dadstimeon Posted May 26, 2005 Share Posted May 26, 2005 http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/106 ... genumber=1 New Treatments Wow Cancer Doctors Drugs that target lung and breast cancer and new approaches to prostate cancer therapy took center stage this week as about 25,000 specialists gathered for the largest cancer meeting of the year. By Charlene Laino WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 Drugs That Target Tumors Draw Praise at Gathering of Experts This story is part of WebMD's coverage of the 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Other stories include: Femara Beats Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer | Avastin Improves Survival in Lung Cancer | Statin Drugs Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk | Regular Alcohol Intake Ups Breast Cancer Risk | Evista May Help Prevent Endometrial Cancer | Hormone May Prevent Prostate Cancer | Aspirin Prevents Colon Cancer Return | Low-Fat Diet May Cut Return of Breast Cancer | Hormonal Contraceptive Fights Hot Flashes | Exercise May Cut Risk of Colon Cancer's Return | Pill Fights Deadly Blood Cancer More From WebMD Prostate Cancer: New Treatments, Coping Tips Could You Be at Risk for Stomach Cancer? Get the Latest Cancer Headlines Delivered May 18, 2005 (Orlando, Fla.) -- Drugs that target lung and breast cancer and new approaches to prostate cancer therapy took center stage this week as about 25,000 specialists descended upon this central Florida city for the largest cancer gathering of the year. Also grabbing headlines were simple lifestyle interventions. Not only can they help ward off disease, but, for the first time, changes in lifestyle were shown to help people who already have cancer, too. Steps such as cutting fat in the dietcutting fat in the diet and exercising more were shown to reduce the risk of cancer's recurrence. The so-called targeted therapies, which attack the nuts and bolts of tumor growth while leaving healthy tissue relatively unscathed, had doctors reeling at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. A typically cautious group, doctors used words like "stunning" to describe the results. It's not that targeted therapies like Avastin and Herceptin haven't been discussed at previous conferences. It's just that "this meeting is a watershed event," says Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. "We're now beyond proof of principle and have the proof that the drugs really work for many common cancers. This research will change the standard of care," he tells WebMD. Robert J. Mayer, MD, director of the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, agrees. "Targeted therapies have now been shown to have clear benefit in lung, breast, and colon cancers," he tells WebMD. Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Next: Extending the Lives of Lung Cancer Patients Extending the Lives of Lung Cancer Patients The meeting marks the first time that a targeted therapy was shown to extend the lives of people with certain lung cancers.certain lung cancers. Adding Avastin to standard chemotherapy added more than two months to the lives of people with advanced lung cancer, the study shows. While it's far from a cure, this is "about the best survival we've seen" in people with advanced lung cancer, the No. 1 cause of cancer death in the U.S., says the American Cancer Society's Herman E. Kattlove, MD. Avastin -- already approved for colon cancerAvastin -- already approved for colon cancer -- was the first targeted therapy designed to inhibit a process known as angiogenesis. It works by preventing the formation of blood vessels in a tumor, which keeps the tumor from growing and spreading. Another star of the meeting was Herceptin, a targeted drug that cut in half the risk of breast cancer recurrences in women with particularly aggressive breast cancers. Although the results were announced in advanceresults were announced in advance of the meeting, cancer doctors crowded into an overflowing auditorium to hear the details and ask questions of the investigators. The new findings came from two large studies of women with early-stage, HER-2-positive breast cancer. After initial treatment of the tumor, some women received standard chemotherapy, while others were given chemo plus Herceptin. After about two years, those treated with Herceptin had a 52% lower risk of their breast cancer coming back. Herceptin targets a protein called HER-2, which is overproduced in 20% to 30% of breast cancers. The drug is believed to stop the cancer cells from growing and/or stimulate the body's own immune system to attack the tumors. Even though drugs like Avastin and Herceptin target the tumors, they are not without side effects, doctors caution. People taking Avastin have to be monitored for bleeding, for example, while women who take Herceptin can sometimes develop heart problems. Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Next: Diet, Exercise Prevent Cancer Comeback Diet, Exercise Prevent Cancer Comeback Doctors tell WebMD they are also excited about news of lifestyle interventions that can help prevent cancers and their return. "Patients diagnosed with cancer often ask what they can do," Mayer says. "At this meeting, we began to hear the options." One study shows that menopausal breast cancer survivors who cut down on fats in their diet were able to reduce their risk of tumor recurrence.menopausal breast cancer survivors who cut down on fats in their diet were able to reduce their risk of tumor recurrence. In the study of more than 2,400 women with early breast cancer, those who adopted a low-fat diet were one-fourth less likely to have their cancer return within five years than those who continued to eat their typical foods. Other researchers report that people treated for colon cancer were about half as likely to die or have their tumors come back if they engage in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity.people treated for colon cancer were about half as likely to die or have their tumors come back if they engage in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity. In the study, colon cancer survivors who walked at a moderate pace an hour a day, six days a week, were 49% less likely to have a recurrence or die compared with those who rarely exercised. Drugs Prevent Recurrences, Too Of course, drug treatment remains the mainstay of interventions aimed at preventing recurrences. One new study shows that menopausal women who were treated for breast cancer and were given Femara were less likely to die or have their cancer come back, compared with those who were given tamoxifen.menopausal women who were treated for breast cancer and were given Femara were less likely to die or have their cancer come back, compared with those who were given tamoxifen. And another study shows that taking an aspirin a day -- or even every other day -- may prevent colon cancer recurrences.aspirin a day -- or even every other day -- may prevent colon cancer recurrences. Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Next: Statins Slash Cancer Risk Statins Slash Cancer Risk What about preventing cancer in the first place? With nearly 10,000 printed and oral presentations, there was plenty of news in that area, too. One study shows that the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins may slash a person's chance of developing breast, prostate, and lung tumors in half.statins may slash a person's chance of developing breast, prostate, and lung tumors in half. Other research shows that a hormone used to fight advanced breast cancer may also prevent abnormal prostate growths from turning into cancer. In the study, men with abnormal precancerous growths in the prostate gland who took Acapodene tablets were about half as likely to get prostate cancer as those who didn't take the drug.Acapodene tablets were about half as likely to get prostate cancer as those who didn't take the drug. This is the first time a drug has shown promise for preventing prostate cancer among men with potentially precancerous growths, says researcher David Price, MD. Still other researchers report that a drug prescribed for osteoporosis may protect against endometrial cancer.drug prescribed for osteoporosis may protect against endometrial cancer. Women who took Evista "had about half the risk of endometrial cancer than those not using the drug," says Angela DeMichele, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Wine May Raise Breast Cancer Risk In a cautionary tale, other researchers report that drinking as little as half a glass of wine a day may raise a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.drinking as little as half a glass of wine a day may raise a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. The study shows that women who drank the equivalent of half a glass of wine a day were 6% more likely than teetotalers to develop breast cancer. The more alcohol consumed on a regular basis, the greater the risk. No one is saying a drink now and then will cause cancer or that you can make cancer go away by exercising more or eating less fat, the researchers stress. The best bet: Follow a healthy lifestyle, with a good diet, exercise, and avoidance of smoking and heavy drinking, Lichtenfeld says. SOURCES: 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Orlando, Fla., May 13-17, 2005. Len Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta. Robert J. Mayer, MD, director, Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Beat J. Thurlimann, MD, senior lecturer, medical oncology, University of Basel, Switzerland. Herman E. Kattlove, MD, American Cancer Society spokesman, Los Angeles. David Price, MD, director of urologic oncology and clinical research, Regional Urology, Shreveport, La. Angela DeMichele, MD, associate professor of medicine, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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