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The 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, held from May 31 to June 4, 2024, at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois, was a landmark event in the world of oncology. The theme, “The Art and Science of Cancer Care: From Comfort to Cure,” underscored the meeting’s focus on integrating compassionate care with cutting-edge scientific advancements. Over the course of five days, an estimated 40,000 clinicians, scientists, patient advocates, and business leaders gathered to share the latest research, treatments, and educational content across more than 200 sessions. The program included a robust offering of over 145 hours of livestreaming, ensuring global access to the event’s key presentations and discussions. 

Notable highlights of the meeting included a diverse range of sessions, from a collaboration with Microsoft to late-breaking clinical trials in palliative care. ASCO President Dr. Lynn M. Schuchter, who is the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Professor of Clinical Oncology and the director of the Tara Miller Melanoma Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center, curated this year’s theme. Dr. Schuchter’s presidential session on Saturday featured a compelling talk by Jonathan M. Carlson, PhD, Managing Director at Microsoft Health Futures, titled “The Emergence of General Artificial Intelligence for Medicine.” The session also included insightful remarks by Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmel, the director of the National Cancer Institute. 

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence: Transforming Prostate Cancer Care 

Artificial intelligence (AI) was a significant focus throughout the meeting. Among the many noteworthy sessions, Dr. Irbaz B. Riaz from the Mayo Clinic gave a presentation on the applications of AI in prostate cancer care. Dr. Riaz discussed the development of a multi-modal AI model designed to optimize systemic therapy for prostate cancer. This model integrates longitudinal data—including clinical, pathological, imaging, and genomic data—and uses a probabilistic deep-learning causal inference framework to provide patient-specific treatment effects. Dr. Riaz concluded his presentation with several key take-home messages: 

  • Artificial intelligence can synthesize information for optimal systemic treatment decisions. 
  • AI agents are well poised to act as assistants to providers. 
  • AI-enabled living clinical practice guidelines are feasible. 
  • AI can provide novel insights from multi-modal patient data. 
  • Digital biomarkers utilizing multi-modal data are rapidly evolving. 
  • Patient-specific (individualized) treatment effects represented an important research area.

These insights underscored the potential of AI to revolutionize cancer care by enhancing decision-making and personalizing treatment approaches. 

Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs): A Revolutionary Approach 

Innovation continued to drive oncology research at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting, with new drug classes and mechanisms being explored. The historical shift from chemotherapy to novel targeted therapies has brought significant advancements, such as the development of Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs), which also emerged as a key topic at the conference. Multiple presentations highlighted the efficacy of ADCs, which combine the properties of targeted therapies with the cancer-killing power of a cytotoxic payload, delivered with a “linker” that directs the powerful therapy while sparing surrounding tissue. 

ADCs represent a significant advancement in cancer therapy, offering targeted treatments with enhanced efficacy and reduced toxicity. Rapid drug development facilitated by technological advancements has allowed ADCs to gain regulatory approval for various tumor types, with notable success in breast cancer. Understanding the landscape of ADCs, including FDA-approved agents, those in clinical trials, and discontinued candidates, is vital for optimizing trial design and patient selection in oncology clinical trials. 

Erika P. Hamilton, MD, director of Breast Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, chaired the Sunday morning session, “Next-Generation Antibody–Drug Conjugates: The Revolution Continues.” This session included: 

  • Results for the LUMINOSITY trial (NCT03539536), evaluating telisotuzumab vedotin monotherapy in patients with previously treated c-Met–overexpressing non-squamous EGFR wildtype advanced NSCLC. 
  • Results for the phase 3 OptiTROP-Breast01 study (NCT05347134), which evaluated sacituzumab tirumotecan among those previously treated for locally recurrent or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. 
  • DREAMM-8 results (NCT04484623) involving belantamab mafodotin plus pomalidomide and dexamethasone vs pomalidomide plus bortezomib and dexamethasone in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. 
  • Another much-anticipated trial was presented early Sunday, when full results for DESTINY-Breast06 (NCT04494425) demonstrated the effectiveness of trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) vs physician’s choice of chemotherapy in patients with HR+, HER2-low or HER2-immunohistochemistry (IHC) >0<1+ metastatic breast cancer. 
  • A pair of late-breaking abstracts from the I-SPY2.2 trial (NCT01042379) involving datopotamab deruxtecan were presented during the meeting: the first, presented on Friday, evaluated rates of pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant datopotamab deruxtecan; and the second, presented on Monday, evaluated pCR after datopotamab deruxtecan plus durvalumab in the neoadjuvant setting. Datopotamab deruxtecan was being evaluated in a variety of tumor types. 

The introduction of next-generation therapies continued to push boundaries in cancer treatment. Dr. Patricia LoRusso’s presentation featured a first-in-class KAT6 inhibitor and a highly selective CDK4 inhibitor, representing innovative approaches with unique mechanisms of action. 

Key Updates in Lung Cancer 

Two other trials presented during Sunday’s plenary session involved lung cancer. These were: 

  • The phase 3 LAURA study (NCT03521154), where previously announced topline results showed that osimertinib (Tagrisso) after chemoradiotherapy produced clinically meaningful progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with unresectable stage III epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated NSCLC. 
  • The phase 3 ADRIATIC study (NCT03703297), involving durvalumab (Imfinzi) plus tremelimumab (Imjudo) as consolidation therapy for patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer. Positive topline results for ADRIATIC were announced in April. 

 Monday morning’s session on lung cancer included late-breaking results from the phase 3 CheckMate 77T study (NCT04025879), which evaluated perioperative nivolumab (Opdivo) by nodal status among patients with stage III resectable NSCLC. Results published ahead of ASCO in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the regimen resulted in longer event-free survival. 

Updates in Multiple Myeloma 

With the recent FDA advisory committee vote to allow minimal residual disease (MRD) to serve as a surrogate endpoint in multiple myeloma trials, key immunotherapy trials in a Monday afternoon session on hematologic malignancies produced evidence in support of this shift. Studies presented included: 

  • Paula Rodriguez-Otero, MD, PhD, from the Department of Hematology at Clinica Universidad de Navarra, presented an MRD analysis of PERSEUS, which previously showed that daratumumab (Darzalex) combined with the triplet of bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone (VRd) in newly diagnosed transplant-eligible patients produced PFS of 84.3% at four years, compared with 67.7% with VRd alone. 
  • Thierry Facon, MD, professor of hematology at the University of Lille, France, presented results from IMROZ, which evaluated isatuximab (Sarclisa) plus VRd versus VRd alone in transplant-ineligible patients. Isa-VRd followed by Isa-Rd led to a statistically significant reduction in the risk of progression or death by 40.4% (mPFS NR [Isa-VRd] vs 54.34 months [VRd]; HR, 0.596), highlighting an outstanding PFS benefit in patients with transplant-ineligible newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (NDMM). 

Conclusion 

The 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting showcased the relentless innovation and collaborative spirit driving progress in cancer treatment. The conference highlighted the dynamic evolution of oncology, from groundbreaking advancements in artificial intelligence and next-generation therapies to pivotal clinical trial results in breast cancer, lung cancer, and multiple myeloma. These developments underscore the importance of integrating scientific discoveries with compassionate care as the field moves closer to transforming cancer from a life-threatening disease to a manageable condition. The insights and breakthroughs presented at ASCO 2024 will undoubtedly shape the future of cancer care, offering hope and new possibilities for patients worldwide. 

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Author Vita Maziveyi

Vita Maziveyi is a Senior Medical Writer at Cadence Communications & Research, where she leverages over 10 years of oncology research expertise and 3 years in drug discovery to contribute to the Medical Communications team. Previously, she led the development of at-home diagnostic tests as the Science Development Lead at Hurdle and managed genetic test development and marketing as a Key Account Manager at Gene By Gene. With a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Vita's career is marked by a commitment to advancing medical science and improving patient outcomes.

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