Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
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Web Exclusive: Types of Kidney Cancer
June 25, 2009 – The American Cancer Society
Web Exclusive: Helpful Advice
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Developing a Strategy
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Searching for New Targets
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Web Exclusive: When Survivors Should Exercise Caution
June 22, 2009 – Lena Huang
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June 18, 2009 – Toby Bressler, RN, BSN, OCN
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June 18, 2009 – Dianne Ericson
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June 15, 2009 – Melissa Weber
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June 15, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
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June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
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June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
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June 09, 2009 – Deirdre Carey
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June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
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June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
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June 09, 2009 – Staff Reports
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June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
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June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
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June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Program Keeps Tabs on Childhood Cancer Survivors
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
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June 09, 2009 – Kenneth D. Miller, MD
Prostate, Brain & Kidney Cancers
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Life Beyond Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Renée La Forest
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Letters from Our Readers
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Targeted Therapy: Hope or Hype?
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Conquering Cancer & the Classroom
June 09, 2009 – Scott Williams
Reining in Renal Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
July 09, 2009
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
July 09, 2009
Web Exclusive: A Q&A with an Extraordinary Healer
June 30, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Types of Kidney Cancer
June 25, 2009 – The American Cancer Society
Web Exclusive: Helpful Advice
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Developing a Strategy
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Searching for New Targets
June 23, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: When Survivors Should Exercise Caution
June 22, 2009 – Lena Huang
Web Exclusive: Fertility Guidelines Not Meeting Needs of Patients
June 22, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: A Peaceful Spirit
June 18, 2009 – Toby Bressler, RN, BSN, OCN
Web Exclusive: The Voice on the Other End of the Phone
June 18, 2009 – Dianne Ericson
Excerpt: Stronger
June 17, 2009 – Natalie Flechsig
Web Exclusive: An Infection Out of Nowhere
June 16, 2009
Web Exclusive: Solving a Medical Mystery
June 16, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Web Exclusive: Clinical Trials for CUP
June 16, 2009
Childhood Cancer Survivorship Programs
June 16, 2009
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book
June 15, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Improved Care Needed for Patients Receiving Heart-Toxic Drugs
June 15, 2009 – Melissa Weber
Cancer Research Receives Infusion of Federal Funds
June 15, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Resources
June 09, 2009
P.S. A Word About Implants & Some Unanswered Questions
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
How to Find a Cancer Trainer
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Smarter Trials for Smarter Drugs
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Sticker Shock
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Resources
June 09, 2009
From Cancer Warrior to Basketball Player
June 09, 2009 – Deirdre Carey
Taking a Closer Look
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Surgical Strategies
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Hair Loss Snapshot
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Weighing the Techniques
June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
What About CUP Patients?
June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
Hard Times
June 09, 2009 – Joanne Kenen
Reconstruction Do-Overs
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Fighting Fatigue
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Disjointed Custody
June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
No I.D.
June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
ASCO Updates
June 09, 2009 – Staff Reports
Interventions Needed to Get Survivors Moving
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
The Financial Advocate
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course
June 09, 2009
Q & A: Prostate Cancer Screening
June 09, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
www.armyofwomen.org
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
With a Friend Like Will Ferrell...
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Program Keeps Tabs on Childhood Cancer Survivors
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Revisiting the Seasons of Survival
June 09, 2009 – Kenneth D. Miller, MD
Currently Viewing
Prostate, Brain & Kidney Cancers
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Good Grilling
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Medical Devices Face Stricter Regulations
June 09, 2009 – Jo Cavallo
All Is Not Lost
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Letters from Our Readers
June 09, 2009
Message from the Editor
June 09, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Targeted Therapy: Hope or Hype?
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Conquering Cancer & the Classroom
June 09, 2009 – Scott Williams
Reining in Renal Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson

Prostate, Brain & Kidney Cancers

New drug therapies aid in the treatment of prostate cancer, glioblastoma, and renal cell carcinoma.

BY Elizabeth Whittington
PUBLISHED June 09, 2009

Avodart (dutasteride), an approved drug for benign prostate enlargement, reduces the risk of prostate cancer, according to a study reported at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in late April.

The phase III trial showed a 23 percent relative reduction in the risk of prostate cancer over a four-year period with Avodart compared with placebo. The more than 8,000 trial participants, ages 50 to 75, had elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen, a predictor of prostate cancer. Side effects in the Avodart study included erectile dysfunction (9 percent), decreased libido (3 percent), and breast enlargement (2 percent).

Avodart blocks the action of two types of 5-alpha reductase enzymes, which convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone—a potent male hormone in the prostate. In 2003, another 5-alpha reductase inhibitor called Proscar (finasteride) was shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer after seven years, but in men with average prostate cancer risk.

Nearly 200,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than 27,000 will die, making it the second-leading cause of cancer death in men. However, prostate cancer mortality is decreasing, likely because of early detection. For more information, visit www.avodart.com or call 888-825-5249 (site is owned by GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Avodart).

Avastin (bevacizumab) was granted accelerated approval by the Food and Drug Administration on May 5 to treat an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. Affecting about 10,000 people annually in the United States, glioblastoma is often initially treated with radiation and chemotherapy after surgery, but most patients have a recurrence. Now, Avastin is available to patients as a second-line therapy if the cancer progresses on the standard treatment.

The accelerated approval is based on a phase II trial that showed about 26 percent of patients’ tumors shrank, an effect that lasted an average of about four months. However, no data are available to show Avastin improves disease symptoms or survival.

Accelerated approval is intended to offer treatments for life-threatening diseases based on early trial data that are considered to predict benefit. Patients in the trial were previously treated with Temodar (temozolomide) and radiation. Common side effects included fatigue, high blood pressure, headache, and infection.

Avastin is a monoclonal antibody that binds to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that can spur blood vessel growth. Blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients to the tumor to help it grow, so when Avastin binds to VEGF, it blocks the protein from binding to its receptor, ultimately causing the tumor to die.

First approved in 2004 for metastatic colorectal cancer, Avastin is also approved for non-small cell lung cancer and metastatic breast cancer. For more information, visit www.avastin.com or call 877-436-3683 (site is owned by Genentech, maker of Avastin).

The therapeutic cancer vaccine Provenge (sipuleucel-T) extended survival in men with advanced hormone-independent prostate cancer, based on preliminary data from the phase III IMPACT study. Unlike preventive vaccines, Provenge utilizes the patient’s immune system to create a specific long-term response against cancer cells.

The results, which were announced at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting in late April, demonstrated the vaccine extended median survival by about four months, from 21.7 months with placebo to 25.8 months with Provenge. It also improved three-year survival from 23 percent to 31.7 percent, and reduced the risk of death by a relative amount of 22.5 percent. However, the vaccine has not been shown to delay disease progression. Side effects included chills, fever, and headache, but were mild and short-term, occurring for one to two days after treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the approval application for Provenge in May 2007, but asked for more evidence. Dendreon, the vaccine’s manufacturer, proceeded with the IMPACT trial to gather further data, and plans to resubmit Provenge for approval later this year. For more information, visit www.dendreon.com or call 866-477-6782.

After a flurry of new drug approvals in a field that, before 2005, only had decades-old immunotherapy agents available, kidney cancer has one more drug to add to the arsenal. In late March, Afinitor (everolimus) joined Torisel (temsirolimus), Nexavar (sorafenib), and Sutent (sunitinib) as targeted agents for renal cell carcinoma when the Food and Drug Administration approved the agent for second-line therapy (see “Reining In Renal Cancer”).

The approval is based on a phase III trial that compared Afinitor with placebo in 416 patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma whose tumors had progressed on Sutent and/or Nexavar. Afinitor delayed tumor progression in half of patients by about five months compared with two months in patients on ­placebo. Data also showed that 25 percent of patients on Afinitor had no tumor growth after 10 months.

Common side effects include stomatitis, rash, and fatigue. For more information, visit www.afinitor.com or call 888-669-6682 (site is owned by Novartis, maker of Afinitor).

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