Researchers reported a number of important findings in brain cancer treatment at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology:

Personalized peptide vaccines studied in treatment of newly diagnosed glioblastoma

As every glioblastoma tumor is molecularly unique, there is a need for personalization in treatment approaches, integrated with current standards of care (e.g. surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy).

GAPVAC-101 is a multicenter, first-in-human phase I trial to investigate the safety and effectiveness of personalized peptide vaccines as a treatment approach in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma.

Peptides are compounds consisting of two or more amino acids linked in a chain, Cancer peptide vaccines use the body’s immune system to produce a clinical benefit,

What Patients Need to Know GAPVAC-101 found that treatment with personalized peptide vaccines resulted in promising biological activity (immune responses) and was generally well-tolerated. Further research will be conducted in larger trials.

Adding pembrolizumab to bevacizumab studied in phase II trial

Investigators in a phase II trial evaluated the effectiveness of pembrolizumab, given alone or with bevacizumab, for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma.

Pembrolizumab works by targeting the proteins PD-1 and/or PD-L1 that can prevent the body’s immune system from attacking tumors. Bevacizumab is an anti-angiogenic medicine, designed to block the growth of blood vessels that support tumor growth; it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma.

This trial also tested the safety and tolerability of pembrolizumab when given alone or with bevacizumab.

What Patients Need to Know

The trial results showed that pembrolizumab was well tolerated but had limited benefit as a monotherapy (therapy that uses one type of treatment) for recurrent glioblastoma. The anti-tumor activity of pembrolizumab combined with a standard dose of bevacizumab was comparable to the effectiveness of bevacizumab alone, based on historical data.

IDH1 R132H mutation targeted in first-in-human trial

The NOA-16 trial is a first-in-human trial evaluating the immune response to an IDH1 peptide vaccine in patients with IDH1 R132H-mutated, WHO grade III-IV glioblastoma. The study is also evaluating the peptide vaccine’s safety and tolerability.

What Patients Need to Know

NOA-16 met its primary goals by demonstrating the vaccine’s safety and immunogenicity (the ability to produce an immune response), and further study is warranted.

Combination of antibody drug and chemotherapy studied for EGFR-mutated glioblastoma

The phase II Intellance 2 trial evaluated the combination of an antibody therapy with chemotherapy as treatment for recurrent glioblastomas with a mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene. About 50 percent of glioblastoma cases are characterized by the EGFR mutation.

What Patients Need to Know

Researchers reported that the one-year survival rate was 40 percent for those receiving the antibody drug depatuxizumab mafodotin combined with the chemotherapy temozolomide, compared to 28 percent for patients who received temozolomide or lomustine (another chemotherapy) alone.