Oncology NEWS International Vol 11 No 7

Translational Research, Early Clinical Trials Support Xeloda/RT in GI Cancers

July 02, 2002

ORLANDO-Capecitabine (Xeloda) might one day replace infusional fluorouracil (5-FU) as a radiosensitizing platform in the chemoradiation of advanced gastrointestinal malignancies, according to Tyvin A. Rich, MD, professor of radiation oncology, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville. The oral fluoropyrimidine simplifies chemoradiation, is well tolerated, and is highly appealing to patients and physicians alike, he said.

Capecitabine Research Points to New Combinations for Metastatic Breast Cancer

July 02, 2002

MANHASSET, New York-Early clinical results suggest that capecitabine (Xeloda) may work well in several new combinations for metastatic breast cancer, according to Daniel R. Budman, MD, professor of medicine at New York University and associate director of medical oncology at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York

Good Activity for Capecitabine Confirmed in European Study

July 02, 2002

NANTES, France-Results of a large phase II European trial validate the antitumor activity of capecitabine (Xeloda) in metastatic breast cancer and present a strong rationale for its use earlier in the disease course, said Pierre Fumoleau, MD,

European Data Support Benefit of Capecitabine/Irinotecan Regimen in Advanced Colorectal Cancer Patients

July 02, 2002

ORLANDO-Combination therapy with irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) and capecitabine (Xeloda) has the potential to become a mainstay of treatment for colorectal cancer, according to David J. Kerr, MD, Rhodes Professor of Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology and director of the National Translational Cancer Research Network, Oxford University

Single-Agent Capecitabine May Benefit Elderly Colorectal Cancer Patients

July 02, 2002

LONDON, Ontario-A Canadian study is evaluating the safety and efficacy of single-agent capecitabine(Xeloda) among patients with advanced colorectal cancer deemed unsuitable for more aggressive treatment with bolus fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin/irinotecan (also known as CPT-11, Camptosar).

Single-Agent Sequential Rx May Be Reasonable for Metastatic Breast Cancer

July 02, 2002

ORLANDO-With an ever-expanding list of active agents for metastatic breast cancer and even more potential combinations, choosing the best therapy for each patient can be a challenge, according to Clifford Hudis, MD, chief of the

Intermittent R115777 Equally Effective but Better Tolerated in Breast Cancer Patients

July 02, 2002

LONDON-Intermittent dosing with R115777 (tipifarnib, also known as Zarnestra) is equally effective as continuous dosing in advanced breast cancer patients, but has significantly less hematologic toxicity, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 38th annual meeting (ASCO abstract 138).

Carboplatin/Vinorelbine/Capecitabine Active in Pretreated Metastatic Breast Cancer

July 02, 2002

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico-Carboplatin (Paraplatin), vinorelbine (Navelbine), and capecitabine (Xeloda) given in combination to patients with anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated metastatic breast cancer appears active and well tolerated, according to an interim analysis reported at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 1960).

Longer Survival With FOLFOX4 in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients

July 02, 2002

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-An interim analysis of the North American Intergroup Study N9741 suggests that oxaliplatin (Eloxatin, investigational in the United States) plus infusional fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin (FOLFOX) may be the new standard of care for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Capecitabine/Vinorelbine Effective in Heavily Pretreated Patients

July 02, 2002

SEOUL, Korea-Use of capecitabine (Xeloda) plus vinorelbine (Navelbine) is effective in metastatic breast cancer patients previously treated with anthracycline and taxane drugs, according to preliminary data from a phase II study. The study

Oral Regimen of UFT/Leucovorin and Etoposide Shows Promising Results

July 02, 2002

PALO ALTO, California-Treatment with oral chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer showed promising efficacy with minimal toxicity and warrants further investigation, according to results of a phase I trial conducted at Stanford University.

Docetaxel/Capecitabine Bests Single-Agent Docetaxel in Metastatic Breast Cancer

July 02, 2002

ORLANDO-Adding capecitabine (Xeloda) to docetaxel (Taxotere) (XT) significantly improves response rates, time to progression, and overall survival, compared with docetaxel alone in patients with metastatic breast cancer, according to results of a phase III study of the combination.

COX-2 Inhibitor May Boost Capecitabine Response

July 02, 2002

HOUSTON-The COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib (Celebrex) appears to improve tumor response to capecitabine (Xeloda) and may help relieve hand-foot syndrome, according to results of a retrospective study by researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Lead investigator Edward H. Lin, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, said that the group is planning a prospective trial of the combination.

Celecoxib Added to IFL Reduces Toxicity in Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

July 02, 2002

PORTLAND, Oregon-In a phase II trial of patients with unresectable or metastatic colorectal cancer, celecoxib (Celebrex) given with irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar), fluorouracil (5-FU), and leucovorin (IFL) appears to reduce toxicity, Charles D. Blanke, MD, associate professor of medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, said at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 505).

Irinotecan Every 2 Weeks With Capecitabine Is Well Tolerated

July 02, 2002

MANHASSET, New York-Early results from a phase I trial at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York, found irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) with capecitabine (Xeloda) to be well tolerated by patients with inoperable or metastatic solid tumors who had failed standard therapy or had no therapy options, according to an abstract published at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting (abstract 2127).

Weekly and Every-3-Week Docetaxel Equally Effective

July 02, 2002

BARCELONA, Spain-In patients with metastatic breast cancer, weekly dosing with docetaxel (Taxotere) appears to provide benefits equal to those of every-3-week dosing, according to results of a multicenter, randomized, European phase II

Irinotecan Proves Beneficial in Heavily Pretreated Advanced Breast Cancer Patients

July 02, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Florida-An encouraging study reported at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 206) suggests that irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) may prove valuable in advanced breast cancer.

First-Line Capecitabine/Irinotecan Promising in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

July 02, 2002

OXFORD, UK-The combination of capecitabine (Xeloda) and irinotecan (Camptosar) appears to be an effective, easy-to-use, and well-tolerated treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, according to results of a phase I/II trial conducted by British and Dutch researchers.

Impressive Antitumor Activity With XELOX in Phase II Trial

July 02, 2002

BARCELONA, Spain-A large European, multicenter phase II trial of XELOX-capecitabine (Xeloda) and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin, investigational in the United States)-as first-line therapy for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer produced an objective response in 55% of patients.

Fixed-Dose UFT/Leucovorin Schedule Promising in Advanced Breast Cancer

July 02, 2002

MAYWOOD, Illinois-A novel fixed-dose schedule of uracil/tegafur (UFT) plus leucovorin (UFT/LV, also known as Orzel, investigational) achieved significant disease stabilization in advanced breast cancer, according to a phase II multicenter study reported at ASCO (abstract 240).

Targeted Therapies: New Spin on an Old Concept?

July 02, 2002

ORLANDO-Evolving targeted therapies for metastatic colorectal cancer hold promise for greater therapeutic efficacy and improved quality of life for patients, according to Edward H. Lin, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Speaking at an industry-sponsored symposium held in conjunction with the ASCO meeting, Dr. Lin discussed the general concepts of targeted therapy and reviewed several treatments under investigation.

Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin Being Reconsidered in Relapsed Ovarian Cancer

July 02, 2002

LEICESTER, England-Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil/Caelyx) performs as well as paclitaxel (Taxol) in the treatment of relapsed ovarian cancer, according to a clinical trial that was stopped when paclitaxel won approval for first-line treatment in Europe. The trial was nearly forgotten, but then a second look at the results suggested that pegylated liposomal doxorubicin might be preferred for some patients who have musculoskeletal disorders or are troubled by the prospect of developing alopecia as a side effect (ASCO abstract 808).

More Evidence to Support Capecitabine/Oxaliplatin for Advanced Colorectal Cancer

July 02, 2002

DETROIT-A phase II trial of capecitabine (Xeloda) plus oxaliplatin (Eloxatin, investigational in the United States) supports European data suggesting that the combination is active in advanced colorectal cancer, and with manageable toxicity.

Wyeth Gets AIDS Vaccine Contract From NIAID

July 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-Wyeth Vaccines, a unit of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, has won a 5-year, $22.8 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The contract was awarded by NIAID’s HIV Vaccine Design and Development Teams (HVDDT) program, a public-private effort that seeks to accelerate the development of HIV vaccines.

Radiowaves Detect Cancer in Dense Breasts Missed by Mammography

July 01, 2002

ATLANTA-A novel breast imaging technology that uses radiowaves in the microwave frequency range to detect and locate lesions shows promise in preliminary case reports and will be entering clinical trials, said Allan Malmed, MD, medical director, Northwest Community Hospital Interdisciplinary Breast Center, Arlington Heights, Illinois. Dr. Malmed and his colleagues presented the findings at a poster session of the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society (abstract 159).

Drug for Dry Mouth May Halt or Slow Cancer in Smokers

July 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-The drug anethole dithiolethione (ADT)-normally used for dry mouth and marketed as Sialor or Sulfarlem-reduced the risk of new or worsening dysplastic lesions in the lungs of current and former smokers by 22%, compared with placebo, according to a study presented at a late-breaking research session of the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract LB-119).

R115777 May Be Effective Against Certain Subtypes of Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme

July 01, 2002

LOS ANGELES-The North American Brain Tumor Consortium (NABTC) reported that R115777 (Zarnesta) shows modest activity against recurrent glioblastoma multiforme and might be effective as a therapy for certain subtypes of these

Occult Micrometastases in Single Node Predict Worse Breast Cancer Outcomes

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Data from a massive pathologic reanalysis of breast cancer patients with apparently negative lymph nodes show that women with occult micrometastases have shorter disease-free survival and are more likely to die from breast cancer than are women whose nodes are negative on immunohistochemistry.

Response to HAART Predicts Outcome of Lymphoma

July 01, 2002

SEATTLE-A response to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) independently predicts the outcome of AIDS-related lymphoma, underscoring the importance of giving HIV-positive patients this therapy whenever possible, Christian

Globe-Sparing Therapy for Retinoblastoma Is Increasing

July 01, 2002

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida-Current conservative management of pediatric intraocular retinoblastoma is very effective, especially with chemotherapy plus focal ablation of tumors. But enucleation remains the primary therapeutic choice in children, undertaken in almost three quarters of cases, investigators reported at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting.

Taxane-Based Regimen Improves Disease-Free Survival in Early-Stage Breast Cancer

July 01, 2002

LOS ANGELES-Early data from a Breast Cancer International Research Group (BCIRG) study showed that docetaxel (Taxotere)-based combination therapy was significantly more effective than standard FAC (fluorouracil/doxorubicin

Prolonged Maintenance Therapy Improves AML Outcome More Than Intensive Consolidation

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Prolonged maintenance treatment improves long-term outcome in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) more than intensive consolidation, even in those patients with poor prognosis, according to a study reported by Thomas Buchner, MD, professor of internal medicine, hematology and oncology at the University of Muenster in Germany (ASCO abstract 1046).

Study Suggests Higher Doses of Epoetin Alfa May Lengthen Time Between Injections

July 01, 2002

NASHVILLE-Interim results from a small pilot study suggest oncologists might be able to give epoetin alfa (Procrit) in a high-dose regimen that lengthens the time between injections once anemic patients reach maintenance levels of hemoglobin (ASCO abstract 1469).

Phase III Test of Velcade, Formerly MLN341, in Multiple Myeloma

July 01, 2002

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts-Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has begun a pivotal phase III clinical trial of Velcade (bortezomib) (formerly known as MLN341, LDP-341, and PS-341) in patients with multiple myeloma. Velcade is designed to block proteasomes, enzyme complexes in the cell responsible for breaking down a variety of proteins, including many that regulate cell division, the company said in a press release.

First-Line Transplant Benefits NHL Patients

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Preliminary results of a French study show improved event-free survival for patients with indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) who received high-dose chemotherapy with purged autologous stem cell transplantation as first-line therapy, compared with conventional standard therapy.

R115777 Induces Reductions in Bone Marrow Blasts

July 01, 2002

NANTES, France-The farnesyl transferase inhibitor R115777 (tipifarnib, also known as Zarnestra) is well-tolerated and effective even in relapsed, refractory acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), according to interim results of a phase II study (ASCO abstract 1056). "In this multicenter trial, we have treated relapsed and refractory patients including those who never had a complete response," lead author Jean-Luc Harousseau, MD, professor and head of the hematology department at University Hospital (hotel Dieu) in Nantes, France, told Oncology News International. "Disappearance of blasts and complete response is very encouraging for the future of Zarnestra in AML."

Legacy Foundation Wins Decision Over Tobacco Company

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-A Delaware judge has sided with the American Legacy Foundation in its legal jousting with Lorillard Tobacco Co. The judge denied Lorillard’s request to stay or dismiss a lawsuit filed by the foundation in a series of court maneuvers that began in January. His ruling would allow the Legacy lawsuit to go forward before one filed in North Carolina by Lorillard against the foundation.

Eligard 7.5 mg (Leuprolide for Injection) Approved for Advanced Prostate Cancer

July 01, 2002

NEW YORK-Eligard 7.5 mg (leuprolide acetate for injectable suspension) is now commercially available for the palliative treatment of advanced prostate cancer, Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc. announced in a news release. The new formulation of the

Study to Measure Impact of ProstaScint Imaging in Prostate Cancer

July 01, 2002

PRINCETON, New Jersey-Cytogen Corporation’s ProstaScint (capromab pendetide) is being evaluated in a phase I/II clinical study for its utility in helping guide intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for prostate cancer.

Inform Survivors About Possible Delayed Toxicity

July 01, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida-As a nurse and 22-year survivor of Hodgkin’s disease, Debra Thaler-DeMers, RN, OCN, from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), brought her personal survivorship perspective to the Late Effects of Normal Tissues (LENT) IV workshop on late effects criteria and applications.

Insulin Resistance Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Risk

July 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Insulin resistance, as determined by C-peptide levels, appears to be linked to increased breast cancer risk, Celia Byrne, PhD, said at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 1179). In a study of 1,226 women, those who developed breast cancer were more likely than controls to have elevated concentrations of C-peptide, considered an indication of insulin secretion.

Paclitaxel Administered Weekly Doubles Pathologic Complete Response in Noninflammatory Operable Breast Cancer

July 01, 2002

HOUSTON-Weekly paclitaxel (Taxol) as part of a primary systemic chemotherapy regimen for operable breast cancer improves pathologic complete remission rates when compared with every 3-week paclitaxel therapy, according to results of a prospective phase III trial (ASCO abstract 135).

Research on Malignant Mesothelioma on Upswing

July 01, 2002

NEW YORK-"In 2002 there is a lot of activity in mesothelioma research," Nicholas J. Vogelzang, director, University of Chicago Cancer Research Center, said at a media briefing on malignant mesothelioma, sponsored by the American College of Preventive Medicine. "This was an orphan disease for many years." Roman Perez-Soler, MD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, added: "We’re moving from empiricism to rational therapies."

Uninsured Face Greater Risk of Death From Colon/Breast Cancer

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Uninsured Americans confront a greater likelihood of poorer health and premature death than those with private medical and hospital coverage, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) has concluded.

Progen Industries to Conduct Phase I Trial of PI-88 and Docetaxel

July 01, 2002

BRISBANE, Australia-Progen Industries is conducting a phase I trial combining its cancer drug PI-88 with docetaxel (Taxotere) in patients with advanced malignancies. The trial is taking place at the University of Colorado Cancer Center,

Intraperitoneal Regimen Boosts Survival in Phase III Ovarian Cancer Clinical Trial

July 01, 2002

BALTIMORE-Giving paclitaxel (Taxol) and cisplatin (Platinol) in an intensive intraperitoneal (IP) regimen increased progression-free survival by 5 months over standard intravenous (IV) treatment for stage III epithelial ovarian carcinoma and primary peritoneal carcinoma in a phase III clinical trial (ASCO abstract 803).

Exposure to Violence Adversely Affects Health Behaviors

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-The high rates of cancer in minority communities, some researchers have suggested, may derive from lifestyle factors detrimental to health. But a traditional public health approach emphasizing individual risk factors, poverty, lack of insurance, and limited access to medical services does not suffice to explain ethnic disparities in health behavior and health outcomes, said Kathy Sanders-Phillips, PhD, Distinguished Scientist in Drug Abuse and director of the research program in epidemiology, Howard University.

Malignant Mesothelioma May Be a Fallout of 9/11 Attack

July 01, 2002

NEW YORK-The death toll associated with the World Trade Center disaster of September 11 may rise 20 or 30 years from now, according to experts who spoke at a media briefing on malignant pleural mesothelioma. Many thousands of people at or near the disaster site had some exposure to asbestos, a causative agent of mesothelioma, said Stephen M. Levin, MD, medical director, Mount Sinai-Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Dose-Dense Sequential Epirubicin/Paclitaxel Raises Response in Primary Breast Cancer

July 01, 2002

MUNICH-Preoperative treatment of primary breast cancer with dose-dense sequential epirubicin (Ellence) and paclitaxel (Taxol) led to significant increases in breast-conserving therapy and in response rates compared to epirubicin and paclitaxel

Novel Antiangiogenesis Agent Shows Activity in Pretreated Glioblastoma

July 01, 2002

HOUSTON-Dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown PTK787/ZK 222584 (PTK/ZK), an antiangiogenesis agent, to be capable of blocking vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)/VEGF activity in recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (ASCO abstract 315).

Cancer Incidence to Double by 2050 Due to Population Growth, Aging

July 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-Total annual cancer cases will likely double in the United States during the first half of the 21st century, with 2.6 million people diagnosed with the disease in the year 2050, according to a new federal report (see Figure). The major driving force for this projected increase is the growth and aging of the American population, which will sharply increase the number of cases even if the cancer rate remains constant.

Doxorubicin/Cisplatin/Paclitaxel Regimen Improves Survival in Endometrial Cancer

July 01, 2002

CHICAGO-Adding paclitaxel (Taxol) and G-CSF support to the standard regimen of doxorubicin and cisplatin (Platinol) improved response rates and increased survival by about 3 months for patients with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer in a randomized controlled phase III trial conducted by the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) (ASCO abstract 807).

Cancer Care Quality Group Presents Preliminary Report

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-The National Initiative on Cancer Care Quality (NICCQ) has presented preliminary results from its ongoing survey of breast and colorectal cancer patients in five cities. The study, now in its second year, was prompted by a 1999 Institute of Medicine report that found serious gaps in the quality of care for many people.

Allogeneic BMT Ups Survival in Relapsed CLL Patients

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Despite early mortality risks, HLA-matched sibling bone marrow transplants (BMTs) offer a greater possibility of cure for patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) than does chemotherapy, according to a report presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (abstract 2011). A second report (abstract 2013) showed that allogeneic transplant led to better event-free survival than autologous transplant.

Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Dramatically Reduces Incidence of Kaposi’s Sarcoma

July 01, 2002

LONDON-Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), the incidence of HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma has plummeted (ASCO abstract 1639). "Of the more than 4,500 HIV-positive patients we’ve been following since January of 1996 in the post-HAART era, about two-thirds have been on HAART," said lead investigator Mark Bower, FRCP, PhD, consultant in oncology at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. "The chance of developing Kaposi’s sarcoma is dramatically reduced in those patients on antiretroviral therapy."

Darbepoetin Alfa Extends Benefits of Erythropoietic Therapy to Patients With Chronic Anemia

July 01, 2002

COLUMBIA, South Carolina-A dose escalation trial of darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) found the new erythropoietic agent can boost hemoglobin rates in most cancer patients with chronic anemia, a group not usually treated with erythropoietic therapy (ASCO abstract 1465).

Hemoglobin Modifier Enhances RT in Advanced NSCLC

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Patients with locally advanced, un1resectable, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received the radiation enhancer RSR13 (efaproxiral) along with thoracic radiation therapy (RT) had a median survival of more than 20

Oncologists Underestimate Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

July 01, 2002

BURLINGTON, Vermont-Despite the availability of effective antiemetics, oncologists and oncology nurses often fail to recognize chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. This finding was based on a study comparing predictions of physicians and nurses to the experiences of patients as recorded in their diaries and reported in questionnaires (ASCO abstract 996).

Counseling and Rapport Crucial in Helping Blacks to Quit Smoking

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-Almost twice as many blacks (45%) smoke as the general population (25%), but blacks are 34% less successful than others at kicking the habit. Smoking cessation approaches that work with this population are particularly important.

NCI Opens Up Phase III Trials

July 01, 2002

BETHESDA, Maryland-Oncologists nationwide now have access to National Cancer Institute (NCI) clinical trials under a new policy intended to encourage a wider participation in phase III studies. The new policy makes it easier for oncologists to become credentialed as investigators and to enroll their patients in the advanced studies through NCI’s Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU). Previously, access to NCI’s clinical trials was limited to members of NCI’s cooperative groups.

Proteasome Inhibitor PS-341Called ‘Very Promising’ in Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma

July 01, 2002

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts-The proteasome inhibitor PS-341 produced objective durable responses in multiple myeloma patients with relapsed and refractory disease in a phase II multicenter trial (ASCO abstract 40). "The activity of the

Ultrasound Could Prevent Unnecessary Breast Biopsies

July 01, 2002

ATLANTA-When used to distinguish benign and malignant solid masses, high-resolution ultrasound may reduce the number of breast biopsies by as much as 28%, said Karen Hunt, MD, assistant professor of radiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Hunt, who is also senior staff radiologist at Henry Ford Hospital, presented the findings at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society’s (abstract 138).

Clinical Benefit Sustained in AIDS-Related Kaposi’s Sarcoma Patients Treated With Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin

July 01, 2002

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California-Pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil, Caelyx) offered a sustained clinical benefit to 37% of patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma vs 16% of patients treated with liposomal daunorubicin (DaunoXome) in a randomized trial comparing the two drugs (ASCO abstract 1640).

Fentanyl Patch Is Effective Next Step After Weak Opioids

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-European researchers have shown that transdermal fentanyl (Duragesic) is as effective as sustained-release morphine and better tolerated when given to strong-opioid-naïve patients with chronic cancer pain, according to a poster presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 38th Annual Meeting (abstract 1506).

Cervical SIL Drugs Less Effective in HIV Patients

July 01, 2002

SEATTLE-The standard treatments for cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) are significantly less effective in HIV-infected women than in HIV-uninfected women, according to the results of a study presented at the 9th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (abstract LB16).

Nanoparticle Paclitaxel Promising in Metastatic Breast Cancer

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-ABI-007, an alternative, Cremophor-free intravenous paclitaxel (Taxol), developed using nanoparticle technology, provided pronounced single-agent efficacy in two multicenter phase II trials in metastatic breast cancer, according to data presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 209). In preclinical studies, ABI-007 resulted in significantly less toxicity than paclitaxel (abstract 462).

FDA Approves MammoSite Radiation Therapy System for Use With Lumpectomy

July 01, 2002

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-The FDA has approved the MammoSite Radiation Therapy System (Proxima Therapeutics, Alpharetta, Georgia), to deliver adjuvant radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery for patients with early-stage disease. The device is designed to irradiate the surgical site with minimal exposure to surrounding tissue. It consists of a hollow catheter, to which an inflatable balloon is attached. After surgery, the device is implanted, the balloon inflated, and a radiation source is placed in the catheter. The balloon centers the radiation source at the wound site. After a series of treatments, generally extending over several days, the catheter is withdrawn.

Pemetrexed/Cisplatin Increases Survival in Pleural Mesothelioma

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Pemetrexed (Alimta) plus cisplatin (Platinol) with folic acid/vitamin B12 supplementation should be considered standard front-line therapy for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, said at the plenary session of the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 5).

Mutation Linked to Poor Prognosis in Head & Neck Cancer

July 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-A single nucleotide polymorphism at codon 388 in the transmembrane domain of FGFR4 is linked to poor survival in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The mutation (Arg388) involves the substitution of an arginine molecule for glycine at this position on the gene. It occurs in 45% to 50% of all humans.

Erythropoietic Therapy Does Not Interfere With Response to Imatinib in CML Patients

July 01, 2002

PORTLAND, Oregon-Giving erythropoietic therapy to chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients does not appear to interfere with their response to imatinib mesylate (STI571, Gleevec) therapy, according to a retrospective study of 37 patients treated in the Leukemia Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland (ASCO abstract 106).

CMS Adopts Unique Identifier

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-In an effort to streamline its operations, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will adopt a standard, unique identifier for use by employers beginning July 30, 2002.

Significant Responses to Delivering Paclitaxel Directly to Brain Tumor

July 01, 2002

TEL HASHOMER, Israel-Israeli investigators report that a new technique delivering waves of paclitaxel (Taxol) directly into recurrent brain tumors has produced significant responses in patients with recurrent glioblastoma (ASCO abstract 316).

Diagnostic Dilemma

July 01, 2002

A 66-year-old Asian woman presents with chronic heartburn and epigastric discomfort. She has suffered with these symptoms most of her adult life and underwent multiple upper gastrointestinal series in her homeland, China. The radiologic

NCI Investigates Causes of Tobacco Usage and Addiction

July 01, 2002

Every 3 years, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) asks researchers, advisory panels, and advocacy groups to recommend "extraordinary opportunities for investment," which it defines as "broad-based, overarching areas of scientific pursuit that hold tremendous promise for significantly expanding our understanding of cancer."

Teen Smoking Rates Down Again

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-More than one in four American high school students smoke cigarettes, but tobacco use among this age group has steadily declined since 1997, according to a school-based study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DVd Regimen Reduces Events Requiring Hospitalization in Multiple Myeloma

July 01, 2002

CLEVELAND-Hospitalizations due to adverse events were less likely to occur among newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who received DVd (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin [Doxil]/vincristine/dexamethasone (than those who received VAd (vincristine/doxorubicin [Adriamycin]/reduced-dose dexamethasone). Early results from a randomized phase III trial were reported by Mohamad A. Hussein, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic. The data are very preliminary, as safety data could be collected on only 94 of 135 patients who are enrolled at 22 sites in the study (ASCO abstract 1107).

Guidelines, Education Permit Safe Outpatient Use of RIT Radioimmunotherapy

July 01, 2002

WASHINGTON-In 1997, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued new guidelines for radiation therapy that, for the first time, permitted outpatient use of radioactive iodine therapy in selected patients (ie, highly compliant patients discharged to low-occupancy settings). Previously, this therapy had required inpatient treatment and 3 days of isolation.

Go Directly to Chemotherapy That Will Mobilize Stem Cells Early in Disease Course

July 01, 2002

LITTLE ROCK-"For the first time, we have shown that with increasing age, the number of stem cells mobilized decreases," said Guido J. Tricot, MD, PhD, reporting the results of a multiple myeloma study (ASCO abstract 1055). Clinicians can

Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Curb Bone Metastases in Animals

July 01, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO-Use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including PKI166 (investigational, Novartis) and imatinib mesylate (STI571, Gleevec) can significantly reduce the size of metastatic bone tumors, decrease angiogenesis, and preserve bone structures, according to animal studies presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Delaying Tamoxifen Until Chemotherapy Is Completed Improves Outcomes for Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Patients

July 01, 2002

CHICAGO-Giving tamoxifen concurrently with adjuvant chemotherapy halves the benefit of the chemohormonal combination compared to giving tamoxifen after completion of chemotherapy in postmenopausal patients with node-positive, hormone-receptor positive breast cancer (ASCO abstract 143). These initial results from North American Breast Intergroup Trial 0100 (INT 0100, SWOG 8814), presented by Kathy S. Albain, MD, are expected to establish a new standard of care for treating breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Helping Low-Literacy Prostate Cancer Patients Choose Rx

July 01, 2002

Prostate cancer represents the most common neoplasm and second leading cause of cancer mortality among men in the United States. There are 189,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 32,000 deaths resulting from prostate cancer expected in 2002.[1]

MRI Finds Recurrences in Patients With Rising PSA Level

July 01, 2002

ATLANTA-Dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be able to detect recurrent prostate cancer after prostatectomy when the patient has a negative biopsy but a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.

First-Line FOLFOX4 Ups Survival in Advanced Colon Cancer

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-Compared with the standard first-line chemotherapy treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, patients treated with the FOLFOX4 regimen containing the investigational agent oxaliplatin lived longer and had fewer side effects.

NK1 Receptor Boosts Benefits of Standard Antiemetic Therapy

July 01, 2002

ORLANDO-When combined with standard antiemetic therapy, the neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor antagonist aprepitant (MK-869[M]) protects against acute and delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, according to two separate studies (ASCO abstracts 1467 and 1467).