Oncology NEWS International Vol 8 No 8

Stereotactic Core Biopsy Establishes Many Prognostic Factors

August 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-For the majority of mammographically detected invasive carcinomas with a mean size of 11 mm, stereotactic biopsy obtained with larger gauge needles provides adequate material for establishing a host of prognostic factors, said Michael D. Lagios, MD, medical director of the Breast Cancer Consultation Service, St. Mary’s Medical Center, San Francisco.

NCI Discovers Gene Variations From Existing Databases

August 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Using new computer software to “mine” existing databases, National Cancer Institute (NCI) scientists have discovered 10,435 possible new variations in human genes. The so-called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, must still be validated, but NCI said each of the variations met statistical confidence levels of 0.99%.

CPDR Unveils First Center Solely for Prostate Cancer Research

August 01, 1999

ROCKVILLE, Md-The Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) has opened a new freestanding research center to consolidate its many initiatives and allow these programs to continue to develop and expand. The new site is the nation’s only facility dedicated solely to prostate disease research.

Going Beyond CHOP in Advanced Large-Cell Lymphoma

August 01, 1999

LUGANO, Switzerland-Although a decade’s worth of phase II studies in advanced large-cell lymphoma have suggested that new, multidrug regimens could nearly double both the complete response rate and the proportion of long-term survivors, appearances can be deceiving, Richard Fisher, MD, Coleman Professor of Oncology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, said at the VII International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Opens Rockefeller Outpatient Pavilion

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s new Laurance S. Rockefeller Outpatient Pavilion provides advanced programs for outpatient cancer diagnosis and treatment in a calm and beautiful environment. “We believe this facility will serve as a national model for the delivery of outpatient cancer care in the new millennium,” said Paul A. Marks, MD, president and CEO.

Ernst Wynder, Pioneer in Preventive Medicine

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Ernst Wynder, MD, founder of the American Health Foundation and a pioneer in preventive medicine, died July 14 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was 77 years old. The cause was thyroid cancer.

AHCPR Plans Health Care Market, Managed Care Research Centers

August 01, 1999

ROCKVILLE, Md-The Agency for Health Care Policy Research (AHCPR) plans to spend up to $11 million to fund two or three research centers to conduct studies of the health care market and managed care. The aim is to help policy makers understand, monitor, and anticipate how changes in the nation’s market-driven health care system affect costs, access to services, and quality of care. Interested researchers have until Sept. 2 , 1999, to submit letters of intent.

NSAIDs May Protect Against Common GI Cancers

August 01, 1999

ORLANDO-“Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) confer protection against the common GI cancers, not only against colon and rectal cancer, which we’ve known about, but also in the esophagus and stomach, where the protection was at least as strong,” Michael Langman, MD, said at the Digestive Disease Week meeting.

Four Researchers Receive General Motors Awards

August 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-Amid the artworks and antiques of the Diplomatic Rooms of the US State Department, the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation presented its awards to four scientists for their work related to cancer.

Anal Condylomata More Threatening in HIV+ Patients

August 01, 1999

ORLANDO-A French study is “the first to quantify the frequency of anal cancer in HIV patients,” Iradj Sobhani, MD, said at the Digestive Disease Week meeting. “Anal carcinoma is rare in the general population, but relatively common in HIV-positive patients,” said Dr. Sobhani, of the Gastroenterology Service, Hopital Bichat, Paris.

IOM Finds No Link Between Silicone Implants and Cancer

August 01, 1999

WASHINGTON-An extensive review of the medical literature finds that women with silicone breast implants are no more likely to develop cancer and several other major ailments than women in the general population. The new report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concludes, however, that implants commonly lead to often-painful complications that may require surgery or other treatment.

IL-12 Gene Therapy Inhibits Osteosarcoma Lung Mets in Mice

August 01, 1999

PHILADELPHIA-Intranasal delivery of an adenoviral vector containing the murine interleukin-12 (IL-12) gene has been shown to inhibit osteosarcoma lung metastases in mice. IL-12 is a molecule that activates the immune system and has recently been shown to have antiangiogenic activity. “Our hypothesis is that IL-12 interfered with tumor angiogenesis,” Laura L. Worth, MD, PhD, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Law May Play an Important Role in End of Life Decisions

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK- The law “need not be a barrier to good decisions at the end of life,” Carl H. Coleman, JD, executive director of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, said at a panel discussion on legal issues and end of life care sponsored by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

No Advantage to Extended-Field Irradiation in Advanced HD

August 01, 1999

LUGANO, Switzerland-The impact of radiotherapy on disease control and toxicity in patients with advanced Hodgkin’s disease remains controversial. In fact, a 1998 meta-analysis suggested that combined-modality therapy results in worse long-term survival than does chemotherapy alone.

Panel Gives Nod to Ellence for Adjuvant Use in Breast Cancer

August 01, 1999

SILVER SPRING, Md-The Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) has recommended that the FDA approve Ellence (epirubicin hydrochloride for injection, Pharmacia & Upjohn) for use as a component of adjuvant therapy in patients with evidence of axillary node tumor involvement following resection of primary breast cancer (stage II and III).

Hybrid Chemotherapy Boosts Survival Time in Advanced HD

August 01, 1999

LUGANO, Switzerland-ChlVPP/EVA hybrid chemotherapy proved more effective than both MVPP and VAPEC-B as first-line treatment for advanced Hodgkin’s disease (HD) in two collaborative studies, Dr. John A. Radford, of Christie Hospital, Manchester, UK, reported at the VII International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma. The hybrid regimen consists of chlorambucil, vinblastine, procarbazine, and prednisone plus etoposide, vincristine, and doxorubicin (Adriamycin).

Use of Adjuvant Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer: A Misunderstanding

August 01, 1999

I would like to comment about Dr. Vicente Valero’s response to Dr. Padmini Iyer’s question regarding adjuvant therapy for a postmenopausal woman with stage IIIA breast cancer. Although Dr. Valero’s response was quite detailed with regard to chemotherapy, no mention was made about the role of radiation therapy in patients with advanced breast cancer.

Doxil Approved for Refractory Metastatic Ovarian Cancer

August 01, 1999

ROCKVILLE, Md-Doxil (doxorubicin HCl liposome injection, ALZA Corporation) has won accelerated FDA approval of its supplemental New Drug Application for the treatment of metastatic ovarian cancer refractory to both paclitaxel (Taxol)- and platinum-based chemotherapy regimens. Accelerated approval requires the company to conduct additional research to demonstrate that the drug is associated with clinical benefit. Doxil, a liposomal formulation of doxorubicin, is currently approved for use in AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Spiral CT Finds Early-Stage Lung Cancer

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Screening of smokers with helical (spiral) low-dose computed tomography (CT) is more likely than chest x-rays to find malignant tumors, and the tumors are “substantially smaller than those detected on chest radiography,” said Claudia I. Henschke, MD, of New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.

A New Gold Standard in Advanced Hodgkin’s Disease?

August 01, 1999

LUGANO, Switzerland-Dose-escalated BEACOPP chemotherapy (bleomycin, etoposide, Adriamycin [doxorubicin], cyclophosphamide, Oncovin [vincristine], procarbazine, and prednisone) with growth factor support boosts survival in patients with advanced Hodgkin’s disease, according to the fourth interim analysis of the German Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Study Group’s (GHSG) HD9 trial.

Consider High-Dose Chemo in Multiple Myeloma Patients

August 01, 1999

LUGANO, Switzerland-A debate at the VII International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma proved to be less controversial than expected when the two opposing speakers came close to agreeing that the possibility of high-dose chemotherapy with hematopoietic support should be weighed in all patients with symptomatic multiple myeloma.

Viral Mouthwash Kills Cells That Lack Normal p53

August 01, 1999

ATLANTA-Mouthwash containing a modified virus that kills cells lacking p53 (a common deletion in many cancerous and precancerous lesions) may prevent development of invasive squamous cell head and neck cancers in smokers, researchers reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Celiac Plexus Neurolysis Relieves Pancreatic Cancer Pain

August 01, 1999

ORLANDO-The delivery of neurolytic chemicals to the celiac plexus, guided by endoscopic ultrasound, has been shown to be an effective, convenient, and safe technique to provide pain relief for pancreatic cancer patients.

Innovative Trial for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-An innovative clinical trial to be conducted at Columbia University is now recruiting patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. The patients 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, is the principal investigator.

Evidence for EMF-Cancer Link Deemed Weak, Risk Small

August 01, 1999

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC-After 6 years of research and 2 years of review, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reported to Congress that the evidence that low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can cause cancer and other human diseases is weak, but added that EMF exposure “cannot be recognized as entirely safe.”

Cafe au Lait Spots Linked to Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

August 01, 1999

ORLANDO-Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Registry have identified what they believe is a previously unrecognized hereditary cancer syndrome. Patients with this syndrome, a variant of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), exhibit cafe au lait spots and develop their malignancies at a much earlier age than do other HNPCC patients.

New Drugs Evaluated in ‘6C’ Colon Cancer Trial

August 01, 1999

BETHESDA, Md-Enrollment has begun in a randomized phase III trial to test two promising new drugs, irinotecan (Camptosar), also known as CPT-11, and oxaliplatin (an experimental platinum), as initial therapy for advanced colorectal cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) expects that all of the more than 500 centers in the United States and Canada participating in the study will be enrolling patients by summer’s end.

Gillette Company Launches Women’s Cancer Connection

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-The Gillette Company has launched an initiative called The Gillette Women’s Cancer Connection to provide emotional support to cancer patients and their families. The program is specifically targeted at women with breast or gynecologic cancer.

Four Pediatric Cancer Groups to Merge by 2000

August 01, 1999

CHICAGO-The new Children’s Oncology Group, which will include and replace four major pediatric cancer research groups, is expected to be up and running soon after the end of the year. The new cooperative group will include most researchers working on pediatric cancers and will initially comprise those currently associated with the Pediatric Oncology Group (POG), Children’s Cancer Group (CCG), National Wilms’ Tumor Study Group, and Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group.

Brachytherapy Equal to External Beam RT Postlumpectomy

August 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-Brachytherapy as the sole method of radiation treatment for patients undergoing breast-conserving therapy provides excellent local control, a cosmetic outcome comparable to external beam radiation therapy, and a low complication rate, according to several speakers at the American Society of Breast Disease meeting.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients Now Available

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-When cancer patients go to the Internet for information on their disease, they are often overwhelmed by the thousands of sources available. The new Prostate Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients, issued jointly by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), “is an attempt to give patients a structure for processing information,” said Rodger Winn, MD, of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a key player in the NCCN guidelines development. The NCCN is an alliance of 17 of the nation’s leading cancer centers.

Prevention Trial: Many Volunteer, Few Eligible

August 01, 1999

ORLANDO-Persons genetically at risk for colon cancer appear enthusiastic about participating in prevention trials, but researchers at Johns Hopkins had to recruit a large number of potential participants over a span of 2 years to find 41 people who qualified for their study and were willing to enroll, Linda Hylind, RN, said at Digestive Disease Week.

New Drug Selectively Induces Apoptosis in Neoplastic Cells

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Clinical trials of the experimental oral agent exisulind (Prevatac) are underway for chemopre-vention of a variety of cancers, according to a report at Current Concepts in Cancer Therapy II, a scientific symposium sponsored by Long Ridge Associates.

Ethyol Approved to Reduce Xerostomia in Head and Neck Cancer

August 01, 1999

ROCKVILLE, Md-The FDA has approved Ethyol (amifostine for injection) as a therapy to decrease the incidence of moderate-to-severe xerostomia in patients undergoing postoperative radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. The approval came only 2 weeks after the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) recommendation.

Water Exercise Provides Physical and Emotional Rehab

August 01, 1999

NEW YORK-Two mornings a week, women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies dip into the blue and white tiled pool at The Sol Goldman Young Men and Women’s Hebrew Association in Manhattan to laugh and splash, to reduce postoperative complications, and to feel alive and accepted. Beth Israel Medical Center and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center offer the Renewal Pool Program free to any woman who has had breast cancer surgery.

Ways to Avoid False-Positive Screening Mammograms

August 01, 1999

NEW ORLEANS-Steps can be taken to reduce the number of false-positive results with screening mammography, W. Phil Evans, MD, said at the American Society of Breast Disease annual meeting. “But false positives may not be such a catastrophe. Reducing the false-positive rate should never overshadow the fundamental goal of screening mammography-the early detection of clinically occult breast cancer,” said Dr. Evans, medical director, Susan G. Komen Breast Center, Baylor University Medical Center, and clinical associate professor of radiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas.