03/22/2010 06:25 PM Posted by: Dr. H. Alejandro Preti

Drug Combination Meets Key Milestone In Cancer Trial.

MedPage Today (3/20, Smith) reported that according to Abraxis BioScience, Nanoparticle albumin-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane) "met a key milestone in a non-small cell lung cancer clinical trial." In "a multicenter phase III study of 1,052 patients, the drug showed a significant improvement in overall response rate, compared with solvent-based paclitaxel (Taxol)," the drug's maker said. The company said "the study compared both forms of the drug, in combination with carboplatin, for first-line treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer," and that the "response rate was assessed by independent radiologist review." MedPage added that "the data from the trial are to be submitted as a late-breaking abstract for the June meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, the Los Angeles-based company said in a statement."

Scientists Use Gene-Manipulation Therapy To Block Production Of Cancer-Causing Proteins.

HealthDay (3/21, Gardner) reported, "For the first time in humans, scientists have successfully used a gene-manipulation therapy to enter tumor cells and block the production of toxic proteins that are causing cancer." Building off a Nobel prize winning discovery that involved worms, researchers at the California Institute of Technology "devised a super-small nanoparticle system that, when injected into the body, would...deposit the siRNAs into the tumor cell and leave them to their assigned task." The "cargo-laden nanoparticles" were not "injected directly into the" melanoma "tumor as many other researchers have done." Instead, they "made their way smoothly to the target...and cleaved the mRNA in just the right place, stopping production of the culprit protein."

New Markers Causing Rapid Change In Immunohistochemistry.

Medscape (3/21, Mulcahy) reported, "The addition of new markers that add 'a lot more breadth and depth' to immunohistochemical microscopy for the attempted diagnosis of cancer of an unknown primary origin (CUP) is the major change in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)'s guideline for these occult tumors, according to a presenter" at the NCCN 15th Annual Conference. Charles Handorf, MD, PhD, from the University of Tennessee Cancer Institute in Chattanooga, said that "immunohistochemical microscopy is 'rapidly changing' because of the introduction of new markers," and added "that an annual update of the CUP guideline is not enough to adequately chronicle the evolving science."

Carboplatin-PLD Combination May Result In Better Progression-Free Survival In Recurrent, Platinum Sensitive Ovarian Cancer.

MedPage Today (3/22, Bankhead) reports, "Women with recurrent or relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer had a significantly lower risk of subsequent recurrence and less toxicity when treated with carboplatin and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD, Doxil) than with standard therapy, data from a large European study showed." Aimed at demonstrating "noninferiority of the carboplatin-PLD combination, the trial showed a statistically significant 18% reduction in the risk of recurrence, Eric Pujade-Lauraine, MD, reported at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists meeting." In addition, "women randomized to standard therapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel had more severe and longer-lasting toxicity, including carboplatin hypersensitivity, alopecia, and neuropathy."

Avastin, TACE Pairing May Be Well Tolerated, Effective.

MedPage Today (3/22, Fiore) reported, "Giving bevacizumab (Avastin) concurrently with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is reasonably well tolerated and appears to be effective in patients with inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma, researchers said" at the Society of Interventional Radiology meeting. Approximately "58% of patients had grade 3 or 4 toxicity, and median survival was 13.5 months, Jean-Francois H. Geschwind, MD, of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and colleagues reported."

Men May Be 16% More Likely To Develop Cancer Than Women.

The UK's Daily Mail (3/19, Macrae) reports that, according to research appearing in the journal European Urology Supplements, "overall, men are 16 percent more likely to develop cancer than women and 40 percent more likely to die from it." Researchers also found that "British men are almost three times as likely to be killed by bladder cancer and twice as likely to die from kidney cancer as women, even though there is no biological reason for this." The researchers noted that men are "less likely to go to their" physician "and more likely to ignore the symptoms."

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