Oncology NEWS International Vol 15 No 2

Cancer Genome Atlas Launched With $100 Million Pilot

February 01, 2006

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) will begin with a $100 million pilot project aimed at determining the feasibility of undertaking a full-scale, comprehensive effort to systematically identify and characterize the genetic mutations and other genomic changes associated with cancer.

Immunochemical FOBT Confirms Positive Guaiac FOBT

February 01, 2006

Practice standards call for colonoscopy for all patients who have positive guaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT) screening for colorectal cancer. A new study suggests that using a confirmatory immunochemical FOBT in patients who are only weakly or moderately positive on guaiac FOBT would eliminate many false positives and reduce the need for colonoscopy without jeopardizing outcomes.

Process of Angiogenesis Plays a Role in Response of Cancers to Radiation Therapy

February 01, 2006

Research on angiogenesis is revealing the role this phenomenon plays in the response of cancers to radiation and, in the process, providing some important lessons for clinicians, according to a keynote address given by Judah Folkman, MD, professor of cell biology, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

TLK286 Effective, Well Tolerated in NSCLC, Early Clinical Trials Show

February 01, 2006

In both chemonaive and heavily pretreated patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), investigations of canfosfamide (TLK286, Telcyta) are yielding "exciting" findings, Howard A. Burris III, MD, reported at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XXIII (abstract 7).

No Added Benefit of RT Hyperfractionation for LABC Pts

February 01, 2006

In patients with noninflammatory locally advanced breast cancer (LABC), hyperfractionated radiation of the chest wall does not improve clinical outcomes relative to conventional radiation, according to long-term results of a trial presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 2008).

Dr. Slamon Describes Past, Present, Future of Targeted Rx

February 01, 2006

Discussing decades of work in developing trastuzumab (Herceptin), and looking to the future based on techniques that led to the understanding of HER2/neu, Dennis J. Slamon, MD, PhD, presented the William L. McGuire Memorial Lecture at the 28th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Dr. Slamon is director of clinical and translational research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Anti-TGF-β Reduces RT-Induced Lung Injury in Animals

February 01, 2006

An antibody to transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) attenuates the inflammatory and fibrotic response that occurs in normal lung tissue after radiation, investigators reported at the 47th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 137).

Desensitization Protocol Allows Chemo Administration

February 01, 2006

Even an allergic reaction to a chemotherapeutic agent does not always preclude future administration of that drug. In some cases, few other options exist. Michelle J. Ciszewski, RN, BSN, OCN, discussed a desensitization protocol successfully used at her facility during the Oncology Nursing Society 30th Annual Congress (abstract 59).

Gene Expression Signatures Find Best Tumor/Drug Match

February 01, 2006

Researchers have developed a new approach to drug discovery that takes advantage of the gene expression signatures of tumors to generate potential drug matches. A proof-of-principle of this technique revealed a potential new combination therapy for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL).

Dasatinib Proves Effective in Resistant CML

February 01, 2006

First results of four phase II studies of the investigational oral, multitargeted kinase inhibitor dasatinib (BMS-354825) showed significant efficacy in imatinib (Gleevec) resistant and intolerant patients with chronic, accelerated, and blast phase (myeloid and lymphoid) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

Rituximab Plus GM-CSF Active in CLL Patients, Including Elderly Untreated

February 01, 2006

A combination regimen of rituximab (Rituxan) plus granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) appears to induce objective responses in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), particularly in elderly untreated patients, according to a study presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (abstract 721).

Surgical Breast Biopsy Has High Reexcision Rate

February 01, 2006

Surgical biopsy for the initial evaluation of breast lesions should be discouraged, according to Stephen D. Edge, MD, of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, who presented a study comparing biopsy techniques at the 28th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium .

Sunitinib Improves Outcomes in Imatinib-Resistant GIST

February 01, 2006

Treatment with sunitinib (Sutent), an oral, multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, improves clinical outcomes in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) that has become resistant to imatinib (Gleevec), George D. Demetri, MD, director of the Center for Bone Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, reported at the 2006 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 8).

Adjuvant TC Superior to AC in Early-Stage Breast Ca

February 01, 2006

Use of adjuvant chemotherapy with docetaxel (Taxotere) and cyclophosphamide (TC) is associated with a 33% improvement in disease-free survival and trend for improvement in overall survival in early-stage breast cancer, compared with the standard doxorubicin (Adriamycin)/cyclophosphamide (AC) regimen, according to the final analysis of a study from US Oncology Research, Houston

NCI Urges IV/IP Chemo for Advanced Ovarian Cancer

February 01, 2006

In a clinical announcement, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), supported by six professional societies and advocacy groups, has urged physicians to use a combination of intravenous (IV) and intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy to treat women with advanced ovarian cancer.

Use of Gingko Biloba May Lower the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

February 01, 2006

The herbal supplement gingko biloba appeared to lower the risk of ovarian cancer in an epidemiologic study, while laboratory studies showed that two of the herb's components caused ovarian cancer cells to stop growing. The studies were presented at the annual fall prevention meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (abstract 3654).

Femara Approved as Adjuvant Rx for Early Breast Cancer

February 01, 2006

Femara (letrozole, Novartis) has received FDA approval for use in treating early breast cancer in postmenopausal women following surgery. The agency based its approval on findings from the BIG I-98 study, the only trial designed to compare the safety and efficacy of Femara vs tamoxifen when used as adjuvant therapy in postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive early disease.

Adding Thalidomide to Melphalan/Prednisone Ups Survival in Newly Diagnosed Elderly Myeloma Patients

February 01, 2006

A trial of melphalan (Alkeran)/prednisone plus thalidomide in newly diagnosed elderly patients with multiple myeloma suggests that the oral regimen should be the reference treatment for patients in this population who are ineligible for high-dose therapy, according to Thierry Facon, MD, Inter-Groupe Francophone du Myelome (IFM), Lille, France.

FDA Approves Sutent for Resistant GIST and Kidney Cancer

February 01, 2006

For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a new oncologic drug product approval for indications for two different cancers simultaneously. The agency approved Sutent (suniti-nib, Pfizer) for the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) whose disease has progressed on imatinib (Gleevec) or who are unable to tolerate imatinib. It also granted Sutent accelerated approval for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

New Indication for Emend

February 01, 2006

The FDA has approved Merck & Co.'s Emend (aprepitant) for use with other antiemetic medicines for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeat courses of moderately emetogenic chemotherapy.

Code Gray at LSU

February 01, 2006

ode Gray policies exist at several bureaucratic levels, with Chancellors Memo 51 (CM-51) being the highest policy level. CM-51 states that all LSUHSC personnel, except "approved and emergency personnel," must evacuate LSUHSC when emergency status is declared. Having participated in prior hurricane coverages and debriefings by my department, I performed in a manner consistent with past experience and current policy.

Phase III Trial of OraTest

February 01, 2006

PHOENIX-Zila, Inc. has enrolled the first patients in its phase III clinical trial of OraTest, a rinse for detecting severe dysplasia and cancer in patients at elevated risk for oral cancer. Its active ingredient is Zila Tolonium Chloride (pharmaceutical grade toluidine blue). The trial is expected to require fewer than 4,000 high-risk patients, generally requiring a single visit; it will be conducted at approximately 13 investigative sites.

Consider Total Volume of Brain Mets When Deciding Rx

February 01, 2006

When physicians are deciding whether to offer stereotactic radiosurgery to patients with multiple brain metastases who have a fairly good functional status, they should consider the total volume of these metastases instead of their number.

Bendamustine Active in Pts With Refractory B-Cell NHL

February 01, 2006

The novel alkylating agent bendamustine appears to induce responses in patients with refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), Jonathan W. Friedberg, MD, of the James P. Wilmont Cancer Center, Rochester, New York, said at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (abstract 229). The study was sponsored by Cephalon, Inc., which is developing the new agent as Treanda.

CMS Seeks Methods to Appropriately Reimburse High-Quality Cancer Care

February 01, 2006

In February 2005, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), appointed Peter Bach, MD, MAPP, an associate attending physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, to serve as senior advisor on health care quality and cancer policy. A pulmonologist and intensivist by training, Dr. Bach has a strong reputation for research on quality cancer care, helping develop guidelines for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Hurricane Katrina Highlights Need for Electronic Medical Records Systems, But Do EMRs Improve Patient Safety?

February 01, 2006

In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina crisis, untold numbers of medical records may have been lost. Many evacuees forgot or misplaced their medications, and some do not remember the names of all their medications. With no access to previous medical records, the evacuees’ doctors have no way of confirming medications, immunizations, test results, and other past history. The storm has led to increased demands for electronic hospital records.