Oncology NEWS International Vol 8 No 11

Anti-VEGF MoAb Promising in Phase II Renal Cancer Study

November 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Some kidney cancer patients in an ongoing phase II trial of an experimental antiangiogenesis monoclonal antibody have shown improvement. The randomized, three-arm study by National Cancer Institute researchers compares two different doses of the drug against a placebo.

Government Lawsuit Seeks Billions From Tobacco Industry

November 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-By imposing taxes on tobacco products and mandating health warnings on cigarette pack-ages, did the federal government, in effect, collaborate with the tobacco industry in causing smoking-related diseases in millions of Americans?

NCI Plans a Large Phase III Trial of Lymphoma Vaccine

November 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has announced plans for a large-scale, randomized phase III trial of a patient-specific therapeutic vaccine against B-cell lymphoma. The decision came as the result of findings from a recently completed phase II study at the NCI.

NCCN Database Expanding to Include Cancer Pain Outcomes

November 01, 1999

MINNEAPOLIS-Medtronic, Inc. and the National Comprehensive Cancer network (NCCN) have announced that they are partnering in an effort to shed light on a key concern of cancer patients and their families: the best way to control cancer pain while preserving patients’ quality of life.

Fewer Blacks Than Whites Receive Surgery for Early Stage Lung Cancer

November 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Fewer blacks than whites receive potentially curative surgery for early stage lung cancer, and this disparity is substantially responsible for lower survival rates for black patients, according to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute.

NSABP Trial Examines Surgery’s Role in Breast Cancer

November 01, 1999

BUFFALO, NY-The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) is currently conducting follow-up for a trial that may change the course of breast cancer treatment. The aim of trial B-18 is to determine whether surgery should remain the dominant treatment for breast cancer or should be considered as adjuvant therapy, Norman Wolmark, MD, said at a surgical oncology symposium, hosted by Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Wolmark is chair of the NSABP and chair of Human Oncology at Allegheny General Hospital.

Prophylactic Tamoxifen Debated at ECCO

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-The substantial drop in breast cancer incidence reported in the NSABP P-1 trial of prophylactic tamoxifen (Nolvadex) contrasted sharply with the negative findings of the earlier Royal Marsden and Italian trials. Whether the P-1 results can be confidently and routinely applied to all high-risk women was the focus of a debate between Royal Marsden investigator Trevor Powles, MD, and NSABP investigator Bernard Fisher, MD, at the 10th European Cancer Conference (ECCO 10).

Survival Advantage for Simultaneous Goserelin and RT

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-Proof that starting adjuvant goserelin (Zoladex) treatment simultaneously with radiotherapy improves local control and survival in men with locally advanced prostate cancer emerged 2 years ago from a study conducted jointly by the Radiotherapy and Genitourinary groups of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC).

NCCR Honors Seven Members of Congress as ‘Champions’

November 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-“Cancer crosses party lines and so should the battle against it,” said Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY), one of seven senators and congresspersons honored by the National Coalition for Cancer Research (NCCR) with its Congressional Champion Awards.

Even With Coverage, Patients Avoid Clinical Trials

November 01, 1999

MINNEAPOLIS-Of the many possible reasons why cancer patients choose not to enter clinical trials, worries about whether the cost will be reimbursed by their health plan may actually rank low on the list, or so the experience of Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group suggests.

MVAC Still the ‘Best Treatment’ for Advanced Bladder Cancer Patients

November 01, 1999

CHICAGO-Despite recent excitement about therapy involving ifosfamide (Ifex) and other new chemotherapy drug combinations, MVAC-methotrexate, vinblastine, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), and cisplatin-remains the standard of care for advanced bladder cancer, Derek Raghavan, MD, said at the Chicago Prostate Cancer Shootout III Plus Bladder Conference, sponsored by the Chicago Urological Society, Chicago Radiological Society, and Chicago Medical Society

AstraZeneca Offers CHOICES Prostate Education Program

November 01, 1999

WILMINGTON, Delaware-Astra-Zeneca has launched CHOICES, a comprehensive resource program for men with prostate cancer and their families. The program contains expert advice to help patients make informed treatment choices and real life messages from survivors, the company said in a news release.

Candlelight Vigil Rekindles Enthusiasm of ‘The March’

November 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-Cancer survivors, their families, and friends gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial for “Rays of Hope,” a candlelight vigil to mark the first anniversary of The March. That event brought tens of thousands to Washington last September to a rally aimed at making cancer the nation’s leading research priority.

QUASAR Shows No Benefit for Levamisole in Colorectal Cancer

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-The combination regimen of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and levamisole is one of the National Cancer Institute’s recommendations for adjuvant treatment of stage C colorectal cancer. However, results from the first 5,000 patients enrolled in the QUASAR trial suggest that this advice may be open to question. “There is no improvement in survival or recurrence rate with levamisole, and there is no worthwhile benefit from high-dose folinic acid as compared with low-dose folinic acid,” QUASAR investigator R.G. Gray, MD, of the University of Birmingham (UK), said at the 10th European Cancer Conference (ECCO).

Novartis Launches Bone Health Campaign for Breast Cancer Patients

November 01, 1999

EAST HANOVER, NJ-If you are a breast cancer patient with bone pain, don’t ignore it; see your doctor. That is the primary message behind an educational campaign Novartis Oncology is launching directly to patients. The campaign encourages women to pay attention to persistent bone pain if they have or have had breast cancer, and to notify their doctor about it. A critical component of the campaign is to help women understand that there are treatment options for metastatic bone pain.

Scottish Researcher Explores Ovarian Cancer Advances at ECCO

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-For Stanley Kaye, MD, of the University of Glasgow, the milestones of the ’90s in the treatment of ovarian cancer were the discovery that taxanes are superior to alkylating agents in combination with platinum and the recognition that the “soft option” carboplatin (Paraplatin) is equivalent in efficacy to cisplatin (Platinol).

Simplified Anti-HIV Maintenance Regimen Appears Feasible

November 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO-A clinical trial reported at the 39th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) suggests that people infected with HIV who are taking complicated protease-inhibitor-containing regimens to suppress the virus may be able to safely switch to a simplified maintenance regimen requiring only two pills twice a day.

NCI Denies Media Report It Failed to Replicate Endostatin Findings

November 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-In a rare public confrontation with the media, the National Cancer Institute denied a report in the Wall Street Journal that its scientists had failed to replicate the work of Judah Folkman, PhD, showing that endostatin, an antiangiogenesis compound, dramatically shrinks tumors in mice.

ODAC Votes No on Roferon-A Application for Use in Melanoma

November 01, 1999

SILVER SPRING, Md-With some uncommonly strong and negative comments to Food and Drug Administration staff, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) refused to recommend approval of Roferon-A (interferon alfa-2a recombinant, Hoffmann-La Roche) for use as an adjuvant treatment of surgically resected malignant melanoma without clinical evidence of nodal disease.

Novartis Website Offers Practical Cancer Information

November 01, 1999

EAST HANOVER, NJ-The driving force behind Novartis Oncology’s new oncology/hematology website is practicality-providing practical information in an easily accessible manner. The new site, for oncologists, hematologists,nurses, patients, and consumers, is located at www.novartisoncology.com.

Peregrine Offers More Accurate RT Dose Calculation

November 01, 1999

SEWICKLEY, Penn-NOMOS Corporation has been granted an exclusive license by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to commercialize its Peregrine technology. Peregrine is a Monte Carlo-based dose calculation system designed specifically for radiation therapy planning (see photo).

ODAC Gives Taxol Nod for Node+ Breast Cancer

November 01, 1999

SILVER SPRING, Md-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) unanimously recommended that the FDA approve Taxol (paclitaxel for injection, Bristol-Myers Squibb) for use in the adjuvant treatment of node-positive breast cancer administered sequentially to standard doxorubicin-based combination therapy.

NCI Funds 24 DNA Microarray Laboratories Nationwide

November 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Twenty-four cancer research centers in the United States will receive a total of $4.1 million from the National Cancer Institute to purchase the necessary equipment to establish DNA microarray facilities. The new and technically challenging research tool enables scientists to assess expression levels of a large subset of the human genes in a cell or tissue.

Innovative Detection and Treatment Strategies for Colorectal Cancer

November 01, 1999

BUFFALO, NY-Recent advances in colorectal cancer detection and treatment planning are improving quality of life and disease control in colorectal cancer patients, according to research discussed at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Surgical Oncology Symposium.

PEIT Improves Survival Rates in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

November 01, 1999

ORLANDO-At the Digestive Disease Week meeting, University of Tokyo researchers reported on the largest single-institution study of the use of percutaneous ethanol injection therapy (PEIT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The research group studied 849 patients hospitalized for HCC at their institution between 1985 and 1997.

Postradiation Problems Cause Long-Term Pain

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-Most long-term breast cancer survivors who have had adjuvant radiotherapy are likely to have significant pain or functional impairment even 10 to 16 years after treatment, but fewer than one third receive pain medication, Ulf E. Kongsgaard, MD, of the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo, said at the 9th World Congress on Pain.

Sphincter-Sparing Surgery for Early Stage Rectal Cancer

November 01, 1999

BUFFALO, NY-Over the past several years, the focus of breast cancer treatment has shifted from late detection and radical surgery to early detection, breast-conserving surgery, and multimodality treatment. This “paradigm shift” may also be applicable to colorectal cancer, Glenn D. Steele, Jr., MD, PhD, dean of the Biological Sciences Division, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, said at a surgical oncology symposium hosted by Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Steele was the recipient of the Roswell Park Centennial Award.

Fentanyl Patch Used in Pediatric Cancer Pain Patients

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-More than two thirds of children who have terminal cancer need opioids or other strong analgesics, most commonly oral morphine. Transdermal fentanyl patches (Duragesic) can replace oral morphine in many of these cases and also offer an alternative for patients who cannot take oral drugs, A. Goldman, MD, Institute of Child Health, London, said at the 9th World Congress on Pain.

How Physicians Can Motivate Smokers to Give Up Cigarettes

November 01, 1999

ANNAPOLIS, Md-“Showing sick patients the direct connection between smoking and their disease symptoms can powerfully motivate them to quit,” said Daniel E. Ford, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine, epidemiology, and health policy and management, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

ODAC Finds Study Data Inadequate to Recommend Evacet

November 01, 1999

SILVER SPRING, Md-The Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has voted 9 to 2 against recommending approval of Evacet (doxorubicin HCl liposome injection, The Liposome Company) for the first-line treatment of metastatic breast cancer in combination with cyclophosphamide. The vote against Evacet came after Liposome presented three controlled, randomized studies.

Doing Mammography Right: A Specialist Speaks Out

November 01, 1999

TOWSON, Maryland-“Mammography is still the gold standard for the screening and diagnosis of breast cancer, but that doesn’t mean it is always done right,” said Gilda Cardenosa, MD, head of breast imaging at the Cleveland Clinic. “There is a lot of bad mammography out there, even with all the regulations that are in place.”

Tumors Form New Vessels Without Angiogenesis

November 01, 1999

IOWA CITY, Iowa-A surprising new study shows that some melanoma cells can form themselves into vascular channels and provide a tumor’s blood supply without the need for angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels). The resulting channels, which are lined by melanoma cells and basement membrane (see Figure 1), function as a vascular system for the tumor without the endo-thelium-lined blood vessels produced through angiogenesis.

Enhancing Quality of Life an Important Treatment Endpoint

November 01, 1999

VIENNA, Austria-When cure or prolongation of survival is no longer a reasonable possibility, enhancing the cancer patient’s quality of life becomes the preeminent objective of treatment, Ian Tannock, MD, of the Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, said at the 10th European Cancer Conference (ECCO 10). “Quality of life is not a soft endpoint and, when measured appropriately, is every bit as reproducible as so-called objective measures such as tumor response,” he said.

NCI Explores Ways to Speed Development of Imaging Methods

November 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Representatives from government, industry, and aca-demia met for a day and half to discuss the barriers that limit more rapid development of imaging techniques needed by cancer researchers and physicians-and possible ways to overcome them.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Stamp Debuts

November 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-The US Postal Service has issued a 33 cent postage stamp designed to encourage the early detection and treatment of prostate cancer. The stamp features a drawing of the male gender symbol against a red background. The words “Prostate Cancer Awareness-Annual Checkups and Tests” appear on the stamp, which was designed by Michael Cronan of San Francisco.

Surgery, Adjuvant Therapy Are Improving Survival in GI Cancers

November 01, 1999

BUFFALO, NY-Recent advances in adjuvant therapies have begun to improve survival outcomes and quality of life for patients with gastrointestinal tumors such as pancreatic carcinomas and colorectal cancers metastatic to the liver. But the role of the surgeon remains critical.

NBCAM Outlines Workplace Goals

November 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-The 18 members of the Board of Sponsors of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) campaign today challenged American employers to strengthen employee health care benefits and support for working women coping with breast cancer as well as those who seek information about prevention, early detection, treatment, and research.

Memorial Introduces Integrative Medicine Service to the Public

November 01, 1999

NEW YORK-A Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center public forum held to introduce the public to the hospital’s new complementary medicine service drew repeated bursts of applause and expressions of thanks from the patients, family, and community members who attended. The audience not only heard from practitioners but also saw slides of relaxing visual imagery, meditated to the sound of a crystal bowl rim being rubbed, and listened to the music of a trio of music therapists.