Phoebe Starr


Authored Items

Advances in the Management of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

October 2011, Vol 2, No 6 - NCCN Hematology Congress

New York, NY—Several advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to Susan O’Brien, MD, Chief, Acute Leukemia Section at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Treatment selection can now be guided by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) testing for genetic abnormalities, and 2 new treatments in early-stage development hold promise for patients with a poor prognostic cytogenetic profile.

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Role of Adjuvant Zoledronic Acid in Endocrine Receptor- Positive Breast Cancer Being Refined

December 2011, Vol 2, No 7 - CTRC-AACR SABCS Annual Meeting

San Antonio, TX—Mounting evidence from randomized controlled trials suggests that zoledronic acid added to hormonal therapy will have its optimal use as adjuvant therapy in postmenopausal women with either medically/ surgically induced menopause or age-related menopause. The results of 2 trials were presented at the 2011 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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High-Dose Radiation Does Not Improve Survival in Stage III NSCLC

December 2011, Vol 2, No 7 - ASTRO Annual Meeting

Miami, FL—A regimen of high-dose radiation had no survival advantage over standard radiation with concurrent chemotherapy in patients with advanced unresectable non–smallcell lung cancer (NSCLC) that had spread to the lymph nodes, according to an interim analysis of a late-breaking study presented at the 2011 American Society for Radiation Oncology meeting.

The phase 3 RTOG 0617 trial showed that overall survival was 74% in the high-dose group versus 81% in the standard-dose arm, and median survival was 22 months versus 20 months, respectively.

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Hypofractionated Radiotherapy in Prostate Cancer More Convenient for Patients

December 2011, Vol 2, No 7 - ASTRO Annual Meeting

Miami, FL—Delivering higher doses of external-beam radiation over a shorter period (hypofractionated radiation) was as effective as conventional radiation in preventing treatment failure in men with intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer. The hypofractionated regimen shortened treatment time by 2.5 weeks compared with conventional radiation. However, the frequency of grade 2 or higher genitourinary (GU) adverse events, particularly urinary incontinence, was much higher with the hypofractionated regimen in a phase 3 trial presented at the meeting.

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Array of Treatments for Metastatic Prostate Cancer, but Can We Afford Them?

February 2012, Vol 3, No 1 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

New York, NY—Men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) now have several different treatments that improve their survival—docetaxel (Taxo­-tere), cabazitaxel (Jevanta), abiraterone (Zytiga), and sipuleucel-T (Provenge). The newest potential therapy to improve survival in this group of pa­tients is the radiopharmaceutical radium-223 (Alpharadin), which is currently under US Food and Drug Admin­istration review.

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Which Patients with Prostate Cancer Should Receive Hormone Therapy in Addition to Radiation?

February 2012, Vol 3, No 1 - Prostate Cancer

Miami, FL—Although several studies have shown that the addition of androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) to radiation improves disease-free survival (DFS) in men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, this is a heterogeneous group of patients, and it is not clear whether they should all receive ADT plus radiation, or whether the benefit is confined to a specific subset of patients.

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Nonpharmacologic Strategies Have Mixed Results in Prostate Cancer Prevention

March 2012, Vol 3, No 2 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

San Francisco, CA—Nonpharmacologic strategies for prevention of cancer are potentially attractive and costeffective, but success stories are few. According to 2 separate studies presented at the recent Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, vigorous exercise prevented recurrence of prostate cancer and reduced mortality, whereas long-term vitamin E supplementation at commonly used doses actually increased the risk of prostate cancer in otherwise healthy men.

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Long-Term Survivors of Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Transplant Pose Significant Burden to Healthcare System

March 2012, Vol 3, No 2 - ASH Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA—Survivors of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) have substantial medical illnesses and psychological symptoms ≥10 years after the procedure, representing a substantial burden to our healthcare system. Long-term HCT survivors have nearly a 6-fold greater risk than their siblings of life-threatening or severe illness or death, according to a study presented at ASH 2011. [ Read More ]

Biomarker Identifies Patients with Rare Brain Tumors Who Have a Survival Benefit from Chemotherapy Plus Radiation

June 2012, Vol 3, No 4 - ASCO Annual Meeting

Chicago, IL—Patients with the relatively rare brain tumor anaplastic oligodendroglioma who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy after standard radiation therapy had improved survival compared with radiation alone, especially if they had codeletion of chromosomes 1p/19q, according to long-term follow-up of the EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer) 2651 study reported at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

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Economics Impede Growth of Supportive Care Services

September 2012, Vol 3, No 6 - MASCC Symposium

New York, NY—Supportive care is effective in improving outcomes, but the growth of supportive care programs is hampered by economics, explained Eduardo Bruera, MD, Chair, Palliative Care & Rehabili­tation Medicine, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, speaking at the 2012 Multinational Association of Suppor­tive Care in Cancer International Symposium. “Financial distress is a huge elephant in the room,” Dr Bruera stated.

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Observation as Good as Radical Surgery for Localized Prostate Cancer, Especially Low-Risk Cancer

September 2012, Vol 3, No 6 - Prostate Cancer

In this era of upwardly spiraling healthcare costs, the management of low-risk prostate cancer is changing. Although approximately two thirds of men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer have a low prostate-specific antigen (PSA) value or low-risk disease, approximately 90% of these men receive early intervention, with surgery or with radiation. Findings from a new study from the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System suggest that localized prostate cancer, especially low-risk cancer, can be safely managed by observation alone.

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Molecularly Targeted Agents Have Lower Rates of Severe Diarrhea than Standard Chemotherapy

September 2012, Vol 3, No 6 - Health Policy

New York, NY—Diarrhea is a common side effect of standard chemo­therapy, but the risk is less well characterized with molecularly targeted agents, which may add to the risk of diarrhea when combined with standard chemo­therapy, according to Lowell Anthony, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of Kentucky, and Chief of Medical Oncology, UK HealthCare, Lexington, who discussed this topic at the 2012 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Inter­national Symposium.

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Updated Data Confirm Survival Benefits with T-DM1 in Breast Cancer and with Regorafenib in Colon Cancer

October 2012, Vol 3, No 7 - ESMO 2012 Conference

Vienna, Austria—The updated analyses of 2 major studies of drugs that were recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirm the benefits of tras­tuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer and of regorafenib (Stivarga) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Both studies were presented at the 2012 European Society for Medical On­cology (ESMO) Congress. Regora­fenib was approved by the FDA for the treatment of mCRC during the ESMO meeting (see article here).

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Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Cost-Saving, Convenient for Patients with Prostate Cancer

November 2012, Vol 3, No 8 - ASTRO Annual Meeting

?Boston, MA—In the United States right now, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has largely replaced 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy as the technique of choice for most patients with organ-confined prostate cancer that is being treated with radiation as the primary therapy.

Another technique in use is brachytherapy, and, at some centers, proton beam therapy is being studied.

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Proton Beam Therapy: Similar Toxicity to Standard Radiation, at Much Higher Cost

November 2012, Vol 3, No 8 - ASTRO Annual Meeting

?Boston, MA—The use of proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) for the treatment of prostate cancer is increasing across the United States, but there is no evidence from randomized, controlled trials to suggest that PBRT is more effective than intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which is the current standard of care. A study presented at the 2012 American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting found few differences in toxicity between the 2 techniques, but demonstrated that PBRT was associated with a 57% increase in median cost per patient.

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Newer, More Costly Radiation Technologies Adopted in Elderly Patients with Breast Cancer

November 2012, Vol 3, No 8 - ASTRO Annual Meeting

?Boston, MA—The patterns of use of radiotherapy have changed over time in elderly patients with stage I breast cancer, and these changes have financial implications for the healthcare system. In elderly patients with favorable-risk breast cancer, the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and brachytherapy steadily increased from 2001 to 2007, while the use of standard external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) decreased. Data are lacking on whether the new­er technologies improve outcomes in this patient population. [ Read More ]

Platinum-Resistant Ovarian Cancer: Bevacizumab Improves Survival When Added to Chemotherapy

November 2012, Vol 3, No 8 - ESMO 2012 Conference

?Vienna, Austria—Adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy im­proves outcomes in patients with platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer, according to results of the phase 3 clinical trial AURELIA, which was presented at the 2012 European Society for Medical Oncology Congress. Bevacizumab im­proved progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR) with any of the 3 chemotherapy regimens in the study, but adding bevacizumab to weekly paclitaxel was the most active combination in an exploratory analysis of the trial.

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Black Women with Invasive Node-Negative Breast Cancer Less Likely to Get Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Axillary Staging, More Likely to Have Lymphedema

January 2013, Vol 4, No 1 - Breast Cancer

San Antonio, TX—Black women with clinically node-negative invasive breast cancer were less likely than white women to undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) for axillary staging and also were more likely to develop lymphedema, according to a study presented at the CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

This study adds to the growing body of evidence documenting racial disparities in healthcare access.

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A New Multigene Score Identifies Women with ER-Positive Breast Cancer at Risk for Late Metastases

February 2013, Vol 4, No 2 - Personalized Medicine

San Antonio, TX—A multigene score called EndoPredict can help to identify women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive/HER2-negative breast cancer who are likely to develop metastatic disease in the long-term. EndoPredict is different from other multigene assays in its ability to predict late, rather than earlier, metastases, noted lead investigator Peter C. Dubsky, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, who presented results of a recent study at the 2012 CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

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Women with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Very Likely to Carry BRCA1 Gene

February 2013, Vol 4, No 2 - Personalized Medicine

San Antonio, TX—Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) was strongly associated with BRCA1 status, but not with BRCA2 status, in a large study of medically insured women. The study showed that the number of patients with BRCA mutations with a TNBC profile is statistically significant.

Findings from a poster presented at the 2012 Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium suggest that patients with TNBC should be referred to a genetics counselor for further evaluation and possible genetic testing.

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Real-World Evidence Shows Impact of Musculoskeletal Toxicity of Aromatase Inhibitors on Women with Breast Cancer

February 2013, Vol 4, No 2 - Breast Cancer

San Antonio, TX—Studies have suggested that musculoskeletal toxicity associated with aromatase inhibitor therapy can lead to noncompliance in up to 33% of women with breast cancer. A new, large cohort study at a single regional cancer center showed that the rate of musculoskeletal toxicity in women with early breast cancer who were treated with endocrine therapy was 64%.

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SNPs in Genes Affect Quality of Life Related to Radiation in Men with Prostate Cancer

March 2013, Vol 4, No 3 - Personalized Medicine

Orlando, FL—Novel candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes that are associated with inflammation have been identified and will be explored further with regard to their role in long-term quality-of-life (QOL) effects of radiation in men with prostate cancer, according to new research presented at the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. The investigators found 7 SNPs that were significantly associated with long-term QOL outcomes after radiation, but these SNPs did not retain statistical significance in a comparator group of men treated with radical prostatectomy.

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Postorchiectomy Surveillance Less Cost-Effective than Other Management Options

March 2013, Vol 4, No 3 - Health Economics

Orlando, FL—Para-aortic radiotherapy, dog leg radiotherapy, and 1 cycle of carboplatin (Paraplatin) are cost-effective options for the treatment of patients with stage I testicular seminoma, but surveillance is not a cost-effective option, according to a cost analysis that factored in reimbursement costs for salvage bleomycin (Blenoxane), etoposide phosphate (Etopophos), and platinum (BEP) chemotherapy after a potential relapse. This analysis was presented at the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

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Similar Outcomes with 18 Months versus 36 Months of Androgen Ablation Added to Radiation in High-Risk Prostate Cancer

March 2013, Vol 4, No 3 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—Similar overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival were achieved after 18 months of androgen ablation therapy compared with 36 months when combined with radiation therapy as primary therapy for patients with high-risk prostate cancer. A shorter course of androgen ablation has the potential to reduce unwanted side effects and to improve quality of life, and it may reduce the cost of prostate cancer therapy, according to the results of a phase 3 clinical trial reported at the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

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Surveillance an Option for Small Renal Masses in the Elderly

March 2013, Vol 4, No 3 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—Surveillance for small renal masses achieves similar outcomes in the elderly compared with the standard approach of surgery, according to a large retrospective analysis reported at the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. These findings suggest that both the costs and the complications associated with surgery can be avoided in elderly patients, especially patients with a shorter life expectancy and/or comorbid conditions.

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Targeted Therapies Added to Docetaxel Don’t Extend Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

March 2013, Vol 4, No 3 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—The latest in a string of failed trials of targeted therapies added to docetaxel (Taxotere) in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) were presented at the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. No survival benefit was observed with the addition of aflibercept (Zaltrap) to do­ce­taxel plus prednisone in the VENICE trial or with the addition of dasatinib (Sprycel) to docetaxel plus prednisone in the READY trial.

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AACR Issues New Policy on Tobacco Use

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - AACR Annual Meeting

Washington, DC—Tobacco use among patients with cancer is an important but often overlooked issue that requires intervention by oncology practices. In recognition of the problem and the gap between the need for intervention and the services delivered, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) issued a policy on tobacco use at its 2013 annual meeting.

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Novel Immunotherapy Approach Encouraging in Advanced Ovarian Cancer

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Ovarian Cancer

Washington, DC—A 2-step immunotherapy approach holds promise for women with advanced recurrent ovarian cancer, a disease that has limited therapeutic options. The 2 steps entail a personalized dendritic-cell vaccine, followed by adoptive T-cell therapy. In an early study reported at the 2013 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, almost 66% of patients derived clinical benefit from the vaccine alone, and the use of both therapies achieved approximately a 75% benefit.

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Higher HER2 Expression Leads to Better Outcomes with T-DM1 in Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer

May 2013, Vol 4, No 4 - Personalized Medicine

Washington, DC—Among women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, patients with the highest expression of HER2 had the best outcomes in treatment with ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1; Kadcyla), according to a biomarker analysis of the phase 3 EMILIA trial which was presented at the 2013 American As­sociation for Cancer Research annual meeting. Furthermore, the analysis showed that T-DM1 achieved superior outcomes in all patients who were enrolled in the trial versus patients who received capecitabine (Xeloda) plus lapatinib (Tykerb).

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Pazopanib: First Positive Maintenance Trial in Ovarian Cancer

June 2013, Vol 4, No 5 - ASCO Annual Meeting

Chicago, IL—Previous trials of maintenance therapy for patients with ovarian cancer have failed to show improved survival. A study presented at the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting is the first successful phase 3 trial in this setting, showing that the targeted therapy pazopanib (Votrient) extended progression-free survival (PFS) by a median of 5.6 months in women with ovarian cancer. Women enrolled in the trial were free of disease after initial treatment with surgery and chemotherapy.

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Two Genetic Tests Can Prevent Overtreatment of Early Prostate Cancer

July 2013, Vol 4, No 6 - Personalized Medicine

Chicago, IL—The management of patients with prostate cancer will be advanced by 2 new genetic tests—Oncotype DX prostate cancer test and Prolaris. Both tests generate a score that can be used to analyze biopsy specimens of men with low-risk prostate cancer (ie, Gleason score ≤6) to determine if they are truly “low risk” and appropriate for watchful waiting, or if they harbor higher-risk genes and need immediate treatment.

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MPDL3280A: Responses Better in Smokers than in Nonsmokers in Advanced Lung Cancer

October 2013, Vol 4, No 8 - ESMO 2013 Conference

Amsterdam, The Netherlands—For the first time, a therapy for non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has achieved responses in smokers better than in nonsmokers. The antibody MPDL3280A also achieved good responses in squamous and adenoma histologic types of NSCLC.

These results of a phase 1 study in patients with metastatic NSCLC were so encouraging that experts suggested bypassing phase 2 studies and going on to phase 3 clinical trials directly.

Recruitment for this human monoclonal antibody is ongoing for phase 2 and 3 trials in NSCLC.

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Kadcyla Prolongs Survival in Advanced HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

October 2013, Vol 4, No 8 - ESMO 2013 Conference

Amsterdam, The Netherlands—The antibody-conjugate ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), also known as T-DM1, prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) in advanced HER2-positive breast cancer in a heavily pretreated population, according to the final results of the phase 3 clinical trial TH3RESA. The study included cancer that progressed with ≥2 previous HER2-directed therapies—trastuzumab (Herceptin) and lapatinib (Tykerb).

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Second-Generation ALK Inhibitor Regresses Brain Metastases in Patients with Lung Cancer

October 2013, Vol 4, No 8 - ESMO 2013 Conference

Amsterdam, The Netherlands—The novel ALK/EGFR inhibitor known as AP26113 achieved good responses in reducing brain metastases in patients with crizotinib (Xalkori)-resistant and crizotinib-naïve non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as well as radiographic regression of central nervous system (CNS) metastases. These results of the first-in-human phase 1/2 dose-finding study of AP26113 were presented at the 2013 European Cancer Congress by David R. Camidge, MD, PhD, Director, Thoracic Oncology Clinical Program, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora.

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Idelalisib and Ibrutinib 2 Promising B-Cell Receptor–Signaling Inhibitors for B-Cell Malignancies

October 2013, Vol 4, No 8 - Emerging Therapies

New York, NY—Targeted therapy to the B-cell receptor signaling is paying off in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and in other B-cell lymphomas. Two novel oral agents—the PI3K inhibitor idelalisib and the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib—show great promise for these malignancies. These drugs have been studied in phase 3 trials, and current studies are focusing on combination strategies and new schedules to improve outcomes. In addition, both drugs have recently been submitted for review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Adjuvant Bisphosphonates: Winner in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

February 2014, Vol 5, No 1 - SABCS 2014

San Antonio, TX—Adjuvant bisphosphonates reduce the risk of bone metastases by approximately 33% and improve breast cancer–related survival by 17% in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer, according to a large meta-analysis reported at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). Bisphosphonates had no effect on premenopausal women in the adjuvant setting.

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Angiotensin System Inhibitors Extend Survival in Patients with Metastatic Renal-Cell Carcinoma

February 2014, Vol 5, No 1 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

San Francisco, CA—The use of angiotensin system inhibitors (ASIs) improved survival in patients with metastatic renal-cell carcinoma (mRCC) by 9 months, according to a retrospective pooled analysis of several clinical trials presented at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. Survival was further improved if patients were also taking vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor–targeted agents.

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Adding Radiation to Antiandrogen Hormone Therapy Extends Survival in Patients with High-Risk Prostate Cancer

February 2014, Vol 5, No 1 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

San Francisco, CA—Radiation added to hormone therapy with antiandrogens extended cancer-specific survival, as well as overall survival, when used as the primary treatment of patients with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer. In the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group VII study, 10- and 15-year survival improved by more than 50% in patients who received radiation plus hormone therapy versus hormone therapy alone, according to an updated analysis presented at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

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1 in 5 US Clinical Trials Fails to Complete

February 2014, Vol 5, No 1 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

San Francisco, CA—The early termination of clinical trials is a tremendous waste of resources and can leave patients with cancer with no improved treatment options. For the first time, a comprehensive study of the clinical trial enterprise in the United States has shown that 20% of 7776 adult phase 2 and 3 clinical trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov were terminated early. Furthermore, early terminations occurred across all cancer types, according to this retrospective study presented at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

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Encouraging Long-Term Safety Data for Radium-223

March 2014, Vol 5, No 2 - Prostate Cancer

San Francisco, CA—The safety and efficacy of radium Ra 223 dichloride (Xofigo, formerly Alpharadin) injection in men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and bone meta­stases have held up over the longer- term follow-up of the phase 3 Alpha­radin in Symptomatic Prostate Cancer Patients (ALSYMPCA) trial. Results of a study reported at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium showed that at 1.5 years after the last injection of this therapy, minimal myelosuppression and minimal nonhematologic adverse events were reported, and there were no reports of cancers of concern, including acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and primary bone cancer. [ Read More ]

Phi Index Can Select Patients with Prostate Cancer for Active Surveillance

April 2014, Vol 5, No 3 - Prostate Cancer

San Francisco, CA—A new tool called the Prostate Health Index (phi) can identify which patients with favorable-risk prostate cancer can safely be managed with active surveillance and which patients will probably require treatment. The phi index is relatively low tech and is calculated using 3 serum measurements: prostate-specific antigen (PSA), free/total PSA, and a measurement called [-2]proPSA. [ Read More ]

AG-221 Achieved Excellent Responses in Relapsed, Refractory Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndrome

May 2014, Vol 5, No 4 - AACR Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA—Preliminary data suggest that a novel agent called AG-221 can induce complete remissions (CRs) in patients with relapsed, refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who harbor mutated IDH2. These exciting results were achieved in patients with an ominous prognosis who have few or no other treatment options. The data were presented at the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting. [ Read More ]

Potential New Approach to Melanoma

May 2014, Vol 5, No 4 - AACR Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA—Preliminary results suggest that an investigational antibody-drug conjugate called DEDN-6526A (Seattle Genetics, Genentech) has activity against melanoma, including cutaneous, mucosal, and ocular melanoma, which is considered difficult to treat. The new drug comes on the heels of trastuzumab emtansine, the first antibody-drug conjugate approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of breast cancer. [ Read More ]

PD-L1 Expression Potential Biomarker for Response to Immunotherapy with MK-3475

May 2014, Vol 5, No 4 - Personalized Medicine

San Diego, CA—Two studies, one in melanoma and one in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), presented at the 2014 American Association for Can­-cer Research meeting attempted to correlate response to the anti–programmed cell death (PD)-1 inhibitor MK-3475 with the biomarker PD-L1. The hope is that the level of PD-L1 expression will be a biomarker for the selection of patients for treatment with this new agent. [ Read More ]

Obesity Ups Death Risk in Premenopausal Patients with ER-Positive, but Not ER-Negative, Breast Cancer

June 2014, Vol 5, No 5 - ASCO 2014 Highlights

Chicago, IL—Obesity increased the risk for breast cancer–associated death in premenopausal patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer, had little effect in postmenopausal women with ER-positive disease, and had no effect in patients with ER-negative disease, according to results of a large study of 80,000 women with early breast cancer that were reported at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. [ Read More ]

AZD9291, a Novel Mutation-Selective EGFR Inhibitor, May Overcome EGFR-TKI Resistance

June 2014, Vol 5, No 5 - ASCO 2014 Highlights

Chicago, IL—AZD9291, a novel mutation-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), may become a treatment option for patients with advanced, EGFR-mutated non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has progressed with standard EGFR inhibitors, according to results of a phase 1 study presented at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting and highlighted at a press briefing. [ Read More ]

ALTTO: Dual Anti-HER2 Adjuvant Therapy No Better than Trastuzumab Alone

August 2014, Vol 5, No 6 - Breast Cancer

The addition of lapatinib (Tykerb) to trastuzumab (Herceptin) to create dual HER2 blockade was no better than trastuzumab alone in the adjuvant treatment of patients with HER2 breast cancer in the global phase 3 ALTTO (Adjuvant Lapatinib and/or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimisation) trial, reported Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart, MD, PhD, Chair, Breast International Group, Brussels, Belgium, at a plenary session at the 2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting. [ Read More ]

Record-Breaking Survival in HER2 Metastatic Breast Cancer by Adding Pertuzumab – Dual HER2 blockade a new standard of care

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

Madrid, Spain—Final results from the CLEOPATRA (Clinical Evaluation of Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab) trial show that dual HER2 blockade with the combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab plus chemotherapy extended overall survival (OS) by almost 16 months compared with trastuzumab plus chemotherapy alone in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. [ Read More ]

PD-1–Blocking Nivolumab Shows Impressive Responses in Melanoma

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

Madrid, Spain—Immunotherapy marches on, showing continued progress in treating advanced melanoma. At the 2014 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress, first reports from a phase 3 clinical trial showed that the monoclonal anti–PD-1 antibody nivolumab achieved superior responses and longer progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) compared with standard chemotherapy in the second- or third-line treatment of patients whose melanoma progressed with ipilimumab therapy. [ Read More ]

CLEOPATRA: Record-Breaking Survival in HER2 Metastatic Breast Cancer by Adding Pertuzumab

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

Madrid, Spain—Final results from the CLEOPATRA (Clinical Evaluation of Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab) trial show that dual HER2 blockade with the combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab plus chemotherapy extended overall survival (OS) by almost 16 months compared with trastuzumab plus chemotherapy alone in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. This should become the new standard of care for patients with metastatic HER2 disease, according to the study investigators, who presented their results at the 2014 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress. [ Read More ]

ASSURE Trial: No Role for Adjuvant Sorafenib or Sunitinib in Locally Advanced Kidney Cancer

March 2015, Vol 6, No 2 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—Surprisingly, the use of adjuvant sorafenib (Nexavar) and sunitinib (Sutent) failed to extend disease­-free survival (DFS) in patients with locally advanced kidney cancer who are at high risk for recurrence, according to initial results of the ASSURE study. The ASSURE trial is the first and largest study investigating the use of adjuvant tyrosine kinase inhibitors/vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors in kidney cancer. [ Read More ]

AR-V7 Predicts Chemotherapy Sensitivity in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

March 2015, Vol 6, No 2 - Personalized Medicine

Orlando, FL—Experts are hopeful that the field of prostate cancer will soon be catching up to breast cancer and some other tumor types with regard to genomic markers. A study featured at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium sug­­gests that the an­drogen receptor (AR) abnormality known as “AR-V7” will turn out to be a predictive marker to help in treatment selection for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate can­­cer (CRPC). [ Read More ]

Caution: Active Surveillance Ill Advised in Men with Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer

March 2015, Vol 6, No 2 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—Active surveillance is sometimes used as management strategy in patients with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, especially in older, sicker men with short life expectancy. A new study validates the use of active surveillance for men with low-risk prostate cancer but provides sobering data regarding this type of management for those with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. The study results were presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. [ Read More ]

History of Testicular Cancer Increases Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer Later on

March 2015, Vol 6, No 2 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—Previous studies have shown that a history of testicular cancer increases the risk for developing prostate cancer. A new study presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium shows, for the first time ever, a link between a history of testicular cancer and an increased likelihood of intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer sometime in the future. [ Read More ]

Debate on PSA Prostate Cancer Screening Redux

March 2015, Vol 6, No 2 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—A new retrospective study of 87,562 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between January 2005 and June 2013 show that the incidence of prostate cancer and men with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) >10 decreased gradually between 2005 and 2011. However, the incidence of high-risk prostate cancer at diagnosis increased annually by 3% between 2011 and 2013, totaling 6%. This increase could lead to an additional 1400 prostate cancer deaths 10 years later. [ Read More ]

Localized Renal Cancer Surgery Associated with Substantial Costs from Lost Productivity

March 2015, Vol 6, No 2 - Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Orlando, FL—The total costs of renal surgery are not limited to hospitalization but accrue long after discharge. According to data presented at the 2015 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, most patients took more than 30 days off work after radical or partial nephrectomy, with the average estimated wages lost to unpaid time exceeding $10,000. [ Read More ]

Pembrolizumab Scores Big Over Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - AACR Meeting Highlights

Philadelphia, PA—As new immunotherapies become available for the treatment of melanoma and other cancers, head-to-head trials of these agents shed more light on how best to use them. In the phase 3 KEYNOTE-006 trial, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) outperformed ipilimumab (Yervoy)—a current standard of care—as upfront treatment for patients with unresectable advanced melanoma. The data were presented at the 2015 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. [ Read More ]

Two Immunotherapies Are Better Than One in Advanced Melanoma

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - AACR Meeting Highlights

Philadelphia, PA—Combination immunotherapy with ipilimumab (Yervoy) plus nivolumab (Opdivo) was superior to ipilimumab monotherapy in previously untreated patients with advanced melanoma in a phase 2 randomized clinical trial, according to lead investigator F. Stephen Hodi, MD, Director of the Melanoma Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, who presented the study at the 2015 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting. [ Read More ]

Projections for 2030: Increase in ER-Positive, Decrease in ER-Negative Breast Cancer

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - AACR Meeting Highlights

Philadelphia, PA—Over the next 15 years, up to a 50% increase is projected in the number of breast cancer cases, according to a study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The incidence of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers, diagnosed mostly by mammography, is projected to increase, whereas cases of ER-negative cancers, the more-difficult-to-treat cancers, are projected to decrease. ER-positive in situ cancers are expected to increase by approximately 50% and ER-negative cancers are expected to decrease by approximately 50% by 2030. [ Read More ]

New Hope for Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer?

May 2015, Vol 6, No 4 - AACR Meeting Highlights

Philadelphia, PA—Immunotherapy with pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was safe and effective in the treatment of patients with previously treated as well as treatment-naïve patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to results of the KEYNOTE-001 trial, said Edward B. Garon, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, who presented these data at the 2015 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting. [ Read More ]

Oral Nicotinamide Prevents Common Skin Cancers in High-Risk Patients

June 2015, Vol 6, No 5 - ASCO 2015 Highlights

Chicago, IL—The prevention of common skin cancers and precancers is possible by taking an inexpensive, widely available, oral pill twice daily. The pill—the vitamin B3 supplement called nicotinamide—cut the rate of new squamous-cell and basal-cell skin cancers by 23% compared with placebo after 1 year among patients at high risk for skin cancer. Nicotinamide also reduced the risk for developing actinic keratosis, a common precancer of the skin. [ Read More ]

Docetaxel Boosts Survival in Patients with Hormone-Naïve Metastatic Prostate Cancer

June 2015, Vol 6, No 5 - ASCO 2015 Highlights

Chicago, IL—Adding docetaxel (Taxotere) to standard hormone therapy extends overall survival (OS) by a median of 10 months versus hormone therapy alone in men with newly diagnosed, advanced, hormone therapy–naïve prostate cancer, according to the results of the STAMPEDE trial. The survival benefits were more pronounced in metastatic disease and were less certain in nonmetastatic disease. Another finding of this analysis of STAMPEDE is that zoledronic acid (Zometa) had no benefit in this setting. [ Read More ]

Adding Ibrutinib to Standard Therapy Reduces Disease Progression by 80% in Previously Treated Patients with CLL

June 2015, Vol 6, No 5 - Palliative Care

Chicago, IL—The combination of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) plus standard therapy with bendamustine (Treanda) and rituximab (Rituxan) significantly reduced the risk for disease progression or death by 80% compared with bendamustine plus rituximab alone in previously treated patients with chronic ­lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL), according to lead investigator Asher A. Chanan-Khan, MD, Chair, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL. [ Read More ]

GADOLIN Trial: Obinutuzumab an Effective Treatment for Indolent Lymphoma

August 2015, Vol 6, No 7 - Emerging Therapies

Chicago, IL—The results of the phase 3 GADOLIN trial provide the first proof of efficacy for obinutuzumab (Gazyva) in patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Obinutuzumab added to standard bendamustine (Treanda) chemotherapy almost doubled progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with rituximab (Rituximab)-refractory indolent lymphoma—the median PFS was 29.2 months with obinutuzumab plus bendamustine versus 14 months with bendamustine alone. [ Read More ]

Combination of PARP and PI3K Inhibitors Share a Genomic Landscape in Breast and Ovarian Cancers

August 2015, Vol 6, No 7 - Personalized Medicine

Philadelphia, PA—Now that a number of targeted therapies are available for the treatment of cancer, one of the big questions is how to best combine them, especially for patients with few other good treatment options. A preliminary study showed that combining the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor olaparib (Lynparza) with the investigational phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor BKM120 achieved responses in 2 aggressive cancer types that share a genomic landscape—high-grade serous ovarian cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. [ Read More ]

Significant Benefits Seen with 2 New Options for Patients with Renal-Cell Carcinoma

November 2015, Vol 6, No 10 - Emerging Therapies

Vienna, Austria—Patients with advanced, pretreated renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) who have limited treatment options got good news from 2 important practice-changing trials, CheckMate 025 and METEOR, which were presented as late-breaking abstracts at the 2015 European Cancer Congress (ECC). CheckMate 025 showed a survival benefit for nivolumab (Opdivo) over standard therapy with everolimus (Afinitor) in patients with previously treated advanced RCC. This is the first trial to show a survival benefit for an immune checkpoint inhibitor after standard therapy has failed. METEOR showed that cabozantinib (Cometriq) nearly doubled progression-free survival (PFS) compared with standard everolimus in patients with advanced RCC whose disease progressed with previous vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor (VEGFR)-targeted therapy. [ Read More ]

Chemotherapy Safe During Pregnancy in Second and Third Trimesters

November 2015, Vol 6, No 10 - Pregnancy & Cancer

Vienna, Austria—Results from a new study provide reassurance to women who have cancer while pregnant that they can safely receive treatment during the second or third trimester with chemotherapy or radiation without compromising their unborn child. The study showed that children born to mothers who receive chemotherapy or radiation during pregnancy had no impairment in general health, cognition, or cardiac function compared with children born to healthy mothers, said lead investigator Frédéric Amant, MD, PhD, Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. [ Read More ]

Men’s Health Supplements Have No Value for Patients with Prostate Cancer

November 2015, Vol 6, No 10 - Prostate Cancer

San Antonio, TX—Supplements that are often sold in supermarkets and health food stores to promote “men’s health” or “prostate health” do not provide any clinical benefits to men with prostate cancer, according to the results of a retrospective study presented at the 2015 American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting. Men’s health supplements did not significantly prevent distant metastasis, prostate cancer–related death, or treatment-related adverse events in this first-of-its-kind study. [ Read More ]