A collection of recently published news items.
China is rapidly becoming a powerhouse in cancer research, with more than 17% of the global share of cancer-related publications, according to a report from the scientific publisher Elsevier (available at https://www.elsevier.com/connect/cancer-moonshot-resource-center). This output matches that of the United States in 2005 and is driven by increased R&D spending along with “a shift from socialist economic planning to a more market-driven system,” the report says.
New guidelines for HER2 testing in patients with gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma were issued (J Clin Oncol 2016 Nov 14 [Epub ahead of print]). Members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the College of American Pathologists, and the American Society for Clinical Pathology developed 11 evidence-based recommendations to establish standards for when and how to accurately assess HER2 status—and to help clinicians identify patients most likely to benefit from HER2-targeted therapy.
The tobacco industry's efforts to quash various state cigarette tax hike initiatives met with mixed results on Election Day. Voters in California approved Proposition 56, which will increase the state cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack. However, Colorado and North Dakota rejected similar measures, which would have resulted in per-pack tax increases of $1.75 and $1.76, respectively.
Also on Election Day, three states approved marijuana for medical use. Voters in Florida, North Dakota, and Arkansas approved initiatives legalizing its use for patients with diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The FDA approved nivolumab (Opdivo; Bristol-Myers Squibb) for patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma previously treated with platinum chemotherapy. The agency's nod was based on a phase III trial of 361 patients, who were randomly assigned to receive the PD-1 inhibitor or investigator's choice of chemotherapy (N Engl J Med 2016;375:1856–67). A 2.4-month improvement in median overall survival was seen in the nivolumab arm.
For more news on cancer research, visit Cancer Discovery online at http://cancerdiscovery.aacrjournals.org/content/early/by/section.