Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Skin Care during Chemotherapy and Radiation Oncology Treatments

Chemotherapy medications can affect a patient’s skin, hair, and nails. The side effects vary by patient and more broadly by the type of chemotherapy that is being administered.

Before starting treatment, it is suggested that the patient ask their oncologist or oncology nurse what specific skin/hair/nail reactions might be caused by the regimen prescribed. That way, they can better prepare by exploring products that will be helpful.

Some common side effects are dry, flaky or itchy skin. If a patient is receiving radiation, the skin can become burned, or an itchy bumpy rash can develop.

Tarceva can cause a rash and other skin changes. Soon after you start taking Tarceva, a rash may appear—most often on your face, upper chest and back. However, a rash may appear anywhere on your body with symptoms such as itching, tenderness, burning, dryness, or cracked skin on your fingers and hands. It may look like acne or dry skin. Rash is a common side effect of Tarceva. If you get a rash while on Tarceva, call your doctor about what to do, as some rashes have been serious. (Source: http://www.tarceva.com/patient/taking/effects.jsp)

Erbitux can also cause a very bad rash, sometimes called an acne-form rash. It can be mild, but sometimes it is severe. You can read more about this rash on the Chemocare website by clicking here.

Another side effect that can occur is hand-foot syndrome (sometimes referred to as Palmar-Plantar erythrodysesthesia). This is an irritation, cracking and peeling of the skin on the hands, and feet. Some medications that can cause hand-foot syndrome in patients are Capecitabine (Xeloda®), 5-Flurouracil (5FU), continuous-infusion doxorubicin, doxorubicin liposomal (Doxil®), and high-dose Interleukin-2.

A study that was published in the Journal of Supportive Oncology (March/April 2009) reviewed some of the skin, hair and nail effects from the toxicities of targeted biologic agents. This article is called Dermatotoxicity Linked to Targeted Biologic Agents.

A further description about the side effects that can be caused by EGFR Inhibitors including Erbitux, Tarceva and Vectibix can be found on the Mayo Clinic website.

We have products on our website that can help with many skin related side effects.

We sell many products to help radiation burns. They can be found by clicking here

The Lindiskin product line can help with many skin issues. These products can be viewed by clicking here.

Soothing balm can help hand-foot syndrome and you can read about it by clicking here.

Face serum, which comes in either a lavender scent or a citrus scent, can be viewed here. Face serum is an excellent product for individuals who are taking EGFR inhibitors and who might be experiencing the acneform rash as a side effect.

This information is published for informational and helpful purposes and is accumulated from sources that are believed to be reliable. It is not meant as a substitute for individual medical advice. It is suggested that you contact your healthcare provider with any questions you have that are specific to your disease and treatment protocol.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jevtana Approved for Prostate Cancer Three Months Ahead of Expectations

The Food and Drug Administration on today approved the first prostate cancer chemotherapy drug found to extend the survival of men who are no longer being helped by other treatments.
The drug is called Jevtana and it is made by Sanofi-Aventis of France. The FDA approved Jevtana to treat prostate cancer that does not respond to hormone-deprivation treatments or to docetaxel, the cancer drug most commonly used to fight prostate tumors. Earlier this year, a study showed Jevtana prolonged survival for those patients by 10 weeks.
Jevtana was approved for use in combination with the steroid prednisone, which is often used in cancer treatment.
In that study, patients who received a treatment regimen including Jevtana lived for about a year and three months after starting treatment. Those who received standard treatment lived for about a year and three weeks. There is hope the drug will have a stronger effect on patients who are not as sick.
Jevtana is given by injection. In the study, patients on Jevtana were more likely to have their tumors shrink than those who were on standard chemotherapy. However no patients in the study experienced a complete remission, or disappearance of all signs of the disease.
This is the second prostate cancer drug that was approved this year, giving prostate cancer patients new options. Prostate cancer, which usually occurs in older men, is the second-most common cause of cancer death among men in the U.S., behind lung cancer, according to Sanofi.

Sources: Associated Press OnLine, Sanofi-Aventis and Federal Drug Adminsistration

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Highlights on New Cancer Treatments and Studies from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conference

Chrionic Myeloid Leukemia
Dasatinib (Sprycel) which is made by Bristol-Myers Squibb is effective as an initial treatment for newly diagnosed patients with chronic phase (early stage) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), according to a phase II clinical trial from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
CML is a cancer of the blood-producing cells of the bone marrow. Patients with CML have an acquired genetic mutation (change) in their bone marrow cells called the Philadelphia chromosome, which produces the BCR-ABL protein. This protein causes the bone marrow cells to grow uncontrollably.
Dasatinib is currently approved as a second-line treatment when imatinib (Gleevec), the standard initial treatment, is no longer effective. Dasatinib and imatinib are targeted therapies that disrupt BCR-ABL. Both medications are given as a pill by mouth.
About ten years ago, Gleevec (manufactured by Novartis SA) was considered an amazing discovery with its ability to prolong lives in this deadly form of leukemia. Another drug called Tasigna, also from Novartis showed promise on CML as well. Soon doctors and patients will have a couple of other alternatives to combat this disease.
Advanced Prostate Cancer
For the first time, a new drug called cabazitaxel helped men with advanced prostate cancer that had stopped responding to standard treatment live longer. Currently, men with advanced prostate cancer receive hormone therapy and when hormone therapy does not work, they receive chemotherapy with the drug docetaxel (Taxotere). When the prostate cancer cells stop responding to treatment with docetaxel, meaning that the drug is no longer able to kill the cancer cells, there is no standard treatment, although mitoxantrone (Novantrone) is commonly used. In this study of almost 1,000 men with prostate cancer no longer responding to docetaxel, men who received cabazitaxel lived longer than men who received mitoxantrone. “There are no effective treatments available to help men with advanced hormone-resistant prostate cancer whose disease continues to grow despite standard chemotherapy, and this large study shows that patients who received cabazitaxel live longer,” said lead author Oliver Sartor, MD, Piltz Professor for Cancer Research at Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans. “This treatment offers men with this advanced form of prostate cancer a new option.” Cabazitaxel is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The study referenced is a Phase III study. The drug cabazitaxel is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis.
Metastatic Breast CancerWomen with breast cancer that has spread lived about two and a half months longer when they received a new drug called eribulin mesylate (manufactured by Eisai) compared with patients who received other treatments recommended by their doctors. Currently, there is no standard treatment for advanced breast cancer and this is the first study to look at this drug. Side effects included a low white blood cell count, fatigue, and nerve problems. This drug is not yet approved.
The source of the information in this post is from the conference highlights and related news releases found on the ASCO website (www.cancer.net). Please consult your medical practitioner to confirm and verify the topics discussed herein.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Advances in Cancer Drugs from the ASCO conference 2010

June is a month of hope and inspiration for cancer patients and the medical professionals who treat them. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) holds its annual conference in early June. Companies report on clinical trials of their promising drugs in this forum. Several encouraging studies were presented during the conference this year and are briefly highlighted below.

Pfizer has a prospective drug for patients with advanced non small cell lung cancer called crizofinib which was promising in an expanded Phase 1 study. The drug targets just a small percentage of lung cancer patients, those with a specific alteration of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. The results are encouraging and dramatic because the drug stopped the progression of disease in 87% of the patients and reduced tumor size in 57% of this very targeted group of patients. An expanded trial is planned. This is another new targeted therapy as it is very effective on a very small group of patients.

In another study, the targeted therapy drug Avastatin (bevacizumab), which is manufactured by Roche Holding AG, helped to slow the growth of advanced ovarian cancer. In the study Avastatin was shown to extend the time that women with ovarian cancer survived without disease progression from ten to fourteen months. This improvement occurred when patients were given Avastatin with chemotherapy and when the women continued Avastatin for up to 48 weeks after the chemotherapy had ended. Robert A. Burger, MD, Director of the Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. said “Based on these results, bevacizumab can be used as an initial treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer and other related cancers.”
Avastatin works by starving tumors of their blood supply.

Bristol Myers reported encouraging results from ipilimumab, under development for prolonging the life of melanoma patients. Ipilimumab works by stimulating the body’s immune system to combat the cancer. Patients receiving ipilimumab survived almost four months longer than patients who did not receive this drug. According to lead researcher Steven O’Day, MD, Chief of Research and Director of the Melanoma Program at The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute in Los Angeles, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. “These results are an important advance for patients with advanced melanoma.”

The source of the information in this post is from the conference highlights found on the ASCO website (www.cancer.net). Please consult your medical practitioner to confirm and verify the topics discussed herein.