New advances in the treatment of genitourinary, gastrointestinal and gynecologic cancers were released today at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), being held from June 4 – 8 in Chicago, IIllinois (USA).

While many medical trials are yielding exiting results, not all research does. A trials using cetuximab in the treatment of colon cancer did not fully perform as was hoped. ?We had hoped we could use cetuximab in a targeted way, namely against colon cancer tumors with normal KRAS. These disappointing results challenge us to further our understanding of why drugs, which are clearly effective in metastatic colon cancer, have no benefit in early stage disease,? said ASCO’s Jennifer Obel, MD, attending physician, Northshore University Health System. ?The other studies had more encouraging findings. We now know, with certainty, that radiation is an indispensable element of prostate cancer treatment in high-risk patients. Another study offers us a new treatment paradigm for women diagnosed with stage III and stage IV ovarian cancer, that of concurrent chemotherapy with bevacizumab followed by bevacizumab maintenance therapy.?

Studies highlighted include:

  • Adding Radiation Therapy to Hormone Therapy Improves Survival in Men with Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer: Adding radiation therapy to hormone therapy decreases the risk of dying from prostate cancer by 43% in men with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer compared to hormone therapy alone, a Phase III study confirms.
  • Contrary to Findings in Metastatic Disease, Cetuximab Does Not Improve Survival Among Stage III Colon Cancer Patients with Normal KRAS:A Phase III trial has found that adding cetuximab (Erbitux) to standard adjuvant (post-surgical) chemotherapy in patients with stage III colon cancer and normal KRAS gene activity does not prolong their lives, and the combination is associated with significantly more side effects. Cetuximab was previously found to improve survival for metastatic colon cancer patients with normal KRAS.
  • Bevacizumab Prolongs Progression-Free Survival for Advanced Ovarian Cancer: A Phase III trial featured in an ASCO plenary session finds that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to initial chemotherapy treatment, and then using it as maintenance therapy, significantly slows disease progression in women with advanced epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer.

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