American Association for Cancer Research, March 31-April 4, 2012

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The American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research was held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago and attracted approximately 18,000 participants from around the world, including scientists, cancer survivors, clinicians, allied health professionals, industry professionals, and others interested in cancer research. The conference highlighted recent advances in the treatment, management, and prevention of cancer, with presentations focusing on cancer mechanisms, diagnostics and therapeutics, translation of advances to the clinic, and cutting-edge science in the prevention of cancer.

In one study, R. Bruce Montgomery, M.D., of the Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues found that galeterone, a small-molecule inhibitor of androgen signaling, was generally well tolerated in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer. The investigators assigned 49 patients to one of eight dose cohorts in single or split oral dose schema of 650 mg, 975 mg, 1,300 mg, 1,950 mg, or 2,600 mg every day for 12 weeks.

"Side effects that emerged during the study included mild chemical hepatitis, nausea, and diarrhea, but they were generally tolerable. Stopping the medication rapidly improved hepatitis in patients who developed this complication, and when patients were put back on galeterone the medication did not cause further hepatitis in the majority of patients. The maximally tolerated dose of medication was not reached in this study," Montgomery said.

The investigators also found that galeterone decreased prostate-specific antigen (PSA) expression.

"Specifically, we found that 49 percent of patients had PSA reductions of 30 percent or more, including 11 patients with reductions of 50 percent or more. A higher proportion of PSA responses were seen in men treated with the highest doses of galeterone," Montgomery said. "Overall the agent was safe and had evidence of activity which justifies further study of its effectiveness in men with advanced prostate cancer."

One of the study authors is an employee of Tokai Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of galeterone.

Abstract No. CT-07

John Farley, M.D., of the Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., and colleagues found that the MAPK pathway plays a pivotal role in cancer progression for low-grade serous ovarian cancers. In addition, targeting the pathway with selumetinib is effective and safe in patients who are historically highly resistant to chemotherapy.

"One hundred percent of patients with constitutive activation of the MAPK pathway, exemplified by over expression of the phospho-ERK protein, experienced clinical benefit from being treated with selumetinib," Farley said. "These results warrant further evaluation of inhibitors of the MAPK pathway in low-grade serous ovarian or peritoneal cancer. We are currently preparing to initiate a phase III international trial in women with recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer, comparing standard chemotherapy to selumetinib."

Abstract No. CT-05

AACR: Lengthy Survival in Some Receiving NSCLC Vaccine

THURSDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Use of belagenpumatucel-L, a therapeutic vaccine comprised of four tumor growth factor-β2 antisense gene-modified allogeneic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines, is associated with encouraging long-term survival for patients with stage IIIB and IV NSCLC, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. 5367
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AACR: IL-2, 13-Cis Retinoic Acid Beneficial in Advanced Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with advanced cancer, a combination of low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) and 13-cis retinoic acid (RA) increases natural killer (NK) cells, decreases expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and improves overall survival (OS), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. 5366
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AACR: Cruciferous Vegetable Intake Ups Breast CA Survival

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- For Chinese women, consumption of cruciferous vegetables after breast cancer diagnosis is associated with improved survival in a dose-response pattern, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Press Release
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AACR: AE37 Vaccine Induces Immune Response in Breast CA

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with breast cancer who are vaccinated with AE37, the Ii-Key hybrid of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-derived peptide, together with the immunoadjuvant granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF), have significant immune responses compared with those vaccinated with GMCSF alone, according to a phase II study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. LB-218
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AACR: Black Women Clear HPV Infection More Slowly

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- College-age African-American women clear human papillomavirus (HPV) infection much more slowly than similarly-aged European-American women, and are almost twice as likely to have an abnormal Pap smear, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. 550
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AACR: Peptide Vaccine Tested in Children With Gliomas

TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- For children with gliomas, vaccination with peptides for glioma-associated antigen (GAA) epitopes is generally well tolerated and has immunological and clinical activity, according to a pilot study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. LB-131
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AACR: Study Links Long-Term Estrogen Use to Breast Cancer

MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term use of estrogen hormone therapy (estrogen only [ET] or estrogen plus progesterone [E+P]) is associated with a higher risk for breast cancer, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. LB-60
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AACR: Metformin May Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients

MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- The diabetes drug metformin is safe in men with prostate cancer undergoing prostatectomy, and may improve prostate-specific antigen levels and curb tumor growth, according to a phase II study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from March 31 to April 4 in Chicago.

Abstract No. CT-04
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