Society for Neuro-Oncology Meeting

Conference details: 16-19 November, San Francisco, USA
Report by: IBTA
Conflict of Interest Statement: None declared
Published online: 6/12/17

This year’s Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology and Education Day (SNO 2017) represented one of the most significant events in the brain tumour research calendar.

The event saw the coming together of nearly 2,500 brain tumour researchers, clinicians, patient organisation representatives, and other stakeholders from across the globe. A wide range of topics was addressed: there were 88 oral platform presentations; 128 rapid reports; 90 e-poster presentations and 770 traditional poster presentations. Fifty countries were represented. SNO 2017 presentation abstracts can be viewed online here

The Society for Neuro-Oncology has produced two informative ‘Daily Highlights’ videos that summarise a selection of important findings presented on the 17th and 18th November at SNO 2017.

A selection of short videos with interviews, highlighting some of the key findings covered at the Meeting (courtesy of Practice Update, free registration required) can be found via the links below:

News from SNO 2017

Survival benefit of Optune is correlated with the amount of daily use, trial analysis shows

A retrospective analysis of a phase III trial (EF-14) of Optune – a wearable Tumor Treating Fields device – in newly diagnosed glioblastoma has demonstrated a link between length of use and clinical effect. Findings presented on 17th November at SNO 2017, showed that patients who used the device more than 90% of the time had the greatest survival (24.9 months), while those who wore the device for the prescribed 70 – 80% of the day had an average (median) survival of 21.7 months. However, even those who had a lower compliance rate of 50% had “benefit in terms of progression-free survival”, the results showed. Read more. A separate analysis of the EF-14 trial data, also presented at SNO 2017, showed that newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients receiving Optune therapy who continued using the device after first recurrence also appeared to have a survival benefit, compared to those who did not use the device. Read more (conference abstract).

Ovarian cancer drug breaches blood-brain-barrier around glioblastoma and may be an effective brain tumour treatment, study shows

Results from the OPARATIC phase I trial of olaparib, a chemotherapy agent used in ovarian cancer, alongside temozolomide in recurrent glioblastoma were presented at SNO 2017 on 16th November. According to the study, analysis of brain tumour tissue revealed that olaparib penetrated throughout the tumour mass where the blood-brain-barrier is disturbed, but did not enter unaffected regions of the brain where the blood-brain-barrier was intact. Researchers also identified an intermittent dosing regimen to reduce side-effects, and these findings have paved the way for two additional clinical trials – PARADIGM and PARADIGM-2 – that will test olaparib in combination with radiotherapy and temozolomide in newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Results from the trial were also presented earlier in the month at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool, UK.

Small clinical trial suggests adding cannabinoids to temozolomide may lengthen survival in recurrent glioblastoma

Presented at SNO 2017, results of a small randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial provide evidence that a preparation of cannabinoids (CBD:THC) co-administered with temozolomide may improve survival in recurrent glioblastoma. Twenty one patients receiving temozolomide were randomly assigned CBD:THC or placebo, and the survival at one year was 83% with CBD:THC, compared with 44% for placebo. “Further investigation of CBD:THC in patients with glioblastoma is warranted”, conclude the study’s authors. View poster presentation (pdf file).

Depatux-m (ABT-414) combined with temozolomide may improve survival in recurrent glioblastoma, phase II trial results show

First results of the randomised phase II clinical trial of depatux–m (ABT-414) in recurrent glioblastoma (with EGFR amplified status) has shown that it may improve survival when combined with temozolomide, although the trial’s primary endpoint was not met. The research also stated that: “The main toxicity observed in depatux-m treated patients was ocular (grade 3: 27.9%, grade 4: 1%).” Depatux-m is an antibody combined with a drug that selectively targets tumour cells that overexpress the EGFR molecule, a feature present in 40-50% of glioblastomas. Read more (SNO 2017 abstract).

Medicenna presents updates on phase I and II clinical trials of MDNA55 in recurrent glioblastoma

The pharmaceutical company Medicenna has given an update on drug distribution and safety data from the first 15 recurrent glioblastoma patients treated to date in a phase IIb clinical trial of MDNA55, a drug delivered into the brain via a catheter that targets the overexpressed interleukin-4 receptor on glioblastoma cells. Presented at SNO 2017 on 16th November, the results show greater coverage of tumour with MDNA55 than in previous trials, with some patients’ tumours achieving near 100% coverage. Read more. This phase IIb trial commenced in December 2016 and is presently recruiting recurrent or progressive glioblastoma patients. More information ( website).

Studies suggest that ‘liquid biopsy’ may aid childhood medulloblastoma and brain metastasis treatment planning

It may be possible to use a ‘liquid biopsy’ to monitor the progress of childhood diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), according to findings from a study presented at SNO 2017. Researchers showed that tumour DNA could be extracted from patient blood and cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the spinal cord and brain) and analysed. Levels of circulating tumour DNA showed correlation with radiotherapy effect and has the potential to track treatment response, forgoing the need for tumour biopsy, the authors suggest. “We detected H3K27M, a major driver mutation in DIPG, in about 80 percent of cerebrospinal fluid and plasma samples”, the lead author said. Read more.

A separate study also examining ‘liquid biopsies’, presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Asia 2017 Congress in Singapore on November 17, has shown that it may be possible to detect mutations in the EGFR gene in brain metastases in lung cancer patients, potentially aiding treatment decisions (tyrosine kinase inhibitors are beneficial in this subset of patients). Read more.

4/1/2018: More highlights from SNO 2017

A round-up of noteworthy research presented at the meeting has also been compiled by the Musella Foundation, and can be viewed online here. A series of videos with highlights from the conference has been made available by the Society for Neuro-Oncology and can be watched via their website here.