From Doctors Lounge

Oncology Conference Briefing
2007 - American Society of Clinical Oncology - 43rd Annual Meeting
By American Society of Clinical Oncology
Jun 5, 2007 - 12:15:29 AM

The American Society of Clinical Oncology - 43rd Annual Meeting was held in Chicago, June 1-5, 2007. The following is a briefing of some of the articles presented at the conference.

Sorafenib Extends Survival for Patients with Liver Cancer;
Chemotherapy Reduces Recurrence of Liver Metastases in Patients with Colorectal Cancer;
Cetuximab Impedes Growth of Advanced Colorectal Cancer

Study findings include:

  • The targeted therapy sorafenib (Nexavar) helps patients with advanced liver cancer live about 44 percent longer—a significant advance in the management of liver cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death globally.

  • Chemotherapy given prior to and following surgery to remove liver metastases in patients with colorectal cancer significantly reduces the risk of cancer recurrence. 

  • Adding the monoclonal antibody cetuximab (Erbitux) to the standard first-line chemotherapy combination reduced the risk of metastatic colorectal cancer growth or spread by 15 percent.
View full press release.
Studies Examine New Treatments and Access to Care for Children with Cancer;
Growing Gap Seen in Advanced Breast Cancer Survival between Black and White Women;
Prostate Cancer Patient Treatment Decisions Influenced by Type of Specialist Consulted

Study findings include:
  • Several studies on childhood cancer, including:

    • A long-term study of childhood cancer survivors finds that even though they are known to be at risk for long-term health problems, most do not receive specialized medical care to monitor their health over the years.

    • A study of infants and children with neuroblastoma shows that they can be treated with significantly less aggressive chemotherapy and still achieve high survival rates.

    • A report on a program to fight childhood cancer in low- and middle-income countries shows that even small monetary investments can help improve children’s treatment and build local cancer care capacity.

    • A survey of parents of children with cancer finds that those who get more detailed information about their child’s prognosis feel more hopeful, even if the prognosis is poor.

  • An analysis of women with advanced breast cancer over the past two decades finds that disparities in survival between black and white patients have increased, with improvements in breast cancer-specific survival seen only among white women.

  • A study finds a strong association between the type of physician that men with localized prostate cancer see and the kind of therapy they choose to receive, reinforcing the need for patients to have access to the full range of information before choosing a particular therapy.
View full press release.
Less Radiation Just as Effective in Reducing Breast Cancer Recurrence;
MRI More Accurate than Mammography at Detecting Most Aggressive“Preinvasive” Breast Cancers;
No Benefit to External Beam Radiation Therapy for Early Endometrial Cancer;
Incidence of Heart Failure in Women Taking Trastuzumab Does Not Increase Over Time

Studies findings include:
  • Fewer, larger doses of radiation after surgery appear to be as effective as conventional radiation treatment in reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence, without increasing side effects.

  • MRI is more accurate than mammography for detecting “high-grade” DCIS lesions (a form of “preinvasive” breast cancer) that are most likely to progress to the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.
  • Commonly used external beam radiation therapy does not extend survival or reduce the risk of recurrence when used after surgery in women with early-stage endometrial cancer, but doubles the incidence of side effects.

  • The risk of heart failure associated with adding trastuzumab (Herceptin) to chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer did not increase between three and five years of follow-up.

View full press release.

Preventive Radiation Therapy Decreases Brain Metastases, Increases Survival in Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer; 
Cetuximab Prolongs Survival in Head and Neck Cancer; 
Bevacizumab Slows Growth of Advanced Lung Cancer; 
Researchers Identify Molecular “Pathways” to Guide Treatment in
Advanced Lung Cancer;
Genetic Variations May Explain Population Differences in Response to Lung Cancer Treatment

Study findings include:

  • Preventive radiation therapy to the head (“prophylactic cranial irradiation”) given to patients who respond to chemotherapy for advanced stage small cell lung cancer reduces the likelihood that the cancer will spread to the brain and extends patients’ lives.
  • Adding cetuximab (Erbitux) to a first-line chemotherapy regimen that includes cisplatin or carboplatin significantly prolongs survival for patients with head and neck cancer that has recurred or spread.

  • Giving the drug bevacizumab (Avastin) with cisplatin and gemcitabine (Gemzar) to patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer slows the growth of the cancer by up to 25 percent.

  • New insights into the molecular “pathways” that are altered in advanced non-small cell lung cancer that could help guide decisions about which targeted therapies to use.

  • Variations in certain genes involved in the metabolism of chemotherapy drugs may explain why American and Japanese patients respond differently to therapies used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

View full press release.

Arsenic Compound Improves Survival for Patients with Form of Leukemia;
Bevacizumab Effective Against Kidney Cancer;
Axitinib Active against Advanced Thyroid Cancer;
VEGF-Trap Shows Activity against Chemotherapy-Resistant Ovarian Cancer;
Dasatinib Active as First-Line Treatment for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Study findings include:
  • Adding arsenic trioxide to standard therapy significantly increases overall survival among adult patients with newly diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia.

  • The addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) to interferon as a first-line treatment for advanced kidney cancer nearly doubles progression-free survival.

  • Axitinib (AG-013736) has substantial antitumor activity in patients with advanced thyroid cancer.
  • VEGF-Trap (Aflibercept) has activity in patients with the most common type of ovarian cancer that has returned and is resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy drugs.

  • Dasatinib (Sprycel) shows strong hematologic and chromosomal response when used as a first-line treatment for early-stage chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). 
View full press release.
Ginseng May Help Combat Fatigue in Cancer Patients;
Flaxseed May Stall Prostate Cancer Growth;
Shark Cartilage Extract Does Not Improve Survival in Patients
withNon-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Study findings include:


  • The herb ginseng may decrease fatigue, one of the most common and debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment.

  • Flaxseed may slow the growth of prostate tumors.

  • Adding shark cartilage extract to treatment with standard chemotherapy and radiation therapy does not improve survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

View full press release.

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