Oncology NEWS International Vol 8 No 7

Nasal Angiogenesis Inhibitor May Stop Kaposi’s Sarcoma

July 01, 1999

ASCO-In a phase II trial, more than one-third of patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma responded to self-administration of a nasal solution containing the small antiangiogenic peptide IM862, Parkash Gill, MD, of the University of Southern California, reported at the ASCO annual meeting.

Surgeon’s Perspective on Neoadjuvant Chemo for Breast Cancer

July 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is being employed increasingly in breast cancer, both in the research and clinical setting. A surgeon’s perspective on this modality was offered at the American Society of Breast Disease annual meeting by Benjamin O. Anderson, MD, medical director of the BioClinical Breast Care Program, University of Washington, Seattle

STAR Breast Cancer Prevention Trial Begins Enrollment

July 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-Enrollment for the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR), the largest cancer prevention trial yet undertaken, began May 25, and randomization of participants to the trial’s two arms is expected to start in July. The double-blind study of 22,000 woman at increased risk of breast cancer will compare the two drugs’ effectiveness in preventing the disease as well as their side-effects profiles.

Studies Suggest New Approaches in Hereditary Ovarian Cancer

July 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO–Ovarian cancers associated with mutations in the BRCA gene have a different underlying biology than nonhereditary cancers and may respond better to treatments not routinely applied in ovarian cancer, according to a study reported at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.

Lycopene Beneficial in Prostate Cancer

July 01, 1999

PHILADELPHIA-Lycopene, the phytonutrient that produces the red color in tomatoes, showed beneficial effects on the prostate cancers of a group of men scheduled for prostatectomy, researchers reported at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.

Komen Launches REMEMBER

July 01, 1999

DALLAS-The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is encouraging women and their physicians to “REMEMBER” a new breast health awareness campaign. The Foundation’s health education initiative adds Risk Evaluation to the traditional three-part program of Mammography Exam, Monthly Breast Exam, and Regular checkups, resulting in the acronym REMEMBER.

Advice and Support for Daughters of Breast Cancer Patients

July 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Daughters of women with breast cancer face a broad range of medical, practical, and emotional issues, from their roles as advocates and caregivers to their own risk of developing the disease. A teleconference organized by Cancer Care, Inc., addressed these issues for an audience of more than 400 in the United States and Canada.

Fetus May Be Harmed by Second-Hand Smoke

July 01, 1999

PHILADELPHIA-It has been shown that the fetus may be damaged by maternal smoking. Now, new research finds that even maternal exposure to second-hand smoke may harm the fetus. The findings were presented in two studies at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Genes Linked to Smoking Affinity, Smoking-Induced Lung Cancer

July 01, 1999

PHILADELPHIA-Research shows that genetic makeup may offer a clue to an individual’s affinity for smoking and propensity to develop lung cancer, investigators said at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Ultraviolet Light Slated for Review as Carcinogen

July 01, 1999

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC-The National Toxicology Program (NTP) plans to review the three wavelength groups of ultraviolet light-UVA, UVB, and UVC-for possible listing in the federal government’s Tenth Annual Report on Carcinogens. The three wavelengths occur in varying amounts in sunlight and in some forms of artificial light, such as that used in sun lamps and tanning beds.

NCI Funding Complementary/Alternative Medicine Trials

July 01, 1999

BETHESDA-For many oncologists, the term “complementary and alternative medicine,” or CAM, brings to mind laetrile and other worthless cancer “cures.” Last October, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) established the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine and named Jeffrey D. White, MD, as its director.

Colon Cancer Cases Show Dilemmas of Genetic Testing

July 01, 1999

BALTIMORE-A series of colon cancer case studies presented at a meeting on clinical cancer genetics at Johns Hopkins University illustrated the complexity, medical and otherwise, that accompanies genetic testing for cancer.

Vitamin Supplementation Appears to Protect Against p53 Mutations

July 01, 1999

n PHILADELPHIA-Vitamin supplements have been shown to have a possible protective effect against mutations of the p53 gene in head and neck cancer, Bruce J. Trock, PhD, director of Molecular Epidemiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, said at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. The multicenter, collaborative study also included scientists from Fox Chase Cancer Center and Temple University Medical Center.

Genetic Testing Raises Complex Legal, Ethical, Social Issues

July 01, 1999

BALTIMORE-“However unfamiliar the territory, physicians, nurses, and other health care providers must understand the murky region surrounding genetic testing where legal, ethical, and social questions overlap science,” said Karen H. Rothenberg, JD, MPA, director of the Law and Health Care Program, University of Maryland School of Law. She spoke at a program on clinical cancer genetics held at Johns Hopkins University.

Breast Cancer Survivors at Increased Risk for Ovarian Cancer

July 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO-Women who have survived breast cancer are at increased risk for subsequent ovarian cancer, and this risk is especially high in women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 and in African-American, Asian, and Hispanic women, according to data presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.

Watch for Signs of Depression in Ovarian Cancer Patients

July 01, 1999

Depression serious enough to affect daily functioning occurs in one of every five patients who have epithelial ovarian cancer, according to data presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. Diane Bodurka-Bevers, MD, and her colleagues at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center studied this problem in 275 patients with ovarian cancer.

Better Communication of Breast Cancer Risk Urged

July 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-When talking with women about their personal risk of developing breast cancer, “terms such as relative risk are not very useful,” Patricia Kelly, PhD, said at the American Society of Breast Disease annual meeting, co-sponsored by the Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans.

Case Studies Show Need for Counseling With Genetic Testing

July 01, 1999

BALTIMORE-Physicians must help patients sort through the many diagnostic, predictive, and therapeutic alternatives raised by genetic testing, a trio of genetic specialists from Johns Hopkins said at a meeting on clinical cancer genetics and genetic testing.

Survival Improves in Advanced Ovarian Cancer: SEER Study

July 01, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO-Five-year survival was significantly better for women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer diagnosed from 1988 to 1994 than for those diagnosed from 1983 to 1987, according to research presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. This improvement is thought to be due to increased use of surgical debulking and adjuvant platinum/paclitaxel (Taxol).

Innovative Clinical Trial for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer Patients

July 01, 1999

NEW YORK-An innovative clinical trial to be conducted at Columbia University is now recruiting patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. The study will test the effectiveness of the “Gonzalez regimen,” which combines a strict diet of fresh fruits, vegetable juices, dietary supplements, and pancreatic enzyme extracts with a “detoxification” program. John Chabot, MD, a surgical oncologist at Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center, is the principal investigator.

Epirubicin as Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer

July 01, 1999

ASCO-Substituting epirubicin for methotrexate in a commonly used adjuvant regimen significantly increased survival for premenopausal women with node-negative early-stage breast cancer in a randomized study by the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group and Swedish Oncology Centers reported at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting

Microsatellite Instability Identifies Risk for HNPCC

July 01, 1999

PHILADELPHIA-A simple new test can detect which individuals may be at risk for hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), or Lynch’s syndrome, and therefore should undergo genetic screening for HNPCC mutations.

New Breast Imaging Techniques Allow Tailoring of Therapy

July 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-The diagnosis of breast cancer is becoming less invasive and far more accurate, said Steve H. Parker, MD, director of the Sally Jobe Breast Centre, Denver. Dr. Parker delivered the plenary lecture at the American Society of Breast Disease annual meeting, cosponsored by the Ochsner Medical Foundation.

Continuous Androgen Blockade With Leuprolide Implant

July 01, 1999

ASCO-A leuprolide (Lupron) implant that provides continuous testosterone suppression for up to a year has been shown to be safe and effective in patients with advanced prostate cancer. The experimental implant spares patients the need for frequent injections of the LHRH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone) agonist.

Docetaxel + Estramustine Appears Promising in Advanced Prostate Cancer

July 01, 1999

ASCO-Docetaxel (Taxotere) plus estramustine phosphate (Emcyt) and low-dose hydrocortisone proved effective and well tolerated in a phase II study of men with hormone-refractory prostate cancer. The study was conducted by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) and presented at the ASCO annual meeting.

Bob Dole Talks About Prostate Cancer, Urges Health Awareness

July 01, 1999

DALLAS-The American Urological Association is one of the premier specialist medical associations and has done a great deal to advance patient care in this field. I know the AUA works closely with AFUD, the American Foundation for Urological Diseases, and I have a great appreciation for the work you do. Although I’m not a doctor or a scientist, I’m working with you to accomplish some of the same objectives.

Cancer Care, Inc. Honors Four ‘Champion’ Cancer Fighters

July 01, 1999

NEW YORK-More than 1,000 guests attended a black-tie event at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria to commemorate Cancer Care’s 16th Annual Human Services Award Dinner. Hosted by WCBS TV Anchor Dana Tyler, the event acknowledged “four outstanding champions in the fight to help people and their families with cancer.”

Patient Prostate Cancer Guidelines Available

July 01, 1999

NEW YORK--The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have collaborated to translate the NCCN prostate cancer guidelines into a patient-friendly resource for appropriate treatment, the two organizations announced at a press briefing.

p53 Gene Effective Against Squamous Cell Head and Neck Cancer

July 01, 1999

ASCO-Delivering normal copies of the p53 tumor-suppressor gene directly into lesions is a novel and promising approach to treating squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, John Nemunaitis, MD, of PRN Research Inc., said at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Data Review Shows a Wide Range of Oral Opioid Dosing

July 01, 1999

ASCO-A one-year retrospective study of 111 hospice patients with progressive cancer and chronic pain showed that the average daily narcotic requirement for pain control was “very high,” with a wide range of required dosages, Hossam A. Abdel-Rahman, MD, said at an ASCO poster session on symptom management.

HRT and Risk of Breast Cancer: Another Look at the Data

July 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) remains strongly associated with the development of breast cancer in the minds of many. But the discerning clinician should “go beyond P values and relative risk” and use the known data to make decisions regarding this issue, John C. Arpels, MD, said at the American Society of Breast Disease annual meeting.

Epoetin Eases Fatigue, Ups Cancer Patients’ QOL

July 01, 1999

ASCO-Fatigue can severely affect a patient’s daily life, even as long as 2 years after chemotherapy (see box ). But three studies presented at ASCO show that epoietin alfa (Procrit) can successfully treat the anemia that contributes to chemotherapy-related fatigue and improve patients’ quality of life (QOL).

ODAC Recommends Approval of Three Agents

July 01, 1999

SILVER SPRING, Md-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) recommended at its most recent meeting that the Food and Drug Administration approve one new anticancer agent and additional indications for two available agents. Complete reports on the panel’s three recommendations will appear in the next issue of Oncology News International.

Tips for Getting the Media’s Attention on Palliative Care Issues

July 01, 1999

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla-Has Dr. Kevorkian hijacked the media? Many people may not know that palliative care is an alternative to physician-assisted suicide, journalist and author Suzanne Gordon said at the Cleveland Clinic’s 1999 Palliative Medicine conference. Her most recent book is Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines (Back Bay Books Little Brown, 1998)

Capecitabine Effective in Taxane-Refractory Breast Cancer

July 01, 1999

ASCO-A multicenter, open-label, phase II study has confirmed results of the pivotal study of capecitabine (Xeloda) for treatment of taxane-refractory metastatic breast cancer. In this study, 25% of patients with measurable disease treated with capecitabine responded, with a median duration of response of 8.3 months, median time to progression of 3.2 months, and median survival of 12.3 months.