Oncology NEWS International Vol 17 No 2

NLST article not balanced, critic of screening trial asserts

February 01, 2008

"Researchers defend NLST protocol against its critics" (ONI, January 2008, page 14) quoted three individuals in the United States who strongly support the NLST [National Lung Screening Trial] and no one on the other side of the issue.

Good nilotinib responses in imatinib-resistant AP-CML

February 01, 2008

Among Ph+ chronic myelogenous leukemia patients in accelerated phase with imatinib (Gleevec) resistance or intolerance, treatment with nilotinib (Tasigna) rapidly produced significant responses and was generally well tolerated in an open-label pivotal phase II study

Virus linked to Merkel cell carcinoma

February 01, 2008

University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers have discovered a previously unknown virus strongly associated with Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare but aggressive skin cancer that typically affects elderly and immunosuppressed individuals

Benefit of adjuvant RT/CT for pancreatic ca affirmed

February 01, 2008

Patients who undergo complete resection of invasive adenocarcinoma of the pancreas are roughly two-thirds more likely to be alive at 5 years if they receive adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy, compared with no adjuvant therapy, according to the 30-year Mayo Clinic experience.

Recurrence Score helps select node+ pts for chemo

February 01, 2008

The 21-gene recurrence score assay (Oncotype DX) was applied to early breast cancer patients with hormone-receptor and axillary lymph node positivity in two studies reported at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Their findings suggest that the recurrence score can identify subsets most likely to benefit from chemotherapy.

For resectable liver mets: Preop chemotherapy or not?

February 01, 2008

When colorectal cancer metastasizes to the liver, hepatic resection can offer a survival benefit and even a "cure" in a fraction of patients. Five-year overall survival in some recent series approaches 60%. But the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in this group of patients has not been well established

Assay has high sensitivity for hard-to-detect SLN mets

February 01, 2008

A rapid molecular assay outperforms frozen sections when it comes to detecting breast cancer metastases in sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs), new data show. Moreover, the assay tends to perform better in cases where detection of metastases by frozen section is known to be difficult, such as cases of lobular carcinoma.

Dasatinib effective in imatinib resistant/intolerant CML

February 01, 2008

Study results presented at ASH 2007 showed efficacy of the novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor dasatinib (Sprycel) in imatinib (Gleevec) resistant or intolerant chronic myelogenous leukemia patients in chronic, accelerated, and blast phase

ONI remembers Judah Folkman, founder of angiogenesis

February 01, 2008

On January 14, Dr. Judah Folkman, founder of the field of angiogenesis, died unexpectedly at age 74 in Denver, while en route to Vancouver for a lecture. Dr. Folkman was founder and director of the Vascular Biology Program at Children's Hospital, Boston, and professor of pediatric surgery and cell biology at Harvard.

New machine approved for adaptive RT

February 01, 2008

Siemens Medical Solutions announced it has received FDA 510(k) marketing clearance for its ARTISTE Solution, a linear accelerator engineered specifically for Adaptive Radiation Therapy (ART).

ONI sits down with Dr. Vincent DeVita

February 01, 2008

As a young boy, Vincent DeVita dissected frogs on the front steps of his parents' house in Yonkers. In the eyes of his encouraging mother, he was already a budding physician fascinated by the internal complications of life.

Making faster, better, more cost-effective clinical trials

February 01, 2008

Over the past few years, the number of new cancer drugs approved by FDA has been dwindling. Critics generally cite exorbitant costs, lack of accrual to trials, conflicts of interest, and government regulations as the primary reasons for the dearth of new molecular compounds.

Copays reduce mammogram rates in elderly

February 01, 2008

Even a small copayment can significantly lower mam-mography rates among women age 65 to 69. Although cost sharing through deductibles and copayments "may result in more prudent use of medical care and avoidance of low-value services," the investigators wrote, it may also reduce the use of appropriate medical care.

Whole body staging can miss melanoma and lung mets

February 01, 2008

In a surprising discovery, reported at RSNA 2007, researchers from Germany have found that whole-body staging of patients with recently diagnosed malignant melanoma using either MRI or PET/CT could miss a substantial number of metastatic lesions

Mutational status affects nilotinib responses in CP-CML

February 01, 2008

In a significant proportion of imatinib (Gleevec)-resistant chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia patients with Bcr-Abl mutations, nilotinib (Tasigna) treatment results in hematologic, cytogenetic, and molecular responses

Umbilical cord blood transplant alternative for older pts

February 01, 2008

While reduced-intensity conditioning allows hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) in older cancer patients who cannot tolerate standard conditioning regimens, only about one-third of such patients have an HLA-matched related donor available. For these patients, stem cells derived from unrelated umbilical cord blood (UCB) may provide a suitable and convenient alternative

ONI names four deputy editors to advisory board

February 01, 2008

Oncology News International has named four deputy editors to its editorial advisory team, Editor-in-Chief Steven Rosen, MD, announced. The new deputy editors represent a spectrum of interests, including genitourinary and breast tumors, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology. Monica Bertagnolli, MD, Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD; Andrew D. Seidman, MD; Joel Tepper, MD, a radiation oncologist and professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He is a former president and chairman of the board for ASTRO and currently sits on the board of directors for ASCO.

Sequential Rx effective, less toxic in metastatic breast ca

February 01, 2008

As first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer in HER2-positive patients, trastuzumab (Herceptin) can be given as a single agent, followed by docetaxel (Taxotere) upon progression, without compromising time to recurrence and providing a better toxicity profile

Study may answer critics' fears about preop breast MRI

February 01, 2008

Greater utilization of dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI at the University of California, San Diego, over a 6-year period helped improve surgery planning for tough breast cancer cases without hiking mastectomy rates

ACCC views 2008 as a year of economic challenges

February 01, 2008

Since the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, community cancer centers around the country have been struggling to balance the delivery of optimum care with an ever-tightening reimbursement climate. Cancer Care & Economics (CC&E) talked with the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Manager of Provider Economics & Public Policy, Matthew Farber, MA, about the challenges of the upcoming year.

Pre-transplant rituximab improves survival in DLBCL

February 01, 2008

Use of rituximab (Rituxan) in the pre-transplant setting significantly boosts both progression-free and overall survival for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), without impacting engraftment or treatment-related mortality

Rituximab effective in first-line CLL

February 01, 2008

In a pivotal phase III study, rituximab (Rituxan) in combination with standard chemotherapy significantly increased time to progression in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Stage set for further trials of rIL-2 in younger AML pts

February 01, 2008

Preliminary results suggest that immunotherapy with recombinant interleukin-2 (rIL-2) may prolong survival in younger patients with acute myeloid leukemia in first remission. However, the high rate of refusal or discontinuation of such therapy presents challenges for its acceptance

Large adjuvant trial shows no benefit of adding a taxane

February 01, 2008

Sequential docetaxel (Taxotere)-based chemotherapy did not lead to better outcomes than standard anthracycline-based chemotherapy among women with resected breast cancer in the Taxotere as Adjuvant Chemotherapy Trial (TACT), the largest primary adjuvant trial of taxanes to date.

FDA approves IV antiemetic Emend for chemo patients

February 01, 2008

A new formulation of Emend has entered oncology's antiemetic armamentarium. Emend (fosaprepitant dimeglumine, Merck) for Injection received US Food and Drug Administration approval in late January for use in combination with other antiemetic agents for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with initial and repeated courses of moderate- or high-emetogenic chemotherapies, including high-dose cisplatin.

A bold proposal to streamline clinical trials

February 01, 2008

If therapeutic agents are documented to be more effective than standard therapies in the advanced breast cancer setting, they will also be effective in the adjuvant setting. This renders randomized phase III adjuvant trials unnecessary in many cases, and means that undue delays in moving new agents up-front are costing lives

Three-drug combo promising in metastatic breast cancer

February 01, 2008

Preliminary survival data are encouraging for the triple-drug combination of trastuzumab (Herceptin), docetaxel (Taxotere), and capecitabine (Xeloda) as first-line therapy for locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer

Study ends adjuvant controversy?

February 01, 2008

Overall survival after pancreatic resection can be markedly improved with adjuvant chemoradiation therapy, according to investigative groups who presented encouraging data on two different regimens at the 2008 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

VTD induction boosts CRs in newly diagnosed myeloma

February 01, 2008

;In patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, the addition of bortezomib (Velcade) to thalidomide (Thalomid) and dexamethasone significantly increased response rates, compared with thalidomide plus dexamethasone alone, when used as induction therapy prior to autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT

Inaccurate lab reports put breast cancer patients at risk

February 01, 2008

Studies show that thousands of women may be receiving the wrong breast cancer treatment because of faulty laboratory reports. More disturbing, this trend was identified years ago. A 2006 study led by Genentech found 14% to 16% of HER2 tests were false positive and 18% to 23% were false negative.

FDA reviewing sBLA for Pegintron for melanoma

February 01, 2008

Schering-Plough Corporation has announced that FDA has granted priority review to its supplemental Biologics License Application for Pegintron (pegylated interferon alfa-2b) as adjuvant therapy for patients with stage III melanoma.

Are HBV and HPV infection only the tip of the iceberg?

February 01, 2008

Modern medicine has made most infectious diseases of bacterial origin easily managed. However, research has shown that chronic infections caused by a handful of viruses, bacteria, and parasites play a significant role in the development of certain cancers.

Study spells end for high-dose dex in first-line myeloma pts

February 01, 2008

In newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients, lenalidomide (Revlimid) plus low-dose dexamethasone led to superior overall survival, compared with the standard regimen of lenalidomide plus high-dose dexamethasone

Frontline alemtuzumab promising for high-risk CLL pts

February 01, 2008

A novel frontline regimen has shown efficacy in high-risk patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, with no significant increase in hematologic toxicity, compared with historical data on the standard regimen

Danish researchers claim possible 'cure' of MCL

February 01, 2008

Use of intensive immunochemotherapy plus purged stem-cell support can result in long-term survival in patients with mantle cell lymphoma, suggesting that MCL could be considered as curable. Christian Geisler, MD, PhD, of Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark, presented this provocative idea, based on final results of the MCL2 study, at ASH 2007 (abstract LB1), speaking on behalf of the Nordic Lymphoma Group.

Kosan opens TIME-1 pivotal trial of tanespimycin in myeloma

February 01, 2008

Kosan Biosciences Incorporated has announced that the Tanespimycin in Myeloma Evaluation (TIME-1) pivotal phase III trial for its Hsp90 inhibitor tanespimycin as a potential treatment for multiple myeloma is open for enrollment

FDA approves new adjuvant indication for Herceptin

February 01, 2008

The FDA has approved a new indication for Genentech's Herceptin (trastuzumab) as a single agent for the adjuvant treatment of HER2-overexpressing, node-negative (ER/PR-negative or with one high-risk feature) or node-positive breast cancer, following multimodality anthracycline-based therapy.

Diagnostic Dilemma: Dermatology

February 01, 2008

A 31-year-old man presented in May 2007 with generalized painful, ulcerated, and necrotic papules and plaques worsening for the last few months. He had been diagnosed with mycosis fungoides in October 2005. Treatments included topical corticosteroids and psoralen with ultraviolet A light therapy (PUVA), with the latter being discontinued because of the development of blisters. For the last 6 months, he had been treated with oral bexarotene (Targretin), with initial improvement of his skin lesions.