A collection of recently published news items.

Merck announced that its PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) may not be effective against advanced hepatocellular carcinoma as a second-line therapy. In the phase III KEYNOTE-240 trial, the drug did not improve overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival (PFS) compared with a placebo. However, the drug may be an effective first-line treatment for non–clear cell renal cell carcinoma. In the single-arm phase II KEYNOTE-427 trial, patients had an overall response rate of 24.8%, a median PFS of 4.1 months, and a 12-month OS rate of 72% (J Clin Oncol 37, 2019 [suppl 7S, abstr 546]).

The FDA approved trifluridine/tipiracil tablets (Lonsurf; Taiho) for adults with metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer previously treated with at least two chemotherapy regimens. Approval was based on a phase III trial in which trifluridine, a nucleoside metabolic inhibitor, and tipiracil, a thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor, extended median OS by 2.1 months compared with a placebo.

Obesity-related cancer rates are increasing in young U.S. adults (Lancet Public Health 2019;4:e137–47). Researchers analyzed data on 30 cancers in people ages 25 to 84 in 25 states from 1995 to 2014. They found that the incidence increased for six of 12 obesity-related cancers, including multiple myeloma and colorectal, kidney, and pancreatic cancers, in successively younger generations.

Johnson & Johnson bought surgical robotics company Auris Health for $3.4 billion in a deal that could earn Auris up to $2.35 billion more in milestone payments. Auris, which will become part of Johnson & Johnson's medical-devices division, developed an FDA-cleared surgical robotic endoscope for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

Men with prostate cancer may benefit from more widespread germline genetic testing (JAMA Oncol 2019 Feb 7 [Epub ahead of print]). Researchers found that 17.2% of 3,607 men with prostate cancer had germline mutations, yet only 63% of them would have been approved for genetic testing based on current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.

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