Oncology NEWS International Vol 10 No 9

Avon Launches ‘Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer’ Campaign

September 01, 2001

NEW YORK-This month Avon Products, Inc. launches Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer, a marketing program that includes a fundraising lipstick, grassroots outreach through a Day of Commitment (September 25), gala awards to be held October 9, and celebrity support from singer Christina Aguilera and tennis players Serena and Venus Williams, among others.

Occult Tumor Cells in Marrow Predict Breast Cancer Survival

September 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-A considerable proportion of patients with primary breast cancer have minimal residual disease in the bone marrow that is prognostically relevant and detectable by bone marrow aspiration, according to German investigators who reported their findings at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

No Long-Term Advantage for Complete Response to Neoadjuvant Chemo/RT

September 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Stage II and III rectal cancer patients who achieve a complete response (CR) to neoadjuvant chemoradiation do not enjoy any long-term survival advantage over patients who do not, Mark Onaitis, MD, of Duke University Medical Center, said at the 54th Annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology.

New Agents Tested with 5-FU in Rectal Cancer

September 01, 2001

NEW YORK CITY-Irinotecan (Camptosar), oxaliplatin, and other new agents have shown promising activity in rectal cancer and are now being tested in combination regimens with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and in new chemoradiotherapy regimens, according to Bruce Minsky, MD.

Anticonvulsants Can Alter Irinotecan Metabolism

September 01, 2001

SAN ANTONIO-Enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EIAEDs) can significantly alter the metabolism of irinotecan (Camptosar) and should be taken into consideration when treating patients for brain tumors, according to John G. Kuhn, PharmD. Dr. Kuhn is professor of Pharmacology and Medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, Texas. He discussed data on irinotecan pharmacokinetics from an ongoing North American Brain Tumor Consortium (NABTC) phase I study.

Thalidomide Appears Effective in Early-Stage Myeloma

September 01, 2001

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-In a study of thalidomide (Thalomid) for early-stage multiple myeloma, 6 of 16 patients had a confirmed response-50% or greater reduction in serum and urine monoclonal (M) protein. S. Vincent Rajkumar, MD, and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic reported the interim finding in Leukemia (8:1274-1276-2001).

Irinotecan Plus Cisplatin Used as First-Line Treatment of Ovarian Cancers

September 01, 2001

NEW YORK CITY-Weekly irinotecan (Camptosar) and cisplatin (Platinol) can be successfully given as first-line treatment to women with advanced ovarian cancer. The toxicity is manageable, and some patients with suboptimally resected disease achieved an extended disease-free survival, David Spriggs, MD, reported. He is chief of the Developmental Chemotherapy Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

New ‘Goals for Pain Relief’ Scale Proves Reliable in Pilot Study

September 01, 2001

SAN DIEGO, California-Patients’ differing goals for pain relief may explain some of the variability in pain outcomes. In an attempt to better understand and document these goals, Marie A. Flannery, RN, MS, a nurse practitioner and senior associate at the University of Rochester Cancer Center, developed a 13-item "goals for pain relief" scale.

GVAX Autologous Vaccine Shows Activity in Lung Cancer

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-GVAX, an autologous cancer vaccine, demonstrated antitumor activity in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients in a phase I/II multicenter clinical trial. Interim data were presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1019).

Thalidomide May Enhance Response Rate of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer to Irinotecan

September 01, 2001

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas-The antiangiogenic properties of thalidomide (Thalomid) as well as its ability to inhibit tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) suggest that thalidomide might be a useful addition to regimens for treating advanced cancers. Rangaswamy Govindarajan, MD, said that thalidomide may enhance the response rate of metastatic colorectal cancer to irinotecan (Camptosar) while also reducing irinotecan-related gastrointestinal toxicities. Dr. Govindarajan is assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Investigators Wrestle With Reasons for Toxic Deaths in North American Colorectal Cancer Trials

September 01, 2001

COLORADO SPRINGS-Researchers from two large North American Intergroup colorectal cancer trials found an unexpectedly high rate of toxic deaths in trials containing irinotecan (Camptosar). No such problems had been apparently observed by oncologists using the combination of irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and leucovorin (LV) (IFL) in routine clinical practice, and no such problems had been identified in the pivotal registration and European studies.

Epirubicin/Irinotecan in Advanced Cancers

September 01, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC-Irinotecan (Camptosar) and epirubicin (Ellence) both have single-agent activity in a number of cancers, and they have different toxicity profiles. John L. Marshall, MD, and colleagues at the Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, DC, have been working on a phase I trial of epirubicin in combination with irinotecan in patients with various advanced cancers. Dr. Marshall, associate professor and director of Developmental Therapeutics and GI Oncology at the Lombardi Cancer Center reported that doses had to be lowered after the original protocol produced serious myelosuppression in the first four patients treated, but the study has recently reopened.

‘Dealer’s Choice’ Rectal Cancer Trial Proposed

September 01, 2001

CHICAGO-A "dealer’s choice" rectal cancer trial in which treatment would be chosen by the physician and patient together has been proposed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Gastrointestinal Intestinal Intergroup. The Intergroup now includes research groups from the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the North Central Cancer Treatment Group, the NCI Canada, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the Southwest Oncology Group.

Pain and Mood Disturbance Predict Patient Quality of Life

September 01, 2001

SAN DIEGO, California-Few studies have addressed the psychological effect of multiple myeloma, even though the disease has a discouraging prognosis and is often associated with significant pain. To learn more about this issue, Angela Poulos, RN, CNS, MS, a clinical nurse specialist in radiation oncology at the Mayo Clinic, examined the link between pain, mood disturbance, and quality of life (QOL) in these patients.

Timing of Androgen Deprivation May Affect Prostate Cancer

September 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-The timing of androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer may well affect disease-specific survival, according to two studies presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting.

Paclitaxel-Estramustine Improves Survival

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer benefited from a regimen combining paclitaxel (Taxol) and estramustine (Emcyt, Estracyt) in two phase II trials discussed at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Irinotecan Plus Cisplatin Surpasses Previous Combinations in Extensive Small-Cell Lung Cancer

September 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-Irinotecan (Camptosar)/cisplatin (Platinol) combination therapy was significantly more effective and less toxic than standard etoposide (VePesid)/cisplatin in phase II trials, according to Alan B. Sandler, MD. The combination is now being tested in larger clinical studies. These confirmatory studies will use a 21-day cycle of irinotecan/cisplatin rather than the 28-day cycle used in preliminary studies.

Irinotecan Added to SU-5416, 5-FU, and Leucovorin in Phase I/II Trial

September 01, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-Irinotecan (Camptosar) has been added to the combination of SU-5416/5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin, and is being tested in a phase I/II study in metastatic colorectal cancer. That study is being conducted at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Due to dose-limiting toxicity, the schedule and/or dose will be altered to make it more tolerable, according to Jordan D. Berlin, MD, assistant professor of medicine and oncology at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Combined-Modality Therapy in Lung Cancer Yields Encouraging Results

September 01, 2001

NASHVILLE,Tennessee-"The significant discovery of the 1980s was that chemoradiotherapy is better than radiation alone for treating locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer," stated Hak Choy, MD. "In the 1990s we learned that concurrent chemoradiotherapy is better than a sequential schedule. Our task now is to discover which drug regimen is best." Dr. Choy is professor and vice-chair of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Irinotecan/Cisplatin Studied as Initial and as Second-Line Treatment in Upper GI Cancers

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON-Irinotecan (Camptosar)/cisplatin (Platinol) is being studied as induction therapy for carcinoma of the esophagus and in a separate trial as second-line therapy of advanced gastric carcinoma. Jaffer A. Ajani, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, presented information on the two trials.

Novel Erythropoiesis Stimulating Protein Reduces Need for Transfusions in Cancer Patients

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Novel erythropoiesis stimulating protein (NESP, darbepoetin-alfa, Aranesp) is an investigational recombinant erythropoietic protein that binds to the erythropoietin receptor and stimulates erythropoiesis by the same mechanism as recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa, Procrit, Epogen).

Southwest Oncology Group Studies Vitamin E, Selenium to Prevent Prostate Cancer

September 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-Researchers have begun accruing 32,400 men for a long-term prostate cancer study that will test whether selenium and/or vitamin E can prevent the disease. The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) will coordinate the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Trial (SELECT) at more than 400 sites in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Participants will be followed for up to 12 years.

What to Say to Patients When Palliation Is the Best Option

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-There is no shortage of educational programs on terminal care, advance directives, and breaking bad news to cancer patients. However, an equally challenging task is often overlooked in these training sessions: what to say when treatment fails to cure or control the disease.

FDA Reviews Approval Issues With Cancer Advocates

September 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Data from patients granted "compassionate use" of an investigational cancer drug are examined but not usually pooled with controlled clinical trial findings when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers whether to approve a new drug application (NDA), according to Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Division of Oncologic Drug Products.

Irinotecan/Gemcitabine Plus Radiation Tested in Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

September 01, 2001

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina-Preliminary data from a phase II trial of induction irinotecan (Camptosar)/gemcitabine (Gemzar) followed by twice-weekly gemcitabine and radiation in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer show partial responses in 2 of 7 evaluable patients. There were no local progressions, and median time to progression of 6 months, according to A. William Blackstock, MD. Dr. Blackstock is assistant professor at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Researchers Outline Agenda to Elucidate Caregivers’ Experience

September 01, 2001

EAST LANSING, Mich-Although much of cancer care now takes place in the outpatient and home setting, the oncology care system has not fully incorporated "family care" for patients at home. While this shift has translated into increased family involvement in day-to-day care, there are few documented, effective strategies to guide family members caring for patients with advanced cancer.

COX-2 Inhibitors Added to Combination Chemotherapy in Advanced Colorectal Cancer

September 01, 2001

PORTLAND, Oregon-"Very preliminary data suggest that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors can be safely used in combination with irinotecan (Camptosar), and even more preliminary data suggest that such combinations are active in advanced colorectal cancer," reported Charles Blanke, MD. He explained that COX-2 is overexpressed in the majority of human colorectal cancers. Dr. Blanke is director of the GI Malignancy Program at the Oregon Cancer Institute in Portland.

Topoisomerase I Inhibitors Promising as Therapy for CNS Tumors

September 01, 2001

DURHAM, North Carolina-Topoisomerase-I inhibitors in combination with carmustine (BiCNU, Gliadel) or temozolomide (Temodar) have produced promising early results in patients with malignant gliomas, according to Henry S. Friedman, MD. He is the James B. Powell, Jr., Professor of Neuro-Oncology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Successful After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

September 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy, which is "evolving as a possible alternative" to complete axillary node dissection in breast cancer, can be performed as successfully in patients who have received neoadjuvant chemotherapy as in patients who have not, said Eleftherios Mamounas, MD, of Aultman Cancer Center, Canton, Ohio, and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).

Early Adjuvant Radiotherapy Reduces Postprostatectomy Recurrences

September 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-After prostatectomy, early adjuvant radiation therapy for margin-positive disease appears to significantly decrease the rate of biochemical failure, according to a report from the American Urological Association annual meeting (abstract 684).

Cell Surface Molecules and Receptors Tested as Targets in Treating Colon Cancer Metastases

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON-Colon cancer researchers are studying a variety of cell surface molecules and receptors as potential targets for new treatments aimed particularly at preventing or treating metastatic disease. Lee Ellis, MD, professor of surgery and cancer biology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discussed his group’s current work in three new areas: angiopoietins as a target for blocking tumor angiogenesis, integrins, and the insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) system.

Anti-Epidermal Growth Factor Antibody May Extend Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-In an effort to extend the activity of gemcitabine (Gemzar) against pancreatic cancer, researchers have paired an investigational chimeric monoclonal antibody, IMC-C225 (cetuximab) with the standard chemotherapy. IMC-C225 selectively binds to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

Terminally Ill Cancer Patients Often Fail to Seek Pain Relief

September 01, 2001

BETHESDA, Maryland-In a survey of terminally ill patients (half of them with cancer), only about one third of those with moderate to severe pain had requested more therapy from their physician during the previous month.

Xcytrin Is Well Tolerated in Glioblastoma and Glioma Trials

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Motexafin gadolinium (Xcytrin), an experimental drug that makes brain tumors more sensitive to radiation, appears to be well tolerated in adults with primary glioblastoma multiforme and children with gliomas, according to preliminary results from two phase I trials presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Irinotecan and Taxane Regimens Tested Against SCLC

September 01, 2001

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut-‘‘We’ve hit the wall in management of small- cell lung cancer (SCLC). We need a paradigm shift," John R. Murren, MD, stated. He is associate professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Guidelines Help Ensure Quality of Breast Cancer Care

September 01, 2001

CHICAGO-The decisions doctors make regarding breast cancer care vary widely, as do the guidelines that these doctors may reference when making treatment decisions. Speaking at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University’s annual Health Policy Symposium, Stephen B. Edge, MD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the State University of New York-Buffalo, discussed several breast cancer practice guidelines and the means by which they can become most useful.

Chemotherapy Plus Irinotecan, Paclitaxel, Carboplatin Shows Activity

September 01, 2001

CHICAGO-Preliminary results of a phase I trial of induction chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy with irinotecan (Camptosar), paclitaxel (Taxol), and carboplatin (Paraplatin) showed that this approach is feasible and active in stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), reported Ann M. Mauer, MD. The dose-limiting toxicity when combining these three drugs with concurrent chest radiotherapy was neutropenia, and weekly delivery of the regimen was not feasible at the originally planned doses. Dr. Mauer is assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois.

Drug Reimportation Rejected Again

September 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-A second Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tommy G. Thompson, has refused to allow the reimporting of US-made prescription drugs back into the country. Former HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala made the same determination last December.

Interim Data on Irinotecan in Relapsed/Refractory NHL Shows Substantial Activity

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON, Texas-Interim data from a trial of relatively high-dose irinotecan (Camptosar) given every 3 weeks show that the regimen can be tolerated and has substantial activity in relapsed aggressive or indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL). Andreas H. Sarris, MD, PhD, associate internist in the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, discussed the ongoing study. "Irinotecan weekly schedules have been associated with both early and delayed diarrhea, which is often dose limiting. Recent studies have demonstrated that 300 mg/m² IV every 21 days is active and tolerated in patients with colon cancer," Dr. Sarris said.

Oxaliplatin/Irinotecan Promising in Advanced Colon Cancer

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-In advanced colorectal cancer, the combination of oxaliplatin (investigational) and irinotecan (Camptosar) is beneficial as a first-line therapy, according to phase II clinical trial results presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 538).

National Toxicology Program Will Study Cell Phone Safety

September 01, 2001

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC-The National Toxicology Program (NTP) will probe questions about the safety of cellular telephones in a 5-year series of rodent studies. The agency said that the study is in response to the requests from citizens who claim cell phones have caused a variety of health problems. Most studies done to date have failed to show that cell phones cause any ill effects, but many of these studies were funded by the cell-phone industry.

Biological Agents Provide Targeted Therapy for Lung Cancer

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON-‘‘We appear to be approaching a ceiling for benefits of cytotoxic chemotherapy in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). All recent randomized studies have had similar results, and there has been no clear efficacy benefit from nonplatinum combinations or triplets. Certainly for advanced disease and even for early disease, where metastases kill most patients, a paradigm shift is needed, and that shift will probably be to targeted therapy that works against specific biologic pathways," said Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD. Dr. Herbst is assistant professor of medicine and chief of the Section of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

Phase III Trial of Irinotecan and Gemcitabine Underway in Pancreatic Cancer

September 01, 2001

TAMPA, Florida-Phase II studies have shown that the combination of irinotecan (Camptosar) and gemcitabine (Gemzar) are well tolerated and active in advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer, and this combination is now being tested in randomized phase II and phase III trials, said Caio Max S. Rocha Lima, MD. Dr. Rocha Lima is assistant professor of medicine at the University of South Florida’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Preoperative Chemotherapy Shows Promise in Esophageal Cancer

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Two cycles of preoperative cisplatin (Platinol) and fluorouracil (5-FU) may improve survival in patients with resectable esophageal cancer, compared with surgery alone, according to a large study from the United Kingdom presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 502).

‘Art of the Brain’ Raises Funds for Brain Cancer Research at UCLA

September 01, 2001

LOS ANGELES-Diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor 8 years ago, Mario del Valle chose not to be physically defeated. His artist mother, Pilar del Valle, helped inspire him to learn to use his left hand. Mr. del Valle, born in Colombia and now living in Northridge, California, overcame vision and other obstacles to produce watercolors such as the two shown above. Mr. del Valle is a participant in the UCLA Neuro-Oncology Program’s Art of the Brain, which encourages brain cancer patients and their caregivers to use creativity to regain self-worth and personal power. Timothy Cloughsey, MD, is director of the UCLA Neuro-Oncology Program

GE Introduces Discovery LS

September 01, 2001

WAUKESHA, Wisconsin-GE Medical Systems, a unit of General Electric Company, has introduced the GE Discovery LS. The digital system combines anatomical imaging from the company’s fast CT scanner, the GE LightSpeed Plus, with functional imaging of metabolic activity from its most advanced positron emission tomography (PET) system, the GE Advance NXi.

Irinotecan, Cisplatin, and Radiotherapy Tested in Esophageal Cancer

September 01, 2001

NEW YORK-Esophageal cancer, though relatively rare in the United States, is deadly, with a 90% mortality for patients treated with conventional therapy. David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, assistant attending physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, described new multimodal attempts to improve these outcomes.

Irinotecan Active in Platinum-Refractory Cervical Cancer

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON, Texas-Irinotecan (Camptosar) is active in platinum-refractory cervical cancer and should be tested with cisplatin (Platinol) in randomized trials, declared Claire F. Verschraegen, MD. The use of irinotecan might enable clinicians in developing countries (where radiotherapy equipment is in short supply) to downsize many cervical cancers to resectable size, Dr. Verschraegen added. She is assistant professor in the Division of Cancer Medicine Section of Gynecologic and Medical Therapeutics at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

Wellness Specialists Foster Cancer Screening and Healthy Lifestyle

September 01, 2001

SAN DIEGO, California-Screenings and a healthy life style are critical parts of cancer prevention, and, to that end, some nurse practitioners at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Prevention and Wellness Program have been given a novel assignment: They are wellness specialists.

Capecitabine Plus Irinotecan Tested as Colorectal Cancer Regimen

September 01, 2001

BIRMINGHAM, England-Combining capecitabine (Xeloda) and irinotecan (Camptosar) is feasible at doses effective for treating colorectal cancer, according to David Kerr, MD, DSc. He reviewed early capecitabine/irinotecan trials and said that the combination should be evaluated in phase III trials against metastatic cancer, as adjuvant treatment, and using oral formulations of both drugs. Dr. Kerr is professor of clinical oncology at the CRC Institute for Cancer Studies, Birmingham, England.

FDA to Include Advocates in Planning of Phase III Trials

September 01, 2001

ROCKVILLE, Md-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expanding the role of patient advocates in the approval process of cancer drugs. For some years, patient representatives have participated in meetings of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC). FDA’s new corps of patient consultants will initially participate in discussions of the design of phase III clinical trial protocols, as well as ODAC proceedings.

Yttrium-90 Within Glass Spheres for Mixed Hepatic Cancers

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-Glass microspheres embedded with yttrium-90 (TheraSphere) infused into the liver appears to be a promising treatment strategy for mixed hepatic cancers, with possible application in other cancers, according to a poster presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO abstract 1038).

Mitomycin Can Set Up Some Solid Tumors for Destruction by Irinotecan

September 01, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio-Mitomycin (Mutamycin) can make some solid tumors flare high levels of topoisomerase-I and set them up for destruction by topoisomerase-I inhibitors such as irinotecan (Camptosar), according to Miguel A. Villalona, MD. Dr. Villalona is assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Letrozole Inhibits Estrogen Activity Better Than Tamoxifen

September 01, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO-The aromatase inhibitor letrozole (Femara) may be clinically superior to tamoxifen (Nolvadex) in breast cancer because, unlike tamoxifen, it has no agonist properties, results of a phase III preoperative endocrine therapy trial suggest.

Integrating COX-2 Inhibition with Chemoradiation for Rectal Cancer

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON-M. D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers have launched a phase I trial combining pelvic radiation, irinotecan (Camptosar), and celecoxib (Celebrex) in patients with metastatic rectal cancer. Christopher H. Crane, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center described the research leading up to this trial

Irinotecan Plus Cetuximab Shows Promise Against Colon Cancer

September 01, 2001

NEW YORK CITY-Promising early data are emerging from a phase II colon cancer trial of irinotecan (Camptosar) plus cetuximab (IMC-C225), a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), reported Leonard Saltz, MD. He is associate attending physician on the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

COLT Enters the Tobacco Wars

September 01, 2001

WASHINGTON-Tobacco control groups and organized labor have joined forces to try to reduce smoking among the nation’s union workers and the exposure of their families to second-hand smoke. The American Legacy Foundation, an educational organization created as part of the $246 billion tobacco settlement, is underwriting the Consortium on Organized Labor and Tobacco Control (COLT) with a $1.6 million grant.

APNs in Outpatient Management of Febrile Neutropenia

September 01, 2001

SAN DIEGO, California-Clinical trials over the last decade have led to the development of pathways in which certain febrile neutropenic cancer patients are managed as outpatients. At M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, advanced practice nurses (APNs) take an active, complex role in the management of these patients. Their role was summarized in a poster presentation at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 26th Annual Congress (abstract 227).

Compound Ultrasound Improves Assessment of Nodules

September 01, 2001

SEATTLE, Washington-Compound ultrasound imaging improves the evaluation of solid breast nodules and the retroareolar region of the breast, according to two studies from University Health Network, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada. The studies were reported at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

Investigational GnRH Antagonist Reduces PSA Without Hormonal Surge

September 01, 2001

ANAHEIM, California-Abarelix, an injectable gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist, reduces serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and testosterone levels more than standard therapy, with less hormonal "surge," according to several studies presented at the American Urological Association (AUA) annual meeting.

Researchers in Recurrent/Resistant Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Test Irinotecan

September 01, 2001

HOUSTON, Texas-David M. Gershenson, MD, painted a bleak picture of current treatment for advanced ovarian cancer and suggested that new agents such as topoisomerase inhibitors should be studied further in clinical trials. Dr. Gershenson said that although CA-125 and transvaginal ultrasound are used for screening, they have limited efficacy, with the result that over 70% of ovarian cancers have already spread beyond the ovary by the time they are detected.

Two New Lung Cancer Studies Test Irinotecan Plus Gemcitabine

September 01, 2001

TAMPA, Florida-Irinotecan (Camptosar)/gemcitabine (Gemzar) combinations are being studied in two lung cancer trials. Caio Max S. Rocha Lima, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of South Florida’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, presented overviews of the protocols.

‘Knots’ in DNA a Focus of Future Cancer Therapy

September 01, 2001

NEW ORLEANS-"Knots" in DNA may become potential targets of cancer therapeutics, according to an investigator who described these new structures at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR abstract 1123).