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An Expert’s Guide to WCLC 2021: A Preview of the Top Abstracts

Anne Chiang, MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Yale University School of Medicine
Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Chief Network Officer
Smilow Cancer Hopsital
New Haven, Connecticut


Anne Chiang, MD, PhD, has disclosed that she has received fees for non-CME/CE services from AstraZeneca and Catalyst and funds for research support from AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


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Thomas Stinchcombe, MD

Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine
Member, Duke Cancer Institute
Durham, North Carolina


Thomas Stinchcombe, MD, has disclosed that he has received consulting fees from AstraZeneca, Daiichi Sankyo, EMD Serono, Foundation Medicine, Genentech/Roche, Janssen Oncology, Lilly, Medtronic, Novartis, Pfizer, Puma Biotechnology, Regeneron, and Takeda and research support from Advaxis, AstraZeneca, Genentech/Roche, Takeda, and Regeneron (to institution).


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Released: September 7, 2021

During the virtual 2021 WCLC Annual Meeting, important results from many clinical trials in lung cancers and thoracic malignancies will be reported. Below, lung cancer experts Anne Chiang MD, PhD, and Thomas Stinchcombe, MD, have identified several key studies being presented at WCLC 2021 that will be covered online as a part of CCO’s Independent Conference Coverage of WCLC 2021. As the WCLC virtual annual meeting unfolds, remember to check the Clinical Care Options (CCO) website often for downloadable slidesets summarizing the data from these studies and more and then again after the meeting for a CME-certified online activity featuring expert analyses and perspectives on the clinical implications of the new data.

Top Picks: Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
In early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), an important update of the phase III IMpower010 trial will be presented. At ASCO 2021, results of a preplanned interim analysis were reported showing significantly improved disease-free survival with adjuvant atezolizumab vs best supportive care in patients with resected stage II-IIIA NSCLC following adjuvant chemotherapy, particularly for individuals with PD-L1–positive tumors. Adjuvant atezolizumab is now under priority review by the FDA, and we anticipate a possible approval by the end of 2021. The results of the IMpower010 update at WCLC 2021 promise to provide practical data to help us implement this new therapy once available, including insights into which patients may most benefit from this therapy. 

In the setting of newly diagnosed advanced NSCLC, we will see the first report from the 3-arm phase III POSEIDON trial evaluating first-line durvalumab with or without tremelimumab plus chemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone. We know from press releases that POSEIDON met its primary endpoint, demonstrating a progression-free survival benefit with durvalumab plus chemotherapy and, more recently, that the triple combination of durvalumab plus tremelimumab plus chemotherapy improved overall survival (a secondary endpoint). We stand to learn valuable information from these data on the role of chemotherapy combined with both a PD-(L)1 inhibitor and a CTLA-4 inhibitor in the first-line setting, a clinical benefit for which was first shown in the CheckMate 9LA trial evaluating nivolumab with ipilimumab plus 2 cycles of chemotherapy. Outcomes by PD-L1 status will be particularly interesting to see.

Data on emerging options in the setting of relapsed advanced NSCLC will also be reported, including an update on the NSCLC cohort from the phase I TROPION-PanTumor01 study evaluating the TROP2-targeted antibody–drug conjugate datopotamab deruxtecan in solid tumors. Datopotamab deruxtecan is now being evaluated in the phase III TROPION-Lung01 trial vs docetaxel for previously treated NSCLC. Finally, advances in CAR T-cell therapies for thoracic cancers will be discussed in the closing plenary.

Top Picks: Small-Cell Lung Cancer
In the setting of extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), results from the phase III ATLANTIS trial comparing lurbinectedin plus doxorubicin vs physician’s choice of cyclophosphamide/doxorubicin/vincristine or topotecan in patients with extensive-stage SCLC and relapse following 1 line of platinum-based chemotherapy will be presented. Single-agent lurbinectedin received accelerated approved in June 2020 for second-line use in SCLC based on promising phase II results. However, we know from press releases that ATLANTIS did not meet its primary endpoint of superior overall survival with the combination of lurbinectedin plus doxorubicin vs chemotherapy, although safety data were consistent with that of lurbinectedin monotherapy. We anticipate that the report at WCLC 2021 will help further clarify the role of lurbinectedin in the treatment of this disease.

Additional Studies to Watch
The CCO Conference Coverage of WCLC 2021 will also include slidesets of other important studies, including:

  • Results for patients with progression after disease control on EGFR TKI therapy from a phase I/II study of mobocertinib in EGFR exon 20 insertion–positive metastatic NSCLC (Abstract OA15.01)
  • Updated results from a phase I study of the selective EGFR/HER2 inhibitor DZD9008 in patients with EGFR exon 20 insertion–positive advanced NSCLC (Abstract OA15.02)
  • Initial results from the phase I CHRYSALIS study of amivantamab, an EGFR-MET bispecific antibody, in patients with MET exon 14 skipping mutation–positive advanced NSCLC and progression on first-line standard-of-care therapy (Abstract OA15.03)
  • Updated results on the efficacy and safety of the TRK inhibitor larotrectinib in patients with TRK fusion–positive lung cancer (Abstract P53.02)
  • Post hoc analysis in patients with locally advanced NSCLC who are not candidates for definitive concurrent chemoradiotherapy from the phase III EMPOWER-Lung 1 trial evaluating first-line cemiplimab (Abstract FP04.03)

Remember to Check the CCO Website Often During and After WCLC!
These are just a few of the interesting and important abstracts selected by our expert faculty from WCLC 2021. Downloadable slideset summaries of these studies and more will be available on our website as the data are released. After the meeting, comprehensive analyses by our expert faculty will explore the clinical implications of the data in a CME-certified text-based module.

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Supported by educational grants from
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Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Janssen Pharmaceutica NV
Janssen Biotech, Inc., administered by Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi Genzyme
Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

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