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June 6, 2007

'Some' Cancer Patients Might Soon Skip Chemo

Topics: Medicine

targeted%20cells.jpgIt appears that doctors may be closer to predicting which cancer patients can skip chemotherapy and avoid the brutal side effects of that staple of cancer care. So-called targeted cancer treatments - drugs that attack or bind to a specific molecule or part of a molecule such as one that triggers tumor growth or controls blood flow - have been around for several years, but the direction of therapy now appears to be moving in the direction of taking advantage of the effectiveness of these drugs' - in more types of cancer:

[...] The move toward helping patients avoid chemotherapy - and perhaps the nausea, hair loss and weakened immune system that are its hallmarks - is a positive side effect of the individualisation of cancer treatment, doctors at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting said.

"Chemotherapy is clearly effective for patients - on average. But can it be spared?" Dr. Aron Goldhirsch, of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, said at a panel at the meeting, which wrapped up here.

Women patients with high levels of estrogen receptors - cancer cells containing special proteins that bind to the hormone estrogen - are among the patient subsets that may not benefit from chemotherapy for breast cancer, experts said.

More research is needed to determine the best regimes and to define the particular subgroups, said Dr Kathy Albain, director of the breast clinical research programme at Loyola University Medical Centre in Illinois.

[...] Breast cancer is in the forefront in this area, but experts said others are following, including lung cancer which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world.

"Now, predictive factors for lung cancer are coming down the pike, rather than just blindly assigning patients to treatments A, B or C," said Dr. Gregory Otterson, who specializes in lung cancer at Ohio State University Medical Centre.

More ...

Cross posted from New Hope Blog

Posted by Richard at June 6, 2007 12:21 AM

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