Oncology NEWS International Vol 18 No 5

Drug with tumor-specific target fells cancerous B cells while sparing healthy ones in NHL

May 27, 2009

A novel drug that targets an important protein receptor that supports B-cell lymphoma cells produced significant responses in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who had failed prior therapies. Results from the phase II trial of fostamatinib disodium in 68 heavily pretreated relapsed and refractory B-cell NHL patients revealed that the treatment has significant promise and should undergo further clinical testing, according to lead investigator Jonathan W. Friedberg, MD, of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester in New York.

Expanded Medicare coverage of PET draws kudos from oncology community

May 27, 2009

Highly expensive imaging technologies are a lightning rod in today’s contentious healthcare landscape. Critics contend that imaging services are grossly overused, while supporters argue that proper use of imaging saves lives and reduces downstream cancer costs.

Who's News

May 27, 2009

Recipients of the 2009 ASCO Special Awards have been announced. Clara D. Bloomfield, MD, (left) will be given the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award; the Science of Oncology Award will go to Bert Vogelstein, MD; Olufunmilayo Olopade, MBBS, will receive the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award; the B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology will be given to Martine Extermann, MD, PhD; the Pediatric Oncology Award will be presented to William E. Evans, PharmD, and Mary V. Relling, PharmD; John H. Glick, MD, will take home the Distinguished Achievement Award; Diane S. Blum, MSW, is the recipient of Partners in Progress Award; Richard Pazdur, MD, will be given the Special Recognition Award.

Push for comparative effectiveness research

May 27, 2009

As comparative effectiveness research matures from a political buzz phrase to a decision-making process, leaders in the oncology community are concerned about the effect this latest government initiative might have on community practices that already feel overregulated.

Should lymphadenectomy be the standard of care in melanoma metastasis to the sentinel lymph nodes?

May 25, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz.-In patients with intermediate thickness localized melanoma, wide excision surgery is usually curative, but metastasis to regional lymph nodes can occur. Some clinicians advocate immediate elective lymphadenectomy in these patients who have positive sentinel node biopsies as a way to improve tumor staging and survival.

Lack of persuasive data continues to plague PSA testing

May 25, 2009

Is the era of PSA screening coming to an end? Proponents say the test saves lives, but a growing number of critics contend that widespread screening does more harm than good. The ongoing controversy over the clinical value of PSA screening has long been perpetuated by a lack of persuasive data, leaving doctors and their patients with difficult conversations and a host of perplexing decisions.

Less toxic protocol proves efficacious in chronic lymphocytic leukemia pts

May 22, 2009

A triple therapy with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (Rituxan) was hailed as the new standard of care for chronic lymphocytic leukemia at ASH 2008 in San Francisco. Now a new study has deemed low-dose fludarabine and cyclophosphamide combined with high-dose rituximab (FCR-Lite) as highly effective in untreated CLL patients.

ASCO draws road map to navigate economic, racial disparities in ca care

May 22, 2009

ASCO has issued policy recommendations designed to eliminate existing disparities between minorities and whites, and between those with and without health insurance. “Disparities in Cancer Care” comes as the incidence of cancer is projected to increase significantly in the next 20 years, a situation that could be catastrophic if not dealt with sooner rather than later.

Clinical trials flourish in international setting

May 22, 2009

A call center in India takes a customer service inquiry from Idaho; an Australian doctor reads an emergency x-ray for a U.S. patient; a professor in Moscow delivers a lecture via satellite to UK-based students-these examples of “going global” no longer seem so novel. Cancer clinical trials are also crossing international datelines. Between 2005 and 2006, international clinical trials initiated in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 50%, while major research initiatives-once the stronghold of U.S. institutions-are now run by EU-based investigators.

Global lung ca staging lexicon undergoes major overhaul

May 22, 2009

The imminent publication of eagerly anticipated new international guidelines promises to transform the complex area of lung cancer staging. The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer is expected to publish its updated recommendations in 2009. The seventh edition of the guidelines will include tumor, node, and metastasis classification. The original TNM staging of lung cancer proposed in 1973 was based on 2,155 cases from the database of Clifton Mountain, MD, from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Focus on Lung Cancer

May 21, 2009

LUGANO, Switzerland-Women may be more vulnerable than men to the cancer-causing effects of smoking, according to a study presented at the 2009 European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology.

Homeopathy assuages side effects of Rx

May 21, 2009

Homeopathy can help cancer patients with skin irritation and mouth sores, according to a review involving 664 participants published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (online issue 2, 2009).

Experts struggle with clinical implications of alcohol and link to breast cancer risk

May 21, 2009

Information on the relative health benefits and risks of alcohol consumption seems to come out on a monthly basis, but the early days of 2009 were particularly flooded with such reports. Three high-profile studies offered more evidence of a significant association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk.

Waun Ki Hong: Raising the BarHis pioneering H&N cancer trial spared the larynx; new focus is chemoprevention

May 21, 2009

Oncologists who treat head and neck cancer face a double-edged sword-life-saving procedures often leave patients disfigured or unable to speak. For Waun Ki Hong, MD, it simply wasn’t enough to offer a cure that was saddled with too many severe consequence

Mind-body medicine in cancer care: Making patients whole

May 21, 2009

A cancer diagnosis carries with it a unique set of challenges for patients, their family, and healthcar e professionals. Patients newly diagnosed with cancer and their support people are frequently in shock, fearful, and emotionally regressed.