Tag Archives: chemotherapy

Avastin Effective for Older Patients

Colorectal cancer patients 65 and older without other serious medical problems benefitted when Avastin® (bevacizumab) was added to chemotherapy. Combining results of four randomized clinical trials of Avastin and chemotherapy in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, researchers found that adding Avastin increased both the time older patients lived and the time before their cancer got worse. Patients who were 70 and older had similar improvements.

CEA Flares During Chemo Don't Mean Cancer Progression

Colorectal cancer patients whose CEA blood tests rise at the beginning of chemotherapy and then fall (CEA flare) do better than patients with a consistently rising CEA.   CEA flares don’t necessarily predict worsening cancer. Compared to patients with consistently rising carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), patients who had a CEA flare had more tumor shrinkage, longer time before their cancer got worse, and longer survival time.

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.

Response to Chemo Before Liver Met Resection Doesn't Predict Survival

Patients who had tumors shrink in response to chemotherapy given before they had surgery for colorectal cancer that had spread to their livers had no better long-term survival than patients whose cancer remained the same or even got worse. Doctors in New York followed 111 patients who had chemotherapy before surgery to remove liver metastases (neoadjuvant chemotherapy). After five years of follow-up, median overall survival was 62 months.  Overall survival was similar in three different groups:  those who had a complete or partial response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, those whose tumors remained stable, and those whose cancer progressed during chemotherapy.

Ginger Helps Relieve Chemo Nausea

Adding ginger capsules to standard treatment for chemotherapy nausea reduced nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. Patients who got ginger (Zingiber Officinale) in capsules twice a day for three days before chemo and three days after reported significantly less nausea that those who were treated with placebo.  All patients in the study also received standard anti-nausea therapy on the day of chemo. Almost 650 patients, mostly women, were randomly assigned to ginger supplements or a placebo in a blinded trial that will be reported at the 2009 ASCO annual meeting.

Adding Erbitux to First Line Chemotherapy with Avastin Hurts More than Helps

Adding Erbitux to standard first line treatment for colorectal cancer of CAPOX with Avastin doesn’t help.  In fact, patients who receive the additional agent have a shorter time until their cancer gets worse and have worse side effects. Results of a randomized phase III clinical trial that added the monoclonal antibody Erbitux® (cetuximab) to Xeloda® (capecitabine), oxaliplatin, and Avastin® (bevacizumab) showed shorter time to cancer progression for patients who got Erbitux in addition to the standard treatment. There was no difference in whether the tumor shrank or overall survival time. Patients who got Erbitux were about 20 percent more likely to have tumors get worse or to die than patients

Medication Errors in Eight Percent of Chemotherapy Outpatient Visits

Errors in giving chemotherapy and associated medicines were found in over seven percent of adult outpatient visits and nearly twenty percent of children’s visits in a recent study. Most often, mistakes were made when changes were made to the original prescription on the day chemo was administered.  For children, about a third of mistakes happened when medicines were given at home. Over nine months and nearly 1,400 visits, researchers found 112 medication errors.  Sixty-four of them had a the potential to harm the patient, and 15 actually did.  About 5 percent of the time, someone discovered the mistake before the medicine was actually given.

Ginger Capsules Don't Boost Nausea Medicines During Chemotherapy

Although ginger is often recommended as a simple remedy for chemotherapy nausea, ginger capsules don’t seem to work any better than a sugar pill to improve the effects of standard nausea drugs. In a randomized study, 162 patients received either ginger capsules or a placebo for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Neither the patients or their doctors knew which they were getting.  All patients were already receiving an 5-HT3 inhibitor such as Zofran® or Kytril®.  Some were also being treated with Emend® (aprepitant).

Continuing Avastin Beyond Initial Cancer Progression Improves Survival Time

Continuing Avastin® (bevacizumab) beyond the time when advanced colorectal cancer gets worse helps patients, according to new study reports.  Patients who continued to receive Avastin with a new chemotherapy regimen after their cancer first progressed lived almost 12 months longer than patients who got more chemo but stopped Avastin.  Both groups did better than those who had no further treatment at all. BRiTE (Bevacizumab Regimens: Investigation of Treatment Effects and Safety) observed progress of three groups of patients when their cancer got worse after their first chemotherapy treatments.  All patients had Avastin as part of the first chemo, some continued it beyond that first cancer progression.

Vitamin C Reduces Chemo Effectiveness in Cancer Cells and Mice

Oncologists often recommend that patients on chemotherapy avoid antioxidant supplements including vitamin C.  Now basic research shows that vitamin C reduces the activity of several different chemotherapy drugs, both in cancer cell lines and in experimental mice. Vitamin C appears to protect the cell against death during chemotherapy by restoring its mitochondria.  Mitochondria power cells, converting nutrients to energy.  When mitochondria are damaged they force the cell to die — the goal of chemotherapy.  By revitalizing damaged mitochondria, the vitamin reduced the effectiveness of all the chemo drugs tested, by as much as 70 percent for some.

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