Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 1

HCFA Reevaluations May Affect Chemo Administration Cost Codes

January 01, 1996

PITTSBURGH--The Health Care Financing Administration's current re-evaluation of reimbursements for physician work and practice expenses could have "a major impact" on chemotherapy administration cost codes, Joseph S. Bailes, MD, said at the Association of Community Cancer Center's 1995 Oncology Symposium.

Breast Cancer Info Now on Internet

January 01, 1996

NEW YORK--Women seeking information about breast cancer can now turn to their computers. The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) has established the first nonprofit organization breast cancer web site (http://www.nabco.org) to provide In-ternet users with up-to-date information about the latest research, current treatment options, support services, and links to other Internet sites.

HDC/ABMT Has Benefits in Multiple Myeloma

January 01, 1996

SEATTLE--French researchers have recently concluded a study of multiple myeloma in which high-dose chemotherapy combined with autologous bone marrow transplantation (HDC/ABMT) resulted in a significant improvement in response rate and overall survival, compared with conventional chemotherapy.

Clinical Trial to Study MoAb 17-1A as An Adjuvant to Colon Cancer Therapy

January 01, 1996

NEW YORK--Patients with stage III colon cancer are being sought for a clinical trial newly underway to determine whether the monoclonal antibody (MoAb) 17-1A is an effective adjuvant in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) plus levamisole, said Richard Pazdur, MD, associate professor of medicine, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Reporting of Study Comparing Casodex, Eulexin Is Questioned

January 01, 1996

I would like to call your attention to a misleading statement that appeared in the Industry Watch section of the October, 1995, issue of Oncology News International under the title "Casodex Approved for Prostatic Cancer" (page 23).

Limits on Tamoxifen Duration Questioned

January 01, 1996

SAN ANTONIO--The NCI's clinical alert advising physicians to limit the use of tamoxifen (Nolva-dex) in early breast cancer to no more than 5 years may be a "premature judgment" that was based on a randomized trial of insufficient size, Prof. Richard Peto, of the University of Oxford's ICRF Clinical Trial Service Unit, said at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

ACRO Forecasts Radiologist Surplus

January 01, 1996

OAK BROOK, Ill--Young physicians seeking careers in radiation on-cology may have severely limited employment opportunities in the foreseeable future, according to the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO). The College forecasts that up to 1,000 radiation oncologists will be either underemployed or unemployed shortly after the year 2000.

Potency Status Before RT, Not Dose, Determines Post-RT Function

January 01, 1996

MIAMI BEACH--Potency status in prostate cancer patients before radiation therapy, not the radiation dose, is the main determinant of potency status afterwards, Adam P. Dicker, MD, said at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO).

Dr. Klausner Outlines Goals for NCI

January 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--The new director of the National Cancer Institute envisions the NCI as an institute focused on science, but with a responsibility toward the community to disseminate information and be involved in larger issues.

Difficulties in Translating Relative Risks Into Absolute Risk

January 01, 1996

PARIS--When counseling women about breast cancer risk, physicians face the difficulty of translating relative risks into real-life prospects, Michael Baum, CHM, FRCS, of the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said in a presentation at the Eighth Annual European Cancer Conference (ECCO-8).

Managed Care: To Live and Die in LA

January 01, 1996

In Los Angeles, the future seems to arrive a little sooner than in the rest of the country. The defense-based economy has crashed and burned, shifting hundreds of thousands of employees into managed care plans, mostly HMOs.

NCCN to Develop Outcomes Database Based on Guidelines Use

January 01, 1996

PHILADELPHIA--The clinical practice guidelines developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), to be presented at the coalition's first conference in March, represent the first step toward a larger goal--developing a database of how those guidelines are used throughout the network.

Strontium-89 Relieves Bone Pain, May Have Therapeutic Value

January 01, 1996

MIAMI BEACH--Cancer patients treated with strontium-89 (Metastron) for palliation of their metastatic bone pain may also benefit therapeutically, said Michael J. Katin, MD, a radiation oncologist in Fort Myers, Florida, whose practice includes a significant number of patients with painful bone metastases resulting primarily from prostate cancer.

T-Cell IL-2 Receptor Is New Target in Treatment of Adult T-Cell Leukemia

January 01, 1996

NEW YORK--Researchers at the National Cancer Institute are targeting a T-cell interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor in an attempt to find an effective treatment for patients with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL), Thomas A. Waldmann, MD, chief of the NCI's Metabolism Branch, said at a symposium sponsored by the New York City-based Cancer Research Institute.

Zoladex Gets Indication for Advanced Breast Ca

January 01, 1996

WILMINGTON, Del--Zoladex (goserelin acetate implant), Zeneca Pharmaceuticals' gonadotropin-releasing-hormone (GnRH) agonist, has received approval for use in the treatment of advanced breast cancer in premenopausal and perimenopausal women.

NCI Promotes Insurer Support for Clinical Trials

January 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--At its most recent meeting, the National Cancer Advisory Board heard a report on the Division of Cancer Treatment, Diagnosis, and Centers and its efforts to promote third-party payer support for clinical trials.

Moul Named Prostate Educator of the Year

January 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The American Urologic Association has named Judd W. Moul, MD, Prostate Educator of the Year. Dr. Moul is director, Center for Prostate Disease Research, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

'Intron A' Receives FDA Indication for High-Risk Melanoma

January 01, 1996

MADISON, NJ--Schering-Plough Corporation's Intron A for Injection (interferon alfa-2b, recombinant) has received FDA clearance for a new indication as adjuvant treatment to surgery in malignant melanoma patients at high risk for systemic recurrence.

National Summit Re-declares War on Cancer

January 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--The original 'war on cancer' was declared by the President of the United States in 1971, and a cure was promised within 10 years. In that same year, Texas Instruments was developing the first pocket calculator and Intel had just introduced the microchip, said financier Michael R. Milken at the National Cancer Summit. The meeting was sponsored by the Association for the Cure of Cancer of the Prostate (CaP CURE, see box on page 20), which Mr. Milken founded, and by other leading cancer organizations.

Colon Cancer Pain Still Undertreated

January 01, 1996

CHICAGO--Over the last decade, increasing attention has been paid to the palliative care of patients whose colon cancer has not responded to curative treatment so that they may achieve the best possible quality of life.

Conformal RT Shows Good Survival Rates In Michigan Study of Localized Prostate Cancer

January 01, 1996

MIAMI BEACH--Early-stage prostate cancer patients treated with three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) at the University of Michigan Medical Center had excellent survival rates with few complications, Howard Sandler, MD, reported at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting.

Mobile Mammography Vans Planned for Washington, DC, Area

January 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--The George Washington University Medical Center will soon be providing mobile mammog-raphy services in Washington, DC. Allan B. Weingold, MD, vice president for medical affairs, announced the project at the Fifth Annual Jo Oberstar Memorial Lecture, delivered by Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore (see box below).

Cancer Survivors Group Welcomes Gen. Schwarzkopf as Keynote Speaker

January 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--In 1990, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf commanded the imagination of the American people during his service as Commander of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. At the First National Congress on Cancer Survivorship, he stormed the stage of the Washington Court Hotel to describe his role as a prostate cancer survivor and patient advocate. The message was simple and personal. "I am here," the general said, "because I won a battle."

Physicians Have Input Into HCFA, Pennsylvania Blue Shield Medical Policies

January 01, 1996

PITTSBURGH--Physicians in Pennsylvania play a "very heavy" role in medical policy decisions for the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) and Pennsylvania Blue Shield, Brent O'Connell, MD, said at the Association of Community Cancer Center's 1995 On-cology Symposium.

AHCPR Explains How Its Clinical Practice Guidelines Are Developed and Distributed

January 01, 1996

BALTIMORE--"Clinical practice guidelines link science and the bedside, helping the doctor and patient to make the best possible decisions," said Mary L. Grady, a technical writer-editor with the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR).

Vesanoid, First Retinoid to Receive a Cancer Indication,Is Approved for Treatment of APL

January 01, 1996

NUTLEY, NJ--Vesanoid (treti-noin, all-trans-retinoic acid) has become the first retinoid to receive a cancer treatment indication from the US Food and Drug Administration. The new agent, from Hoffmann-La Roche, is indicated for induction of remission in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) who are refractory to or have relapsed from anthracycline chemotherapy, or for whom anthracy-cline chemotherapy is contraindicated.

Study Suggests Foscarnet Might Be Useful in Kaposi's Sarcoma

January 01, 1996

SEATTLE--DNA from the recently discovered Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has been isolated in KS lesions as well as some AIDS-related lymphomas, and the new research suggests that foscarnet (Foscavir) may effectively inhibit the virus. Enrique. A. Mesri, PhD, of the Department of Medicine, Cornell University Medical College, reported the findings at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting.

New Bladder Ca Assays Based on Detection of Antigen, Protein

January 01, 1996

REDMOND, Wash--The FDA has given premarket approval to a new tumor antigen test for detecting bladder cancer recurrence, and an FDA advisory panel has recommended approval of a second bladder cancer assay that measures nuclear matrix proteins.

Arkansas Pioneers 'Total Therapy' for Multiple Myeloma

January 01, 1996

LITTLE ROCK, Ark--Little prog-ress has been made during the last 30 years toward improving the prognosis of patients with myeloma. Because of the patients' often brittle condition and advanced age, dose intensity concepts had not been evaluated until the late Tim McElwain from the Royal Marsden Hospital reported responses to high-dose melphalan [Alkeran] at 140 mg/m² in patients with refractory disease or high-risk newly diagnosed patients.

Hypoxic Environment May Lead to Tumor Resistance

January 01, 1996

PALO ALTO, Calif--New research into the nature of malignant cells deep within the interior of solid tumors suggests a possible explanation as to why tumors with large hypoxic areas tend to be aggressive and treatment resistant.