A collection of recently published news items.

Durvalumab (Imfinzi; AstraZeneca) may improve survival of patients with newly diagnosed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer, researchers reported at the 2019 World Conference on Lung Cancer in Barcelona, Spain. In the phase III CASPIAN trial, patients treated with the PD-L1 inhibitor plus chemotherapy had a median overall survival (OS) of 13 months, and 33.9% were still alive after 18 months, compared with 10.3 months and 24.7% in patients who received chemotherapy alone.

The FDA approved the antiandrogen apalutamide(Erleada; Janssen) in metastatic, castration-sensitive prostate cancer. Approval was based on the phase III TITAN trial, in which the drug plus androgen-deprivation therapy extended OS and progression-free survival compared with androgen-deprivation therapy alone.

Radiotherapy may reduce the risk of cytokine release syndrome in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, according to findings presented at the American Society for Radiation of Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. In the study, none of the five patients who received radiotherapy in the month before CAR T-cell infusion and one of the seven who received earlier radiotherapy experienced grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome, compared with five of 19 patients who never received radiotherapy.

Amgen's blinatumomab (Blincyto) showed strong efficacy in children with relapsed B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, prompting the company to halt enrollment in two phase III trials. In the Study 20120215 trial, the bispecific antibody improved event-free survival compared with chemotherapy, and in the AALL 1331 trial, the therapy trended toward improved disease-free survival and OS compared with chemotherapy.

Carcinogenic chemicals in U.S. drinking water could cause 100,000 lifetime cases of cancer (Heliyon 2019;5:E02314). Researchers analyzed 22 contaminants in 48,000 water systems between 2010 to 2017 and found that the national risk of cancer is two orders of magnitude higher than what would be considered insignificant. Most of the risk can be attributed to arsenic, by-products of disinfectants, and radioactive chemicals.

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