Oncology NEWS International Vol 9 No 5

HRT Not Associated with Lower Survival After Breast Cancer

May 01, 2000

SAN DIEGO-Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) did not shorten survival in women who received it after surviving breast cancer, Wendy R. Brewster, MD, reported in a plenary presentation at the 31st annual meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO).

Age No Contraindication to High-Dose Therapy in Myeloma

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS -Age should not be a contraindication for high-dose therapy based on melphalan (Alkeran) in patients with multiple myeloma, according to an analysis by researchers at the Myeloma and Transplantation Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock.

ASCO Urges Passage of Patient’s Bill of Rights

May 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-All cancer patients should have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials, something that will occur only if Congress passes pending legislation to guarantee insurance coverage for the cost of routine patient care for study participants, speakers told a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

RT Not Necessarily an Impedance to Breast Reconstruction

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-Mastectomy patients who have undergone radiation therapy can still have attractive results from breast reconstruction, providing the surgeon does not underestimate the extent of reconstruction required, according to results of a prospective study presented at the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons

New Adjunctive Regimens for Breast Cancer Treatment Are Under Study

May 01, 2000

ORLANDO-“Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer can be improved through the use of new agents, such as taxanes,” Edith A. Perez, MD, said at the Joint Cancer Conference of the Florida Universities. Dr. Perez is associate professor of medicine, Mayo Medical School, and director of the Clinical Investigation & Breast Cancer Program, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.

NCCN Prostate Cancer Practice Guidelines Revised

May 01, 2000

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla-Slight changes in the administration of salvage therapy after radical prostatectomy are among several revisions to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Practice Guidelines for Prostate Cancer. The revised guidelines recommend radiotherapy for men with positive margins whose prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels fail to fall to 0 ng/mL after surgery.

ERT Does Not Increase Endometrial Cancer Recurrence

May 01, 2000

SAN DIEGO-Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) does not increase the risk of recurrence in patients who have had endometrial cancer and should not be categorically ruled out in these women, according to research presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO).

Radiochemotherapy/Transplant in Low-Grade Lymphomas

May 01, 2000

MUNICH, Germany-Patients with low-grade lymphoma had a longer disease-free interval when they received radiochemotherapy and stem cell transplant than when they were maintained on interferon-alfa, Wolfgang Hiddemann, MD, PhD, said at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

Fish Oil Supplements May Improve Cancer Therapies’ Effectiveness

May 01, 2000

DALLAS-A preclinical study suggests that adding fish oil to the diet of a cancer patient might increase the effectiveness of cancer therapies and improve the patient’s outcome, W. Elaine Hardman, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said at the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s 1999 National Grant Conference.

Study of Dying Cancer Patients Reveals Importance of Rituals

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-Four major themes important to dying patients emerged from a study of people with end-stage cancer: Performing rituals to create memories for survivors; finding meaning in life as well as death; continuing therapy, including alternative therapies; and feelings of a persistent sense of loss, said Sherry Schachter, PhD, RN, certified grief therapist in the Pain & Palliative Care Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Treatment of Brain Metastases Called an ‘Orphan Specialty’

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-“Brain metastases are like orphans when it comes to medical specialties. They really do not belong to any particular area,” said Raymond Sawaya, MD, professor and chair of neurosurgery, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. But evaluation and treatment are improving, he told patients taking part in a teleconference sponsored by the National Brain Tumor Foundation, Cancer Care, Inc., and the Oncology Nursing Society.

HCVAD/Transplant Promising for Mantle Cell Lymphoma

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-The chemotherapy regimen HCVAD followed by stem cell transplantation yields high response and survival rates for patients with aggressive mantle cell lymphoma, Issa Khouri, MD, of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, reported at the 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

New Assay May Increase Chance of Early Breast Cancer Detection

May 01, 2000

DALLAS-A new blood test technique to detect breast cancer cells may be 10- to 100-fold more sensitive than any current techniques, Jonathan W. Uhr, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, said at the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s National Grant Conference.

FDA Has No Power to Regulate Tobacco: Supreme Court

May 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-While acknowledging that tobacco is a major health problem, the Supreme Court has rejected the Clinton Administration’s efforts to create a new federal control effort. It ruled 5 to 4 that “Congress has clearly precluded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from asserting jurisdiction to regulate tobacco products.”

Saving the Rectum With Presurgical Radiation Therapy

May 01, 2000

ORLANDO-“There are still too many rectums being removed in patients with invasive rectal cancer,” said W. Robert L. Rout, MD, associate professor of surgery, University of Florida, Gainesville. He believes this situation could be improved with the use of preoperative radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Race Not a Factor in Cervical Cancer Outcomes When Access to Medical Care Is the Same

May 01, 2000

SAN DIEGO-Black women with cancer have generally worse outcomes than white cancer patients, and some cancer experts suspect underlying differ-ences in cancer susceptibility or progression. US military medical researchers suggest that, at least for cervical cancer, they are looking in the wrong place.

Fusion Cell Vaccine Kills Multiple Myeloma Cells in Vitro

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-Multiple myeloma cells can be fused to dendritic cells and the resulting fusion cells used to selectively kill myeloma tumor cells in vitro, according to a poster presentation at the 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Symposium Aims to Eliminate Racial Disparities

May 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-Ethnic and racial disparities in health care are too often the result of racism, said Thomas Perez, director of the Office for Civil Rights in the US Department of Health and Human Services. He was one of a number of speakers at the 7th Biennial Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Underserved, and Cancer.

FDA, NIH Increase Oversight of Gene Therapy Trials

May 01, 2000

ROCKVILLE, Md-Stung by the failure of several researchers to fully comply with federal gene therapy rules and reporting procedures, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have taken a series of steps to tighten the control and monitoring of such trials.

Transvaginal Ultrasound Screening for Ovarian Cancer

May 01, 2000

SAN DIEGO-Annual transvaginal ultrasound screening permitted early detection of most ovarian cancers and improved 5-year survival from about 50% to 88% in screened patients, John R. van Nagell, MD, reported at a plenary session of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO).

Electronic Palpation Device May Detect Breast Cancer

May 01, 2000

SAN ANTONIO-A computerized palpation device might offer an objective complement to clinical breast examination for detection of suspicious lumps, according to findings reported at the 22nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Lesion size as determined by the computerized palpation device better correlated with the palpable extent of the excised lesion than did size as determined by ultrasound, mammography, or clinical breast examination.

SCOPE Project Reaches Out to Minorities

May 01, 2000

PITTSBURGH-The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) is encouraging women from racial and ethnic minority groups to consider joining the group’s Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR).

Debate: Do Managed Care Plans Practice Medicine?

May 01, 2000

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida-When managed care companies deny reimbursement for care decided upon by the physician and patient, have they crossed the line from managing medical care to practicing medicine? A panel of physicians, lawyers, patient advocates, and representatives from managed care held forth on this issue at a roundtable held during the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

Magnetic Targeted Carriers Offer Site-Specific Drug Delivery

May 01, 2000

SAN DIEGO-External magnets are being used to guide a novel, intra-arterially administered chemotherapy delivery vehicle directly to the tumor site (see illustration ). Scott C. Goodwin, MD, chief of vascular and interventional radiology, UCLA Medical Center, reported results of an ongoing phase I/II study of this new regional therapy technique at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular & Interventional Radiology.

German Screening Program Detects Early Lung Cancer

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-Resection with intent to cure was possible for all but one of the lung cancers identified in a German screening program using low-dose spiral CT scans. Of the 13 cancers identified, eight were stage I, Stefan Diederich, MD, a staff radiologist at the University of Münster, said at the Second International Conference on Screening for Lung Cancer. The inoperable lesion was stage IIIB. However, it was resected after preoperative chemotherapy. One lesion was small-cell cancer, six were adenocarcinomas, and six were squamous cell carcinomas.

MRI Screens Women With Familial Breast Cancer

May 01, 2000

CHICAGO-In a screening program for young women with a high susceptibility for developing breast cancer, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) proved more effective than mammography or ultrasound in detecting cancers, German researchers reported at the 85th Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Sensitivity of Intraoperative Frozen Section for SLN Biopsy

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-Pathologic examination of an intraoperative frozen section of the sentinel lymph node (SLN) is less sensitive for breast cancer patients with smaller tumors and/or micrometa-static disease. In a recent study, use of routine frozen section avoided reoperation in only 4% of patients with T1a cancers, but was more useful in other stages, reported Martin R. Weiser, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Molecular Targeting Used in Search for New Cancer Therapies

May 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-The ongoing revolution in knowledge about the cellular processes that lead to cancer has created a new and potentially far more efficient approach to finding effective therapeutic agents, said Edward A. Sausville, MD, PhD, associate director of the NCI’s Developmental Therapeutics Program.

Group Arrives at Consensus on Lung Cancer Screening Research

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-As the Early Lung Cancer Action Project (ELCAP) continues to focus on lung cancer screening and diagnosis, a consensus has been reached on a number of points affecting the future of the research and variants of its single-arm design.

NCI and CDC to Collaborate on Gathering Cancer Statistics

May 01, 2000

BETHESDA, Md-Officials of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have signed a formal agreement to develop what NCI calls “a comprehensive, federally integrated cancer surveillance and cancer control research system.” The two agencies will pool and jointly release their data on cancer incidence and mortality, as well as coordinate various aspects of cancer registry management, including training and methodology development.

Stem Cell Transplantation for Multiple Myeloma Most Effective When Used Early-On in the Disease

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS -Based on an analysis of prognostic factors in a large European registry study, it appears that autologous stem cell transplantation is most effective when applied early in the course of multiple myeloma in younger, responsive patients.

Thrombocytopenia Remains a Difficult Treatment Target

May 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-More than 300,000 US patients a year who receive chemotherapy will experience significant thrombocytopenia, Howard Ozer, MD, PhD, said at a symposium preceding the American Society of Hematology 41st annual meeting. The symposium was sponsored by MCP Hahnemann University, where Dr. Ozer is director of the Cancer Center, and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pharmacia & Upjohn.

New Spiral CT Techniques May Cut Cost, Refine Capabilities

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-The main challenges in the continuing development of low-dose spiral CT screening for lung cancer are “cost, flow, and efficiency,” Stanley H. Fox, PhD, General Electric Med Systems, Milwaukee, said at the Second International Conference on Screening for Lung Cancer.

Snake Venom Protein May Control Breast Cancer Growth

May 01, 2000

DALLAS-The antitumor powers of a venom protein from the southern copperhead snake are being studied at the University of Southern California. Results of early studies suggest that the protein, contortrostatin (CN), combines antagonism of breast cancer progression and inhibition of angiogenesis, making it a unique agent for control of breast cancer growth and proliferation.

Studies Project Cost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Screening

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-The cost effectiveness of screening high-risk populations for lung cancer with spiral low-dose CT scans appears to be reasonable, according to two researchers who used somewhat different statistical models and data to arrive at this conclusion. Both researchers presented their results at the Second International Conference on Screening for Lung Cancer.

Free PSA Accurate in Blacks

May 01, 2000

BALTIMORE-The free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has proved as accurate in revealing prostate cancer risk in black men as in whites. “It also shows that many African-American men could be spared the expense and trauma of prostate biopsies,” Alan W. Partin, MD, PhD, co-leader of the research team, said in a news release from Johns Hopkins University where Dr. Partin is professor of urology.

New Therapies May Increase Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

May 01, 2000

ORLANDO-A number of therapies now in clinical trials may make a difference in outcome for patients with pancreatic cancer, and some may indefinitely prolong survival, Alexander S. Rosemurgy II, MD, said at the Joint Cancer Conference of the Florida Universities. The conference is sponsored by the Univerity of South Florida College of Medicine and presented by the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, University of Florida Shands Cancer Center, and University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center..

NCI Broadens the Pool of Oncologists Enrolling Patients in Phase III Trials

May 01, 2000

BETHESDA, Md-To increase the number of cancer patients participating in phase III clinical trials, the National Cancer Institute has created the Expanded Participation Project (EPP). This pilot program encourages qualified oncologists outside of the 12 NCI-sponsored Cooperative Groups to enter patients into large clinical studies organized by groups.

AVONCares Offers Aid to Underserved Women

May 01, 2000

NEW YORK-Cancer Care, Inc. has established a new program-The AVONCares Program for Medically Underserved Women-through a generous gift from The Avon Products Foundation. The program will provide financial assistance and relevant education and support to low-income, underinsured and uninsured, underserved women throughout the country in need of diagnostic and/or related services for the treatment of breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers.