SATURDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- For advanced colon cancer patients who have developed liver tumors, so-called "radioactive beads" implanted near these tumors may extend survival nearly a year longer than among patients on chemotherapy alone, a small new study finds.
The same study, however, found that a drug commonly taken in the months before the procedure does not increase this survival benefit.
The research, from Beaumont Hospitals in Michigan, helps advance the understanding of how various treatment combinations for colorectal cancer -- the third most common cancer in American men and women -- affect how well each individual treatment works, experts said.
"I definitely think there's a lot of room for studying the associations between different types of treatments," said study author Dr. Dmitry Goldin, a radiology resident at Beaumont. "There are constantly new treatments, but they come out so fast that we don't always know the consequences or complications of the associations. We need to study the sequence, or order, of treatments."
The study is scheduled to be presented Saturday at the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy in Miami Beach, Fla. Research presented at scientific conferences has not been peer-reviewed or published and should be considered preliminary.
Goldin and his colleagues reviewed medical records from 39 patients with advanced colon cancer who underwent a procedure known as yttrium-90 microsphere radioembolization. This nonsurgical treatment, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, implants tiny radioactive beads near inoperable liver tumors.
Thirty of the patients were pretreated with the drug Avastin (bevacizumab) in periods ranging from less than three months to more than nine months before the radioactive beads were placed.
The liver is a common site for the spread of colorectal cancer, whic
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