TON - March/April 2011, VOL 4, NO 2
Vandetanib (Zactima) received full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients with nonresectable or metastatic medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Vandetanib was initially approved under the FDA’s orphan drug program, becoming the first medical treatment for MTC.
Following a lung cancer diagnosis, patients typically embark on a dizzying journey that takes them from one waiting room to another, as they follow their treatment plan from the medical oncologist to the surgical oncologist to the radiation oncologist and back again. Coordinating these visits imposes yet another burden on the patient and often leads to delays in care. Six years ago, St. Joseph Mercy Cancer Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan, decided to simplify life for their patients by opening a multidisciplinary lung cancer clinic.
Despite aggressive campaigns to educate Americans on the lifethreatening risks of smoking, nearly 500,000 people die each year in the United States from smoking-related illness, according to a recent study in Epidemiology. Even patients with smoking- related cancers have trouble quitting, with about two-thirds of patients with lung cancer continuing to smoke.
The “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer,” emerging from a collaboration of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society, shows declines in cancer rates and improved survival. It helps reassure us that the resources invested to fight cancer have not been misplaced.
Drug shortages continue to plague the United States, compromising patient safety and placing additional strain on healthcare resources. The shortages encompass common drugs used to treat a range of conditions, from everyday infections to heart attacks.
Using dose-painted intensitymodulated radiation therapy (DP-IMRT) to treat cancer in the anal canal reduces the risk of serious adverse events associated with standard radiation therapy without compromising survival according to data presented by Lisa Kachnic, MD, chief of radiation oncology at Boston Medical Center and an associate professor with Boston University School of Medicine, Massachusetts. She reported results from the phase 2 Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG)-0529 trial at a press briefing.
For patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), advances in molecular profiling have led to an explosion in novel agents specific for targets above and beyond the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Joseph Tabernero, MD, director of clinical research at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain, previewed the future of treatment for CRC.
In a study funded by Pathwork Diagnostics, Inc., researchers found that using the company’s tissue of origin test for patients with hard-toidentify primary cancers enabled accurate diagnosis of the tumor in several cases and led to changes in treatment. Patients whose diagnosis was confirmed appeared less anxious.
Investigators of a phase 2 study comparing 2 dosing schedules of sunitinib (Sutent) as first-line therapy for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) concluded that clinicians should stay with the currently approved dosing regimen of 50 mg daily for 4 weeks followed by a 2-week break. Robert Motzer, MD, attending physician, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, who presented the findings, said the data add to a growing body of evidence favoring the dosing regimen that the US Food and Drug Administration approved for sunitinib.
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