Oncology NEWS International Vol 18 No 7

Accelerated whole-breast irradiation does more with less after lumpectomy

July 28, 2009

Shortening the course of whole-breast irradiation aft er lumpectomy from fi ve weeks to three can improve convenience and cut costs without sacrificing results, according to research from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

RIBBON-1 results bolster bevacizumab as add-on to standard Rx for metastatic breast cancer

July 28, 2009

ORLANDO-RIBBON-1 results demonstrate that bevacizumab (Avastin) can be added to nearly any standard chemotherapy regimen for metastatic breast cancer, although the jury is still out on how meaningful the additional treatment is for overall survival.

Less is more when it comes to serial CA125 testing in ovarian cancer

July 28, 2009

ORLANDO-For the majority of women who undergo ovarian cancer treatment, disease relapse is a matter of when rather than if. These women could spend the rest of their lives undergoing regular CA125 serum marker testing. A recent study that compares the quality of life in early- and advanced-stage ovarian cancer survivors found that CA125 marker measurements for recurrence were, understandably, a source of anxiety for both groups.

Treatment varies widely in chronic myeloid leukemia

July 28, 2009

ORLANDO-The therapeutic pathways used for chronic myeloid leukemia patients with suboptimal response to 400 mg/d imatinib (Gleevec) tend to vary, despite the existence of NCCN clinical practice guidelines.

Should expectant management serve as the primary treatment option in prostate cancer?

July 28, 2009

Prostate cancer experts agree on one issue: No single treatment can be considered universal for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. There are myriad choices and considerations to be reviewed with every diagnosis. In addition, there are conflicting data about when, or if, men require screening for prostate cancer as well as when to start therapy for confirmed disease.

Healthcare advocates call for universal coverage, acknowledge challenges

July 27, 2009

Washington, DC-The idea of universal healthcare coverage was a crowd pleaser at the 2009 Annual Advocacy Training Conference of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, but expert panelists agreed that making that dream into a reality will take time and perseverance.

Gemcitabine, capecitabine regimens equal in breast ca mets

July 23, 2009

ORLANDO-In a head-to-head comparison, two common regimens for metastatic breast cancer matched up, though the difference in toxicity profiles may give capecitabine (Xeloda) the edge over gemcitabine (Gemzar). The results “suggest that gemcitabine/docetaxel (Taxotere) followed by capecitabine at progression may be preferable,” said lead author Andrew Seidman, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

Canadians rally for national standards for breast ca testing

July 23, 2009

After it was reported that 25 labs in Quebec incorrectly identified markers for hormone therapy in 15% to 20% of breast cancer patients, the Canadian Breast Cancer Network called for urgent action to implement systemic changes in national standards for breast cancer testing.

Trio of genes plays role in breast ca mets to brain

July 23, 2009

Cell surface coating may play a major role in the spread of breast cancer to the brain, according to a study out of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Three genes-COX2, HB-EGF, and ST6GALNAC5-have been found to mediate the metastasis of breast cancer to the brain, reported lead author Joan Massagué, PhD, and colleagues (Nature online, May 6, 2009)

Micromet BiTE antibody eliminates leukemia cells

July 23, 2009

Micromet’s BiTE antibody blinatumomab (MT-103) elicits a high response rate in acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients with minimal residual disease, according to the Berlin-based company. The German Multicenter Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Study Group (GMALL) presented phase II clinical data involving the drug at the 2009 Congress of the European Hematology Association in Berlin.

Novartis’s product shows affinity for shrinking NHL

July 23, 2009

Novartis’s Afinitor (everolimus) tablets shrank tumors in half for 33% of patients with relapsed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease, according to the firm. A phase II, open-label trial of 145 lymphoma patients was presented at the 2009 EHA in Berlin.

Genzyme reports new survival data with clofarabine

July 23, 2009

Genzyme updated information for their CLASSIC II investigational study on Clolar (clofarabine). The estimated median overall survival data was 72 weeks for patients achieving complete remission, the company said.

Astra Zeneca and Merck partner on drug regimen

July 23, 2009

AstraZeneca and Merck & Co. have formed an alliance to research the combination of two investigational compounds: AZD6244 (ARRY-886) from AstraZeneca and MK-2206 from Merck. They will work together on a phase I trial and share the costs of the research.

Pharma, diagnostics team on predictive EGFR assay

July 23, 2009

Boehringer Ingelheim of Germany has entered into an agreement with the UK’s DxS to provide a companion diagnostic test kit for Boehringer Ingelheim’s compound BIBW 2992 (Tovok) to identify EGFR mutations of in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

Sunitinib fosters marked increase in overall survival in kidney cancer

July 23, 2009

Patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma who were treated with sunitinib malate (Sutent) experienced a median overall survival of more than two years, compared with patients who took interferon-alpha, according to Pfizer.

Obese young adults are at increased risk of pancreatic cancer

July 23, 2009

Young adults who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study out of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In addition, the Houston-based researchers found that obesity at an older age is associated with a lower overall survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer.

First period linked to ovarian cancer survival

July 23, 2009

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that survival among women with ovarian cancer is influenced by age of menarche and total number of lifetime ovulatory cycles.Previous studies have indicated that the factors associated with a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer include fewer lifetime ovulatory cycles, higher parity, oral contraceptive use, hysterectomy and tubal ligation, according to the researchers.

New survey shows need to address ca-related infections

July 23, 2009

A recently released Amgen-supported survey conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc., shows that a majority of U.S. oncologists and infectious disease specialists are concerned about the rising incidence of infection among cancer patients. The data indicate another problematic issue: An increase in antibiotic resistance among immunosuppressed cancer patients.