Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: July 10

Research this week finds FDG/PET able to predict response to chemotherapy even after one treatment, and chemotherapy before surgery for liver mets makes CT scan evaluation less accurate.

Finding the best imaging methods to diagnosis and monitor cancer and comparing new colorectal cancer screening technologies to current standards are among recommended priorities for comparative effectiveness research (CER).  The FDA reports new egg safety rules and the recall of a powdered dietary supplement.

Videos of cancer patients are now online discussing the emotional impact of their diagnosis in The Day I Found Out.

Research Reports

  • Reduced uptake on FDG/PET after the first chemotherapy treatment may be able to predict how well patients will respond to chemo. In early information from a study of  advanced colorectal cancer patients reported at ASCO 2009, PET scans before initial chemo and  again two weeks later accurately predicted tumor response on later CT scans.   Dr.  Alain Hendlisz said, “Our results show that if tumor metabolism does not respond after 14 days, the patient is not likely to experience tumor shrinkage two or three months later on. Finding this out early on in treatment can help us avoid unnecessary side effects and also allows us to try another type of therapy sooner, if possible, to optimize results for our patients.”
  • Chemotherapy before surgery to remove colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver makes CT scan evaluation less accurate. Doctors in France compared whether liver metastases were correctly identified in 92 patients, 30 of whom did not have chemotherapy before surgery.  CT either failed to find lesions or identified tumors that weren’t there in half of the chemotherapy patients but only about a third of those who went directly to surgery.  Other factors making CT scans less accurate were more than three liver tumors and fatty deposits (steatosis) in more than 30 percent of liver tissue.  Benjamin Angliviel and the team from the Hôpital Ambroise Paré in Boulogne report their results in the May, 2009 issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Other Headlines

  • Finding the best imaging strategies for the diagnosis, staging, and monitoring of cancer is among the 25 most important priorities for comparative-effectiveness research (CER) recommended by a new Institute of Medicine report.  Comparing the effectiveness of new colorectal cancer screening methods, including CT colonographyand FIT, to usual care with FOBT and colonoscopy to prevent colorectal cancer is among the second tier of 25.  The IOM report chose 100 priorities from an initial list of 1,300 as important for $1.1 billion in CER funding to help Americans make good health care decisions based on evidence from research.  Said Dr. Harold C. Sox, co-chair of the IOM panel, “Healthcare decisions too often are a matter of guesswork because we lack good evidence to inform them.”
  • Cancer survivors share their stories of diagnosis and treatment on video talking about The Day I Found Out. Developed by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the videos include several colon cancer patients including C3 advocate and stage IV survivor Anita Mitchell who talks about her oncologist who gave her hope when he said, “I have a plan for you.”  She says, “All I needed was that hope.”
  • The FDA has issued new rules to help reduce Salmonella infections from eggs.   Large egg farmers will have to buy chicks from bacteria safe sources, keep facilities clean and bacteria-free, test their facilities regularly, and refrigerate eggs promptly for storage and shipment.  Salmonella enteritidis causes more than 140,000 illnesses every year, some of which are life-threatening.  FDA tells consumers to buy only refrigerated eggs, check for clean and uncracked shells, refrigerate eggs promptly at home, and cook eggs until yolks are firm.
  • FDA: Vital Pharmaceuticals has recalled lots of its powdered dietary supplement Stealth Chocolate and Stealth Vanilla because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. Milk protein concentrate, one of the supplement’s ingredients, was recalled by the supplier.  The dietary supplements were sold nationwide, including at GNC stores.  Consumers with questions may contact Vital Pharmaceutical Inc. at 1-800-954-7904 or 954-641-0570 during the hours of 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

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