Innovative medications target the molecular structure of cancer cells with increasing precision, resulting in reduced adverse effects. Novel therapies enlist the patients’ own immune systems to defeat cancer. At the same time, as personalized medicine comes of age, improved diagnostic tests match the right patients to these new treatments. The accelerating pace of these developments is improving expectations of patient survivability and the total number of survivors.

Miami, FL—Delivering higher doses of external-beam radiation over a shorter period (hypofractionated radiation) was as effective as conventional radiation in preventing treatment failure in men with intermediate- to high-risk prostate cancer. The hypofractionated regimen shortened treatment time by 2.5 weeks compared with conventional radiation. However, the frequency of grade 2 or higher genitourinary (GU) adverse events, particularly urinary incontinence, was much higher with the hypofractionated regimen in a phase 3 trial presented at the meeting.

The clinical and economic impact of multiple myeloma is tremendous. With the onset of novel therapies used in multiple myeloma, as well as the release of new data demonstrating progression-free survival and overall survival, therapy used in multiple myeloma is now on the radar for payers, despite the relatively low incidence of the disease.

Grapevine, TX—Two expert oncologists presented the clinical data in support for and against the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) in melanoma as the standard of care during the 2011 College of American Pathologists annual meeting.

Vernon Sondak, MD, Chair, De - partment of Cutaneous Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, supported the use of SLNB as the standard of care in melanoma.

J. Meirion Thomas, MD, attending oncologist, Royal Marsden Hospital and Imperial College, London, said that routine SLNB in melanoma is unwarranted.

New Orleans, LA—The House of Delegates of the American Medical Association (AMA) laid out guidelines for patient navigator programs during their November 2011 Interim Meeting. The aim is to ensure that patient navigators “enhance, rather than undermine, the delivery of high-quality patient care,” the resolution states.

Grapevine, TX—The role of pathologists in gathering and interpreting oncologic information has never been as complex as it is today, but neither has it been as clinically impactful, suggested presenters at the 2011 College of American Pathologists meeting.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are a group of closely related hematologic malignancies that arise from abnormal development and function of the body’s bone marrow cells. Primary myelofibrosis (PMF), polycythemia vera (PV), and essential thrombocythemia (ET) comprise the Philadel phia chromosome (Ph)-negative MPNs.1

Myelofibrosis (MF) can arise on its own, which is called PMF, or it can result from the progression of other MPNs, such as postpolycythemia vera MF (PPV-MF) and postessential throm - bocythemia MF (PET-MF).1

The goals set by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to establish the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) are in - tended to1:

New York, NY—Adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have a poor prognosis compared with children, but recent studies suggest that using “pediatric-inspired” regimens can improve outcomes for patients with Philadelphia chromosome(Ph)- negative ALL.

Alternative versions of biologic agents—biosimilars—will be coming soon to a formulary near you. In the meantime, many details must be worked out before patients can be safely and effectively treated with these new products.

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