FDA Approves Belzutifan for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma
On December 14, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved belzutifan (Welireg™) for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma following treatment with a programmed death receptor-1 or programmed death-ligand 1 inhibitor and a vascular endothelial growth factor–tyrosine kinase inhibitor (VEGF-TKI).
FDA Approves Nivolumab in Combination With Chemotherapy and in Combination With Ipilimumab for First-Line Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Indications
On May 27, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved nivolumab (Opdivo®) in combination with fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-based chemotherapy and nivolumab in combination with ipilimumab (Yervoy®) for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Cutaneous Malignancies Have High Response to Oncolytic Virus Plus Immunotherapy
Combination treatment with an oncolytic virus plus a PD-1 inhibitor shows promise in patients with nonmelanoma skin cancers, researchers reported in early study results during the 2022 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.
First-Line Combination Immunotherapy Prolongs Survival in BRAF Advanced Melanoma
Initial treatment with two monoclonal antibodies significantly improves survival for patients with BRAF V600-variant advanced melanoma compared to treatment with two targeted agents, researchers reported during the November 2021 ASCO Plenary Series meeting. The initial findings were so conclusive that the study’s data safety and monitoring board stopped the trial early.
Evidence Defines Nursing Implications for Combination Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) enhance immune response against foreign antigens, such as cancer, by manipulating checkpoints that have stopped the body from fighting them. In doing so, they also increase risk of the immune system attacking healthy cells and producing inflammatory side effects, resulting in immune-related adverse events (irAEs).
Nursing Considerations for Isatuximab Combination Therapy
Clinicians often use combination cancer therapies to overcome treatment resistance, and one of the newest options for certain patients with multiple myeloma is isatuximab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb). Approved for use in combination with pomalidomide plus dexamethasone to treat adults with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies, isatuximab prolonged progression-free survival by nearly six months and produced an overall response rate of more than 60% in the drug’s clinical trials.
Combination CDK4/6 and Fulvestrant Has Survival Benefits in Late-Stage Breast Cancer
Combining a CDK4/6 inhibitor and fulvestrant improves overall survival consistently among patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis. The agency reported the findings in Lancet Oncology.
The Pharmacist’s Role in Combination Cancer Treatments
Since the first checkpoint inhibitor was approved in 2011, we have made tremendous leaps in immunotherapy in a short span of 10 years. Now we see immunotherapy combined with a variety of options, including chemotherapy or other oral and IV targeted therapy.
Today’s Immunotherapy Combinations
Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, especially for patients with diseases considered otherwise incurable. Since May 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 27 immunotherapy combinations, including chemoimmunotherapy and regimens with targeted therapies, and researchers are reporting highly promising data from clinical trials of its combination with radiation.
The Case of Concurrent Therapy Concerns
Sharon is a 60-year-old woman with metastatic breast cancer that was originally diagnosed in 2005 and treated with a mastectomy, deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap reconstruction, chemotherapy, post mastectomy radiation, and five years of tamoxifen. Three months ago, her breast cancer recurred, and staging scans demonstrated metastatic disease in the lungs, left axilla, liver, and left iliac bone. A biopsy of the left iliac bone was ER positive, PR negative, and HER2 negative. Sharon began treatment with radiation to the painful left hip and letrozole, with the plan to start palbociclib once radiation was completed.
The Case of the Thyroid Tradeoff
Tesla is a 24-year-old woman diagnosed with stage IIIA Hodgkin lymphoma. She enrolled in a clinical trial where she received a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy with pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 antibody. The clinical trial protocol required three doses every three weeks. At baseline, her thyroid function tests were normal. When she presented for her third dose, her labs showed grade 2 hyperthyroidism.
FDA Approves Pembrolizumab in Combination With Chemotherapy for First-Line Treatment of Metastatic Squamous NSCLC
On October 30, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with carboplatin and either paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel as first-line treatment of metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
FDA Grants Approval for Pembrolizumab in Combination With Chemotherapy for First-Line Treatment of Metastatic Nonsquamous NSCLC
On August 20, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pembrolizumab in combination with pemetrexed and platinum as first-line treatment of patients with metastatic, non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations.
FDA Approves Encorafenib and Binimetinib in Combination for Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma With BRAF Mutations
On June 27, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved encorafenib and binimetinib (Braftovi and Mektovi) in combination for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a BRAF V600E or V600K mutation, as detected by an FDA-approved test.
Immunotherapy Plus Chemo Improves Survival in Metastatic Lung Cancer
Combining pembrolizumab and platinum chemotherapy plus pemetrexed doubles survival in patients with nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSNSCLC) without EGFR or ALK gene mutations, according to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Combination Drug Offers New Treatment Option for Relapsed Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
More than 130,000 new cases of colorectal cancers (CRCs) are diagnosed in the United States each year, representing 8% of all new annual cancer cases. The rate of patients with CRC surviving more than five years is 65.1%; however, patients with metastatic disease (mCRC) have a poorer prognosis, with only 13.5% surviving more than years. As many as 40% of patients with mCRC remain candidates for third-line therapy, with some patients requiring up to five lines of therapy because of drug resistance.
FDA Approves Dabrafenib and Trametinib Combination for Metastatic NSCLC with BRAF V600E Mutation
On June 22, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted (FDA) regular approvals to dabrafenib and trametinib (Taflinar® and Mekinist®, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc.) administered in combination for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with BRAF V600E mutation as detected by an FDA-approved test.
Combination Treatment Improves Survival for Advanced Melanoma
A combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab improved overall survival when compared to either drug alone, according to results from a recent study reported at the American Association for Cancer Research 2017 annual meeting.
Chemotherapy Plus Radiotherapy Not Superior to Radiotherapy Alone in Improving Survival for Patients With High-Risk Endometrial Cancer
Women with high-risk endometrial cancer (EC) are at an increased risk of metastasis and death. The randomized, intergroup PORTEC-3 study assessed the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy during and after radiotherapy (RT) versus pelvic RT alone in this patient population. The researchers presented the study at the ASCO Annual Meeting.
The Challenge of Caring for Multiple Patients With Cancer
As more new treatments enter practice—like immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and combination therapies—oncology nurses are required to be experts in every treatment they administer. They need to constantly walk a tightrope, balancing multiple medications for one patient then quickly moving to the next patient on a completely different treatment protocol.
Bortezomib May Improve Outcomes in Multiple Myeloma
Adding bortezomib to combination therapy with lenalidomide and dexamethasone may improve progression-free and overall survival in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. The study findings were published in Lancet.