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FDA Grants Genentech’s Perjeta Accelerated Approval for Use Before Surgery in People With HER2-Positive Early Stage Breast Cancer

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval of a Perjeta® (pertuzumab) regimen for neoadjuvant treatment (use before surgery) in people with high-risk, HER2-positive early stage breast cancer. This approval is based primarily on data from a Phase II study showing that nearly 40 percent of people receiving the combination of Perjeta, Herceptin® (trastuzumab) and docetaxel chemotherapy had no evidence of tumor tissue detectable at the time of surgery (known as a pathological complete response, or pCR). The Perjeta regimen is the first neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment approved by the FDA and also the first to be approved based on pCR data.

New Study Shows Circulating Tumor Cell Enumeration – as Part of Composite Biomarker Panel – May Serve as a Surrogate for Efficacy Response in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Janssen Diagnostics, LLC recently announced results from a study presented at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam, Netherlands, that demonstrated circulating tumor cell (CTC) enumeration using CELLSEARCH®, along with lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as part of a composite biomarker panel, was an efficacy-response surrogate for survival in managing patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The results show mCRPC patients with greater than or equal to five CTCs and an abnormal LDH level at 12 weeks of treatment have a poorer prognosis than those with lower CTC counts and normal LDH values, with a one- and two-year survival probability of 25 percent and 2 percent compared to 82 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Findings suggest therapeutic alternatives should be considered for patients in the high-risk category at 12 weeks.

Analysis Published In New England Journal of Medicine Highlights Discovery of New Predictive Biomarkers for Vectibix (Panitumumab)

Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) recently announced the publication of a biomarker analysis of Vectibix® (panitumumab) in combination with FOLFOX, a type of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy, for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the analysis found that RAS mutations, beyond the known KRAS exon 2 mutations, predict lack of response to Vectibix in combination with FOLFOX. RAS mutations are mutations occurring in exons 2, 3 and 4 of KRAS and NRAS.

Study Identifies Fibroblast Growth Factor 18 as an Ovarian Cancer Biomarker

Ovarian cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in women and is often not detected until the later stages of disease, which contributes to poor prognosis. Biomarkers that can be used for early diagnosis and outcome have been identified; however, many of these have not been evaluated at the biological and clinical levels. In the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Michael Birrer and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital identify fibroblast growth factor 18 (FGF18) as a predictive marker for poor overall survival in ovarian cancer patients. Overexpression of the gene encoding FGF18 was associated with enhanced tumor blood vessel formation and expression of cancer promoting cytokines. These data indicate that further studies on the predictive potential FGF18 and its use as a therapeutic target in ovarian cancer are warranted.

Study: FGF18 as a prognostic and therapeutic biomarker in ovarian cancer [The Journal of Clinical Investigation]

Source: EurekAlert!

MicroRNAs have diagnostic and prognostic potential in urinary bladder cancer

German researchers have identified four biomarkers that correctly determine malignancy of urinary bladder cancers and contribute to the accurate prediction of patient outcomes. Their results are published in the September issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

Current prognosticators of bladder cancer, such as tumor grade, stage, size, and number of foci, have limited usefulness for clinicians since they do not accurately reflect clinical outcomes. Therefore, investigators have been searching for new biomarkers with better diagnostic and prognostic capabilities. Focusing on the role of microRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs, researchers have identified four miRNAs that together perfectly discriminated between nonmalignant and malignant tissue, including one alone that classified 81% of the samples correctly. Levels of two miRNAs correlated with overall survival time.

Urinary bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the West. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that in the United States 72,570 individuals will be diagnosed with and 15,210 will die of cancer of the urinary bladder in 2013. At presentation, in 75% of patients the cancers are confined to the mucosa or submucosa (known as non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, NMIBC), whereas in 25% of cases the cancers have already invaded nearby muscle (muscle-invasive bladder cancer, MIBC).

In a series of experiments, investigators analyzed bladder tissue from patients with NMIBC, MIBC, and nonmalignant bladders. After screening 723 miRNAs by microarray, they selected a subset of 15 distinctively deregulated miRNAs for further validation by real-time quantitative PCR. Seven miRNAs were found to be up-regulated, and eight were down-regulated in malignant bladder tissue samples compared to healthy tissue. Four miRNAs were expressed differently in bladder cancers that invaded muscle compared to those that did not. With one exception, no correlation was found between tumor stage and miRNA levels.

When all 15 of the selected miRNAs were considered together, they correctly classified 100% of tissues as either normal or malignant. Further analysis identified four miRNAs that led to 100% correct classification, and one miRNA (miR-130b) that by itself had an 81% accuracy rate. “These results underline the great potential of miRNAs to serve as diagnostic markers, as previously noted for other urological tumors,” says lead investigator Klaus Jung, MD, the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Charité, Berlin and the Berlin Institute for Urologic Research.

The investigators found that tumor grading could not be correlated with overall survival. Yet, they were able to find two miRNAs that significantly correlated with survival: miR-141 and miR-205. miR-141 showed a trend (P=0.08) of being able to stratify patients with muscle-invasive tumors into two groups with different overall survival times. “This finding could be of clinical importance, but these results must be interpreted cautiously,” says Dr. Jung. “However, previously published studies underline the possible prognostic potential of miRNAs to predict progression and disease-specific or overall survival in bladder cancer patients.”

miRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that contain between 19 and 24 nucleotides. miRNAs regulate gene expression by degrading messenger RNAs or impairing their translation. In recent years there has been a growing interest in miRNAs as potential diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers in cancers and other diseases.

Study: miRNA Profiling Identifies Candidate miRNAs for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Clinical Outcome [The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics]

Source: EurekAlert!