Oncology NEWS International Vol 11 No 1

ODAC Sends Mixed Message on New Gliadel Wafer Indication

February 01, 2002

SILVER SPRING, Maryland-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) sent the Food and Drug Administration a mixed message in its votes regarding a new indication for Gliadel Wafer (polifeprosan 20 with carmustine implant, Guilford

ONCC Certification Test Results Are Announced

January 01, 2002

PITTSBURGH-The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) has announced the results of certification tests taken September 22, 2001. In a news release, the ONCC said that 154 registered nurses have earned their Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN) credential. Of the 233 nurses who took the test, 66% earned a passing score, including 123 newly certified AOCNs and 31 renewals.

Rituximab Ups Survival in Aggressive and Indolent NHL

January 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Presentations at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) showed increased survival for patients with aggressive and indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) who received the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan) in addition to standard CHOP chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone).

Topotecan Used in Aggressive Front-Line Therapy for SCLC

January 01, 2002

NEW YORK-A study of an aggressive front-line regimen for limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is proceeding in a community-based setting. The regimen consists of topotecan (Hycamtin), carboplatin (Paraplatin), and paclitaxel (Taxol) along

Depsipeptide Shows Activity in T-Cell Lymphoma

January 01, 2002

MIAMI BEACH-Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have emerged as promising new candidates in T-cell lymphoma therapy. Phase I data reported by National Cancer Institute (NCI) investigators showed responses in all patients treated with

FDG-PET Useful in Newly Diagnosed and Recurrent NSCLC

January 01, 2002

EAST MELBOURNE, Australia-Two studies from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, East Melbourne, Australia, have shown the utility of 18F-FDG-PET for newly diagnosed and suspected recurrent non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These

Adjuvant Anastrozole Superior to Tamoxifen in Huge ATAC Breast Cancer Trial

January 01, 2002

SAN ANTONIO-In the largest breast cancer trial ever conducted, anastrozole (Arimidex) emerged the winner in a head-to-head comparison with tamoxifen (Nolvadex) in early-stage breast cancer. The impressive results, in both efficacy and tolerability, were reported at the 24th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 8).

ODAC Backs Adding HER-2 DNA Test to Herceptin Package Insert

January 01, 2002

SILVER SPRING, Maryland-The FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has unanimously recommended that the agency amend the labeling of Herceptin (trastuzumab, Genentech) to include a new gene-detection test to identify women with metastatic breast cancer who are likely to benefit from the therapy. The 16-to-0 vote backed adding the PathVysion HER-2 DNA Probe Kit to the labeling. The kit is made by Vysis, Inc., now owned by Abbott Laboratories.

FDA and VA Plan Joint AIDS Study

January 01, 2002

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-Researchers at the Food and Drug Administration and the Veteran’s Administrations will join in an effort to determine whether HIV infection or certain drugs used to treat it cause avascular necrosis (AVN). The disorder,

Breast Conservation Increases With On-Site Radiation Unit

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-The rate of breast-conserving surgery with adjuvant radiation therapy increased at a North Carolina community hospital (Durham Regional) after Duke University Medical Center radiation oncologists opened an on-site clinic. The study results were presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 87).

Washington State Hikes Cigarette Tax

January 01, 2002

OLYMPIA, Washington-The overwhelming approval of a significant tax increase on cigarettes by the residents of Washington State has raised hopes among public health groups that other states will follow suit. By a margin of 65% to 35%,

Moffitt’s Diet Guidelines for Immunocompromised Patients

January 01, 2002

SAN DIEGO--The staff at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa has initiated new practices that allow immunocompromised patients to eat fresh fruits and vegetables without worrying about bacterial infection, said Linda Rice, RN, OCN, RN III, staff nurse at Moffitt’s Medical Oncology/Hematology unit.

AMA Approves New CPT Code for Serum HER-2 Test

January 01, 2002

TARRYTOWN, New York-The American Medical Association (AMA) has approved a unique Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for the serum HER-2/neu oncoprotein test. The CPT code, 83950 became effective January 1, 2002, for most health insurance programs.

NCI Formalizes Role of Advocates

January 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-In what it calls "a landmark initiative," the National Cancer Institute has established a large network of cancer advocates to provide insights and feedback to its researchers and staff. The new group-Consumer

Better Prognosis for Outer Quadrant Breast Cancers

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Survival rates are significantly higher for women who have outer quadrant breast cancer, when compared with patients who have an inner quadrant lesion, according to results presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO abstract 198). At 20 years, the improvement in survival for women with outer quadrant lesions ranged from 2.2% to 9.4%, depending on age group.

Determining Which Breast Cancer Patients Can Skip Chemotherapy

January 01, 2002

CHICAGO-The overwhelming majority of women with invasive breast cancer who are node-negative, both those with positive and negative estrogen receptors, routinely receive chemotherapy today. "But it’s worthwhile to step back and ask

Establishing Roles for the Newer Hormonal Therapies

January 01, 2002

CHICAGO-The role of endocrine therapy in breast cancer is still evolving, with about half a dozen agents contending as players in the metastatic, adjuvant, and chemoprevention settings. At the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Conference, William

Ethnicity and Pain Reviewed

January 01, 2002

ALBUQUERQUE-"Ethnicity is a relatively understudied concept in pain medicine," David B. Morris, PhD, writes in his review of ethnicity and pain (Pain Clinical Updates vol. IX, no. 4, November 2001). Existing research, he said, has provided "few firm generalizations" about the relationship between ethnicity and pain. This is due, in part, to the fact that both pain and ethnicity are "multidimensional, malleable, and shaped by culture."

ODAC Reaffirms Safety of Camptosar Bolus Injections

January 01, 2002

SILVER SPRING, Maryland-Due to concerns about the postmarketing safety of the bolus or Saltz regimen of Camptosar (irinotecan, Pharmacia) combined with fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (IFL) as a first-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer, the Food and Drug Administration asked its Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) to review the issue.

Capecitabine/Oxaliplatin Combo Safe and Effective in Advanced Colorectal Cancer

January 01, 2002

LISBON, Portugal-The combination of capecitabine (Xeloda) and oxaliplatin (investigational in the United States) produced a 55% response rate in a phase II study of patients with advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer, Chris Twelves, MD, of Beatson Oncology Centre, Glasgow, Scotland, said at the 11th European Cancer Conference (abstract 1005). In addition, he said, 32% of patients in the study had stable disease.

Tumor Hypoxia Identifies Cancer Patients With Worse Prognosis

January 01, 2002

CHICAGO-The degree of oxygenation of malignancies in the neck may indicate which patients with squamous cell carcinoma should receive adjuvant therapy, according to a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center.

Apomine Stabilizes Melanoma, Has Potential for Prevention

January 01, 2002

NEW YORK-A potential chemopreventive agent against melanoma stopped metastatic spread in some patients in a phase I clinical trial, according to a report presented at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XIX (abstract 69). The agent,

Survival Advantage for Docetaxel Combination in NSCLC

January 01, 2002

LISBON, Portugal-In patients with advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), first-line docetaxel (Taxotere) plus cisplatin (Platinol) has been shown to offer a survival advantage relative to a standard regimen of vinorelbine

The Future of Bioethics: A Talk With Dr. Linda Emanuel

January 01, 2002

In this article (the first of a two-part interview), Linda L. Emanuel, MD, PhD, discusses bioethics. Part I highlights end-of-life care and physician-assisted suicide, while part II, which will appear in an upcoming issue of ONI, focuses on organizational ethics and future issues in bioethics.

Medicare Simplifies Provider Enrollment Form

January 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun using a simplified form intended to make it easier for physicians and other health care providers to become eligible for reimbursement for the care and services

Clear Margins With Laparoscopic Prostatectomy

January 01, 2002

NEW ORLEANS-Transperitoneal laparoscopic radical prostatectomy achieves negative surgical margins comparable to those achieved with the open retropubic approach, according to a study from University of Massachusetts Medical School

Diagnostic Dilemma

January 01, 2002

A 49-year-old woman presents with increasing constipation. She has noted intermittent bright red blood on the toilet tissue. She denies abdominal pain, anorexia, weight loss, and fever. She has a long history of constipation treated with "natural, herbal remedies." Her medical history is unremarkable. She is taking no other medications. Her surgical history is positive for hysterectomy for fibroids. Her family history is positive for colon cancer in her maternal grandmother.

HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis Guidelines

January 01, 2002

ATLANTA-Health care personnel exposed to HIV should be evaluated within hours (rather than days) after their exposure and should be tested for HIV at baseline (ie, to establish infection status at the time of exposure), according to the latest HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) guidelines from the US Public Health Service [MMWR 50:(RR11):1-42, 2001].

Octaphonic Sound Reduces Distress During Therapy

January 01, 2002

SAN DIEGO--Anxiety and other symptoms of distress that occur during radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions were found to be reduced when patients were exposed to octaphonic sound, according to Sook Kim, RN, BSN, a nurse clinician and charge nurse at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Ambulatory Treatment Center.

New Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor More Potent Than STI-571 in CML Cell Lines

January 01, 2002

MIAMI BEACH -The Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor PD173955 (PD17) binds to the target ATP binding pocket even more efficiently than STI-571 (imatinib mesylate, Gleevec). It shows 15 to 20 times greater efficacy in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cell lines because it can bind to either open or closed activation loops.

Ashcroft Decision on Opioids Is Blow to End-of-Life Care

January 01, 2002

ST. LOUIS, Missouri-United States Attorney General John Ashcroft "is putting a spoke in the wheel" of end-of-life care, said Karen Stanley, RN, MSN, AOCN, FAAN. In a decision designed to prevent the implementation of Oregon’s Death

NMDP Launches Minority Cord Blood Recruitment Initiative

January 01, 2002

MINNEAPOLIS-Give Life Twice. That’s the message behind a new National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) pilot project designed to increase the number of minority umbilical cord blood units listed on the NMDP Registry. Patients of minority race and ethnicity are less likely than Caucasians to find a matched donor in the Registry, the NMDP said in a press release. The NMDP’s goal is to collect 2,000 units of cord blood from African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander donors.

Group Psychosocial Therapy Improves Mood And Pain in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-For patients with metastatic breast cancer, adding weekly group therapy to standard care does not appear to improve survival, although psychological and other benefits are seen in certain patients, according to results of a

Concurrent Chemo/Radiotherapy in Oropharynx Cancer

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Chemotherapy given concomitantly with radiotherapy improves disease-free survival rates in patients with stages III and IV oropharynx carcinoma, according to final results of the 94-01 GORTEC study. The findings were presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO plenary 2).

Stanford V and HAART Feasible in HIV Patients With Hodgkin's Disease

January 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has significantly changed the prognosis of human immunodeficiency disease (HIV). However, the outcomes of patients with Hodgkin’s disease (HD) in the HIV setting are still poor. According to Michele Spina, MD, this is mainly due to the short duration of complete response.

Herceptin/DM1 Conjugate Promising in Preclinical Studies

January 01, 2002

MIAMI BEACH-Trastuzumab (Herceptin), the monoclonal antibody that blocks HER-2, has been chemically linked to the maytansinoid DM1, a powerful cytotoxic agent that attacks tubulin, resulting in a conjugate that is dramatically more effective

Radiotherapy Dose Escalation Ups Survival in Some Prostate Cancer Patients

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Radiotherapy dose escalation is critical to improving survival in some patients with prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 247). In the study, patients were followed for 8 to 12 years after treatment.

Switching to Low-Tar Cigarettes Fails to Reduce Risk of Tobacco-Related Diseases

January 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Smoking "light" or "ultralight" cigarettes, which are promoted as less hazardous to health than regular brands, does not reduce a person’s risk of developing lung cancer or other tobacco-related diseases, according to a new

Andrew C. von Eschenbach Appointed New NCI Director

January 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-President Bush moved quickly to appoint a new director of the National Cancer Institute, naming Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, a professor of urology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a cancer survivor.

Hypoxia-Targeting Agent in Phase III Lung Cancer

January 01, 2002

NEW YORK-Two large phase III trials using tirapazamine (investigational, also known as tirazone) in triplet regimens for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are rapidly accruing patients, according to a report presented at the Chemotherapy

Multiple Myeloma and NHL Patients Respond to LDP-341

January 01, 2002

CHICAGO-Eight out of nine patients with advanced multiple myeloma responded to LDP-341, a proteasome inhibitor formerly called PS-341, during a phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies, according to preliminary results reported at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting.

Promising Results With Platinums and Taxanes in SCLC

January 01, 2002

LISBON, Portugal-New phase III trials testing novel combinations of platinums and taxanes in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) are yielding encouraging results, according to two studies presented at the 11th European Cancer Conference (ECCO).

Panel Urges Coverage for PET in Breast Cancer

January 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-A federal panel has recommended that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) cover the use of positron emission tomography (PET) as an adjunct to standard staging tests in detecting locoregional or distant

NIEHS Funds Six-Member Toxicogenomics Consortium

January 01, 2002

RESEARCH TRIANGLE, North Carolina-Five academic research centers will join the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to form a consortium to study how genes interact with the environment to cause cancer and other

Study Seeks to Identify Patients at Risk for Readmission

January 01, 2002

SAN DIEGO--Nursing staff at Fox Chase Cancer Center are investigating the factors that put cancer patients at risk for hospital readmission, said Carolyn Weaver, RN, MSN, AOCN, a clinical nurse specialist and patient education coordinator

Collaborative Program for Multiple Myeloma

January 01, 2002

NEW CANAAN, Connecticut-The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) has announced the recipients of the first MMRF Collaborative Program Grant, which is funding $1.5 million over 3 years to three centers of excellence in myeloma

80 Gy Radiotherapy After Chemotherapy Is Feasible in Lung Cancer

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Patients with inoperable, locally advanced lung cancer can tolerate up to 80 Gy of conformally delivered radiation therapy, given in 1.6 cGy fractions twice daily, following carboplatin (Paraplatin)/paclitaxel (Taxol) or carboplatin/vinorelbine (Navelbine), according to a phase I study presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 35).

ACCC Launches New Public Policy Website

January 01, 2002

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has launched a new website (www.accc-cancer.org/publicpolicy) dedicated to regulatory and legislative issues affecting patients with cancer. The website will assist in the education of patients and their families about public policy that affects cancer care.

Two NIH Institutes Will Fund New Synchrotron Beamlines

January 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-Two National Institutes of Health (NIH) units will jointly fund the design and construction of three new synchrotron beamlines as a way to increase x-ray crystallography studies of proteins.

Radiotherapy Before TME Reduces Rectal Cancer Recurrence

January 01, 2002

LISBON, Portugal-Short-term preoperative radiotherapy significantly lowers the risk of local recurrence in patients with rectal cancer who undergo standardized total mesorectal excision (TME), Cornelis J.H. van de Velde, MD, PhD, reported at

Compound Discovered That Reverses Gene ‘Silencing’

January 01, 2002

SEATTLE-Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered a chemical compound that reverses a process called silencing, in which genes or chromosomal regions are shut off (Proc Natl Acad Sci 98:15113-

Gene-Environment Interactions Major Research Challenge

January 01, 2002

Every 3 years, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) asks cancer researchers, advisory groups, and advocacy organizations to recommend important areas to which it should devote additional resources. NCI defines such "extraordinary opportunities for investment" as "broad-based, overarching areas of scientific pursuit that hold tremendous promise for significantly expanding our understanding of cancer."This is the first in a series of interviews exploring the progress and promise of NCI’s six current extraordinary opportunities: genes and the environment, cancer imaging, defining the signature of cancer cells, molecular targets of prevention and treatment, research on tobacco and tobacco-related cancers, and cancer communications.

Consider Radiotherapy After Prostatectomy When PSA Is Undetectable

January 01, 2002

CHICAGO-Although radiotherapy has been administered after prostatectomy for decades to improve disease-free survival in men who have pathologic risk factors, its use in high-risk men who have undetectable PSA levels after prostatectomy is controversial

Post-treatment PSA Nadir Predicts Prostate Cancer Outcome

January 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Patients with lower PSA values after radiation therapy are more likely to be alive and free from distant metastasis 10 years later than those with higher values, according to study results presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the

Toremifene in Advanced Breast Cancer: Phase II Trials

January 01, 1997

PALM SPRINGS, Calif--A large body of research on toremifene (Fareston) has been accumulated in research carried out over more than a decade in Europe, the United States, and the former Soviet Union, John T. Hamm, MD, of the University of Louisville and Alliant Health Systems, said in his presentation on the phase II trials of the agent.

Research May Lead to Target-Specific Antiestrogens

January 01, 1997

SAN ANTONIO--Hormone responsiveness is one of the few prognostic markers for breast cancer that actually predicts a better prognosis, Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, PhD, said in her William L. McGuire Memorial Lecture at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Genetic Counseling Dilemma Debated at ESMO 21st Congress

January 01, 1997

VIENNA--The identification of genes that predispose to cancer raises two dilemmas for clinical oncologists. The first is whether to offer genetic testing to healthy relatives of cancer patients who carry a culprit gene, and the second, thornier problem is whether advice for healthy carriers should extend beyond avoidance of risk factors and regular screening.

Three Types of Genetic Modification Under Study as Means to Improve Cancer Treatment

January 01, 1997

NEW YORK--Three types of genetic modification--chemosensitization of cancer cells, suppression of oncogene function, and chemoprotection of hematopoietic cells--are under study as a means of improving cancer treatment, Albert Deisseroth, MD, PhD, said at the 15th International Bayer Pharma Press Seminar.

Sestamibi Imaging Detects Cancer in Both Dense and Fatty Breasts

January 01, 1997

CHICAGO--Scintimammogra-phy, a nuclear medicine procedure developed in the early 1990s, has potential as a diagnostic tool for identifying breast cancer in women whose disease hides within dense tissue, said Janet Baum, MD, a radiologist at New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston