Oncology NEWS International Vol 15 No 7

Surgeons Perform Remote Robotic Animal Nephrectomy Over Public Internet: A First

July 01, 2006

Remote robotic nephrectomy performed over the public internet is an inexpensive form of tele-surgery that appears feasible, according to a proof-of-concept study presented at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association (abstract 1075).

High-Quality Screening Colonoscopy Priority for GI Docs

July 01, 2006

Current evidence suggests that colonoscopy screening can reduce mortality from colorectal cancer—if these procedures are performed in a high-quality manner, David A. Lieberman, MD, said at the 2006 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

Denosumab Suppresses Bone Resorption in Breast Ca Mets

July 01, 2006

The monoclonal antibody denosumab (AMG 162) attenuates bone resorption in patients with breast cancer who have bone metastases as effectively as bisphosphonates, according to interim results of a trial reported at the 2006 ASCO meeting (abstract 512).

FDA Approves Revlimid for Myeloma Rx

July 01, 2006

The FDA has approved Celgene's Supplemental New Drug Application for Revlimid (lenalidomide) in combination with dexamethasone (Rev/Dex) for the treatment of multiple myeloma patients who have received at least one prior therapy.

Real-Time RT Planning, Delivery in the Bronx

July 01, 2006

Montefiore Medical Center has opened a state-of-the-art Center for Radiation Therapy within walking distance of the Montefiore-Einstein Cancer Center. The new 15,000 square foot, two-story radiation therapy center is part of the burgeoning facilities located in the Morris Park campus, which services the approximately 1.25 million residents of the Bronx.

HNPCC Pts May Reject Prophylactic Subtotal Colectomy

July 01, 2006

People with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), are willing to consider the pros and cons of prophylactic subtotal colectomy to manage their disorder, but still have strong concerns about the procedure

Improved Colonoscopy Techniques Increase Patient Comfort

July 01, 2006

Increasing patient comfort may translate into higher screening rates for colon cancer, researchers said at Digestive Disease Week 2006. A new colonoscopy system promises a gentler procedure (abstract 719) and an alternative sedation method allows a quicker recovery time (abstract 645).

New Agents Top Standard Rx in First-Line Advanced RCC

July 01, 2006

Two phase III international randomized trials of sunitinib (Sutent) and of the investigational mTOR kinase inhibitor temsirolimus indicate targeted therapy may provide both clinical and survival benefits to patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Sunitinib is an oral multi-targeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of the VEGF and PDGF receptors.

Two Cancer Bills Introduced in the US House of Representatives

July 01, 2006

This new department summarizes current congressional activity relevant to the delivery of cancer care. Two bills recently introduced in the House of Representatives are designed to improve the quality of care for cancer patients on the Medicare program.

Interventions Increase Chemotherapy Center Capacity

July 01, 2006

Faced with increasing patient care needs for chemotherapy, a team of nurses and administrators at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) performed a study to identify challenges to the current system and develop methods to improve patient flow.

Lance Armstrong Recognizes the 'Obligation of the Cured'

July 01, 2006

"I am a cancer survivor," Lance Armstrong said at a plenary session of the 2006 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting when he accepted the Society's Special Recognition Award. "Seven-time Tour de France winner will be the fine print on the tombstone," he said.

PFS a Surrogate for OS in Chemo Trials for Met Colon Ca

July 01, 2006

In trials of first-line chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer, gains in progression-free survival (PFS) are a good surrogate endpoint for gains in overall survival (OS), according to results of a study presented by Patricia A. Tang, MD, at the 2006 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 226).

MNTX Relieves Opioid-Induced Constipation in Pain Pts

July 01, 2006

In a pivotal phase III trial, more than 70% of seriously ill patients with opioid-induced constipation responded to the investigational agent methylnaltrexone (MNTX) by the end of the first week of treatment. Neil Slatkin, MD, DABPN, reported the results at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2006 (abstract 686e).

Sprycel Approved for Resistant CML and Ph+ ALL

July 01, 2006

The FDA has granted accelerated approval to Bristol-Myers Squibb's Sprycel (dasatinib) Tablets for the treatment of adults in all phases of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) (chronic, accelerated, or myeloid or lymphoid blast phase) with resistance or intolerance to prior therapy, including imatinib (Gleevec). Sprycel also received regular FDA approval for the treatment of adults with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) with resistance or intolerance to prior therapy.

Hycamtin Approved in Combination With Cisplatin for Late-Stage Cervical Ca

July 01, 2006

The FDA has approved Hycamtin (topotecan, GlaxoSmithKline) in combination with cisplatin for the treatment of women with late-stage (IVB) cervical cancer that surgery or radiation appears unlikely to cure. The agency acted on the basis of a single phase III trial that showed a significant 2.9-month survival advantage in women treated with the combination vs whose who received cisplatin alone.

No Clinical Difference Between Epoetin and Darbepoetin

July 01, 2006

There are no clinically significant differences in the safety and efficacy of epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp), the two drugs most commonly used to treat anemia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The two drugs both reduce the need for blood transfusions, but the report found no evidence that either drug improved survival when added to a cancer treatment; it warned that significant questions remain about the safety and best uses of both agents.

Case Managers Streamline Transfer Process

July 01, 2006

Prescreening patients before transfer from one cancer facility to another gives the receiving hospital an opportunity to prepare needed services for that patient, "thereby maximizing resources and providing quality care more efficiently," Kathy Rogala-Scherer, RN, Department of Case Management, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), said at the 31st Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society (abstract 35).

New Agent Enhances Pancreatic Ca Response to Therapy

July 01, 2006

Salinosporamide A, a novel proteasome inhibitor, enhances the effectiveness of conventional chemotherapy and molecular therapy combinations in pancreatic cancer, new preclinical data show. Lead author James C. Cusack, Jr., MD, presented findings from a set of experiments with the novel agent at the 2006 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 93).

Long Follow-up Shows Surgery Benefits in Localized Prostate Ca

July 01, 2006

In some men with clinically localized prostate cancer, prostatectomy is associated with a survival advantage, according to results of two long-term studies presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association.

TAILORx Aims to Personalize Breast Cancer Adjuvant Rx

July 01, 2006

Investigators have begun enrolling women with early-stage breast cancer in the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (Rx), commonly referred to as TAILORx, a long-term study designed to determine whether oncologists can use the Oncotype DX (Genomic Health, Inc.) recurrence score to assign women to the most appropriate and effective adjuvant treatments.

Can National Health Information Technology Transform Our Antiquated Health Care System?

July 01, 2006

Recognizing a need to upgrade and modernize our health care delivery system, Congress included provisions in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 intended to foster the widespread adoption of health information technologies. Cancer Care & Economics (CC&E) recently spoke with David Merritt, an expert on health information technology (HIT), about how electronic innovations can reduce the medical errors and costly inefficiencies that burden our health care system.

FDA Approves Gardasil to Prevent Cervical Cancer, Precancers

July 01, 2006

The FDA has approved Merck's Gardasil (quadrivalent human papillomavirus recombinant vaccine) for the prevention of cervical cancer and cervical, vulvar, and vaginal precancers caused by human papillomarvirus (HPV).

Talabostat Active in Phase II Trials in Stage IV Melanoma, CLL

July 01, 2006

Talabostat (PT-100, Point Therapeutics), an oral, small-molecule inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) fast-tracked by the FDA for stage IIIB/IV non-small-cell lung cancer, also looks promising in salvage regimens for patients with advanced melanoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL

Long-term Imatinib Recommended for Metastatic GIST Even After Complete Resection, French Study Shows

July 01, 2006

Patients with metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) who are in complete remission after surgical resection remain at high risk for relapse and should continue long-term treatment with imatinib (Gleevec), according to Binh Nguyen Bui, MD, of Institut Bergonie, Bordeaux, France. Dr. Bui reported results of the French Sarcoma Group BFR14 randomized phase III trial at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 42nd Annual Meeting (abstract 9501).

Peri- and Premenopausal Women More at Risk for Cognitive Impairment After Chemotherapy

July 01, 2006

Peri- and premenopausal women may be more at risk for cognitive impairment than postmenopausal women as a result of adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, according to preliminary data presented at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) Third Annual Conference (abstract P3-5).

Docetaxel in Induction Chemo Prolongs Survival in SCCHN

July 01, 2006

The TPF induction regimen-docetaxel (Taxotere), cisplatin, fluorouracil (5-FU)—followed by carboplatin-based chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is a "new acceptable standard of care" for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN

'Lights, Camera, Action!' Movie Posters Help Kids Cope With Cancer in the Family

July 01, 2006

As part of the "Good Grief" support groups at the Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital, children coping with the illness or death of a loved one from cancer are the stars of their own movie posters, complete with the name of their fictional movie, story line, characters, and opening date (generally the child's birthday).

Microarray Sensitive for Detecting Early Lung Ca

July 01, 2006

Bronchoscopy, which is routinely used when there is suspicion of lung cancer, has a sensitivity ranging from 30% to 70%. Now, a gene expression microarray added to bronchoscopy has dramatically increased that figure, detecting 95% of lung cancers in initial studies with a high-risk population.

Patient Selection Important Issue in Targeted Rx of NSCLC

July 01, 2006

Targeted therapy shows promise in extending survival in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but trial results are mixed and much further work needs to be done. One important next step is research on selecting patients according to the target protein, said Paul Bunn, MD, director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center in Aurora.

Nilotinib Produces High CR Rate in Treatment-Resistant CML

July 01, 2006

At a median of 4.9 months of therapy with the investigational agent nilotinib (Tasigna, formerly AMN107), 92% of patients with treatment-resistant chronic phase Ph+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) achieved a complete hematologic response with normalization of white blood cell counts, and 35% had a complete cytogenetic response. All patient had shown resistance or intolerance to optimized imatinib (Gleevec) therapy

Dasatinib Effective Rx in Resistant Chronic Phase CML

July 01, 2006

In a randomized open-label phase II clinical trial (START-R) presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (abstract 6507), the oral multitargeted kinase inhibitor dasatinib achieved major cytogenetic responses in 35% of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase who had resistance or intolerance to imatinib (Gleevec) (aee also report on page 1 on FDA approval of dasatinib).