Research Summaries

Using the drop-down menu below, read about highlighted scientific news for patients from ASCO's Annual Meetings, Symposia, and medical journals for the past three years. You can select a specific year, meeting or publication, and/or a specific topic, such as a type of cancer. Selecting "All" will take you to a complete list of articles that appear under all categories.

This includes ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology and its scientific meetings, including the ASCO Annual Meeting, a five-day meeting held each May/June. To read the Annual Meeting summaries compiled into a yearly newsletter, you can also review Research Round Up: News for Patients from the ASCO Annual Meeting.Don’t forget to check out audio podcasts and videos about this news, as well. And a list of upcoming Symposia can be found here. And, in addition to the highlighted studies below, thousands of scientific abstracts are released each year at different ASCO meetings. To search the entire collection of meeting abstracts, visit ASCO's website.

June 2, 2012

A new immunotherapy (called BMS-936558) helped shrink melanoma, kidney cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a recent early study. Immunotherapy is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials either made by the body or in a laboratory to bolster, target, or restore immune system function.

June 2, 2012

According to a recent study, giving bevacizumab (Avastin) along with standard chemotherapy doubled the time it took for platinum-resistant ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancers to worsen. These are all cancers of a woman's reproductive system that are treated similarly. Platinum-based chemotherapy is often the first treatment for these cancers and includes the drugs cisplatin (Platinol), carboplatin (Paraplat, Paraplatin), and oxaliplatin (Eloxatin). When platinum-based drugs stop working to control the cancer's growth, it is called platinum-resistant cancer.

June 2, 2012

In a new study on a type of leukemia called high-risk B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), researchers found that adolescents and young adults (ages 16 to 30) were more likely to have the disease recur (come back after treatment) and more likely to die from the disease than younger patients. Adolescents and young adults (often shortened to AYA) with cancer make up a unique group of patients with different medical, social, and emotional needs than both younger and older patients. The results of this study highlight the importance of finding new ways to treat leukemia and lower the side effects of treatment for these patients.

May 16, 2012

A small analysis of a larger study showed that combining two different targeted therapy drugs, dabrafenib and trametinib, stopped advanced melanoma from worsening while causing less severe side effects than the current standard targeted therapy drug. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets a cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Specifically, dabrafenib targets changes in the BRAF gene, and trametinib targets changes in the MEK gene to stop melanoma growth.

May 16, 2012

A new analysis of a large survey showed that many primary care providers (PCPs) are not familiar with the long-term side effects of four types of chemotherapy commonly used to treat breast and colorectal cancers. It is important for cancer survivors to have lifelong follow-up care to watch for long-term side effects (also called late effects), and survivors often visit PCPs for ongoing follow-up care after cancer treatment ends. This study highlights the importance of communication between oncologists, PCPs, and cancer survivors to make sure survivors receive appropriate follow-up care and treatment for any long-term side effects.

May 16, 2012

In an early study with the targeted therapy drug crizotinib (Xalkori), researchers found that it stopped the growth of neuroblastoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), and inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), and in some instances, removed all signs of the cancer.

May 16, 2012

About one-third of men with localized, high-risk prostate cancer who received the drug abiraterone (Zytiga) along with hormone therapy before surgery had little to no cancer remaining after six months of treatment, according to a recent clinical trial. Prostate cancer is called localized high-risk prostate cancer when the tumor has grown throughout the prostate, is high grade (meaning the cancer cells barely look like normal cells, called a Gleason score of 8), and the man has a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level higher than 20.

May 16, 2012

A recent study showed that the drug olanzapine (Zyprexa) helps manage nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy when the usual treatments for these side effects are not working. Nausea and vomiting is a common, but often manageable, side effect of chemotherapy. However, despite treatments given to prevent nausea and vomiting, about 30% to 40% of patients taking certain types of chemotherapy still have nausea and vomiting. When this happens, it is called breakthrough nausea and vomiting.

June 5, 2011

Results from a recent study showed that maintenance therapy with the drug pemetrexed (Alimta) lengthened the time it takes for advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer to worsen. Maintenance therapy is the use of ongoing chemotherapy after the initial treatment.

June 5, 2011

Recent research on the effects of flaxseed showed that it doesn't help reduce hot flashes for women who have gone through menopause. Hot flashes are a common symptom of menopause and hormonal therapy for breast cancer. Using estrogen can help reduce hot flashes, but many women are concerned about the risks of this type of treatment. An early, smaller study suggested that taking flaxseed may help reduce hot flashes.

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