Oncology NEWS International Vol 18 No 9

Letter to the Editor

September 29, 2009

In response to the article “Oncology takes blame for rising healthcare cost” (page 1, July 2009), I would like to direct Oncology News International readers to two articles on the “Win-Win” initiative. The full text articles are available online for free at:

Novel chemoRT regimen ups survival in pancreatic ca

September 29, 2009

In patients with resected pancreatic cancer, adjuvant cisplatin, 5-FU, and interferon chemoradiation produces a median survival of 27 months, according to initial results of the ACOSOG Z05031 trial. However, nearly all patients experience grade 3 or 4 toxicities.

Low expression of MSH2 protein predicts survival in NSCLC

September 29, 2009

Low tumor levels of the MSH2 protein predict long-term response to cisplatin-based chemotherapy in patients with resected non-small-cell lung cancer, according to an analysis from the International Adjuvant Lung Trial.

Prostate cancer pilot program stresses patient-oriented care

September 29, 2009

The Association of Community Cancer Centers recently surveyed its members and found a universal request for assistance in developing prostate cancer care programs. The ACCC responded by setting up pilot programs in the U.S. that focus on the following areas:

Quality of life deficits offset benefits of preoperative rectal radiation therapy

September 29, 2009

Although preoperative radiotherapy has been shown to improve recurrence and mortality rates in patients with rectal cancer, a quality-of-life analysis by the same researchers suggests that male sexual dysfunction and fecal incontinence may be the trade-offs for those improved outcomes

CT distinguishes liver cancer mets from lung primary

September 28, 2009

Researchers in Seoul, Korea, found early-phase contrast-enhanced CT useful for differentiating pulmonary metastases from hepatocellular carcinoma and primary lung cancer. They specifically measured the attenuations of pulmonary nodules on the CT scans.

Prostate cancer patients seek out mind-body care

September 28, 2009

Marcia Prenguber, ND, FABNO, director of integrative care at Goshen Center for Cancer Care in Indiana, said more than 75% of patients use complementary and alternative medicine, yet remain reluctant to tell their oncologists about it. Dr. Prenguber said she does not consider complementary medicine as an alternative to standard treatment, but as a way to tailor healing to the individual.

Who's News

September 28, 2009

Harmit Singh Malik, PhD, and Ulrike “Riki” Peters, PhD, both based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, received the 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Malik is an evolutionary biologist.

Panitumumab plus FOLFIRI bests FOLFIRI alone as second-line colon ca Rx

September 28, 2009

BERLIN-Panitumumab (Vectibix), in combination with FOLFIRI as second-line treatment, significantly improved progression-free survival compared to FOLFIRI alone in patients with KRAS wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer, according to study results that will be presented at ESMO 2009 (see Table). However median overall survival did not achieve statistical significance in the study arm.

A crisis in metastatic breast ca development

September 24, 2009

In about 30% of U.S. women who receive a diagnosis of early breast cancer, the cancer will progress to metastatic disease, but in the developing world, most cancer is initially diagnosed at an advanced stage, said William Gradishar, MD, director of medical breast oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, at Northwestern University, Chicago.

Avastin shows active anti-tumor activity in brain cancer

September 24, 2009

Bevacizumab (Avastin) alone or in combination with irinotecan, was well tolerated and active in recurrent glioblastoma, according to phase II trial results. The multicenter, open-label, noncomparative trial evaluated 167 patients randomly assigned to receive bevacizumab (10 mg/kg) alone or in combination with irinotecan (340 mg/m2 or 125 mg/m2), with or without concomitant enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs, respectively, once every two weeks.

NATCH trial finds no benefit for chemo Rx plus surgery

September 23, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO-Chemotherapy before surgery for early-stage, non-small-cell lung cancer led to moderately higher survival rates than surgery alone, but not enough to reach statistical significance, according to follow-up analysis of the European NATCH trial. However, the researchers did note that patients were more likely to finish the prescribed chemotherapy course when treatment was given preoperatively.

Women with metastatic breast cancer fight for a place in the ‘pink parade’

September 23, 2009

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the breast cancer community, October and breast cancer are tightly bound with the ubiquitous pink ribbon. But the awareness campaign places a heavy emphasis on prevention, detection, and early diagnosis. For women with metastatic breast cancer, there is a sense that the “pink parade” has intentionally passed them by even though an estimated 465,000 annual deaths from breast cancer worldwide occur because of metastatic disease.

Age dictates risk when neoadjuvant hormone therapy is added to prostate brachytherapy

September 22, 2009

The risks associated with neoadjuvant hormonal therapy may outweigh the benefits of its use in conjunction with brachytherapy in some older men with prostate cancer, according to research from the radiation oncology program at Boston’s Harvard Medical School.

Perverse financial incentives tip usage in favor of IV drugs

September 22, 2009

More than a decade has passed since the FDA approved the first pill to fight cancer. Designed to battle metastatic colorectal cancer, capecitabine (Xeloda) marked a significant change in chemotherapy, untethering some cancer patients from office-based intravenous drug infusions. Other such drugs have since been commercially released, including temozolomide (Temodar) and imatinib (Gleevec), but the reimbursement system in this country has failed to keep up.

Should high-dose chemo/transplant still be considered first-line therapy in myeloma?

September 22, 2009

With the availability of newer drugs for treating multiple myeloma, such as proteosome inhibitors and immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), outcomes and depth of response are steadily improving. These developments have led to a debate about whether high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant should still be considered first-line therapy or whether newer drug regimens should replace transplant.

'Don’t abandon PSA testing, other prognostic indicators'

September 22, 2009

ORLANDO-Whom to treat vs whom not to treat remains a major dilemma in prostate cancer care, but distinguishing men who will benefit from treatment from those who will not is not a clear-cut prospect, according to a speaker at the 2009 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

Introduction of PSA testing leads to dramatic rise in cancer incidence

September 22, 2009

More than a million additional cases of prostate cancer have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer over the last 20 years because of PSA screening, especially in younger men, according to the results of a SEER database analysis. The authors of this latest strike against screening claimed that most of this excess incidence represents overdiagnosis.

NCCN adds swine flu to guide for cancer-related infections

September 21, 2009

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer-Related Infections has been updated to include information about the effect that the H1N1 virus may have on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer treatment-related infections.

Avastin wins FDA OK for advanced kidney cancer treatment

September 21, 2009

Avastin (bevacizumab) plus interferon-alfa has been approved for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, according to Genentech. Approval was based on phase III data from the AVOREN study, which showed a 67% increase in progression-free survival (10.2 months) compared to those who received interferon-alfa alone (5.4 months; hazard ratio = 0.60).

Breastfeeding cuts ca risk in high-risk women

September 21, 2009

Breastfeeding reduces breast cancer risk among women with a family history of breast cancer, according to a study. Observational studies suggest a relationship between lactation and premenopausal breast cancer risk.

Green tea may slow prostate ca progression

September 21, 2009

Men with prostate cancer who consumed the active compounds in green tea demonstrated a significant reduction in serum markers predictive of prostate cancer progression, according to a study in Cancer Prevention Research (online June 19, 2009).

Common diabetes drug lowers risk for cancer of the pancreas

September 21, 2009

Metformin reduces an individual’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 62%, according to research from Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Metformin is the most commonly prescribed drug for patients with type 2 diabetes, who are often obese and/or have insulin resistance.

Genetics may influence susceptibility to and severity of pain in cancer patients

September 21, 2009

TAMPA, Fla.-Genotyping could become a pivotal part of an individualized treatment program for cancer patients because some patients seem more susceptible to pain than others, according to research presented at the 2009 American Society of Preventive Oncology meeting.

Canada Sees Mixed Trends in Thyroid Cancer

September 21, 2009

TORONTO-Two large, population-based studies with over 35 years of data revealed some of the factors that have influenced the incidence of thyroid cancer. Two key findings: Canadian men and people living in rural areas generally present with more advanced disease and the incidence of anaplastic thyroid cancer is waning. The studies were presented at the 2009 World Congress on Thyroid Cancer.

A call for judicious use of diagnostic breast MRI

September 21, 2009

Current evidence does not support the routine use of breast MRI in women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, according to Monica Morrow, MD, chief of the breast service, department of surgery, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Lymphoma science meets patient care

September 21, 2009

As a young candy striper at a Los Angeles hospital, lymphoma researcher Alexandra M. Levine, MD, MACP, experienced a portentous moment, although she didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. An older patient, feeling alone and lonely, waved the teenager to his bedside for a chat and she obliged. “He thanked me profusely for having helped him,” she said. “I didn’t understand what I had done, but it was one of those moments that was huge.”