Oncology NEWS International Vol 12 No 4

Accuracy of Ductal Lavage Tested

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-Ductal lavage was associated with a high false-negative rate in a recent study, according to Seema A. Khan, MD, associate professor of surgical oncology, Lynn Sage Breast Center at Northwestern University. Moreover, about half of the non-fluid-yielding ducts examined in the study contained cancer, she said at the 25th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer symposium (abstract 25).

Preventing Anemia Maintains QOL During Adjuvant Chemo

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-Once-weekly treatment with recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa, Epogen, Procrit), given concurrently with adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, maintains or improves hemoglobin levels while attenuating decreases in quality of life (QOL), interim trial results show.

Blocking EGFR Pathway May Boost Tamoxifen Response

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-Adding the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor gefitinib mesylate (Iressa, also known as ZD1839) to tamoxifen (Nol-vadex) has improved initial antitumor response and delayed the development of acquired tamoxifen resistance in a xenograft model of human breast cancer, according to Rachel Schiff, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine’s Breast Center. Dr. Schiff reported her group’s results at the 25th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 18).

Omitting Post-lumpectomy RT Lowers Survival in Elderly

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-Elderly women are less likely to receive radiotherapy (RT) after breast-conserving surgery, an omission that has a negative impact on survival in this group, Pauline T. Truong, MD, said at the 25th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 29). The researchers, from the Breast Cancer Outcomes Unit, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island, BC, examined the impact of omitting radiation therapy among 5,557 women, age 50 to 89, with T1-2, M0 invasive breast cancer who were treated with breast-conserving surgery between 1989 and 1998. The women were stratified by age (50 to 64, 65 to 74, and 75 to 89) and by type of treatment (postsurgery radiation or no radiation). Multivariate analysis took into account patient age, tumor factors, and treatment factors. The median follow-up was 6.4 years.

Ovarian Cancer Survival Significantly Improved: SEER Data

April 01, 2003

NEW ORLEANS-The survival rate for patients with primary invasive epithelial ovarian cancer has steadily increased over the past 3 decades, despite rising diagnoses among African-American women and women over age 60, according to an analysis presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists’ 34th annual meeting (abstract 3).

No Link Between Abortions and Breast Cancer Risk

April 01, 2003

BETHESDA, Maryland-Well-established epidemiological evidence shows that neither an induced nor a recognized spontaneous abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, a workshop convened by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) concluded after an extensive review of the available scientific data. However, important gaps exist in the understanding of how events prior to and during pregnancy may affect a woman’s risk of malignant breast tumors, and those gaps need to be filled, the workshop’s report added (see Table).

Imatinib Reduces Leukemia Load, Prolongs CML Remissions

April 01, 2003

PHILADELPHIA-Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) is significantly more effective than interferon/cytarabine at reducing BCR-ABL protein blood levels in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML); levels of BCR-ABL continue to drop with increasing duration of therapy; and patients in complete cytogenetic response (CCR) who have a 3-log or greater reduction in BCR-ABL rarely develop progressive disease, according to Timothy Hughes, MD.

First Studies of Whole-Body Screening CT Mixed

April 01, 2003

CHICAGO-According to early experience at one imaging center in Massachusetts, whole-body screening CT is attracting individuals who may benefit from early detection of disease, such as current or former smokers and persons with other risk factors for cancer and heart disease. These researchers found that whole-body screening CT is not, as some have feared, leading to additional unnecessary invasive and expensive testing. However, a California study found that nearly half of persons with an abnormality found on screening required follow-up testing.

Zometa Stops Bone Loss During Endocrine Rx for Breast Cancer

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-Treatment with a bisphosphonate can counteract bone mineral density (BMD) deterioration in hormone-receptor-positive premenopausal breast cancer patients undergoing combined endocrine treatment, according to preliminary study results of a large, prospective, controlled multicen-ter trial presented at the 25th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 12).

Swedish Study Finds Increased Risk of Breast Cancer With Progestin-Containing HRT

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-A large Swedish cohort study of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use and breast cancer suggests that women on progestin-containing regimens are three times more likely to develop breast cancer than are women who have never used HRT. Estrogen-only preparations, in contrast, did not appreciably increase the risk, said Hakan Olsson, MD, professor of oncology, University Hospital, Lund, at the 25th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 34).

IBCSG Trials of Chemoendocrine Rx

April 01, 2003

SAN ANTONIO-Results of two randomized International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) trials of chemoendocrine therapy for node-negative breast cancer suggest that adjuvant chemotherapy may provide additional benefit over endocrine therapy alone for patients with estrogen-receptor (ER)-negative, but not ER-positive, tumors.