I attended the virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) May 29-31, 2020.  I have attended multiple ASCO meetings, including the Annual Meeting and the Gastrointestinal ASCO meeting.  Being a metastatic colon cancer survivor for almost 17 years I have had a vested interest in the research reported at the meetings.  As a Patient Advocate, I have also disseminated the information in different ways over the years, including blog posts and webinars. 

This was my first virtual ASCO, as everything these days is done virtually.  I liked having access to all the abstracts and could watch the discussions and presentations live and then review any content that I needed to.  What I missed the most was the buzz of 40,000 people in one place learning and presenting about all cancers and interacting with other advocates and physicians.

I summarized over 35 abstracts and presentations relevant to colorectal cancer for the OPTIMISTICC team and patient advocacy organizations.  I have posted the full reviews on the OPTIMISTICC Team Resources page.  Below are some of the abstracts that I found especially interesting and informative.

Pembrolizumab versus chemotherapy for microsatellite instability-high/mismatch repair deficient metastatic colorectal cancer: The phase 3 KEYNOTE-177 study. #LBA4

Among patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) featuring high-level microsatellite instability (MSI-H), first-line treatment with single-agent PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab not only doubled progression-free survival (PFS) compared with chemotherapy-based therapy but also cut the incidence of severe toxicities by two-thirds.

Metabolic syndrome, metabolic comorbid conditions, and risk of early-onset colorectal cancer. #1571

Metabolic syndrome is associated with higher risk of CRC diagnosed at older ages; however, its association with early-onset CRC remains unclear. Metabolic syndrome was defined using either diagnosis codes or the presence of at least 3 of the following: obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia/type 2 diabetes also defined based on regular use of medications. Results: Metabolic syndrome and metabolic comorbid conditions were associated with increased risk of early-onset CRC, largely driven by proximal and distal colon cancer. Metabolic dysregulations may contribute to the rising incidence of early-onset CRC.

First-line FOLFOX plus panitumumab versus 5FU plus panitumumab in RAS-BRAF wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer elderly patients: The PANDA study. #4002

Guidelines recommend considering fluoropyrimidine monotherapy as an option for elderly patients, but no randomized studies have ever explored the role of the combination with an anti-EGFR treatment. Primary end point was met in both treatment arms. 5FU/LV plus panitumumab for up to 12 cycles followed by panitumumab maintenance until disease progression might be a reasonable option in elderly mCRC patients with RAS/BRAF wild type tumors deserving further investigations in phase III trials.

A randomized trial of a palliative care intervention for patients on phase I studies. # 120001

The purpose of this study was to test a Palliative Care Intervention for patients with solid tumors enrolled in phase I therapeutic trials. Results: Palliative care interventions can improve QOL outcomes and distress for patients participating in phase 1 trials. Greater integration of PC is needed to provide quality care to these patients and to support transitions from treatment to supportive care, especially at the end of life.

Clinical impact of COVID-19 on patients with cancer: Data from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19). #LBA110

A performance status of 2 or greater and progressing cancer increased the incidence of death 5 times. All-cause 30-day mortality and severe illness in this cohort older age, comorbidities, ECOG PS >2, active cancer, and chemotherapy alone or in combination. were significantly higher than previously reported for the general population and were associated with general risk factors as well as those unique to patients with cancer. Cancer type and treatment were not independently associated with increased 30-day mortality. Longer follow-up is needed to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on outcomes in patients with cancer, including the ability to continue specific cancer treatments.