ALEXANDRIA, VirginiaIn its second annual "Clinical Cancer Advances" report, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) selected six notable developments in clinical cancer research as most important in 2006. ASCO's top six list, which it did not rank in any order, are as follows:
FDA approval of a vaccine (Gardasil) to prevent HPV infection, which is strongly associated with cervical cancer. ASCO called the vaccine "the most significant advance in cancer prevention over the last year."
The first new treatments for renal cancer in more than 20 years. Patients with advanced, high-risk kidney cancer who received first-line treatment with the investigational drug temsirolimus (CCI-779) had improved survival. Patients treated with sunitinib (Sutent) showed improved progression-free survival and response rates.
Lapatinib (Tykerb) improves the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Researchers found that in women whose advanced HER2-positive breast cancer progressed despite trastuzumab (Herceptin) therapy, the addition of lapatinib controlled cancer growth more effectively than chemotherapy alone.
Phase I evidence for the effectiveness of dasatinib (Sprycel) in chronic myelogenous leukemia. Researchers found in the study that 92.5% of CML patients resistant to imatinib (Gleevec) or who cannot tolerate the drug had no evidence of their disease after receiving dasatinib. Following publication of the study, FDA approved Sprycel for CML.
Cetuximab (Erbitux) provides the first new treatment for head and neck cancer in 45 years. A multinational study found that cetuximab added to standard high-dose radiation therapy with locally advanced disease prolonged survival, compared with radiation alone.
Genetic test to predict lung cancer prognosis. Researchers developed a novel gene profiling test, called the lung metagene model, that can predict which patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are most likely to be cured and which are most likely to have a recurrence.