Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 8

Physicians Take Aim at Localized Prostate Cancer Treatment Controversy in 'Shootout'

August 01, 1995

CHICAGO--Until recently, physicians would have offered watchful waiting only to a select group of older men with localized prostate cancer. Now, because of concerns about the quality as well as the length of life, physicians are vigorously debating whether watchful waiting may be an option for men as young as the early 50s.

CA 125 Predicts Response to Chemo in Ovarian Ca

August 01, 1995

SEATTLE--In patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, CA 125 concentrations after two cycles of chemotherapy are a powerful independent predictor of survival, a Southwest Oncology Group Study (SWOG) has shown.

Cancer Institute of NJ Adds to its Staff

August 01, 1995

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Last month, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey welcomed Joseph Aisner, MD, as its new associate director of clinical science, and added four new physician/scientists to its staff.

A Century of Breast Cancer Litigation Is 'Deconstructed'

August 01, 1995

MIAMI BEACH, Fla--Breast cancer litigation is "a world whose activity is sometimes built upon old science, no science, or junk science," said Kenneth Kern, MD, of Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington. In a presentation at the 12th Annual International Breast Cancer Conference, Dr. Kern offered the audience a "road map" for entry into that world.

NSABP Investigation Threatens Academic Freedom for All: Fisher

August 01, 1995

MIAMI BEACH, Fla--"The future of the NSABP [National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project] can't be built upon rejection of the past," said Bernard Fisher, MD, Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Cancer Fax Directory in 3rd Edition

August 01, 1995

Need to consult a clinical pathologist in Tokyo? Trying to contact a particular urologic oncologist in Milwaukee? Looking for an epidemiologist on the Internet? The Cancer Fax Directory may be the best place to start your search.

Conference Celebrates 100 Years of Radiology

August 01, 1995

BETHESDA, Md--One hundred years after W. Konrad Roentgen's discovery of the x-ray (which he refused to patent), the field of radiology continues to produce "wondrous accomplishments," such as modern digital, cross-sectional, and interventional radiology, Alexander R. Margulis, MD, associate chancellor, Special Projects, University of California, San Francisco, said at a conference sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Coalition Promotes Worksite Cancer Screening

August 01, 1995

CONCORD, NH--Pharmaceutical companies were the pioneers in establishing cancer screening and information programs for their employees. This is why Jack Gentile went first to the pharmaceutical industry for help in founding the Industries' Coalition Against Cancer, an organization dedicated to encouraging corporations to initiate their own cancer screen/prevention programs or to enhance existing programs.

Search for Ovarian Cancer Screen Must Look Beyond Ultrasound

August 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--Only a screening test that can reliably find stage I tumors will have any real impact on overall ovarian cancer mortality, and transvaginal ultrasound does not appear to fulfill that requirement. Although the technique can detect stage I ovarian cancers, its specificity is not high enough to make it useful as a general screening test, Beth Y. Karlan, MD, said at the American Cancer Society National Conference on Gynecological Cancers.

DNA Defects Predict Endometrial Ca Prognosis

August 01, 1995

SAN FRANCISCO--A retrospective study of 61 endometrial cancers, collected from patients at the City of Hope Hospital, Duarte, Calif, found that approximately 49% of the tumors had some type of DNA abnormality, Kristi Van Nostrand, MD, reported at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) annual clinical meeting.

Cost Studies Help Determine Best BMT Use

August 01, 1995

HACKENSACK, NJ--The use of high-dose chemotherapy followed by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation (BMT) for metastatic breast cancer continues to be controversial, partially because of concerns that it is not cost effective, Christopher E. Desch, MD, said at a conference sponsored by the Northern New Jersey Cancer Center, Hackensack Medical Center.

Outpatient Strategy for Neutropenic Fever

August 01, 1995

ATLANTA--Two studies from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have shown that neutropenic fever can be safely and effectively managed on an outpatient basis in a select, low-risk group of patients, Edward Rubenstein, MD, said at the Third International Conference on Clinical Applications of Cytokines and Growth Factors in Hematology and Oncology.

Duke, AIS Announce Collaboration To Build Cell Processing Center

August 01, 1995

DURHAM, NC--Duke University Medical Center and ExVivo Therapies have announced a collaboration to construct and operate a cell processing center, the first on the East Coast. ExVivo is a joint venture between Applied Immune Sciences (AIS) and Rhône-Poulenc Rorer.

Local Recurrence Risk Low After Conservation

August 01, 1995

BALTIMORE--A review of randomized trials shows that local recurrence rates for breast-conserving therapy are comparable to those for mastectomy for early-stage patients, Irene Gage, MD, said at a conference sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

PET May Be Used to Detect Recurrences Of Ovarian Cancer

August 01, 1995

BALTIMORE--Some 60% to 80% of ovarian cancer patients recur after the first round of treatment, and "only about 15% of ovarian cancer patients who test positive at second-look laparotomy survive as long as 5 years," Karl F. Hubner, MD, of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said at a nuclear oncology conference sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

ODAC Says DaunoXome Should Be Approved for HIV-Associated KS

August 01, 1995

ROCKVILLE, Md--The FDA's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has unanimously recommended approval of DaunoXome (liposomal daunorubicin) as first-line therapy for the treatment of advanced HIV-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). The usual treatment, a combination of Adriamycin, bleomycin, and vincristine (ABV), is not well tolerated over the long haul, especially when given with antiretroviral agents (ddI, ddC, and AZT).

Cancer -Related Legislation Introduced

August 01, 1995

HR1579, introduced by Rep. Brown (D-OH), to require providers of home infusion therapy to be licensed and to limit physician referrals for home infusion therapy services in which the physician has a financial interest.

Clinton Names New NCI Director

August 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--President Clinton has appointed Dr. Richard D. Klausner as director of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Klausner has served as chief, Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, since 1984. He earned his undergraduate degree at Yale and his MD from Duke.

New Studies Urged of Postmastectomy RT

August 01, 1995

BALTIMORE--Irradiation of the chest wall following mastectomy has had an up and down history as breast cancer therapy. Now, says Allen S. Lichter, MD, director of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical Center, it is time to take another look at its value for patients with local or regional disease after surgery.

Implants May Hinder Chance for Early Detection of Breast Ca

August 01, 1995

MIAMI BEACH, Fla--Between 1 and 2 million women in the United States have received silicone-gel-filled implants for breast augmentation, and, based on the general population risk, about 10% will ultimately develop breast cancer.

Senate Passes Resolution to Spare NIH From Major Cuts in Funding

August 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--The $1 billion cut that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had anticipated has been shelved for the time being. The Senate voted 85 to 14 on a resolution by Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR) to spare NIH from the need to make serious cuts in a wide variety of programs and initiatives.

Technology Office Says Prostate Cancer Screening Not Proven to Save Lives

August 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--A report released by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) says that screening for prostate cancer has not yet been proven to save lives. The report concluded: "Because scientific knowledge is limited, but the consequences of prostate cancer and its treatment are serious, an informed and reasonable patient could equally well decide to have screening or forego it." Nevertheless, OTA said that it would be reasonable for Medicare to consider reimbursement for such screening.

Sloan-Kettering Launches Consumer Newsletter

August 01, 1995

NEW YORK--Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has launched Cancer Smart, the first consumer newsletter devoted to cancer. "Many people today have taken an increasingly bigger share of responsibility for keeping themselves healthy," said James B. Dougherty, MD, editor of Cancer Smart and associate chairman for clinical affairs, Department of Medicine. "Reading Cancer Smart is an opportunity to gain relevant information about cancer to improve their own well-being," he added.

In the ICU, Patient's Values and Wishes Must Be Considered

August 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--Many of the patients who will die of cancer this year will receive care in the nation's intensive care units. Despite heralded advances in drug research and medical technology, fewer than one fourth of cancer patients admitted to an ICU survive for 6 months, Mark S. Gelder, MD, said at the American Cancer Society National Conference on Gynecologic Cancers.

Medarex, Ciba Form Partnership

August 01, 1995

ANNANDALE, NJ--Medarex, Inc. and Ciba-Geigy, Ltd. have entered into an alliance for developing and marketing Medarex's MDX-210 Bispecific product. Medarex will be primarily responsible for development through phase II trials, and Ciba will be responsible for phase III trials, regulatory approvals, and commercial launch.

Silicone Breast Implants Are Still Available in Europe

August 01, 1995

MIAMI BEACH, Fla--The French response to the FDA ban on silicone breast implants was to issue a strong recommendation to plastic surgeons to stop using silicone-gel-filled implants or polyurethane prostheses. Now that stricter manufacturing controls are in place, that recommendation has been canceled, and today silicone implants are available in most European countries, Jean-Yves Petit, MD, said at the 12th Annual International Breast Cancer Conference.

Health Care Ethics Institute Founded At City of Hope

August 01, 1995

LOS ANGELES--In response to the questions being raised by new medical technologies and managed health care, City of Hope has established its Institute for Applied Health Care Ethics on its 100-acre Duarte, Calif, campus.

HIV Screening of Surgeons Probably Not Cost Effective, Study Suggests

August 01, 1995

STANFORD, Calif--Screening surgeons for HIV to protect their patients would not be cost effective, compared to the cost of most accepted health-care interventions, says Dr. Douglas Owens, professor of health research and policy, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Design Management of Trials Crucial in Bringing Drugs to Market

August 01, 1995

MCLEAN, Va--The way clinical trials are planned and conducted often means the difference between success and failure in winning FDA marketing approval for a drug or medical device, industry leaders said at a conference sponsored by the Cambridge Healthtech Institute, Waltham, Mass.

Survey Builds Case for Transplants in Breast Ca

August 01, 1995

PARIS, France--Since 1991, breast cancer has been the most common diagnosis for which bone marrow transplants are performed. Therapy-related mortality has plunged to 6% or less, and the procedure's popularity has grown steadily to the point where more than a quarter of transplants for breast cancer are now done in women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for stages II and III disease.

HHS to Impose Monetary Penalties for Unlawful Referrals

August 01, 1995

WASHINGTON--The Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has published a final rule that implements a civil monetary penalty for physicians who refer patients to radiology, laboratory, and other facilities in which they, or a member of their immediate family, have a financial interest.

Sandoz to Acquire Genetic Therapy

August 01, 1995

BASLE, Switzerland--Sandoz Ltd. has entered into a merger agreement with Genetic Therapy, Inc (Gaithersburg, Md) with a cash tender offer valued at $295 million. The acquisition "puts Sandoz at the forefront of gene therapy technology," said Daniel Vasella, MD, CEO of Sandoz Pharma.

FDG PET Appears to Be Highly Specific In Detecting Malignant Breast Lesions

August 01, 1995

MINNEAPOLIS--Breast imaging with FDG PET can identify breast cancer with a high specificity, a German study has shown. This technique visualizes malignant tumor tissue by increased FDG (fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose) uptake (see image on " FDG PET Imaging Visualizes Malignant Breast Lesions"), said Norbert Avril, MD, of the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Technical University, Munich.

Lung Lesions: Clues To Help Determine Benign vs Malignant

August 01, 1995

BALTIMORE--A number of factors can suggest whether a focal pulmonary lesion is malignant or benign, but no single test affords a quick answer, and biopsy is usually necessary to make the diagnosis, said Peter White, Jr., MD, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

ACS Helps Plan Mammography Screening Trial

August 01, 1995

ATLANTA--The American Cancer Society's research program has awarded a $75,000 planning grant to the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC), based in Geneva, Switzerland, to study the feasibility of conducting a long-term international study on the effects of mammography in reducing breast cancer mortality in women in their 40s.