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 ( Please consult your medical practitioner to confirm and verify the topics discussed herein.