Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: May 1

A new type of drug was successful in helping patients with cancer cachexia regain muscle and strength, and counting circulating tumor cells helped predict survival for people with advanced colorectal cancer.

Free colonoscopies are available through a Connecticut program, the FDA and FTC warn the public to be wary of websites or ads promising treatments for 2009 H1N1 influenza, and people in remote areas of Arizona were able to have CT colonoscopy screening with teleradiology.

Research Reports

  • Ostarine or GTx-024, the first of a new drug class called selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS) increased lean muscle mass in patients with cancer cachexia. Patients were also stronger, as shown by improved performance on a stair climbing task.  They didn’t gain weight because fat tissue was replaced with muscle.   Cancer cachexia or wasting causes significant weight loss and reduced lean muscle leaving patients tired, weak, and with little appetite.  Merely eating more — or trying to eat more — doesn’t help patients gain weight or strength.  In the study, nearly 160 patients were randomized to a placebo or two different strengths of ostarine.  Before beginning the trial, patients with a number of different cancers had lost an average of almost ten percent of their body weight.  There was no difference in serious side effects among the three groups.  Read more about the study in a news release from GTx, the company developing the drug.
  • The number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) can predict both how long it will take for colorectal cancer to get worse (progression-free interval) and overall survival time.  Both progression-free interval (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were shorter when three or more CTCs were found in the blood.  Those with fewer than three CTC  had median PFS of 7.8 months compared to 4.4 months for those with three or more. Overall survival was 20.6 months with fewer than three CTCs compared to 9.4 months for three or more.  The study, led by Dr. S.J. Cohen, was published in Annals of Oncology in advance online March 26,2009.

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    • Kate Murphy says

      Your surgeon is probably the best person to discuss your question with.

      Bulges around the stoma are not uncommon. Sometimes changes in the appliance system or a supportive belt can manage small parastomal hernias, but surgery can be necessary to correct them.

      Talk to your ostomy nurse about the issue. If you don’t have an ostomy nurse, you can locate one near you among members of the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society.

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