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This Week in Lancet Oncology: Mar 31, 2011


Published online in advance in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Maryland and Texas present their findings from a study done to determine the proportion of secondary cancers attributable to radiotherapy in adults. Using data from the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registries, the researchers analyzed 15 cancer sites that are routinely treated with radiotherapy, and found that out of 647,672 patients who were 5-year survivors and followed up for a mean of 12 years, only 9 percent of them developed a second solid cancer. "A relatively small proportion of second cancers are related to radiotherapy in adults, suggesting that most are due to other factors, such as lifestyle or genetics," the researchers conclude.

Also published online in advance this week, researchers at the Mayo Clinic present their findings from a Phase II study of temsirolimus and rituximab in patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma. Temsirolimus, a mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor with single-agent antitumor activity in patients with mantle cell lymphoma, was administered to patients along with rituximab for four weeks during the first treatment cycle. Rituximab was administered alone for another four weeks. "Responding patients after six cycles could continue treatment for a total of 12 cycles, and were then observed without additional maintenance treatment," the researchers write. "The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with either rituximab-sensitive or rituximab-refractory disease who had at least a partial response." The overall response rate was 59 percent, with 13 of the 71 patients in the study achieving complete responses and 28 achieving partial responses. "mTOR inhibitors in combination with rituximab could have a role in the treatment of patients with relapsed and refractory mantle cell lymphoma," the authors conclude.

Researchers in Australia and New Zealand present data on short-term neoadjuvant androgen deprivation and radiotherapy for locally advanced prostate cancer from the 10-year TROG 96.01 randomized trial. The trial was conducted to assess whether three-month and six-month short-term neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy decreases clinical progression and mortality after radiotherapy for locally advanced prostate cancer. More than 800 men were followed for a median of 10.6 years, and the researchers found that three months of neoadjuvant androgen deprivation therapy decreased the cumulative incidence of prostate cancer progression and improved event-free survival compared to radiotherapy alone, the authors write. Six-month long therapy also had the advantage of decreasing distant progression as well as prostate cancer-specific mortality, and all-cause mortality compared with radiotherapy alone, the researchers add. "Six months of neoadjuvant androgen deprivation combined radiotherapy is an effective treatment option for locally advanced prostate cancer, particularly in men without nodal metastases or pre-existing metabolic comorbidities that could be exacerbated by prolonged androgen deprivation," the team concludes.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.