Oncology NEWS International Vol 18 No 11

Should surgery dominate as the standard of care for mesothelioma or be in reserve for a select group of pts?

November 24, 2009

Surgical intervention for mesothelioma has become widely accepted, but controversy persists: Should surgery be the standard of care or should it be offered only to select patients? According to scientific literature, surgery decreases morbidity and mortality while also improving outcomes compared with adjunctive therapy alone.

Early study shows promise for radiofrequency ablation in dysplastic Barrett esophagus

November 23, 2009

Radiofrequency ablation can decrease disease progression in patients with dysplastic Barrett esophagus, or metaplasia of the espophageal epithelium, according to a study out of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The researchers also found that the technique eradicated dysplasia and intestinal metaplasia.

ECCO/ESMO study: Endocrine Rx for prostate cancer carries cardiovascular consequences

November 23, 2009

The first major study to address the cardiovascular adverse effects of endocrine therapy for prostate cancer could change attitudes toward treatment options because testosterone deprivation may have more impact on the patient’s life than it does on the androgen receptor.

Measure for measure: How to make practice benchmarks meaningful

November 23, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS-When it comes to taking stock of an oncology practice’s productivity, less is more. It benefits a practice to develop a few meaningful benchmarks rather than multiple overlapping, overwhelming, and meaningless measurements.

Updated regimens on par with standard therapy in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

November 21, 2009

Researchers are exploring ways to manipulate rituximab (Rituxan) when added to the current standard therapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, specifically shortening the number of treatment days. Preliminary results of a phase III trial showed that rituximab plus CHOP over a 14-day cycle achieved similar response rates and comparable toxicity compared to CHOP on a 21-day cycle in newly diagnosed patients.

Ultrasound targets lymph node recurrence in breast cancer

November 20, 2009

Ultrasound is an effective way to monitor lymph node recurrence after breast cancer surgery, South Korean researchers reported. Regional lymph node recurrence affects just 2% to 16% of patients with any stage of breast cancer, but is difficult to manage and associated with poor prognosis.

JAMA article reignites debate over screening

November 20, 2009

The incidence of later-stage breast cancer has not kept pace with a substantial increase in diagnosed breast cancers, an increase achieved largely by the use of better imaging equipment and a nearly 70% screening rate among women 40 years and older. This fact, underscored in a special communication in the Journal of the American Medical Association, pokes holes in the widely held public belief that early diagnosis will prevent the majority of breast cancer deaths.

Moving at the speed of science

November 18, 2009

Owen Witte, MD, has been a California resident for nearly 35 years, but there’s nothing laid-back about him. The director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research retains the rapid fire speech of a native New Yorker. Although it was getting toward late afternoon when Dr. Witte met with Oncology News International, he ushered a steady stream of visitors into and out of his office at the University of California, Los Angeles. When he spoke about his work, it was with the same energy that no doubt drew him to science in the first place.

International trials: Panitumumab delays disease progression in colon cancer mets

November 18, 2009

BERLIN-A pair of colon cancer trials using panitumumab (Vectibix) not only proved the efficacy of the drug in patients with nonmutated KRAS but also highlighted the importance of ascertaining KRAS status. Trial 181 evaluated panitumumab in combination with FOLFIRI as a second-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer, while trial 203 paired the anti-EGFR agent with FOLFOX4 as first-line treatment.

Radiation Rx prevents melanoma’s invasion of lymph nodes

November 18, 2009

CHICAGO-Radiation of the lymph nodes of high-risk melanoma patients appears to significantly reduce the risk that cancer will recur in those nodes, researchers said at ASTRO 2009. The study was deemed practice-changing, representing the first advance in the management of melanoma in nearly two decades.

Bone marrow aspiration enhances detection of leukemia cells

November 17, 2009

Scientists in New Mexico are experimenting with a nanotechnology device that quantifies the amount of nanoparticle-bound tumor cells in a tissue sample and offers increased sensitivity to minimal residual disease (Cancer Res 69:6839-6847, 2009).

Women with small HER2+ breast ca face recurrence risk

November 17, 2009

Researchers in the U.S. and Italy report that women with HER2-positive breast cancers that are 1 cm or less in diameter and are node-negative have a risk of recurrence that is two to five times greater than that of women with HER2-negative breast cancers (J Clin Oncol online, November 2, 2009).

Imaging experts weigh in on screening controversy

November 17, 2009

Despite the hubbub, breast imaging researchers saw nothing new in the findings of Dr. Esserman’s group. Daniel Kopans, MD, a professor of radiology at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, called her observation about mammography catching nonlethal cancers but missing aggressive ones “a fundamental concept that is older than I am. Mammography saves lives by finding moderate- and slow-growing cancer that will kill in five or more years without diagnosis and treatment,” according to Dr. Kopans.

Moderate marijuana use may tamp risk of H&N cancer

November 17, 2009

Cannabinoids, which are a byproduct of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential antitumor properties, but evidence of a relationship between marijuana use and the induction of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma has been inconsistent.

Postsurgical H&N patients manage to complete radiotherapy

November 17, 2009

Head and neck patients who undergo surgery first are more likely to complete radiation therapy, according to Seattle-based researchers. Megan Dann Fesinmeyer, PhD, MPH, and colleagues noted that radiation dose and treatment duration correlated with tumor control and survival, but that breaks in radiotherapy have been associated with inferior tumor control.

C-11 choline PET/CT boosts early prostate ca detection

November 17, 2009

Findings of a study by researchers in Italy suggest C-11 choline PET/CT could diagnose prostate cancer recurrence sooner than transrectal ultrasound, CT, MRI, or bone scintigraphy in patients who have undergone radical prostatectomy.

Prometheus releases trio of tissue-specific microRNA tests

November 16, 2009

Prometheus Laboratories has launched the ProOncDx line of cancer diagnostic tests. ProOncDx TumorSource pinpoints the tissue of origin in metastatic tumors in a number of cancers including breast, brain, kidney, colon, liver, ovary, lung, pancreas, and prostate. The test measures the expression level of 48 microRNA biomarkers

Pazopanib accepted by FDA as treatment for kidney cancer

November 16, 2009

GlaxoSmithKline has received FDA approval for pazopanib (Votrient) for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. The FDA’s approval of the angiogenesis inhibitor was based on data from a phase III clinical trial, which demonstrated that pazopanib reduced the risk of tumor progression or death by 54% compared with placebo and regardless of prior treatment.

New molecule interferes with heat shock protein activities

November 16, 2009

Researchers had identified a small molecule that inhibits the heat shock protein HSP70. They also demonstrated in their animal experiment that the HSP inhibitor could stop tumor formation and significantly extend survival.

FDA approves cervical cancer vaccine

November 16, 2009

Cervarix has won FDA approval for the prevention of cervical pre-cancers and cervical cancer associated with HPV-16 and HPV-18 for use in girls and young women (ages 10-25), according to GlaxoSmithKline.

EC145 shows anti-tumor activity in ovarian cancer

November 16, 2009

BELGRADE-Endocyte presented phase IIa data from its trial using EC145 (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin) in women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer at the 2009 European Society of Gynaecological Oncology.

Hysterecomy fails to offer better disease control

November 16, 2009

A modified radical hysterectomy (class II) did not improve locoregional control and survival compared with simple extrafascial abdominal hysterectomy (class I). Investigators from University of Milano-Bicocca in Monza, Italy, randomized 520 patients with stage I endometrial cancer to class I or class II surgery. They found that the median length of parametria and vagina removed were 15 mm and 5 mm respectively for class I hysterectomy vs 20 mm and 15 mm for class II hysterectomy (P > .001). Operating time and blood loss were statistically significantly higher for class II hysterectomy. Five-year disease-free survival and overall survival was 87.7% and 88.9% respectively in the class I arm, and 89.7% and 92.2% in the class II arm (Ann Surg Oncol online, October 16, 2009).

Turmeric May Induce Cell Death in Esophageal Cancer Sans Apoptosis

November 16, 2009

Turmeric, or curcumin (diferuloylmethane), may be a favorable agent for the prevention and treatment of esophageal cancer, according to researchers at the Cork Cancer Research Center and Mercy University Hospital in Cork, Ireland. The authors noted that turmeric was able to induce cell death by a mechanism that is not reliant on apoptosis induction.

Astellas, Medivation team on prostate Rx

November 16, 2009

Astellas has partnered with Medivation to co-develop and market the oral anti-androgen, MDV3100. In September, Medivation enrolled patients in the phase III AFFIRM trial, which is evaluating MDV3100 in 1,200 men with castration-resistant prostate cancer who were previously treated with docetaxel (Doxil) chemotherapy.

Pain relief with radiation Rx may come at too high a price

November 16, 2009

An analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center shows that costs vary widely for different treatment regimens and from one delivery method to another. Yet receiving more treatments and spending extra on more sophisticated technology may do little good, at least when it comes to pain relief.

Stereotactic body radiation controls lung ca in frail patients

November 16, 2009

CHICAGO-In lung cancer patients, stereotactic body radiation therapy achieved a 98% local control rate that persisted over three years in those who were too frail with comorbidities to undergo surgery, according to research presented at ASTRO 2009.

Oncologists should look upon imaging as another biomarker, not just an anatomic picture

November 16, 2009

Annick Van den Abbeele, MD, couldn’t believe her eyes. Dr. Van den Abbeele, the chief of radiology at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, had seen the patient just a month earlier. At that time, the 35-year-old woman had a gastrointestinal stromal tumor in her abdomen that was so large, she looked six months’ pregnant. But at the patient’s follow up FDG-PET study, the tumor was completely gone.