Prostate Cancer Misinformation

YouTube hosts more than 600,000 videos on prostate cancer. But viewers of popular videos won’t necessarily come away with accurate information, according to a study published Nov. 28 in European Urology. Researchers analyzed the first 75 English-language videos that came up on YouTube when searching “prostate cancer screening” and the first 75 that came up when searching “prostate cancer treatment.” They found that 77 percent of the pages they reviewed contained misinformation or biased information either in the videos themselves or in comments beneath the videos. The researchers also found that videos containing higher-quality scientific information were less likely to have a high number of views and had fewer “thumbs up” ratings per view.

Understanding Liver Cancer’s Rise

The rate of liver cancer diagnoses in the U.S. has been increasing since the 1970s. A study published Nov. 27 in Cancer investigates how liver cancer rates in Americans born in the U.S. compare with rates in Americans born in other countries. The study found that people born outside the U.S. had an elevated risk of dying from liver cancer compared to those born in the U.S.—likely due to infection with the hepatitis B virus, comparatively low socioeconomic status and language barriers that impede pursuit of health care. However, between 2005 and 2014, the rate of liver cancer deaths in foreign-born individuals stayed about the same while deaths from liver cancer in U.S.-born individuals increased. Beyond viral infection, risk factors for liver cancer include smoking and obesity.

Another Tissue-Agnostic Approval

On Nov. 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Vitrakvi (larotrectinib) for patients with advanced solid tumors whose tumors have gene fusions involving any of three NTRK genes. The drug is intended for patients whose diseases have progressed following other treatment or who don’t have other satisfactory treatment options. It’s the second time the FDA has approved a drug based on tumor genetics rather than on where in the body a tumor originated. “In advanced cancer, all clinicians should keep in mind that the cancer could be an NTRK-fusion cancer,” medical oncologist George D. Demetri, an investigator in the Vitrakvi clinical trials, told Cancer Today.

Blood Cancer Approvals

The FDA has recently approved a number of new therapies for various types of blood cancer. Three of the latest approvals are for different groups of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Xospata (gilteritinib) is intended for treatment of patients whose AML is found do have an FLT3 mutation. Two other drugs, Daurismo (glasdegib) and Venclexta (venetoclax) are approved for patients who are 75 of age or older or who have comorbid health conditions that would make it difficult for them to undergo standard care with intensive chemotherapy. Meanwhile, Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) was approved for patients with certain rare forms of lymphoma. And Truxima (rituximab-abbs) has been approved as a biosimilar to Rituxan (rituximab) for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Biosimilars are drugs that are very similar to existing biologic therapies.

Immunotherapy Approvals Keep Expanding

The FDA on Nov. 9 expanded approval​ of the immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab) to include patients with the most common type of liver cancer. That means Keytruda is now approved for nine types of cancer, as well as any advanced solid tumor with certain DNA repair defects. Keytruda is indicated for patients who have already received treatment with the targeted therapy Nexavar (sorafenib). A similar immunotherapy drug, Opdivo (nivolumb), had previously been approved for liver cancer patients.