Oncology NEWS International Vol 17 No 4

Editor of Blood reviews a very bloody movie

April 01, 2008

Do all the bloody scenes from some of last year’s top-rated movies-There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Sweeney Todd-suggest that the American Society of Hematology is doing product placement?

Artists take note: Oncology on Canvas accepting entries

April 01, 2008

The 2008 Oncology on Canvas: Expressions of a Cancer Journey art competition and exhibition, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company in partnership with the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, is accepting entries to be received no later than June 30, 2008.

PET affects treatment in over one-third of cancer cases

April 01, 2008

A study based on nearly 23,000 patients at 1,178 US healthcare facilities has found that FDG-PET or PET/CT led referring physicians to alter their opinion about the optimal treatment for 36.5% of cancer patients.

Expanded use of Axxent approved

April 01, 2008

Xoft, Inc’s Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy System, initially FDA approved for accelerated partial breast irradiation in patients with resected early-stage breast cancer, has now received expanded FDA clearance for the treatment of other cancers or conditions where radiation therapy is indicated.

Optical tomo/US monitors adjuvant chemo response

April 01, 2008

Optical tomography with ultrasound localization has the potential to monitor tumor vascular changes during neoadjuvant chemotherapy, according to a pilot study in which the modality was able to distinguish between responders and nonresponders, and even between complete and partial pathologic responses. Susan Tannenbaum, MD, of the University of Connecticut, Farmington, described the approach at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 45).

GIST patients resistant to imatinib/sunitinib respond to sorafenib

April 01, 2008

When GIST patients develop resistance to imatinib (Gleevec), second-line sunitinib (Sutent) has been shown to achieve a response rate of 7% and a median progression-free survival of 6.2 months. When patients progress on sunitinib, however, therapeutic options have been limited.

Sunitinib plus a taxane active in advanced breast cancer

April 01, 2008

Pilot studies presented at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium have found robust activity for the multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib (Sutent) when given with docetaxel (Taxotere) (abstract 6079) or paclitaxel (abstract 6078) as first-line treatment for patients with advanced breast cancer.

Stanford V yields excellent outcomes in bulky, advanced HL

April 01, 2008

When given as intended with radiation therapy, the dose-intense Stanford V regimen is well-tolerated, safe, and effective for treating bulky or advanced Hodgkin lymphoma, based on the experience of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Monica Morrow joins Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

April 01, 2008

Monica Morrow, MD, has joined the staff of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as chief of the Breast Service in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Morrow is also the incumbent of the Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology, effective January 2009.

Nereus initiates phase 1b trial of NPI-2358 in NSCLC patients

April 01, 2008

Nereus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has begun enrolling patients in an open-label phase 1b study evaluating its vascular disrupting agent NPI-2358 in combination with docetaxel (Taxotere) in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who previously failed at least one chemotherapy regimen.

LHRH agonist use declines after reimbursement cuts

April 01, 2008

Medical castration has lost some ground as the preferred androgen deprivation treatment for prostate cancer, while use of surgical castration has increased slightly, according to researchers from the Cleveland Clinic.

New colon screening guideline includes CT colonography

April 01, 2008

The first ever joint consensus guideline for colorectal cancer screening adds two new tests to the list of recommended options-stool DNA and CT colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy-outlines quality elements for each testing method, and includes a preference for screening tests that can detect cancer early and also detect precancerous polyps.

Dana-Farber appointed as palliative care learning center

April 01, 2008

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been named a consulting hospital for palliative care programs nationwide. The Boston-based center has been designated as a learning lab by the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) of the American Hospital Association.

Phase III trial of STS to prevent cisplatin-related hearing loss

April 01, 2008

Adherex Technologies Inc. has activated a phase III trial of sodium thiosulfate (STS) vs placebo to prevent hearing loss in children scheduled to receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy for newly diagnosed germ cell, liver, brain, nerve tissue, or bone cancers.

RAD001 extends progression-free survival in advanced renal cancer pts

April 01, 2008

An independent data monitoring committee stopped a phase III clinical trial of the investigational mTOR inhibitor everolimus (RAD001) after interim results showed significantly better progression-free survival in patients with advanced kidney cancer who received the drug, compared with placebo.

Tavocept may raise survival, but didn’t meet endpoint

April 01, 2008

n a phase III trial of the investigational chemoprotective agent dimesna (Tavocept, also known as BNP7787) in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, the drug did not significantly prevent or reduce the severity of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, its primary endpoint, BioNumerik Pharmaceuticals, Inc and ASKA Pharmaceutical Co. (Tokyo, Japan) announced in a press release.

Tremelimumab trial discontinued

April 01, 2008

Pfizer Inc has discontinued a phase III trial of single-agent tremelimumab in patients with advanced melanoma after the review of interim data showed that the trial would not demonstrate superiority to standard chemotherapy.

Diagnostic Dilemma: Dermatology

April 01, 2008

A 49-year-old Caucasian man presented with progressing erythematous plaques on the face and neck in December 2007. He was treated with topical steroids, presumably for dermatitis, without improvement.

Escalated BEACOPP new standard for advanced HL

April 01, 2008

Long-term results of a German randomized trial suggest that a novel escalated-dose regimen may replace the current chemotherapy standard of care for treatment of advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma. Volker Diehl, MD, of the University of Cologne, Germany, presented 10-year follow-up data on behalf of the German Hodgkin Study Group at ASH 2007 (abstract 211).

Scientist with novel cancer treatment idea is awarded inaugural Gotham Prize

April 01, 2008

Researchers in DNA markers and photon-activation therapy have garnered more than $1 million dollars for personal use through the Gotham Prize for Cancer Research, a newly established award designed to encourage innovations in cancer research.

ESAs spared ax at ODAC meeting

April 01, 2008

Erythropoietin-stimulating agents were spared the ax when FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) decided by a vote of 13-to-1 that ESAs should remain available for use in cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia.

Nonclinical factors prejudice breast ca screening, SLNB

April 01, 2008

Universal healthcare has been a hot button topic in the 2008 US presidential race. But there is more to universal healthcare than insurance coverage. A truly universal system would address-and possibly even eradicate-disparities in healthcare that are based on nonclinical factors, such as socioeconomics and gender.

CyberKnife increasingly used to treat lung tumors

April 01, 2008

Accuray Incorporated has announced that approximately 90% of the more than 125 CyberKnife centers worldwide are now treating lung cancer with the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System. CyberKnife centers in 12 countries have treated more than 5,000 lung cancer patients to date with the CyberKnife System, the company said in a news release.

Model predicts outcome of neoadjuvant endocrine Rx

April 01, 2008

An international team of researchers has developed a predictive model that accurately estimates which breast cancer patients may relapse after neoadjuvant endocrine therapy, Matthew Ellis, MD, PhD, said at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 62).

Good Survival With Adjuvant Imatinib for High-Risk GIST

April 01, 2008

A phase II study found improvements in recurrence-free and overall survival with adjuvant imatinib (Gleevec) in high-risk GIST patients, compared with historical controls, Ronald P. DeMatteo, MD, reported at the 2008 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 8).

Optical tomography/US monitors preop chemo response

April 01, 2008

Optical tomography with ultrasound localization has the potential to monitor tumor vascular changes during neoadjuvant chemotherapy, according to a pilot study in which the modality was able to distinguish between responders and nonresponders, and even between complete and partial pathologic responses.

3D tomosynthesis promising in breast ca detection

April 01, 2008

Digital tomosynthesis appears to be more sensitive than digital mammography for detecting breast cancer in a clinical setting, Debra M. Ikeda, MD, of Stanford University, reported at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 46).

One-third of metastatic breast ca patients develop brain mets

April 01, 2008

About one-third of metastatic breast cancer patients with HER2 overexpression develop metastases to the brain, compared with 5% to 20% of the general metastatic breast cancer population, according to findings from a large observational study in newly diagnosed HER2-positive breast cancer.

Loma Linda Cancer Center

April 01, 2008

Loma Linda University Medical Center has established a new cancer center under the direction of Mark Reeves, MD, PhD, professor of surgery at Loma Linda University and chief of the Section of Surgical Oncology at the Loma Linda Veteran's Administration.

Cost-effectiveness of MRI breast cancer screening in high-risk women depends on the nature of the risk

April 01, 2008

Among women at high risk for breast cancer, screening with magnetic resonance imaging is clearly cost-effective in those with BRCA 1/2 mutations but somewhat less so in those whose elevated risk is due to other factors, according to a new study.

Incorporate CTCs into AJCC staging of metastatic breast ca?

April 01, 2008

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can help stratify patients with metastatic breast cancer in terms of likely survival and should therefore be considered for incorporation into the current AJCC staging system, according to a study presented at the 2007 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (abstract 111).

Tobacco funds helped finance I-ELCAP lung screening trial

April 01, 2008

The always-controversial International Early Lung Cancer Action Program has been struck a serious blow with news that the trial was funded in part by a cigarette manufacturer, according to an article in the New York Times (March 26, 2008).

A surgeon brings cancer care to Harlem

April 01, 2008

Dr. Harold Freeman is a soft-spoken man with strong-held opinions. He grew up in our nation’s capital at a time when restroom doors and drinking fountains radiated the ugly messages of segregation, while African-American churches and schools provided a strong cohesive community. As a youth, he rose above the racial barriers of the time, ultimately forging his anger at racial disparities into his life’s work.