AACR 2019: What Atlanta has to offer for oncology specialists this year

Atlanta is the capital and most populated city of the US state of Georgia. Its Downtown District is specially charming at sunset
(c) Gettyimages/Conchi Martínez

From Friday, March 29, to Tuesday, April 3, 2019, the 110th American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting will take place in Atlanta (Georgia). medonline will be reporting directly from the congress.

In its 110th anniversary year, the congress is organized around its theme “Integrative Cancer Science – Global Impact – Individualized Patient Care”. In this spirit, a large fraction of the program is dedicated to basic cancer research that the AACR considers as the foundation for progress in this field. Translational and clinical researchers as well as prevention medicine are also well-represented at the congress. Almost 6,000 proffered paper abstracts were reviewed by the Scientific Program Committee, and organized into minisymposia and poster sessions.

This year, the results of over 220 oncology clinical trials – ongoing and completed – will be presented. Hot topics include immune-oncology, drug discovery and development, and convergence science. The key results will be presented in the Clinical Trials Plenary sessions.

Clinical trials presented at AACR 2019, a selection:

CAR T cells

  • Results of a phase I clinical trial investigating mesothelin-targeted CAR T cells in malignant pleural disease 
  • Another phase I clinical trial tested the safety and efficacy of HER2-targeted CAR T cells in patients with advanced sarcomas.


  • The phase II basket trial DART evaluated the combination nivolumab/ipilimumab in patients with rare tumors. At AACR 2019, the neuroendocrine carcinoma cohort will be presented.
  • KEYNOTE-028 (phase Ib) und KEYNOTE-158 (phase II) investigated the efficacy of pembrolizumab after two or more lines of prior therapy in patients with advanced small-cell lung cancer.
  • ENCORE 601 (phase Ib/II) tests the HDAC inhibitor entinostat and pembrolizumab in patients with melanoma previously treated with anti-PD1 therapy.
  • Another phase I trial evaluates whether fecal microbiota transplantation combined with anti-PD1 therapy has efficacy in patients with refractory metastatic melanoma.
  • Results of a phase I trial will show whether M7824, a bispecific fusion protein targeting TGF-β and PD-L1, is efficacious for HPV-induced malignancies.
  • Whether tumor mutational burden in blood or tissue is a prognostic marker of survival in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, a subgroup analysis of the phase III trial MYSTIC (durvalumab +/- tremelimumab) will show.

Targeted therapy

  • The final analysis of the phase III trial ADMIRAL will be presented. Based on an interim analysis of the trial, the kinase inhibitor gilteritinib targeting AXL and Flt3 received FDA approval for Flt3-mutated AML.
  • Results of a phase II trial will demonstrate the efficacy of the oral PI3K-delta inhibitor umbralisib for relapsed/refractory marginal zone lymphoma.
  • Another phase II trial is expected which evaluated the efficacy of the PARP inhibitor rucaparib in patients with BRCA- or PALB2-mutated platinum-sensitive advanced pancreatic cancer.
  • First results of a phase I trial will be presented which tests the oncolytic adenovirus OBP-301 (telomelysin) with radiotherapy in esophageal cancer patients unfit for standard treatments.

About the American Association for Cancer Research

The AACR was founded in 1907 by eleven medical oncologists and researchers to “further scientific development and the knowledge about cancer”. Today the AACR fulfills this function by publishing top-ranking scientific journals such as Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Research and Cancer Epidemiology, as well as by organizing high-class scientific events and advocating for cancer survivers, researchers and oncologists.