Oncology NEWS International Vol 17 No 11

Move to abandon anthracyclines in adjuvant breast cancer care is premature

November 02, 2008

Anthracyclines have occupied a prominent position in the adjuvant systemic treatment of early breast cancer for decades. Th is position was supported by the evidence from the latest overview of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) showing an absolute survival benefit of about 4% at 10 years for anthracycline-containing regimens versus CMF-like regimens.

Clinical trials struggle to recruit, retain patients

November 02, 2008

It’s no secret that enrollment into cancer care clinical trials has reached a level that could be described as anemic. Conventional wisdom puts adult enrollment at 3% to 5%, even though two-thirds of cancer patients say they are receptive to participating.

Global financial woes threaten new UK radiotherapy centers

November 01, 2008

One of Europe’s leading cancer centers is fighting to recover £7.5 million ($13 million) from a failed Icelandic bank. The money, much of which was generated from charity fundraising, was earmarked for two new radiation therapy centers.

Birth length of at least 50 cm may bump up breast ca risk

November 01, 2008

An increase in birth length by 2 cm is associated with a 9% increase in breast cancer risk, according to a study reported in PLoS Medicine, online. Isabel dos Santos Silva, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues, examined 32 studies involving 22,058 breast cancer cases.

Obama, NCCN win endorsements in online poll surveys

November 01, 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s health plan bested the plan put forth by Republican Sen. John McCain in an online survey posted at www.CancerNetwork.com (see “Which healthcare reform approach do you favor?,” October 2008, page 5).

Colonoscopy proves cost-effective in young patients

November 01, 2008

Conducting colonoscopies for people in their mid 50s can save money, according to research presented at the 2008 American College of Gastroenterology meeting in Orlando, Fla. The savings averages $2 for every dollar spent, the study found.

Philips Healthcare extends contract for image-guided oncology

November 01, 2008

Philips Healthcare will continue its relationship with the University Medical Center (UMC) in Utrecht, the Netherlands to develop new imaging products for the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of cancer. The partners will focus on image-guided oncology interventions to direct translational research into clinical applications.

Court finds Roche infringed on Amgen’s erythropoietin patents

November 01, 2008

The U.S. District Court in Boston upheld a prior jury decision (October 2) declaring Roche infringed on Amgen’s erythropoietin patents. The court also said Amgen is entitled to a permanent injunction prohibiting Roche from selling its pegylated-erythropoietin (peg-EPO) product Mircera in the U.S.

Advanced colon ca: Is sequential treatment preferred?

November 01, 2008

STOCKHOLM-Clinical trials have not clearly determined if advanced colorectal cancer patients should receive their first line of chemotherapy in combination or in sequence. In a debate at ESMO 2008, Cornelis J.A. Punt, MD, PhD, from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and Aimery de Gramont, MD, of Hospital Saint-Antoine in Paris, discussed the pearls and pitfalls of each approach.

Infusion confusion: Quick fixes for keeping reimbursement on track

November 01, 2008

In January 2005, Medicare changed the coding and billing of injection and infusion services in order to describe more precisely the complexity of the services and provide adequate reimbursement for the nursing time involved.

Cancer film festival salutes international documentaries

November 01, 2008

A documentary on his best friend’s battle with cancer garnered Jann Gassman Best of the Fest award at the Reel Lives: Cancer Chronicles Film Festival, the first international documentary film festival on cancer.

Training centers for proton therapy in the works

November 01, 2008

ProCure Treatment Centers of Bloomington, Ind., is launching a network of proton therapy training centers across the US. ProCure provides comprehensive services in developing proton therapy centers, ranging from design and construction to daily operation. Th ere are currently five operational ProCure proton therapy centers in the country, including one in Bloomington (below).

SEAS leader tags statin-ezetimibe cancer link as most likely a matter of chance

November 01, 2008

MUNICH-Final results from the Simvastatin and Ezetimibe in Aortic Stenosis (SEAS) trial were released at the 2008 European Society of Cardiology Congress, and the lead researcher urged oncologists to continue treatment for their patients who are also on cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Recurrence rates after accelerated partial breast RT on par with whole-breast RT

November 01, 2008

BOSTON-Accelerated partial breast irradiation using balloon brachytherapy drastically shortens treatment duration without aff ecting mortality and ipsilateral recurrence rates, according to three- and four-year follow-up data presented at ASTRO 2008.

Folate polymorphisms underlie neuropsychological impairment in ALL survivors

November 01, 2008

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Canada- Previous studies have shown that 20% to 40% of survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia will have some form of neuropsychological impairment. “However, we do not fully understand why some children are so strongly affected by therapy, and would like to develop a model to determine which children are most at risk for these negative late effects,” said Kala Y. Kamdar, MD, of the department of pediatric hematology/oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

PET/CT shows high value in lung cancer staging trial

November 01, 2008

NEW ORLEANS-An in-depth assessment of PET/CT at two German teaching hospitals has shown the fusion imaging technology improves on CT alone and pays dividends clinically and financially for staging non-small-cell lung cancer.

Automated planning tools for breast cancer treatment require judicious use

November 01, 2008

STOCKHOLM-Clinical guidelines and decision-making tools off er evidence based data and prognostic estimates that can help streamline treatment tailoring. But physicians should not rely blindly on these applications as they don’t always off er defi nitive answers, according to a presentation at ESMO 2008.

Hereditary retinoblastoma survivors face second ca risk

November 01, 2008

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Canada- Retinoblastoma is a rare form of pediatric cancer, affecting approximately 300 new patients in the United States each year. The two variants of this cancer, hereditary and nonhereditary, have excellent survival rates, but there is a tremendous risk of secondary malignant cancers in those with the hereditary form, especially if they are treated with radiotherapy.

Billing may be tricky for patients in skilled nursing facility

November 01, 2008

Here are some simple things that can be done to keep the billing related to skilled nursing facilities in order. Here’s a scenario that most likely plays out in oncology practices on a routine basis: A Medicare beneficiary arrives at a community offi ce for treatment. She has a blood draw followed by a 2-hour chemotherapy infusion. Th e oncology practice’s offi ce submits a reimbursement claim through Medicare Part B. Two weeks later a notice from Medicare arrives-claim denied!

Modafinil use curtails severe, treatment-related fatigue

November 01, 2008

About 80% of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and 89% of those who undergo radiation therapy, experience fatigue during their treatment. But about 30% of cancer patients continue to feel fatigued for years aft er treatment. A phase III study demonstrated that the eugeroic agent modafinil (Provigil) reduces severe fatigue and sleepiness among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

New task force guideline returns PSA screening to center stage

November 01, 2008

When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reported that routine prostate cancer screening for older men appears to result in little benefit, the announcement raised more than a few eyebrows in the urologic medical community.

Red wine lowers lung ca risk; acts as radiation shield

November 01, 2003

Moderate consumption of red wine may decrease the risk of lung cancer in men, according to a study published in the October Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention journal (17: 2692–2699, 2008).