Oncology NEWS International Vol 19 No 11

Should maintenance therapy serve as the standard of care in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer?

December 06, 2010

Patients with incurable NSCLC are less likely to progress to second-linetherapy with the right maintenance regimen. But maintenance therapyalso means committing patients to continuous treatment without anybreaks or chances to recover from adverse events.

Oncologists seek refuge from stalled economy by joining forces

December 05, 2010

More oncologists in the past few years have opted to consolidate with other practices in their area or sought employment at hospitals. Results from an ongoing survey highlights the ups and down of cancer care, with most professionals reporting they are happy with their chosen specialty.

Lower Dose Chemotherapy Plus Radiation Offers Favorable Prognosis in Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Patients

December 05, 2010

Patients with early-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a favorable prognosis can be treated with less intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy regimens without affecting outcomes. This is the first study to show that less intensive therapy can be used without sacrificing benefits, according to lead author Andreas Engert, MD, and colleagues.

Bevacizumab Offers New Hope to Ovarian Cancer Patients

December 04, 2010

Early results from the ICON7 trial suggest that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to standard chemotherapy in women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer reduces the risk of disease progression during the first year of treatment.

BRCA Carriers Benefit From Mutations

December 03, 2010

For women with triple-negative breast cancer, BRCA mutations can be a boon: These patients have a significantly lower risk of relapse than their counterparts who do not carry BRCA mutations, according to a study out of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. SABCS 2010 will feature an education session on the clinical utility of genetic testing for inherited predisposition to breast cancer.

From the ONI archives: Hereditary breast cancer patients benefit from multidisciplinary approach

December 03, 2010

For women with hereditary breast cancer, deciding on the best treatment option can be challenging. Three specialists, including medical oncologist Susan M. Domchek, MD, discuss the different approaches to managing breast cancer patients with a family history of BRCA mutations. Dr. Domchek will give a talk at SABCS 2010 on the management of women with a significant predisposition to breast cancer.

From the ONI archives: Specialists contend with modest evidence on the value of adjuvant therapy

December 01, 2010

ASCO recently released updated guidelines on the use of adjuvant endocrine therapy in hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. While the guidelines focus on all postmenopausal women, those who are age 75 and older require special consideration. Unfortunately, meaningful data to help healthcare providers make treatment decisions for these patients are scarce, according to Peter Ravdin, MD, PhD, an executive committee member and scientific program planning member of SABCS 2010.

Cultural values sway public risk perception of HPV vaccine

November 30, 2010

Despite being heralded as a major public health breakthrough, the HPV vaccine has seen its fair share of controversy. Most recently, 24 U.S. states tried to pass a bill to make the vaccine mandatory for school-age girls. But the bill did not make it past the introductory stages in all but one state for the reasons, both scientific and cultural, that have plagued the HPV vaccine from the start: The vaccine fails to protect against 30% of the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer; there is not enough known about possible adverse events; vaccination may lull young women into a false sense of security, leading to risky sexual behavior.Legal researchers, led by Dan Kahan, JD, from Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn., conducted a study to assess the factors that influence the perceptions of the risks and benefits of the HPV vaccine among the general public. They surveyed 1,538 U.S. adults and found that two factors influenced how their respondents viewed the HPV vaccination: biased assimilation and cultural credibility. “Biased assimilation refers to the tendency of individuals selectively to credit and dismiss information in a manner that confirms their prior beliefs,” the authors explained. With regard to cultural credibility, “the results of this [study] suggest that polarization grows where culturally diverse subjects see the argument they are disposed to accept being made by the advocate whose values they share, and the argument they are predisposed to reject being made by the advocate whose values they repudiate”( Law Hum Behav online, January 14, 2010).Individuals who have cultural values that favor authority and individualism perceive the vaccine as risky while individuals with cultural values that favor gender equality and pro-community/government involvement in basic healthcare are more likely to see the vaccine as low risk and high benefit.The authors suggested that policymakers avoid creating the impression that a scientific debate trumps cultural standards, and consider cultural norms and biases. 

Oncologists need to play a role in public education on HPV vaccination

November 30, 2010

With the increased use of human papillomavirus vaccines such as Gardasil and Cervarix, the medical community is likely to see a decrease in cases of genital warts and other complications caused by several HPV strains. But it may be a decade or two before oncologists can expect to see a decline in cervical cancer rates attributable to the use of these relatively new vaccines.

Handling incidental findings: the (less than) 1% solution

November 29, 2010

Pathologies such as infections, or even tumors, crop up from time to time in patients examined for entirely unrelated issues. These "incidental findings"can put doctors-and patients-in a tight spot. How do they proceed with the patient, knowing that many of the asymptomatic signs of disease may never lead to clinical problems, or may simply be false positives?

UCLA renews grant to find countermeasures to dirty bombs

November 29, 2010

Researchers in the radiation oncology department at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have received a $14 million grant to develop countermeasures that will help treat damage caused by radiological or nuclear threats such as a dirty bomb attack, with possible applications to radiotherapy-induced damage.

Common Cancer Link May Unleash Potential of Antibodies

November 29, 2010

The search for a magic bullet against cancer historically has glowed bright then dimmed, depending on the stage of discovery. Developments surrounding monoclonal antibodies and angiogenesis inhibitors have followed this cycle, as exuberance for their potential has bowed to the nuances that underlie the complex mechanisms on which they depend.

Pazopanib Holds Promise in Advanced Thyroid Cancers

November 29, 2010

Pazopanib represents a therapeutic option for patients with advanced differentiated thyroid cancers. A phase II trial conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., included 39 patients with metastatic, rapidly progressive, radioiodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancers.

Decades of social progress fail to render equal ca care

November 29, 2010

Research at George Washington University in Washington DC has found that African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2001 and 2003 were significantly more likely to wait for treatment than if they had been diagnosed between 1998 and 2000. And the gap between diagnosis and treatment is getting wider. Those diagnosed between 2004 and 2006 waited longer for treatment than those between 2001 and 2003.