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Drug Therapies

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) offer a unique approach for the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic cancers. The idea is that a potent cytotoxic agent is linked to an antibody specifically targeted to tumor cells, and once the antibody binds to the tumor cell, the cytotoxic agent is unleashed inside the cells to attack the cancer.

Patients with HER2+ breast cancer who develop resistance to trastuzumab may soon have an alternative therapy, according to recent findings published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Use of hormone therapy for menopause is associated with reduced risks for esophageal, gastric, and colorectal cancers, according to results of a prospective study that were then combined with published studies in a meta-analysis. In this British study of women aged 50 to 64 years, researchers found no significant differences in risk by type of hormone therapy, duration of use, or between past and current users. The reduction in risk, however, was small in comparison to the increased risk of breast cancer that has been attributed to hormone therapy in this population.

 

Hsp90 inhibition has been found to be a successful therapeutic approach for combating diseases that use JAK/STAT signaling for tumor growth. In in vivo and in vitro models, researchers showed that the small molecule Hsp90 inhibitor ganetespib exhibited potent activity in tumor cells dependent specifically on JAK2 signaling. Specifically, ganetespib sustained depletion of JAK2 including active JAK2V617Fmutant, subsequently decreasing STAT activity and reducing STAT-target gene expression.

 

Tissue velocity imaging and strain imaging can predict preclinical changes in left ventricular (LV) systolic function before a patient experiences a change in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), according to a prospective study in HER2-positive patients receiving trastuzumab in the adjuvant setting. Cardiac biomarkers, however, did not predict the development of cardiac dysfunction.

Asmall Canadian study found that patients who took delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, slept better and derived more enjoyment from eating than patients given a placebo. The University of Alberta investigators, led by associate professor Wendy Wismer, recruited terminal patients with advanced cancer who were randomly assigned to take 2.5 mg of dronabinol (a pill form of THC) or placebo twice daily for 18 days. Afterward, the participants completed questionnaires to assess whether their quality of life improved during the study.

The Centers for Medicare & Medi caid Services (CMS) has released a proposed decision memo that suggests it will cover the cost of sipuleucel-T (Provenge), the immunotherapy vaccine approved in April 2010 for men with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, for on-label use. CMS contractors will have discretion as to whether they will cover it for off-label use.

Patients with inoperable metastatic melanoma now have another treatment option as ipilimumab becomes the second immunotherapy drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cancer.
The somatostatin analog lanreotide (Somatuline) reduced the frequency of vomiting for patients with inoperable malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) in what presenter Pascale Mariani, MD, at the Institut Curie in Paris, France, called the first randomized, doubleblind, placebo-controlled study on palliative care in this patient population.
SAN ANTONIO—For women with human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2)-overexpressing breast cancer, preoperative treatment with agents that block HER2 leads to high rates of pathological complete response (pCR), according to the results of three studies presented at the 33rd annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 
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