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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Mar 30, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Switzerland and the UK present a chemically modified antibody that mediates the complete eradication of tumors by selectively disrupting their blood vessels. The antibody, a novel porphyrin-based photosensitizer, is capable of "highly selective in vivo localization around tumor blood vessels" and "allows selective disruption of tumor vasculature upon irradiation, leading to complete and long-lasting cancer eradication," the authors write. These results show that vascular shutdown can lead to tumor cell death, they add.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the UK say that there is a wide spectrum of NRG1 and ERBB receptor expression in bladder cancer. The researchers measured NRG1 expression in bladder tumor and cell lines, and found that NRG1α and NRG1β showed significant coordinate expression, and that NRG1β was upregulated in 78 percent of cell lines. "In tumours," the authors add, "there was a greater range of expression with a trend towards increased NRG1α with higher stage and grade."

Researchers in Italy present the results of a phase II trial of chemotherapy regimen FOLFOX6 and bevacizumab, sold as Avastin, in patients with non-optimally resectable liver metastases of colorectal cancer. Patients received six cycles of FOLFOX6 and five of bevacizumab. Those who didn't achieve resectability were given another six cycles of each. Of the 21 patients enrolled in the study, 12 were documented to have had an objective response, the researchers write. "FOLFOX6 plus bevacizumab does not increase postsurgical complications, yields high rates of resectability and [partial response]," they add. "Early changes in PET-CT seem to be predictive of longer [progression-free survival]."

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the UK present their results of a phase II study of single agent capecitabine in the treatment of metastatic non-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Oral capecitabine was administered to patients for the first two weeks of a three-week treatment cycle. It was "safe and well-tolerated," the researchers write, and the study "provides evidence to support the use of capecitabine as a substitute for infusional [chemotherapy drug] 5FU in the management of neuroendocrine tumors."

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