Spotlight on landmark oncology trials
Cancer is a heterogeneous disease with no single treatment that is successful across all cancer types. Identification of specific genetic changes in some cancer types has been crucial in improving therapy outcomes, as it has allowed individualized targeted therapy, broadly called ‘precision medicine’. Together with the other characteristics of a tumour, like location, volume, or spread, genetic factors dictate feasible therapeutic options, which range from surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, to novel targeted agents and immunotherapy. With treatment resistance being a wide-spread issue, the most promising solution seems to be the use of combination therapy with different drugs or even treatment modalities.
However, before a therapeutic approach may reach patients, it needs to go through a rigorous approval process based on the assessment of safety and side-effects. Randomized controlled trials offer the highest level of evidence thanks to the high-quality study design and assigning patients randomly to treatment arms to minimise the bias.
A large number of ongoing clinical trials in various oncology settings will likely change the landscape of cancer therapy even more. The studies of the highest impact, called ‘landmark trials’, significantly change the current clinical practice, challenge the current knowledge or provide the ‘missing link’ evidence that complete our understanding.
This special article collection in BMC Medicine reflects the diversity seen in cancer therapy landscape and includes carefully selected articles from invited experts on oncology landmark trials that had the most substantial influence on the clinical practice or provided some critical evidence that enhanced our understanding in this field. It also features current topics in the trial design.
Spotlight on landmark oncology trials: the latest evidence and novel trial designsThe era of precision oncology is marked with prominent successes in the therapy of advanced soft tissue sarcomas, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and haematological neoplasms, among others. Moreover, recent tria...BMC Medicine 2017 15:111Published on: 2 June 2017
Immunotherapy in head and neck cancer: aiming at EXTREME precisionLocoregionally advanced, recurrent, and metastatic squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHN) remain difficult to treat disease entities, in which systemic treatment often forms an integral part of ...BMC Medicine 2017 15:110Published on: 2 June 2017
Systemic treatment in advanced soft tissue sarcoma: what is standard, what is newFor metastatic soft tissue sarcoma (STS) patients not eligible for surgery, systemic treatments, including standard chemotherapy and newer biological compounds, still play the most relevant role in the managem...BMC Medicine 2017 15:109Published on: 2 June 2017
News from the melanoma sessions of the European Cancer Congress 2017During the European Cancer Congress, the melanoma sessions focused on practice changing trials. Recent developments and approvals in immunotherapy and targeted agents have significantly changed the landscape o...BMC Medicine 2017 15:57Published on: 17 March 2017
Successes and failures: what did we learn from recent first-line treatment immunotherapy trials in non-small cell lung cancer?Immune checkpoint inhibitors have significantly modified the therapeutic landscape of advanced non-small cell lung cancer in second-line settings, with a more recent advancement in first-line settings. Given t...BMC Medicine 2017 15:55Published on: 13 March 2017
Advances in immunotherapy for melanomaIn recent years, the introduction and Federal Drug Administration approval of immune checkpoint inhibitor antibodies has dramatically improved the clinical outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma. These a...BMC Medicine 2016 14:20Published on: 6 February 2016
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