ONCOLOGY Vol 21 No 10 | Oncology

The Top of My Christmas List

September 01, 2007

I will never forget the moment when I first found out about my wife's breast cancer. She had noticed an abnormal thickening in her breast and even though we were spending most of our attention focused on an adenoma on the opposite side, the surgeon felt that a biopsy would be prudent. It was a Monday morning, and I was at my desk. Because of my position within our institution, I happened to be on the distribution list of my wife's pathology report. However, before I got to that point in the mail, my close colleague came to my office to notify me of her diagnosis of invasive breast cancer.

Further Considerations About NHL in the Elderly

September 01, 2007

As noted in part 1 of this two-part article, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of a few malignancies that have been increasing in incidence over the past several decades. Likewise, these disorders are more common in elderly patients, with a median age of occurrence of 65 years. Therapy in elderly patients may be affected by multiple factors, especially attendent comorbidities. The approaches to management of these patients, with either indolent or aggressive disease processes, have been based on prospective clinical trial results, many of which have included a younger patient population. Fortunately over the past decade, results of treatment trials that have targeted an older patient population have emerged. The disease incidence and treatment approaches for both follicular (part 1) and diffuse aggressive (part 2) histologies in elderly patients are reviewed, as well as the impact of aging on the care of these patients.

Controlling Cancer Pain: Much Progress, Barriers Remain

September 01, 2007

Approximately 60% of cancer patients experience pain, and 25% to 30% have severe pain. With some cancers, opioids will be needed before chemotherapy begins and may be more frequently prescribed than chemotherapy. Given the frequency with which pain management is necessary in cancer patients, all oncologists should be familiar with opioid prescribing principles. This article reviews the World Health Organization recommendations for analgesic therapy in this setting, as well as guidelines for opioid therapy in patients with renal failure or hepatic failure, assessment of pain, dosing strategies in both acute and chronic pain, management of opioid overdose, pain associated with dose-limiting side effects, and pain in the actively dying.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the Elderly: A Tale of Successes and Future Challenges

September 01, 2007

As noted in part 1 of this two-part article, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of a few malignancies that have been increasing in incidence over the past several decades. Likewise, these disorders are more common in elderly patients, with a median age of occurrence of 65 years. Therapy in elderly patients may be affected by multiple factors, especially attendent comorbidities. The approaches to management of these patients, with either indolent or aggressive disease processes, have been based on prospective clinical trial results, many of which have included a younger patient population. Fortunately over the past decade, results of treatment trials that have targeted an older patient population have emerged. The disease incidence and treatment approaches for both follicular (part 1) and diffuse aggressive (part 2) histologies in elderly patients are reviewed, as well as the impact of aging on the care of these patients.

Wealth of Riches in RCC Treatment: How Do We Avoid 'Devaluing the Dollar'?

September 01, 2007

The treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has changed dramatically over the past few years. An improved understanding of the biology of RCC has resulted in the development of novel targeted therapeutic agents that have altered the natural history of this disease. In particular, the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)/vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction pathway have been exploited. Sunitinib malate (Sutent), sorafenib tosylate (Nexavar), bevacizumab (Avastin)/interferon alfa, and temsirolimus (Torisel) have improved clinical outcomes in randomized trials by inhibiting these tumorigenic pathways. Combinations and sequences of these agents are being evaluated. Other novel multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (pazopanib and axitinib) and mTOR inhibitors (everolimus) are in clinical development. Recently reported and ongoing clinical trials will help further define the role of these agents as therapy for metastatic RCC.

Hyperthermia Plus Chemotherapy Nearly Doubles Disease-Free Survival Compared to Chemotherapy Alone for Sarcoma Patients

September 01, 2007

BSD Medical Corp announced that the results of a 340-patient randomized phase III clinical trial testing the benefit of adding hyperthermia therapy to chemotherapy were presented at the recent annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago.

Arsenic Compound Improves Survival in Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia Patients

September 01, 2007

A study presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has found that the addition of arsenic trioxide (Trisenox) to standard therapy significantly increases survival among adult patients with newly diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

Tailoring Treatment in Elderly Patients

September 01, 2007

As noted in part 1 of this two-part article, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of a few malignancies that have been increasing in incidence over the past several decades. Likewise, these disorders are more common in elderly patients, with a median age of occurrence of 65 years. Therapy in elderly patients may be affected by multiple factors, especially attendent comorbidities. The approaches to management of these patients, with either indolent or aggressive disease processes, have been based on prospective clinical trial results, many of which have included a younger patient population. Fortunately over the past decade, results of treatment trials that have targeted an older patient population have emerged. The disease incidence and treatment approaches for both follicular (part 1) and diffuse aggressive (part 2) histologies in elderly patients are reviewed, as well as the impact of aging on the care of these patients.

Investigational Drug Cediranib Shows Promise in Patients With Recurrent Glioblastoma

September 01, 2007

Data for the investigational agent cediranib (AZD2171) were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) from a phase II monotherapy study in patients with recurrent glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of primary brain tumor, with a high unmet medical need.

New Drugs Bring New Questions

September 01, 2007

The treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has changed dramatically over the past few years. An improved understanding of the biology of RCC has resulted in the development of novel targeted therapeutic agents that have altered the natural history of this disease. In particular, the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)/vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction pathway have been exploited. Sunitinib malate (Sutent), sorafenib tosylate (Nexavar), bevacizumab (Avastin)/interferon alfa, and temsirolimus (Torisel) have improved clinical outcomes in randomized trials by inhibiting these tumorigenic pathways. Combinations and sequences of these agents are being evaluated. Other novel multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (pazopanib and axitinib) and mTOR inhibitors (everolimus) are in clinical development. Recently reported and ongoing clinical trials will help further define the role of these agents as therapy for metastatic RCC.

Opioids in Cancer Pain: A Few Clarifying Thoughts

September 01, 2007

Approximately 60% of cancer patients experience pain, and 25% to 30% have severe pain. With some cancers, opioids will be needed before chemotherapy begins and may be more frequently prescribed than chemotherapy. Given the frequency with which pain management is necessary in cancer patients, all oncologists should be familiar with opioid prescribing principles. This article reviews the World Health Organization recommendations for analgesic therapy in this setting, as well as guidelines for opioid therapy in patients with renal failure or hepatic failure, assessment of pain, dosing strategies in both acute and chronic pain, management of opioid overdose, pain associated with dose-limiting side effects, and pain in the actively dying.

Practical Guide to Opioids and Their Complications in Managing Cancer Pain

September 01, 2007

Approximately 60% of cancer patients experience pain, and 25% to 30% have severe pain. With some cancers, opioids will be needed before chemotherapy begins and may be more frequently prescribed than chemotherapy. Given the frequency with which pain management is necessary in cancer patients, all oncologists should be familiar with opioid prescribing principles. This article reviews the World Health Organization recommendations for analgesic therapy in this setting, as well as guidelines for opioid therapy in patients with renal failure or hepatic failure, assessment of pain, dosing strategies in both acute and chronic pain, management of opioid overdose, pain associated with dose-limiting side effects, and pain in the actively dying.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in the Elderly (Part 2: Treatment of Diffuse Aggressive Lymphomas)

September 01, 2007

As noted in part 1 of this two-part article, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of a few malignancies that have been increasing in incidence over the past several decades. Likewise, these disorders are more common in elderly patients, with a median age of occurrence of 65 years. Therapy in elderly patients may be affected by multiple factors, especially attendent comorbidities. The approaches to management of these patients, with either indolent or aggressive disease processes, have been based on prospective clinical trial results, many of which have included a younger patient population. Fortunately over the past decade, results of treatment trials that have targeted an older patient population have emerged. The disease incidence and treatment approaches for both follicular (part 1) and diffuse aggressive (part 2) histologies in elderly patients are reviewed, as well as the impact of aging on the care of these patients.

Evolving Role of Novel Targeted Agents in Renal Cell Carcinoma

September 01, 2007

The treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has changed dramatically over the past few years. An improved understanding of the biology of RCC has resulted in the development of novel targeted therapeutic agents that have altered the natural history of this disease. In particular, the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)/vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction pathway have been exploited. Sunitinib malate (Sutent), sorafenib tosylate (Nexavar), bevacizumab (Avastin)/interferon alfa, and temsirolimus (Torisel) have improved clinical outcomes in randomized trials by inhibiting these tumorigenic pathways. Combinations and sequences of these agents are being evaluated. Other novel multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (pazopanib and axitinib) and mTOR inhibitors (everolimus) are in clinical development. Recently reported and ongoing clinical trials will help further define the role of these agents as therapy for metastatic RCC.