News in brief: CVD risk in cancer patients treated with hormonal therapy; New ctDNA test independent of tumour mutations


6 May 2021

Hormone therapy and CVD risk consensus achieved

The American Heart Association has issued a consensus statement on the cardiovascular risks associated with hormonal therapies used to treat breast and prostate cancer.

Some of the findings include:

  • Improvements in breast cancer outcomes with use of more than one hormone therapy come at the cost of higher rates of cardiovascular conditions.
  • Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer induces metabolic changes associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and cardiovascular death.
  • Longer duration of hormonal therapy increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The hormone-therapy associated increase in CVD risk is highest in people with existing CVD risk factors.

It said a multidisciplinary team-based approach to patient care includes the oncology team, cardiologist, GP, dietitian and endocrinologist.

Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine

Tumour-uninformed ctDNA test may have clinical utility

Detection of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) may not necessarily rely on knowing the specific mutations that were present in the patient’s tumour.

US researchers have reported on an evaluation of the first “tumour-uninformed” test that detects ctDNA in the blood of 84 patients who underwent surgery for colorectal cancer.

The study found all 15 patients with detectable ctDNA had cancer recurrences (positive predictive value (PPV) 100%, hazard ratio 11.28 (p<0.0001)).

In comparison, only 24.5% of 49 patients without detectable ctDNA experienced a cancer recurrence during the follow-up period.

Meanwhile, standard serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels did not predict recurrence (hazard ratio 1.84 (p=0.18); PPV=53.9%).

They concluded that plasma-only MRD detection demonstrated favourable sensitivity and specificity for recurrence, comparable to tumour-informed approaches.

Clinical Cancer Research

Industry sponsors hundreds of oncology clinical trials in Australia

Roche Australia is the top pharmaceutical company sponsoring oncology research in Australia with around $44 million annual funding supporting 156 clinical trials, according to market analysts GlobalData. In a new report on trials initiated since 2016, Roche is ranked first ahead of Merck (134 trials), Bristol Myers Squibb (129 trials), Astrazeneca (75 trials) and Novartis (62 trials).

According to GlobalData, the highest number of trials is in haematologic cancer followed by breast cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and other solid tumours.

“Despite high incidence rates, [cancer] mortality rate is low in Australia due to early and extensive screening. Owing to the government’s greater focus on managing cancer, patients can gain access to good diagnostic facilities, healthcare and novel cancer therapies. Participation in clinical trials ensures early access to unapproved novel therapies,” said Sasmitha Sahu, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData.

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