Oncology NEWS International Vol 18 No 1

UK health board rejects multiple myeloma drug

January 02, 2009

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence rejected lenalidomide (Revlimid) in combination with dexamethasone for treating multiple myeloma patients who have already received at least one prior therapy.

Phase II often signals end of line for trials

January 02, 2009

The largest numbers of trial terminations occur at phase II, especially if the trial is for a marketed therapy compared with a novel drug, according to an expert analysis in the Good Clinical Practice Journal.

Exiqon offers relapse test for colon cancer

January 02, 2009

Exiqon A/S has released its miRNAbased prognostic test designed to identify stage II colon cancer patients who may be at significantly higher risk for recurrence and for whom adjuvant chemotherapy may be warranted.

Medicare offers broader coverage for PET scan

January 02, 2009

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed to grant routine Medicare payment for numerous cancerrelated FDG-PET applications. Under the proposal, one PET study would be granted for Medicare beneficiaries who have biopsy-proven or strongly suspected solid tumors.

Imaging in clinical trials calls for more than one-dimensional measurements

January 02, 2009

CHICAGO-Using imaging to monitor drug response is becoming an increasingly important fi eld of research, and radiologists who are not involved in clinical trials should at least become aware of it, said presenters at an RSNA 2008 refresher course (RC730A).

ESAs require caution under stricter FDA guidelines; reimbursement subject to change

January 02, 2009

The new year has begun, but controversy over erythropoiesis-stimulating agents for chemotherapy-induced anemia continues. Restrictive FDA revisions to ESA labeling have had a profound effect on the management of patients with anemia as well as on the practice of oncology itself.

Diet high in fat escalates risk of ovarian cancer

January 02, 2009

A high intake of meat and fat may increase the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer, according to a study out of Australia. However, women who feasted on fruit and vegetables exhibited a reduced risk.

ASCO favors routine KRAS test in colon ca

January 02, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-ASCO released a provisional clinical opinion that recommends routine KRAS testing to guide treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer with cetuximab (Erbitux) and panitumumab (Vectibix).

Escalating doses of vorinostat amplify response in relapsed multiple myeloma

January 02, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO – Results from two early-phase clinical trials showed that adding vorinostat (Zolinza) to bortezomib can produce favorable response rates in up to 40% in patients with refractory or relapsed multiple myeloma. In the combined results of these two phase I trials, 39% of patients refractory or relapsed aft er bortezomib treatment achieved a partial response, and 43% had stable disease, said Donna Weber, MD, of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Clear communication saves patients from emotional limbo

January 02, 2009

Oncologists face special patient communication challenges, as cancer treatments are highly complex and prognosis is often grim. For various reasons, important information is often avoided or communicated poorly, leaving cancer patients in emotional limbo.

Results may be biased

January 02, 2009

The [Godinez study] referral pattern for MRI represents a bias in this study population toward young women and women with ambiguous findings on routine imaging, who are not necessarily the same patients referred for APBI, said Dr. Woodward, assistant professor of radiation oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

MRI for every APBI candidate: An open question

January 02, 2009

In this retrospective study by Godinez et al, 30 (38%) of 79 patients had additional foci on MRI. The researchers suggested that MRI should be used prior to APBI to rule out the presence of multifocal or multicentric disease.

Growing ca burden strikes developing countries

January 02, 2009

Cancer is predicted to become the leading cause of death worldwide in the year 2010, according to the latest edition of the World Cancer Report released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The burden from cancer will not be shared equally, though. Researchers forecast that low- and medium-resourced countries that are least equipped to deal with rising rates of cancer in the population will be hit hardest.

Thirty percent of clinical trials face zero enrollment

January 02, 2009

Suppose you hosted a clinical trial and nobody came? That’s what happens 30% of the time, according to researchers from the Center for Management Research in Healthcare at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “Trials get opened, but no patients are accrued,” said principal investigator David Dilts, PhD.

Proton data suggest no greater risk of secondary malignancy

January 02, 2009

BOSTON-Retrospective data from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital may help alleviate fears that proton radiation therapy increases the risk of secondary cancer relative to conventional photon therapy.

Bortezomib combination offers favorable response rate in relapsed multiple myeloma

January 02, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-A regimen of perifosine, bortezomib (Velcade), and dexamethasone provides favorable outcomes with manageable toxicities, even in heavily pretreated multiple myeloma patients, according to data presented at ASH 2008.

Who’s News

January 02, 2009

Walter Curran, Jr., MD, has been awarded the inaugural Lawrence W. Davis Chair of Radiation Oncology at Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Curran is chairman of the department of radiation oncology and medical director of the Emory Winship Cancer Institute.

A maverick blazes new trails for leukemia research

January 02, 2009

Growing up in Canton, Ohio, Fred Appelbaum, MD, dreamt of cowboys, cattle rustling, and a career in medicine- of sorts. “It wasn’t until I was an undergrad at Dartmouth College that I thought seriously about medicine. But I didn’t think about academic medicine or research. I thought I’d end up a small-town doc like in Gunsmoke,” explained Dr. Appelbaum, referring to the popular TV series from the 1950s.

Clinical trials benefit from aggressive patient outreach

January 02, 2009

With clinical trial involvement stalled at around 5% for adult cancer patients, there is much room for improvement. Oncology News International spoke with two experts who have found that common sense marketing strategies can boost enrollment.

Recurrence assay contributes to clearer picture of prognosis

January 02, 2009

SAN ANTONIO-Data presented at SABCS 2008 by the ATAC Trialists’ Group extends the value of the Oncotype DX Recurrence Score in assessing risk of distant recurrence in breast cancer patients receiving an aromatase inhibitor.

Should advanced ovarian ca patients in CCR be offered maintenance therapy?

January 02, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-In a debate session at the 2008 Oncology Congress, neither speaker advocated maintenance therapy as the standard of care in patients with advanced ovarian cancer who achieve a complete clinical remission. But the “pro” speaker, Thomas J. Herzog, MD, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, argued that the evidence in favor of maintenance therapy is strong enough that it should be discussed with these patients as an option, while the “con” speaker, Robert L. Coleman, MD, of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, called the evidence “premature.”

Breast MRI before radiation zeroes in on multifocal disease

January 02, 2009

Potential candidates for accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) may benefit from pretreatment MRI to ensure no cancer is missed, according to a study conducted by a multidisciplinary group of researchers.

Smart probes plus molecular biomarkers uncover cancer at the earliest signs

January 02, 2004

NEW ORLEANS-Molecular imaging is rapidly advancing as a biomedical modality that increases the understanding of underlying cellular mechanics and dynamics and adds a new dimension to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It may be a sensitive and specific method for evaluating cancer by measuring the expression of genes that trigger oncogenesis and stratifying tumors on the basis of their biological characteristics