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New research shows advances in the treatment of colorectal, anal, pancreatic, gastric, and rectal cancer. These include:
- The first study on the use of bevacizumab (Avastin) added to standard chemotherapy after surgery for early-stage colorectal cancer shows that bevacizumab does not increase the amount of time it takes for the tumor to grow and spread. Bevacizumab is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat colorectal, breast, and lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
- The largest study on anal cancer confirms that the current standard of care should remain the same. The current standard of care is treatment with radiation therapy combined with fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil) and mitomycin-C (Mitozytrex, Mutamycin).
- In another study, researchers found no difference in survival when patients were given treatment with the drug gemcitabine (Gemzar) after surgery for pancreatic cancer when compared with fluorouracil (5-FU) treatment.
- Another study showed that adding the drug oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) to standard radiation therapy and chemotherapy for locally advanced rectal cancer before surgery does not reduce tumor size, but it may reduce the number of areas where the cancer spreads.
- A fifth study shows that adding the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) to standard chemotherapy increased survival for people with stomach cancer by about two months when compared with patients who received chemotherapy alone. Trastuzumab is currently used to treat breast cancers that have high levels of a protein called HER2, which has also been found in approximately 25% of stomach cancers.
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