Oncology NEWS International Vol 12 No 1

Phase II Trial of Phenoxodiol in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Is launched

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-Marshall Edwards, Inc. has launched a multi-center phase II clinical trial of its anticancer drug phenoxodiol in women with recurrent ovarian and fallopian tube cancers who have failed other forms of chemotherapy.

FDA Approves New Taxotere Indication as First-Line Therapy for NSCLC

January 01, 2003

BRIDGEWATER, New Jersey-The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Taxotere (docetaxel, Aventis) as first-line therapy, in combination with cisplatin (Platinol), in patients with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Most Cancer Pain Is Experienced at the Patient’s Home

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-The importance of pain management in the treatment of cancer is well understood now. But a corollary-that most of that pain is experienced at home-has not been as well understood, says Nessa Coyle, RN, MS, director of supportive care programs, Pain and Palliative Care Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

HHS Unites Its HIV Advisors

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-The Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) has created a unified advisory committee on HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) by merging two existing groups. The new committee brings together the Advisory Committee for HIV Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the AIDS Advisory Committee at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The two groups have met jointly on several occasions during the last 2 years, and all current members of the two bodies will serve on the new CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention and Treatment.

First NCI Health Disparity Grants

January 01, 2003

BETHESDA, Maryland-Two medical facilities have received the first grants awarded by the National Cancer Institute’s Cooperative Planning Grant for Cancer Disparities Research Partnerships (CDRP). The 5-year, $27 million program provides support for radiation oncology clinical research at institutions that have not traditionally participated in NCI-sponsored studies. The two grants, totaling more than $2.5 million, went to the Rapid City Regional Hospital in South Dakota ($1,404,486), which serves a largely Native American population, and the Mercy Health Center, Laredo, Texas ($1,120,013), which serves a largely Hispanic community.

Pain Therapy Improves Quality of Life for Caregivers

January 01, 2003

ORLANDO-A randomized trial found that an implantable drug delivery system (IDDS) was superior to comprehensive medical management (CMM) in reducing pain among cancer patients and a quality of life analysis showed that decreasing pain improved quality of life not only for patients but also for their caregivers.

Inex to Seek FDA Approval for Onco TCS (Liposomal Vincristine)

January 01, 2003

VANCOUVER-Inex Pharmaceuticals Corporation has announced positive results from a pivotal phase II/III clinical trial evaluating its lead anticancer product Onco TCS (liposomal vincristine) as single-agent therapy for relapsed aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The trial results will form the basis for a New Drug Application seeking approval for marketing from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The 102 study patients had received an average of four other regimens, and 75% had resistant disease. The overall response rate with Onco TCS was 24%, including five complete responses.

CD40L-Expressing Dendritic Cells Eliminate Breast Tumors in Mice

January 01, 2003

ORLANDO-Intratumoral injection of dendritic cells genetically modified to express CD40 ligand (CD40L) eradicated breast tumors in mice, Zoya R. Yurkovetsky, a PhD student from the Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, reported at the Era of Hope Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program meeting.

Safe Handling Tips for Use of Testosterone Gel

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-Testicular cancer is a highly curable disease, but many of the young men who survive it are left with fatigue, loss of libido, depression, and weight loss due to low testosterone levels. This has usually been treated with painful, deep intramuscular injections of an oil-based testosterone preparation every 2 to 3 weeks. Testosterone patches were developed as an alternative but cause skin rashes in some patients.

Lumpectomy/Mastectomy Equivalent in Early Breast Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW ORLEANS-Eighteen-year results from a pivotal trial comparing lumpectomy with mastectomy have demonstrated maintenance of efficacy for the breast-sparing treatment. Matthew Poggi, MD, of the Radiation Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, updated the study results at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 91).

New Agent Tested in Refractory and Relapsed Ovarian Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-A phase II trial of ecteinascidin-743 (ET-743) is underway in Europe in ovarian cancer patients who have failed platinum/taxane regimens, Nicoletta Colombo, MD, of the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, reported at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XX.

HIV Testing of Pregnant Women Increases: CDC Report

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-The 8-year drive to test pregnant women for HIV as a means of preventing perinatal transmission of the virus had varying degrees of success, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Targeted Home Nursing Visits Post Breast Surgery Cost-Effective

January 01, 2003

ORLANDO-Breast cancer patients who received targeted home nursing visits after a short-stay surgery used fewer postoperative health services and had improved social and family well-being, compared with patients receiving no visits or nontargeted visits. Gwen K. Wyatt, RN, PhD, associate professor of nursing, Michigan State University, presented the study results at the Era of Hope Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program meeting. The study included 240 female breast cancer patients. Short hospital stay was defined as 48 hours or less. Patients were 21 years of age or older and fluent in English. The majority were white, married, and employed prior to surgery.

IRIS Trial Update Confirms Imatinib Advantage in CML

January 01, 2003

PHILADELPHIA-Updated data from the largest randomized, controlled (and only phase III) trial of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) confirm the drug’s superiority to interferon-alfa and cytara-bine as first-line treatment of newly diagnosed chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) but raise interesting questions about what happens within the marrow after CML-causing Philadelphia-chromosome-positive (Ph+) cells are beaten down to undetectable levels.

Elderly Vulnerable to Febrile Neutropenia Early in Chemotherapy

January 01, 2003

BOSTON-A review of more than 1,600 patients in the Oncology Practice Pattern Study found a 50% higher risk of febrile neutropenia for elderly patients than younger patients. Most incidents occurred during the first 21 days of chemotherapy, according to a presented at the third meeting of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG abstract P-22). Based on the analysis, Vincent Caggiano, MD, medical director, Sutter Cancer Center, Sacramento, and his colleagues urged oncologists to consider giving prophylactic colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) during the first two chemotherapy cycles-especially among older patients who are more vulnerable to the complication.

Smoking a Significant Risk Factor for Colorectal Polyps

January 01, 2003

SEATTLE-Cigarette smoking appears to be a significant risk factor for colon polyps, equal to a family history of colon cancer, according to Rajeev Attam, MD, a senior fellow in the Division of Gastroenterology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, New York. In a large colon cancer screening study, approximately 19% of ex-smokers and 17% of nonsmokers had polyps, compared with 25% of current smokers.

New Biological Therapies for Myeloma in Clinical Trials

January 01, 2003

PHILADELPHIA-Several novel biological agents active against multiple myeloma have recently moved from the laboratory to clinical trials. These agents work by targeting the interaction of the tumor cell and its bone marrow microenvironment, offering the potential for more specific, less toxic treatment, compared with conventional chemotherapy.

Frozen Budget Crimps the Number of NCI Competing Research Grants at Start of FY 2003

January 01, 2003

BETHESDA, Maryland-With its budget frozen at last year’s level, National Cancer Institute (NCI) officials have cut back on the number of competing research grants awarded during the first 3 months of fiscal year 2003, which began last October 1.

Four-Drug Regimen Promising in Cancer of Pancreas, Gallbladder

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-Dose escalation of irinotecan (Camptosar) is continuing in a phase I trial of a four-drug regimen that has shown encouraging activity in patients with pancreatic and gallbladder cancer, according to a report at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XX.

Granisetron Prevents Postoperative Nausea at Low 0.1 mg Dose

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-New data suggests that granisetron (Kytril) can effectively prevents postoperative nausea and vomiting at doses as low as 0.1 mg. Robert D’Angelo, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Wake Forest University, Baptist Medical Center, presented the study results at the 56th Annual Post Graduate Assembly in Anesthesiology.

NCI Project Targets Cancer Awareness in Asian-American Community

January 01, 2003

BETHESDA, Maryland-The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has launched a 5-year, $7.6 million project at seven leading cancer centers to address the disease among Asian Americans. Although Asian Americans have a relatively low overall risk, their cancer incidence is rising faster than that of any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.

Cisplatin Added to RT Ups Survival in Advanced Cervical Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW ORLEANS-In the treatment of locoregionally advanced cervical cancer, the addition of cisplatin (Platinol)-containing chemotherapy to a radiation therapy regimen significantly improves overall and disease-free survival, according to RTOG 90-01. Patricia J. Eifel, MD, of the Department of Radiation Oncology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, presented the data at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology plenary session (abstract plenary 1).

CMS Helps States Create High-Risk Pools for Health Care Coverage

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-A new federal program will help some states create high-risk pools to extend health care coverage to people whose health status makes it difficult for them to obtain medical insurance. Under the program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicade Services (CMS) will provide seed grants of up to $1 million to support creation of the programs in 27 states that currently do not have qualified high-risk pools and in the District of Columbia. Typically, such pools are state-created nonprofit associations. The new program was authorized in the Trade Law of 2002, which appropriated $20 million to fund the grants.

Adding Chemo to RT of No Benefit in High-Risk H&N Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW ORLEANS-The addition of concurrent cisplatin (Platinol) chemotherapy to radiation therapy after surgery failed to significantly improve locoregional control of high-risk head and neck cancers in the RTOG 9501/Intergroup phase III trial reported at the plenary session of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract plenary 3).

Phase I Data on SAHA, a Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor

January 01, 2003

TARRYTOWN, New York-Aton Pharma, Inc and its collaborators presented phase I data on its oral histone deacetylase inhibitor SAHA (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) at the 14th Annual EORTC/NCI/AACR symposium, held in Frankfurt, Germany. The trial of patients with refractory solid tumors, lymphomas, and leukemias, being conducted with researchers at Memorial Sloan-Ket-tering Cancer Center, defined a safe daily oral dosing regimen.

NIH Unveils Multi-institute Prostate Cancer Research Plan

January 01, 2003

BETHESDA, Maryland-A 6-year prostate cancer research plan released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) contains a detailed outline of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) future strategy for dealing with the disease, which includes a shift in the standard treatment model from seek-and-destroy to target-and-control.

Extending Platinum-Free Interval in Ovarian Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-A trial is being launched to explore whether lengthening the platinum-free interval will affect recurrent ovarian cancer outcomes, William P. McGuire, MD, medical director, oncology, Franklin Square Hospital Center, Baltimore, announced at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XX.

CT Lung Cancer Screening Yields High False-Positive Rate

January 01, 2003

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-In a Mayo Clinic study of low-dose helical CT screening for lung cancer, nearly 70% of the study participants had one or more suspicious lung nodules, but only 1.4% of all nodules proved to be malignant. The other 98.6% were benign "and therefore were false-positive findings," said lead investigator Stephen J. Swensen, MD, professor of radiology. The results, he said, offer reasons for optimism as well as reasons for doubt that CT screening for lung cancer will ultimately save lives by reducing disease-specific mortality.

Prohibitin T Allele Genotype Linked to Familial Breast Cancer

January 01, 2003

ORLANDO-Women with a specific prohibitin fragment genotype (T allele) and a first-degree relative with breast cancer appear to be at greater risk of developing the disease than women with the prohibitin C allele genotype, reported Eldon R. Jupe, PhD, senior research scientist, Immunology and Cancer Program, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City.

Why the Disadvantaged Are More Likely to Die of Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-The disadvantaged, once they have cancer, are then more likely to die from it, according to Prof. Harry Burns. "Poverty influences cancer in some quite unexpected ways," said Prof. Burns, director of public health, Greater Glasgow Health Board, Glasgow, Scotland. "The politicians, and all of us as voters, have a responsibility to think about this."

Two Appointed to ONI’s Editorial Advisory Board for Oncology Nursing

January 01, 2003

MELVILLE, New York-ONI is pleased to announce the creation of an Editorial Advisory Board for Oncology Nursing, to work with Sharon Krumm, PhD, RN, the Editor of Oncology Nursing, and staff to report research by oncology nurses and issues of special interest to oncology nurses. The first two appointees to the board are Catherine (Cathy) Coleman, RN, OCN, and Mary McCabe, BSN, MA.

Tositumomab Therapy Leads to Durable Responses in Lymphoma

January 01, 2003

PHILADELPHIA-Salvage therapy with the radiolabeled monoclonal antibody tositumomab (Bexxar) produced durable complete remissions in patients with multiply relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) or transformed indolent lymphoma when used as second-line therapy, and first-line tositumomab produced 5-year progression-free survival of 58.9% in patients with advanced follicular lymphoma.

Template-Based Interstitial Breast Brachytherapy Alone Is Effective

January 01, 2003

NEW ORLEANS-Template-based interstitial brachytherapy is an effective method for treating breast cancer, according to a study presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 147). The study is one of the first to use a template to position interstitial implants in its entire study population as part of its protocol.

NSAIDs and Aspirin Show Efficacy in Prevention of Colorectal Cancer

January 01, 2003

SEATTLE-Regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin lowers the relative risk of colorectal cancer by an overall rate of 24%, according to a study presented at the 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology (abstract 12). The rate rises to 32% when aspirin/NSAIDs are used for more than 2 years.

As Adults, Childhood Survivors Generally Maintain Good QOL

January 01, 2003

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario, Canada-Survivors of childhood cancer generally enjoy good quality of life (QOL) as adults, according to two reports presented at the 7th International Conference for Long-Term Complications of Treatment of Children and Adolescents for Cancer, hosted by Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Robotics May Revolutionize Prostate Cancer Surgery

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK-Urologic surgeons at Beth Israel Medical Center are turning for help to a robot "assistant" that makes the difficult and time-consuming procedure of laparoscopic radical prostatectomy easier and more efficient.

Brachytherapy Toxicity Acceptable in Breast Cancer Patients

January 01, 2003

NEW ORLEANS-Toxicity for low-dose-rate and high-dose-rate accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) (brachytherapy) is comparable to that observed in women treated with conventional whole breast external beam radiation therapy after lumpectomy, according to a 10-year study (RTOG 95-17) presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 146).

Gram+ Infections Predominate in Neutropenic Pts

January 01, 2003

SAN DIEGO, California-Researchers at the Jones Group/JMI Laboratories, North Liberty, Iowa, have confirmed that Gram-positive pathogens predominate in neutropenic cancer patients with infections. The study also found that these organisms are no more likely to be resistant to available drugs in the cancer population than in the general population. They presented the results of the first year of the study in two poster presentations at the 43rd Annual Inter-science Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC abstracts C2-290 and C2-296).

Smoking Help for the Elderly

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-A seven-state pilot project will study the best way to help older smokers kick their nicotine habit. The program, financed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), will test counseling in person and by phone, a prescription smoking cessation drug, nicotine patches, and education materials.

Post-Treatment Lymphedema Common in Breast Cancer Patients

January 01, 2003

Sharon Krumm, PhD, RN, the Editor of Oncology Nursing, is administrator and director of nursing, Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, and assistant professor, Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine and Nursing. ONI is pleased to announce the creation of an Editorial Advisory Board for Oncology Nursing. Members are Catherine Coleman, RN, OCN, a consultant for breast center development, Tiburon, California, and Mary McCabe, BSN, MA, acting director, Office of Communications, National Cancer Institute, Be-thesda, Maryland. See p. 27 for more about the board members.

First Multigene, Multiclade HIV-1 Vaccine Trial Opens

January 01, 2003

BETHESDA, Maryland-The first clinical trial of an HIV-1 vaccine based on multiple genes from three subtypes, or clades, of the virus began November 13, 2002, when researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) vaccinated three healthy volunteers. Researchers expect to enroll 50 participants in the 12-month phase I study. The DNA vaccine contains modified material from four genes from clades A, B, and C, which cause about 90% of HIV infections worldwide.

Nonplatinum Doublet Effective in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

January 01, 2003

NEW YORK- A combination of vinorelbine (Navelbine) and gemcitabine (Gemzar) showed similar efficacy to the standard platinum-based regimen for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and a different toxicity profile in a phase II study presented at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XX.

States With High Lung Ca Rates Spend Less on Control

January 01, 2003

WASHINGTON-The failure of most states to put the money they receive from the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry into tobacco-control programs will increase their future health care costs for lung cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses, according to two nonprofit health groups. An independent analysis of data published in October 2002 found that states with the highest incidence of lung cancer generally spent the least amount of money for tobacco control.