Oncology NEWS International Vol 6 No 6

Studies of Counselings' Impact on Survival Challenged

June 01, 1997

SEATTLE--The two studies most often cited as proof that psychological support can improve survival in cancer patients came under challenge at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Telomerase Activity Potential Marker for Bladder Cancer

June 01, 1997

NEW ORLEANS--The enzyme telomerase is detectable in the majority of bladder washings from patients with bladder cancer, making it a reliable marker for cancer, according to several reports presented at the American Urolog-ical Association (AUA) annual meeting.

HIV Has Become a Specialty Disease, But One Open to the Well-Informed Generalist

June 01, 1997

PHILADELPHIA--Personal devotion to keeping abreast of the complexity of HIV therapy identifies the "specialist," whether trained in infectious disease or as a generalist, John J. Bartlett, MD, said at the American College of Physicians annual meeting.

Writing Genetic Testing Guidelines Complex Endeavor

June 01, 1997

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla--Writing guidelines for cancer screening that include genetic testing--the next major guidelines initiative for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)--will be complex because "every cancer, every gene linked to a cancer, and every patient situation is going to present different kinds of problems," Henry Greely, JD, said at the NCCN's second annual conference.

AACR Meeting Sees Growth Spurt in Telomerase Research

June 01, 1997

SAN DIEGO--Research involving telomerase, the protein thought to be responsible for cancer cell immortality, is experiencing explosive growth, and nowhere was that more evident than at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

DDT Appears to Activate Human Estrogen Receptors

June 01, 1997

SAN DIEGO--Reports from the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting have moved researchers closer to answering the question of whether DDT and its metabolites act as a risk factor for breast cancer by mimicking endogenous estrogen.

Studies Highlight Role of bcl-2 Gene in Programmed Cell Death

June 01, 1997

SAN DIEGO--The bcl-2 gene, present in follicular-type B cell lymph-oma, serves as a critical checkpoint in the apoptosis pathway, and may be involved in the development of ultraviolet-induced skin cancers, in combination with the tumor-suppressor gene p53, according to two reports presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.

Efficacy of BCG Maintenance in Bladder Cancer Is Confirmed

June 01, 1997

NEW ORLEANS--A large SWOG study presented at the American Urology Association (AUA) meeting confirms the efficacy of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) as maintenance therapy for superficial bladder cancer, and a report from Italy shows its benefits as an adjuvant to surgery.

Surgery Seen as Adjunct to Chemo in Some Invasive Breast Cancers

June 01, 1997

CHICAGO--Because adjuvant systemic chemotherapy has led to real and meaningful improvement in long-term disease-free and overall survival of women with invasive breast cancer, "perhaps the primacy of surgery is not sacrosanct," said David Hyams, MD, executive medical officer of the NSABP, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh.

Traveling Exhibit of Cancer Educational Resources

June 01, 1997

ROCHESTER, NY--The WHO International Network for Cancer Education (INCE) has joined with its first partner, the American Association for Cancer Education (AACE), to put together an international traveling exhibit of educational materials and resources for cancer education, to be shown at many of the smaller cancer congresses around the world, Charles D. Sherman, Jr., MD, told Oncology News International.

History of Substance Abuse Not a Barrier to Opioid Use

June 01, 1997

NEW YORK--Pain is highly prevalent in patients with HIV disease. Yet clinicians are often afraid to prescribe opioids when the patient is a former substance abuser, William Breitbart, MD, said at a conference on chemical dependency and pain management.

Support Program for Melanoma Patients Receiving Interferon

June 01, 1997

NEW YORK--Cancer Care, Inc. has introduced Crossing Bridges, a national program to provide medically accurate information and ongoing emotional support to malignant melanoma patients receiving adjuvant therapy with interferon alfa-2b (Intron A).

Taxol/Adriamycin as First-Line Metastatic Breast Cancer Therapy

June 01, 1997

ASCO--Doxorubicin (Adriamy-cin) plus paclitaxel (Taxol) used in combination resulted in better overall response rates and longer time-to-treatment failure than either agent used alone as first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer, George W. Sledge, Jr., MD, of Indiana University School of Medicine, reported at the ASCO meeting.

Dying in Hospital May Be Preferable to Dying at Home

June 01, 1997

NEW YORK--About 60% of the US population dies in the hospital, and many have questioned whether hospitals are the best place to care for the dying. However, the hospital setting offers many advantages, Myra Glajchen, DSW, said during a teleconference sponsored by Cancer Care Inc.

Mycobacterial Cell Wall Possible Alternative to BCG

June 01, 1997

Mycobacterial cell wall therapy may be an alternative to BCG in the treatment of carcinoma in situ (CIS) of the bladder, Dr. Alvaro Morales, of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, reported at the AUA meeting.

Replacing Defective p53 Gene May Slow Progression of NSCLC

June 01, 1997

SAN DIEGO--A therapy for advanced lung cancer patients who have not responded to other treatments is showing promise in studies at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In this phase I trial, 18 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and missing or defective copies of the tumor-suppressor p53 gene have received injections directly into their tumors of an adenovirus containing the p53 wildtype gene.

NCI Office Focuses on Long-Term Survivorship Issues

June 01, 1997

ROCKVILLE, Md--Last year, the National Cancer Institute established the Office of Cancer Survivorship, and NCI director Richard D. Klausner, MD, named Anna T. Meadows, MD, to head its efforts to explore issues of the physical, psychological, and economic well being of cancer patients.

Hospice Care Is a Point of View, Not a Place

June 01, 1997

NEW YORK--A hospice is not a place but, rather, a point of view, Paul Brenner, MDiv, said during a teleconference sponsored by Cancer Care Inc. "Hospice care can take place in different settings: home, hospital, or hospice," he said. It is hospice's fundamental assumption--that the end of life is a normal and valued part of human development--that sets it apart from other health care services.

Diet Low in Fat May Reduce Areas of Density

June 01, 1997

NEW ORLEANS--Adoption of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet reduces the area of mammographic densities in the breast, a strong risk factor for breast cancer, Norman F. Boyd, MD, of the Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, reported at the American Society for Preventive Oncology meeting.

Bacterial Vectors Show Promise in Cancer Gene Therapy

June 01, 1997

SAN DIEGO--Genetically engineered bacteria have the potential to deliver anticancer genes directly to a tumor site, according to four presentations of preclinical data at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.

New Advocacy Group Is Sponsoring Lung Cancer Awareness Day

June 01, 1997

VANCOUVER, Wa--Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, yet there are no colored ribbons for survivors and supporters, no races for a cure, and until now, no day, week, or month dedicated to lung cancer awareness.

Palliation Proves Cost Effective

June 01, 1997

ASCO--In a randomized trial of patients with symptomatic refractory prostate cancer, chemotherapy plus prednisone provided significantly better pain control than prednisone alone; now, an economic analysis suggests that the combination was less expensive overall due to fewer hospital admissions.

Treatment of DCIS Needs to Consider Patient Age and Tumor

June 01, 1997

CHICAGO--Despite an overall trend toward breast conservation, many breast cancer authorities believe that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) too often is treated by mastectomy, and that axillary dissection and irradiation frequently are performed unnecessarily.

American Cancer Society Steps Up Advocacy Activities

June 01, 1997

WASHINGTON--The American Cancer Society (ACS) has initiated a new, long-term advocacy program aimed at enhancing its influence on federal and state government actions that affect efforts to eliminate cancer.

Cell Cycling Research May Hold Key to Improving Cancer Therapy

June 01, 1997

SAN DIEGO--So little is known about cell cycling that a new study on a possible mechanism for why cells fail to exit the cell cycle was termed the "most exciting presentation" of the American Association for Cancer Research's 88th annual meeting. Stephen H. Friend, MD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, made the comment at a press briefing held at the meeting.

Hoechst Marion Roussel Funds Outcomes Research

June 01, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo--Hoechst Marion Roussel is offering research grants totaling nearly $500,000 to fund health economics and outcomes studies through its 1997 ACCORD (A Company-wide Commitment to Outcomes Research and Development) program.

Experts Debate Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide

June 01, 1997

ASCO--As the country awaits a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of state laws forbidding physician-assisted suicide, two physicians presented both sides of the debate at an ASCO session on end-of-life issues.

IOM Urges New System to Fund Medical Education

June 01, 1997

WASHINGTON-- The federal government should revise its system for funding the training of physicians, to help cut costs and adapt to ongoing changes in health care delivery, says a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the National Academy of Sciences.

Interferon-alfa 2b Activates STAT Proteins in Melanoma Cells

June 01, 1997

CHICAGO--Although interferon-alfa 2b (Intron A) has been used for some time to treat malignant melanoma patients at high risk for relapse after surgery, little has been known about the way in which it works.

Chemo Benefits ER+, Node-Negative Women

June 01, 1997

ASCO--Women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer who have no evidence of lymph node involvement should be added to the list of breast cancer patients who can benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy, Bernard Fisher, MD, said at the plenary session of the 33rd Annual ASCO Meeting.

New Strategies Needed to Monitor Blood Usage

June 01, 1997

The US blood system is a vast network comprised of approximately 190 regional blood centers, which collect 90% of the nation's blood, and 621 hospital blood centers, which collect the remaining 10%.[1] Many of the regional blood centers are operated by the American Red Cross, which collects approximately 45% of the blood in the United States.[2]

Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer: Part I. The Genetic Profile

June 01, 1997

Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the United States.[1] It has a lifetime incidence of approximately one in 150 persons in the United States and a male-to-female ratio of approximately 1.3 to 1.[2]

MMP Inhibitor Is Tested in Refractory Prostate Cancer

June 01, 1997

ASCO--An oral drug that blocks enzymes that appear to be fundamental for tumor spread significantly slowed the rate of rise of PSA in men with advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer and may have the potential to increase survival, Peter Boasberg, MD, reported at the ASCO meeting.

Percent Free PSA Test May Prevent Unnecessary Biopsies

June 01, 1997

NEW ORLEANS--For prostate cancer detection, the proportion of free PSA to total PSA, using a cut-off point of 25%, is more sensitive and specific than total PSA and avoids many unnecessary biopsies, according to a multicenter study presented at the American Urological Association (AUA) annual meeting.

Sharp Increase in Mortality Risk from Smoking

June 01, 1997

BETHESDA, Md--A new analysis of data from five large studies of smoking and health, which involved a total of nearly 2.75 million participants, reveals that mortality risks associated with cigarette smoking have surged over the last four decades, particularly for women.