Oncology NEWS International Vol 10 No 5

Adjuvant Chemo Dose Reductions Frequent in Breast Cancer

May 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO-Chemotherapy dose reduction occurs frequently despite the risk of a poorer long-term outcome when the full dose is not received, according to an analysis of 20,799 patients with early breast cancer who received adjuvant chemotherapy. Gary H. Lyman, MD, MPH, reported the results at the 23rd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, for the Awareness of Neutropenia in Chemotherapy (ANC) Study Group.

Women May Be at Greater Risk for Undertreatment of Cancer Pain

May 01, 2001

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla-A descriptive study drawing cancer patients from seven outpatient clinics has found that female patients with bone metastases were prescribed half the pain medication as male patients with the same pain intensity scores. The disparity was significant whether the researchers counted all of the analgesics prescribed to each patient or only the opioid analgesics.

Umbilical Cord Blood in Adult Leukemia Patients

May 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Umbilical cord blood from unrelated donors can be a useful source of hematopoietic stem cells for treating hematologic malignancies in adults as well as infants, according to a multicenter study presented by Mary J. Laughlin, MD, at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Dr. Laughlin is director of the Allogeneic Transplant Program, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Ireland Cancer Center.

Irinotecan Results Continue to Be Encouraging in Colorectal Cancer

May 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-Encouraging results from phase II and III clinical trials of irinotecan (Camptosar) in colorectal cancer over the past several years as well as future directions for research were reviewed by Mace L. Rothenberg, MD. He is associate professor of medicine and Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville.

Irinotecan Active in Pediatric Cancers

May 01, 2001

HOUSTON-Preclinical studies showing that irinotecan (Camptosar) has broad-spectrum activity in vitro and in vivo in xenografts derived from pediatric tumors are being followed by phase I and phase II clinical trials. Susan Blaney, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Texas Children’s Cancer Center in Houston said that irinotecan has shown activity in pediatric neuroblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and medulloblastoma (including glioma) in preclinical studies.

Combined Modality Therapy Has Enhanced Activity in Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer

May 01, 2001

PHILADELPHIA-A phase II study in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer showed that the combination of irinotecan (Camptosar), fluorouracil (5-FU), and concomitant radiation given preoperatively is well tolerated and appears to have enhanced activity. Reporting the results, Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, noted that ongoing phase II studies will determine the pathologic response rates and patterns of disease recurrence. Dr. Mitchell is clinical professor of medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

Ultrasound Contrast Agents Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer

May 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-Although many prostate cancers are not visible on conventional ultrasound, new methods of improving image contrast may allow better visualization and improved ultrasound-guided biopsy results in the next 3 to 5 years, Leonard G. Gomella, MD, said at a conference on urologic oncology sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Society of Urologic Oncology.

Optimal Use of Irinotecan Still to be Determined

May 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-Irinotecan (Camptosar) has moved from scientific investigation to clinical application, but questions remain about its optimal use. These questions and related issues were outlined at the opening session of the Vanderbilt University Symposium, "Irinotecan: from Scientific Investigation to Clinical Application," by program chairman Mace L. Rothenberg, MD. Dr. Rothenberg is associate professor of medicine, Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The symposium was sponsored by Pharmacia Oncology.

Groups Urge Federal Action Against Eclipse Cigarettes

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Twenty-two public health organizations have again called on the federal government to initiate action against R.J. Reynolds Co. to stop it from making unsubstantiated health-related claims about its Eclipse cigarette.

Potential Advantages of Oral Irinotecan Defined in Phase I Studies

May 01, 2001

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-According to Richard M. Goldberg, MD, the potential advantages of oral irinotecan include prolonged blood levels, less toxicity, greater convenience, and reduced cost. Interestingly, more complete responses and sustained remissions were associated with oral irinotecan vs IV administration in mice with CX-1 colon cancer xenografts. Dr. Goldberg is chair of gastrointestinal oncology research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

New Website for Cancer Pain Patients

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-The Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) has launched a new website, Cancer-pain.org, to provide cancer patients with the education and support they need to obtain effective pain relief.

Creative Center for Women With Cancer Adds the Performing Arts

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-"In my sculpture, I see women as rich earthbound creatures. They are rooted to the ground while simultaneously reaching up and outward, vulnerable yet strong," says Leonda Finke, creator of the bronze sculpture shown at left (Standing Figure #3 ? by Leonda Finke). The sculpture was featured in the 2001 desk calendar of the New York-based Creative Center for Women With Cancer. The calendar is sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

More Precise Surrogate Markers for Clinical Response Are Needed

May 01, 2001

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-Accurate surrogate markers that would help researchers predict clinical response to systemic cancer chemotherapy and greatly speed development of new treatments may be on the way. Alex A. Adjei, MD, PhD, discussed these anticipated markers that will be much more precise than those currently in use. Dr. Adjei is consultant in oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Physicians Must Unite Against New Bureaucratic ‘Hassles’ to Practicing Medicine

May 01, 2001

I read with interest the article based on a presentation by Dr. David Hussey concerning physician competency reviews (December 2000). Dr. Hussey, who is president of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology

Pharmacogenetics Profiling Expected to Transform Drug Therapy

May 01, 2001

CHICAGO-Obtaining an individual patient’s genetic profile for genetic polymorphisms known to affect drug responsiveness or risk of drug toxicity will become a routine part of medical care over the next 25 years and will dramatically transform the prescribing process, Mark J. Ratain, MD, predicted at the Vanderbilt University Symposium. Dr. Ratain is professor of medicine and chairman of the Committee on Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Chicago.

COX-2 Inhibitors May Have Several Uses in Colorectal Cancer

May 01, 2001

PORTLAND, Oregon-Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitors are attracting attention as potential anti-cancer drugs because of evidence of increased survival in patients with low levels of COX-2. Charles D. Blanke, MD, FACP, associate professor of medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed current COX-2 research for participants at the Vanderbilt University symposium.

Impotency Tied to 3D CRT, Not Hormone Therapy

May 01, 2001

BOSTON-Men who underwent three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D CRT) for prostate cancer had significant loss in sexual function, but the addition of hormonal therapy did not exacerbate that loss, according to a poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO).

Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates Still Low: CDC Study Finds

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Colorectal cancer screening rates have risen slightly since 1997 but remain at low levels, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report compared data from the 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)-a random-digit phone survey of residents of the United States and Puerto Rico-with findings from the 1997 BRFSS. Respondents over age 50 were asked about colorectal cancer screening.

ACS Modifies Its Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-To increase colorectal cancer screening, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is encouraging the use of at least one of the four recommended screening tests. Previously, for persons of average risk, annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years were only recommended in combination.

Gemcitabine-Oxaliplatin Used in Advanced Lung, Ovarian Cancer

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-In a phase I/II study combining gemcitabine (Gemzar) and oxaliplatin, French investigators saw a 47% objective response rate among evaluable patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Topoisomerase I Investigations Aim to Improve Chemotherapy

May 01, 2001

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey-Three aspects of topoisomerase I are currently under intensive investigation by researchers hoping to improve cancer chemotherapy: the mechanism of topoisomerase I poisoning, cellular processing and repair, and mechanisms of resistance to topoisomerase I inhibitors. These issues were reviewed at the Vanderbilt University Symposium by Leroy F. Liu, PhD, who heads the Department of Pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in Piscataway.

Topical DNA Repair Enzyme May Prevent Skin Cancer

May 01, 2001

FREEPORT, NY-In a phase III clinical trial of 30 patients with xeroderma pigmentosum, use of a topically applied DNA repair enzyme (T4N5 liposome lotion) for 1 year reduced the incidence of basal cell carcinoma by 30% and actinic keratoses by 68%, compared with placebo.

Herceptin Combinations Studied in Advanced Breast Cancer

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-Researchers at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XVIII presented findings from two phase II studies of trastuzumab (Herceptin) in combination with chemotherapy agents with known synergistic activity. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody shown to be effective in HER-2/neu-overexpressing breast cancer.

New Markers for Colon Cancer

May 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-Colorectal cancer cells are shed into the stool, providing a potential means for early detection using noninvasive approaches. A multi-center research effort has evaluated a set of three genetic markers that may indeed constitute a reliable genetic mutation analysis of stool, signifying cancer

Questions Raised About Around-the-Clock Analgesic Use

May 01, 2001

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida-Cancer patients with bone metastases who received around-the-clock (ATC) analgesics took substantially more medication but did not have better pain relief than patients on as-needed (pro re nata, PRN) dosing regimens in a study reported by Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD.

ONS States Position on Patients Requesting Assisted Suicide

May 01, 2001

PITTSBURGH-In its most recent position statement on assisted suicide, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) calls for continued dialog on any and all ethical dilemmas, such as assisted suicide. The statement emphasizes the caring component of nursing and calls for effort to improve compassionate and competent care for the dying.

Overdiagnosis of Cancer Is an Emerging Concern

May 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Md-Most oncologists probably never thought they would need to worry about overdiagnosing cancer. Yet overdiagnosis-the detection of an actual cancer that will never harm the patient-is emerging as a clinical concern. In this interview, medical oncologist Barnett "Barry" Kramer, MD, discusses the issue of overdiagnosis with Patrick Young, ONI’s Washington Bureau Chief.

Possible Link Between Diet and Colon Cancer Remains Unclear

May 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Md-Evidence of a relationship between diet and the origins of colorectal cancer is tantalizing but shadowy, two longtime researchers said at the Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Treatment conference, co-sponsored by the Cancer Research Foundation of America and the American Digestive Health Foundation.

Camptothecins Look Particularly Promising in Treating Recurrent or Refractory Ovarian Cancer

May 01, 2001

HOUSTON-New studies of irinotecan-based regimens for gynecologic cancers were reviewed by Andrzej P. Kudelka, MD, and Claire Verschaegen, MD. He is associate professor and she is an assistant professor in the Division of Cancer Medicine at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

First Three States Opt Into Cervical, Breast Cancer Treatment Program

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Three states have won approval of their plans to expand Medicaid benefits to uninsured women diagnosed through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maryland, New Hampshire, and West Virginia were approved by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Breast and Cervical Cancer and Prevention and Treatment Act (BCCPT), which Congress enacted last year.

Trials With Irinotecan and Gemcitabine for Pancreatic Cancer Proceed to Phase III

May 01, 2001

CHARLESTON, South Carolina-Irinotecan/gemcitabine combinations have looked sufficiently promising for pancreatic cancer in phase II trials that researchers are proceeding with randomized phase II and phase III studies, Caio Max S. Rocha Lima, MD, told those attending the Vanderbilt University Symposium. Dr. Rocha Lima is assistant professor of medicine in the Hematology Oncology Division at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Virtual Reality Distraction Eases Symptoms of Chemotherapy

May 01, 2001

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla-Breast cancer patients were less stressed by treatment-related symptoms when they used virtual reality software to solve a mystery, visit an art museum, or go deep-sea diving during chemotherapy sessions. Susan M. Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN, reported the results of the pilot study at the Oncology Nursing Society’s Sixth National Conference on Cancer Nursing Research.

Multiple Mechanisms of Resistance to Camptothecins

May 01, 2001

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey-Although camptothecins can cure colon cancer in animals, they are active but not curative in human tumors. The question of why drugs that are effective in animal models are sometimes less effective in clinical studies, as well as issues related to resistance to cytotoxic drugs were discussed by Eric H. Rubin, MD. Dr. Rubin is associate professor at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick.

Postmastectomy RT to Axillae Often Unnecessary

May 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO-Follow-up studies from five clinical trials at M.D. Anderson suggest that postoperative supplemental radiotherapy to the axillae in patients with stage II-III breast cancer is often unnecessary, since failure in the dissected axillae is uncommon. The report was presented at the 23rd annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Gene Mutations May Affect Response to Chemotherapy

May 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-New findings reported at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) support an emerging view that genetic mutations not only contribute to cancer etiology but even to individual variability in response to cancer treatment.

Molecular Marker Detects Occult Micromets in Prostate Cancer

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-Expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the messenger RNA (mRNA) of pelvic lymph nodes appears to be a promising marker for occult micrometastases in patients with localized prostate cancer, said Anna C. Ferrari, MD, assistant professor, Medical Oncology Associates of the Derald R. Ruttenberg Cancer Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

Glutamine Supplementation Could Reduce Toxicities of Treatment

May 01, 2001

INDIANAPOLIS-"Preclinical models suggest a role for glutamine supplementation in patients with cancer, but confirmation of clinical efficacy is needed," according to Patrick J. Loehrer, Sr., MD. "Glutamine plays an important and varied role in normal humans, and cancer significantly alters glutamine synthesis and catabolism," explained Dr. Loehrer, who is professor of medicine at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis.

GnRHa Nasal Spray Reduces Breast Density

May 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO-A pharmaceutical alternative to prophylactic oophorectomy as a means of inducing menopause and reducing the likelihood of breast cancer in young women at high genetic risk is under investigation at the City of Hope National Medical Center.

Irinotecan Is Bioactivated in Liver and Intestine to Topoisomerase I Inhibitor

May 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO, Texas-Irinotecan is metabolized via CYP3A4 to the less active oxidative metabolites APC and NPC and is bioactivated in the liver and intestine by human carboxylesterases (hCE) to the topoisomerase I inhibitor SN-38 (Figure 1). The pharmacology of irinotecan (Camptosar, CPT-11), a water-soluble, semisynthetic derivative of camptothecin, was reviewed at the Vanderbilt University Symposium by John G. Kuhn, PharmD, of the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and College of Pharmacy, University of Texas.

Irinotecan Is a Candidate for Concurrent Chemoradiotherapy

May 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-Irinotecan (Camptosar) is a candidate for concurrent chemoradiotherapy to treat non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) because it is synergistic with platinum and is a potent radiation sensitizer, reported Hak Choy, MD, professor of radiation oncology at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. The irinotecan/platinum combination was shown to be active in NSCLC in phase II studies. A number of researchers are now working on refining irinotecan/radiotherapy approaches for NSCLC in phase I and phase II trials, Dr. Choy noted.

Schedule and Dose Shape Efficacy and Selectivity of Drug Combinations

May 01, 2001

BUFFALO-New work on the role of schedule and dose in determining the efficacy of two classes of drugs-thymidylate synthase inhibitors and topoisomerase I inhibitors-was described by Youcef M. Rustum, PhD, at the Vanderbilt University Symposium. Dr. Rustum is senior vice president for scientific affairs and graduate education at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

Project Will Screen Nuclear Fuel Workers for Lung Cancer Using CT

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-More than 6,000 nuclear fuel workers in three gaseous diffusion plants will be screened for lung cancer using single-slice helical low-dose CT scans in a project funded by the US Department of Energy, said the program’s medical director, Albert Miller, MD, Center for Biology of Natural Systems, Queens College, City University of New York.

SLN Mapping for Breast Cancer Feasible in Community Hospitals Hospitals

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Surgeons in community hospitals as well as in university-based cancer centers can successfully find sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) in breast cancer patients for biopsy, Douglas S. Reintgen, MD, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, University of South Florida, Tampa, said at the 54th Annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO).

Irinotecan Produces Responses in Small-Cell and Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

May 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-The failure of current chemotherapy to make much of an impact on lung cancer mortality makes the need for more effective chemotherapy obvious and data on active new agents was presented at the Vanderbilt University Symposium by Alan Sandler, MD.

Genetic Variant May Increase Risk of HIV-Related NHL

May 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-A genetic variant has been found to double an HIV-infected individuals’ risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Charles S. Rabkin, MD, HIV/Cancer Coordinator, Viral Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, presented the report at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Fulvestrant Compares Favorably to Anastrozole in Two Clinical Trials

May 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO-Fulvestrant (Faslodex), an estrogen-receptor (ER) downregulator (see Figure), appears to be at least as good as the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole (Arimidex) as second-line therapy in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer who had progressed or recurred on prior endocrine therapy.

Campath Effective in Highly Refractory CLL Population

May 01, 2001

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla-Studies show that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) responds to therapy with alemtuzumab (Campath). However, the monoclonal antibody is immunosuppressive, and patients who receive it should be on prophylactic antibiotics, Susan O’Brien, MD, said at the 6th Annual Conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Studies Help Refine Anticancer Activity, Unravel Drug Resistance

May 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-An understanding of how camptothecins intrude between topoisomerase I and DNA is helping to refine the anticancer activity of these drugs, and studies of the pathway from initial camptothecin binding to final cell death may help unravel the mechanisms behind drug resistance. Yves Pommier, MD, PhD, chief of the National Cancer Institute’s Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology reviewed recent developments in these areas at the Vanderbilt University Symposium.

US Cigarette Sales Down, Marketing Budgets Up

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Tobacco companies are not getting the same bang for their advertising dollars as they once did. Cigarette sales in the United States in 1999, the first year affected by the Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry and 46 states, dropped despite an increase in spending for advertising and promotions.

MRI Screening Improves Detection of Hereditary Breast Cancer

May 01, 2001

CHICAGO-Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) mammography was able to detect eight of nine breast malignancies, some of which had been missed on conventional film mammography, in 196 young women at high risk for hereditary breast cancer.

Virulizin, Novel Biologic Agent, Is Promising in Pancreatic Cancer

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-The biologic response modifier virulizin, which has in vitro and preclinical activity in a variety of cancers, has exhibited possible activity in pancreatic cancer in phase I and II clinical trials, said Michael P. Thirlwell, MD, director, Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal.

Preclinical Studies Show Camptothecins Are Highly Schedule Dependent

May 01, 2001

MEMPHIS-‘‘Camptothecin activity is schedule dependent and is very S-phase-specific at concentrations we can achieve in vivo," Peter J. Houghton, PhD, said while summarizing the results of preclinical studies with camptohecins. "Protracted administration is optimal, and threshold concentrations are critical," he continued. Dr. Houghton is chairman of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Cisplatin/Irinotecan Combination Produces Responses in Gastric/Esophageal Cancers

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-The cisplatin/irinotecan combination produces responses among patients with gastric and esophageal cancers, David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, reported at the Vanderbilt University Symposium. Dr. Ilson is assistant attending physician in the Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

Temozolomide in Mixed Gliomas: Cedars-Sinai Study

May 01, 2001

LOS ANGELES-Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute are conducting a clinical trial of temozolomide (Temodar) in patients with mixed gliomas or oligodendroglial tumors. They expect to enroll about 60 patients over a 30-month period.

Bipartisan Bills to Give FDA Authority to Regulate Tobacco Products

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Several House and Senate members have introduced bipartisan bills that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. The measures are in response to a Supreme Court decision that rejected the FDA’s claim to such authority and held that "Congress has clearly precluded the FDA from asserting jurisdiction to regulate tobacco products."

Long-Term Aspirin Use May Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer

May 01, 2001

NASHVILLE-Long-term aspirin use may decrease the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer, Arslan Akhmedkhanov, MD, reported at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO). The study involved 748 patients from a prospective cohort followed for an average of 12 years.

Hairy Cell Leukemia Responds to New Compound, BL22

May 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-A protein-based compound called BL22 produced complete remissions in patients with hairy cell leukemia resistant to standard therapy with purine analogs. Results of the phase I trial were reported at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Surgeon General’s Report Calls Smoking ‘A Women’s Issue’

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Cigarette smoking has inflicted an enormous toll on American women during the last two decades, according to the latest Surgeon General’s report. "The single overarching theme emerging from this report is that smoking is a women’s issue," said Surgeon General David Satcher, MD.

Proteasome Inhibitors Can Increase Efficacy of Topoisomerase Poisons in NSCLC

May 01, 2001

CLEVELAND-Tinkering with NFkB has little effect on the activity of topoisomerase poisons in non-small cell-lung cancer (NSCLC), but proteasome inhibitors can increase the efficacy of drugs such as irinotecan and etoposide. Information on proteasome inhibitors was presented at the Vanderbilt University Symposium by Ram Ganapathi, MD, staff scientist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center.

Bush Budget Seeks an 11.7% Increase for NCI

May 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-President Bush has asked Congress to appropriate a budget of $23.112 billion for the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2002, which begins Oct. 1. His request represents a $2.751 billion (13.5%) increase over the current fiscal year. The President also requested a budget of $4.177 billion for the National Cancer Institute, an increase of $439 million (11.7%).

Investigators Review ELCAP’s Goals and Screening Protocols

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-Leaders of the Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP) outlined their goals and the screening protocol that has evolved over the past 2 years at the 4th International Conference on Screening for Lung Cancer.

NCI Seeks to Expand Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-The need to test new biologically targeted therapies and the presence of vocal patient advocate groups are among the factors galvanizing the National Institutes of Health to seek wider patient participation in clinical trials, Mary McCabe, RN, said during a Cancer Care, Inc. teleconference. She also made clear that patients need to ask many questions before enrolling. Only 1% to 3% of cancer patients take part in clinical trials, said Ms. McCabe, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Education and Special Initiatives. "We would like to see that change," she said.

Thalidomide Appears to Enhance Activity of Irinotecan

May 01, 2001

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas-Thalidomide appears to enhance the response rate produced by irinotecan (Camptosar) in metastatic colorectal cancer, while decreasing the drug’s gastrointestinal toxicities, reported Rangaswamy Govindarajan, MD. In addition, thalidomide is well tolerated at 400 mg/d, inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha, has antiangiogenic properties, and costimulates CD8+ T-cells, Dr. Govindarajan noted. He is assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Irofulven Studied in Solid Tumors, Including Pancreatic Cancer

May 01, 2001

NEW YORK-Irofulven, the first of the acylfulvenes, a new class of cytotoxic agents, is being studied in a number of solid tumors, including a phase III trial in advanced pancreatic cancer, said Raymond Taetle, MD, clinical professor of medicine and pathology, University of Arizona, Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson.

Goserelin Equal to Adjuvant Chemo in Early ER+ Breast Cancer

May 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO-The gonadotropin hormone-releasing hormone agonist analog goserelin (Zoladex) is an alternative to adjuvant chemotherapy for women with early breast cancer who are pre- or perimenopausal and have estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive tumors, said Walter Jonat, MD, of the University of Kiel, Germany. He spoke at the 23rd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on behalf of the Zoladex Early Breast Cancer Research Association (ZEBRA).

Combining Camptothecins with Radiation Might Produce Powerful Antitumor Regimen

May 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-"Camptothecins have radiosensitizing as well as cytotoxic effects, and combining a camptothecin such as irinotecan with radiation on the right schedule might produce a powerful antitumor regimen," according to Allan Chen, MD, PhD. Dr. Chen is assistant professor of radiation oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Topoisomerase I Inhibitors Show Promise Against Difficult-to-Treat CNS Tumors

May 01, 2001

DURHAM, North Carolina- Topoisomerase I inhibitors have shown promising activity in difficult-to-treat tumors of the central nervous system (CNS), according to Henry S. Friedman, MD. In studies of camptothecins, both irinotecan (Camptosar) and topotecan (Hycamtin) showed "prodigious activity" in slowing tumor growth and causing tumor regression in subcutaneous xenografts of human gliomas, Dr. Friedman told those attending the Vanderbilt University Symposium. Dr. Friedman is Jones B. Powell, Jr., Professor of Neuro-Oncology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Novel Therapeutics Build on Irinotecan-based Treatment

May 01, 2001

PEAPACK, New Jersey-Potential directions for irinotecan (Camptosar) clinical research in the future and for the application of novel therapeutics were presented by Langdon Miller, MD, of Pharmacia Oncology Development in Peapack, New Jersey.

Choosing Measures to Evaluate the Quality of Cancer Care

May 01, 2001

This is the first in a series of reports on presentations from "Ensuring Quality Cancer Care," a symposium held in Chicago and sponsored by the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the VA Chicago Health Care System. The reports, which put the discussions into a broader context, have been prepared for ONI by researchers at Northwestern University, working under the direction of Dr. Charles L. Bennett.

Tumor Vaccine Boosts Outcome in Stage IIA Melanoma Patients

May 01, 2001

VENICE, Italy-Adjuvant therapy with the investigational vaccine Melacine helps prevent relapses in patients with stage IIA melanoma, investigators from the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) 9035 Study Group announced at the Fifth World Conference on Melanoma. Mela-cine, being developed by Corixa (Seattle), consists of a mixture of allogeneic melanoma cell lysates plus an immunologic adjuvant (Detox).