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American Society of Clinical Oncology, May 31-June 4, 2013

Last Updated: June 07, 2013.

The 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) was held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago and attracted approximately 20,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in oncology. The conference featured the latest advances in clinical cancer research, with presentations focusing on novel targeted therapies as well as improvements in chemotherapy and radiation therapy approaches.

In one study, Jane E. Churpek, M.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues aimed to better understand the prevalence of inherited mutations in all known breast cancer susceptibility genes among African-American women with breast cancer.

"We found that 22 percent of the women in our study carried mutations in one of six genes, but it is important to realize that most of the women in our study were women who had been referred for genetic counseling because their doctor was concerned that they had an inherited form of breast cancer (most often because other women in their families had breast or ovarian cancer)," said Churpek. "Thus, the women in our study were not the average healthy woman or even the average breast cancer patient who does not have a family history or who was not very young when their cancer was diagnosed."

Among the study patients, the investigators found that the women most likely to carry one of these mutations were those who developed cancer at a younger age, those who had an aggressive form of breast cancer called triple negative breast cancer, or those who had a close family member with breast or ovarian cancer.

"We really need to raise awareness and improve access to genetic counseling and genetic testing services because inherited forms of breast cancer are common among African-American women who develop breast cancer at an early age, have triple negative breast cancer, and/or who have a familial history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer," Churpek added. "Thus, if we can help these higher risk women understand their cancer risks through counseling and genetic testing, we can really put the focus on preventing cancers for these women and their at-risk family members."

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In another study, Krishnansu S. Tewari, M.D., of the University of California at Irvine in Orange, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy and safety of adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy in patients with metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer.

"We found that adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy improved overall survival. The addition also improved progression-free survival and increased the response rate. There were no new side effects that arose, outside of the ones already well known to be associated with bevacizumab. In addition, the occurrence of well-known severe adverse events did not exceed 10 percent. The addition of bevacizumab did not significantly decrease health-related quality of life," said Tewari. "The survival gains attributed to the incorporation of bevacizumab in this refractory population are considered to be clinically meaningful and do not come at the expense of deteriorating quality of life. Hopefully, these data will be reviewed by regulatory agencies that will approve bevacizumab for patients with recurrent and metastatic cervical cancer."

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Tait D. Shanafelt, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues surveyed 3,000 oncologists who were members of ASCO between October 2012 and January 2013 and found that 45 percent of these oncologists had at least one symptom of burnout. However, at least 83 percent of the oncologists surveyed were satisfied with their career choice.

"Oncology can be a tremendously rewarding area of medicine, but caring for patients with cancer is also demanding and stressful," said Shanafelt in a statement. "Oncologists work long hours, supervise the administration of highly toxic therapy, and continually observe death and suffering, so it is important to study the issues of burnout and career satisfaction."

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ASCO: Extending Tamoxifen to Ten Years is Beneficial

TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- For women with estrogen receptor (ER) positive or ER untested invasive breast cancer, continuing tamoxifen for 10 years is associated with significant reductions in recurrence and breast cancer mortality, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Adjuvant Bevacizumab Ups Survival in Cervical Cancer

TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- For women with chemotherapy-naive, recurrent, metastatic cervical cancer, treatment with chemotherapy plus bevacizumab is associated with improved survival, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Tx Regimens Promising for Advanced Melanoma

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Lambrolizumab and concurrent nivolumab and ipilimumab are active in advanced melanoma, according to two studies published online June 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Cancer Drug Shortages Common in 2012

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Over 90 percent of oncologists in the United States reported that shortages of cancer drugs between March and September 2012 affected patient treatment, forcing them to switch to more expensive drugs and generally compromising patient care, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Sorafenib Improves Survival in Thyroid Cancer

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with thyroid cancer that does not respond to standard radioactive iodine treatment (RAI), treatment with sorafenib significantly improves survival compared with placebo, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Case of Acquired Resistance to Crizotinib ID'd

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- A case of acquired resistance to crizotinib has been described in a patient with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma harboring a CD74-ROS1 rearrangement, according to a brief report published online June 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Pazopanib Ups Survival in Advanced Ovarian Cancer

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- For women with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer (AEOC) who have undergone surgery and first-line chemotherapy, maintenance therapy with pazopanib is associated with significant longer median progression-free survival versus placebo, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Fewer Side Effects With Weekly Paclitaxel in Breast CA

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- For women with breast cancer, low-dose weekly paclitaxel is as effective as the standard-dose regimen given every two weeks, with fewer side effects; and axillary radiotherapy (ART) may be better than axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) in the case of positive sentinel lymph node biopsy, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Crizotinib Beats Chemo for ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

MONDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chromosomal rearrangements of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK), treatment with an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor targeting ALK, crizotinib, is superior to standard chemotherapy, according to a study published online June 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Cancer Patients Want to Talk About Costs With Docs

THURSDAY, May 30 (HealthDay News) -- Although financial distress is common, even in insured patients, discussion of costs of cancer care with doctors rarely happens, according to research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Midlife Fitness May Protect Against Cancer

FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Men's middle-aged fitness level may protect against cancer, according to a study presented in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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ASCO: Combo Antibody Therapy Effective for Melanoma

FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Concurrent use of two immune checkpoint antibodies -- ipilimumab and nivolumab -- may be effective for the treatment of advanced melanoma, according to a proof-of-principal study presented in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 31 to June 4 in Chicago.

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