Oncology NEWS International Vol 18 No 3

Genetics opens new window on acute myeloid leukemia

March 24, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-While genetics has opened up new possibilities for predicting treatment response in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, there are still unanswered questions about the relationship between genetic mutations and treatment outcome, according to Bob Lowenberg, MD, PhD, who delivered the Ham-Wasserman lecture at ASH 200

Pralatrexate: Upfront Rx strategy for T-cell lymphoma

March 24, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-As a single agent, pralatrexate (PDX) shows promising clinical activity in relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma, producing responses in 27% of the patients enrolled in a major prospective clinical trial.

Who's News

March 24, 2009

Barbara Goff, MD, has been selected by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to lead the Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Study. The appointment was made at the 2009 Gynecologic Oncologists Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in San Antonio.

Functional MRI boosts early staging of cervical cancer

March 23, 2009

Diffusion-weighted MRI added to standard T2-weighted scans can help spot cervical cancer in its early stages. A preliminary study from the Institute of Cancer Research in London determined that DWI can spot tumors missed by T2 imaging and bolster management options for women who wish to preserve reproductive organs.

Unseen bone lesions flare up on post-Rx NSCLC scans

March 23, 2009

Oncologists who treat non-small-cell lung cancer with bevacizumab (Avastin) should be aware of a phenomenon called “bone flare,” according to researchers from two California-based institutions. 

Oncolytics kicks off reovirus trial

March 23, 2009

Oncolytics will start a U.S. phase II trial on Reolysin (reovirus serotype 3) and chemotherapy for NSCLC. Oncolytics said that Reolysin, in combination with certain chemotherapeutics, results in more efficient and synergistic anti-cancer activity than when each agent is used on its own.

PET/CT picks up additional lesions not found on chest CT

March 23, 2009

Thoracic CT scans in cancer patients require careful inspection in order to pinpoint previously undetected lesions, according to a study by Canadian radiologists. Jean-Charles Vinet, MD, and colleagues found that PET/CT detected an additional 20% of lesions from the supraclavicular notch to the adrenals that were not found on chest CT alone.

Targeted therapies address hard-to-treat liver tumors

March 23, 2009

Not long ago, our approach to treating difficult metastatic tumors was to “spray and pray.” We knew that chemotherapy and other traditional treatment approaches could cause great damage and had a limited chance of successfully destroying the entire tumor. At the time, a proven safer and more effective option did not exist, and patients were desperately in need of treatment. Fortunately, as our knowledge of the complexities of advanced liver tumors has grown, so has our ability to develop treatments that target and treat tumors while avoiding harmful side effects to normal tissue.

Should ADT be part of care for all patients with intermediate-risk prostate cancer?

March 23, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-Studies show improved outcomes when androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is part of the care for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, said Mack Roach III, MD, taking the “pro” side of a debate on the issue. But “con” speaker Arul Mahadevan, MD, argued that the studies in question included mostly high-risk patients, and that monotherapy is effective in intermediate-risk patients.

Calculate, negotiate: Pay heed to your non-CMS fees

March 20, 2009

Physicians regularly miscalculate their non- Medicare fees, which means that revenue is slipping away. Have you reviewed your fee schedules lately to determine if you’re getting proper reimbursement for all your services? Now is a great time to take a look and make appropriate changes for 2009. Here are some steps to determine if private payers are reimbursing you at a fair rate.

Breast tissue evaluation with fine-needle aspiration fast tracks cancer Rx planning

March 20, 2009

In the past decade, core biopsy has largely replaced fine-needle aspiration for breast tissue evaluation. The latter technique’s inability to distinguish between invasive cancer and in situ cases and a general unease among pathologists not trained in cytopathology (in interpreting cells rather than tissue) are two of the main reasons that FNA has fallen out of favor (Diagnostic Cytopathology online, November 19, 2008).

Investing in future generationsSharon Murphy, MD, views pediatric oncology as a chance to affect an entire lifetime.

March 19, 2009

George Bernard Shaw once said “Youth is wasted on the young.” But for Sharon Murphy, MD, youth is in the hands of exactly the right people. As a medical student, Dr. Murphy was considering a career in internal medicine; doing rounds on the adult wards changed her mind.

Individualized colon cancer Rx advances beyond KRAS

March 19, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-Routine KRAS testing in colon cancer patients received a major boost in January when ASCO issued a provisional clinical statement in favor of pretreatment genetic screening in metastatic disease. But KRAS is only the first step toward personalized medicine in colorectal cancer, according to reports presented at the 2009 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. In fact, colon cancer treatment is headed in the same direction as breast cancer, with other genetic polymorphisms emerging as both predictive and prognostic.