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ASCO: Advances Highlighted in Cancers Affecting Women

Ovarian cancer patients may avoid unnecessary blood tests and delay second-line chemotherapy

MONDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Significant progress is being made in the fight against breast, ovarian and cervical cancers, according to several studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held from May 29 to June 2 in Orlando, Fla.

In one study, Gordon Rustin, M.D., of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Middlesex, U.K., and colleagues compared outcomes in 265 ovarian cancer patients who began second-line chemotherapy after blood tests showed an increase in CA125, and 264 ovarian cancer patients with increasing CA125 levels who did not begin second-line chemotherapy until they developed symptoms of relapse. After a median follow-up of 49 months, the researchers found no significant difference in overall survival between the immediate and delayed treatment groups.

Other studies presented at the press briefing showed that a new class of targeted drugs called PARP inhibitors may be effective against difficult-to-treat "triple-negative" breast cancers and BRCA-deficient advanced breast cancers; that gemcitabine (Gemzar) plus chemoradiation improves cervical cancer survival; and that sentinel node biopsy is an alternative to invasive pelvic lymph node removal in patients with early-stage cervical cancer.

"The studies presented today demonstrate continued progress against breast, ovarian and cervical cancers, which are major causes of cancer mortality worldwide," said the moderator of the press briefing, Eric P. Winer, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, chair of ASCO's Cancer Communications Committee.

Abstract - CA125 (Ovarian Cancer)

Physician's Briefing