Oncology NEWS International Vol 19 No 12

Roche Gains OK in Europe for Rituximab for Maintenance

December 30, 2010

European regulators have approved rituximab(MabThera or Rituxan) as a first-linemaintenance treatment for patients withfollicular lymphoma (FL) whose disease hasresponded to initial induction therapy.

JAK inhibitor quells symptoms linked to myelofibrosis

December 30, 2010

Patients with myelofibrosis experienced relief from pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with enlarged spleens after treatment with a JAK1 and JAK2 inhibitor, according to study results from Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

E-Charts help track course of febrile events in hematology

December 30, 2010

Computerized registry couldbe easily adopted in the U.S.,according to Italian developers. Developing a web-based registry amongcommunity oncologists may be usefulfor collecting significant informationabout febrile events in patients withhematologic malignancies.

Even Insured Cancer Patients May Stumble Over Co-pays and Drug Costs

December 30, 2010

Jeff Kranau’s story is a moving one but, during this economic downturn, not necessarily a unique one. The former South Florida salesman was successfully treated for squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx in 2009 and declared cancerfree. But what should have been a reason for celebration has, over time, sent Mr. Kranau’s life into a tailspin.

Long Constitutional Telomere Length May Serve as Measure for Colon Cancer Risk in Younger Patients

December 30, 2010

Like the protective plastic cap at the ends of shoelaces that prevent them from unraveling, telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes. These small strips of DNA prevent chromosome tips from fraying during cell division. But as the cells divide, the telomeres shorten and the cells age. Shortened telomeres have been linked to an increased risk of cancer development. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wanted to see if telomere shortening was linked to colon cancer development at a younger age.

Growing number of pts undergo radiotherapy

December 29, 2010

The number of patients in the U.S. treated with radiation has increased at an average annual rate of about 7% between 2007 and 2009, according to the “2010 Radiation Therapy Market Summary Report” by IMV. Breast, prostate, and lung cancers continue to be the cancer types treated most frequently with radiation.

Low-intensity electric-field Rx boosts chemo in NSCLC

December 29, 2010

Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer achieved a significant increase in survival time when tumor treating fields (TTF) therapy was added to their chemotherapy. In a single-arm, phase II study, physicians delivered TTF therapy, using the NovoTTF-100L from Novocure, to 42 patients with stage IIIb-IV metastatic NSCLC who had failed prior treatments. Patients in the study received TTF therapy for 12 hours a day in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta) every three weeks until disease progression.

Melanoma: Rose Bengal Scores, Ipilimumab Sees Delay

December 29, 2010

The experimental injectible drug PV-10 turned in positive results in a phase II study in metastatic melanoma, according to Provectus Pharmaceuticals. An objective response (OR) was observed in 49% of the 80 subjects, with 71% of subjects achieving locoregional disease control in their injected lesions. A mean progression-free survival of 11.7 months was observed among subjects achieving an OR.

Postgastrectomy Patients May Benefit From HP Eradication Rx

December 29, 2010

After resection for cancer or peptic ulcer disease, the mucosa of the gastric stump is considered prone to the development of gastric cancer precursor lesions (see Fact box), most likely because of exposure to Helicobacter pylori infection. Italian researchers set out to determine if the risk of gastric cancer recurrence was greater in the stump in the presence of HP infection.

Post-lumpectomy RT lowers risk of recurrence

December 29, 2010

In a data analysis involving more than 10,000 breast cancer patients, adding radiation therapy to breast-conserving surgery reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence within 10 years by nearly 15% and reduced the overall chance of dying from the disease by nearly 4% (from 25.4% to 21.7%). These findings provide oncologists with specific numbers they can give their patients when discussing the use of post-lumpectomy radiation therapy and the risk of recurrence, according to the study authors.

CMS: Provenge shows evidence of ‘moderate’ benefit

December 29, 2010

The prostate cancer drug Provenge (sipuleucel-T) offers a moderate survival benefit to patients, according to an analysis performed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The analysis was undertaken as part of a CMS review initiated in July to determine whether to cover the cost of the therapy.

Early Engagement by Healthcare Professionals Helps Overcome Public Skepticism About Biobanking

December 29, 2010

Enlivening the public discussion about cancer biobanking will speed up the collection of specimens for research supporting the goal of personalized medicine. Biobanking is particularly important in minority populations, who experience a disproportionally greater burden of cancer incidence and mortality. But rather than unilaterally creating and launching a public education program, community medicine specialists in Florida first solicited public input.

McKesson Expands in Oncology With $2 Billion Acquisition

December 29, 2010

One of the world's largest providers of medical services and information technologies sees strong growth in oncology services in the coming years, growth that can be leveraged into profits with the right blend of productivity and cost efficiency tools. With this in mind, McKesson plans to spend more than $2 billion to purchase the largest community-based cancer treatment and research network in America.

Next gen EGFR targeting drug promising in NSCLC

December 29, 2010

Finding an effective treatment for all the complex iterations of cancer is akin to chasing an outlaw through a treacherous mountain range, in the estimation of Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC.

Trastuzumab-DM1 delivers encouraging results in HER2+ breast cancer

December 29, 2010

Impressive results from an ongoing study of an anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer has already fast-tracked a phase III trial.Trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) has demonstrated comparable results to standard treatment but with much less grade 3-4 toxicity in phase II trial results.

Future of Proton-Beam Radiation Therapy Shines Among Inoperable Lung Cancers

December 29, 2010

Research from Japan documenting remarkable survival rates among patients with inoperable lung cancer may only hint at the potential of proton-beam radiation therapy. The study out of the Proton Medical Research Center in Tennoudai, Japan, documented high survival rates for 55 patients suffering from stage I inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer.

ASA404 fails second late-stage lung cancer trial

December 23, 2010

Novartis and its partner Antisoma announced that an interim analysis of data from a late-stage trial showed that vadimezam (ASA404) was unlikely to provide any benefit as a second-line treatment for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. As a result, Novartis indicated that it would halt development of the compound, which was designed to inhibit angiogenesis.

Best of the Society for Integrative Oncology: 2010

December 22, 2010

NEW YORK-Turkey tail, healing touch, and liquidambar stryraciflua are areas in complementary medicine that are worth keeping an eye on, according to integrative oncology experts. The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) named five abstracts as its best during its 2010 meeting.