Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 4

First Results of Avicidin Trials

April 04, 1995

SEATTLE--NeoRx Corporation reports that in phase I/II dose escalation studies, Avicidin produced a 10-fold improvement in tumor-to-blood ratios over conventional radioimmunotherapy, approaching the ratios achieved in animal studies.

Chemo Patients Often Develop Menstrual Irregularities

April 01, 1995

"If a women has not had a period in a year, it is unlikely that she will resume menstruation," Elyse E. Lower, MD, said at her poster presentation. "These women require closer monitoring for cardiac risks and osteoporosis, both of which are associated with the onset of menopause."

Growth Factor Receptor Blockade Moving From Laboratory to Clinic

April 01, 1995

PARIS, France--Overexpression of growth factor receptors correlates with a poor prognosis in many malignancies, including breast, bladder, and lung cancer, and new evidence suggests that growth factor receptors may be an important target for anticancer therapy, John Mendelsohn, MD, said at the Fifth International Congress on Anti-Cancer Chemotherapy.

Controlled-Release AZT Gets FDA Go-Ahead for New Drug Investigation

April 01, 1995

SAN DIEGO--Genta Jago, a joint venture between Genta Incorporated and Jagotec AG (Hergiswil, Switzerland), has filed an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA for a controlled-release formulation of zidovudine (AZT), marketed

Vinorelbine Plus Chemo Promising in Advanced Disease

April 01, 1995

SAN ANTONIO--Three different regimens of vinorelbine tartrate (Navelbine) combined with established chemotherapeutic agents led to significant responses in up to 60% of patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer, including previously treated patients.

Bone Substudy a Part of Tamoxifen Prevention Trial

April 01, 1995

PITTSBURGH--A study has begun to determine the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex) in preventing osteoporosis in a group of women participating in the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT), coordinated by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).

Ultrasound Breast Screens Useful in Selected Women

April 01, 1995

CHICAGO--Citing findings from radiological studies performed on more than 10,000 women, Paula Gordon, MD, suggests periodic ultrasound examination of the breast in addition to mammography for women at high risk of breast cancer and who have mammographically dense breasts.

New Roles Forecast for Endocrine Therapy

April 01, 1995

PARIS, France--New ideas and applications for endocrine therapy in early breast cancer may provide a revolution in our thinking about the nature of the disease, said Dr. M. Baum, of The Royal Marsden Hospital, London. The efficacy of

Antisense Drug Against BCL-2 Effective in Animal Cancer Models

April 01, 1995

SAN DIEGO--Genta Incorporated's antisense oligonucleotide targeted against the BCL-2 gene has proved effective against drug-resistant cancers in certain animal models of follicular lymphoma and colon cancer, the company said.

Anticancer Drugs From Zeneca in Regulatory Phase of Development

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Zeneca Pharmaceuticals' Casodex, an oral antiandrogen agent, has received approval for marketing in the United Kingdom for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Zeneca has also filed for approval of Casodex in the United States and several other countries, Zeneca president Robert C. Black said at a media briefing.

Osteosarcoma Chemo Regimens Debated

April 01, 1995

PARIS, France--Although the role of chemotherapy in the management of osteosarcoma was once controversial, a plethora of clinical studies now leave no doubt that chemotherapy dramatically brightens the outlook for patients with this disease.

Cancer Care, Inc. Sponsors Make-Up Clinics for Chemo Patients

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Ten women, some of them in wigs, some without eyebrows or eyelashes, sat around a conference table spread with make-up. They were at a free "Improve Your Appearance" clinic at Cancer Care, Inc., where a cosmetician was demonstrating how make-up can improve the special beauty problems that come with chemotherapy.

$2 Billion Budget for NCI Proposed

April 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--President Clinton proposed an FY 1996 budget of $1.994 billion for the National Cancer Institute. This marks an increase of $78 million over FY 1995. The proposed 1996 appropriation for the National Institutes of Health is $11.793 billion, a 4% increase over the current year.

Risk of Gyn Cancer Increases After Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

April 01, 1995

SAN FRANCISCO--Women with breast cancer are at higher risk of developing a second gynecologic cancer than women who do not have the disease, Eva Chalas, MD, reported at a poster session of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists meeting. Close gynecologic monitoring in the first 3 years after a breast cancer diagnosis is essential, she said.

Reduced Dose Zofran Appears Effective as Pediatric Antiemetic

April 01, 1995

ALBUQUERQUE--Oncologists and pharmacists at the University of New Mexico initially turned to reduced-dose ondansetron (Zofran) for their pediatric leukemia patients for sheer expediency--most of the children were receiving their

AIDS Funding Shifts to the Laboratory

April 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--William Paul, MD, director of the NIH Office of AIDS Research, has announced that AIDS funding will begin to shift away from clinical research toward investigator-initiated laboratory research. He said that continuation of past policies will result in only "slow, fitful progress."

Project on Death Is Funding Programs to Improve the Care of the Dying

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--An international foundation headquartered in New York City hopes to trigger a national debate about death and dying in the United States. The Project on Death in America will be funded by the Open Society Institute, one of the Soros Foundations.

CDC Releases Draft of Guidelines for HIV Testing in Pregnanc

April 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--Since the first case of AIDS appeared in the United States in 1981, 60,000 women have been diagnosed with the disease, 14,000 of them (25% of the total number of women) in 1994 alone. HIV in women is increasing at the rate of 17% a year, and one in four new cases in 1994 occurred in women under the age of 20.

Intratumor RAIT May Improve Survival in Malignant Glioma

April 01, 1995

PRINCETON, NJ--Direct intratumor radioimmunotherapy (RAIT), with multiple courses delivered via indwelling or removable catheters, resulted in prolonged survival in patients with malignant glioma. Observations in newly diagnosed

Consumer Reps Join ODAC Meetings

April 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--In February, as part of an FDA pilot program, representatives of consumer groups sat at the table during an Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) meeting. The ad hoc representatives from the Treatment Action Group, a New York organization representing people with AIDS, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition participated in the discussions of New Drug Applications but did not have a vote.

Cancer Gaining on Heart Disease in Some Parts of the World

April 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), cancer now rivals or surpasses heart disease as the leading cause of death in several European countries and parts of Asia and Latin America. The new report is the most comprehensive look at international death rates ever undertaken by the NCHS. It compares age-adjusted death rates from 41 industrialized countries from 1955 through 1991.

New Single-Cell Test May Prove Useful in Screening of Drugs

April 01, 1995

STANFORD, Calif--A new single-cell biological sensor system may someday allow rapid screening of cancer agents for biofunctional activity (see illustration on page 1). The test could be used, for example, to identify compounds that bind to or block receptors for biomolecules such as growth factors or other cytokines, or to highlight potentially harmful metabolites.

Don't Assume That Mental Symptoms Are Due to Opioids

April 01, 1995

MILAN, Italy--Opioids are not usually the cause of organic brain syndromes (most often delirium and hallucinations) in patients with chronic cancer pain, when other common medical conditions that develop in advanced cancer are considered,

Breast Cancer Gene Patent Resolved

April 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--The National Institutes of Health, University of Utah, and Myriad Genetics, Inc. have resolved issues involving patenting of the BRCA1 breast cancer gene by agreeing that scientists from all three institutions should be named as joint inventors in current patent applications. The agreement also ensures that exclusive, worldwide commercial rights are retained by Myriad and its licensees, Eli Lilly and Company and Hybritech Incorporated.

Receptagen to Develop 'Growth Blocker' Monoclonal Antibody

April 01, 1995

SEATTLE--Receptagen Ltd. has begun formal clinical development of its first "growth blocker" drug, based on promising laboratory studies. The agent, a monoclonal antibody that blocks the B12 carrier protein trans-cobalamin II, triggered apoptosis in cancer cells by depleting vitamin B12, an essential enzyme co-factor for cell proliferation, said Receptagen president A. Charles Morgan Jr., PhD.

Trials Need to Be 10 Times Larger: Peto

April 01, 1995

PARIS, France--A treatment that even modestly improves survival may be important, but most cancer trials are too small to detect such differences, Professor Richard Peto, of Oxford's ICRF Clinical Trial Service Unit, said at the Fifth International

Major Research Institutions Said to Neglect Nutrition

April 01, 1995

TARRYTOWN, NY--America's major medical research institutions are failing to conduct the nutritional research needed to make a major public health impact on cancer and other diseases, says Peter Greenwald, MD, director of the division of cancer prevention and control at the National Cancer Institute.

Vinorelbine Used in Refractory Prostate Ca

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--The vinca alkaloid vinorelbine tartrate (Navelbine) has demonstrated clinical efficacy in hormone refractory prostate cancer as measured by time to disease progression, performance status, and pain indices, as well as bone scans and

New Ca Vaccines May Be on the Horizon

April 01, 1995

PARIS, France--Cancer vaccines are now coming into their own, in advanced as well as early disease, Malcolm S. Mitchell, MD, said at the Fifth International Congress on Anti-Cancer Chemotherapy. Although vaccines have, to date, been most

Zofran Approved for Prevention of RT Emesis

April 01, 1995

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--Zofran Tablets (ondansetron), from Cerenex Pharmaceuticals, Division of Glaxo Inc., has received FDA approval for a new indication--the prevention of radiation-induced nausea and vomiting. The oral agent, a 5-HT3 antagonist, is currently marketed for prevention of emesis in cancer patients receiving moderately emetogenic chemotherapy.

ODAC Recommends Accelerated Approval of Liposomal Doxorubicin for Kaposi's Sarcoma

April 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--After hours of heated debate, the FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) decided there was sufficient evidence of efficacy to recommend approval of DOX-SL (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin) for the treatment of AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in patients who have failed first-line treatment or who cannot tolerate other treatment. The potential benefits of the drug generally outweigh the risks, the committee said.

AIDS Drug Task Force Hears Progress Report on Protease Inhibitors

April 01, 1995

BETHESDA, Md--Whaijen Soo, MD, vice president for virology, Hoffmann-La Roche, told the National Task Force on AIDS Drug Development that the company's protease inhibitor, saquinavir (Invirase), is now ready for phase III trials

Rational Approach Is Urged for Early Detection of Prostate Ca

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--The benefits of prostate cancer screening are greatest among men whose overall life expectancy is more than 10 years. In a talk at Lenox Hill Hospital, John A. Fracchia, MD, said that the increased incidence and mortality of prostate

IL-2 Increases CD4 Counts in Early HIV

April 01, 1995

BETHESDA, Md--Intermittent infusions of interleukin-2 (IL-2, aldesleukin) have led to significant increases in CD4+ T cell counts in HIV-infected patients with early disease, a study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has found.

Docetaxel Appears to Be Effective in Liver Metastases

April 01, 1995

SAN ANTONIO--Use of docetaxel (Taxotere) as palliative treatment of advanced breast cancer produced durable responses in almost 70% of patients, including three fourths of those with liver metastases, French researchers said at a

Approval of Zoladex Is Recommended for Advanced Breast Ca

April 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--In a nearly unanimous vote, the FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) recommended that the agency approve a new indication for goserelin acetate implant (Zoladex), currently marketed as a prostate cancer therapy.

Agency Helps Mastectomy Patients Cope With Loss

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--The woman shyly lifted her sweater, and in halting English apologized for her old brassiere. The left cup was stuffed with a towel where her breast used to be. She had come to Cancer Care, Inc. in Manhattan for help.

NCI Drug Discovery Program Pays Off

April 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--Bruce Chabner, MD, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Treatment, said that over the past decade, NCI's drug discovery and development programs have produced seven new drugs currently being used to treat cancer and AIDS. The program cost about $1.4 billion: $200 million for every New Drug Application filed.

Wig Clinic Provides New Tresses, Improved Outlook

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--"I had curly hair. Look at it now," lamented a young woman who had just taken off a turban. She was attending an "All You Want to Know About Wigs" seminar at Cancer Care, Inc. in Manhattan. Indeed, her curls were gone, and only wisps remained. She passed around a photograph of herself before chemotherapy for comments: "Gorgeous. You were gorgeous." "You're still gorgeous."

Studies Explore Optimal Treatment for DCIS, Markers for High Recurrence Risk

April 01, 1995

SAN ANTONIO--Searches for high-risk markers may ultimately point the way toward the optimal use of breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS); early findings from one study, for example, suggest that a family history of breast cancer may militate against such surgery.

Estate Planning Tools Let Terminal Patients Stay in Control

April 01, 1995

NEW YORK--The power of attorney, the health-care proxy, and the living will "are the three simplest things we can do to control our destiny. They're not overly complex, not expensive, and once you arrange for these documents, you can get on with your life," attorney Edward J. Mullen told cancer patients at a legal clinic in the Manhattan office of Cancer Care, Inc., an agency that provides professional social service support to cancer patients and their families.

Quality of Life Should Be a Central Feature of HIV Management

April 01, 1994

PARIS-Physicians need to make a more concerted effort to consider quality of life issues when devising a management strategy for patients with HIV-infection, an infectious diseases specialist said at a conference on cancer, AIDS, and quality of life, sponsored by UNESCO.