FDA Expected To Approve New Melanoma Drug.

Reuters (8/10, Beasley) reports that according to persons familiar with the process, the Food and Drug Administration could approve Roche's new drug application for Zelboraf (vemurafenib) as early as sometime this week. Roche, in a collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo, is developing the melanoma drug to target tumors with a BRAF mutation. A recent clinical trial sponsored by the partnership found that compared to standard chemotherapy, patients with advanced melanoma treated with vemurafenib were 63% less likely to die from the melanoma.

"Middle Ground" Proposal Would Retain Bevacizumab's Breast-Cancer Indication.

In continuing coverage, Bloomberg News (8/9, Kresge) reported, Roche Holding AG has asked the Food and Drug Administration to "keep Avastin [bevacizumab] on the market for breast cancer in what the drugmaker called a 'middle-ground proposal' while it conducts another clinical trial." The pharmaceutical company is requesting that FDA "allow Avastin's use together with the chemotherapy paclitaxel in patients with aggressive cancer and few options for treatment." Roche said it also plans to conduct a "480-patient trial, with failure triggering immediate voluntary withdrawal of Avastin for breast cancer." The move is Roche's "latest effort to prevent withdrawal of Avastin's approval in the US" after an FDA panel in June concluded, "use of the drug in breast cancer should be stopped." Avastin will remain on the US market with the breast cancer indication, however, until FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg "makes a final ruling."

Nation's Life-Saving Medication Shortage Continues Unabated.


NBC Nightly News (8/8, story 6, 2:25, Williams) reported, "Shortage of life-saving medicines for cancer patients and others who need happening more and more across this country." NBC (Snyderman) noted, "There are now 180 medications on the FDA's drug shortage list. That's up from over 56 just five years ago." FDA Senior Program Manager Jouhayna Saliba was shown saying, "We do see this as a crisis. It is very hard to see drugs, such as oncology drugs, not available to the American public." Snyderman added, "Manufacturing and quality control issues are factors as are just plain business decisions. Drug companies whose medications go generic may decide to stop production to protect their bottom line. And many of these drugs are used on the front lines of America's emergency departments." 

ASCO Recommends Against Use Of CSRAs Outside Trials.


Medscape (8/4, Lowry, Subscription Publication) reported, "Maintaining the stance it took in 2004, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) continues to recommend against the use of chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance assays (CSRAs) to select chemotherapeutic agents for individual patients, except in the setting of a clinical trial." ASCO published its guidelines in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

Mutations In Two Genes Found In Oligodendroglioma Tumors.


HealthDay (8/4, Preidt) reported that researchers sequenced genes from the tissues of seven oligodendroglioma tumors, and found "recurring mutations in two genes (CIC and FUBP1) not previously associated with those types of tumors." Mutations in these genes were also "found in an additional 27 tumor samples." CIC and FUBP1 are known to "regulate cell-signaling processes" and researchers say this suggests that the pathways regulated by these genes are crucial to cancer development. The findings were published in Science. 

Genomic Profiling Finds Distinct Types Of Gastric Cancer.


HealthDay (8/3, Dallas) reported that researchers have found two genetically distinct types of stomach cancer by profiling the genomes of "37 stomach cancer cell lines." Investigators also "found that a certain regimen of chemotherapy is more effective on one tumor type, while another drug works best on the other." The study authors are conducting further research in order "to find more specific vulnerabilities to drugs." The report was published in Gastroenterology. 

Tamoxifen May Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence.


Medscape (7/28, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reported, "In women with estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive disease, tamoxifen reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by about a third over 15 years -- during the five years it is taken and for 10 years after it is stopped, according to a meta-analysis" published in The Lancet. "The drug 'can prevent a high proportion of recurrences and may potentially cure many patients, rather than simply delay an inevitable event,' say a pair of experts in an editorial accompanying the study." The data come from trials starting in the 1980s. Researchers also found that even patients with weakly ER-positive cancers can benefit from tamoxifen; the editorial emphasized "the need for accurate and sensitive immunohistochemistry assays ... to detect even low concentrations of ER and thus further identify potential candidates for adjuvant tamoxifen treatment."

        MedPage Today (7/28, Phend) reported, "Few ER-positive tumors have less than 10% of cells stain positive but the American Society of Clinical Oncology defines positivity with as few as 1% staining positive, and those tumors shouldn't be missed, the editorialists argued."

        HealthDay (7/28, Goodwin) detailed the study: "Of 10,645 women who took tamoxifen, about 26 percent had a relapse at the 10-year-mark, compared to 40 percent who didn't take the medication. By 15 years, 33 percent of women who took the drug had their cancer return, compared to 46 percent who didn't. ... After a decade, about 25 percent of women who didn't take the drug had died compared to 18 percent of those who did take it; at 15 years, 33 percent who didn't take the drug died compared to 24 percent of those who took tamoxifen." Researchers also noted that many women in the study didn't finish the five-year course of tamoxifen, so it's possible that there could be an even greater effect. Another question is whether a longer course of tamoxifen would be beneficial.

        WebMD (7/28, DeNoon) noted that "newer drugs, called aromatase inhibitors, also block estrogen," which is the same mechanism of action as tamoxifen. "But these drugs don't work in premenopausal women. Moreover, it's still not known how long their benefits last." Thus, researchers said that access to tamoxifen is even more important for breast cancer patients. 

Lymph Micrometastases May Not Change Outcome Of Early Breast Cancer.


Bloomberg News (7/27, Cortez) reports that, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "microscopic signs of breast cancer in the lymph nodes of women with early-stage disease don't signal an increased risk of dying," and that "testing for the tiny traces may be a needless expense." The study found that "the survival rate for women with no sign of cancer in the lymph nodes was 95 percent over five years, using a standard test," and the results did not change "even when more sensitive tests found minute signs of potential malignancy." Researchers said they want to avoid overtreatment of patients. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and presented at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

        The Los Angeles Times (7/26, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reported that older studies "found that women with those micrometastases were more likely to see their cancers recur and/or die of breast cancer sooner. But those studies were retrospective -- not the forward-looking studies that researchers prefer. They also involved women with more advanced cases of breast cancer, and some of the studies were so old that they didn't take into account advances in treatment."

        HealthDay (7/26, Salamon) reported that, according to the study, "researchers found that tiny cancer cells in the sentinel lymph node -- the first node to which malignant cells are likely to spread from a primary tumor -- detected with a diagnostic procedure called immunohistochemical (IHC) staining had no effect on overall survival." Surgical oncology chief Armando Giuliano said that "it was highly controversial whether these occult [hidden] metastases would be clinically relevant." Giuliano also stated that this means patients can be spared extra tests and expense, and "women with microscopic metastases in their SLNs can also be spared from certain more aggressive treatments that were thought to increase their survival rates."

        Medscape (7/26, Mulcahy, Subscription Publication) reported, "At the 2010 ASCO meeting, the designated discussant of the study made a point about another finding in the study that reinforces the acceptability of not doing bone marrow biopsies in these patients." Medscape added, "In the subset of women who were originally SLN-negative (on H&E) but who were found to have ICC-detected metastases in the bone marrow, there was not a statistically significant overall survival value (P = .16), noted William Wood, MD, from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. This is important, he said, because these are the very patients who 'might not receive cytotoxic chemotherapy.'" MedPage Today (7/26, Bankhead) also covered the story. 

Report: Colon Cancer Incidence Increasing.


The UK's Telegraph (7/27, Adams) reports that male lifetime risk of colon cancer has increased from one in 29 to one in 15 since 1975, and women's chances have gone from one in 29 to one in 19. According to the Telegraph, weight gain, more drinking, less exercise, and the fact that people live longer are all contributing to the increased risk. However, the chance of survival has also increased since 1975. The Telegraph notes, "The chance of surviving for 10 years after diagnosis is now close to 90 per cent for those identified early, while overall about half do." The statistics were published in the British Journal of Cancer. The UK's Independent (7/27, Laurance) also covers the story. 

Three Mutations Associated With Esophageal Cancer, Barrett's Esophagus.


HealthDay (7/26, Dallas) reported, "Mutations in three genes have been found to be more common among people with disorders of the esophagus, including esophageal cancer and Barrett esophagus (a complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease)," according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that mutations in three genes, "MSR1, ASCC1 and CTHRC1," were "associated with both esophageal cancer and Barrett esophagus," and said that such findings "may improve premorbid risk assessment, genetic counseling and management."

        WebMD (7/26, McMillen) reported that the gene "MSR1, has been linked with inflammation, according to the study, and there's evidence that both Barrett's esophagus and EAC [esophageal adenocarcinoma] might be as well." Researchers wrote, "More and more examples linking inflammatory and carcinogenic pathways, such as the cell cycle, are surfacing." They also noted that factors, such as age, smoking, and drinking, are bigger contributors to Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer than genetics are. Researchers also "estimate that less than one-half of 1% of people with Barrett's esophagus will later be diagnosed with EAC."

New Treatment May Target HER2-Positive Tumors.

The UK's Telegraph (7/27, Beckford) reports, "Lab tests suggest a newly developed protein may be effective in destroying HER2-positive tumours that have stopped responding to Herceptin. It is hoped that the novel treatment, called Affitoxin, can soon be tested on women in clinical trials following successful experiments on mice by American researchers, paving the way for commercially available products." The study was performed by researchers at the National Cancer Institute and published in Clinical Cancer Research. The NCI's Jacek Capala said, "Affitoxin could offer another therapeutic option for those patients whose tumours no longer respond to Herceptin [trastuzumab]."

SNPs May Predict Risk For Radiation-Induced Secondary Cancers.

Medscape (7/26, Nelson, Subscription Publication) reported that "Hodgkin's lymphoma is one of the most treatable cancers, but pediatric survivors face a high risk for radiation-therapy-induced second malignant neoplasms." Researchers used a genome-wide association study to identify "two genetic variations that might predict which patients are most at risk for a secondary cancer in adulthood." SNPs were found in ATG5 (autophagy protein 5) and PRDM1, "a zinc-finger transcriptional repressor" whose activity is lost in many cancers, including "activated B cell–like diffuse large B cell lymphoma." Researchers noted that due to small sample size, the findings should be interpreted with caution. They said that in the future, Hodgkin's lymphoma patients could be screened for risk variants, much the way women can currently be screened for BRCA mutations. The study was published in Nature Medicine. 

First-Line EGFR Inhibitor Slows Advanced Lung Cancer Growth.


MedPage Today (7/21, Bankhead) reported that patients with advanced lung cancer had a "threefold improvement in progression-free survival with first-line erlotinib (Tarceva) instead of chemotherapy," according to a study in The Lancet Oncology. The erlotinib group had a "median progression-free survival of 13.1 months versus 4.6 months for those treated with a standard chemotherapy doublet." The difference represented an "84% reduction in the hazard for progression or death." The results "constitute 'conclusive evidence that erlotinib provides superior overall response rate and progression-free survival versus platinum doublet-chemotherapy as first-line treatment" in patients whose tumors harbor "activating mutations of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)," the study authors concluded. HealthDay (7/21, Gardner) also covered the study. 

Chemo Combo May Improve Tumor Control In Advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma Patients.


Medscape (7/20, Mulcahy, Subscription Publication) reported that a seven-drug regimen for "advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma provides improved initial tumor control, compared with the standard regimen of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD)," according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers randomly assigned 331 previously untreated patients to receive either the "BEACOPP regimen (bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone)" or ABVD. BEACOPP topped ABVD in "duration of first remission (7-year rate of progression-free survival, 85% vs. 73%)." However, the protocol called for all patients to "receive, if needed, rescue therapy of high-dose chemotherapy with autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation." Survival rates between in the BEACOPP and the ABVD group "were comparable": Seven-year, event-free survival was 78% vs. 71%, respectively; and seven-year overall survival was 89% vs. 84. 

Scientists Identify Gene That Drives Liver Cancer Proliferation.


Reuters (7/20, Tan) reported that a recently discovered gene -- called the cell cycle-related kinase (CCRK) gene -- may be the driver of liver cancer cell proliferation, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Scientists at the Chinese University in Hong Kong injected liver cancer cells that contained the CCRK gene into laboratory mice on the right sides of their bodies; and then they injected liver cancer cells without CCRK into the left side of the same rodents. They found that tumors developed only on the animals' right sides, which contained the CCRK genes. The study authors noted that the CCRK gene must be turned on by androgens, which are male sex hormones, and may explain why more men than women typically suffer from liver cancer. 

Two Trials Show Promising Kidney Cancer Treatments.


The Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer (7/19, Townsend) reports that two "potentially groundbreaking international clinical trials led by a Cleveland Clinic oncologist could change the way kidney cancer is treated." At the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting last month, Dr. Brian Rini "presented data from a Phase Three trial showing the promising effects" of an investigational drug -- Pfizer-made axitinib -- in "delaying cancer progression in previously treated patients." Another study led by Dr. Rini, which "this summer began enrolling the first of 330 patients in the US and Europe, is testing the safety and efficacy of a therapeutic vaccine." The trial will "look at overall survival in patients receiving the vaccine in combination with an older drug, sunitinib (brand name: Sutent), compared with patients who receive only sunitinib." 

Report: Endoscopy Prevents Surgery In Some Cancer Patients.


Medscape (7/14, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reported, "Two the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) suggest that 40% to 45% of patients can be spared having to undergo surgery." One study showed that "the endoscopic approach, with mediastinoscopy as a backup if endoscopy did not show any evidence of cancer, was more effective than using mediastinoscopy alone," while the second showed that "transcervical extended mediastinal lymphadenectomy (TEMLA)," which is more extensive than mediastinoscopy, "removes all the mediastinal nodal stations except 1, as well as surrounding fatty tissue," and was more effective at finding metastases than endoscopy. However, in that study, all patients underwent initial endoscopy and 40% were found to have metastases that indicated chemoradiation, and did not undergo surgery.

Study: SABR Benefits Elderly NSCLC Patients.

Medscape (7/14, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reported, "A population-based study has found that the survival of all elderly patients with nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) increased significantly after the introduction of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), also referred to as stereotactic body radiotherapy." The study showed that in 4,605 patients 75 and older, diagnosed with stage I NSCLC, "from 2001 to 2009, the median survival for patients treated with radiation increased by nearly 10 months, from 16.8 months to 26.1 months," while those undergoing surgery also had increased median survival. The researchers encourage the use of SABR as well as surgery for elderly patients. 

FDA Advisory Panel Endorses Chemotherapy Drug.


The AP (7/15) reports, "All 10 members of the Food and Drug Administration's oncology drug panel voted in favor of approving" Seattle Genetics' innovative chemotherapy drug, Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) "based on a study of each in patients with Hodgkin's disease and a type of lymphoma."

        Medscape (7/14, Mulcahy) reported, "The Hodgkin's lymphoma trial is a single-group multicenter study of" over 100 patients. "Brentuximab, 1.8 mg/kg, was administered as a 30-minute outpatient intravenous infusion once every 3 weeks, for up to 16 cycles of therapy (median, 9 cycles)." Researchers found that "the objective response rate was 75%, and tumor reduction was demonstrated in 94 patients (96%)."

        MedPage Today (7/14, Walker) reported Seattle Genetics' "ALCL trial involved 58 patients between the ages of 18 and 64. They were given 1.8mg/kg of brentuximab vedotin intravenously every 21 days for up to 16 cycles." The researchers found that "86% of patients achieved the primary endpoint -- objective response -- and 57% had a complete remission. The median duration of the complete remission was 13.2 months."

European Regulators Approve Cancer Drug Ipilimumab.

The Wall Street Journal (7/14, Stovall, Subscription Publication) reported European regulators have approved Bristol-Myers Squibb's cancer drug, Yervoy (ipilimumab).

        The AP (7/15) reports that the drug was approved "for use in adults with previously treated advanced melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer." A study presented in June "that tested Yervoy in newly diagnosed patients with advanced, or metastatic, melanoma, showed that the injected drug can extend life. Among patients who received Yervoy combined with the current standard of care, a cell-killing drug called dacarbazine, 21 percent were alive after three years" versus "12 percent for those getting dacarbazine alone." Dow Jones Newswire (7/14, Stovall, Subscription Publication) also covered the story. 

Treatment Expected To Be Approved For NSCLC By Year's End.


Medscape (7/12, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reported, "Crizotinib, a new targeted drug aimed at certain patients with nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is expected to be approved before the end of the year." Data from phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of the drug "have already been filed for accelerated approval with the US Food and Drug Administration; phase 3 studies are ongoing." Dr. Alice Shaw, from Massachusetts General Hospital, said, "Crizotinib may prolong survival and fundamentally alter the natural history of ALK-positive nonsmall-cell lung cancer." Shaw presented the data "at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; the data were previously reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)." 

Researchers Find PAX8 Important In Ovarian Cancer Cells.


HealthDay (7/12, Dallas) reports on a study (pdf) in PNAS that "found that a particular gene, known as PAX8, is altered in a significant number of ovarian tumors." The "research is part of Project Achilles, a comprehensive effort by scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to identify weaknesses in cancers." The authors analyzed over 100 tumors, including 25 ovarian cancers, and "suppressed more than 10,000 genes in an attempt to find those needed for cancer cells to grow and survive." They identified PAX8 as important to cancer cell proliferation, especially in ovarian cancers. The authors said it may be more useful, in the future, to identify tumors by key mutations rather than tissue of origin. They also stated they plan to search for mutations that can affect PAX8. 

Cancer Researchers Say No Amount Of Alcohol Consumption Is Safe.


The Los Angeles Times (7/11, Brown) "Booster Shots" blog reported that "in a piece published Monday, Paule Latino-Martel, a cancer researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, and co-authors argued that many countries' alcohol consumption to take into account long-term risks associated with drinking," including an increased risk for "mouth, throat, breast, colorectal and possibly liver cancers." The authors stated that "there is no level of alcohol consumption for which the cancer risk is null," and also noted that the WHO has recently concluded that alcohol consumption does not prevent heart disease.

Patient In Sweden Receives First Artificial Trachea Grown From Stem Cells.


USA Today (7/8, Sternberg) reported that a University of Iceland student with a dire case of cancer received "the world's first artificial trachea, made of his own stem cells grown on a man-made plastic matrix." The trachea was made in two days by an international team of US, London, and Swedish researchers led by Paolo Macchiarini, a professor of regenerative surgery from at Sweden's Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. USA Today described the steps in harvesting the patient's cells and creating the artificial trachea using a bioreactor. The US team that helped create the trachea was led by David Green of Harvard Biosciences of Massachusetts.

        The Wall Street Journal (7/8, Naik, Subscription Publication) reported that the patient, a 36-year-old man from Eritrea, had undergone surgery and radiation before the transplant, but he was not expected to live long without it. Considering the severity of his condition, the patient will leave the hospital cancer-free, and his treatment will likely be a template for curing other patients with tracheal cancer or other illnesses or injuries of the windpipe. The Journal said Macchiarini already has plans to use windpipe transplants for two US patients and a young child from North Korea.

        Bloomberg News (7/8, Flinn) reported that the surgical procedure took some 14 hours and was done on June 9. Macchiarini said the patient "was already refused by every surgeon in the world, and they asked me whether there was a solution. .. He had no other chance, except to die, and therefore we did it." Harvard Bioscences' David Green said the procedure "was done essentially on an emergency basis. ... The next step is more formal trials."

        To create the organ, CNN (7/7, Park) reported that "scientists created a Y-shaped framework for the new trachea, modeling it after the specific shape of the patient's windpipe. The form was made of polymers that had a spongy and flexible texture. Stiff rings around the tube mimicked the structure of a human trachea." To begin the tissue growth, "the form was then bathed in a solution containing the patient's stem cells." The team then gave the stem cells "physical or chemical cues to create the desired type" for the organ. Then, "once the cells were thriving on the form, the artificial trachea was implanted into the patient."

        AFP (7/8) reported that the application holds special promise for children, because there are fewer donors of tracheas for them.

Lung Cancer Experts Laud NLST Study.


Medscape (7/6, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reported that lung cancer experts "heaped praise on the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), which has shown a reduction in mortality with early detection." The study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that "screening with low-dose spiral computed tomography (CT) reduced mortality from lung cancer by 20%. CT screening was compared with chest x-rays, which have not shown any mortality reduction in previous trials." Discussing the results at the "opening press conference here at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer, experts praised this 'enormous achievement. ... This is the most important publication in lung cancer in a decade,' said John Field, MD, from the University of Liverpool Cancer Research Center in the UK, and chair of the International Association of Study on Lung Cancer (IASLC) CT Screening Task Force, which held a workshop prior to the conference." 

New Way To Identify NSCLC Patients Who Will Respond To Drug Discovered.


Medscape (7/6, Chustecka, Subscription Publication) reported, "A new approach to identifying patients with nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are likely to respond to cetuximab (Erbitux) when used in combination with chemotherapy was reported" at the World Conference on Lung Cancer. "The finding comes from...the FLEX study, which showed that adding cetuximab to first-line chemotherapy statistically significantly improved overall survival in patients with advanced NSCLC." Researchers assessed tumor EGFR expression with immunohistochemistry in 1,121 patients. Those "with high EGFR expression fared better on cetuximab plus chemotherapy than on chemotherapy alone, regardless of histology. The median overall survival in this high-expression group treated with cetuximab plus chemotherapy was 12 months, compared with 9.6 months for patients treated with chemotherapy alone (hazard ratio, 0.73; P = .011)." 

Researchers Probe Whether HCAs Raise Cancer Risk From Barbecued Meat.


The Chicago Tribune (7/3, Conis) reported on research on whether chemical compounds known as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, found in barbecued meat increase cancer risks. In the 1970s, Japanese scientists discovered that the compounds could damage cellular and bacterial DNA in test tube experiments. Later studies found that HCAs caused tumors in lab animals. Within the past decade, "a handful of studies in human populations began to suggest that HCAs might be behind the observed association between meat consumption and cancers of the pancreas, prostate and colon." But epidemiologists note that the HCA theory "is just one of several that could explain the association between meat consumption and elevated cancer risk" -- others include nitrites, free iron or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. HCA levels can also be reduced by lowering cooking time and temperatures, or by marinating or microwaving meat for a few minutes before grilling it. 

Meta-Analysis Refutes Cell Phone Cancer Risk.


Reuters (7/5, Hirschler) reports that despite recent articles suggesting a link between cellular phone use and cancer, and the recent recommendation by a World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that cell phones be classified as possibly carcinogenic, a meta-analysis released July 1, found no such association. Researchers analyzed studies going back as far as 20 years, and found no hard science linking cell phone usage to brain tumors. Reuters quotes lead study author Dr. Anthony Swerdlow from Britain's Institute of Cancer Research as saying the IARC members "were trying to classify the risk according to a pre-set classification system." Dr. Swerdlow pointed out that the IARC also deemed pickled vegetables and coffee as possibly carcinogenic.

        Bloomberg News (7/1, Hallam) also covered the new analysis, which was conducted by the "International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection's committee on epidemiology" and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a "monthly journal of the US National Institute of Environmental Sciences." 

Palifermin Prevents Oral Mucositis In Patients With Head, Neck Cancer Undergoing Radiation, Chemotherapy.


Medscape (6/30, Kelly) reported, "Palifermin (Kepivance), which is currently approved for preventing mucositis associated with total-body irradiation and stem-cell transplantation in hematologic malignancies, also prevents oral mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, according to two randomized trials published online June 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology." In the first study, researchers found that palifermin "reduced oral mucositis incidence to 51% (41 of 92), compared with 67% (63 of 94) with placebo (P = .027), shortened median mucositis from 22.0 to 4.5 days, and prolonged time to severe mucositis development from 32 to 45 days." In the second study, "palifermin cut the incidence of severe oral mucositis from 69% to 54% (P = .041), delayed median time to severe oral mucositis from 35 to 47 days, and shortened the median duration of severe oral mucositis from 26 to five days." 

About Half Of Prostate Cancer Surgery Patients Have Greater Problems Than Anticipated.


Reuters (7/1, Grens) reports that, according to a survey published in the Journal of Urology, about half of patients who undergo surgery to treat prostate cancer find themselves with greater incontinence problems and less sexual function than they had anticipated. Researchers surveyed 152 men who had part or all of their prostate removed for cancer treatment. They found that, one year after the procedure, just 36 percent of the patient's expectations for urinary function and 40 percent of their expectations for sexual function matched the true outcomes.



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