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Major advances in breast, prostate, colorectal cancer featured at ASCO Annual Meeting

CHICAGO Findings from four phase III clinical trials in breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers were released today at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The studies were presented in ASCO's Plenary session, which features the meeting's most important clinical cancer research with the greatest potential to impact patient care.

These pivotal studies reveal new ways to optimize commonly used chemotherapy, hormone therapies, and newer targeted drugs, and answer critical questions about the comparative effectiveness of two common treatment regimens for advanced colorectal cancer. All four trials were supported, at least in part, with federal funding through the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"Today's results answer critical questions faced by people with cancer and their doctors every day. There is no doubt that patients will live longer and better because of these studies," said Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, president of ASCO and chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "These major advances and many others in the history of cancer research were only possible thanks to our nation's long-standing commitment to funding clinical cancer research. That commitment must be sustained."

The Plenary studies are:

Adjuvant exemestane is more effective than tamoxifen when combined with ovarian function suppression in young women with hormone-sensitive, early-stage breast cancer: Post-surgery (adjuvant) exemestane is more effective at preventing breast cancer recurrences than tamoxifen when given with ovarian function suppression in young women with hormone receptor-positive, early breast cancer, reducing the relative risk of developing a recurrent cancer by 28 percent.

Addition of docetaxel to initial hormone therapy substantially improves survival in men with metastatic, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer: The findings suggest inclusion of docetaxel in first-line therapies for men with advanced disease who are healthy enough for chemotherapy, especially those with extensive disease spread.

First-line bevacizumab plus chemotherapy and cetuximab plus chemotherapy provide similar survival benefit for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: Large U.S.-funded head-to-head comparison trial answers a long-standing question about the relative effectiveness of four common regimens, offering patients and providers new reassurance as they face treatment decisions.

Adding lapatinib to adjuvant trastuzumab does not improve outcomes for women with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer: Results from the phase III ALTTO study indicate that post-surgery treatment with the two anti-HER2 drugs does not improve disease-free survival compared to standard treatment with trastuzumab alone.


Contact: Wendy Stokes
American Society of Clinical Oncology

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