Oncology NEWS International Vol 10 No 10

High-Dose IL-2 Is Standard in Advanced Renal Cell Cancer

October 10, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Trials employing outpatient use of subcutaneous (SC) interleukin-2 (IL-2, Proleukin) in lower doses suggest that the overall response rate in metastatic renal cell carcinoma is adversely affected by the decrease in dose or the subcutaneous route of administration.

RIT Safe, Effective in Elderly and Poor-Prognosis Patients

October 10, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) with the investigational radiolabeled monoclonal antibody known as Bexxar (tositumomab and iodine I-131 tositumomab) is effective and well tolerated in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) patients with poor prognostic features, according to retrospective analyses presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

FDA Approves Xeloda/Taxotere Combination for Advanced Breast Cancer

October 01, 2001

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a combination of the cancer drugs Xeloda (capecitabine) and Taxotere (docetaxel) for treating patients with metastatic breast cancer whose cancer has progressed after treatment with an anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimen.

ODAC Recommends Approval of Radiolabeled Zevalin

October 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has unanimously recommended that the Food and Drug Administration approve the marketing of Zevalin (ibritumomab tiuxetan, IDEC Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of patients with rituximab (Rituxan)-refractory follicular, B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

Proteomics Moves From the Laboratory to Clinical Research

October 01, 2001

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The emerging science of protein analysis called proteomics is being applied directly to the care of cancer patients in a joint research and clinical program of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Proteomics is the study of the body’s proteins and how they function and interact.

Radiotherapy Not Needed in Older Lumpectomy Patients With Early Cancer

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Preliminary results of a randomized Intergroup trial (CALGB, RTOG, ECOG) strongly suggest that radiotherapy should not be added to tamoxifen (Nolvadex) in older women who have undergone lumpectomy for early-stage breast cancer, said Kevin S. Hughes, MD, Department of Surgical Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Raltitrexed + Oxaliplatin for Advanced Colorectal Cancer

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Raltitrexed (Tomudex) in combination with oxaliplatin may be used as a replacement for the de Gramont regimen in advanced colorectal cancer, said Vincenzo Catalano, MD, Medical Oncology, Pesaro, Italy.

Mental Fatigue Worries Chemotherapy Patients

October 01, 2001

NEW YORK-More than 500 cancer patients across the country participated in a Cancer Care, Inc. teleconference addressing a little-discussed concern literally on the mind of many chemotherapy patients: forgetfulness during and after chemotherapy.

Patients Urged to Work With Professionals Against Fatigue

October 01, 2001

NEW YORK-The persistence of fatigue for up to a year after cancer treatment is a common and debilitating occurrence. Participants in a Cancer Care, Inc. teleconference were given information on the causes of cancer-related fatigue and strategies for coping with it.

NCI Director Resigns to Head New Scientific Institute

October 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-Richard D. Klausner, MD, has resigned as director of the National Cancer Institute to become president of a new scientific organization, the Case Institute for Health, Science and Technology. In a letter to President George W. Bush, Dr. Klausner called his 6-year tenure "the most challenging and rewarding of my career. The NCI is a jewel that I have had the honor to lead."

Combined PET/CT Aids in Head and Neck Cancer Management

October 01, 2001

TORONTO, Canada-The combination of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) has proved particularly advantageous in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer of the head and neck, Carolyn Cidis Meltzer, MD, said at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine (abstract 133).

MRI Method Predicts Early Response

October 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-Diffusion-weighted MRI reveals rapid changes in tumor water diffusion values after successful therapeutic intervention in solid tumors. It therefore appears capable of predicting treatment response within days of initiating therapy, Brian D. Ross, PhD, of the University of Michigan, said at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

New Cellular Target Shows Promise in Cancer Treatment

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Aberrant responses to growth signals lead to the development of several types of cancer. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a protein kinase involved in the signal transduction pathway that links growth stimuli and cell cycle progression. It has emerged as a promising new target for intervening in the cancer process.

ACR Protests Proposed Diagnostic Mammography Reimbursement Rates

October 01, 2001

RESTON, Virginia-In a statement, the American College of Radiology (ACR) said that the proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cut the ambulatory patient classification (APC) payment rate to hospitals for diagnostic mammography creates "serious concern about women’s future access to this life-saving technology."

High-Volume Hospitals Better for Some Cancer Surgeries

October 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Sufficient evidence exists to suggest that patients undergoing pancreatic and esophageal cancer surgery have lower mortality rates at high-volume hospitals and that physicians and patients should consider this fact in making treatment decisions, a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said.

Post-HAART HIV+ NHL Patients Benefit From Chemotherapy

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-HIV-positive patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) should not be excluded from chemotherapy or given a limited-dose regimen, Joseph Sparano, MD, said at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1172).

Agency Considers Agents for Listing as Known or Likely Human Carcinogens

October 01, 2001

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina-Sixteen chemicals and other agents will undergo toxicologic review by the National Toxicology Program for possible listing as known or reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens in the 11th edition of the federal Report on Carcinogens.

Three Platinum-Based Doublets for NSCLC Tested in Italy

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Platinum-based chemotherapy with either gemcitabine (Gemzar) or paclitaxel (Taxol) caused fewer terminations of therapy for progressive disease or adverse events than the reference regimen of platinum with vinorelbine (Navelbine) in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Mature Data Confirm Advantage of CAFT Versus Tamoxifen in Older, Node-Positive, Receptor-Positive Women

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Mature survival analyses from the North American Breast Intergroup Trial (INT-0100; SWOG-8814) confirm that chemotherapy plus tamoxifen (Nolvadex) produces better overall and disease-free survival than tamoxifen alone in postmenopausal women with node-positive, receptor-positive breast cancer.

ODAC Advises Changes to Clinical Study Designs for First-Line Hormonal Treatments of Metastatic Breast Cancer

October 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-Members of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) have recommended a change in the endpoint the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses to evaluate hormonal agents as first-line therapy for metastatic breast cancer. The panel considered the issue of revising the design of hormonal therapy clinical trials at the agency’s request.

Nine More States Offer Medicaid Coverage for Breast and Cervical Cancer

October 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has given nine more states the go-ahead to extend Medicaid benefits to uninsured women diagnosed with cancer under the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000.

Bisphosphonates Relieve Skeletal Pain in Prostate Cancer

October 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-In hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients, bisphosphonates can relieve painful skeletal metastases, according to a study presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting (abstract 691).

Ingestible Camera Visualizes Small Intestine

October 01, 2001

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The FDA has approved a tiny ingestible video camera-the Given Diagnostic Imaging System (Given Imaging Ltd)-for use with other endoscopic and radiologic GI tract evaluations, to detect polyps, cancer, or causes of bleeding and anemia in the small intestine.

Breast Conservation Effective in Occult Primary Cancer With Axillary Metastases

October 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Mastectomy does not improve either survival or local control when patients present with axillary node metastases and an occult primary tumor, Georges Vlastos, MD, of Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland, said at the 54th Annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology. He described a retrospective study of 45 women with this rare condition, conducted when he was at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Thoracic Radiotherapy Raises SCLC Survival

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Survival of patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) has doubled in the past 2 decades, largely because of advances in thoracic radiation, according to an analysis of more than 2 dozen randomized clinical trials and the SEER database. The findings were presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1264).

Raloxifene Not Recommended After Tamoxifen Failure

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Five years of tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is standard treatment for many women with estrogen-receptor (ER)-sensitive breast cancer, but the question of what to do after that is unresolved. Raloxifene (Evista) has been considered by some researchers as a possible next treatment, but preclinical data suggest this will not be a successful strategy. Ruth M. O’Regan, MD, of Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented the data at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 95).

Optimizing Mitomycin Use Ups Bladder Cancer Outcome

October 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-In patients with superficial bladder cancer, it is possible to optimize treatment with mitomycin (Mutamycin) by enhancing the drug concentration in urine, according to the results of a multicenter study presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting (abstract 776).

Statins May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer for Older Women

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Common cholesterol-lowering agents (statins) may be effective in the chemoprevention of breast cancer in older women, a new study shows. The data were presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1647).

NSAIDs May Protect Against Development of Prostate Cancer

October 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-Prostate cancer can now be added to the list of malignancies for which nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) may have a protective effect, according to experimental and clinical research presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting.

Tobacco Money Pot: Half Full or Half Empty?

October 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-More than beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. For example, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids offered quite different interpretations of a report released by NCSL at its annual meeting.

Studies Seek to Find Female Biologic Factors That Affect HIV

October 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-A 5-year, $17.5-million program will investigate how HIV infection affects adolescent and adult women. Three research centers will house the Women’s HIV Pathogenesis Program, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Researchers at the centers will collaborate with others in an effort to identify biologic factors unique to women that affect HIV.

ONI Names Sharon Krumm, PhD, RN, Editor of Oncology Nursing

October 01, 2001

MELVILLE, New York-The publishers of ONI are pleased to announce that Sharon K. Krumm, PhD, RN, will serve as Editor of Oncology Nursing. Dr. Krumm earned her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Missouri School of Nursing, Columbia, and her MS and PhD from the University of Missouri.

Reaching Kids With ‘Tar Wars’

October 01, 2001

SAN DIEGO--A 13-year-old program developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians can make inroads in educating students about myths and misconceptions of tobacco, said Anne Slivjak, RN, MSN, AOCN, a research assistant in the Nursing Research Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Cisplatin/Raltitrexed Effective in Head and Neck Cancer

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Interim analysis of a clinical trial of patients with inoperable head and neck cancer (locally advanced or metastatic) showed superior response rates for the combination of cisplatin (Platinol), raltitrexed (Tomudex, investigational in the United States), levofolinic acid, and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), compared with cisplatin, methotrexate, levofolinic acid, and 5-FU.

Bcl-2 Antisense Enhances Docetaxel in Refractory Disease

October 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-An investigational antisense oligonucleotide directed against bcl-2 appears to help overcome the resistance of hormone-refractory prostate cancer to docetaxel (Taxotere). The combination of bcl-2 antisense (G3139, Genasense) and docetaxel, therefore, may prove to be effective in this type of cancer, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, said at the American Urological Society annual meeting (abstract 690).

Many More Patients Will Be Needed for Trials of the Future

October 01, 2001

BOSTON-Targeted anticancer drugs such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) targeting HER-2 and imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) targeting Bcr-Abl represent the potential of genome-based medicine, but the future may not be as close as it seems, according to pharmaceutical executives who spoke at the 2001 Drug Discovery Technology Conference.

New Delivery, Monitoring Methods for Taxol in Brain Tumors

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Israeli investigators have developed a new method for enhancing paclitaxel (Taxol) delivery to recurrent brain tumors and are using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor for response.

Battling Fatigue With Exercise Program and Good Nutrition

October 01, 2001

NEW YORK-Keeping fit and eating right is no easy task for the millions of Americans who are overweight and out of shape. For cancer patients, it requires specialized know-how as well as determination, according to experts who gave advice during a Cancer Care, Inc. teleconference on ways to battle fatigue.

Study Finds Three Predictors of Pain and Fatigue in Elderly

October 01, 2001

EAST LANSING, Michigan-A study of 841 patients age 65 and older newly diagnosed with breast, colon, lung, or prostate cancer found three predictors of pain and fatigue: advanced stage, more comorbid conditions, and lung cancer, compared with breast cancer (the reference), according to researchers from Michigan State University.

HAART Improves Survival in Chemotherapy-Treated, HIV-Related NHL

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) significantly increases disease-free survival among patients with HIV-related non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Michele Spina, MD, of Centro di Riferimento Oncologico, Aviano, Italy, said at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1122).

ODAC Rejects IntraDose for Head and Neck Cancer

October 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-The FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has voted not to recommend that the agency approve IntraDose (injectable cisplatin/epinephrine gel, Matrix Pharmaceuticals). Matrix is seeking to market the drug for the treatment of recurrent or refractory squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in patients not considered curable with surgery or radiotherapy.

Adjuvant Therapy With Casodex Reduces Cancer Progression

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-In men with localized or locally advanced prostate cancer, immediate treatment with the nonsteroidal antiandrogen bicalutamide (Casodex), alone or in addition to standard therapy, significantly reduces disease progression.

Zometa for Hypercalcemia of Malignancy

October 01, 2001

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-Zometa (zoledronic acid for injection) has received marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of hypercalcemia of malignancy. Zoledronic acid represents a new generation of intravenous bisphosphonates. It is currently approved for treating hypercalcemia of malignancy in more than 30 countries.

Rituximab Added to Fludarabine in Untreated CLL Patients

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Preliminary results from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB)-9712 trial indicate that rituximab (Rituxan) given concurrently with fludarabine (Fludara) improves response in previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients, compared with a sequential approach. The results were presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1116).

Large-Core Needle Biopsy Reduces Need for Surgical Biopsies

October 01, 2001

SEATTLE-A fully implemented large-core needle biopsy program can dramatically improve the positive predictive value of surgical biopsy of breast lesions, based on the experience of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. Jessica Leung, MD, instructor in radiology, Harvard Medical School, presented the study at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

Shorter Follow-up for Aspiration-Negative Breast Masses

October 01, 2001

SEATTLE-A 1-year follow-up with mammography appears to be sufficient to detect any false-negative results of ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration in patients with nonpalpable breast masses, according to a study from the Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY. Shalom Buchbinder, MD, director of mammography, presented the study at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

FDA Approves Amgen’s Aranesp for Anemia of Chronic Renal Failure

October 01, 2001

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The FDA has approved Amgen’s Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) for Injection for the treatment of anemia associated with chronic renal failure, including patients on dialysis and patients not on dialysis.

Occult Axillary Micrometastases Fail to Predict Breast Cancer Survival Outcomes

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-In patients with breast cancer, sentinel lymph node mapping enables a detailed pathologic examination of nodal tissue by multilevel microsections with standard hematoxylin and eosin staining (H&E) and highly sensitive immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. However, the significance of IHC metastases remains unknown.

Predicting NSCLC Outcomes

October 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-The biologic marker matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) has been identified as an important new predictor of disease recurrence and poor outcome in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It also offers some insight into the mechanisms by which NSCLC tumors grow and spread.

Diagnostic Dilemma

October 01, 2001

This endoscopic photograph was obtained during an upper-gastrointestinal endoscopy on a 60-year-old gentleman with epigastric abdominal pain and melena. The photograph was taken in the stomach.

Medicare Plans Coverage for All Treatments of Actinic Keratoses

October 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Medicare will soon institute a policy to cover all its beneficiaries for treatments to remove actinic keratoses, sun-induced precancerous skin lesions confined to the epidermis. The decision establishes the first national coverage policy for the disorder without restrictions based on lesion or patient characteristics.