Summary – the latest achievements and successful cancer treatment strategies in Israel and the world in 2018

New medicine 2019

2018 has shown progress in treatment of five rare complex oncological diseases. These year achievements were reported in the annual Journal Clinical Cancer Advances, the print publication of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as well as in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in January 2019.

New drugs and tactics for treating aggressive and rare cancers


There was a following treatment for several rare cancers in 2018:


  • anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC);
  • desmoid tumors;
  • metastatic midgut neuroendocrine tumors;
  • serous uterus  cancer;
  • tenosynovial giant cell tumor (TGCT).


In 2018, FDA approved a new ATC therapy against anaplastic thyroid cancer, expanding the prescription for using the drugs combination – dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist). As a treatment result with the drugs combination – in more than two thirds of patients tumor stops developing and shrinks.


The drug sorafenib (Nexavar) in patients with desmoidal tumor improves survival without disease progression.


The drug Lu-dotatate received FDA approval for the patients treatment suffering from neuroendocrine midgut tumors. The drug effect is to transfer the radioactive Lutetium-177 dose directly into the tumor cells, which causes its growth to be suppressed. As international research has shown, therapy reduced disease progression and mortality by 79%, compared with standard treatment with octreotide or somatostatin.


Trastuzamab (Herceptin) which is widely used today for breast cancer treatment and stomach cancer is also effective against aggressive uterine cancer – serous cancer. This immunotherapy drug slows the progression of uterine serous cancer.


The experimental drug pexidartinib is an cell growth factor inhibitor involved in the tumor progression of tenosynovial giant cell or nodular tenosynovitis. Pexidartinib showed a positive response in a phase III study in nearly 40% of patients. All patients with a positive response showed no the disease progression according to the median observation and after 6 months.


New advances in cancer treatment


In addition to these innovative methods, other advances in cancer treatment are also reported:



The report of the American Society of Clinical Oncology also includes a list of areas for improvement:


  • improved strategies for predicting response to immunotherapy;
  • methods improvement for assessing the patients prognosis who can respond to adjuvant therapy;
  • special attention to the cancer diagnosis in children;
  • optimizing the treatment of elderly cancer patients;
  • increased patient access to clinical trials and experimental drugs;
  • reduction of side effects in cancer treatment;
  • improving the oncology diseases diagnosis in the initial stages;
  • treatment of obesity and the associated prognosis of the malignant neoplasms occurrence.


According to Dr. Shilski, ASCO head, the list of these items reflects the desire to find innovative methods of treating various cancer types, both for therapy and for improving the patients’ life quality.


Source: E-Med, 06/02/2019


Israeli oncologists are actively introducing new drugs and the American health care system protocols, as well as are regular participants in international research.
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