Sunday, December 28, 2014

Arming anti-cancer virus with immunity protein boosts effectiveness

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 28, 2014 – A new anti-cancer virus combined with an immune system protein is showing promise as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, a new study shows.

The study done in mice engineered to have form of pancreatic cancer similar to humans uses the relatively new treatment approach, called oncolytic viral therapy, and combines it with the long studied immunotherapy in an effort to make the cancer treatment last longer. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

FDA approves Opdivo for advanced melanoma

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 22, 2014 – The FDA  today granted accelerated approval to Opdivo (nivolumab), a new treatment for patients with melanoma that cannot be treated with surgery or have advanced disease who no longer respond to other drugs.

The FDA granted Opvido breakthrough therapy designation, priority review and orphan product designation because the sponsor demonstrated through preliminary clinical evidence that the drug may offer a substantial improvement over available therapies. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Words of war and cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 18, 2014 – War and enemy metaphors are the most common metaphors found in news reports about cancer, and they pervade public discussion about the disease. The entire effort to find a cure for cancer, in fact, has been called a “war on cancer” since President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971.

But are such metaphors actually keeping us from taking the steps that can prevent more than half of all cancers? 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

FDA expands approval of Cyramza to non-small cell lung cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 13, 2014 – The FDA today expanded the approved use of Cyramza® (ramucirumab) to treat patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Marketed by Eli Lily, Cyramza works by blocking the blood supply that fuels tumor growth. The drug is intended for NSCLC patients whose tumors have grown (progressed) during or following treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy, and it is to be used in combination with docetaxel, another type of chemotherapy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tamoxifen reduces breast cancer by 30 percent after 20 years

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 12, 2014 – Tamoxifen remains effective for preventing breast cancer for at least 20 years a new analysis published in The Lancet Oncology shows.

The researchers analyzed data from 7,154 pre- and post-menopausal women who participated in the International Breast Cancer Intervention Study (IBIS I) study, which ended in 2001. The women were randomly assigned to receive either tamoxifen (20mg daily) or a matching placebo for five years. After completing treatment, the health of all participants was monitored with an average follow-up time of 16 years and maximum of 22 years.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Most breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy longer than recommended

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 10, 2014 – Two-thirds of women treated for early-stage breast cancer in the U.S. receive longer radiation therapy than necessary, according a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association

Led by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, and Dr. Justin E. Bekelman, the researchers analyzed insurance claims data provided by Anthem, Inc., a health benefits company (formerly WellPoint, Inc.) from 14 commercial healthcare plans covering 9 million women.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ultrasound screening of dense breasts will cost a lot with little benefit

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 9, 2014 – Adding ultrasound screening for all U.S. women with dense breasts would substantially increase healthcare costs with little improvement in overall health, according to an analysis released today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

With more states mandating notification of women when mammograms shows they have dense breasts, a risk factor for breast cancer, researchers at Dartmouth Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center looked at the costs and benefits of following up mammograms with ultrasound for these women.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Drug for rare form of leukemia given FDA nod

Amgen's blinatumomab allows T-cells to
attach to an immature B-cell and destroy it.
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 4, 2014 – The FDA has approved Blincyto (blinatumomab) to treat patients with a rare type of leukemia, called Philadelphia chromosome-negative precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-cell ALL).

Precursor B-cell ALL is a rapidly growing type of leukemia in which the bone marrow makes too many immature B-cells that are not yet functional in the immune system. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 6,020 Americans will be diagnosed with this form of leukemia and 1,440 will die from it in 2014. The Philadelphia chromosome is an abnormality that sometimes occurs in the bone marrow cells of leukemia patients and is linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

3-D mammography boosts cancer detection in dense breasts

A malignancy easily missed on 2-D
mammography was clearly seen on
3-D mammography. Credit - RSNA
Click image to enlarge
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 2, 2014 – A major new study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago this week has found that digital breast tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography, has the potential to significantly increase the cancer detection rate in mammography screening of women with dense breasts.

The researchers compared cancer detection using full-field digital mammography (FFDM) versus FFDM plus digital breast tomosynthesis in 25,547 women between the ages of 50 and 69.