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FDA Approves Telotristat Ethyl for Carcinoid Syndrome Diarrhea

On February 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved telotristat ethyl (Xermelo) tablets in combination with somatostatin analog therapy for the treatment of adults with carcinoid syndrome diarrhea that somatostatin analog therapy alone has inadequately controlled. About...

issues in oncology
cost of care

Patients With Cancer History More Likely to Change Prescriptions to Save Money

A new study led by American Cancer Society investigators found that cancer survivors are more likely to change their prescription drug use for financial reasons that those without a cancer history. These findings were published by Zheng et al in Cancer. The rising cost of cancer drugs imposes a...

breast cancer
prostate cancer
supportive care

ASCO Quality Care 2017: Mental Health Conditions Contribute to Care-Related Costs, Hospital Visits in Breast and Prostate Cancers

A new analysis of data from the U.S. Military Health System found that mood and adjustment disorders such as anxiety and depression were strong predictors of the annual number of outpatient visits, hospital admissions, and number of days in the hospital for patients with breast and prostate...

breast cancer
issues in oncology

ASCO Quality Care 2017: Study Examines Cancer Center Websites’ Information on Breast Cancer Treatment, Outcomes

As an increasing number of patients look to the internet for cancer information, researchers from the University of Alabama found that the websites of many National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers lack sufficient information to help patients with breast cancer understand all their...

ASCO Quality Care 2017: In-House Specialty Pharmacy at Cancer Center Improves Quality of Care, Reduces Medical Errors

An influx of new oral cancer drugs provides patients with a more convenient and less invasive way to take medication, but such treatments are often associated with adherence challenges and medical errors. New research shows that the addition of an in-house specialty pharmacy at a cancer center in...

Patient-Reported Outcomes for Assessing Symptom Burden in Patients Receiving Oral Anticancer Therapy

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Mackler et al found that use of a validated symptom assessment tool for patient-reported outcomes was feasible in evaluating symptom burden in outpatients receiving oral anticancer treatment in the clinical setting. Study Details The study...

Effect of Adjuvant Chemoradiotherapy in Resected Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

In a study of National Cancer Database data reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Trifiletti et al found that adjuvant chemoradiotherapy was associated with a survival benefit in patients with resected locally advanced head and neck cancer with negative surgical margins and no extracapsular ...

Cholesterol-Lowering Medication Use and Breast Cancer Outcome in the BIG 1-98 Trial

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Borgquist et al found that use of cholesterol-lowering medication during adjuvant endocrine therapy was associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence in hormone receptor–positive women in the BIG 1-98 trial. Study Details ...

Researchers Use Cardiomyocytes to Create Index of Cardiotoxicity of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine used heart muscle cells made from stem cells to rank commonly used chemotherapy drugs based on their likelihood of causing lasting heart damage in patients. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors can be an effective treatment for many types of cancers, ...

Development of a Voided Urine Assay for Detecting Prostate Cancer Noninvasively

Scientists at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University have developed a noninvasive technique to detect the presence of prostate cancer cells in patients' urine. The pilot study, led by Mathew L. Thakur, PhD, Director, Laboratories of Radiopharmaceutical Research and Molecular ...

Are Most Patients With Metastatic Melanoma Eligible for Immunotherapy Clinical Trials?

A Danish study reported in the European Journal of Cancer by Donia et al indicates that more than half of patients with metastatic melanoma do not satisfy requirements for enrollment in phase III trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors. Study Details The study involved 276 unselected cases...

Preclinical Study of PI3K/mTOR Inhibitors in Uterine Leiomyosarcomas

According to the National Cancer Institute, uterine sarcomas are rare gynecologic malignancies comprising between 2% and 5% of all uterine malignancies. Leiomyosarcomas, which arise from myometrial muscle, account for 30% of all uterine sarcomas. These aggressive, rare cancers are characterized by...

FDA Approves Lenalidomide as Maintenance Therapy for Patients With Multiple Myeloma Following Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

On February 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the existing indication for lenalidomide (Revlimid) 10 mg capsules to include use for patients with multiple myeloma as maintenance therapy following autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The expanded indication makes...

issues in oncology
cost of care

Payers Weigh the Implications of Multigene Testing Coverage

Innovation in precision medicine has introduced an amalgam of testing options, of which hereditary cancer panels—multigene tests—are a major component. Additionally, the importance of inherited cancer genomics was further bolstered by former President Barack Obama’s Precision...

Chinese Trial Adds Utidelone to Capecitabine in Heavily Pretreated Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer

In a Chinese phase III trial reported in The Lancet Oncology, Zhang et al found that adding the epothilone analog utidelone to capecitabine prolonged progression-free survival in women with heavily pretreated metastatic breast cancer refractory to both anthracycline and taxane treatment. Study...

Myeloablative vs Reduced-Intensity HCT for Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndromes

In a phase III trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Scott et al found that myeloablative conditioning for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation was associated with a reduced risk of relapse and a nonsignificant overall survival advantage vs reduced-intensity conditioning in...

Southern Surgical Association Annual Meeting: Isolated Limb Infusion for Extremity Sarcoma May Preserve Limbs

Patients with advanced malignant soft-tissue sarcoma of the extremities have typically faced amputation of the afflicted limb as the only treatment option. However, a technique that limits the application of chemotherapy to the cancerous region can preserve limbs in a high percentage of these...

More Patients With Early-Stage Breast Cancer May Be Able to Avoid Chemotherapy in the Future

Women with early-stage breast cancer who had an intermediate risk recurrence score from a 21-gene expression assay had similar outcomes, regardless of whether they received chemotherapy, a new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer finds. The research, published by Barcenas et al in ...

ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium: Utility of Biomarkers for Predicting Colorectal Cancer Survival Depends on Tumor Location

A large population-based study suggests that the utility of particular types of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) to predict colorectal cancer survival depends on where the tumor originates in the body. Although prior research has shown an association between high TIL density and longer...

ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium: Response to Cancer Immunotherapy May Depend on Gut Bacteria

Researchers have found a link between microbes in the gut (the microbiome) and response to immunotherapy. In the study, the ability of patients with advanced melanoma to respond to programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitors depended on the presence of a diverse microbiome...

Study Finds Cancer Mortality in Hispanics Varies Among Ethnic Groups

Although cancer is a leading cause of death among Hispanics, the burden of cancer mortality within Hispanic groups has not been well quantified. Now, a study by Pinheiro et al comparing the differences among Hispanic populations and cancer incidence has found that cancer mortality varies...

Olaparib Meets Primary Endpoint in OlympiAD Trial in BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Breast Cancer

On February 17, positive results were announced from the phase III OlympiAD trial comparing olaparib (Lynparza) tablets to physician’s choice of a standard-of-care chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer harboring germline BRCA1 or BRCA2...

2017 GU Cancers Symposium: Atezolizumab Plus Bevacizumab Shows Potential in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Results from the phase II IMmotion150 study that compared atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus bevacizumab (Avastin) and atezolizumab monotherapy to sunitinib (Sutent) alone in patients with previously untreated, locally advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma were presented at the 2017 Genitourinary...

2017 GU Cancers Symposium: Updated Efficacy and Tolerability of Durvalumab in Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma

At the 2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, Powles et al presented updated efficacy and safety data for durvalumab in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer (Abstract 286). Updated results from the phase I/II trial showed an objective response rate of 20.4% in all...

Optimal Time to Assess Response After Chemoradiotherapy in Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

In a post hoc analysis of the UK ACT II trial reported in The Lancet Oncology, Glynne-Jones et al found that the best time to assess for complete response to chemoradiotherapy in patients with anal squamous cell carcinoma is at approximately 26 weeks from the start of treatment. In the ACT II...

Variable Transparency of Industry-Sponsored Oncology Financial Assistance Programs

A “secret shopper” study reported by Zafar et al in the Journal of Oncology Practice found that transparency of industry-sponsored oncology patient assistance programs varied among programs. Study Details The study involved accessing pharmaceutical manufacturer–sponsored patient ...

Sarcopenia in Esophageal Cancer Represents a Significant Risk to Survival

Patients with esophageal cancer who suffer sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) during neoadjuvant chemotherapy survive, on average, 32 months less than patients with no sarcopenia. This is the central finding of a recent study conducted at the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of MedUni Vienna and...

palliative care
symptom management

Palliative Radiation Therapy for Bone Metastases: Update of an ASTRO Evidence-Based Guideline

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recently published an updated clinical guideline that underscores the safety and effectiveness of palliative radiation therapy for treating painful bone metastases. Based on recent clinical trial data, the guideline recommends optimal radiotherapy ...

Health-Related Quality of Life in Pivotal Trial of Adjuvant Ipilimumab in Stage III Melanoma

As reported in The Lancet Oncology by Coens et al, there was little difference between adjuvant ipilimumab (Yervoy) vs placebo in health-related quality of life in patients with high-risk stage III melanoma in the phase III EORTC 18071 trial supporting the 2014 approval of ipilimumab in this...

Study Finds Suboptimal Use of Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer

In a retrospective cohort study reported in JAMA Oncology, Daly et al found that recommended use of adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer improved in the United States between 2004 and 2013 but remains suboptimal. The study included data on 981,729 women with stage I to III breast cancer...

head and neck cancer
lymphoma
gastrointestinal cancer

Protein Component of the Epstein-Barr Virus May Promote the Development of Cancer

After an infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the virus persists in the body throughout a person's lifetime, usually without causing any symptoms. About one-third of infected teenagers and young adults nevertheless develop infectious mononucleosis, which usually wears off after a few weeks. ...

Early Biomarker Algorithm May Predict Graft-vs-Host Disease Occurrence

Researchers at Mount Sinai Health System have discovered a way to predict whether patients with blood cancer who received a bone marrow transplant will develop graft-vs-host disease, according to a study published by Hartwell et al in JCI (The Journal of Clinical...

Effect of Scalp-Cooling Device on Hair Loss in Women Receiving Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

An interim analysis of the SCALP trial, reported in JAMA by Nangia et al, showed that use of a scalp-cooling device significantly reduced hair loss in women receiving chemotherapy for stage I or II breast cancer compared with no scalp cooling. The study was stopped early on the basis of efficacy....

Study Finds Mutations in Myelodysplastic Syndrome Linked to Poorer Outcome After Stem Cell Transplantation

In a study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Lindsley et al found that a number of mutations present in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) were associated with poorer clinical outcome after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Study Details The study ...

Never Smokers Account for Increased Proportion of Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Cases

In a retrospective study in three U.S. institutions reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Pelosof et al found that never smokers accounted for an increasing proportion of cases of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during the period from 1990 to 2013. The study used data...

Gefitinib or Erlotinib vs Chemotherapy in EGFR-Mutant Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

In an individual patient data meta-analysis reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Lee et al found no difference in overall survival for first-line treatment with the first-generation epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib (Iressa) or...

cns cancers
sarcoma

Combination of Alisertib and HSV1716 Shows Antitumor Activity in Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor and Neuroblastoma Models

Two investigational agents, the aurora A kinase inhibitor alisertib and a virus derived from HSV-1 (HSV1716), have shown antitumor efficacy in early clinical trials as monotherapies. A new study published by Currier et al in Oncotarget, however, demonstrates that the combined usage...

Disease Symptoms Are the Most Frequent Indicators of Recurrence in Patients With Stage II Melanoma

Recurrences of early-stage (stage II) melanoma are more often detected by patients and their physicians than by routine imaging tests, according to study results published by Berger et al in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. “We are most concerned about patients who have stage ...

Intermittent Vismodegib Regimens in Patients With Multiple Basal Cell Carcinomas

In a phase II trial reported in The Lancet Oncology, Dréno et al found that two long-term intermittent vismodegib (Erivedge) dosing regimens provided a similar reduction in the number of clinically significant basal cell carcinomas among patients with multiple lesions. Study Details In the ...

Managing Patients With Low-Risk Neutropenic Fever at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Goodman et al described a management practice for low-risk neutropenic fever in cancer patients that has reduced in-patient stay with intravenous antibiotic use at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. Study Details In the study,...

Adding Bevacizumab to Perioperative Chemotherapy in Esophagogastric Adenocarcinoma

In the UK Medical Research Council ST03 phase II/III trial reported in The Lancet Oncology, Cunningham et al found that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to perioperative chemotherapy did not improve survival in patients with operable esophagogastric cancer and may have been associated with impaired...

Genetic Testing and Counseling Among Women With Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer

In a population-based study reported in a research letter in JAMA, Kurian et al found that genetic testing and genetic counseling are suboptimal among women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Study Details The study involved 2,451 women aged 20 through 79 years diagnosed with stage 0 to II...

2017 GU Cancers Symposium: In Advanced Kidney Cancer, Antibiotic Use Lowers Efficacy of Immunotherapy

A new retrospective analysis suggests that immunotherapy may be less effective in patients who receive antibiotics less than a month before starting treatment. In the study, cancer worsened more quickly in such patients than in those who did not receive antibiotics (with median progression-free...

2017 GU Cancers Symposium: Some Patients With Renal Cell Carcinoma Experience Long-Term Tumor Control Even After Stopping Immunotherapy Early

Early findings from a new study appear to challenge the current standard practice for immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy—continuing treatment until cancer worsens. Among patients with advanced kidney cancer who stopped programmed cell death protein 1/programmed cell death ligand 1...

2017 GU Cancers Symposium: Blood Test Uncovers Potential New Treatment Targets in Advanced Prostate Cancer

Analysis of free-floating cancer DNA from blood samples has yielded leads for new prostate cancer treatment targets. Using a commercially available “liquid biopsy” test in patients with advanced prostate cancer, researchers found a number of genetic changes in cell-free, circulating...

Clinical Trial Explores Ability of Genetic Test to Guide Surgical Management of Thyroid Cancer

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists and doctors are embarking on the first clinical trial to determine if a genetic test they pioneered could successfully spare patients with nonaggressive thyroid cancer from complete removal of their thyroid. Thyroid-preserving surgery minimizes ...

Patients With Breast Cancer With Dense Breast Tissue More Likely to Develop Contralateral Disease

Patients with breast cancer with dense breast tissue have almost a twofold increased risk of developing disease in the contralateral breast, according to new research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study, published by Brewster et al in the journal Cancer, is among the...

Comparison of Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy vs Lymphadenectomy in Endometrial Cancer Staging

In the FIRES prospective cohort study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Rossi et al found that sentinel lymph node mapping was highly accurate in detecting metastases compared with complete lymphadenectomy in women with endometrial cancer. Study Details The study included women with clinical stage ...

ASCP/CAP/AMP/ASCO Guideline on Molecular Biomarkers for Evaluation of Colorectal Cancer

As reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology by Antonia Sepulveda, MD, PhD, of Columbia University, and colleagues, a joint guideline on the use of molecular biomarkers for evaluation of colorectal cancer has been developed by an expert panel from the American Society for Clinical Pathology...

Does Obesity Pose Risk for Transformation of Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance to Myeloma?

In a population-based cohort study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Chang et al found that overweight and obesity were associated with an increased risk of transformation of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance to multiple myeloma. Black race was also...

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