential to address key gaps in knowledge identified by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (Pisano E. Cancer Res. May 2024).

Learn more about TMIST and read the latest newsletter for sites on ecog-acrin.org.

Spring Group Meeting Session Recordings Still Available

Session recordings from the Spring Group Meeting continue to be available to ECOG-ACRIN members on the Attendee Hub Website until late July. If you previously registered for the meeting, simply log in to the Attendee Hub with the information you provided during registration, navigate to "Schedule," and then select "On Demand" from the dropdown list. If you did not previously register, you must first register and then visit the Attendee Hub.

In the coming weeks, we will post select session resources and recordings from the spring meeting in the members’ section of the ECOG-ACRIN website. These materials will be available to anyone with member login credentials.

Save the Date for the Fall 2024 Group Meeting

Mark your calendar for our Fall 2024 Group Meeting, to be held in person at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel in Fort Lauderdale from Wednesday, November 6-Friday, November 8. Sessions will likely begin mid-morning on Wednesday and end mid-afternoon on Friday (subject to change). Additional details will be available when registration opens in late August. Look for an email to all ECOG-ACRIN members when registration is available. As usual, the meeting is open to researchers and staff affiliated with member institutions, ECOG-ACRIN patient advocates, industry representatives, and other invited individuals.

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