Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 4

Antiangiogenesis Agents in Clinical Trials Worldwide

April 01, 1996

PARIS--Worldwide, some 50 clinical trials involving up to 1,000 patients are now attempting to define the clinical utility of angiogenesis inhibitors in reining in micrometastases. The rationale for such "dormancy therapy" lies in a hypothesis formulated by Judah Folkman, MD, of Harvard.

Breast Cancer Stamp Debuts in June

April 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--The US Postal Service will release its Breast Cancer Awareness stamp on June 15, in conjunction with the 1996 National Race for the Cure, the 5K race that raises money to fund breast cancer research, education, treatment, and screening.

NCI, Department of Defense Sign Clinical Trials Agreement

April 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense (DOD) have signed an in-teragency agreement that gives the 8.3 million beneficiaries of TRICARE/CHAMPUS, the DOD's health program, access to NCI-sponsored clinical treatment trials. About 12,000 of the DOD beneficiaries are diagnosed with cancer each year.

NCI to Fund More Extramural Investigations

April 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The number one priority for the NCI is to use its new budget for fiscal 1996 to "maintain the engine of discovery," by increasing funding for extramural, investigator-initiated research, NCI director Richard D. Klausner said at a meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). The new $2.25 billion budget represents a 5.5% increase from 1995, he said.

Lymphoma, Leukemia Patients Sought for Trial of MoAb

April 01, 1996

BOSTON--Researchers at New England Deaconess Hospital are seeking patients with Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) for an FDA-sponsored study of a humanized anti-Tac (interleukin-2 receptor) monoclonal antibody. The phase Ib/II multidose trial will study tolerance, therapeutic efficacy, and biological efficacy.

Frequency of Surveillance, CEA Testing an Issue in NCCN Colorectal Cancer Guidelines

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The frequency of surveillance after colectomy, particularly CEA testing, was a major topic of discussion after the presentation of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's (NCCN) preliminary guidelines on colorectal cancer, one of eight such guidelines introduced at the coalition's first annual conference.

'Integrated Symposia' New Feature at ASCO Conference

April 01, 1996

PHILADELPHIA--Two highlights of the 1996 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting (to be held May 18-21 in Philadelphia) will be the integrated symposia, ASCO president John Glick said in an interview. Dr. Glick, of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, said that the innovative symposia will integrate educational material and state-of-the-art abstracts.

Dose-Dense Chemo Plus HER2 Antibodies May Have Role in Advanced Breast Cancer

April 01, 1996

PARIS--Although properly applied high-dose chemotherapy can produce massive cytoreduction in breast cancer, it may not be adequate to cure the disease. "The problem has never been the achievement of remissions with high-dose therapy; the problem is making them stick," Larry Norton, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said at the Sixth International Congress on Anti-Cancer Treatment.

Obstacles That Slow Guidelines Implementation

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--The most difficult part of the guidelines process is implementation--getting physicians, nurses, and administrators to "buy in" to the process, Gale Katterhagen, MD, said at the first annual conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a coalition of major cancer centers currently in the process of developing guidelines for its members.

Lynch Receives Bristol-Myers Squibb Award

April 01, 1996

NEW YORK--Henry T. Lynch, MD, whose pioneering work during the 1960s and '70s helped establish the hereditary basis of certain gastrointestinal, breast, and ovarian cancers, is the recipient of the 19th annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research. Thanks in large part to Dr. Lynch, the specific genetic mutations responsible for a number of familial cancers have been identified.

Europeans Participate in PDQ Board Meeting, Plan New START Database

April 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--The PDQ Adult Treatment Editorial Board held its March meeting in Milan, Italy, so that an international audience could observe how the board reviews recently published literature to determine if changes should be made in the information in PDQ. The experience is expected to aid the European oncology community in developing its own database, known as START (State-of-the-Art Oncology in Europe).

In Canada, One Set Of Guidelines Will Apply Province-wide

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--Unlike the piecemeal development of clinical practice guidelines in the United States--by individual institutions, networks, or managed care plans--in Canada, guidelines development is a provincial effort, with the resulting product applying to all oncologists in the province, Mark Levine, MD, said at the first annual conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Morphine-Resistant Pain Responds to Neurotoxin: Early Trials

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--Interest in neurotoxins derived from marine cone snails has led to development of a calcium-channel blocking agent that could potentially be used as an alternative to opioid analgesics for patients with cancer pain. Early clinical studies with the agent (SNX-111, being developed by Neurex Corporation, Menlo Park, Calif) have found it to be more potent than morphine and free of opioid side effects, Richard W. Tsien, DPhil, said at a conference on gene technology organized by the University Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Foundation, Inc. and Bio/Technology Magazine.

M.D. Anderson to Hold Conference in Spanish

April 01, 1996

HOUSTON--The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center will hold its second medical oncology conference in Spanish on May 22-24, 1996. The educational conference will bring together physicians from Spain and Latin American with the M.D. Anderson faculty, said Richard Pazdur, MD, associate professor of medicine and co-director of the conference along with Alejandro Preti, MD, assistant professor of medicine.

Docetaxel Salvage Therapy Appears To Benefit Poor Prognosis Patients

April 01, 1996

VILLEJUIF, France--Salvage therapy with docetaxel (Taxotere) produced responses in more than a quarter of heavily pretreated, anthracycline-resistant breast cancer patients, said Jean-Louis Misset, MD, an oncologist at Paul Brousse Hospital, Villejuif.

Lower Breast Cancer Mortality Seen With Estrogen Use

April 01, 1996

SAN FRANCISCO--Use of estrogen supplements may lower breast cancer mortality, an American Cancer Society study has shown. The study, which was discussed at the ACS's science writers meeting, followed 400,000 women who provided data about their cancer risk factors. After 9 years, breast cancer mortality was 16% lower in those women who used estrogen, suggesting that their tumors were less aggressive.

Califano Proposes His Own 'Health Care Plan' for the US

April 01, 1996

SEATTLE--All of the government manipulations of the US health-care system will have little impact on the more potent forces--demographic, social, scientific, cultural, moral, and legal--that shape the American way of health and fuel its cost, says former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

Interviews Show Positive Response to NCCN's Cancer Guidelines

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE--Attendees at the first annual conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) were enthusiastic about the presentation of the Network's preliminary guidelines for eight different cancers, calling the meeting "excellent," "informative," and "the first comprehensive effort at devising guidelines we can all live by."

Novel Quality of Life Endpoints May Play Role in Guidelines

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE--Evaluations of new treatments using traditional endpoints such as response or survival may not be appropriate in advanced solid tumors that are highly symptomatic but essentially incurable, Howard A. Burris III, MD, said at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network conference.

Plans Must Show Quality of Care to Remain Competitive

April 01, 1996

Today, the US health-care system is being driven by a desire to contain escalating health-care expenditures. Oncology has not been spared, and the cancer burden on this country is great in terms of monetary costs as well as human morbidity and mortality.

IP Cisplatin Delivery Appears to Improve Ovarian Ca Outcome

April 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS--Intraperitoneal (IP) administration of cisplatin (Platinol) plus IV cyclophosphamide produced an improved outcome over IV cisplatin plus IV cyclophosphamide in a pivotal phase III ovarian cancer trial, intergroup study 0051 (SWOG-GOG-ECOG), researchers reported at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists meeting.

NCQA Is Setting Standards for Managed Care Plans

April 01, 1996

WASHINGTON--As managed care health plans continue to proliferate, the need has increased for ways to differentiate and compare plans, and give purchasers and consumers information on which to base decisions about medical coverage.

Cryosurgery Results in 102 Prostate Cancer Patients at UCSF

April 01, 1996

MARINA DEL REY, Calif--Preliminary studies show that cryosurgical ablation of the prostate can be used to treat localized prostate cancer, resulting in negative post-treatment biopsies and undetectable serum PSA levels, reported Peter R. Carroll, MD, associate professor of urology and director, Urologic Oncology Program, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Practice Guidelines Expected to Decrease Physician Liability

April 01, 1996

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--Rather than increasing the number of medical liability cases, good practice guidelines should actually decrease the number of lawsuits, particularly frivolous ones, Frances H. Miller told attendees at the first annual conference of the NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network). The meeting served as a showcase for the Network's preliminary practice guidelines for eight different cancers.

WHI Protocol Modified Due to PEPI Data

April 01, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--Data on a single slide presented in November, 1994, led quickly to a key change in the hormone arm of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Isolated Perfusion of TNF-alpha Can Save Limbs

April 01, 1996

PARIS--Perfusion of an isolated limb with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- alpha and melphalan (Alkeran) can avoid amputation in more than 80% of patients with nonresectable soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities, Alexander Eggermont, MD, PhD, reported at the Sixth International Congress on Anti-Cancer Treatment (ICACT).

Tamoxifen Patients Monitored With Office Biopsies

April 01, 1996

NEW ORLEANS--In presentations at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists meeting, Canadian researchers confirmed a small increased relative risk for uterine cancer in patients taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex), while investigators from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center showed that office endometrial biopsies may be sufficient to protect tamoxifen users by findings abnormalities early.

High-Risk Women Less Likely to Perform BSE Regularly

April 01, 1996

PALM SPRINGS, Calif--Women often develop idiosyncratic ideas about their risk for breast cancer, Mary Jane Massie, MD, said at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine in a session on counseling high-risk women. And the higher the perceived risk, the less likely these women may be to confront their fears and comply with preventive regimens such as breast self-exam (BSE).