Oncology Nursing News Top Stories: August 2023

Oncology Nursing News Top Stories: August 2023

In August 2023, a retrospective analysis suggest that bladder-sparing radiotherapy can yield survival outcomes that are equivalent to radical cystectomy in select patients with bladder cancer; the FDA granted accelerated approval to elranatamab-bcmm (Elrexfio) as a treatment for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma; and an oncology nurse with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute offers an overview of teclistamab-cqyv (Tecvayli)—summarizing what nurses should know before administering this treatment to patients.

This month our staff also spoke to nurses across the country who are on the frontlines of connecting patients with brain tumors to much-needed resources, and a new cancer vaccine showed promise in select pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Below are the top 5 articles from August 2023. For more, please sign-up for our newsletter.

5. Bladder-Sparing Radiotherapy Yields Comparable Survival Outcomes to Radical Cystectomy in Nonmetastatic Node-Positive Bladder Cancer

A retrospective analysis showed that patients with nonmetastatic clinically node-positive bladder cancer achieved equivalent survival outcomes with both radical cystectomy and radiotherapy. According to the authors, these findings indicate that bladder-sparing trimodal therapy should be an available treatment option for all patients with this disease type.

The study retrospectively assessed the data of 287 patients, of whom 163 (57%) had received radical treatment. At a median follow-up of 4.53 years, the median overall survival (OS) for patients who received radical radiotherapy (n = 87) was 2.53 years (95% CI, 2.02-3.44). Among patients receiving radical cystectomy (n = 76), the median OS was 2.09 years (95% CI, 1.79-3.13). The 2-year OS rate between the 2 treatment modalities was 60% (95% CI, 50-72) vs 51% (95% CI, 40-64), respectively. Investigators determined that there was no statistically significant difference in OS between the 2 groups (P = .5).

4. FDA Grants Elranatamab Accelerated Approval for Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma

The FDA has granted accelerated approval elranatamab to treat adults with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have already undergone 4 prior lines of treatment, including a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.

Elranatamab is a BCMA-CD3-directed bispecific antibody immunotherapy that is delivered subcutaneously. The agent binds to the BCMA on myeloma cells and the CD3 on T cells, bringing them together, and prompting the T cells to kill the myeloma cells. According to the manufacturers, this is the first BCMA-directed therapy approved for once-every-other-week dosing after 24 weeks of weekly therapy, which is anticipated to translate into less time at the clinic and greater long-term treatment tolerability.

3. Oncology Drug Crash Course: Teclistamab-cqyv (Tecvayli)

Teclistamab-cqyv is approved for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma following at least 4 prior lines of therapy, which must include a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.

In this feature piece, Amanda Warner, MS, BSN, RN, OCN, who is manager of research informatics & real-world evidence with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, provides an in-depth look at teclistamab in a downloadable reference sheet.

For a downloadable version that you can print at home, check out our oncology drug crash course page.

2. Nurses on the Front Lines Are Helping Patients Navigate Brain Tumor Cancer Care

Despite the numerous advances in the field of oncology, many patients with cancer are living with a disease that is difficult to treat.

Brain tumors are one such malignancy. Representing 1.3% of all new cancer diagnoses, brain tumors and other central nervous system cancers account for 3.1% of all cancer deaths. The 5-year survival rate for glioblastoma, which is the most common malignant brain tumor, is approximately 5% and has remained so for the past 30 years.

In our cover story for this issue, Oncology Nursing News spoke with nurses who help connect patients with brain tumors to resources and potential treatment options. We interviewed Jenna Tozzi, BA, RN, about how the Brain Tumor Network helps patients with brain tumor diagnoses overcome treatment obstacles and access quality cancer care. This free service was launched in 2014 and has since provided personalized navigation services to over 2400 patients.

We also spoke to nurses who work with the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, about phase 0, or window-of-opportunity trials, and how they can potentially speed up drug development for patients with high-grade gliomas.

1. GVAX Cancer Vaccine Generates Responses in Patients With Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

Combined treatment with the GVAX pancreatic cancer vaccine plus nivolumab (Opdivo) and urelumab may effectively increase the presence of intratumoral activated cytotoxic T cells and lead to responses in patients with resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma, according to results from a phase 2 platform study (NCT02451982) published in Nature Communications.

In the 3-arm trial, patients received the GVAX vaccine plus low-dose cyclophosphamide (arm A; n = 16); GVAX, cyclophosphamide, and nivolumab (arm B; n = 14); or GVAX, cyclophosphamide, nivolumab, and urelumab (arm C; n = 10). At the May 25, 2022, data cutoff, patients in arm C displayed significantly increased intratumoral CD8+ CD137+ cells compared with patients in arm A (P = .007) and arm B (P = .003). The mean density of CD8+ CD137+ T cells within tertiary lymphoid aggregates was 3.72%, 0.183%, and 27.9% in arms A, B, and C, respectively. These findings met the primary end point of arms B/C, which was the treatment-related change in intratumoral CD8+ CD137+ cells.

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