Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 3

Drug Allows Higher Doxorubicin Doses in Breast Ca Patients

March 01, 1996

NEW YORK--Dexrazoxane (Zine-card), which was developed in Great Britain in the 1960s as an anticancer drug, is extremely effective in blocking the cardiotoxic effects of doxorubicin, said James L. Speyer, MD, professor of clinical medicine, Department of Oncology, New York University Medical Center.

Nori Appointed to Cornell Department of Radiation Oncology

March 01, 1996

FLUSHING, NY--The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center has appointed Dattatreyudu Nori, MD, a pioneer in the subspecialty of brachytherapy, to the position of professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology.

Academic Centers Must Change or Perish in Climate of Managed Care

March 01, 1996

BALTIMORE--Academic medical centers must now operate in a health-care environment that "has become increasingly unfriendly, even hostile economically," said former New England Journal of Medicine editor Arnold S. Relman, MD.

Genetically Altered Hematopoietic Cells Used in Transplant Research

March 01, 1996

SEATTLE--Genetically modified hematopoietic cells are being used to protect healthy stem cells from toxic drugs in early clinical trials and, in cell lines, to sensitize cancer cells to toxic drugs and to induce leukemia cells to revert to a normal phenotype, Albert Deisseroth, MD, PhD, said at a symposium held in conjunction with the American Society of Hematology meeting. Dr. Deisseroth is associate director for clinical research, Yale University Cancer Center.

Bill Would Ease Distribution of Off-Label Data

March 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--Nancy L. Kasse-baum (R-Kan), chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, expects the Committee to complete action in late March on her bill to reform the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill would then be forwarded to the full Senate for a vote.

New Critical Pathway Reduces the Costs of Radical Prostatectomy at Chicago Hospital

March 01, 1996

CHICAGO--A new critical pathway for radical prostatectomy introduced at Chicago's Weiss Memorial Hospital has lowered hospital stays for these patients to a mean of 1.7 days, compared with 4.6 days for patients treated under the previous protocol. The shorter stays did not affect surgical outcome or reduce patient satisfaction, report Gerald W. Chodak, MD and his colleagues at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

New Drug Combinations May Improve Outlook in AIDS Patients

March 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--Studies of two new protease inhibitors, used in combination with currently available anti-HIV agents, show good results in reducing viral load. Furthermore, studies of a new test for determining viral load indicate a significant relationship between high viral load and faster disease progression.

Dose-Intense Chemo in Breast Ca Questioned

March 01, 1996

PARIS--Although well over 1,000 patients with breast cancer are now registered with the North American Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant Registry each year, it is still unclear whether these women actually have something to gain in the long run from dose-intensified regimens, Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi, of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, said at the Sixth International Congress on Anti-Cancer Treatment (ICACT).

Final Word on Diet-Breast Cancer Link Must Come From Clinical Trials: WHI

March 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--Concerned that a New England Journal of Medicine article reporting no link between fat intake and breast cancer might deter women from joining the diet-cancer segment of the NIH-sponsored Women's Health Initiative (WHI), its top leaders took an unusual step.

LHRH Agonist Matches Ovariectomy Results: SWOG

March 01, 1996

PARIS--The luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist goserelin (Zoladex) proved as effective as surgical ovariectomy in premenopausal women with estrogen and/or progestogen receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer, a randomized multicenter study has shown.

Schacter Named Clinical Trials Director at Yale

March 01, 1996

NEW HAVEN, Conn--Lee Philip Schacter, PhD, MD, has been named associate director for clinical trials for the Yale Cancer Center. In that role, he will oversee the clinical research projects on experimental cancer treatment taking place at the Center. Dr. Schacter comes to Yale from Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he was a director of the clinical cancer research program.

Newer Strategies Aim to Improve Long-Term Remission Rates in AML

March 01, 1996

SEATTLE--While about 65% of adults with newly diagnosed, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) are able to achieve complete remission of their disease, this remission is often short-lived when conventional postremission regimens are used. However, new approaches to postremission therapy are proving beneficial to patients, Robert J. Mayer, MD, said at a symposium held in conjunction with the American Society of Hematology's 37th Annual Meeting.

Genetic Suppressor Elements Proving Useful in Drug Resistance Research

March 01, 1996

SEATTLE--Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are using novel approaches to identify and analyze the genes involved in making cancer cells more resistant, or more sensitive, to chemotherapy agents, Igor Roninson, PhD, head of the Molecular Oncology Division, said at a symposium held in conjunction with the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

Dr. Vogel to Lead Joint Breast Cancer Program

March 01, 1996

PITTSBURGH--Victor Vogel, MD, MHS, will lead a newly established joint breast cancer program of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Magee-Womens Hospital. He will also join the University of Pittsburgh as professor of medicine and epidemiology.

Alternatives to Fee for Service Involve Risks

March 01, 1996

To do better than merely survive under managed care, oncologists who are accustomed to fee-for-service practice must plan new strategies, particularly if they expect to stay in practice more than a few more years.

National Cancer Survivors Day Scheduled for June 2, 1996

March 01, 1996

FRANKLIN, Tenn--On Sunday, June 2, 1996, more than 600 communities throughout the United States will hold celebrations of life as part of the ninth annual National Cancer Survivors Day. The event recognizes the country's more than 8 million cancer survivors (2% of the population) and serves as a platform to call attention to the barriers that prevent many Americans from receiving state-of-the-art cancer treatment.

Modified Prostatectomy Technique Reduces Incontinence

March 01, 1996

MARINA DEL REY, Calif--By modifying the standard "Walsh procedure" for radical retropubic removal of the prostate, UCLA researchers have seen a much faster and more complete return of urinary continence, Jean B. deKernion, MD, chief, Division of Urology, UCLA School of Medicine, reported at a conference jointly sponsored by UCLA and the Clark Urological Cancer Center.

CCOP Brings Clinical Trials to the Community

March 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--Cancer patients may be more likely to enter treatment trials if the medical centers are near their own homes. With this in mind, the National Cancer Institute and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control developed the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP).

NCCN Unveils Preliminary Guidelines

March 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) unveiled preliminary clinical practice guidelines for eight diseases at its first annual conference (see photograph below). The network now includes 14 institutions nationwide with the addition of its newest member, Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Clarithromycin Prophylaxis for MAC May Also Prevent PCP, Giardiasis

March 01, 1996

LISBON--Clarithromycin prophylaxis for Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) may provide additional benefits to AIDS patients by preventing the development of common opportunistic infections, Mark Pierce, MD, said at the Third International Conference on the Macrolides, Azalides, and Streptogra-mins, sponsored by Abbott Laboratories.

Experts Review NCI Recommendation to Limit Tamoxifen Duration to Five Years

March 01, 1996

An expert panel of seven cancer researchers and a representative of the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) came together at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium for a roundtable discussion of the use of tamoxifen (Nolvadex), sponsored by PRR, Inc., publisher of Oncology News International and the journal ONCOLOGY.

Patient-Controlled Analgesia Proves Safe in Children

March 01, 1996

SEATTLE--In a retrospective study of 39 children (aged 4 to 12 years) given patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) for pain associated with bone marrow transplantation (BMT), researchers found that 95% of children successfully mastered PCA to control their pain.

No Adverse Effects of HRT on Breast Cancer Prognosis Seen

March 01, 1996

SAN ANTONIO--Three studies reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium show no apparent adverse effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on breast cancer and, in fact, suggest that breast cancers in patients with a history of HRT may have a more favorable prognosis in terms of histologic grade and estrogen-receptor (ER) levels.

Oregon Implements Plan Using Prioritized List of Medical Services

March 01, 1996

SEATTLE--In the 1970s, Hawaii led the way in state efforts at controlling health-care costs while expanding coverage; in the 1980s, physicians and insurers in California forged ahead with managed care; and in the 1990s, Oregon has led the way in prioritizing health services to provide greater access to care.