Oncology NEWS International Vol 11 No 4

Infection Rate Low With Peripheral and Nontunneled CVCs Nontunneled Catheters

April 01, 2002

CHICAGO-Central venous catheters (CVCs) used to deliver chemotherapy to cancer patients traditionally have been long-term tunneled or surgically implanted ports. These types of central venous catheters were reported as early as the 1970s to be associated with the lowest levels of infection and the greatest durability.

Virtual Shared Specimen Resource ‘Essential’

April 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-A National Cancer Institute (NCI) panel has declared the creation of a Virtual Shared Specimen Resource (VSSR) to be "absolutely necessary for advancing the detection, classification, and treatment of gynecologic cancer."

DHA Conjugate Increases Paclitaxel Uptake by Tumor Cells

April 01, 2002

NEW YORK-A novel taxane/fatty acid conjugate designed to increase taxane activity in tumor cells and decrease toxicity has shown promising results in a phase I trial of patients with solid tumors. Ross Donehower, MD, professor of oncology and medicine, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, presented the findings at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XIX (abstract 73).

Letrozole Superior to Tamoxifen in Metastatic Breast Cancer

April 01, 2002

SAN ANTONIO-The aromatase inhibitor letrozole (Femara) should be considered for first-line hormonal therapy in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer, according to the final analysis of a pivotal phase III trial comparing the agent with tamoxifen (Nolvadex).

S-8184 Paclitaxel Emulsion Promising in Phase I Study

April 01, 2002

NEW YORK-A paclitaxel emulsion has shown antitumor activity with low toxicity in phase I data, Howard A. Burris III, MD, said at a special session on late-breaking developments at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XIX. "This emulsion formulation of paclitaxel has the potential advantages of lower toxicity and higher efficacy than standard paclitaxel [Taxol]," said Dr. Burris, director of drug development, Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, Nashville.

HIV+ Veterans Have Higher Rates of Unusual Cancers

April 01, 2002

CHICAGO-For many years, researchers have known that individuals who are seropositive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at much greater risk of developing two forms of cancer-Kaposi’s sarcoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

A Clinician’s Perspective on ASCO 2001: Going After the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor

April 01, 2002

Among the most exciting new anticancer products presented at the 2001 ASCO meeting were new drugs that block the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). About 30% to 90% of carcinomas express high levels of EGFR. These include, among others, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and bladder cancer.

Online Breast Cancer Support Groups Beneficial

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-In recent years online chat rooms and list servers devoted to a vast array of special interests have become a staple of American life. Now a pilot project has shown that an internet support group significantly benefits women coping with breast cancer, said Mitch Golant, PhD, vice president of research and development for The Wellness Community (TWC) National, Santa Monica, California.

FDA Approves Zometa for Cancer-Related Bone Complications

April 01, 2002

EAST HANOVER, New Jersey-The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the Novartis drug Zometa (zoledronic acid for injection) for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma and patients with documented bone metastases from solid tumors, in conjunction with standard antineoplastic therapy.

New Blood Test for Early Ovarian Cancer in Clinical Trials

April 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-A new proteomics blood test for ovarian cancer (developed by researchers at the joint Food and Drug Administration/National Institutes of Health Clinical Proteomics Program) detected all 50 ovarian cancers in a proof-of-principal trial and is now being validated in a major study of recurrence in stage III/IV ovarian cancer.

Race Per Se Does Not Predict Extracapsular Prostate Cancer

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Surgeons have historically had a "feeling that black men are at the highest risk" of bad outcomes in prostate cancer, said Christopher R. Porter, MD, professor of urology, Stony Brook Hospital Medical Center, Stony Brook, New York. Their risk of dying from the disease is twice that of white men, and their risk of developing it is 1.7 times higher.

HIV-Related Lymphoma Differs in Those With Early vs Advanced HIV Infection

April 01, 2002

HOUSTON-Physicians at Ben Taub General Hospital, Houston, noticed that an unusual number of patients were presenting with lymphoma as their first AIDS-defining event. This observation prompted a retrospective study of all HIV-positive patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma presenting between 1989 and 2000.

Refractory Myeloma Responds to Proteasome Inhibitor

April 01, 2002

ORLANDO-The proteasome inhibitor MLN341 (formerly known as LDP-341 and PS-341) shows evidence of safety, biologic activity, and antitumor activity in the treatment of multiple myeloma, according to preliminary analysis of a phase II trial, Paul G. Richardson, MD, said at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (abstract 3223). [The proteasome is an intracellular enzyme present in the cytoplasm and nucleus.]

Disparity Between Cancer Research and Care Delivery a ‘Moral Issue’

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Despite the enormous progress that researchers have made against cancer, the unequal disease burden borne by minority and under-served populations constitutes "a moral and ethical dilemma for society," said Harold P. Freeman, MD, who chairs the President’s Cancer Panel and also serves as director of the NCI’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD).

Trastuzumab-Based Combos Effective in Advanced Cancer

April 01, 2002

SAN ANTONIO-Novel regimens pairing gemcitabine (Gemzar) and vinorelbine (Navelbine) with trastuzumab (Herceptin) showed significant antitumor activity and good tolerability in heavily pretreated HER-2-positive patients with metastatic breast cancer, in studies reported at the 24th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

HER-2 Predicts Efficacy of Hormonal Therapy in Breast Cancer

April 01, 2002

SAN ANTONIO-In first-line hormonal therapy for advanced breast cancer, elevated levels of HER-2/neu predict lower response rates and shorter time to disease progression, compared with normal HER-2 levels, according to a large international study.

IOM Reverses Finding of Childhood AML Link to Parent’s Vietnam Service

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-After further review, a committee of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has rescinded its earlier finding of a suggestive link between the exposure of veterans to herbicides used during the Vietnam War and an increased risk of their offspring developing acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). The committee’s reanalysis followed the finding that one study that it had relied on was in error.

Two Lymphoma Foundations Merge to Form the Lymphoma Research Foundation

April 01, 2002

LOS ANGELES-The Lymphoma Research Foundation of America (LRFA) and the New York-based Cure For Lymphoma Foundation (CFL) have merged to become the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), the nation’s only organization dedicated solely to funding lymphoma research and providing information, education, and support to all those touched by the disease.

‘Awareness Is Not Enough’ to Eliminate Racial Cancer Disparities

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Knowledge, research, and education alone will not end the cancer disparities among American populations, said numerous speakers at the opening session of the 8th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Underserved, and Cancer, presented by the Intercultural Cancer Council (ICC) and jointly sponsored by Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Alemtuzumab Produces Durable Responses in CLL

April 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Alemtuzumab (Campath-1H), a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to CD52, produced a response rate of 29% (including 7% complete responses) in heavily pretreated patients with CD52-expressing hematologic malignancies.

NCI Director Explains His Leadership Philosophy and Plans

April 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-During his first formal meeting with the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, spelled out his leadership philosophy, his intended directions as the new director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and several areas in which he plans to take rapid action.

Senator Feinstein Introduces National Cancer Act of 2002

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) has introduced legislation to update the National Cancer Act and "form a new battle plan to fight cancer and help us find a cure." Her bill-the National Cancer Act of 2002-would implement a number of the wide-ranging recommendations made last year by the National Cancer Legislation Advisory Committee (NCLAC).

InTouch and ASCO Announce New Cancer Information Feature

April 01, 2002

MELVILLE, New York-InTouch magazine, the Good Health Guide to Cancer Prevention and Treatment, has joined forces with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Beginning with the May 2002 issue, ASCO will contribute a regular page to the magazine, which is published six times a year.

HHS Secretary Supports Mammogram Screening

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Amid continuing controversy over the effectiveness of screening mammography for breast cancer, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has extended its recommendations to include women between the ages of 40 and 49, after concluding that the procedure reduces breast cancer deaths.

Breast Tumors in Black Women Have More Abnormal DNA

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Black women have long been known to suffer higher breast cancer mortality and to experience worse 5-year survival rates than whites. Even controlling for disease stage, they are more likely to fail treatment and have worse outcomes, said Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH. The question therefore arises, she said, whether these differences reflect biological variation or social inequality.

Sunlight May Protect Against a Variety of Cancers

April 01, 2002

BOSTON-Excessive sun exposure is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancer, but sun exposure appears to have a protective effect against a variety of other cancers, according to speakers at a symposium on sunlight at the 168th National Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Depression May Decrease Breast Cancer Screening

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-A definite link exists between mammography screening and lessened breast cancer mortality, but black women do not take full advantage of cancer screening, according to Janice S. Emerson, research associate, Center for Health Research, Tennessee State University, Nashville. Speaking at the American Psychological Association Conference on Enhancing Outcomes in Women’s Health, she presented findings from an HCFA-funded project, led by Dr. Baqar A. Husaini.

Diagnostic Dilemma

April 01, 2002

A 68-year-old man is referred for further evaluation and treatment of jaundice. He describes pruritus, intermittent mild midabdominal discomfort, and progressive weight loss. There is no history of fever. His history is significant for renal cell carcinoma with pulmonary metastasis.

HBV Vaccination Program Reduces Liver Cancer in Taiwan

April 01, 2002

Although liver cancer has a relatively low incidence in the United States, compared with other cancers, it is 10 times more common in many developing countries than in this country.[1] The incidence of liver cancer is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, China, southern Asia, and Japan.[2]

PSA Below 9 ng/mL Triggers Unnecessary Biopsies

April 01, 2002

STANFORD, Calif-Attempts to reduce prostate cancer mortality by ordering biopsies at ever-lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels are driving up health care costs and subjecting thousands of men to early prostatectomies they could safely defer for years, according to researchers at Stanford University Medical Center.

Speakers Call for Comprehensive Health Insurance for All

April 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Senator John Breaux and Congresswoman Donna Christianson, speaking at the National Patient Advocate Foundation’s Patient Congress III, called for comprehensive, available health care and health insurance for all, regardless of age, income, or employment status.

Five-Fraction Palliative Radiotherapy May Improve NSCLC Survival

April 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Patients with inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who receive 20 Gy of radiation therapy in five fractions achieved slightly superior palliation of thoracic symptoms than those receiving a single 10-Gy dose, according to a study presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 30). An unexpected finding was that patients receiving the five-fraction therapy survived significantly longer, the study authors said.

American Cancer Society Asks $5.69 Billion for NCI

February 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-The American Cancer Society (ACS) has offered a 13-point legislative agenda for 2002. The agenda backs President Bush’s request that Congress provide the National Institutes of Health $27.3 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2003, thus completing the doubling of the agency’s budget over 5 years.