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American Society of Clinical Oncology's Annual Meeting, June 2-6, 2006

American Society of Clinical Oncology's Annual Meeting

The 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology took place June 2-6 in Atlanta, and drew nearly 30,000 attendees from around the world. The meeting addressed issues such as cancer prevention and survivorship and presented research on a new generation of targeted therapies and novel agents aimed at treating advanced metastatic disease.

"One of the most interesting but also controversial abstracts was the STAR (Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene) trial," said Roy S. Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., chair of ASCO's communications committee and professor of medicine at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Although the study of more than 19,000 women showed that tamoxifen and raloxifene were equally effective in preventing invasive breast cancer in high-risk women, it also "showed how difficult it is to do a large prevention trial," Herbst said. "The data are not always as clear as one would hope. So the debate continues and will continue for quite some time."

Patricia Ganz, M.D., of the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health, discussed the Institute of Medicine's recent report on adult cancer survivorship. "Survivorship is a neglected phase of the cancer care trajectory," Ganz said. "There are few guidelines on follow-up care and providers lack education and training." (More Information)

"The new generation of targeted therapies has really come of age with an oral agent -- lapatinib -- that works in breast cancer patients who have failed Herceptin, and two new agents -- sunitinib and temsirolimus -- that show survival benefits for kidney cancer," Herbst said. "Until recently, we had very few if any options for kidney cancer." Although lapatinib is not yet approved, the positive results presented at the meeting will inspire more clinical trials that could lead to its approval, Herbst said.

Anthony W. Tolcher, M.D., of the Institute for Drug Development in San Antonio, Texas, presented research on YM155, a novel therapy that targets survivin, a protein that suppresses apoptosis in cancer cells. "YM155 had provocative anti-tumor activity in chemotherapy refractory patients," Tolcher said. Among the 41 patients studied who had advanced solid tumors, three of five with non-Hodgkin lymphoma experienced tumor shrinkage and two of nine with prostate cancer showed a greater than 50 percent decrease in PSA levels. (Abstract)

Herbst presented research on Apo2L, a novel therapy that causes cancer cells to commit cellular "suicide." He and his colleagues tested Apo2L on 58 patients with advanced cancers. Among the 37 patients whose tumors could be assessed, 22 (60 percent) had stable disease after four cycles and four (10 percent) had stable disease after eight cycles. "Apo2L has the potential to be an agent that adds to almost every chemotherapy, radiation or targeted therapy," Herbst said. (Abstract)

ASCO: Cancer Drug Ads Difficult for Patients to Decipher

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer drug-related advertising aimed at consumers is difficult to read and benefits are usually presented in a larger type size and appear earlier in the text than side effects and risks, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract (#6034)

ASCO: Mutations Predict Acute Myeloid Leukemia Relapse

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with core-binding factor acute myeloid leukemia (AML) may be more likely to relapse if they have mutations in exon 17 of the cancer-related KIT tyrosine kinase gene, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract

ASCO: Genes Affect Heart Failure Risk in Cancer Survivors

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatric cancer patients treated with anthracyclines may have a greater risk of developing congestive heart failure later in life if they have certain polymorphisms in genes that code for reactive oxygen species- or anthracycline-metabolizing enzymes, such as GSTP and CBR3, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract

ASCO: Thalidomide Extends Survival in Multiple Myeloma

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of thalidomide to standard treatment significantly extends survival in elderly patients with multiple myeloma compared to standard therapy alone or stem cell transplantation, although it also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis and neuropathy, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract

ASCO: HPV Vaccine May Reduce Vaginal, Vulvar Cancers

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- A human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer may also prevent most vaginal and vulvar cancers, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract

ASCO: Docetaxel Improves Head-Neck Cancer Outcomes

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of docetaxel to the standard two-drug induction chemotherapy regimen significantly improves survival in patients with advanced head and neck cancer, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

More Information

ASCO: Gleevec Confirmed As First-Line Therapy for CML

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), long-term imatinib (Gleevec) therapy significantly improves survival and progressively reduces the risk of disease progression compared to standard therapy, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract
More Information

ASCO: Temsirolimus Extends Life in Kidney Cancer Patients

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced kidney cancer who have a life expectancy of less than six months survive longer when treated with the experimental drug temsirolimus than either the standard treatment interferon-alpha or a combination of interferon-alpha and temsirolimus, according to research presented this week at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract

ASCO: Cancer Patients Get Quality of Life Boost from Yoga

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- A yoga program that incorporates stretching, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques can significantly improve quality of life in patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, according to research presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

More Information

ASCO: Anastrozole Increases Bone Loss in Cancer Patients

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women with invasive breast cancer who take the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole (Arimidex) may have more bone loss than those who take tamoxifen, according to research presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract (#511)

ASCO: Exemestane Benefits Breast Cancer Patients

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- In women with early breast cancer, switching to the aromatase inhibitor exemestane after two or three years of tamoxifen therapy may improve outcomes compared to women who remain on tamoxifen, according to research presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract (#LBA527)

ASCO: End-of-Life Cancer Care Becoming More Aggressive

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of cancer patients who died within two weeks of receiving chemotherapy increased in the 1990s, suggesting that end-of-life treatment is becoming more aggressive and many patients are not benefiting from palliative services such as hospice care, according to research presented this week at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Atlanta.

Abstract

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