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Data presented at ASCO this week showed that NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations who received Tarceva lived twice as long without their disease progressing compared to patients who received platinum-based chemotherapy, which is currently the standard of care for first-line NSCLC therapy.

By exploring a treatment strategy that involves Roche/Plexxikon's investigational pharmacogenomically targeted drug vemurafenib and Bristol-Myers Squibb's newly approved melanoma treatment Yervoy, two large drug developers are hoping to further improve outcomes for a genomically defined patient population.

"The median progression-free survival [with crizotinib] far exceeds anything that one would expect with standard therapy in this heavily pretreated group," Nasser Hanna of Indiana University said in a presentation at ASCO reviewing interim Phase I data on the drug.

At the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, David Sidransky outlined findings from epigenetic and genetic studies of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

By testing 1,000 individuals with lung cancer for driver mutations in 10 genes, members of the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium are finding mutations to help physicians offer more targeted treatment and clinical trial options for those with the disease.

The abstracts provided quick glimpses of new phase I data on the companies' respective siRNA-based cancer drugs, showing that both are well-tolerated and providing hints about their possible efficacy.

ASCO and CollabRX announced a partnership that will focus, at first, on CollabRx’s Targeted Therapy Finder -- Melanoma, a web application that allows patients to search for treatments based on the molecular characteristics of their cancer.

The presentation will focus on data from an ongoing phase I study with Atu027 in subjects with advanced solid cancer. “Key findings presented will include safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic data, as well as indications of anti-tumor activity,” Silence said.

Genomic Health discussed the status of its ongoing work with Pfizer in renal cancer and suggested it might eventually develop a companion test for Erbitux that gauges mutations "beyond KRAS."

Studies from the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting employing pharmacogenomic strategies.