Oncology NEWS International Vol 9 No 9

Epirubicin Associated With Prolonged Survival in the Neoadjuvant Setting for Breast Cancer

September 01, 2000

CANTON, Ohio-Neoadjuvant breast cancer therapy research has revealed that “epirubicin has good activity in the neoadjuvant setting and was associated with prolonged survival in four studies, although this remains to be confirmed,” Terry Mamounas, MD, stated. Dr. Mamounas, Medical Director at Aultman Memorial Hospital in Canton, Ohio, spoke at the clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

Soy’s Effect on Breast Cancer Remains Uncertain

September 01, 2000

NEW YORK-“The number one question that I used to get as a clinician taking care of people with breast cancer and people worried about breast cancer was about hormone replacement therapy. Now, by far, the number one question is about soybeans,” said Larry Norton, MD, chief of Breast Medicine and head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Epirubicin-containing Regimens Reported to Prolong Survival in Breast Cancer Patients

September 01, 2000

MUNICH, Germany-‘‘Epirubicin-containing regimens significantly prolong relapse-free and overall survival rates compared with standard regimens” for treating breast cancer, Michael Untch, MD, reported at a clinical investigators’ workshop. ‘‘The dose-response relationship for epirubicin,” he continued, “translated into significant improvements in outcome, and dose-intensification of epirubicin and paclitaxel was well tolerated.”

Comprehensive Eye Cancer Website Meets Needs of Both Patients and Physicians

September 01, 2000

NEW YORK-Visitors to the Eye Cancer Network (ECN) website (www.eyecancer.com) can access a wealth of information on ocular cancers, including an extensive collection of clinical photographs (see images). The site is well designed, leading visitors logically and quickly to specific information and related links. For example, a visitor seeking information on retinal tumors easily finds the topic in the Eye Conditions index, where it is subdivided into retinoblastoma, retinal pigment epithelial tumors, retinal pigment epithelial hypertrophy, and von Hippel angioma.

STAR Enrollment Tops 6,000 in First Year of Recruitment

September 01, 2000

BETHESDA, Md-In its first year, the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) enrolled 6,139 of the 22,000 postmenopausal women it hopes to recruit. “Six thousand in, 16,000 to go,” the National Cancer Institute (NCI) said in a press release.

New rhTPO Being Tested in Three Trials

September 01, 2000

HOUSTON-Thrombopoietin-like drugs may be a better bet for moderating the effects of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression than either granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) or granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Ongoing clinical trials with a recombinant human thrombopoietin (rhTPO) were described by Saroj Vadhan-Raj, MD, of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, at a clinical investigators’ workshop. That workshop was sponsored by M.D. Anderson and Pharmacia Oncology.

New Research Centers Target How Market Forces Affect Health Care

September 01, 2000

ROCKVILLE, Md-Three new research centers will focus on how market forces affect the quality of health care, access to it, and its cost. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) expects to support the centers with grants totaling $12.5 million over the next 5 years. The three centers are located at Harvard Medical School, University of California, San Francisco, and RAND, Santa Monica, California.

Irinotecan/Gemcitabine Combination Advances to Phase III Trials in Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

September 01, 2000

CHARLESTON, South Carolina-‘‘Highly censored data” from a multicenter phase II trial of irinotecan (Camptosar)/gemcitabine (Gemzar) suggest that this combination, known as IrinoGem, “is well tolerated and active in advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer,” Caio Max S. Rocha Lima, MD, reported at a clinical investigators’ workshop. IrinoGem is now being compared to gemcitabine alone in an international multicenter phase III randomized trial involving 75 institutions and 350 patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Aromatase Inhibitors Actively Studied in Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer

September 01, 2000

ROCHESTER, Minnesota-Researchers have begun to suspect that estrogen might be important not only for its receptor-mediated effects but also because it may exert genotoxic effects, reported James N. Ingle, MD. “There is evidence that estrogen genotoxicity may play a role in breast cancer development. That is, in the course of metabolism of estrogen, semi-quinones and quinones are formed, which can result in depurinating DNA adducts,” Dr. Ingle stated.

PRIMATOM System Combines CT Scanning With Radiation Therapy

September 01, 2000

CONCORD, Calif-Siemens Oncology Care Systems Group has unveiled the PRIMATOM System, which combines a CT scanner with a linear accelerator for radiation therapy. The machine is currently in use at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Memorial Hospital, New Jersey.

Tobacco Boosts In-Store Advertising

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-Tobacco companies, which were banned from touting their products on billboards last year, have increased their advertising at point-of-sale locations, such as convenience stores, according to a new study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Irinotecan and Radiotherapy Active in Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

September 01, 2000

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-Irinotecan (Camptosar) combined with radiation therapy is active in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and is most effective when the chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given concurrently, Hak Choy, MD, reported at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. Dr. Choy is Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Vanderbilt Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Irinotecan/Cisplatin Produces Better Survival Than Etoposide/Cisplatin in Extensive SCLC

September 01, 2000

OSAKA, Japan-Irinotecan/cisplatin combination therapy improved survival compared to etoposide/cisplatin in extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), Masahiro Fukuoka, MD, reported at an investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. Two-year survival in the Japan Clinical Oncology Group (JCOG)-9511 study was 19% with irinotecan/cisplatin vs 9% with etoposide/cisplatin, according to Dr. Fukuoka, who is professor of the 4th Department of Internal Medicine at Kinki University School of Medicine in Osaka, Japan.

Higher CR Rates in CLL When Rituximab Added to FC Therapy

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-The addition of rituximab (Rituxan)-a monoclonal antibody directed against the CD20 antigen-to a fludarabine/cyclophosphamide (FC) regimen for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) led to a surprisingly improved complete remission rate with no increase in toxic effects, Michael J. Keating, MD, said at a poster session at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Device Allows Comparison of Prognostic Gene Clusters

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-Stanford University researchers have developed a device for gene comparison that could lead to a more exact way to categorize cancer tumors and assess the survival chances of patients. In initial experiments with breast cancer patients, they detected specific gene combinations in tumors and found that certain combinations indicated either a good or bad prognosis.

Anthracycline/Taxane First Choice for Metastatic Breast Cancer

September 01, 2000

PISA, Italy-‘‘Anthracycline/taxane combinations given upfront should be the new standard of care for metastatic breast cancer,” Pierfranco Conte, MD, said at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. Dr. Conte is chief of the Division of Medical Oncology at St. Chiara Hospital in Pisa, Italy.

Spiral CT Screens Raise Scientific, Economic Issues

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-The use of spiral CT scanning to screen for early lung cancers poses scientific, economic, and policy issues that the oncology community, advocacy groups, insurers, and government health agencies need to address quickly, an expert panel said at a day-long conference on reducing lung cancer mortality. The conference was sponsored by the Cancer Research Foundation of America and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Liverpool, England.

Chronotolerance Data Presented

September 01, 2000

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia-Administering camptothe-cins, such as irinotecan (Camptosar), or giving 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) at the right time of day might reduce toxicity and permit use of significantly higher doses. Tyvin A. Rich, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, discussed this chronotolerance data during a workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

Eye Cancer Network Features Extensive Collection of Clinical Photographs

September 01, 2000

In the left image, a collar-button shaped choroidal melanoma is seen at lower right. Note the wrinkles in the macular retina caused by tumor growth. At right, after palladium-103 plaque radiation therapy, the choroidal melanoma appears darker and smaller as evidenced by resolution of the macular retinal folds. These photographs of this rare ocular cancer are from the extensive collection of NYU ophthalmologist Paul T. Finger, MD. More ocular images can be seen on the Eye Cancer

Helping Cancer Patients Understand Their Illness

September 01, 2000

ARLINGTON, Va-In addition to his regular family practice, Mark Renneker, MD, plies a second career, helping other physicians’ patients to understand their illnesses and seek out the best possible therapies. He provides intensive, personalized medical research to clients across the country and assistance in making decisions based on that information.

Paclitaxel Alone as Effective as Paclitaxel/Epirubicin in Patients With Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-In women undergoing second-line therapy for advanced ovarian cancer after failure of a platinum-based regimen, paclitaxel (Taxol) alone was as effective as epiru-bicin (Ellence) plus paclitaxel. Valter Torri, MD, coordinator of clinical trials, Mario Negri Institute, Milan, Italy, presented the research at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

Integrating CAM Not a ‘Paradigm Shift’ for Physicians

September 01, 2000

ARLINGTON, Va-Cancer patients often distinguish between curing a disease and healing the illness, between alleviating pain and alleviating suffering, Michael Lerner, PhD, said at the Comprehensive Cancer Care 2000 conference. He defined healing as the inner human potential to become whole.

Alteplase Clears Occluded Central Venous Access Devices

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-Alteplase (Activase), a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) produced by recombinant DNA, appears to be a safe, feasible, and economically attractive alternative to urokinase (Abbokinase) for clearing occluded central venous access devices (CVADs), a study among cancer patients shows.

Report Urges More Anti-tobacco Programs

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-Fully implementing proven antismoking programs and approaches could slash the smoking rate of teenagers and adults by half in the United States within the decade, according to “Reducing Tobacco Use,” a new report from the US Surgeon General.

Estramustine Potentiates Taxane Effects in Hormone-Resistant Prostate Cancers

September 01, 2000

NEW YORK, New York-Estramustine (Emcyt) can potentiate the effects of taxanes, and the combination might offer a new therapeutic possibility for patients with hormone-resistant prostate cancer. The combination is being tested in clinical trials described by Anne Hamilton, MD, of New York University Medical Center, at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

Less Toxic Therapeutic Combinations Studied for Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Cancers

September 01, 2000

HOUSTON-"Cisplatin (Platinol) has served us well, but we need to move on and study combinations with less toxic carboplatin (Paraplatin) or oxalipla-tin in gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers," Jaffer Ajani, MD, told the clinical investigators’ workshop. Dr. Ajani is Professor of Medicine, Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and also served as program chairman for the workshop. The workshop was sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, and supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pharmacia Oncology.

Epirubicin May Offer Advantages Over Doxorubicin in Adjuvant Breast Cancer Treatment

September 01, 2000

TORONTO-Epirubicin (Ellence) and doxorubicin (Adriamycin) in combination regimens for adjuvant treatment of breast cancer will be compared in a major randomized controlled trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), according to Maureen Trudeau, MD, head of systemic therapy at Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Dr. Trudeau described the reasoning behind and the design of NCIC CTG-MA.21 at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

ZIPP Shows Goserelin Benefit in Premenopausal Breast Cancer

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-Premenopausal women with breast cancer who receive goserelin (Zoladex) have an increased event-free survival over 5 years, regardless of whether they also receive tamoxifen (Nolvadex) or have had prior chemotherapy. This key finding from 5-year follow-up of the Zoladex in Premenopausal Patients (ZIPP) trial was presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Novel Approaches Hold Promise for Future Treatment of Advanced Colorectal Cancers

September 01, 2000

NASHVILLE-A variety of novel therapeutic mechanisms that utilize our knowledge of cancer biology holds great promise for the future treatment of advanced colorectal cancer (CRCA), Jordan D. Berlin, MD, told a clinical investigators’ workshop. Predicting that these new advances will end the reign of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) as the only colorectal cancer treatment option, Dr. Berlin declared, ‘‘The era of 5-FU vs 5-FU regimens is over.”

Defensive Documentation Reduces Liability

September 01, 2000

SAN ANTONIO-“Ninety-nine percent of the people you treat are not going to sue you,” Marilyn Frank-Stromborg, EdD, JD, said at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 25th Annual Congress. But for that small percentage of cases where there are going to be problems, you must know how to protect yourself and your institution, she said, and that begins with the practice of “defensive documentation.”

CAD Helps Radiologists ID Small Breast Cancers

September 01, 2000

ATLANTA-In a retrospective review of more than 12,000 screening mammograms, computer technology found 52% of missed cancers, Kunio Doi, PhD, reported at the Era of Hope meeting, featuring research sponsored by the US Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

FDA Opens Oncology Website

September 01, 2000

ROCKVILLE, Md-The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) has opened a new “Oncology Tools” website. It provides specialized information for health professionals, and allows patients and other consumers to access such information as cancer drug labels, approval summations, and Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) meeting transcripts. The website may be found at http://www.fda.gov/cder/cancer.

Potential Benefits of Encapsulating Paclitaxel

September 01, 2000

PHILADELPHIA-Encapsulating paclitaxel (Taxol) in liposomes almost eliminates nonhematologic toxicities such as neuropathy and greatly prolongs the drug’s half-life, Joseph Treat, MD, reported at the clinical investigators’ workshop. Dr. Treat is Vice Chairman of the Department of Medical Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center and Medical Director of the Temple University Cancer Center in Philadelphia. The workshop was sponsored by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and by Pharmacia Oncology.

Oral Agents Studied for Colorectal Cancer Could Improve Efficacy of 5-FU

September 01, 2000

BIRMINGHAM, Ala-New oral agents being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of colorectal cancer show promise of improving the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in combination regimens. A review of several agents under study-capecitabine (Xeloda), UFT (a combination of uracil plus ftorafur [Tegafur]), and S-1-was presented by Robert B. Diasio, MD, at a clinical investigators’ workshop.

COX-2 Inhibitor Used to Reduce Number of Polyps in Patients With Familial Adenomatous Polyposis

September 01, 2000

HOUSTON-Hereditary cancer syndromes sometimes provide researchers with an accelerated look at cancer pathogenesis and can suggest novel approaches to cancer prevention, Patrick M. Lynch, JD, MD, told an investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. As an example, Dr. Lynch cited the use of celecoxib (Celebrex), recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as adjunctive therapy to reduce the number of polyps developed by patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

New Antiangiogenesis Strategies Target Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors

September 01, 2000

HOUSTON-Remember the enthusiastic reports in the popular press that antiangiogenic therapy would provide a quick cancer cure by starving tumors of their blood supply? Lee Ellis, MD, quoted H. L. Mencken in describing the aftermath of those reports: “All complex problems have simple answers that are invariably wrong.”

Chemotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer Goes Beyond Palliation to Cure for Some Patients

September 01, 2000

NASHVILLE, Tennessee-‘‘Historically, chemotherapy was only palliative in head and neck cancers, but chemotherapy regimens now in use actually do cure some patients,” Barbara A Murphy, MD, told a clinical investigators’ workshop. Dr. Murphy is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The workshop was sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

Experts Explore Methodology of Conducting CAM Trials

September 01, 2000

ARLINGTON, Virginia-Research in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is possible and feasible, said Andrew Vickers, DPhil, but the key issues are practical and not conceptual. Those who work in CAM rarely have the research skills, the technicians, or the access to suitable patients that mainstream institutions or researchers have, he pointed out.

Adding Paclitaxel May Improve Survival in Limited-Disease SCLC

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-The addition of paclitaxel (Taxol) to etoposide plus cisplatin (Platinol), with concurrent thoracic radiotherapy, may improve survival in patients with limited-disease small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), according to preliminary results from the RTOG 96-09 Intergroup trial. David S. Ettinger, MD, of Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, presented the study at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Spiral CT Lung Ca Screening Specific, Sensitive, Cost-Effective

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-When used to diagnose early lung cancer, low-dose spiral CT scanning has a high specificity-as well as high sensitivity-and it is cost-effective, according to as-yet-unpublished data from the New York City-based Early Lung Cancer Action Program (ELCAP). Moreover, the technique can diagnose emphysema at an earlier stage than existing tests, which has helped smokers in the study to stop.

First-Line Carboplatin/Paclitaxel Well Tolerated in Extensive SCLC

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-First-line treatment with carboplatin (Paraplatin) and paclitaxel (Taxol) given every 4 weeks is well tolerated in patients with extensive small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), according to a multicenter phase II trial conducted in Italy and reported at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Two Cancer Specialists on White House Commission on CAM

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-President Clinton included two cancer specialists on the newly created, 11-member White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine: George M. Bernier, Jr., MD, hematologist/oncologist, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and William R. Fair, MD, of Long Boat Key, Fla, former chief of the urology service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and emeritus professor of urology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

PHS Issues Treatment Guidelines for Tobacco Dependency

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-The US Public Health Service (PHS) has released “Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: A Clinical Practice Guideline,” which offers trial-based data on first- and second-line therapies to help smokers quit.

Congress Briefed on Need for Better Cancer Pain Management

September 01, 2000

WASHINGTON-Pain in cancer patients is woefully undermanaged because of multiple barriers from patients, physicians, and the nation’s health care system, several speakers said at a congressional briefing.

Role of Nurse Healer in Integrated Cancer Care Explored

September 01, 2000

ARLINGTON, Va-Nurses often take an active role in integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with conventional care in the hospital setting, said a panel of nurses at a session of the Comprehensive Cancer Care 2000 conference.

Gemcitabine/Epirubicin/Paclitaxel Regimen Highly Active in Previously Treated Metastatic Breast Cancer

September 01, 2000

PISA, ITALY-Gemcitabine, epirubicin, and paclitaxel (GET) is a highly active regimen in previously treated metastatic breast cancer, Pierfranco Conte, MD, reported at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. Dr. Conte is Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology at St. Chiara Hospital in Pisa, Italy.

NBTF Introduces Neuroscience Nurse Consultations

September 01, 2000

OAKLAND, California-The National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF) has announced its new cancer online resource and toll-free telephone number. Patients and family members who have detailed medical questions regarding brain tumors can contact a neuroscience nurse for a free consultation.

Irinotecan Improves Survival in Patients with Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

September 01, 2000

PHILADELPHIA-Irinotecan (Camptosar) produces response rates in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) comparable to those of some well-established combination regimens and is being tested as a radiosensitizer in combination with cis-platin and radiotherapy in locally advanced NSCLC. These and other developments using topoisomerase I inhibitors in NSCLC were reviewed by Corey Langer, MD, at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. Dr. Langer is Medical Director, Thoracic Oncology, at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Cancer Survival Toolbox adds ‘Caring for the Caregiver’

September 01, 2000

SILVER SPRINGS, Md-Recognizing that caregivers are the backbone of our health care system, developers of the Cancer Survival Toolbox advocacy program have added a new audiotape, “Caring for the Caregiver.” The tape provides cancer caregivers with self-advocacy tools to help them better cope with the disease and their own needs.

Meta-analysis Confirms New Standard for First-Line Treatment of Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-A meta-analysis of two independent phase III randomized multicenter studies “further strengthens the conclusion that the combination of irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar)/fluorouracil (5-FU)/leucovorin represents a new reference standard in the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer,” said Leonard Saltz, MD, associate attending physician, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Antiangiogenesis Agents Aimed at Early-Stage Cancer

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-Antiangiogenesis drugs under development may find their greatest utility in early-stage cancer and in combination with other agents, Michael S. Gordon, MD, said at a symposium sponsored by Agouron Pharmaceuticals (La Jolla, Calif). The symposium, “Novel Mechanisms in the Future of Cancer Treatment,” was held in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 36th Annual Meeting.

Paclitaxel/Irinotecan/Cisplatin Combination Seen as Alternative to Cisplatin/5-FU in Upper GI Cancers

September 01, 2000

NEW YORK-Regimens based on cisplatin (Platinol), irinotecan (Camptosar), and paclitaxel (Taxol) may provide a better alternative than cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in treating difficult cases of gastric and esophageal cancers. Developing more effective therapies has considerable public health importance because of the high incidence and mortality rates of these cancers, commented Eileen M. O’Reilly, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate Adjuvant Exemestane After Tamoxifen

September 01, 2000

CANTON,Ohio-Occult micrometastases may still be present after the standard 5 years of tamoxifen adjuvant hormonal treatment for patients with stage I or II breast cancer and receptor-positive tumors. Some of those micrometastases may be estrogen- or tamoxifen-sensitive, stated Terry Mamounas, MD, adding that this is a major reason the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) has undertaken clinical trial NSABP B-33. The trial will compare 2 years of exemestane (Aromasin) to 2 years of placebo in postmenopausal, estrogen receptor-positive stage I-II breast cancer patients who are disease free after being on tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for 5 years.

CaverMap Aid Not Yet Specific Enough for General Use

September 01, 2000

ATLANTA-The CaverMap Surgical Aid to help surgeons protect the cavernous nerves during nerve-sparing prostatectomy appears not to be specific enough to be clinically useful at present, Patrick Walsh, MD, said at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

Early Phase II Results Show High Response Rates to Irinotecan in Relapsed/Refractory NHL

September 01, 2000

HOUSTON-Early results of an ongoing phase II trial of irinotecan in relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) show response rates of 33% to 45% in some NHL subtypes, reported Andreas H. Sarris, MD, PhD, at the clinical investigators’ workshop. For the most responsive subtypes (indolent lymphomas, relapsed aggressive lymphomas, and possibly refractory aggressive lymphomas), patient accrual will continue, reported Dr. Sarris, Associate Professor in the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The workshop was sponsored by M. D. Anderson and Pharmacia Oncology.

Novel Compound Permits High-Dose Radiation to Bone

September 01, 2000

NEW ORLEANS-High-dose radiation targeted to bone by 166Ho-DOTMP combined with melphalan (Alkeran) with or without total body radiation (TBI) is safe and effective in patients with multiple myeloma, according to clinical trial results presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Topoisomerase-I Inhibitors With Nonplatinum Combinations Active in NSCLC

September 01, 2000

NEW HAVEN, Conn-Topoisomerase I inhibitors in combinations not based on platinum have shown significant activity in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), John R. Murren, MD, reported. These combinations include such drugs as taxanes, gemcitabine (Gemzar), and vinorelbine (Navelbine). Dr. Murren, Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, reviewed research on these regimens at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

Improving Minority Participation in Prevention Trials

September 01, 2000

CHICAGO-Advances in cancer screening, prevention, and treatment have led to decreased cancer incidence and mortality. However, the benefits of new early detection measures and treatment options are not shared equally among ethnic minorities and the medically underserved, and disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality remain.

Irinotecan in Combination With 5-FU/LV Emerges as Frontline Chemotherapy for Stage IV Colorectal Cancer

September 01, 2000

PHILADELPHIA-“Most people would agree that standard-of-care for frontline treatment of advanced colorectal cancer (CRCA) should now be irinotecan (Camptosar) plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (5-FU/LV),” stated Daniel G. Haller, MD, at an investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology. As the basis for this assessment, Dr. Haller of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center in Philadelphia, cited presentations made earlier this year.

Review of Recent Regimensn

September 01, 2000

ROCHESTER, Minn-Standard adjuvant therapy for stage III colorectal cancer (CRCA) should be 6 months of 5-flourouracil (5-FU) plus either high-dose or low-dose leucovorin (LV), but new agents “offer the promise of less toxicity and possibly improved survival,” Henry C. Pitot, MD, reported. A consultant in the Division of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Dr. Pitot described several of these new regimens at a clinical investigators’ workshop sponsored by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Pharmacia Oncology.

‘Best Case’ Program Helps Agency Evaluate CAM Therapies

August 01, 2000

ARLINGTON, VA-To move into mainstream oncology, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) must find convincing ways to prove efficacy in the treatment of cancer, said Jeffrey White, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). This means moving beyond anecdotal evidence supporting CAM cancer therapies and finding appropriate standards for judging their effectiveness.