Canadian Cancer Society researchers present at international conference

01 June 2007

June 2007 – More than 20 researchers funded by the Canadian Cancer Society were recently invited to present their latest findings at the prestigious American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago in June 2007. Their research is focused on new ways to treat a variety of cancers including breast, prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancers. Among the presentations:

Dr Jane Orton presented the early results of a study that may mean future patients with endometrial cancer will not need to receive unnecessary treatments that could impact their quality of life. The early results showed that radiation therapy after surgery does not improve overall survival or recurrence-free survival of women with the disease. Women who were treated with surgery alone had a 5 year survival rate of 89% and a 5 year disease free survival rate of 78%. Additional research is needed to find better treatments for endometrial cancer patients.

Dr Heather-Jane Au presented research that showed that advanced colorectal cancer patients experience an improved quality of life if treated with cetuximab combined with best supportive care versus best supportive care alone. A smaller proportion of patients who received both cetuximab and supportive care reported less deterioration in their physical function and in their overall health. Cetuximab has already been shown to prolong survival in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.

Dr Margot Burnell discussed additional findings from a study led by the NCIC Clinical Trials Group which found that a commonly-used breast cancer chemotherapy regime (AC/T) while less toxic, is significantly inferior to 2 other treatments (CEF or EC/T) at preventing recurrence of the disease. These findings provide further information for doctors and patients to help them determine the best treatment. AC/T may still be the right choice for some patients depending on various factors.

Dr Vivien Bramwell presented interim results of a study that showed premenopausal women with early breast cancer have improved disease-free survival if they are treated with tamoxifen after (define adjuvant) chemotherapy given post-surgery. The findings help to further refine treatments for the specific needs of patients.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting is considered the premier educational and scientific event in the clinical cancer research community. It attracts more than 25,000 researchers from all over the world.