SWOG Researchers Nail It - Again!
It’s been good recently for the SWOG Cancer Research Network, with two high-impact treatment trial results released in the last two weeks.
First we landed in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 27, when Dr. Rita Mehta and her SWOG team published long-term results of S0226. They found that women with advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancer lived eight months longer when treated with a combination of fulvestrant and anastrozole, compared with doses of anastrozole alone.
This really is big news. HR+ breast cancer makes up two thirds of all breast cancers diagnosed in the U.S. – and we found a good first-line treatment option for this relatively tough-to-treat tumor. With 707 women enrolled, S0226 is the largest study of its kind. And it also has the most long-term data behind it, with participants followed a median of seven years after treatment.
These long-term results are what hit in NEJM – where the first results were themselves reported seven years ago. This final S0226 conclusion – that combination endocrine therapy is an effective first-line treatment for metastatic HR+ breast cancer – should change the standard of care.
What’s particularly intriguing is some of the fine print in the results, which you can read about in our press release. One insight: treatment timing matters. Only women who received fulvestrant first, in combination with anastrozole, had the best outcomes for overall and progression-free survival.
SWOG’s second score: Our DART rare cancers trial was the focus of an oral presentation at the AACR Annual Meeting in Atlanta on March 31. Dr. Sandip Patel, one of the DART co-chairs, gave the presentation and took part in an AACR press conference to discuss the first batch of findings from our one-of-a-kind rare cancers immuno trial.
DART is using an innovative basket design to test a two-drug immunotherapy combo in 37 rare solid tumor types. It has a ton of support from the National Cancer Institute and astoundingly continues to beat accrual targets, with over 550 patients with rare cancers enrolled in just two years.
The AACR presentation covers results from a rare neuroendocrine cancer cohort. Specifically, treatment made a significant, positive clinical difference in patients with high-grade neuroendocrine carcinoma, the fast-growing form of this type of cancer. Results showed 42 percent saw their tumors shrink or disappear completely after treatment, while none of the patients with low-grade cancers achieved these results. Learn more in our press release.
These promising findings have the DART team running a new cohort of high-grade only neuroendocrine tumors to see if they can replicate their results. The results were covered by the Associated Press, a story picked up by the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Both of these trial findings netted terrific press attention, and a lot of fanfare on Twitter, and I want to congratulate Dr. Mehta and her team, including senior author Dr. Kathy Albain, and Dr. Patel and his team, including his study co-chairs Drs. Razelle Kurzrock and Young Kwang Chae.
This work makes me proud – and will make a big difference in how we manage these cancers. This kind of work is why we are all here.