FDA Approvals Provide Advances in Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy

During the early part of November, we saw the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve a new molecularly targeted therapeutic, lorlatinib (Lorbrena), and expand the use of the immunotherapeutic pembrolizumab (Keytruda). These new approvals, which are for the treatment of certain patients with lung cancer and liver cancer, respectively, highlight that progress in the fields of precision medicine and immunotherapy is continuing unabated.

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Recent FDA Approvals Signal More Progress Against Cancer

The past month has seen the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expand the use of four anticancer therapeutics, providing new treatment options for patients with four types of cancer. On Aug. 16, 2018, the agency approved the immunotherapeutic nivolumab (Opdivo) for treating certain patients with small cell lung cancer and approved the molecularly targeted therapeutic lenvatinib (Lenvima) for treating certain patients with the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Why Is Liver Cancer on the Rise?

Although liver cancer isn’t as prevalent as lung cancer or breast cancer, this cancer is now the fastest-increasing cause of cancer death in the United States. In the Spring 2018 issue of Cancer Today, contributing editor Sue Rochman explored contributing factors for the increased liver cancer incidence since the mid-1970s.

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FDA Approvals for Liver and Stomach Cancer Extend the Reach of Immunotherapy

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased the number of types of cancer for which immunotherapeutics known as checkpoint inhibitors are a treatment option when it expanded the approved uses of nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to include certain patients with liver cancer and stomach cancer, respectively.

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One More Reason to Stay Trim: Reduce Your Liver Cancer Risk

Liver cancer rates have been on the rise in the United States and have tripled in the last four decades. A study published in 2014 in the AACR’s journal Cancer Research projected that pancreatic cancer and liver cancer will surpass breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers to become the second and third leading causes of cancer death, following lung cancer.

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