CancerNetwork®’s Week in Review: April 26, 2021

April 26, 2021
Matthew Fowler

Look back at some of the important news and notes from last week in the world of oncology, featuring articles from the latest issue of the Journal ONCOLOGY®.

Each Monday, CancerNetwork® highlights the most important content from the previous week in oncology news.

Among the top articles from last week are compelling editorials on messenger RNA and its potential as a cancer vaccine. The Journal ONCOLOGY®’s latest issue dives into messenger RNA, its standing as the technology of the moment, and the future of cancer vaccines involving this technology.

Advancing the Paradigm of Breast Cancer Therapies by Critically Gauging Success Across Histologies

“It’s a time for great hope with breast cancer, given the number of agents being evaluated now.” –Sara A. Hurvitz, MD

Hurvitz is a program co-chair of the 20th Annual International Congress on the Future of Breast Cancer® West, hosted by Physicians’ Education Resource®, LLC (PER®), to be held July 30-31, 2021. The meeting will cover topics discussed by Hurvitz, with the hopes of demystifying some pressing questions in the field of oncology and facilitating thoughtful conversations about next steps in advancing care.

Messenger RNA: A Technology of the Moment

In his “Letter to the Readers”, co-editor-in-chief of the journal ONCOLOGY® Howard S. Hochster, MD, reviews the development of mRNA technology, especially as it applies to vaccines against COVID-19.

Most important, mRNA technology has been validated and is now subject to multibillion-dollar efforts. We hope and expect to see these important advances extend from vaccination to cancer therapies in the near future.

Messenger RNA Vaccines: Beckoning of a New Era in Cancer Immunotherapy

A review of mRNA vaccine technology by ONCOLOGY® editorial board member Mehmet Sitki Copur, MD, FACP, explains the basis for progress in this field and reviews a number of new trials using this technology.

Within the past 2 decades, major achievements in the field of mRNA vaccines have created a safe and attractive treatment option for a broad range of diseases, including cancer. Their simplicity, high potency, capacity for rapid development, and potential for low-cost manufacturing and safe administration all make mRNA vaccines a very promising alternative to conventional vaccine approaches.

Focus on Transitional Disease: A Critical Interval to Delay Progression of Prostate Cancer

ONCOLOGY® editorial board member E. David Crawford, MD, and colleagues, propose a new model for guiding the treatment of prostate cancer that focuses on a “transitional state,” which occurs during the interval of progression to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

This article is a follow-up to RADAR IV and represents a call to action for earlier intervention in the disease state. We need to implement clinical trials that evaluate early and therapeutic layering of agents to delay progression to metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Treatment Targeting Is Key to Success in Oncology

With precision-guided approaches to care establishing themselves across tumor types, newer systemic therapy regimens are almost exclusively developed for the treatment of histological or biomarker subtypes within a larger disease state. One of the most prevalent examples of this is breast cancer, which has seen significant and consistent progress in terms of advancing overall survival in the treatment of HER2-positive tumors.

“HER2-positive breast cancer is unique and it’s relatively rare for a particular type of cancer to be defined by one genetic alteration that is driving the tumor biology,” said Sara A. Hurvitz, MD, who is featured in this issue of ONCOLOGY®. “The success of that is absolutely outstanding, but that type of story is not going to be possible in a number of other tumor subtypes.”

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