Oncology NEWS International Vol 15 No 8

Younger Age at Brain Tumor Diagnosis Portends Poor Emotional Outcome

August 01, 2006

Childhood survivors of brain tumors who were diagnosed at age 10 or younger have worse depressive symptomatology and social skills and lower feelings of self-worth than their counterparts who were diagnosed as pre-teens or teenagers

Higher Responses in Metastatic Colon Ca When Cetuximab Added to Chemo

August 01, 2006

In a phase III study, patients with untreated metastatic colon cancer had significantly higher response rates when cetuximab (Erbitux) was added to their chemotherapy, compared with chemotherapy alone (FOLFIRI or FOLFOX)

Triple Targeted Therapy Is Tested in Pts With Solid Tumors

August 01, 2006

A phase I trial is testing triple therapy targeted at both the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway in patients with solid malignancies.

No Significant QOL Differences for Raloxifene and Tamoxifen

August 01, 2006

Five-year follow-up data from the STAR (Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene) trial show that the drugs are similarly effective for preventing invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women at high risk for the disease, that raloxifene (Evista) was somewhat less effective at preventing noninvasive breast cancer, and that raloxifene is associated with a 30% lower risk of thromboembolic events than tamoxifen.

Sunitinib and Sorafenib Active in Phase II Advanced NSCLC Trials

August 01, 2006

Sunitinib (Sutent), which blocks several tumor tyrosine kinase targets, and sorafenib (Nexavar), which targets the tumor Raf/MEK/ERK pathway, are both active in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to phase II studies

Takeda Signs Agreement With Galaxy Biotech for HuL2G7

August 01, 2006

Takeda Pharmaceutical has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Galaxy Biotech (Mountain View, California) to develop, manufacture, and market HuL2G7, a recombinant humanized anti-hepatocyte growth factor (anti-HGF) monoclonal antibody developed by Galaxy Biotech. HGF is believed to mediate proliferation, metastasis, antiapoptosis, and neoangiogenesis of many types of tumors. In animal models, treatment of intracranial glioma xenografts with HuL2G7 induced substantial tumor regression and prolonged survival (Clin Cancer Res 12:1292-1298, 2006).

Experimental Regimens Fail to Boost Pancreatic Survival

August 01, 2006

A study comparing two experimental regimens with standard 30-minute gemcitabine (Gemzar) infusions for advanced pancreatic cancer found temporary improvements in tumor response, but no survival benefit

EPA's Dioxin Assessment May Overstate Risk of Cancer

August 01, 2006

An evaluation of the US Environmental Protection Agency's most recent assessment of dioxin has concluded that EPA understated the uncertainly about the chemical's health risks and may have overstated the risk of human cancer.

Intermittent Chemo Feasible in AI Prostate Cancer Patients

August 01, 2006

The first large clinical trial to prospectively evaluate intermittent chemotherapy for androgen-independent prostate cancer showed that a minority of patients can be given chemotherapy "holidays" of clinically meaningful duration.

5-Yr Data Confirm Imatinib Efficacy in CML Pts

August 01, 2006

A 5-year follow-up of the largest study to evaluate imatinib (Gleevec) in the treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) continues to show prolonged response to treatment and a steady decline in rate of disease progression with each additional year of treatment.

FDA Approves Gemzar/Carboplatin for Advanced Ovarian Ca

August 01, 2006

The FDA has approved Gemzar (gemcitabine HCl for injection, Lilly) in combination with carboplatin for the treatment of women with advanced ovarian cancer that relapsed at least 6 months after initial therapy.

FDA Approves Oncaspar for First-Line ALL

August 01, 2006

The FDA has granted expanded approval to Enzon's Oncaspar (pegaspargase) as part of multidrug chemotherapy for treating children and adults with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL

Percutaneous RFA an Option for Some Lung Met Patients

August 01, 2006

Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of lung metastases of colorectal cancer may be a useful treatment option in patients who are not candidates for surgery, but the benefit varies with the size of the metastases

Bevacizumab Added to Chemotherapy or Erlotinib Is Promising in Refractory Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

August 01, 2006

In the treatment of recurrent or refractory non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) to either chemotherapy or erlotinib (Tarceva) was associated with a trend toward improved progression-free and overall survival in a phase II study

Panzem Gets Orphan Drug Status for Treatment of Brain Tumor

August 01, 2006

EntreMed, Inc.'s lead drug candidate Panzem (2-methoxyestradiol or 2ME2) has received orphan drug status from the FDA for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. In vitro studies in glioma cell lines demonstrated Panzem's antiproliferative activity, and in vivo studies in a preclinical model of glioblastoma showed its antitumor activity, EntreMed said in a press release. Panzem is currently being investigated in a phase II trial in patients with glioblastoma multiforme at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center. The agent previously received orphan drug designation for the treatment of multiple myeloma and ovarian cancer.

Prior Thalidomide Therapy Affects Benefit of Len/Dex in Myeloma

August 01, 2006

Patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma have a higher response rate and longer time to progression when lenalidomide (Revlimid) is added to dexamethasone (Len/Dex), regardless of prior thalidomide (Thalomid).

Dr. Bailes Testifies at Congressional Hearing

August 01, 2006

In a hearing convened by House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health chairwoman Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Congress sought input on the effects of the new average sales price (ASP) payment system for cancer drug reimbursement on the delivery and access of cancer care. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) interim executive vice president and chief executive officer, Joseph S. Bailes, MD, testified at the hearing.

Thalidomide Ups Survival in Elderly Myeloma Patients

August 01, 2006

Elderly patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma are likely to survive nearly 2 years longer if thalidomide (Thalomid) is added to the standard melphalan/prednisone (MP) regimen, and they may gain about 10 months longer progression-free survival (PFS),

Emend Gets Expanded FDA Approval for Preventing PONV

August 01, 2006

Merck & Co.'s antiemetic Emend (aprepitant) has been granted expanded approval by the FDA to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Emend, a substance P/neurokinin 1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist, works through a mechanism distinct from that of the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. Approval was based on two randomized double-blind studies of 1,658 patients undergoing open abdominal surgery. Emend was previously approved for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Oral Spray Delivery of Ondansetron Bioequivalent to Tablets

August 01, 2006

Bioavailability studies show that oral spray delivery of the antiemetic 5-HT3 antagonist ondansetron is equivalent to oral delivery with ondansetron tablets (Zofran), Wayne Yates, MBA, and Greg Berk, MD, of Hana Biosciences, said at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 42nd Annual Meeting (abstract 8622). Hana Biosciences has submitted a New Drug Application to the FDA for the oral spray (brand name Zensana) for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and the prevention of postoperatively induced nausea and vomiting.

Anti-EGFR Combo Active in EGFR+ Ca's

August 01, 2006

A phase I trial finds that the combination of cetuximab (Erbitux) and gefitinib (Iressa) produces responses in patients with advanced solid cancers expressing the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)—especially colorectal cancer.

Managing Time & Avoiding Burnout in Oncology

August 01, 2006

Insufficient time is a major source of stress and burnout in the practice of oncology, but oncologists can use a variety of strategies to increase their efficiency and get more satisfaction from their work and from life

New Internet Domain Offers Secure e-mail, Website Development Service, and Oncology-Tailored Resources

August 01, 2006

The health care industry increasingly relies on information technology for a growing variety of professional purposes. According to national surveys, medical professionals spend at least 50 minutes each night doing Internet-based research, and 21% of physicians use e-mail to communicate with their patients. In this "Spotlight on Technology," CC&E reports on an Internet provider that recently launched a new domain specifically designed to help oncologists enhance the clinical/business performance of their practices.

Breast MRI Cost-Effective in Certain High-Risk Pts

August 01, 2006

Acceptance of expensive new technologies often rests on their proven cost-effectiveness within specific clinical scenarios. A recent article (Plevritis et al: Cost-effectiveness of screening BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with breast MRI. JAMA 295:2374-2384, 2006) suggested that adding breast MRI screening may be cost-effective for women of certain ages who carry BRCA1/2 gene mutations. To shed light on this subject, Cancer Care & Economics (CC&E) spoke with noted breast imaging expert Elsie Levin, MD, medical director of the Faulkner-Sagoff Breast Imaging and Diagnostic Centre in Boston.