(MEMPHIS, Tenn. – May 31, 2016) St. Jude Children's Research Hospital research related to survivorship and the pediatric solid tumors neuroblastoma, adrenocortical carcinoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma will be presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. The five-day event begins June 3 in Chicago.
Friday (June 3) at 3:13 p.m., Wayne Furman, M.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Oncology, will report promising preliminary results from an ongoing phase II clinical trial of an experimental monoclonal antibody. The immunotherapy, called hu14.18K322A, is in development for treatment of neuroblastoma, a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that most often occurs in children 5 years old or younger. Tumors shrank, some dramatically, in 80 percent of the 34 newly diagnosed high-risk pediatric patients included in this report who received hu14.18K332A along with induction chemotherapy. Thirteen patients have completed cancer treatment and show no evidence of disease, including four who have been off therapy for 18 months or more. Hu14.18K322A was engineered to spark the immune response by binding to the GD2 antigen found on neuroblastoma tumor cells. The monoclonal antibody includes a point mutation designed to prevent the treatment-limiting pain associated with other anti-GD2 monoclonal antibodies. New treatments are urgently needed for the more than half of newly diagnosed patients who have high-risk disease. The average three-year survival for high-risk patients is 60 percent or less. (Abstract 10501)
Friday (June 3) at 4:24 p.m., Wei Liu, of the St. Jude Department of Biostatistics, will present evidence higher blood concentrations of high-dose methotrexate leave pediatric leukemia survivors at risk for attention problems at the end of therapy and difficulties with executive functioning. Attention and learning problems at the end of therapy, however, did not predict poor executive functioning among long-term survivors regardless of their methotrexate exposure. "The findings suggest that for some survivors, attention problems get better with time and that survivors need to continue to be monitored well after treatment ends," said the study's senior author, Kevin Krull, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control. The study involved 158 pediatric ALL survivors who underwent neurocognitive testing of sustained attention when their cancer treatment ended and again almost eight years after diagnosis when they were tested for processing speed, flexibility and other aspects of executive functioning. (Abstract 10505)
Sunday (June 5), Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, M.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Global Pediatric Medicine, will discuss encouraging results from two phase III clinical trials of children and teenagers with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). NPC, the first of these rare solid tumors, affects the throat and nose. The second, ACC, develops in the outer layer of the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys. There are few studies of either disease in children, and treatment designed for children is lacking. Rodriguez-Galindo is the principal investigator of both the Children's Oncology Group (COG) studies.
At 9:12 a.m., Rodriguez-Galindo will report excellent outcomes for young NPC patients with advanced disease who were treated with chemotherapy and radiation to the head and neck. The estimated five-year survival rate was 88.2 percent for the 111 children and teenagers in the study. About half of patients were African American. Researchers also found evidence that radiation and chemotherapy could be reduced in select patients without compromising their chances of survival. The study was designed in part to determine if chemotherapy with radiation worked better in pediatric NPC patients than chemotherapy alone, which is standard therapy in adults. (Abstract 10513)
In his 10 a.m. presentation, Rodriguez-Galindo will discuss research highlighting the need for new treatments for young ACC patients with advanced disease. The study included 78 patients who were 20 years old or younger and whose treatment involved surgery or surgery plus multi-drug chemotherapy depending on their tumor stage at diagnosis. While overall three-year survival was 92.3 percent or better for some patients with less advanced disease, survival was just 13.3 percent for patients whose cancer had spread widely. Researchers also found patients with localized tumors 100 grams or larger were candidates for chemotherapy and did not benefit from surgical removal of lymph nodes. (Abstract 10515)
For more information about these and other St. Jude researchers attending or participating in the ASCO annual meeting, contact the media relations staff listed below. Jann Ingmire, St. Jude media relations director, will be onsite for the meeting.
St. Jude Media Relations Contacts
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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on Twitter and Instagram at @stjuderesearch.