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September 2011 Vol 4, No 6

What are some treatment options for elderly patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia? Read More ›

A study by the National Cancer Institute reports that approximately 1 in 5 patients with lung cancer continue to smoke after diagnosis.

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The FDA has approved crizotinib (Xalkori; Pfizer) to treat patients with locally advanced or metastatic non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who express the abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. Crizotinib has been approved with a companion diagnostic test that will help determine if a patient has the abnormal ALK gene, Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit (Abbott Molecular).

Crizotinib blocks protein kinases, including the protein produced by abnormal ALK. This oral agent is designed to be taken twice daily as a single-agent treatment.

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More than 60% of hospital staff uniforms are colonized with potentially pathogenic bacteria, according to a new study (Am J Infect Control. 2011;39:555-559). The findings suggest that physicians and nurses may be transferring pathogens that could cause clinically relevant infection.

Interestingly, the findings may have significant implications for oncology pharmacists. The investigators found antibiotic-resistant bacteria isolated from samples from 14% of nurses’ uniforms and 6% of physicians’ uniforms.

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Each year, a significant number of adolescents and young adults (AYAs), aged 15 to 39 years, are faced with a cancer diagnosis. And yet, there has been a lack in progress when it comes to treating this age-group. To better understand the facts and figures associated with these patients, let’s take a closer look at AYA oncology by the numbers. Over the past 30 years, cancer incidence in young adults has increased more than any other age-group…

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CHICAGO—Most end-of-life costs ac - crued by patients with cancer are related to health services rather than the use of drugs, according to an analysis of claims from a large health plan (UnitedHealth).

“The bottom line is that most of the costs were not related to drugs but to healthcare services plus the inpatient hospitalizations,” said April Teitelbaum, MD, coinvestigator and a practicing oncologist and Senior Medical Director, Life Sciences, Hematology/ Oncology, Innovus, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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CHICAGO—The cancer drug pipeline is bursting with promising new therapies for a variety of tumors. Of the many investigational drugs presented, this article highlights some of the most promising agents now in phase 2 or 3 clinical trials.


This oral inhibitor of MET kinase and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor produced high rates of disease control in several solid tumor types, and fully or partially eliminated bone metastases in a randomized phase 2 study.

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CHICAGO—Exemestane appears to be a good alternative to tamoxifen for prevention of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to results of the randomized, placebo-controlled MAP.3 trial. Read More ›

The FDA has issued 510(k) clearance to market HE4 Test in an algorithm (ROMA [HE4 EIA + ARCHITECT CA 125 II]; Fujirebio Diagnostics), which aids in assessing whether a premenopausal or postmenopausal woman who presents with an ovarian adnexal mass is at high or low likelihood of finding malignancy on surgery.

This Risk of Ovarian Malignancy Algorithm test uses the results from CA 125 and HE4 blood tests to identify patients presenting with adnexal mass as high or low likelihood for finding malignancy on surgery.

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After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Chicago became one of the fastest growing cities in the world. But in this time of prosperity and growth, the prognosis for children born in the city was grim. A child had only a 50% chance of surviving to the age of 5 years, and those who survived were likely to be exposed to a host of diseases. In 1882, Julia Foster Porter took bold steps to transform the future of children’s health in Chicago by renovating a modest home and establishing Chicago’s first—and still its only—hospital dedicated exclusively to caring for children. Read More ›

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