Cancer Blog

Here's our collection of cancer-related stories. We sift through a variety of stories and share the issues that we think matter to cancer patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and survivors. Learn about current events in the cancer community, human interest stories, and promising technology and treatment advances. Tell us what you think in the Comments section at the bottom of each post.

Note: The information contained in this service is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in the service is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment of any illness, condition or disease.

Jul

23

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FDA Sets Date to Decide Zevalin's Fate in Treating NHL

by: cancercompass

Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. says the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set September 7th as a decision date regarding experimental drug Zevalin's use in treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), reports Reuters.

The FDA recently accepted Spectrum's resubmission to review Zevalin, which typically means U.S. regulators would review the drug 60 days from the date of the submission's acceptance, says Reuters.

Zevalin is already approved to treat patients with relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular B-cell NHL.

Discuss your experiences with Zevalin or other medications used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at our Lymphoma Message Board.

 

Jul

23

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Study Suggests African Americans Have Higher Death Risks for Gender-Based Cancers

by: cancercompass

A national clinical trial found disparities in survival rates among African Americans diagnosed with breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Disparities were consistent despite patients receiving advanced care from the same doctors and researchers controlling for socioeconomic factors.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the research, which analyzed the records of more than 19,000 adult cancer patients participating in 35 randomized phase III clinical trials. Patients were followed for a minimum of 10 years.

During the study, African Americans were found to have a higher risk of death from advanced ovarian cancer (61%), post-menopausal breast cancer (49%), early breast cancer (41%) and advanced prostate cancer (21%).  No statistically relevant information was found between race and survival for lung cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma, leukemia or myeloma.

Lead researcher Dr. Kathy Albain told the Chicago Tribune these findings suggest hormones, tumor biology and inherited gene variations are more than likely attributing factors to the survival gap for breast, prostate and ovarian cancers in this particular race.

 

Jul

23

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Study Results of Metformin's Effects on Diabetic Breast Cancer Patients

by: cancercompass

Previous studies have suggested metformin - a drug used to control diabetes - helps diabetic breast cancer patient survival rates. A new study from doctors at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center provides additional clinical data that tests the drug's efficacy in diabetic breast cancer patient treatments that include neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, measured the pathologic complete response (pCR) rates in 2,529 early-stage breast cancer patients, 68 of which were diabetic and taking metformin and 87 diabetic patients not taking metformin.

Measuring pCR rates is one way doctors can test a drug's efficacy in patients. When these rates are high that usually indicates a higher likelihood the drug itself is working.  

During this recent M.D. Anderson study, researchers discovered higher pCR rates in diabetic breast cancer patients taking metformin than diabetic breast cancer patients not taking the drug.

Researchers say further study is warranted to determine the potential of metformin as an anti-tumor drug.

Has diabetes affected your breast cancer treatment? Share your experiences at the CancerCompass Breast Cancer Message Board.

 

Jul

23

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Researchers Announce Phase II Trial Results of Dasatinib for Leukemia

by: cancercompass

Dasatinib is an effective treatment for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia in an accelerate phase (CML-AP) when imatinib treatments fail, suggests a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This phase II trial study explored the safety of dasatinib by prescribing 174 imatinib-resistant patients 70 mg of the drug in oral form twice daily.

Researchers reported the 12 month progression-free survival and overall survival rates were 66% and 82%, respectively. Dasatinib was well tolerated with the most frequent side effects being diarrhea, cytopenias, as well as pleural effusion.

 

Jul

17

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Research Suggests Treatments May Prevent Removing Larynx in Advanced Laryngeal Cancers

by: cancercompass

University of Michigan Health Systems announced recent research that may help preserve the larynx in advanced laryngeal cancers.

Cancer patients with large tumors on their larynx often have the organ removed, causing them to lose their voice, say University of Michigan Health System researchers.  They've performed a new study that suggests one round of chemotherapy could help doctors decide whether avoiding surgery is a plausible option.

This study specifically analyzed advanced laryngeal tumors of 36 patients previously studied in two advanced larynx cancer studies conducted by the university.  Those patients were given one round of induction chemotherapy to see if their tumors responded. If the tumor shrank by 50% after this first round, they were given three more rounds of chemotherapy treatments along with daily radiation therapy.

Overall findings suggest most patients (81%) responded well to the induction therapy. Three years after treatment, 78% were alive and 58% still had an intact larynx.  

Results of the study appear online in the journal Laryngoscope.

Discuss your experiences with cancer patients, survivors and caregivers at the CancerCompass Laryngeal Cancer Message Board.

 

Jul

17

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Sutent Shows Promise in Helping Advanced Pancreatic Cancer Patients

by: cancercompass

Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer saw increased progression-free survival when prescribed Sutent over a placebo, reports Pfizer of its phase III clinical trial of the cancer drug.

Reuters reports 154 patients with advanced pancreatic islet cell tumors participated in the study, which was stopped early because it reached its primary trial goal. Overall, it took five months longer for the disease to worsen in patients taking Sutent than for those prescribed a placebo.

Patients receiving Sutent experienced the following side effects: low white blood cells, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, diarrhea, low blood sugar and swelling of the hands and feet.  Pfizer told Reuters these side effects are consistent with previous Sutent studies.

Researchers continue to analyze the data.

What are doctors prescribing for your pancreatic cancer? Discuss your treatments and experiences with other cancer patients and survivors at our Pancreatic Cancer Message Board.

 

Jul

17

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New Research Links Young Adult Obesity with Increased Risk & Early Onset Pancreatic Cancer

by: cancercompass

New research suggests obesity in early adulthood increases pancreatic cancer risk, while overweight patients of an older age with this difficult disease have lower survival rates, reports Reuters.

Being obese or overweight at young age had a "stronger association with pancreatic cancer risk than did subsequent weight gain at an older age," M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Researchers, Houston told Reuters Health. Another major study finding, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association for June 24, was people obese or overweight between the ages of 20 to 49 years had an earlier onset of pancreatic cancer by 2 to 6 years. Overall, the risk for overweight people began to level off at age 40 and became statistically irrelevant after age 50.

Obesity at an older age was, however, connected to reduced survival rates from pancreatic cancer. Specifically, a person with normal body weight a year before pancreatic diagnosis had an average survival of 18 months, while overweight and obese patients saw reduced survival times that averaged around 13 months.

Researchers analyzed 841 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma and a control group of 754 healthy people without cancer who matched the age, race and gender of the cancer patients.

 

Jul

17

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Study Analyzes Endometrial Cancer Treatments for Better Quality of Life Option

by: cancercompass

Vaginal brachytherapy provides better quality of life for endometrial cancer patients, suggests new research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers randomly assigned 214 patients to external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and 213 patients to vaginal brachytherapy (VBT) between 2002 and 2006.  Quality of life was evaluated for 348 (81%) patients who participated in the study.

Patients in the VBT group reported fewer symptoms of diarrhea and fecal leakage that limit daily activities, which suggest great ability to function socially, according to the study's abstract. At baseline, 15% of patients were sexually active, and this increased to 39% during the first year of treatment. Sexual functioning and symptoms did not differ between the two treatment groups.

Patients receiving EBRT reported more diarrhea and bowel symptoms that limited daily activity and decreased social functioning. These facts lead researchers to conclude VBT allowed for a better quality of life than EBRT in endometrial cancer patients.

Have you experienced either of these treatments? Share your story with other cancer patients, survivors and caregivers at the CancerCompass Endometrial Cancer Message Board.

 

Jul

17

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Drug Trial Suggests Sunitinib As First-Line Treatment in Metastatic RCC

by: cancercompass

New research suggests sunitinib provides longer survival rates for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) than interferon alfa.

Phase III trial results for sunitinib's demonstrated superiority over interferon alfa as a first-line treatment were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Researchers randomly assigned either 50 mg of sunitinib orally once daily (4 weeks on, 2 weeks off), or interferon alfa 9 MU subcutaneously thrice weekly to 750 patients with metastatic clear cell RCC.

Reported findings were a greater median overall survival rate in the sunitinib group than the interferon alfa group (26.4 versus 21.8 months, respectively).

 

Jul

17

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Cancer Compass Community Shares Hope

by: cancercompass

Supplements can often help cancer patients in their fight. Patient LoisA wonders which supplement will strengthen her intestinal tract following chemotherapy treatment. Share your experiences.

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Caregiver Debralynn shares her concerns regarding her husband's brain cancer diagnosis, including his treatment options. Share your thoughts.

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Caregivers and family often wonder where they can get accurate end-of-life information. Caregiver Justin's Mom wonders whether her source is truly accurate in reporting end-of-life signs for her son. Discuss your experiences.

 

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