Groundbreaking studies will be presented at the ESMO 12th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer next week in Barcelona, Spain, including exciting new data on treatment for neuroendocrine tumors. ?The presentations this year are very significant for clinicians, and outline real progress in the development of agents that are effective in managing and treating gastrointestinal diseases,? says Eric Van Cutsem, MD, PhD of the University Hospital Gasthuisberg in Leuven, Belgium and Congress co-chair.

What may be most significant to clinicians is an important development in the treatment of patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET). James Yao of the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, USA, will present results from a large phase III clinical trial (RADIANT-3) on everolimus (RAD001), an oral inhibitor of mTOR, indicating a prolongation of progression-free survival with everolimus considerably higher compared to placebo. ?Treatment options for patients with advanced pNET are limited, and these results are exciting,? says Van Cutsem, who also worked on the study. ?This is a very meaningful development.?

A second pNET study of immediate interest to clinicians investigated the quality of life in patients with progressive pancreatic NET receiving sunitinib, and results indicate overall clinical benefit across all patient subgroups studied.

New Phase III Studies
Results of significant clinical trials of new therapies in pancreatic and colorectal cancer will also be presented at the Congress. A phase III trial of aflibercept plus gemcitabine in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer and another phase III study comparing larotaxel to 5-FU (continuous intravenous 5-FU or capecitabine) in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer previously treated with a gemcitabine-containing regimen did not achieve the hoped-for results. Final results of a third phase III study of sunitinib plus FOLFIRI in first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer do not indicate a significant improvement in PFS in patients.

New Treatment in Colorectal Cancer
Updates on new treatments in colorectal cancer (CRC) will be presented for the first time in Barcelona, including results of studies of the SRC inhibitor dasatinib, the hedgehog pathway inhibitor GDC-0449, and AKT inhibitor perifosine.

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New Targeted Agents in Gastric Cancer
Two of the top abstracts in gastric cancer this year address the clinical objective of more effective treatment options. Investigators in the phase III AVAGAST trial which was first presented earlier this month at ASCO will report final efficacy and safety data of this very new and important study on the role of bevacizumab. In addition, quality of life results from a phase III study of trastuzumab plus chemotherapy as first-line therapy in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric and gastro-esophageal junction cancer will be presented.

Noteworthy presentations by researchers will also include updates on the progress that is being made in molecular profiling of colon cancer and several important reports on large clinical trials in colorectal cancer.

Nearly 400 studies overall will be presented at the ESMO 12th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer, outlining research taking place across the globe. 16 researchers from developing nations who received grants based on the scientific merit of their submitted work will also be recognized. Additionally, a consensus expert report on gastric cancer will be presented.

The ESMO 12th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer begins next week in Barcelona, Spain and runs from 30 June ? 3 July 2010.

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