Oncology NEWS International Vol 17 No 5

Immunotherapy agent promising in NSCLC

May 24, 2008

GENEVA-Patients with NSCLC who received MAGE-A3 ASCI (antigen-specific cancer immunotherapeutic) had longer disease-free (HR 0.76) and overall survival (HR 0.81) than those who received placebo, although in this phase II study of 182 patients, the difference did not reach significance.

No overall survival benefit for dose-intense regimen in SCLC

May 02, 2008

Boosting the intensity of ICE chemotherapy still can’t overcome the inherent chemoresistance of small-cell lung cancer, according to study results from the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Relistor for treating OIC

May 02, 2008

ROCKVILLE, Maryland-FDA has approved Progenics and Wyeth’s Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide) subcutaneous injection for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced illness who are receiving palliative care, when response to laxative therapy has not been sufficient.

Experts argue against need for phase III proton Rx trials

May 02, 2008

With proton beam therapy centers proliferating in the United States, particularly for use in treating prostate cancer (see April 2008 ONI, page 1), the debate is heating up over the need for randomized clinical trials comparing proton beam therapy with conventional x-ray (photon) therapy in prostate and other cancers.

Spotlight on Cancer Centers

May 02, 2008

The recently opened Institute of Cancer “Octavio Frias de Oliveira,” in Brazil’s capital of São Paulo, is a state institution that will care for cancer patients from São Paulo as well as neighboring states, according to information provided by ONI Editorial Advisory Board member Paulo Hoff, MD, of The Medical School of the University of São Paulo.

Relapsing DLBCL patients respond to rituximab-based Rx

May 02, 2008

ATLANTA-Interim results of an international phase III study show that rituximab (Rituxan)-based salvage chemotherapy results in high response rates in patients with CD20-positive relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) allowing for stem-cell transplantation.

Who’s News

May 02, 2008

AROUND TOWNDouglas W. Blayney, MD, professor of internal medicine, University of Michigan School of Medicine, and medical director of the school’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the new ASCO president-elect. In addition, four news members were elected to the ASCO Board of Directors beginning in June 2008: Bruce E. Johnson, MD, and Sandra Swain, MD (undesignated specialty); Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD (surgical oncologist); and Robert Langdon, Jr., MD (community oncologist). Mary-Claire King, PhD, who serves as the American Cancer Society Research Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, will receive ASCO’s Science of Oncology Award for her work on the genomic localization of the BRCA1 gene.Patricia A. Ganz, MD, professor of health services and medicine, UCLA, and director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, will receive the American Cancer Society Award at the ASCO annual meeting. She will present a lecture on improving outcomes for cancer survivors.Nancy E. Davidson, MD, professor of oncology and breast cancer research chair in oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, was honored with the 11th Annual AACR-Women in Cancer Research-Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship at the recent AACR annual meeting, for her accomplishments in translational cancer science, including pivotal discoveries regarding the epigenetic regulation of estrogen receptors.John Mendelsohn, MD, president of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, was awarded AACR’s Dorothy P. Landon Prize for his pioneering translational research on targeting signal transduction mediated by tyrosine kinases that led to the development of C225 (cetuximab).The Stanford University School of Medicine has received a $43.58 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, toward funding a new building that will house stem cell research on campus, to be called Stanford Institutes of Medicine 1 (SIM1). Irving Weissman, MD, director of Stanford University’s Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute, said that “SIM1 will bring together a group of scientists interested in all aspects of stem cell biology and cancer stem cell research.”

From the Editor

May 01, 2008

To better engage our readership on the economic, policy, and practice issues affecting the oncology community, we have updated our editorial and changed our name, bringing more value-added content to the pages of Cancer Care Practice & Policy (CCP&P).

New compound inhibits Src family kinases

May 01, 2008

SAN DIEGO-A novel compound, KXO1 (KX2-391) that targets Src family kinases (SFK) inhibited the growth of many cancer cell types in culture and inhibited the growth of human colon cancer cells in animal models, Irwin H. Gelman, PhD, reported at AACR 2008 (abstract 4983).

Preop trastuzumab eradicates tumors in 45.5% of HER2+ patients

May 01, 2008

New data presented as part of a late-breaking plenary session at the 6th European Breast Cancer Conference in Berlin showed that neoadjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin) in combination with standard chemotherapy produced a pathological complete response rate in 45.5% of women with HER2-positive early breast cancer.

Myoepithelial cells lining milk ducts hold key to spread of DCIS

May 01, 2008

Researchers at Dana-Farber have found that normal myoepithelial cells, which form part of the lining of the milk ducts, suppress fibroblasts that promote tumor growth and invasion, but when certain genes in the myoepithelial layer become under- or overactive, the layer breaks down and disappears, enabling tumor cells to spread.

Database lists somatic EGFR mutations

May 01, 2008

GENEVA-A free online database brings together data on all of the known somatic mutations in EGFR, coupled with data on the response of NSCLCs treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, Samuel Murray, PhD, of Metropolitan Hospital, Athens, Greece, reported at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference (abstract 750).

Smoke-free restaurant laws may discourage youths from smoking

May 01, 2008

Young people who live in towns where regulations ban smoking in restaurants may be less likely to become established smokers, Michael Siegel, MD, MPH, of Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues reported (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 162:477-483, 2008).

ESMO/ECCO to host combined meetings

May 01, 2008

LUGANO, Switzerland-The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) (Brussels) have united forces to host a co-branded biennial multidisciplinary partnership meeting to provide “the best and most updated scientific data for everyone working in cancer,” the two organizations announced in a press release.

Moderate drinking increases risk of ER+/PR+ breast cancer

May 01, 2008

SAN DIEGO-Even one alcoholic drink a day can raise the risk of breast cancer, according to an analysis of 184,418 postmenopausal women in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study presented at the 2008 American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting (abstract 4168).

Two-stage hepatectomy for 'unresectable' liver mets

May 01, 2008

ORLANDO­-“Unresectable” colorectal cancer liver metastases may actually be resectable with a two-stage hepatectomy approach, Rene Adam, MD, PhD, of the Hospital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France, said at the 2008 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 283).

In colorectal liver mets, pCR heralds long-term survival

May 01, 2008

ORLANDO-In a subset of patients with colorectal liver metastases, a pathologic complete response can be achieved with preoperative chemotherapy, rendering “uncommonly high” disease-free and overall survival rates, French investigators reported at the 2008 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (abstract 333).

Trial of Azedra in high-risk neuroblastoma

May 01, 2008

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts-Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has initiated a multicenter phase IIa clinical trial of Azedra (Ultratrace iobenguane I-131 or Ultratrace MIBG) for the treatment of children with high-risk neuroblastoma.

Oncology News: International steps out with a new look, and a new approach

May 01, 2008

With this issue, regular readers of Oncology News International will notice a new look to the publication. We’ve introduced a new design that we believe is cleaner, more functional, and more appealing to the eye than what we’ve used in the past.

Rapid responses to nilotinib in newly diagnosed early Ph+ CML

May 01, 2008

ORLANDO-In newly diagnosed, early chronic phase, Ph+ chronic myelogenous leukemia, nilotinib (Tasigna) quickly induced complete cytogenetic responses and was well tolerated, Jorge Cortes, MD, of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said at ASH 2007 (abstract 29).

Imaging biomarker can predict early treatment response in malignant glioma

May 01, 2008

In high-grade malignant glioma patients, functional diffusion maps showed tumor response to radiation therapy at 3 weeks after treatment initiation, compared with 10 weeks for traditional volumetric assessment of radiological response.

Oncologists must make time for fertility issues

May 01, 2008

Putting fertility issues on the back burner should no longer be an option for oncologists who treat young adult cancer patients, especially as newer fertility preservation options become available, a number of reproductive medicine specialists told ONI.

Study of mammography in older women stirs up controversy

May 01, 2008

A recent study in elderly breast cancer patients that linked earlier-stage disease, and possibly improved survival, with regular screening mammography is “fatally flawed” and “naïve,” according to some cancer screening experts.