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American Society for Radiation Oncology, Sept. 22-25, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 (Last Updated: 10/04/2013)

The 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology

The annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology was held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Atlanta and attracted approximately 11,000 participants from around the world, including physicians, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, biologists, physicists, and other cancer researchers. The conference featured educational courses focusing on radiation, surgical, and medical oncology.

In one study, Benjamin Movsas, M.D., of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and colleagues evaluated the quality of life (QOL) of stage III lung cancer patients who were treated in the Randomized Radiation (RT) Dose Escalation Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Trial. The investigators compared QOL parameters between those patients who received a high dose (HD) of 74 Gy and those who received a standard dose (SD) of 60 Gy.

"The patient-reported outcomes showed us that from the patient perspective there is significantly lower QOL on the high-dose RT arm at three months compared to the standard-dose RT arm, but this difference had resolved by the one-year mark," said Movsas. "Moreover, the patients' QOL at baseline significantly predicted their survival."

The investigators also found that the decline in QOL at one year after treatment was significantly reduced with use of the more sophisticated intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) compared to three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy.

"This is despite the fact that IMRT was utilized more often in patients with larger tumors. While the radiation technique was not randomized, this suggests that improved radiation treatment techniques may help enhance the QOL for patients with lung cancer compared to more standard RT techniques," Movsas added. "This study further emphasizes the critical importance of patient-reported outcomes to tell us the rest of the story -- the patient perspective."

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In another study, Robert Miller, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues examined whether sulfasalazine reduced diarrhea in patients who received pelvic radiation therapy.

"We found that sulfasalazine actually worsened diarrhea associated with radiotherapy to the pelvis rather than helping reduce diarrhea. Based on these results, we do not recommend utilizing sulfasalazine for the prevention of diarrhea associated with pelvic radiation therapy," said Miller. "Sulfasalazine is not widely used in the United States during radiation therapy, so these results will not have a large impact on clinical practice in the United States."

According to Miller, the results of the study are important in themselves, but the most important thing that this trial demonstrates is the importance of large, federally-funded, randomized controlled trials for providing the highest level of evidence to determine whether therapies are detrimental or beneficial.

"A number of other trials of symptom-control agents performed by our study group have found similar negative results. In these cases, early, less definitive trials suggested a benefit to a drug, only to have that drug be found ineffective or harmful when tested in a blinded randomized trial," Miller added.

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As part of a multicenter phase III study, Thomas Pisansky, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues found that, among immediate-risk prostate cancer patients, the use of fewer weeks of hormone therapy provided similar disease-specific survival but was associated with fewer adverse events.

The investigators randomized 1,490 intermediate-risk prostate cancer patients: 752 patients received eight weeks of neoadjuvant (NEO) total androgen suppression (TAS) (Group 1) and 738 patients received 28 weeks of NEO TAS (Group 2).

"Sometimes, preliminary research leads us to assume that more treatment is better, but this study serves as a strong cautionary note to put the promising treatment to the test," Pisansky said in a statement. "Overall, both groups had very, very good outcomes, but patients assigned to Group 2 had more side effects from androgen suppression than Group 1, who received only eight weeks of NEO TAS. Now, investigators know the upper boundary of how much androgen suppression is needed in this group of patients. The results have substantial importance because they can alter the research strategy to one in which investigation can now concentrate on ways to simplify the treatment and further reduce side effects."

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ASTRO: Oropharyngeal Cancer Cases Rising in Young Patients

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer is rising rapidly in patients younger than 45 years, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Atlanta.

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ASTRO: Avoiding Hippocampus Preserves Memory in Brain Mets

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with brain metastases, hippocampal avoidance whole brain radiotherapy (HA-WBRT) is associated with less memory decline at four months, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Atlanta.

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ASTRO: Cisplatin Plus RT, HDRB Beneficial for Cervical Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- For women with stage IIIB squamous cervical cancer, cisplatin added to radiotherapy plus high-dose-rate brachytherapy (HDRB) is associated with improved disease-free survival, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Atlanta.

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ASTRO: Long-Term Hormonal Tx No Better for Certain Prostate CA

TUESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- For men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer, long-term hormonal therapy offers no benefit over short-term hormonal therapy, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Atlanta.

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ASTRO: Two Questions Can ID Depression in Cancer Patients

TUESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with cancer receiving radiotherapy, a simple screening evaluation can detect major depression, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Atlanta.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology

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