Studies Focus on Cancer as a Chronic Disease

For Immediate Release
June 5, 2011

Kelly Powell Baldwin


CHICAGO – New research results focusing on cancer as a chronic disease were released today at a press briefing at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

“We are increasingly translating our growing understanding of cancer biology into longer lives for people with cancer” said news briefing moderator Mark G. Kris, MD, chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service and The William and Joy Ruane Chair in Thoracic Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “Two studies presented here today report improvements in survival for two different cancers, two other reports provide us with new insights into issues facing the ever growing numbers of cancer survivors.”

Studies highlighted in the press briefing include:

  • Randomized Trial Finds Flaxseed Ineffective in Reducing Hot Flashes: A randomized, Phase III trial showed that flaxseed did not reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women who reported experiencing at least 28 hot flashes per week. The trial included women with and without a history of breast cancer.
  • Primary Care Physicians Report More Concerns, Lack of Training Compared to Medical Oncologists in Caring for Cancer Survivors: The first national survey of barriers perceived by primary care physicians (PCPs) and medical oncologists (MOs) in the care of breast and colon cancer survivors showed that primary care doctors were significantly more likely than oncologists to report frequently ordering tests or treatments as malpractice protection. They also more often reported being concerned about a lack of adequate training to manage breast and colorectal cancer survivors’ health needs.
  • Extending Pemetrexed Treatment as Maintenance Therapy Improves Progression-free Survival in Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer: A Phase III, randomized trial showed that maintenance therapy with the chemotherapy drug pemetrexed (Alimta) improves progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer who also received pemetrexed as part of their initial chemotherapy regimen.
  • Three Years of Imatinib Therapy Improves Survival for High-risk GIST: A prospective, randomized, multicenter, Phase III trial showed that three years of treatment with imatinib (Gleevec) after surgery in patients with high-risk gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) improved overall and recurrence-free survival compared to one year of treatment. The findings could result in the three-year course of therapy becoming the new standard of care for those patients who are at risk for relapse.

For consumer-oriented information on these studies and more than 120 cancer types, please refer your readers to ASCO’s patient website, www.Cancer.Net.

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