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.

January 14, 2014

New results from a large clinical trial show that a drug taken by mouth is just as effective as one given by infusion for people with stage II or stage III rectal cancer.  These patients received radiation therapy and chemotherapy with either capecitabine (Xeloda) or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil) before surgery. The researchers also found that adding another drug, oxaliplatin (Eloxatin), did not provide any additional benefits and caused more side effects.

January 14, 2014

Early results from an ongoing phase II clinical trial have shown that a new chemotherapy combination, CAPTEM, may be an effective second-line treatment option for patients with a neuroendocrine tumor that has spread to other parts of the body, even for tumors that haven’t responded to other standard (commonly used) treatments. A second-line treatment is given if the first treatment does not work, starts but then stops working, or causes serious side effects. CAPTEM combines two drugs, capecitabine (Xeloda) and temozolomide (Temodar), which are given in a specific order—capecitabine first, temozolomide second—based on research that showed this might be more effective than giving both drugs at the same time.

January 14, 2014

Researchers have found that treatment with two different vaccines, GVAX Pancreas followed by CRS-207, helps people with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) live longer. PDAC is the most common type of pancreatic cancer. This study shows that immunotherapy (treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer) can help treat pancreatic cancer and appears to cause less serious side effects than chemotherapy.

January 14, 2014

Combining the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (Taxol) with a monoclonal antibody known as ramucirumab helps people with stomach or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ, lower part of the esophagus that connects to the stomach) cancer that has spread to other parts of the body live longer than paclitaxel treatment alone, according to a new study. These treatments were given as second-line therapy (treatment given if the first does not work, starts but then stops working, or causes serious side effects). The researchers also noted that people who received the drug combination reported a better quality of life.

October 29, 2013

A review of the research from the past 30 years on coordinating cancer care found that various methods of coordination reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits and increase patients’ quality of life and overall satisfaction with their care.

October 29, 2013

As part of a recent initiative, Mount Sinai Hospital created standardized criteria for identifying patients who are most likely to benefit from a discussion of palliative care options. Palliative care is intended to ease a patient’s symptoms and side effects, as well as support a patient’s physical, emotional, and social needs.

October 29, 2013

A new joint initiative between Moffitt Cancer Center and QURE Healthcare, LLC, that uses an online training tool for doctors or nurse practitioners may improve patient care by ensuring all patients consistently receive high-value, high-quality cancer care. This online training tool uses virtual patient scenarios (called Clinical Performance and Value CPV®  vignettes) to test a doctor’s knowledge and use of clinical cancer care pathways. Clinical cancer care pathways are approaches to cancer care that are based on research and recommendations from professional cancer organizations, as well as other standards for quality care. These pathways begin at diagnosis and provide all the treatment options a patient might need throughout his or her cancer care.

October 21, 2013

A large, long-term follow-up study showed that people who were overweight or obese years before their pancreatic cancer diagnosis tend to have more advanced stage at diagnosis and shorter survival.  Prior research had suggested that having a higher body mass index (BMI) increases one’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer. This is the first prospective study to demonstrate that BMI also affects outcomes after diagnosis.

September 23, 2013

An analysis of data collected in a large retrospective study showed that married patients tend to live longer after a cancer diagnosis than unmarried patients. Married patients are also more likely to have earlier-stage cancer at diagnosis and more likely to receive appropriate treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy.  The findings also suggest that more effort should be invested in improving social support services for unmarried patients with cancer.

September 4, 2013

A large-scale survey of Long Island women who were having mammography to screen for breast cancer shows that the majority (more than 90%) either under- or overestimated their risk of developing this disease during their lifetime. Additionally, four out of every 10 women surveyed (40%) said they had never discussed their personal breast cancer risk with a doctor.