ONCOLOGY Vol 20 No 11 | Oncology

Topotecan in Combination With Cisplatin for the Treatment of Stage IVB, Recurrent, or Persistent Cervical Cancer: Review 1

October 01, 2006

 I read with great interest the paper by Michael Brave and colleagues from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The authors describe the FDA's review supporting this first approval of a chemotherapeutic drug for advanced cervical cancer. This decision was made after a Gynecologic Oncology Group trial (GOG-0179) conducted at 94 American study centers demonstrated a survival benefit in patients with stage IVB, recurrent, or persistent carcinoma of the cervix who received cisplatin plus topotecan (Hycamtin) compared with those who received cisplatin alone.

Treating Advanced Breast Cancer in the Older Woman: Review 2

October 01, 2006

As half of all breast cancers occur in patients beyond the age of 65 and a quarter beyond the age of 75, a significant number of patients with metastatic breast cancer are elderly. New hormonal therapies, such as aromatase inhibitors, appear to have favorably improved the survival of these patients. Side effects such as osteoporosis or cognitive issues appear manageable. Information specific to elderly patients has recently emerged in the field of chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. This article reviews data on anthracyclines, taxanes, capecitabine (Xeloda), gemcitabine (Gemzar), trastuzumab (Herceptin), and bevacizumab (Avastin). For most patients in this setting, sequential single-agent chemotherapy appears at this time to be the preferred course of treatment.

Treating Advanced Breast Cancer in the Older Woman: Review 1

October 01, 2006

As half of all breast cancers occur in patients beyond the age of 65 and a quarter beyond the age of 75, a significant number of patients with metastatic breast cancer are elderly. New hormonal therapies, such as aromatase inhibitors, appear to have favorably improved the survival of these patients. Side effects such as osteoporosis or cognitive issues appear manageable. Information specific to elderly patients has recently emerged in the field of chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. This article reviews data on anthracyclines, taxanes, capecitabine (Xeloda), gemcitabine (Gemzar), trastuzumab (Herceptin), and bevacizumab (Avastin). For most patients in this setting, sequential single-agent chemotherapy appears at this time to be the preferred course of treatment.

Cancer Pain Management in the 21st Century: Review 3

October 01, 2006

Cancer causes pain as it invades bone, compresses nerves, produces obstructive symptoms in the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems, and distends involved visceral organs. This manuscript reviews progress in cancer pain management during the past 2 decades. Since the 1980s, we have seen (1) genuine advances in research on the biology of pain, (2) new approaches to the treatment of cancer pain, and (3) important changes in the health-care system to ensure that pain is appropriately assessed and managed. Currently, clinicians have the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic tools to ensure that the vast majority of patients with cancer pain can be comfortable during their illness. Nevertheless, too many patients with terminal malignancies continue to die in pain in nations around the globe. An effective strategy to make alleviating pain a major health-care priority remains the primary challenge to effectively palliating patients with cancer pain.

New Treatment Produces Long-Term Remission in Follicular Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Patients

October 01, 2006

Patients with advanced follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who received a new combination of chemotherapy and targeted radiation (radioimmunotherapy) lived significantly longer than patients treated with standard chemotherapy alone on previous trials. Five-year follow-up data from the phase II trial was published in the September 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

DoD Awards $10+ Mil Grant to V. Craig Jordan for Research on New Breast Ca Treatment

October 01, 2006

Fox Chase Cancer Center's V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PHD, DSC, has received a $10.7 million grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program for a Breast Cancer Center of Excellence focused on developing a new treatment model for breast cancer to reverse the eventual development of resistance to antiestrogen therapy.

Topotecan in Combination With Cisplatin for the Treatment of Stage IVB, Recurrent, or Persistent Cervical Cancer: Review 2

October 01, 2006

Topotecan, a camptothecin analog previously approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer and small-cell lung cancer, was granted regular approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 14, 2006, for use in combination with cisplatin to treat women with stage IVB, recurrent, or persistent carcinoma of the cervix not amenable to curative treatment with surgery and/or radiation therapy. The purpose of this summary is to review the database supporting this approval.

Darbepoetin-Prefilled Autoinjector Available for Chemotherapy-Associated Anemia

October 01, 2006

Amgen recently announced the launch of the darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp)-prefilled SureClick autoinjector for patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia and anemia associated with chronic kidney disease in the United States.

Topotecan in Combination With Cisplatin for the Treatment of Stage IVB, Recurrent, or Persistent Cervical Cancer: Review 3

October 01, 2006

Topotecan, a camptothecin analog previously approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer and small-cell lung cancer, was granted regular approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 14, 2006, for use in combination with cisplatin to treat women with stage IVB, recurrent, or persistent carcinoma of the cervix not amenable to curative treatment with surgery and/or radiation therapy. The purpose of this summary is to review the database supporting this approval.

Knowledge Is Not Enough

October 01, 2006

Cancer causes pain as it invades bone, compresses nerves, produces obstructive symptoms in the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems, and distends involved visceral organs. This manuscript reviews progress in cancer pain management during the past 2 decades. Since the 1980s, we have seen (1) genuine advances in research on the biology of pain, (2) new approaches to the treatment of cancer pain, and (3) important changes in the health-care system to ensure that pain is appropriately assessed and managed. Currently, clinicians have the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic tools to ensure that the vast majority of patients with cancer pain can be comfortable during their illness. Nevertheless, too many patients with terminal malignancies continue to die in pain in nations around the globe. An effective strategy to make alleviating pain a major health-care priority remains the primary challenge to effectively palliating patients with cancer pain.

Every-2-Week Epoetin Alfa Studied as Initiation Treatment for Chemotherapy-Related Anemia

October 01, 2006

Study results suggest that 80,000 units of epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) administered once every 2 weeks demonstrated comparable changes in hemoglobin levels and safety in treating chemotherapy-related anemia in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies compared to 40,000 units of epoetin alfa once weekly, the current recommended dosage.

Cancer Pain Management in the 21st Century: Review 2

October 01, 2006

Cancer causes pain as it invades bone, compresses nerves, produces obstructive symptoms in the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems, and distends involved visceral organs. This manuscript reviews progress in cancer pain management during the past 2 decades. Since the 1980s, we have seen (1) genuine advances in research on the biology of pain, (2) new approaches to the treatment of cancer pain, and (3) important changes in the health-care system to ensure that pain is appropriately assessed and managed. Currently, clinicians have the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic tools to ensure that the vast majority of patients with cancer pain can be comfortable during their illness. Nevertheless, too many patients with terminal malignancies continue to die in pain in nations around the globe. An effective strategy to make alleviating pain a major health-care priority remains the primary challenge to effectively palliating patients with cancer pain.

Study Cites High Cancer Rates Among African-Americans

October 01, 2006

Astudy conducted by researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and University of South Carolina shows that the cancer rate among blacks living in South Carolina is nearly twice as great as it is for whites in the state.

Fentanyl Buccal Tablet Approved for Treating Breakthrough Pain in Cancer Patients

October 01, 2006

Cephalon, Inc, announced that it has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market fentanyl buccal tablets (Fentora [C-II]) for the management of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain.

Commentary (Starling/Cunningham)-Cetuximab-Associated Infusion Reactions: Pathology and Management

October 01, 2006

Cetuximab (Erbitux), a chimeric antiepidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody currently used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, is in clinical development for several other solid tumors. Although cutaneous manifestations are the most common toxicities associated with cetuximab, they are rarely life-threatening. Cetuximab-related infusion reactions are less common, but they may become severe and cause fatal outcomes if not managed appropriately. Little about the specific etiology of these events is known; however, an overview of infusion reactions observed with other compounds may shed some light and help characterize cetuximab-related reactions. For physicians administering cetuximab, familiarity with acute reaction treatment protocols and preparedness to identify and manage symptoms promptly and effectively are most important to minimize potential risks.

Commentary (Saltz)-Cetuximab-Associated Infusion Reactions: Pathology and Management

October 01, 2006

Cetuximab (Erbitux), a chimeric antiepidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody currently used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, is in clinical development for several other solid tumors. Although cutaneous manifestations are the most common toxicities associated with cetuximab, they are rarely life-threatening. Cetuximab-related infusion reactions are less common, but they may become severe and cause fatal outcomes if not managed appropriately. Little about the specific etiology of these events is known; however, an overview of infusion reactions observed with other compounds may shed some light and help characterize cetuximab-related reactions. For physicians administering cetuximab, familiarity with acute reaction treatment protocols and preparedness to identify and manage symptoms promptly and effectively are most important to minimize potential risks.

Commentary (Grem)-Cetuximab-Associated Infusion Reactions: Pathology and Management

October 01, 2006

Cetuximab (Erbitux), a chimeric antiepidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody currently used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, is in clinical development for several other solid tumors. Although cutaneous manifestations are the most common toxicities associated with cetuximab, they are rarely life-threatening. Cetuximab-related infusion reactions are less common, but they may become severe and cause fatal outcomes if not managed appropriately. Little about the specific etiology of these events is known; however, an overview of infusion reactions observed with other compounds may shed some light and help characterize cetuximab-related reactions. For physicians administering cetuximab, familiarity with acute reaction treatment protocols and preparedness to identify and manage symptoms promptly and effectively are most important to minimize potential risks.

MD Anderson Manual of Medical Oncology

October 01, 2006

It is an unusual oncologist in the United States who has not had a patient receive a second opinion at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDA). Long a respected and well-known force in cancer research and patient care, MDA has exerted significant national and international influence not only with scientific publications but also through its training programs and large clinical operation. This book will add to that influence with concise disease-oriented chapters covering the patient population a medical oncologist will see in practice. The MD Anderson Manual of Medical Oncology is not a small handbook. Rather, it is a hardbound text of more than 1,000 pages authored by nearly 100 MDA clinicians.

No Scientific Challenge Was Too Daunting

October 01, 2006

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to briefly reflect on what cancer "awareness" means to the oncology community and to the growing number of breast cancer survivors nationwide

Current Approach to Pheochromocytoma

October 01, 2006

Pheochromocytomas are tumors of the neural crest-derived chromaffin cells. The hallmark of this rare and fascinating neoplasm is the synthesis and secretion of catecholamines in an unregulated and potentially life-threatening manner. Most pheochromocytomas produce an abundance of norepinephrine. Epinephrine- or dopamine-secreting pheochromocytomas are less common.[1] Pheochromocytomas can also be nonfunctional.[1] Approximately 10% of pheochromocytomas can be categorized as either bilateral, multifocal, extra-adrenal, familial, or malignant; thus, pheochromocytomas are often remembered by medical students as the "10% tumor." Newer reports, however, suggest that pheochromocytomas may be extra-adrenal in up to 30% of cases.[2,3] This brief review will address the diagnosis and management of benign and malignant pheochromocytoma.

Cancer Pain Management in the 21st Century

October 01, 2006

Cancer causes pain as it invades bone, compresses nerves, produces obstructive symptoms in the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems, and distends involved visceral organs. This manuscript reviews progress in cancer pain management during the past 2 decades. Since the 1980s, we have seen (1) genuine advances in research on the biology of pain, (2) new approaches to the treatment of cancer pain, and (3) important changes in the health-care system to ensure that pain is appropriately assessed and managed. Currently, clinicians have the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic tools to ensure that the vast majority of patients with cancer pain can be comfortable during their illness. Nevertheless, too many patients with terminal malignancies continue to die in pain in nations around the globe. An effective strategy to make alleviating pain a major health-care priority remains the primary challenge to effectively palliating patients with cancer pain.

From Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Increased Use of Colorectal Cancer Tests-United States, 2002 and 2004

October 01, 2006

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death (after lung/bronchus cancer) in the United States.[1] In 2002, a total of 139,534 adults in the United States had colorectal cancer diagnosed, and 56,603 died. The US Preventive Services Task Force and other national organizations recommend that adults aged ≥ 50 years be screened for colorectal cancer with one or more of the following tests: fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) every year, sigmoidoscopy or double-contrast barium enema every 5 years, or colonoscopy every 10 years.

Topotecan in Combination With Cisplatin for the Treatment of Stage IVB, Recurrent, or Persistent Cervical Cancer

October 01, 2006

Topotecan, a camptothecin analog previously approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer and small-cell lung cancer, was granted regular approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 14, 2006, for use in combination with cisplatin to treat women with stage IVB, recurrent, or persistent carcinoma of the cervix not amenable to curative treatment with surgery and/or radiation therapy. The purpose of this summary is to review the database supporting this approval.

Treating Advanced Breast Cancer in the Older Woman

October 01, 2006

As half of all breast cancers occur in patients beyond the age of 65 and a quarter beyond the age of 75, a significant number of patients with metastatic breast cancer are elderly. New hormonal therapies, such as aromatase inhibitors, appear to have favorably improved the survival of these patients. Side effects such as osteoporosis or cognitive issues appear manageable. Information specific to elderly patients has recently emerged in the field of chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer. This article reviews data on anthracyclines, taxanes, capecitabine (Xeloda), gemcitabine (Gemzar), trastuzumab (Herceptin), and bevacizumab (Avastin). For most patients in this setting, sequential single-agent chemotherapy appears at this time to be the preferred course of treatment.

Cetuximab-Associated Infusion Reactions: Pathology and Management

October 01, 2006

Cetuximab (Erbitux), a chimeric antiepidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody currently used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, is in clinical development for several other solid tumors. Although cutaneous manifestations are the most common toxicities associated with cetuximab, they are rarely life-threatening. Cetuximab-related infusion reactions are less common, but they may become severe and cause fatal outcomes if not managed appropriately. Little about the specific etiology of these events is known; however, an overview of infusion reactions observed with other compounds may shed some light and help characterize cetuximab-related reactions. For physicians administering cetuximab, familiarity with acute reaction treatment protocols and preparedness to identify and manage symptoms promptly and effectively are most important to minimize potential risks.

Endoscopic Ultrasound Fine-Needle Aspiration in the Staging of Non‑Small‑Cell Lung Cancer

October 01, 2006

Precise mediastinal staging of non-small-cell lung cancer is extremely important, as mediastinal lymph node metastases generally indicate unresectable disease. Reliance on computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET) alone to stage and determine resectability is limited by false-positive results. Whenever possible, pathologic confirmation of metastases is desirable. Mediastinoscopy and transbronchial fine-needle aspiration are widely established but imperfect modalities. Endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) has emerged as a diagnostic and staging tool because of its safety, accuracy, and patient convenience. We reviewed 13 prospective studies evaluating the comparative performance of EUS for staging lung cancer. We conclude that EUS is a valuable staging modality. Further studies of the role of EUS compared to other modalities such as integrated PET/CT and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) are forthcoming.

Commentary (Cerfolio): Endoscopic Ultrasound Fine-Needle Aspiration in the Staging of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

October 01, 2006

Precise mediastinal staging of non-small-cell lung cancer is extremely important, as mediastinal lymph node metastases generally indicate unresectable disease. Reliance on computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET) alone to stage and determine resectability is limited by false-positive results. Whenever possible, pathologic confirmation of metastases is desirable. Mediastinoscopy and transbronchial fine-needle aspiration are widely established but imperfect modalities. Endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) has emerged as a diagnostic and staging tool because of its safety, accuracy, and patient convenience. We reviewed 13 prospective studies evaluating the comparative performance of EUS for staging lung cancer. We conclude that EUS is a valuable staging modality. Further studies of the role of EUS compared to other modalities such as integrated PET/CT and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) are forthcoming.

Commentary (Wang): Endoscopic Ultrasound Fine-Needle Aspiration in the Staging of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

October 01, 2006

Precise mediastinal staging of non-small-cell lung cancer is extremely important, as mediastinal lymph node metastases generally indicate unresectable disease. Reliance on computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET) alone to stage and determine resectability is limited by false-positive results. Whenever possible, pathologic confirmation of metastases is desirable. Mediastinoscopy and transbronchial fine-needle aspiration are widely established but imperfect modalities. Endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) has emerged as a diagnostic and staging tool because of its safety, accuracy, and patient convenience. We reviewed 13 prospective studies evaluating the comparative performance of EUS for staging lung cancer. We conclude that EUS is a valuable staging modality. Further studies of the role of EUS compared to other modalities such as integrated PET/CT and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) are forthcoming.

Commentary (Brugge): Endoscopic Ultrasound Fine-Needle Aspiration in the Staging of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

October 01, 2006

Precise mediastinal staging of non-small-cell lung cancer is extremely important, as mediastinal lymph node metastases generally indicate unresectable disease. Reliance on computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET) alone to stage and determine resectability is limited by false-positive results. Whenever possible, pathologic confirmation of metastases is desirable. Mediastinoscopy and transbronchial fine-needle aspiration are widely established but imperfect modalities. Endoscopic ultrasound fine-needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) has emerged as a diagnostic and staging tool because of its safety, accuracy, and patient convenience. We reviewed 13 prospective studies evaluating the comparative performance of EUS for staging lung cancer. We conclude that EUS is a valuable staging modality. Further studies of the role of EUS compared to other modalities such as integrated PET/CT and endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) are forthcoming.