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In multiple studies presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, research teams reported the development of novel chemotherapeutic agents while other groups demonstrated that aggressive chemotherapy treatments do not appear to cause new safety concerns in certain patients.

In one study of 762 women with locally recurrent or metastatic breast cancer presented by Christopher Twelves, MBChB, PhD, of the University of Leeds and St. James’ University Hospital in Leeds, UK, researchers found that eribulin, a novel chemotherapydrug derived from a sea sponge, improved survival in women with heavily-pretreated metastatic breast cancer. Specifically, median survival rose to 13.12 months with eribulin compared with 10.65 months on chemotherapeutic, biologic, or endocrine therapy.

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In a study involving a new chemotherapeutic agent, women with relapsed, platinum-sensitiveovarian cancer had a 70% overall response rate to treatment with a taxane plus farletuzumab, an antifolate receptor antibody. “Compared to historical progress-free and platinum-free intervals, farletuzumab increases the overall response rate and the duration of second interval when combined with carboplatin and a taxane,” said Allan J. White, MD, of South Texas Oncology and Hematology at The START Center.

Another study, led by Salah-Eddin Al-Batran, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Klinik fur Onkologie und Hamatologie, Frankfort am Main, Germany, reported that docetaxel can be added to a combination chemotherapy treatment in patients older than 65 years without risking intolerable adverse side effects.

An additional study, conducted to investigate the safety profile of chemotherapy treatments, found that the addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) did not appear to cause new safety concerns among patients undergoing surgery for gastric cancers. ONA