Roswell Park Cancer Institute Faculty Gather for ASCO 50th Annual Meeting in Chicago

RPCI researchers to present findings on promising new therapies, epidemiological analyses
Monday, June 2, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dozens of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) physicians and scientists will be among those gathering in Chicago this weekend as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s largest association of oncologists, marks an important milestone — ASCO’s 50th Annual Meeting. Highlights of the Roswell Park-led research to be presented at this prestigious meeting include new findings on a promising targeted therapy for colorectal cancer; the results of two studies assessing novel treatments for leukemia; and a large study on the impact of current smoking on mortality among cancer patients.

Details of those selected studies follow below.

Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, the Katherine Anne Gioia Chair in Cancer Medicine, is senior author on “Phase I trial of MM-151, a novel oligoclonal anti-EGFR antibody combination in patients with refractory solid tumors” (abstract 2518).

A novel oligoclonal anti-EGFR antibody combination, MM-151, has previously shown potent preclinical activity in inhibiting the EGFR signaling pathway. The authors conducted a phase I study to analyze its preliminary efficacy and safety in patients with refractory solid tumors. Fifty-seven patients were enrolled on three dosing schedules at escalating dose levels. Colorectal cancer was the most common tumor type in the study population, representing 46% of tumors studied, followed by non-small-cell lung cancer (11%) and pancreatic cancer (9%). Two partial responses were observed in patients with colorectal cancer, while eight patients with metastatic colorectal cancer showed stable disease for longer than four months. The study suggests preliminary clinical efficacy of MM-151 in treating colorectal cancer with limited toxicity, warranting further study of this approach.

Elizabeth Griffiths, MD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, is first author on “First results of a phase 2 study using a 10-day subcutaneous (SC) regimen of the novel hypomethylating agent (HMA) SGI-110 for the treatment of relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (r/r AML)” (abstract 7030).

While the novel hypomethylating agent SGI-110 has previously been shown to exhibit a 16% complete remission in patients with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (r/r AML) on a five-day regimen of this agent, Dr. Griffiths and colleagues have reported the first results of a study using a 10-day regimen. Their study enrolled 53 patients with r/r AML after prior treatment, and showed an overall complete remission (OCR) rate of 30%. Mortality was 1.9% at 30 days and 11.3% at 90 days. These results appear to compare favorably with previously reported response rates, indicating that further study of this regimen is warranted.

James Marshall, PhD, Chair of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, is senior author on “The effect of current smoking on mortality in cancer patients” (abstract 1580).

Using a Medline search of evidence-based studies from 1990 to 2012, Dr. Marshall and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of the impact of current smoking at or following a cancer diagnosis, looking specifically at effects on overall mortality. Of the 83 studies examined, involving 129,346 patients, 72.3% showed a statistically significant negative association between current smoking and mortality. The effect of current smoking was also observed across different modes of therapy — surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There were higher risks of mortality associated with current smoking across the board: 52% higher than for never-smokers, 41% higher than for former smokers, and 50% higher than former- and never-smokers combined. The findings indicate that current smoking poses higher overall mortality risk for cancer patients regardless of treatment modalities, and much greater risk than past smoking.

Meir Wetzler, MD, Chief of the Leukemia Section and a Professor of Medicine within the Department of Medicine, is first author on “Landmark analysis of overall survival (OS) in patients with chronic (CP) or accelerated (AP) phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) treated with omacetaxine mepesuccinate” (abstract 7066).

Dr. Wetzler and colleagues sought to compare overall survival in a subset of chronic and accelerated chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients in two small phase II trials in which patients received omacetaxine as single agent and were previously treated with two or more tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Patients with both chronic and accelerated disease who continued treatment at three months had prolonged overall survival (49.3 and 21.7 months, respectively) than those treated for shorter periods (27.2 and 8.2 months, respectively). The findings suggest that hematologic response by three months could be a positive predictor of overall survival in CML patients receiving omacetaxine. Further studies will be required to confirm these findings.

ASCO’s 2014 Annual Meeting continues through June 3 at McCormick Place in Chicago. ASCO is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer, and has nearly 35,000 members.


The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Editor’s note: Many Roswell Park Cancer Institute experts and an RPCI Public Affairs representative will be onsite at the ASCO 2014 meeting. To request expert comment or schedule an interview, contact Annie Deck-Miller at or 716-602-5817 (mobile).

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager