Oncology NEWS International Vol 16 No 4

Curcumin Evaluated for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

April 01, 2007

Curcumin, an ingredient in the dietary spice turmeric (see box), may be useful in treating pancreatic cancer, according to two groups of investigators who presented their work at the Society for Integrative Oncology Third International Conference.

Tykerb Approved for Metastatic HER2+ Breast Cancer

April 01, 2007

Tykerb (lapatinib, GlaxoSmithKline) has received US Food and Drug Administration approval in combination with Xeloda (capecitabine, Roche) for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer in patients whose tumors over-express the HER2 receptor and who have previously received other cancer drugs, including an anthracycline, a taxane, and trastuzumab (Herceptin).

Drug for BPH May Also Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer

April 01, 2007

Dutasteride, a 5-alpha-reductase (SRD5A) inhibitor currently used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), produces genetic changes in normal prostate tissue that may be protective against the development of prostate cancer

Phase III Trial of Prostvac-VF Is Launched

April 01, 2007

A new multicenter, randomized, phase III trial of Therion Biologics' Prostvac-VF prostate cancer vaccine is currently underway. The vaccine consists of a virus modified to carry the gene sequence for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and the transgenes for three T-cell co-stimulatory molecules (TRICOM). It is designed to help the immune system kill prostate cancer cells.

Phase II Trial of Panzem for Renal Cell Carcinoma Initiated

April 01, 2007

EntreMed has initiated a phase II trial of its drug candidate Panzem (2-methoxyestradiol) in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma who have failed treatment with or are progressing while being treated with sunitinib (Sutent).

Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Technique May Reduce Surgery Time in Colon Cancer: New Study Is Underway

April 01, 2007

In patients with colorectal cancer, a 'hand-in' approach to laparoscopic surgery—hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery (HALS)—may yield benefits beyond those of traditional laparoscopic techniques, particularly reduced operation time.

Watchful Waiting Management for Prostate Ca a Hard Sell

April 01, 2007

Men with indolent, very-low-risk prostate cancer who are eligible to be managed with active surveillance or "watchful waiting" appear to be reluctant to choose this strategy, researchers said at ASCO's 2007 Prostate Cancer Symposium

Once-Weekly SC Idraparinux Equals Standard DVT Rx

April 01, 2007

A subcutaneous injection of the investigational agent idraparinux (Sanofi-Aventis) given once a week is just as effective and safe as the standard regimen of heparin plus a vitamin K antagonist in preventing recurrences of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Patients Using Unapproved Cancer Agent

April 01, 2007

University of Alberta researchers, led by Evangelos Michelakis, MD, have shown that dichloroacetate (DCA), added to the drinking water of nude athymic rats implanted with human lung cancer cells (A549), significantly reduced tumor size, compared with controls, and was associated with increased apoptosis and decreased proliferation.

CT Lung Screens: No Lives Saved

April 01, 2007

Although CT screening increases the rates of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment among long-time smokers, data from three studies, individually and combined, show no evidence that such scanning reduces deaths from the disease

Transgene Enrolls First Patients in Trial of TG 1042 in CBCL

April 01, 2007

Transgene S. A. has announced that the first patients have been enrolled in a two-step phase II trial of its immunotherapy product candidate TG 1042 (Ad-IFNϒ) to treat relapsing cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CBCL).

Prostate Cancer Therapies May Not Be Equal

April 01, 2007

Men with low- and intermediate-risk early-stage prostate cancer who received external-beam radiation therapy (RT) did not live as long as those who were treated with brachy-therapy or radical prostatectomy, researchers said at ASCO's 2007 Prostate Cancer Symposium

Imatinib-Resistant CML May Respond to Nilotinib

April 01, 2007

In chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients who have failed two tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapies—imatinib (Gleevec) and dasatinib (Sprycel)—the investigational agent nilotinib (Tasigna) has significant clinical activity

Reduced Lung Cancer Risk Seen in Women Textile Workers

April 01, 2007

Long-term, high-level exposure to bacterial endotoxins in raw cotton fiber and cotton dust was associated with a 40% decrease in lung cancer risk among female Chinese textile workers. The risk of developing lung cancer decreased for workers exposed to greater amounts of endotoxins over many years.

Toremifene May Protect Against Side Effects of Androgen Rx

April 01, 2007

In a phase III study, toremifene (Acapodene), a selective estrogen receptor modulator, increased bone mineral density (BMD) and improved lipid profiles in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for advanced prostate cancer, and may prove to be a useful adjunct to protect against the multiple serious adverse effects of ADT

Herbal Supplements Are Marketed to Cancer Patients With Little Scientific Support of Safety and Effectiveness

April 01, 2007

Because so many cancer patients are using dietary supplements, the Integrative Medicine Service of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) created a website (www.mskcc.org/AboutHerbs) that provides scientific information on more than 200 herbs, vitamins, and other dietary supplements commonly used by cancer patients.

Less Toxicity With Revlimid/Lower-Dose Dex for Myeloma

April 01, 2007

Induction therapy with lenalidomide (Revlimid) and low-dose dexamethasone substantially reduces the risk of adverse events, compared with a high-dose steroid regimen, in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma

Life Tapes Project Boosts Ca Patients' Sense of Well-Being

April 01, 2007

The Life Tapes Project (LTP)—a 2-hour videotaped cancer patient interview aimed at reducing feelings of isolation and existential anxiety—significantly improved patients' FACT-G functional and overall quality of life (QOL) subscale scores only 2 weeks post-taping, with many patients reporting they were better able to enjoy life, sleep well, and accept their illness.

For Renal Cryo, Percutaneous Approach Has Advantages

April 01, 2007

In appropriately selected patients, cryoablation of renal cancers results in equal efficacy, shorter hospital stays for patients, and lower costs when performed percutaneously instead of laparoscopically

Soliris Approved for Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

April 01, 2007

The FDA has approved Alexion Pharmaceuticals' Soliris (eculizumab), the first product for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare, disabling and life-threatening blood disorder defined by chronic red blood cell destruction (hemolysis).

Fraudulent Interpretation of Lab Results

April 01, 2007

In this edition, we offer an example of how clinicians and patients can be fooled and/or injured by fraudulent healthcare practitioners and their services. The clinical care team must be sure that the references it provides to patients are safe and reliable. Keep a list of reliable references and a list of those practitioners and services/treatments that should be avoided. Maintain an open door policy with your patients designed to encourage questions and exchange such information.

Celldex Tests Its Brain Tumor Vaccine in Multicenter Trial

April 01, 2007

Celldex Therapeutics has initiated a multicenter phase II/III trial of its brain tumor vaccine CDX-110 in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) that expresses EGFRvIII, a variant of EGFR not present in normal tissue.

Dual-Headed CZT Gamma Camera Finds Small Breast Tumors

April 01, 2007

A home-grown molecular breast imaging system using a dual-headed cadmium-zinc-telluride (CZT) gamma camera was highly sensitive in detecting breast tumors less than 10 mm in size in a preliminary study of 100 patients with confirmed breast cancer.

ASCO Study Predicts Major Shortfall of Medical Oncologists by the Year 2020

April 01, 2007

A newly released ASCO study, titled "Future Supply and Demand for Oncologists: Challenges to Assuring Access to Oncology Services," projects a potential shortfall of medical oncologists in the United States, which could severely compromise access to quality care. Cancer Care & Economics (CC&E) recently spoke with Michael Goldstein, MD, an oncologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. Dr. Goldstein, chair of the ASCO Workforce in Oncology Task Force, contributed to the development and analysis of this important study.

MRI Finds Contralateral Breast Tumors That Were Missed by Mammography

April 01, 2007

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the contralateral breast in 969 women newly diagnosed with cancer in one breast detected 30 (3.1%) contralateral breast cancers that were missed by mammography and clinical breast exam at the time of diagnosis.

$25 Million Patient Navigation Program Aims to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities in Targeted Communities

April 01, 2007

On June 29, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2005 (H.R. 1812). This legislation authorized the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to oversee the distribution of $25 million in competitive 5-year grants to help underserved communities access health care services.

PSA-Induced Stage Migration Has Ended

April 01, 2007

The number of early stage prostate cancers being detected by PSA screening appears to have leveled off; similarly, the gains in cure rates due to early detection may have reached their limit.

'I Say, I Say, Don't Be a Chicken!' About Colon Cancer Screening: Taxi-Top Ads and PSA Videos

April 01, 2007

The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is teaming up with New York City's taxi drivers to remind New Yorkers and visitors to the city to get screened for colon cancer.