Charles Bankhead

Authored Items

More Evidence Supports the Anticancer Effect of Metformin

October 2012, Vol 3, No 7 - Breast Cancer Symposium

San Francisco, CA—Women with diabetes taking metformin had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer, an association that appeared to grow stronger with increasing duration of follow-up, results of a recent meta-analysis showed.

Overall, metformin users had a 17% lower risk of breast cancer compared with women who did not use the drug, including diabetic women who were taking other hypoglycemic agents. The reduction in risk increased to 25% among women who took metformin for >3 years and to 32% when follow-up started before 1997.

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“Dramatic” Responses with Targeted Agent for Patients with CLL

January 2013, Vol 4, No 1 - ASH Annual Meeting

Atlanta, GA—Targeting Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) resulted in high response rates, without severe toxicity, according to the results of 2 studies that were presented at the 2012 American Society of Hematology meeting.

Data from one trial showed a 70% response rate in 116 patients treated with ibrutinib and a 22-month survival of 96% in previously untreated patients and 76% in the subgroup with relapsed/refractory CLL.

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Infection Poses Lethal Risk Early in Patients with Multiple Myeloma

February 2013, Vol 4, No 2 - ASH Annual Meeting

Atlanta, GA—Many patients with multiple myeloma succumb to infection before they have a chance to benefit from cancer therapy, according to a new study from Sweden.

More than 20% of patients died of infection within a year of myeloma diagnosis. Patients had heightened susceptibility to bacterial and viral pathogens, reported Cecilie Blimark, MD, a consultant hematologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, at the 2012 American Society of Hematology meeting.

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Preventive Therapy Preserves Sexual Function after Radiotherapy for Patients with Prostate Cancer

February 2013, Vol 4, No 2 - Prostate Cancer

Boston, MA—Patients with prostate cancer reported significantly better sexual function for up to 2 years after radiation therapy when they took sildenafil (Viagra) on a daily basis during and after treatment, according to results of a placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Scores on the erectile function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) remained significantly better with sildenafil compared with placebo throughout the follow-up.

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Gene-Based Test Identifies Breast Cancer with Low Risk for Late Metastasis

March 2013, Highlights - Prognostic Tests

An 8-gene panel has demonstrated potential for identifying patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer at low risk for late metastasis. Patients classified as low risk by the EndoPredict panel had a significantly lower rate of distant metastasis after 5 and 10 years of follow-up compared with patients who did not meet the test’s criteria for low risk, according to Peter Dubsky, MD, of the Breast Health Center, Associate Professor of Sur­gery, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

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Intraoperative Radiotherapy Fares Well Against EBRT

March 2013, Highlights - Radiation Therapy

Low-dose intraoperative radiation therapy has proved comparable with whole-breast irradiation for preventing breast cancer recurrence, according to the preliminary results of the large randomized Targeted Intraoperative Radiotherapy (TARGIT-A) trial.

After a median follow-up of 29 months, the estimated 5-year absolute difference in relapses is 2.0% in favor of whole-breast irradiation. Although this numerically favors whole-breast irradiation, the difference is still within the 2.5% margin established for noninferiority.

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Hypofractionation Validated for Breast Radiotherapy: Less Potential for Toxicity Shown

March 2013, Highlights - Radiation Therapy

Ten-year disease control in patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer did not differ significantly between patients treated with a reduced-dose hypofractionated radiation therapy compared with a standard protocol, according to a study presented at the meeting.

The 10-year locoregional recurrence rate was 4.3% in patients who received a 40-Gy radiation dose in 15 fractions and 5.5% in patients randomized to 50 Gy in 25 fractions.

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Robotic Gastrectomy No Better, but More Costly, than Laparoscopic Surgery

March 2013, Vol 4, No 3 - Health Economics

San Francisco, CA—Patient survival after minimally invasive gastrectomy was identical with robotic-assisted and conventional laparoscopic surgery, according to data from a large patient series that was presented at the 2013 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

Similar Outcomes
Both techniques led to 5-year 94% overall survival and 92% disease-free survival rates. Disease stage did not significantly alter survival results.

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AUA Revises Its Guidelines for Prostate Cancer PSA Screening

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Prostate Cancer

San Diego, CA—Prostate cancer screening with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests should focus on men aged 55 to 69 years, the group that is the most likely to benefit from screening, according to a new clinical guideline issued by the American Urological Association (AUA) at its 2013 annual meeting. This represents a significant shift from the previous position held by the AUA for strong support of PSA screening for men of all age-groups.

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Tumor Subtype Fails to Explain Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Survival

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Personalized Medicine

Washington, DC—Black women had worse survival across all breast cancer subtypes, indicating that the survival disparity compared with white women cannot be blamed entirely on more frequent diagnosis of less treatable subtypes, based on data from a breast cancer survivor study.

Consistent with previous data, black women more often had difficult-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer and were less likely than white women to have the more treatable luminal A subtype. Mortality was twice as high in blacks as in whites, as documented in most studies.

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Gene Expression May Simplify Search for Effective Therapy in Head and Neck Cancer

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Personalized Medicine

Washington, DC—Therapeutic development in head and neck cancer could eventually hone in on a handful of gene-expression patterns and signaling pathways that can identify a few discrete subtypes of the disease, data from The Cancer Genome Atlas suggest.

Sequencing of the entire tumor genome of 279 patients revealed 18 frequently mutated genes, of which expression patterns in squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck have simplified the search for new, more effective therapies.

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Liquid Biopsy Improves Detection of Secondary GIST Mutations Causing Drug Resistance

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Personalized Medicine

Washington, DC—Analysis of circulating DNA provides information about secondary mutations that cause drug resistance in patients with previously treated gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), reported George D. Demetri, MD, Director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, at the 2013 American Association for Cancer Research meeting.

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No Loss of Efficacy with Anthracycline-Free Induction for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Hematologic Malignancies

Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) had no drop-off in efficacy with an anthracycline-free regimen that also reduced the long-term risk of cardiotoxicity, reported Andre Baruchel, MD, PhD, Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Robert Debré University Hospital, Paris, France.

Induction therapy without daunorubicin (Cerubidine) led to a 5-year event-free survival (EFS) rate of almost 97%, slightly better than the rate observed in children who received conventional induction that included the anthracycline agent.

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CHOP Disappearing as Standard of Care for Indolent NHL

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Hematologic Malignancies

A long-standing treatment standard for indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) has fallen victim to the chopping block, so to speak, at least in Germany.

The use of the cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), doxorubicin (Adriamycin), vincristine (Oncovin), and prednisone (Deltasone; CHOP) regimen with or without rituximab (Rituxan; R-CHOP) has declined rapidly with the emergence of bendamustine (Treanda), which is used either alone or with ri­tuximab.

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Companion Diagnostics Information Not Easily Obtained

June 2013, Vol 4, No 5 - Personalized Medicine

San Diego, CA—Getting technical information about companion diagnostic tests required to make formulary decisions about oncology drugs may not be easy, according to a small telephone survey conducted by Aashish Surti, PharmD can­didate, and Iris Tam, PharmD, Di­rector, Managed Care Med­i­­cal Com­mu­n­i­­cations, Genentech. They reported their survey results in a poster presented at the 2013 Academy of Man­aged Care Pharmacy (AMCP) meeting.

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New Guideline Emphasizes Sequenced Therapy for Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

June 2013, Vol 4, No 5 - Prostate Cancer

San Diego, CA—Evidence-based drug sequencing should form the basis of treatment for castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), according to a new guideline from the American Urolo­gical Association (AUA) released at the 2013 AUA annual meeting.

Organized into strategies for 6 types of patients with CRPC (“index patients”), the guideline emphasizes thera­pies that have demonstrated efficacy in the specific index patient.

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ASCO Adds Aromatase Inhibitor to Breast Cancer Prevention Options in Postmenopausal Women

September 2013, Vol 4, No 7 - Breast Cancer

An aromatase inhibitor has joined tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and the selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulator raloxifene hydrochloride (Evista) as chemoprevention for women who are at an increased risk for breast cancer, according to the recent update of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) practice guideline (Visvanathan K, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2013;31:2942-2962).

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Need for Innovative Strategies for Quality Care Will Continue to Grow

November 2013, Vol 4, No 9 - ASCO Quality Care Symposium

San Diego, CA—Current economic trends mandate the development of innovative strategies to affect quality and efficiency in cancer care, applying the same rigor as used in clinical trials, according to Lee N. Newcomer, MD, MHA, Senior Vice President, UnitedHealthcare, who addressed cost issues and barriers in provider reimbursement at the 2013 ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

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Cost-Effective Strategy for Early NSCLC Hinges on Operability of the Disease

November 2013, Vol 4, No 9 - Economics of Cancer Care

Atlanta, GA—Surgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) proved cost-effective strategies for stage I non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) when applied to specific patient populations, according to a study reported at the 2013 American Society for Radiation Oncology meeting.

SBRT had the advantage for older patients with marginally operable disease, whereas lobectomy offered the most cost-effective option for patients with clearly operable disease.

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Aromatase Inhibitor–Related Pain Reduced with Exercise Regimen

February 2014, Vol 5, No 1 - SABCS 2014

San Antonio, TX—Breast cancer survivors obtained significant relief from aromatase inhibitor–associated joint pain with a prescribed exercise program, the results of a randomized clinical trial showed.

At the end of 1 year, the patients in the exercise group reported 20% to 30% less pain compared with a control group that was randomized to usual care. The benefits were consistent across subgroups, irrespective of age, disease stage, treatment regimen, or duration of aromatase inhibi­­-
t­or therapy.

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PIK3CA Mutation Thwarts Neoadjuvant Anti-HER2 Therapy in Breast Cancer

February 2014, Vol 5, No 1 - Personalized Medicine

San Antonio, TX—Patients with HER2-­positive breast cancer harboring a PIK3CA mutation had a significantly lower likelihood of achieving a pathologic complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant anti-HER2 therapy, the results of 2 large clinical trials presented at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) showed.

Patients without the mutation had a pCR rate of 37% versus 17% for those with a mutation. The pCR rate for mutated tumors was 17% to 18%, whether patients received a single anti-HER2 agent or a combination.

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Outpatient Chemoradiation Regimen Matches Inpatient Care Outcomes, at Lower Costs

March 2014, Vol 5, No 2 - Head and Neck Cancer

Scottsdale, AZ—Definitive chemoradiation with single-agent outpatient chemotherapy for head and neck cancer led to disease control and survival equivalent to that of inpatient multi-agent therapy, at an annualized savings of almost $650,000, according to results of a small randomized trial presented at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. [ Read More ]

Previous Docetaxel Therapy Thwarts Enzalutamide Activity in CRPC

March 2014, Vol 5, No 2 - Prostate Cancer

San Francisco, CA—Men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) had inferior time duration to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) progression and of progression-free survival (PFS) if they received the androgen receptor agonist enzalutamide (Xtandi) after the taxane docetaxel (Taxotere) rather than before, according to data from a retrospective study presented at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. [ Read More ]

Mixed Results with Postprogression EGFR Inhibition in Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

October 2014, Vol 5 , No 8 - ESMO 2014 Highlights

Madrid, Spain—Continuing an EGFR inhibitor after acquired resistance does not slow the progression of advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients receiving chemotherapy, according to a report presented at the 2014 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress. However, extending anti-EGFR therapy with erlotinib beyond disease progression may be beneficial, according to a second report presented at the meeting. [ Read More ]

Study Identifies Important Benefits of Cancer Survivorship Programs

October 2014, Vol 5 , No 8 - Breast Cancer

San Francisco, CA—Patients with breast cancer who attended survivorship clinics demonstrated improved compliance with follow-up visits, increased use of supportive services, and felt their concerns were better addressed, according to the results of a cancer center’s patient survey reported by Leah L. Dietrich, MD, an oncologist at Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, WI, at the 2014 Breast Cancer Symposium. [ Read More ]

Value of MRI in Smoldering Myeloma Stressed by the International Myeloma Working Group

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - Multiple Myeloma

All patients with smoldering or asymptomatic multiple myeloma should undergo whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or pelvic and spinal MRI if whole body is unavailable, according to recommendations from the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG). The presence of >1 focal lesions >5 mm should be considered diagnostic for symptomatic myeloma requiring therapy. [ Read More ]

Revised Survivorship Care Plan Template Reduces Time and Resource Commitments

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - Survivorship

A revised survivorship care plan template addresses obstacles that have limited the use of survivorship plans in clinical practice, suggested an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) expert panel headed by Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, MSN, RN, Professor of Nursing and Director of Survivorship Care, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. [ Read More ]

Atezolizumab, a PD-L1 Inhibitor, Shows Impressive Results in Metastatic Urothelial Cancer

March 2016, Vol 7, No 2 - Emerging Therapies

Patients with previously treated metastatic urothelial cancer had response rates that exceeded historical standards when treated with an investigational immunotherapeutic agent, updated results of a large phase 2 clinical trial showed. Treatment with the PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor atezolizumab led to an overall response rate of 15% in 311 patients, including a 26% rate among patients who had the highest levels of PD-L1 expression. Historical data have demonstrated response rates of about 10% for second-line therapy and beyond. [ Read More ]

Biomarker Panel May Aid Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer

March 2016, Vol 7, No 2 - Personalized Medicine

A panel of 4 blood-derived biomarkers showed promise as an aid to early detection of colo­rectal cancer (CRC). The panel yielded a negative predictive value exceeding 90% for CRC, the combination of CRC and high-risk adenomas, and colorectal plus other cancers. The biomarker assay demonstrated fair to good performance characteristics, associated with the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve ranging between 0.70 and 0.80. [ Read More ]

Cologuard: Stool DNA Test Performs Well in Community-Based Setting Among Medicare Beneficiaries

July 2016, Vol 7, No 6 - Colorectal Cancer

The multitarget stool DNA test, a noninvasive screening tool for colorectal cancer (CRC), demonstrated potential for identifying cancer and advanced adenomas in community-based individuals who had previously not followed national screening recommendations, reported Mark Prince, MD, MBA, Director of Gastroenterology, USMD Health System, Arlington, TX, at the 2016 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. [ Read More ]

ASCO Develops First-Ever Guidelines for Pain Management in Cancer Survivors

September 2016, Vol 7, No 8 - Cancer Pain

Every patient with cancer and cancer survivors should undergo screening for pain at each follow-up visit, and clinicians should individualize the recommendations for intervention as indicated by each patient’s self-reported pain, according to the first-ever clinical guidelines for managing pain in cancer survivors recently published by a panel of experts convened by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). [ Read More ]

Changes in Patient-Reported Outcomes Linked to Better Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

September 2016, Vol 7, No 8 - Prostate Cancer

Patient-reported outcomes had significant associations with survival in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), suggesting potential implications for clinical management, reported Tomasz M. Beer, MD, Oregon Health & Science University, Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, and colleagues, at the 2016 International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research annual meeting. [ Read More ]

Nearly Half of Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Candidates Are Not Offered that Option

September 2016, Vol 7, No 8 - Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Nearly half of patients with locoregional pancreatic cancer do not undergo potentially curative surgery, primarily because of nonclinical factors, according to the results of an analysis of data from the National Cancer Institute database by Amy T. Cunningham, MPH, a doctoral candidate at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues. [ Read More ]

Adjuvant Ipilimumab Therapy Shows Long-Term Survival Benefit in Patients with High-Risk Melanoma

November 2016, Vol 7, No 10 - ESMO 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark—Adjuvant immunotherapy with ipilimumab (Yervoy) led to significant improvement in long-term overall survival (OS) among patients with high-risk melanoma, according to results from a 5.3-year follow-up in a randomized clinical trial reported at the 2016 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress and published simultaneously online. [ Read More ]

Angiogenesis Inhibitor Has Modest Effect on Progression-Free Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

November 2016, Vol 7, No 10 - ESMO 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark—Patients with previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) had a small but significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) but no overall survival (OS) benefit after receiving the multikinase inhibitor nintedanib (Ofev), according to results from the LUME-Colon 1 clinical trial reported by principal investigator Eric Van Cutsem, MD, Clinical Digestive Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, at the 2016 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress. [ Read More ]

Ceritinib, a Newer ALK Inhibitor, Improves Progression-Free Survival After Crizotinib Failure in NSCLC

November 2016, Vol 7, No 10 - Lung Cancer

Copenhagen, Denmark—Patients with heavily pretreated ALK mutation and non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) after receiving the next-generation ALK inhibitor ce­ritinib, according to results from the ASCEND-5 study reported at the 2016 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress by Giorgio Scagliotti, MD, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, University of Torino, Italy. [ Read More ]

Immunotherapy with Atezolizumab Outperforms Chemotherapy in Previously Treated NSCLC

November 2016, Vol 7, No 10 - Lung Cancer

Copenhagen, Denmark—Immunotherapy competition in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) continued to heat up as atezolizumab (Tecentriq) improved overall survival (OS) versus docetaxel, according to results from the randomized, phase 3 OAK clinical trial reported at the 2016 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress by Fabrice Barlesi, MD, Professor of Medicine, Aix-Marseille University, France. [ Read More ]