Oncology NEWS International Vol 8 No 2

Paclitaxel Plus Mitoxantrone for Poor-Prognosis Breast Cancer

February 02, 1999

LONDON-Combination chemotherapy with paclitaxel (Taxol) and mitoxantrone (Novantrone) represents a promising treatment strategy for poor-prognosis breast cancer patients, investigators in a small British study have concluded.

Overview Shows Raloxifene Reduces Breast Cancer Incidence in Postmenopausal Women

February 02, 1999

CHICAGO-The selective estrogen-receptor modulator (SERM) raloxifene (Evista) can dramatically reduce the incidence of breast cancer in healthy postmenopausal women, V. Craig Jordan, PhD, DSc, said at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The agent is currently FDA approved for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Faslodex, Pure Antiestrogen, Studied in Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancer

February 02, 1999

MANCHESTER, UK-Prelim-inary experience with the pure antiestrogen faslodex (investigational) suggests the agent has activity in tamoxifen (Nolvadex)-resistant breast cancer while avoiding troublesome side effects such as hot flashes often observed with endocrine therapy, Dr. Anthony Howell said at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

LHRH Agonist Plus Tamoxifen Improves Outcome in Young Metastatic Patients

February 02, 1999

MANCHESTER, UK-An LHRH agonist (goserelin or buserelin) plus tamoxifen (Nolvadex) provides longer survival rates than an LHRH agonist alone in young metastatic breast cancer patients, according to data from the Combined Hormonal Agents Trialists (CHAT) group presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Pros and Cons of Different Approaches to Chemoradiation

February 02, 1999

BOSTON-Various approaches to chemoradiation therapy for breast cancer offer advantages and disadvantages, and the challenge remains to choose the approach that best matches a patient’s characteristics, Harvard University radiation oncologist Abram Recht, MD, said at a minisymposium at the San Antonio Breast Cancer conference.

Less Cardiotoxicity With Liposomal Doxorubicin

February 02, 1999

MONTREAL-Single-agent therapy with liposomal doxorubicin matched the response rate of conventional doxorubicin in patients with metastatic breast cancer but caused less toxicity, especially cardiotoxicity, Gerald Batist, MD, reported at the San Antonio Symposium.

Optimizing Docetaxel Tolerability in Anthracycline-Resistant Breast Cancer

February 02, 1999

ROME-Optimizing premedication and use of growth factors can improve the tolerability of docetaxel (Taxotere) while maintaining the agent’s activity in patients with anthracycline-resistant advanced breast cancer, according to results of a small Italian study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Doxorubicin Appears to Change Natural History of HER-2+ Cancer’s

February 02, 1999

PITTSBURGH-Two different National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trials have provided evidence that doxorubicin “somehow changes the natural history” of breast cancer in patients whose tumors overexpress the HER-2 cancer gene, Soon Paik, MD, said at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Tamoxifen After Surgery/RT Decreases Local Recurrence Risk in DCIS Patients

February 02, 1999

PITTSBURGH-The addition of tamoxifen (Nolvadex) to lumpectomy plus radiation therapy in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) significantly reduces the 5-year cumulative incidence of recurrent invasive ipsilateral breast tumors, Norman Wolmark, MD, chairman of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), said at the San Antonio Symposium.

Single-Agent Herceptin Effective as First-Line Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer

February 02, 1999

AVENTURA, Florida-Herceptin (trastuzumab) has produced major objective responses in 20% to 25% of patients with previously untreated metastatic breast cancers that overexpressed the HER-2 breast cancer gene. The monoclonal antibody is approved for use as first-line therapy in combination with paclitaxel (Taxol) and as a single agent in second- and third-line therapy.

Dose-Intensive Chemo Improves Disease-Free Survival in High-Risk Cancer

February 02, 1999

HAMBURG-Preliminary findings from a small German study presented at the San Antonio Symposium have provided what investigators describe as the first evidence that dose-intensive adjuvant chemotherapy improves disease-free survival in high-risk breast cancer patients.

Toremifene Appears Equivalent to Tamoxifen as Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer: Interim Analysis

February 02, 1999

TAMPERE, Finland-Adjuvant treatment with the nonsteroidal estrogen inhibitor toremifene (Fareston) proved equivalent to tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for prevention of breast cancer recurrence but was associated with fewer embolic events, investigators in an ongoing Finnish trial reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Combining Conventional and Biologic Therapies

February 02, 1999

BARCELONA-Clinical and scientific rationale increasingly supports the use of cytotoxic and bio-logic agents in combination to treat breast cancer, a Spanish oncologist asserted during a satellite meeting at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology.

Paclitaxel-Doxorubicin Effective as Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy

February 02, 1999

PARIS-Neoadjvant chemotherapy with the combination of paclitaxel (Taxol) and doxorubicin gave a pathologic complete response rate of 16% in a phase II randomized multicenter French clinical trial of women with previously untreated breast cancers.

Sequential Vinorelbine, Paclitaxel Tested

February 02, 1999

MANHASSET, NY-An open-label study of vinorelbine (Navelbine) followed by paclitaxel (Taxol) in patients with metastatic breast cancer has yielded an active dosing schedule for this regimen for use in phase II testing, Daniel R. Budman, MD, said at a poster session of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Twice-Weekly Paclitaxel, RT for Locally Advanced Disease

February 02, 1999

LOS ANGELES-Twice-weekly paclitaxel (Taxol) combined with radiation therapy constitutes a “promising primary management” strategy for locally advanced breast cancer, California oncologists reported at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Overview Helps Clarify Nature of Herceptin-Related Cardiotoxicity

February 02, 1999

NEW YORK-An overview of clinical trials of trastuzumab (Herceptin) has provided additional evidence that the agent has cardiotoxic effects, especially when used with anthracycline chemotherapy, according to data presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Doxorubicin-Docetaxel Produces Major Responses in Metastatic Breast Cancer

February 02, 1999

NEW YORK-Combination chemotherapy with doxorubicin and docetaxel (Taxotere) resulted in objective major responses in 32 of 51 patients with previously untreated metastatic breast cancer, setting the stage for a large-scale comparison of the combination against doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide.

G-CSF Slashes Irinotecan-Related Neutropenia and Diarrhea

February 01, 1999

ATHENS-Early results from a phase III multicenter study suggest that the major dose-limiting side effects of irinotecan (Camptosar) in colon cancer-neutropenia and delayed diarrhea developing 24 hours after administration-can be controlled by the use of G-CSF (Neupogen).

Interferon-alfa Added to COPA Improves Survival in NHL Patients

February 01, 1999

MADISON, Wisconsin-The addition of interferon-alfa to the COPA regimen (cyclophosphamide, 600 mg/m²; vincristine, 1.2 mg/m²; prednisone, 100 mg; and doxorubicin, 50 mg/m²) improves survival in patients with clinically aggressive low- and intermediate-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Richard Smalley, MD, of Synertron, Inc., said at the American Society of Hematology meeting. He presented 10-year follow-up results of an ECOG trial begun in 1986.

‘Hot’ Antibody Improves Remission Durations in Refractory Indolent NHL

February 01, 1999

ANN ARBOR, Michigan-A radiolabeled monoclonal antibody was more effective than previous chemotherapy had been in more than half of patients with indolent lymphomas, in a study reported at the American Society of Hematology meeting.

GI Symptoms in Advanced Cancer ‘Difficult to Treat’

February 01, 1999

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Nearly half of the symptoms associated with cancer are gastrointestinal (GI), including anorexia, weight loss, dry mouth, constipation, early satiety, nausea and vomiting, taste change, and dysphagia. Yet these symptoms are among the most difficult to treat because their pathophysiology is not well understood, available drugs are not always effective, and multiple symptoms may occur together, Kristine A. Nelson, MD, said at a symposium on palliative medicine held at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Fludarabine/Cyclophosphamide Safe, Effective in Previously Untreated Indolent Lymphomas

February 01, 1999

BALTIMORE-Fludarabine (Fludara) and cyclophosphamide are highly active agents for indolent lymphomas, but when given in combination, opportunistic infections such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and herpes zoster may be dose limiting.

LAMP to Evaluate RT Plus Chemotherapy for Lung Cancer

February 01, 1999

RESTON, Virginia-A new national clinical study known as LAMP (locally advanced multimodality protocol) will help evaluate the best manner in which to give patients radiation and chemotherapy to treat locally advanced, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The trial, conducted by the American College of Radiology (ACR), is using the chemotherapy agents paclitaxel (Taxol) and carboplatin (Paraplatin).

Use of G-CSF Optimizes CHOP Dosing and Improves Outcome in Elderly Patients With Large-Cell Lymphoma

February 01, 1999

NEW YORK-The addition of G-CSF (Neupogen) to standard CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone) may improve disease outcome in elderly patients with large-cell lymphoma by allowing optimal drug dosing, Gerard Donnelly, MD, said at the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

New Hypothesis on Tamoxifen Resistance Is Under Study

February 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-One major problem in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer is that tumors may become resistant to endocrine therapy, even if estrogen/progesterone (ER/PR) receptors remain. Furthermore, some tumor cells appear to be stimulated by the treatment itself. “An antagonist can act as an agonist,” Kathryn B. Horwitz, PhD, said at a basic science symposium sponsored by the National Foundation for Cancer Research.

‘Too Few US Centers Perform High-Dose 3D RT’

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-According to 1994 patterns of practice, only about 20% of cancer centers in the United States provide 3D conformal radiotherapy to men with prostate cancer, and only 2% of these centers give more than conventional doses of radiation, Gerald Hanks, MD, said at a quality of life and outcomes symposium, sponsored by Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare.

CD34+ Cell Selection Reduces Tumor Cell Contamination in Myeloma Stem Cell Transplants

February 01, 1999

TORONTO-CD34+ selection of peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) significantly reduces tumor cell contamination while providing safe and rapid hematologic recovery for multiple myeloma patients receiving myeloablative therapy, Dr. A.K. Stewart, of Toronto Hospital, reported at ASH.

Large Outcomes Study Explores QOL After Diagnosis

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-In 1994, the National Cancer Institute began a large-scale, longitudinal investigation of health-related quality of life outcomes in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Arnold Potosky, PhD, updated the trial’s progress at a quality of life and outcomes symposium sponsored by Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare.

Stem Cell Transplants Appear Less Costly Than BMT in Breast Cancer, But Not in NHL

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-The first US multicenter cost analyses comparing autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT) and autologous bone marrow transplant (BMT) in breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) showed a cost advantage for stem cells in breast cancer, but not NHL. Tammy Stinson, project manager and analyst for Health Services Research, Northwestern University and VA Chicago Healthcare System, presented the results at the ASH meeting.

New Resistance Assays for HIV ‘Must Prove Value’

February 01, 1999

SAN DIEGO-With several new ultrasensitive HIV viral load assays soon to be available, Jonathan Schapiro, MD, questioned to what degree they will be able to predict or help physicians manage clinical HIV resistance. “We will be seeing both genotypic and phenotypic resistance assays for use with zidovudine [Retrovir], abacavir [investigational], and protease inhibitor resistance,” he said at ICAAC.

Oral Topotecan Appears Promising in Treatment of Ovarian Cancer and Small-Cell Lung Cancers

February 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Although IV topo-tecan (Hycamtin) has been in use for several years and has shown activity in a number of different malignancies, oncologists now are turning their attention to delivering this camptothecin analog orally to maximize its effectiveness.

African-American Outreach Programs Require Planning, Sensitivity

February 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Developing and implementing cancer outreach programs for African-Americans takes planning and sensitivity, said Robin L. Hurdle, CSW, a social worker in charge of the African-American Outreach Program at Cancer Care, Inc., the New York-based program that provides emotional support, information, and practical help to people with cancer and their loved ones free of charge.

ODAC Turns Down OraTest, Cites Need for Further Study, Better Data

February 01, 1999

GAITHERSBURG, Md-The Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has advised Zila, Inc., to take OraTest (tolonium chloride) back to the clinic for further testing. But members disagreed whether continuation of an ongoing clinical trial could provide the data necessary for the group to recommend approval of the test for detecting oral cancer, or if the company needs to undertake an entirely new study.

Longer Survival Observed With CHVP Plus Interferon in Elderly High-Risk Follicular Lymphoma Patients

February 01, 1999

LYON, France-The addition of interferon-alfa-2b (IFN, Intron A) to the usual CHVP regimen (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, teniposide, prednisone) extends survival in elderly patients with high-risk follicular lymphoma, Dr. Bertrand Coiffier said at the ASH meeting.

Higher Rituximab Doses Show Activity in Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma Patients

February 01, 1999

HOUSTON-The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan) is approved for treatment of relapsed or refractory low-grade or follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but is less effective in small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), the tissue equivalent of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In the pivotal trial, the response rate for SLL patients was 13% vs 60% for those with follicular lymphoma.

Costs of Rituximab Treatment Lower Than Fludarabine or CHOP

February 01, 1999

SOUTHAMPTON, UK-New immunotherapeutic agents often come with big price tags, but the costs of treating relapsed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) with a new anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody may be lower than the costs of conventional therapy, according to an economic analysis by UK researchers. This was because the antibody (rituximab, Rituxan) caused fewer side effects and thus had lower costs related to adverse events, John Sweetenham, MD, reported at an ASH poster session.

‘Continue CMV Prophylaxis for 2 to 3 Months After Starting HAART’

February 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO-“The onset of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) has dramatically changed the epidemiology of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, leading to a 90% to 95% reduction in incidence among patients with AIDS,” W. Lawrence Drew, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, said at a conference on globally emerging viral infections.

Thrombopoietin Improves Stem Cell Mobilization

February 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO-Recombinant human thrombopoietin (TPO) plus G-CSF (Neupogen) helps mobilize stem cells for collection better than G-CSF alone, Charles Linker, MD, said at the Fortieth Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). In addition to showing efficacy in stem cell mobilization, the trial had a number of secondary objectives.

Studies Explore Roles of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy in Hodgkin’s Disease

February 01, 1999

MIAMI BEACH-Hodgkin’s disease (HD) was the focus of an education session and major new research reports at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting. Among the conclusions: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy before radiotherapy provides better outcomes in early-stage HD; moderate dose escalation offers some advantages in advanced disease; and chemotherapy is equal to radiotherapy as consolidation treatment in advanced disease.

Irinotecan Active in Advanced NSCLC, Esophageal Cancer

February 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Preliminary data presented at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium XVI suggest that the toposiomerase I inhibitor irinotecan (Camptosar) in combination with other chemotherapy agents may be effective in multiple tumor types, including advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and advanced esophageal cancer.

Radiolabeled MoAB Appears Effective in NHL Patients With Splenomegaly

February 01, 1999

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-IDEC-Y2B8, an anti-CD20 murine monoclonal antibody (MoAB) conjugated to the radioisotope yttrium-90, appears to be effective in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) patients with splenomegaly, Thomas Witzig, MD, said at an ASH poster session. Some have considered splenomegaly a contraindication to MoAB therapy because of theoretical concerns about the spleen acting as an “antibody sink,” limiting efficacy.

MoAb Used for In Vivo Purging of Stem Cells Before Transplantation

February 01, 1999

MIAMI BEACH-Bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell transplants after high-dose chemotherapy are becoming more widely used, but there is no standard method of purging graft material to remove tumor cells prior to transplant.

Rituximab Appears Active in Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia

February 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-Walden-ström’s macroglobulinemia is a rare low-grade B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder. Patients with Waldenström’s also often have small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL). Hyperviscosity in Waldenström’s responds temporarily to plasmapheresis. Alkylator therapy, fludarabine (Fludara), and cladribine (Leustatin) are effective in many cases, but there are no good options for patients refractory to purine analogs.

Study Confirms Neumega Prevents Severe Chemotherapy-Induced Thrombocytopenia

February 01, 1999

PORTLAND, Oregon-A phase III study presented at the ASH meeting shows that oprel-vekin (rhIL-11, Neumega) effectively prevents severe chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. Additional benefits included accelerated neutrophil recovery and fewer cases of neutropenic fever.

New RTOG Study to Look at Radiation Plus Thalidomide in Glioblastoma Multiforme

February 01, 1999

RESTON, Virginia-A new Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) study will determine if the drug thalidomide combined with radiation therapy will lengthen the survival time and time to recurrence in adults with glioblastoma multiforme, the most malignant type of brain tumor.

Herceptin Used First-Line for Breast Cancer Mets

February 01, 1999

SAN ANTONIO-In a trial of first-line, single-agent therapy for metastatic breast cancers that overexpress the HER-2 breast cancer gene, Herceptin (trastuzu-mab) resulted in major objective responses in 20% to 25% of patients. The monoclonal antibody is approved for use as first-line therapy in combination with paclitaxel (Taxol) and as a single agent in second- and third-line therapy.

Cyclosporine Reduces Daunorubicin Resistance and Improves Treatment Outcome in High-Risk AML Patients

February 01, 1999

TUCSON-Cyclosporine (Sandimmune) significantly reduces resistance to daunorubicin (Cerubidine), prolongs the duration of remission, and improves overall survival of patients with high-risk acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), Alan F. List, MD, of the University of Arizona, said at the ASH meeting. Dr. List’s observations were based on a randomized trial conducted with the Southwest Oncology Group.

Amifostine Restores Blood Cell Counts in MDS

February 01, 1999

PHOENIX-The poor hematopoiesis that occurs in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) is due to a reduced ability to respond to growth factor stimulation. The result is that hematopoietic progenitor cells are lost faster than blood cells can be produced.

Panel Backs Temodal Approval for Use in Anaplastic Astrocytoma

February 01, 1999

GAITHERSBURG, Md-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has unanimously recommended the accelerated approval of Temodal Capsules (temozolomide, Schering-Plough) for the treatment of anaplastic astrocytoma at first relapse following treatment with a nitrosourea and procarbazine. Accelerated approval requires the company to conduct further research to demonstrate the drug’s safety and efficacy.

Paraneoplastic Syndromes Earliest Sign of Some Cancers

February 01, 1999

MONTREAL-Paraneoplastic syndromes are increasingly being recognized as the earliest warning signs of some cancers, according to presentations at the Presidential Symposium of the 123rd Annual Meeting of the American Neurological Association (ANA).

Oncologists Must Make Transition to ‘Post-Genome World’

February 01, 1999

MIAMI BEACH-Ultimately, historians may call the sequencing of the human genome the “defining event of our age,” Barry S. Coller, MD, of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, said at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Dr. Coller, the outgoing president of ASH, chaired a policy symposium on the post-genome world.

Compound 506 Shows Promise in Mature Lymphoid Leukemias

February 01, 1999

HOUSTON-A novel nucleoside analog, known as compound 506U78, has significant activity in mature B-cell and T-cell leukemias, producing responses in patients whose disease is refractory to fludarabine (Fludara) and alkylating agents, investigators from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Glaxo Wellcome, Inc. reported at the ASH meeting.

Antibody-Targeted Chemotherapy in Relapsed AML

February 01, 1999

SEATTLE-Preliminary phase II data show that CMA-676, an engineered human anti-CD33 antibody linked to calicheamicin, a potent cytotoxic agent, produced an objective response in 10 of 23 patients (43%) with acute myelogenous leukemia in first relapse after initial chemotherapy. Six responders went on to allogeneic bone marrow transplant.

Rituximab Effective in Patients With Bulky NHL

February 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-It is widely assumed that monoclonal antibodies will not work in bulky non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) because such agents require direct contact with target antigens expressed on tumor cell surfaces and cannot reach antigens inside tumor masses. Phase II data reported at ASH indicate this may not be true for rituximab (Rituxan).

G-CSF in Older AML PatientsShould Be Based on Clinical Judgment, Not Cost Effectiveness

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-A cost analysis of the use of G-CSF (Neupogen) in elderly patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) showed the agent to be almost cost neutral, Tammy J. Stinson, MS, said at a poster session of the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

Exploring Late Effects of Transplantation: Osteoporosis, Therapy-Related Leukemia

February 01, 1999

MIAMI BEACH-As more cancer patients undergo allogeneic and autologous peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) and bone marrow transplants, more long-term complications crop up. Two papers presented at the ASH meeting addressed the late effects of reduced bone density and development of therapy-related leukemia.

Sphincter-Sparing Surgery in Early-Stage Rectal Cancer

February 01, 1999

PHOENIX-Conservative, sphincter-sparing surgery followed by chemotherapy plus radiotherapy appears effective in selected patients with early-stage rectal cancer, Anthony Russell, MD, said at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting.

Study Supports First-Line Fludarabine/Mitoxantrone in Advanced Low-Grade NHL

February 01, 1999

ANGERS, France-Fludarbine (Fludara) and mitoxantrone (Novantrone) increased the 1-year complete remission rate in indolent lymphomas to 55%, compared with 11% using CHEP (doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vindesine, prednisone) in a multicenter European study reported at the ASH meeting.

Outcomes Research Helps Patients Choose Therapy

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-Much of cancer treatment rightly relies on evidence from randomized clinical trials. However, definitive clinical trials have not been done on some problem diagnoses, such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

Interferon Plus Anthracycline-Based Regimen Effective in Intermediate-Grade NHL

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-A new regimen that includes an anthracycline plus interferon-alfa-2b (Intron A) as induction chemotherapy of patients with low- or intermediate-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) appears to be as effective as CHOP, Sari Enschede, MD, of Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke Medical Center, said at an ASH poster session.

Analysis Spotlights Need for Rigorous Response Criteria in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

February 01, 1999

SAN DIEGO-“Currently, there are no standard response criteria for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as there are for solid tumors, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and Hodgkin’s disease,” Anonio J. Grillo-López, MD, said at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

High-Dose Chemo With GM-CSF May Help in Advanced Hodgkin’s Disease

February 01, 1999

DUISBERG, Germany-High-dose chemotherapy (with colony stimulating factor support) significantly increased complete remission rates in advanced Hodgkin’s disease in a German randomized trial reported by Heinrich Gerhartz, MD, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Topotecan/High-Dose Cytarabine Shows Promise in MDS/CMML

February 01, 1999

HOUSTON-Treatment with topotecan (Hycamtin) and high-dose cytarabine can produce high complete remission rates in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), even in patients with poor-prognosis cytogenetic features and secondary MDS, Miloslav Beran, MD, PhD, DVM, of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, said at ASH.

Alternative Medicine Center Will Probe Cancer, Pain Therapies

February 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO-A new center for alternative medicine, one of only a handful in the nation, will soon open at the Biomedical Research Institution of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), educators announced at a symposium on integrative care.

Most Common Advanced Cancer Symptom: Pain

February 01, 1999

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Pain is the most common symptom of patients with advanced cancer, followed by fatigue. Other common symptoms, in order of frequency, are anorexia, dry mouth, constipation, early satiety, dyspnea, weight loss, sleep problems, and depression, Kristine A. Nelson, MD, said at a symposium on palliative medicine held at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Maxamine Appears to Increase Potency of Low-Dose IL-2 in Patients With AML

February 01, 1999

GOTEBORG, Sweden-A postconsolidation regimen of low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) and the investigational agent histamine dihydrochloride (Maxamine) appears to increase leukemia-free survival in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patients in remission, Bo I. Nilsson, MD, PhD, reported at an ASH poster session.

Rituximab May Buy Time for NHL Patients Who Progress After Stem Cell Transplant

February 01, 1999

PHILADELPHIA-Patients with intermediate-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) whose disease progresses after high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant have few options among conventional regimens. However, Donald E. Tsai, MD, PhD, reported at the ASH meeting that the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan) is active in this situation.

High-Dose Liposomal Daunorubicin Is Promising in Solid Tumors

February 01, 1999

NEW YORK-High-dose liposome-encapsulated daunorubicin (DaunoXome) with G-CSF support appears promising in solid tumors, a team led by George D. Demetri, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, reported at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium.

Spiritual Domain Important in Palliative Care: A Case Study

February 01, 1999

CLEVELAND, Ohio-The importance of the spiritual domain in comprehensive patient care was emphasized during the care of Mrs. S, a 64-year-old woman with renal cell carcinoma with bone metastasis, Cathy Palcisco, LISW, said at a symposium on palliative medicine held at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Older Multiple Myeloma Patients Can Be Offered High-Dose Chemo/Transplant’

February 01, 1999

LONDON-Although age is currently used as an eligibility criteria for inclusion in transplant protocols, a retrospective study from the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, suggests that multiple myeloma patients in their 60s and 70s can safely undergo high-dose chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.

Delaying Megakaryocyte Apoptosis Normalizes Platelets in HIV Patients

February 01, 1999

ATLANTA-It appears that HIV-related thrombocytopenia can be corrected using a form of thrombopoietin to improve platelet production, Richard A. Carter, MD, of Emory University, said at the ASH meeting. He reported results of Amgen’s PEG-rHuMGDF (pegylated recombinant human megakaryocyte growth and development factor) in six HIV-infected thrombocytopenic patients.

Reflections on the Tamoxifen Breast Cancer Prevention Trial

February 01, 1999

NEW YORK-The observation in the early 1970s that an estrogen-receptor modulator called tamoxifen (Nolvadex) could decrease breast tumor recurrences and secondary primaries launched trials that continue to yield remarkable results, D. Lawrence Wickerham, MD, said at a teleconference for patients, sponsored by Cancer Care, Inc. Tamoxifen became the most commonly prescribed breast cancer drug, and now it has become the first to be approved for reducing the incidence of breast cancer in high-risk women.

Long-Term Follow-up of Rituximab Shows Good Response Duration in NHL

February 01, 1999

HOUSTON-Long-term follow-up of the rituximab (Rituxan) pivotal trial in relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) shows a median response duration of almost a year. The anti-CD20 chimeric monoclonal antibody was approved last year for use in relapsed or refractory low-grade or follicular NHL.

Electronic Palpation Device Is Adjunct to Manual Breast Exam

February 01, 1999

HOPKINTON, Mass-A new breast mapping system under development by Assurance Medical is designed to provide physicians with an objective, quantitative approach to the clinical breast examination. In essence, it allows the physician to visualize what is felt on the manual exam.

Topotecan/Paclitaxel Active in Patients With Relapsed/Refractory Aggressive NHL

February 01, 1999

HOUSTON-There is some feeling among oncologists that treatment of relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) may have gone about as far as it can go. Variations on standard CHOP have produced little improvement, and new approaches are clearly needed.

Safety Data Leads to Negative ODAC Vote on Prograf

February 01, 1999

GAITHERSBURG, Md-ODAC has declined to recommend that the FDA approve Prograf (tacrolimus, Fujisawa Healthcare) for the prophylaxis of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients receiving allogeneic bone marrow transplants (BMT).

New Rule Would Make Research Data ‘Public Information’

February 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Few people on Capitol Hill-or off-were aware of a brief provision written into an appropriations act in the waning days of last fall’s budget battles. Now the research community, including the National Cancer Institute and the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), is assessing the legislation’s potential damage and how best to soften its blow.

‘Decision Boards’ Help Women Choose Breast Cancer Treatment

February 01, 1999

CHICAGO-Researchers at the Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre (HRCC), Hamilton, Ontario, have developed a decision aid that improves treatment decision-making for women with breast cancer and is widely accepted by the surgeons who have used it in patient counseling, Dr. Tim Whelan said at a quality of life and outcomes symposium, sponsored by Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. Dr. Whelan is a radiation oncologist at the HRCC and associate professor of medicine, McMaster University.

Patient-Specific Vaccine Is First to Show Efficacy in Lymphoma

February 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Molecular complete remissions of follicular lymphoma have been achieved with use of a patient-specific vaccine, Maurizio Bendandi, MD, reported at the plenary session of the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

Repeat Rituximab Dosing Effective in Low-Grade NHL

February 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Low-grade lymphomas usually respond to initial chemotherapy but almost inevitably relapse. Each subsequent chemotherapy regimen produces a shorter response. Research presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting suggests that this may not be the case with the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (Rituxan).

Study Results of Maximum Androgen Blockade Not Clearcut

February 01, 1999

Androgen suppression, primarily castration, has been the key objective of treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. Surgical castration, achieved by the use of bilateral orchiectomy, produces a short-term symptomatic and objective tumor response in 70% to 80% of patients.[1] Medical castration, by the use of leuteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists, produces an almost equivalent effect. However, use of medical or surgical castration eliminates only 90% to 95% of the daily testosterone production. The remainder is produced in the adrenal glands.

ODAC Recommends Busulfex Injection in Transplantation

February 01, 1999

GAITHERSBURG, Md-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has unanimously recommended the approval of Busulfex Injection (busulfan, Orphan Medical) in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents and/or radiation as a conditioning regimen prior to hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation-but only in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Clinton Promises Federal Tobacco Suit to Recover Medicare Costs

February 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-Just when the tobacco companies thought they had put major litigation woes behind them, they now face the threat of a potentially far more devastating legal action than the state-initiated lawsuits that they settled last year. President Clinton announced during his State of the Union address that the Justice Department is preparing “a litigation plan to take the tobacco companies to court” to recover money the federal government has spent to treat tobacco-related illnesses.