Oncology NEWS International Vol 15 No 3

FDA Approves Eraxis to Treat Candidemia

March 01, 2006

Pfizer Inc's Eraxis (anidulafungin) has been approved by the FDA to treat candidemia, the most deadly of the common hospital-acquired bloodstream infections, with a mortality rate of approximately 40%, the company said in a news release.

NeoGuide's New Colonoscopy System Addresses ‘Looping'

March 01, 2006

NeoGuide Systems, Inc.'s computer-assisted colonoscopy system has received FDA 501(k) marketing clearance. The company's NeoGuide Endoscopy System is designed to eliminate the "looping" that may occur when the advancing endoscope displaces the colon and stretches the surrounding tissue.

New Budget Plan Cuts NCI Funding by 0.8% for FY 2007

March 01, 2006

President Bush's budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2007 contained some unpleasant news for the cancer community, including a small but symbolically significant cut in funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Lilly Oncology on Canvas Invites Entries

March 01, 2006

Eli Lilly and Company and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship have issued a call for entries for the 2006 Lilly Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey International Art Competition and Exhibition.

Shorter FEC + Pac Ups DFS in Breast Ca

March 01, 2006

Marked reductions in breast cancer recurrence were achieved with a shorter standard adjuvant chemotherapy regimen, augmented by weekly doses of paclitaxel, in a study by the Spanish Group for Breast Cancer Research, the GEICAM 9906 trial, presented at the 28th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 39).

Xyotax Fast Tracked for Advanced NSCLC in Women

March 01, 2006

Cell Therapeutics' Xyotax (paclitaxel poliglumex), a biologically enhanced chemotherapeutic that links paclitaxel to a biodegradable polyglutamate polymer, has gained fast track status from the FDA for the first-line treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in women with poor performance status.

FDA Guidances for Early Human Testing of New Drugs

March 01, 2006

Officials at the National Cancer Institute have welcomed two new guidance documents issued by the FDA. The two aim at making it easier for clinical researchers to conduct small-scale human studies of exploratory drugs prior to phase I trials. The documents are designed to increase the number of promising drugs that researchers can evaluate by administering them at microdose levels to small numbers of patients before deciding whether the agents warrant further human study.

Darbepoetin During RT Boosts Hb Level, With QOL Benefit

March 01, 2006

New data suggest that darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) improves hemoglobin (Hb) levels among patients undergoing radiation therapy for various types of cancer. Higher hemoglobin levels, in turn, were associated with better measures of quality of life (QOL) and less fatigue. "We all know that anemia occurs in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. It might be cancer related or it might be a side effect of the cancer treatment," lead author Dosia Antonadou, MD, said at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (abstract 136).

Breast, Colorectal Cancer Care Quality 'Excellent'

March 01, 2006

The first comprehensive assessment of cancer care quality in the United States indicates adherence to recommended care for patients with breast or colorectal cancer is excellent overall, but specific areas need improvement. Overall, breast cancer patients received 86% of generally recommended care, based on 36 quality-care measures. Patients with colorectal cancer received 78% of generally recommended care, based on 25 quality-care measures.

Some Complete Molecular Responses Seen With CML Vaccine

March 01, 2006

Analysis of an early trial of a peptide vaccine, CMLVAX100, provides evidence of disease responses, including some complete molecular responses in patients with previously treated chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), according to Monica Bocchia, MD, Department of Hematology, University of Siena, Italy. "Despite high rates of clinical and cytogenetic remission achieved by imatinib [Gleevec], most patients still have some degree of molecular residual disease," Dr. Bocchia said at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American College of Hematology (abstract 167). Furthermore, she noted that discontinuation of imatinib (Gleevec) usually results in recurrence of leukemia.

HCT Provides Long-Term Survival in CML

March 01, 2006

According to a study of late transplant outcomes for more than 6,500 chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients, those patients alive in remission 5 years after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) enjoy relatively low rates of subsequent disease relapse and death.

Rituxan + CHOP Approved for Diffuse Large B Cell NHL

March 01, 2006

Rituxan (rituximab) in combination with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone) or other anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens has received approval from the FDA for use as first-line treatment of diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (DLBCL) in CD20-positive patients.

Inpatient Hem/Onc Unit Adds Phase I Clinical Trial Program

March 01, 2006

When an adjacent hospital closed its research unit with cancer trials pending, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, Ohio State Univesity, Columbus, successfully added a clinical study component to an existing hematology-oncology unit, to ensure that patients could enroll in phase I trials and receive the care they need during their enrollment.

FDA Redesigns PI Format to Improve Safety

March 01, 2006

A new format for use in writing package inserts (PIs) seeks to make prescribing and safety information clearer and more concise for health care professionals and patients. The design will apply to all future drugs FDA approves. All drugs approved within the past 5 years will be converted gradually to the new format. The agency said the new design for package inserts is an effort to better manage the risks of medication use and reduce medical errors.

March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 01, 2006

March 2006 marks the seventh annual National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The national nonprofit Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation (CRPF) and its partners have activities planned to increase general knowledge in the United States about colorectal cancer, to advocate screening, and to encourage potentially life-saving lifestyle changes.

FOLFOXIRI Bests FOLFIRI for Metastatic Colorectal Ca

March 01, 2006

Compared with FOLFIRI, the FOLFOXIRI regimen increases the rate of radical resection, prolongs time to progression, and may improve survival when used as first-line therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer, new data show. Alfredo Falcone, MD, professor of medical oncology, University of Pisa, and chairman of Oncology, Livorno Hospital, presented the findings at the 2006 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 227).

Docetaxel and Herceptin Both Show Benefit in FinHer Trial

March 01, 2006

Nine weeks of trastuzumab (Herceptin) given concurrently with single-agent docetaxel (Taxotere) or vinorelbine (Navelbine) prior to combination chemotherapy improves survival in HER2-positive breast cancer patients, compared with no trastuzumab, with the docetaxel regimen having a slight advantage over vinorelbine.

North Shore-LIJ Opens $17 Million Monter Cancer Center

March 01, 2006

The North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System has opened its Monter Cancer Center, a $17 million, 37,000-square-foot facility that offers a spectrum of cancer services in a stunning outpatient setting, providing patients with a calming atmosphere complete with indoor gardens and skylights.

Bcr-Abl Transcript Reduction in CML Continues With Ongoing Imatinib Therapy, IRIS Update Demonstrates

March 01, 2006

An updated analysis of IRIS (International Randomized trial of Interferon/Ara-C versus ST1571), a trial of imatinib (Gleevec) vs interferon, shows that patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) who respond well to treatment after 12 months may go on to even further eradication of disease after 4 years.

Intraductal Chemo Promising in Breast Ca Model

March 01, 2006

Investigators at Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center have begun phase I studies of intraductal chemotherapy in women with breast cancer scheduled for mastectomy. The chemotherapy agent is injected via hair-thin catheters into the milk ducts.

Unrelated CBTs Successful in Adult Acute Leukemia Pts

March 01, 2006

Unrelated cord blood transplantation (UCBT) appears at least as effective as haploidentical T-cell-depleted peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) in adults with acute leukemia, with outcomes varying according to leukemia subtype, according to a retrospective analysis of European transplant patients.

Longer PFS With Maintenance Rituximab After CVP in FL

March 01, 2006

In patients undergoing treatment for follicular lymphoma, (FL) maintenance rituximab (Rituxan) after a cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone (CVP) regimen appears to confer a survival benefit, Sandra Horning, MD, professor of medicine, Stanford University, said at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (abstract 349).

Clinical Care Doesn't End Post-treatment

March 01, 2006

This case study illustrates some of the off-treatment issues your patients may face and provides some practical solutions to help patients overcome them whether you see them for regular follow-up or just receive an occasional phone call requesting assistance.

With Baby Boomers Aging, Medicare Financing System Must Be Restructured

March 01, 2006

The Medicare program needs to be restructured if it is to remain solvent for the generation of baby boomers now reaching age 60. Since many cancer patients are Medicare beneficiaries, the health of the program is vital to the oncology community.

Cannabis Has Potential as a Drug to Relieve the Side Effects of Cancer and Its Treatment

March 01, 2006

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. A body of evidence suggests that this plant, which contains hundreds of active compounds, has potential value for certain patients undergoing cancer treatment. However, largely due to nonscientific political issues, marijuana is still classified as a schedule I drug—an illegal substance having a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use in the United States." This classification, which has been repeatedly challenged, greatly complicates scientific research of this plant's medical potential.