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A Surprise


Novartis' kidney cancer drug Afinitor has been shown to prevent the progression of breast cancer in a new study, reports Bloomberg's Simeon Bennett. The trial showed that Afinitor more than doubled, to 6.9 months, the time to progression in women whose breast tumors had spread after treatment, compared to 2.8 months in women who took Pfizer's breast cancer drug Aromasin, Bennett says. The trial, which Novartis plans to use in applying for regulatory approval for a breast cancer indication for Afinitor, was presented at a cancer conference in Stockholm this week. Analysts say that European regulators are likely to approve the new indication based on the study's results, though the FDA may want to see longer-term breast cancer data before approval. "Afinitor, which is already approved in the US as a treatment for cancers of the kidney and pancreas, as well as non-cancerous brain tumors, blocks a protein called mTOR that some cancer cells require to grow and multiply," Bennett says. "Novartis is also testing the drug in patients with other types of breast cancer, as well as lymphoma and stomach and liver cancer."

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.