Breast Cancer Vaccines Look Promising
June 27, 2008
By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay
Women with metastatic breast cancer who developed an immune response to an investigational vaccine lived twice as long as those who didn’t have an immune response, new research shows.
Primary tumors can drive the growth of distant cancers
June 17, 2008
By Cathleen Genova, Cell Press
Primary tumors can encourage the growth of stray cancer cells lurking elsewhere in the body that otherwise may not have amounted to much, according to a new study in the June 13 issue of the journal Cell, a publication of Cell Press. As people age, most may have such indolent cancer cells given the sheer number of cells in the body, although their rarity makes them impossible to detect, the researchers said.
The primary tumors under study, which were derived from human breast cancers, seem to “instigate” the growth of other cancers by mobilizing bone marrow cells, which then feed the secondary tumors’ growth, they report.
One key to the process is the secretion of a substance known as osteopontin by the instigating tumor, a finding that may have therapeutic implications. Indeed, the researchers noted that osteopontin is present at elevated levels in women with metastatic breast cancer, supporting the notion that the new findings may hold clinical significance.
Sites of Relapse in Breast Cancer May Require Biopsy to Accurately Determine HER2 or Hormone Status
June 12, 2008
Researchers from Canada reported that sites of relapse may have different molecular phentoypes than the primary tumor in breast cancer, and thus may require individual biopsies. However, further testing is necessary as the results presented were from a retrospective analysis of tumor samples. These results were recently reported at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Biopsies for breast cancer involve information including molecular phenotypes such as the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status and hormone receptor status, to name a few. It has been assumed that sites of relapse possess the same molecular distinctions as primary tumors in breast cancer, and treatment options are derived under this consideration without biopsy of sites of relapse. However, a couple of small studies have indicated that in some patients, sites of relapse may actually display phenotypic molecular markers that differ from the primary tumor. As a result these sites of relapse may potentially benefit from different treatment than what is considered for the primary tumor.
Could New FDA Rules Curb Drug Profiteering?
June 9, 2008
By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet
A GAO investigation has one drug industry insider squirming.
The “bully tactics” and “intimidation” of drug industry operatives could cause “thousands of additional cancer deaths,” cries an angry doctor in a May 29 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
But former FDA officer Mark O. Thornton, MD, MPH, PhD, is not talking about the lobbyists and reps embedded in doctors’ and lawmakers’ offices even as patients and constituents wait for access.
He’s talking about Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Lapatinib May Offer “No-Chemo” Option in Metastatic Breast Cancer
June 9, 2008
By Zosia Chustecka, Medscape Medical News
Several studies exploring the use of lapatinib (Tykerb, GlaxoSmithKline) in metastatic breast cancer have suggested that it offers an alternative to chemotherapy in this setting, both as monotherapy and in combination with other targeted therapies. One study explored the use of lapatinib alone, whereas others investigated combinations with trastuzumab (Herceptin, Genentech/Roche), with bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech/Roche), and with the investigational agent pazopanib (under development by GlaxoSmithKline).
Molecular Phenotypes in Breast Cancer May Differ Between Primary Tumor and Sites of Recurrence
June 9, 2008
By Roxanne Nelson, Medscape Medical News
Among women with relapsed or metastatic breast cancer, the sites of cancer recurrence might have an estrogen-receptor (ER)/progesterone-receptor (PR) and/or HER2 status that is different than the primary tumor. Researchers here at the American Society of Clinical Oncology 44th Annual Meeting reported that a significant proportion (28%) of relapsed tumors had changes in either ER/PR or HER2-receptor status, and suggested that biopsies of relapsed sites should routinely be performed to determine optimal treatment options.
Investigative Eribulin Mesylate Demonstrates Activity in Heavily Pretreated Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients: Presented at ASCO
June 6, 2008
By Ed Susman, DocGuide.com
CHICAGO — Treatment with the investigative tubulin inhibitor eribulin mesylate helped heavily pretreated metastatic breast cancer patients achieve more than a 4-month progression-free survival.
Conventional Chemotherapy Outperforms Xeloda® in Older Breast Cancer Patients
June 5, 2008
Among women aged 65 or older with operable breast cancer, risk of recurrence and risk of death were higher among those treated with Xeloda® (capecitabine) than among those treated with standard chemotherapy. These were the results of the CALGB/CTSU 49907 trial, presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Prompted by the relative lack of information about the effects of adjuvant (post-surgery) chemotherapy in older breast cancer patients, the CALGB/CTSU 49907 trial compared standard chemotherapy to Xeloda in breast cancer patients aged 65 or older. Xeloda is an oral chemotherapy drug that has produced promising results in selected patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Patients Achieve 16-Month Progression-Free Survival With Nab-Paclitaxel, Carboplatin, and Trastuzumab: Presented a
June 5, 2008
By Ed Susman, DocGuide.com
CHICAGO — Patients fighting metastatic breast cancer achieved a 16-month progression-free survival when taking a combination treatment of nanoparticle albumin bound (nab)-paclitaxel, carboplatin, and trastuzumab, researchers reported here at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 44th Annual Meeting
More profit than progress in cancer research
June 4, 2008
By Robert Bazell, Chief science and health correspondent , NBC News
CHICAGO — As I do every year at this time, I have been covering the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s biggest gathering of cancer specialists. At least 33,000 medical professionals registered for this year’s meeting. The number of attendees has been climbing yearly for decades, an indication of the enormous growth of the cancer treatment industry.