NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
November 23, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 45 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Rowland to Appear on CBS's Sunday Morning
On Sunday, November 28, Dr. Julia Rowland, director of NCI's Office of Cancer Survivorship, is scheduled to appear on the CBS news program Sunday Morning. She was interviewed for a 10-minute segment on survivorship, reported by senior correspondent Martha Teichner. The segment will appear after 9:00 a.m. EST.

Dr. Julia Rowland Rowland said of the experience, "It was an incredible opportunity to participate in the survivorship dialogue that's been in the press in recent months. Our office was established 8 years ago, yet most Americans don't know it exists. We want survivors and their families to know that we're making their issues a critical part of the national cancer program. Through research and application, we must ensure that all survivors are offered hope for a full and meaningful life after cancer."

In addition to Dr. Rowland, several cancer specialists and advocates are scheduled to appear on the program, including Lance Armstrong, six-time Tour de France winner and member of the Presidents' Cancer Panel, and Ellen Stovall, President and CEO of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. Sunday Morning is seen by 5 million viewers.

Waldmann Lectures on Role of IL-2 and IL-15 in Immunotherapy
Abnormal cells overexpress receptors for IL-2 and IL-15 cytokines, creating an excellent opportunity for targeted treatment and prevention of cancer and other immunologic diseases, said Dr. Thomas Waldmann, chief of the Metabolism Branch at NCI's Center for Cancer Research, during his Grand Rounds lecture on November 9. The IL-2 receptor blocker daclizumab (Zenapax), is already being used in humans to prevent organ transplant rejection, and has shown promise in mice as a treatment for advanced T-cell lymphoma. The more recently discovered IL-15 and its receptor pose other opportunities for targeted therapy. IL-15 in vaccines may be superior to IL-2, Dr. Waldmann said, particularly for diseases such as cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and anthrax, where long-term response is needed. He also noted that agents targeting the IL-2/IL-15 system hold great promise for people with leukemia, lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and other autoimmune diseases.

ASCO Issues Clinical Recommendations on Aromatase Inhibitors
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued an updated technology assessment stating that aromatase inhibitors are appropriate to use as adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to lower the risk of tumor recurrence. The assessment, which focused on anastrozole, letrozole, and exemestane, was published online at on Nov. 15, ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This new technology assessment updates ASCO's previous recommendation on adjuvant hormonal therapy for this patient group. These new recommendations, based on results from multiple large randomized trials, indicate that aromatase inhibitors can be used either following initial adjuvant treatment with tamoxifen or as initial treatment. Options include treatment with tamoxifen for 2 to 5 years, followed by treatment with aromatase inhibitors, or treatment for 5 years with an aromatase inhibitor alone.

"Many practicing oncologists have incorporated aromatase inhibitors into their standard practice," explains Dr. Jo Anne Zujewski, senior investigator in NCI's Clinical Trials Evaluation Program. "This update signifies that there is agreement that aromatase inhibitors are now considered standard therapy for these patients."

A patient version of the clinical practice recommendations is available online at

FDA Approves Tarceva for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
After fast-track review, the FDA has approved Tarceva (erlotinib) for treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. The drug, which targets the EGFR1 pathway, is recommended once a day for patients who have failed to improve after at least one prior chemotherapy regimen. The FDA based its approval on results from a randomized phase III trial in which patients receiving Tarceva had a median survival that was 42.5 percent higher than patients who received a placebo - the first time that an EGFR-targeted therapy has gone beyond shrinking tumors to show a survival effect. A year after treatment, 31.2 percent of patients receiving Tarceva were still alive, compared with 21.5 percent of patients who had received placebo. In addition, Tarceva has fewer side effects (the most common being rash and diarrhea) than most other chemotherapeutic agents.