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This Week in the Medical Journals: Jun 29, 2012

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In JAMA this week, a team led by researchers at St Jude Children's Research Hospital reports on the use radiotherapy in children with favorable-risk Hodgkin lymphoma. The team enrolled 89 patients, 47 of whom received radiotherapy after achieving complete response with chemotherapy, and 41 of whom received no radiotherapy after chemotherapy complete response. Two-year event-free survival was 89.4 percent in patients who did not receive radiotherapy versus 92.5 percent in patients who did receive radiotherapy, the team reports.

In NEJM this week, a team led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report on the safety and activity of an anti-PD-1 antibody in patients with advanced cancers. Programmed death 1 is an inhibitory receptor expressed by T-cells, and inhibiting it can help patients overcome immune resistance. The team enrolled 296 patients with advanced melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, castration-resistant prostate cancer, or renal-cell or colorectal cancer, and administered anti-PD-1 antibody — they found that among the 236 patients in whom response could be measured, objective responses were most apparent in those with non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, or renal-cell cancer. "Responses were durable; 20 of 31 responses lasted 1 year or more in patients with 1 year or more of follow-up," the team says, adding that "the adverse-event profile does not appear to preclude its use."

Also in NEJM, a second group of researchers led by investigators at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine also report on the efficacy of anti-PD-1 antibody in advanced cancers. The team also examined the blockade of a PD-1 ligand, PD-L1. They administered an anti-PD-L1 antibody to patients with difference advanced cancers, and also found that non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, and renal-cell cancer patients responded best. "Responses lasted for 1 year or more in 8 of 16 patients with at least 1 year of follow-up," the team writes. "Antibody-mediated blockade of PD-L1 induced durable tumor regression and prolonged stabilization of disease in patients with advanced cancers."

The Scan

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.

Study Reviews Family, Provider Responses to Rapid Whole-Genome Sequencing Follow-up

Investigators identified in the European Journal of Human Genetics variable follow-up practices after rapid whole-genome sequencing.

BMI-Related Variants Show Age-Related Stability in UK Biobank Participants

Researchers followed body mass index variant stability with genomic structural equation modeling and genome-wide association studies of 40- to 72-year olds in PLOS Genetics.

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.