Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 10

New Markers May Help Predict Course of Prostate Carcinoma

October 01, 1995

SEATTLE-Current screening techniques allow the early detection of prostate cancer in large numbers of men every year. The problem is that prostate cancer appears to be an almost ubiquitous malignancy in men over the age of 50. The question, then, is which patients require intervention to prevent their cancer from becoming life threatening?

Needle Exchange Programs Lower HIV Risk: Panel

October 01, 1995

WASHINGTON-Programs designed to encourage drug addicts not to share needles can help reduce the spread of HIV, a National Academy of Sciences panel said in its report to Congress. The report may pave the way for a change in government policy to allow the use of federal funds to support such programs.

Computerized Database Could Lead to Improved Staging of Lung Cancer

October 01, 1995

SEATTLE-"Staging of lung cancer by physicians is frequently incomplete and often inaccurate," Scott B. Chelemer, MD, said in an interview at the 1995 International Conference of the American Thoracic Society and American Lung Association. He believes that a computerized lung cancer database that included all clinical, radiographic, and histologic data for every patient could improve staging and possibly outcomes.

Registry Analysis Shows Good Results Using Limited Lung Resections for Lung Ca Patients

October 01, 1995

SEATTLE-The idea that limited resections in lung cancer necessarily yield a poorer outcome does not hold up, says John P. Griffin MD, chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Health Science Center.

Centocor Wellness Program Includes Mobile Mammography Van

October 01, 1995

MALVERN, Penn-Centocor, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in cancer products, has launched a major new employee wellness program, including breast cancer screening with a mobile mammography van. The program was initiated after company representatives attended the Industries' Coalition Against Cancer (ICAC) conference in Ft. Lauderdale this spring.

Institute of the Future Urges US to Increase Spending on Basic R&D

October 01, 1995

WASHINGTON-US spending on research and development has fallen over the last 20 years from 3% to 2.6% of the Gross Domestic Product, and the United States now ranks behind Japan and Germany in R&D spending, according to a study released by the Institute for the Future, a California-based think tank sponsored by 23 research-oriented pharmaceutical companies.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) May Prove a Useful Adjunct to CT in Detecting Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancers

October 01, 1995

BALTIMORE-Although standard imaging methods are not sensitive enough to catch early-stage pancreatic tumors, positron emission tomography (PET), currently under investigation for this purpose, may prove to be a useful addition to CT scans, said Karl F. Hubner, MD, professor of radiology, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville. Dr. Hubner spoke, along with Pankaj Jay Pasricha, MD, at a meeting on nuclear medicine sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Yeast-Derived GM-CSF (Leukine) Cleared for Use in Older AML Patients

October 01, 1995

SEATTLE-The FDA has granted Immunex Corporation marketing clearance for Leukine (sargramostim), yeast-derived GM-CSF, for use in older adult patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) following high-dose induction chemotherapy.

Spiral CT Offers Better Detection of Disease, More Accurate Staging

October 01, 1995

BALTIMORE-The advent of spiral CT offers advantages over regular CT scans, Elliot K. Fishman, MD, said at a conference sponsored by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he is professor of radiology and oncology.

New Colon Ca Agent Is Available in France

October 01, 1995

PARIS-Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Inc.'s Campto (irinotecan/CPT-11), the first new therapeutic agent for the treatment of colorectal cancer since the introduction of fluorouracil nearly 40 years ago, is now available in France. France is the first country outside Japan to approve this agent for marketing.

New Dual Antibiotic Effective Against Changing Hospital Flora

October 01, 1995

MONTREAL-The newest beta-lactam plus beta-lactamase inhibitor combination, piperacillin/tazobactam (Zosyn), when combined with amikacin, is highly effective for empiric treatment of patients with febrile granulocyto-penia, Jean A. Klastersky, MD, said at the 19th International Congress of Chemotherapy. He was speaking at a symposium sponsored by Lederle/Wyeth-Ayerst International, manufacturer of Zosyn.

Network Readies Its Practice Guidelines

October 01, 1995

Last January, 13 of the nation's foremost cancer centers formed the Na-tional Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance that spans the nation geographically, with the goal of providing high-quality cost-effective medical services to cancer patients across the country.

Symptom Distress, Including Pain, Predicts Lung Ca Survival

October 01, 1995

WINNIPEG, Canada-Clinical trials have shown that the level of symptom distress at the time of lung cancer diagnosis can predict survival, and now a study performed in an ambulatory setting has confirmed this finding. Patients with higher symptom distress scores are likely to die more quickly than those with lower scores, report University of Manitoba researchers Lesley F. Degner, RN, PhD, and Jeffrey A. Sloan, PhD.

Chemo May Improve Quality of Life in Advanced Lung Cancer

October 01, 1995

MONTREAL-Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who receive chemotherapy report better symptom control and quality of life than those who opt for supportive care alone, William K. Evans, MD, chief executive officer, Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre, On-tario, said at a symposium on lung cancer organized by the 19th International Congress of Chemotherapy.

No Increased Ovarian, Endometrial Cancer Risk With Short-Term Tamoxifen Therapy

October 01, 1995

SEATTLE-A group of breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen (Nolvadex) outside of clinical trials had up to a 60% reduction in their risk of developing cancer in the contralateral breast and no increased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer, report Linda S. Cook, PhD, and her colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Color Doppler, MRI Hold Promise for Improved Detection of

October 01, 1995

SEATTLE-Improvements in standard imaging techniques may lead toenhanced prostate cancer detection and local staging accuracyin the near future, Gary Sudakoff, MD, said at the Pacific NorthwestCancer Foundation Meeting on Transperi-neal Brachytherapy forEarly Stage Prostate Cancer. Such methods may include combiningcolor Doppler imaging with endorectal ultrasound (see image )and using new types of coils with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),said Dr. Sudakoff, of the University of Chicago.

Rose Kushner Award Winners Announced

October 01, 1995

BETHESDA, Md-The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) has announced the winners of the 1995 Rose Kushner Awards for Writing Achievement in the Field of Breast Cancer, sponsored by the AMWA and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.

'An HMO Wants to See a Proposal, Where Do I Start?'

October 01, 1995

It is by now axiomatic that information is vitally important in a managed care environment. Whether you are preparing for participation with managed care plans, beginning to evaluate the results of ongoing participation, considering expansion of existing managed care arrangements, or assessing capitation, you will need a plan.

Ca Pain Patients Appear to Prefer 12-hr Sustained-Release Morphine

October 01, 1995

MONTREAL-In a small Canadian study of patients with cancer-related pain, nearly 75% said that 12-hour dosing with sustained-release morphine sulfate tablets (MS Contin) offers advantages over 8-hour dosing, and nearly all (94.5%) preferred 12-hour to 4-hour dosing, report Gérard G. Mignault, MD, and colleagues from the Hôtel-Dieu de Mon-tréal and Purdue Frederick, Pickering, Ontario, manufacturer of MS Contin.

Altered Genes Used To Deliver Antitumor Cytokine Therapy

October 01, 1995

MONTREAL-Altering genes to express therapeutic cytokines may represent an improved approach to direct delivery of these increasingly utilized recombinant proteins, Michael T. Lotze, MD, said during a plenary session at the 19th International Congress of Chemotherapy (ICC).

Fatigue Can Create Problems for Cancer Patients, Caregivers

October 01, 1995

NEW YORK-Many cancer patients struggling to return to normal life still believe in the John Wayne school of psychotherapy: "Tough it out, stranger," quipped Allen Levine, ACSW, at a symposium on fatigue and cancer, sponsored by Cancer Care, Inc.

US TOO! Surveys Prostate Ca Patients

October 01, 1995

NEW YORK-Although 90% of prostate cancer patients in a Harris poll cited delay of disease progression as a key benefit they seek from a therapy, only one third of physicians said they would be very likely to recommend complete hormonal therapy (CHT) (an oral antian-drogen drug plus castration therapy) for all of their stage D patients. Nearly all physicians said they discuss CHT with patients, but more than 50% of patients said it had not been presented as a treatment option. The poll was sponsored by the advocacy group US TOO! and funded by Schering Oncology/Biotech.

AACR Award Targets Younger Ca Researchers

October 01, 1995

PHILADELPHIA-The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is sponsoring its fourth annual Gertrude Elion Cancer Research Award. This award, provided through an educational grant from Glaxo Wellcome Oncology, is open to nontenured cancer investigators in clinical, basic, or translational research in the United States and Canada.

10th National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 01, 1995

CHICAGO-Ten years ago, breast cancer was a subject women did not often read about in magazines or see on TV. Races had not yet been run, and a pink ribbon was still just a pink ribbon. Then in 1985, three organizations created what was then called Breast Cancer Awareness Week, and the public's demand for information about breast cancer was first recognized.

AIDS Deaths Dim Prospects for More Gains in US Life Expectancy

October 01, 1995

NEW YORK-Life expectancy in the United States fell slightly between 1992 and 1993 and did not improve in 1994. The increase in overall mortality stems from increases in the number of deaths caused by the major killers (heart disease and cancer), as well as respiratory diseases (COPD, pneumonia, and influenza) and diabetes mellitus.

Microbial Resistance Is a Worldwide Threat

October 01, 1995

MONTREAL-The emergence of resistant microorganisms is a worldwide threat, Robert C. Moellering, Jr, MD, said at a plenary session of the 19th International Congress of Chemotherapy. While the balance is still on the side of the clinician, he warned that "we are coming perilously close to running out of targets for new antibacterial strategies."

Dietary Phytochemicals May Play Major Role in Cancer Prevention

October 01, 1995

WASHINGTON-Phytochemicals are naturally occurring substances found in plants. They differ from vitamins and minerals in that they have no known nutritive value, but many have been found to have a protective effect against cancer, according to reports from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) annual research conference.

Fall in Hospital Incomes Hurts Clinical Trials

October 01, 1995

BETHESDA, Md-Robert W. Day, MD, told fellow members of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) that a brief survey he sent to teaching hospitals across the country showed that reimbursement per case has dropped, and the likely culprit is managed care.

ODAC Agenda Includes Comments, Data, Debate, Vote

October 01, 1995

This is part 2 of a two-part article that provides a behind the scenes look at the workings of the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee. Part 1, which appeared last month, described the committees' duties and how members are selected. This article outlines a typical meeting and tells how the FDA uses the recommendations.