FDA Advisory Committee Suggests Changes to ESA Use
An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that the agency consider adding new restrictions on the use of antianemia drugs in cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced anemia. The advisory committee's May 10 meeting was the most recent stage for debate about what has become a matter of significant concern: whether use of a blockbuster class of drugs that reduces the need for blood transfusions in the estimated 450,000 cancer patients who receive them annually could be putting them at a greater risk of death.
None of the recommendations offered by the agency's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) were highly specific. The committee did, however, advise FDA to evaluate all available and forthcoming data to determine if the use of these drugs, often called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), should be limited in patients with certain tumor types; whether a specific hemoglobin level to trigger the drugs' use in asymptomatic patients should be established; and whether limits should be placed on their use within a certain time frame after chemotherapy is completed. Read more
Celebrating Women's Health
As we are all aware, last Sunday was Mother's Day. Fittingly, it was also the first day of National Women's Health Week, an annual opportunity to educate women about important health screenings and to encourage them to take advantage of every opportunity to prevent diseases like cancer.
Now in its eighth year, this federally sponsored event particularly emphasizes mammography, which - along with adjuvant chemotherapy - was responsible for a 24-percent reduction in breast cancer mortality between 1990 and 2000, according to an NCI-funded study published in 2005. Read more