Tag Archives: Treating Colorectal Cancer

Clinical Conundrum: When, how to treat colorectal cancer in the elderly

Even as scientists plumb deep into cells and molecules to understand cancer, there are many immediate and “real-life” questions that researchers and clinicians are discussing at the 2013 annual ASCO meeting (American Society of Clinical Oncology). One of the biggest puzzles for colorectal cancer is how to best treat the elderly, especially those with stages II or III (non-metastatic) cancer. It’s a huge question: today, 40 percent of colorectal cancer patients are elderly, and by the year 2030, more than 70 percent of non-inherited colorectal cancer will be among those 65 or older. Currently, 70 years old is the median age at diagnosis, with fully 40 percent of diagnoses made

New Cancer Drug Zaltrap Discounted by 50%

By Curt Pesman and Mary Miller In an unusual move, sanofi pharmaceutical company has instituted a 50 percent discount, effective immediately, on its latest cancer drug Zaltrap.  The reason for the sharp price drop, company officials said, was “market resistance” to the initial price. Zaltrap was approved in August by the FDA for second-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer. One possible result of the price cut is that the new drug may become more widely available. However, due to complex pricing and regulation issues, it’s not yet known how the actual cost to patients will change over the next several months. Fight Colorectal Cancer is gathering more information today on this

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Will Not Offer Zaltrap

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center made a very public announcement—and explanation—today in a New York Times op-ed about why they will not offer the new drug Zaltrap® (ziv-aflibercept) to its metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The authors, all world-renowned cancer specialists at the world’s oldest cancer center, in an op-ed headlined “In Cancer Care, Cost Matters,” essentially challenged other cancer centers to take action where politicians fear to tread. “We recently made a decision that should have been a no-brainer,” wrote Drs. Peter B. Bach, Leonard B. Saltz and Robert E. Wittes. “The drug, Zaltrap, has proved to be no better than a similar medicine we already have for advanced colorectal cancer, while its price—at

Participants Needed for Rectal Cancer Surgery Trial

Approximately 80 more participants are needed for a multisite, Phase 3 clinical trial comparing laparoscopic-assisted versus conventional surgery in patients with stage IIA, Stage IIIA or stage IIIB rectal cancer.  Eligible participants must have completed their pre-surgery chemotherapy (Xelox™ or fluorouracil-based) and/or pre-surgery radiation therapy within the previous 4 weeks.

FDA Approves Regorafenib for Metastatic CRC

  The FDA today approved the use of the drug regorafenib (brand name Stivarga) for patients whose metastatic colorectal cancer has progressed despite all currently approved treatment regimens. This is the second new drug approved by the FDA recently after a drought of 5 years in approving new treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Regorafenib was placed into the  FDA’s “fast-track” approval process after the international, multicenter Phase III CORRECT trial  showed improved survival (from 5 to 6.4 months) in all mCRC patients, including those having both non-mutated and mutated KRAS types.

Why Do the New Drugs Fail in Adjuvant Chemotherapy?

Some of the most surprising data presented at the GI Symposium in January 2011 in San Francisco was the negative result of the European trial called AVANT. In that clinical trial patients who underwent a curative resection for colon cancer received either FOLFOX or FOLFOX with Avastin® (bevacizumab) treatment after their surgery. Chemotherapy was given over 6 months, but patients who were randomly selected for Avastin received 6 months with chemotherapy and additional  6 months alone after chemotherapy ended for a total of 12 months of Avastin.

Mutations are Not All the Same

We are making significant progress in understanding what genetic alterations in tumors really mean. Over the last two years, we have learned or the first time that there is an alteration in a gene called KRAS in colon cancer, and tumors which have this mutation do not respond to treatment with Erbitux® (cetuximab) or Vectibix® (panitumumab). This is the first time we have a marker to test for sensitivity of an antibody we have to treat colon cancer. It is very important to know that patients with tumors who carry a KRAS mutation (alteration) are not doing worse overall. They just don’t have any benefit from an antibody which targets

Cancer Stem Cell Drug PRI724 IND filed September 17

I have shared with you in the past the efforts of Dr. Michael Kahn and myself to develop novel drugs which are completely different than the existing ones. Even the smart drugs we have such as Avastin or Erbitux, which are monoclonal antibodies that attack important targets in cancer growth and progression, have disappointed,  particularly if you are not able to select the patients who benefit the most. Why are they not more effective?