Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: November 1

Sgt. Joshua T. Rose and Iron (Photo by Tina Susman)

Sgt. Joshua T. Rose and Iron (Photo by Tina Susman)

Briefly: Pancreatic cancer occurs in about on in five Lynch syndrome families, increasing risk for the cancer substantially.

Colorectal cancer patients whose tumors don’t have EGFR on immunohistochemical testing can still benefit from Erbitux treatment.

Patients learn more and like medical consultations better when doctors sit side-by-side with them to view tests.

Gastroenterologists deployed in Iraq are using their skills to help military working dogs.

Research Reports

  • Among families with Lynch syndrome, one in five had at least one person with pancreatic cancer.  Data from 6,342 individuals in 147 families in familial cancer registries at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor included 47 cases of pancreatic cancer in Lynch families, evenly spread between men and women.  There was a 3.68 percent risk of having pancreatic cancer before age 70, almost nine times the risk in the general population. Fay Kastrinos, MD, MPH and her team reported their study results in the October 28, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Some colorectal cancer patients whose tumors did not express the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) when tested with immunohistochemical staining still responded to treatment with Erbitux© (cetuximab), when given as a single drug (monotherapy). Seven of 85 patients (8.2 percent) had tumors shrink.  For the group, median time to cancer progression was 2.1 months with median overall survival of 10 months.  About 40 percent of patients were alive one year after treatment began.  Study results were similar to other clinical trials of cetuximab monotherapy restricted to patients with EGFR positive tumors.Rafal Wierzbicki and colleagues published their phase II clinical trial results in Investigational New Drugs, online October 15, 2009.

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