Posted on 4th June 2019 by Bethan Warman

2019 ASCO Annual Meeting

Updated survival data from the IMpassion130 trial

Today is the final day of the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. The theme of this year’s meeting is ‘Caring for Every Patient, Learning from Every Patient.’ Professor Peter Schmid, Lead of the Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine at the Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, attended this year’s meeting and today presented updated survival data from the IMpassion130 trial.

IMpassion130 is a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled phase III trial which set out to evaluate the efficacy and safety of atezolizumab (a type of immunotherapy known as an immune checkpoint inhibitor) administered in combination with chemotherapy nab-paclitaxel in patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Immunotherapies harness the power of the body’s own immune system to kill cancer. Atezolizumab works by targeting a protein on the surface of tumour cells called PD-L1. The overexpression of PD-L1 on the surface of tumour cells allows them to hide from the immune system. By blocking PD-L1, atezolizumab prevents PD-L1 from acting as an ‘off switch’ to immune cells, and re-activates the immune system to recognise and kill the tumour cells.

The primary efficacy analysis of the IMpassion130 trial was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine last year, and a significantly improved progression free survival was observed following treatment with the immunotherapy and chemotherapy combination in the intent-to-treat population as well as in patients with PD-L1 positive tumours. These results led to an accelerated FDA approval for the use of atezolizumab and nab-paclitaxel in this population.

Data presented today at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting were consistent with the first interim overall survival (OS) analysis. A 7.0-month improvement in median OS was observed in PD-L1 positive patients with atezolizumab plus nab-paclitaxel (25 months) vs placebo plus nab-paclitaxel (18 months), confirming a clinically meaningful OS benefit with the treatment combination.

Treatment options for TNBC are limited and the prognosis for advanced or metastatic TNBC is poor, with a median survival of 18 months or less. Drugs used to treat breast cancer often target receptors for the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and receptors for the HER2 protein. However, TNBC cells do not possess these receptor types, thus such drugs are ineffective in this cancer type. It is therefore vital to identify novel therapies for TNBC, and the IMpassion130 trial represents an important step forward for the treatment of this disease.

View the full abstract here.

You can follow updates from the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting on Twitter here.

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