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Researchers investigate a less toxic radiation treatment for HPV-Positive oropharynx cancer
Date:5/31/2013

CHICAGO, IL (May 29, 2013)Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center and other institutions have completed a phase II clinical trial that may help identify those patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer who do not require the full radiation dose given in a standard regimen of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). Preliminary findings will be presented by Shanthi Marur, first author on the study and an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Sunday, June 2.

Patients enrolled in the trial received an initial regimen of chemotherapy followed by treatment with the targeted therapy cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody. In the study, a patient's response to those initial treatments determined the dose during radiation treatment.

"Those patients who had a really good response to chemotherapy might also be more responsive to radiation," says Barbara Burtness, senior author on the study and chief of head and neck medical oncology at Fox Chase. "Therefore, the use of a full dose of radiation for those patients might represent overtreatment."

Burtness is also chair of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), which sponsors this ongoing trial. ECOG is a a National Cancer Institute-funded team of researchers who organize and carry out clinical trials.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 40,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the oropharynxa swath of tissue at the back of the throatin 2013, and nearly 8,000 will die from the disease. Between 60 and 80 percent of cases are associated with infection by Human Papilloma Viruses, or HPVs.

"Patients with HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer tend to be younger than other oropharyngeal cancer patients, and would be living with the aftereffects of treatment for more years," says Burtness. A patient who undergoes standard radiation to th
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
diana.quattrone@fccc.edu
215-815-7828
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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