ASCO 2024: Breakthroughs in Breast Cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting is one of the largest gatherings of oncology professionals globally, and this year’s event showcased numerous significant breakthroughs. In breast cancer, research highlights included a study finding that most women aged 40 or younger diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are able to have children after completing treatment, and a study that underscored the importance of genetic counseling and testing to inform prevention, earlier detection, and tailored treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 310,000 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in 2024 and 42,250 women will die from the disease. Breast cancer now accounts for around 30% of all new female cancers each year.

Since 1989, breast cancer death rates have decreased, due to earlier detection through screening and awareness, and improvements in treatment. This decline has slowed in recent years, coinciding with a rising incidence of aggressive cancers in younger women. Breast cancer diagnoses in women under 50 have been rising by more than 2% annually over the past five years, a concerning statistic given that women under 40 are almost 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than women over 40.

PRISM MarketView recaps some of the key takeaways in breast cancer from this year’s ASCO meeting:

BriaCell Therapeutics (BCTX) 

Immunotherapeutics company, BriaCell, reported positive clinical data for its lead product candidate, Bria-IMT™ in patients with advanced metastatic breast cancers at ASCO 2024. Giuseppe Del Priore, MD, MPH, BriaCell’s Chief Medical Officer, said, “We are thrilled to present promising updated data from our Phase 2 Bria-IMT™ regimen showing clinical efficacy across all patient groups, along with a preferred safety profile.” Last week, the company announced that it had initiated patient enrollment in a first-in-human, Phase 1/2 study evaluating safety and efficacy of Bria-OTS™, BriaCell’s personalized off-the-shelf next generation immunotherapy, as monotherapy and in combination with PD-1 inhibitor tislelizumab, in advanced metastatic breast cancer. The company’s share price is $1.68 and it has a market cap of $31.63 million.

G1 Therapeutics (GTHX)

G1 reported mature Phase 2 clinical trial results describing the positive impact of trilaciclib in combination with a TROP2 ADC (sacituzumab govitecan; SG) on overall survival and tolerability compared to SG alone based on historical data from its ASCENT trial. The company presented during the Breast Cancer-Metastatic poster session at ASCO. The study showed that metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC) patients exhibited a four-month improvement in median overall survival (15.9 months vs 12.1 months). Trilaciclib also significantly reduced the side effects associated with sacituzumab, which researchers say can meaningfully improve the tolerability of this important therapy. G1’s share price is $3.30 and the company’s market cap is 172.52 million.

Lunit (323180.KQ)

Kosdaq-listed Lunit, a South Korean medical AI company, presented seven studies at ASCO 2024, including detailed findings on several innovative studies, including the identification of HER2 ultra-low expression in breast cancer using AI-based quantification. In May 2024, Lunit acquired Volpara Health Technologies, for its medical software for breast cancer screening that will boost Lunit’s capabilities in AI-driven cancer diagnostics and position the company for a robust entry into the American market.

Pfizer (PFE)

Global biopharmaceutical company, Pfizer, presented data for next-generation therapeutics for breast cancer at ASCO. The company reported updated safety data from a Phase 1/2a study of atirmociclib, a potential best-in-class, highly selective cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) inhibitor currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, delivered an oral presentation featuring Phase 1 data for PF-07248144, a potential first-in-class KAT6 inhibitor, and reported new real-world data for IBRANCE® (palbociclib) in HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer. Clinical trials have shown that IBRANCE® in combination with hormonal therapies can significantly prolong progression-free survival in this patient population compared to hormonal therapy alone. Pfizer has more than 50 programs in development and is advancing 20 ongoing pivotal trials across key tumor types. The company’s share price is $28.66 and it has a market cap of $162.40 billion.

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ASCO 2024: Breakthroughs in Breast Cancer

Catie Corcoran

Biotech Editor