NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
December 16, 2008 • Volume 5 / Number 25 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Article

Trials Suggest Potential Expanded Use for HER2-Targeted Agents

Results from two phase III clinical trials presented last week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) suggest that there may be an expanded role for HER2-targeted therapies in breast cancer treatment, according to the trials' leaders.

The smaller of the two trials, dubbed NOAH, tested the combination of trastuzumab (Herceptin) and chemotherapy given prior to surgery, called neoadjuvant therapy, compared with neoadjuvant chemotherapy alone in 327 patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Data on "event-free survival" (time between randomization and disease recurrence, disease progression, or death from any cause) and response rate were available. According to the trial's principal investigator, Dr. Luca Gianni from the Istituto Nazionale Tumori Milano in Italy, the 3-year event-free survival rate for patients receiving the combination therapy was significantly better than that of patients receiving chemotherapy alone, 70.1 percent vs. 53.3 percent.   Read more  

Cancer Research Highlights

Surgery Alone May Be Best for Early Uterine Cancer

Most uterine cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, while still confined to the body of the uterus. In addition to surgery to remove the uterus and ovaries, some doctors perform lymphadenectomy (lymph node removal), external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), or both, in the hope of preventing local recurrence. However, a large randomized trial, published online December 13 in The Lancet, showed no improvement in survival associated with lymphadenectomy or EBRT.

Investigators leading the international ASTEC study randomly assigned 1,408 women to receive surgery or surgery plus pelvic lymphadenectomy. Women in both groups at intermediate or high risk of recurrence were randomly assigned a second time to receive either EBRT or no EBRT.   Read more  


The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads the national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

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