The different treatments to battle sarcomas. PharmaMar meeting in Madrid
Oncologists from all around the world will gather in Madrid the April 1 for the second edition of the international congress Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Evidence & Experience. Organised by PharmaMar, the meeting aims to share the latest developments in the management of the different types of soft tissue sarcoma (STS).
As the central topics of the conference, the experts, who come from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, will discuss the differences observed in the administration of the various therapeutic options available and especially the important role recommended for the patient in the taking of decisions during the treatment.
“The chance to gather this panel of experts is a privilege for PharmaMar as a company that is committed to the treatment of STS”, says Luis Mora, the Managing Director of Oncology Unit at PharmaMar. “We strive every day to place innovative treatments at the disposal of oncological patients and the contribution of experts of this level enables us to see that our work is very valuable to the medical community”, he added.
One treatment for each subtype of STS
Occasionally, the diversity of sarcoma subtypes presents a challenge to the teams of health professionals when determining a treatment to combat the disease. Accordingly, the attendees who will take part in the event will address the treatment options for the most common subtypes: leiomyosarcomas and liposarcomas.
Specifically, leiomyosarcomas (LMS) represent 16% of all STS, most often affect adults who are middle-aged or older, predominate among women and can present themselves in a uterine (U-LMS) or non-uterine form.
Liposarcomas (LS) will also be the subject of analysis during the conference as they require different interventions according to the type of LS the patient presents.
Identifying the treatment goal
One of the meeting’s central topics will be the identification of a therapeutic goal according to the state of the disease. The experts will analyse which approach to take for patients following surgery or for those who have already been treated previously.
Among the options highlighted by the experts in keeping with the recommendations published by the European Sarcoma Network and the European Society for Medical Oncology, trabectedin appears as an effective option as a second line of treatment for all types of sarcoma in an advanced stage. This compound, developed and commercialised by PharmaMar as Yondelis®, shows a higher rate of control of the disease, efficacy in treatment in the long term and good tolerance by the patient.
“When the therapeutic goal is the stabilisation of the tumour in the long term while maintaining a good quality of life for the patient, trabectedin shows clears clinical benefits, both in LMS and LS and other types of STS”, says Dr. Jean-Yves Blay, the Director of the Centre Léon Bérard in Lyon (France) and the President of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).
The patient’s quality of life at the heart of the therapy
The experts will also address the patient’s quality of life as a key issue in the evolution of sarcomas. As stated by Dr. Robin Jones, an oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research in London, “the quality of life of patients related to their state of health is a subjective parameter and its measurement is a challenge for clinical practice”.
Dr. Jones will lead a session that focuses on assessing how the quality of life in each patient can be measured throughout the treatment and setting out the results of different studies in patients with localised and metastatic sarcomas. One of the factors that have been shown to intervene in the quality of life of patients is the care received from health professionals who look after them.
This is why the event will feature presentation of the structure of YonLife, a study that is currently in progress. This is the first randomised prospective trial to analyse in patients treated with trabectedin the impact on the quality of life of those who are attended by a multidisciplinary team compared to those attended by a conventional team. It is expected to be completed this December.
“The primary aim of the study is to observe whether a change occurs in the measurement of the quality of life of patients after nine weeks of treatment”, Dr. Jones explains. “This type of trial will provide us with exceptional knowledge about the quality of life of these patients”.
The patient’s decision-making power
In line with the importance of quality of life during the treatment of sarcomas, Pr. Axel Le Cesne, the cheaf of the Hérault Medical Oncology Unit and Sarcoma Tumour Board, will analyse how the disease is experienced from the patient’s perspective.
According to Pr. Le Cesne “the major problem for patients is that in many cases they cannot receive treatment from a sarcoma specialist because they lack access to the networks of health professionals and centres that specialise in this”. He also underlines how important it is for decisions about treatment to be taken by a multidisciplinary team that includes the patient him/herself, not only for localized disease but also at an advanced stage. “Patients may not wish to continue with the treatment if they see that their quality of life is being affected”, he says.
In conclusion, Pr. Le Cesne adds that optimisation of the efficacy of treatments responds to the algorithm that results from combining factors that come from both clinical practice and the patient him/herself. “From the patient’s characteristics, the dosage of medications, the type of sarcoma, the length of treatment, the maintenance therapy to the management of side effects, these form part of the success or failure of a treatment. It is not just the choice of one drug or the other that makes a patient responds better”, he explains.