This section contains the latest highlighted research for patients from ASCO medical journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as an archive of research highlights from previous ASCO scientific meetings (2011-2015). For the latest research highlights from more recent ASCO meetings, visit the Cancer.Net Blog or check out Cancer.Net’s audio podcasts and videos for patients.
To search this archive, use the drop-down menu below. 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.
In a recent study, researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) scan with fluorodeoxyglucose or FDG (called an FDG-PET scan) to find out whether chemotherapy was working. The patients in this study had adenocarcinoma of the esophagogastric junction, a rare type of esophageal cancer that starts where the esophagus and the stomach meet. A PET scan creates pictures of inside the body by using a small amount of a radioactive substance (FDG in this study). This substance is absorbed by organs and tissues that use the most energy. Because cancer tends to use energy actively, it absorbs more of the radioactive substance than healthy tissue.
Researchers found that using intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT for anal cancer works as well as standard radiation therapy but has fewer severe side effects. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells. IMRT is a type of radiation therapy that allows the strength of the radiation beams to be changed during treatment depending on the shape and location of the tumor. This means that the radiation can be directed at the tumor while avoiding healthy tissue.
In a new study on gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), researchers found that the drug sorafenib (Nexavar) is an effective treatment when imatinib (Gleevec) and/or sunitinib (Sutent) no longer work. GIST is a rare tumor that begins in the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach or small bowel. It often has a mutation (change) in either the KIT or PDGFRA gene, which contributes to its growth and spread. Drugs that help block these mutations, called targeted therapies, are the most common treatment options. The standard first treatment (called the first-line treatment) is imatinib, but most patients develop a resistance, meaning the treatment stops working and the tumor begins to grow and spread. After imatinib stops working, patients often receive sunitinib, a similar targeted therapy, but this drug can stop working as well. This study was developed to find another treatment option when imatinib and sunitinib no longer work.
Knowing a patient's risk of recurrence could help doctors plan treatments, making sure that patients with a high risk of recurrence receive the appropriate treatment and helping patients with a low risk avoid side effects of additional treatments. To help predict the risk of recurrence, doctors use clinical factors, such as the stage, the number of lymph nodes that have cancer, and whether the cancer is blocking or has broken through the bowel. However, these cannot always reliably predict a patient's prognosis (chance of recovery).