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Information Overload at ASCO 2008

By August 5, 2008

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the premier event in the cancer research community.

And it’s big. Really big.

Over 34,000 people attended this year’s event in Chicago. You didn’t think there were that many cancer researchers and oncologists in the world? Well, think again!

I attended this year’s conference back in June and I’m still struggling to digest all the new data. I survived and I’m happy to report that there were many exciting presentations about new skin cancer treatments, including positive results for melanoma drugs such as ipilimumab and axitinib, as well as the vaccine OncoVEX. Of course, there were disappointing failures reported as well: tremelimumab and the GM2-KLH21 vaccine failed to show any benefit in late-stage trials. Such is the nature of cutting-edge research.

Nonetheless, I think cancer specialists typically come away from ASCO energized and optimistic about the future, and this year was no exception. Let’s hope that some of the treatments presented make it to the doctor’s office – sooner than later.


Fruehauf JP, Lutzky J, McDermott DF, et al. “Axitinib (AG-013736) in patients with metastatic melanoma: a phase II study.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 20 May 2008 26:484s Abstract 9006. 20 July 2008

O'Day SJ. “Efficacy and safety of ipilimumab induction and maintenance dosing in patients with advanced melanoma who progressed on one or more prior therapies.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 20 May 2008 26:488s Abstract 9021. 20 July 2008

Senzer NN, The OncoVEX Melanoma Phase II Investigator Group. “Phase II clinical trial with a second generation, GM-CSF encoding, oncolytic herpesvirus in unresectable metastatic melanoma.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 20 May 2008 26:491s Abstract 9008. 20 July 2008.

Weber JS; Global Ipilimumab Melanoma Study Group. “Safety and efficacy of ipilimumab with or without prophylactic budesonide in treatment-naive and previously treated patients with advanced melanoma.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 20 May 200826:485s Abstract 9010. 20 July 2008

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