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This Week in Lancet Oncology : Oct 19, 2011

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In Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Spain report on SNPs associated with response to and toxic effects for sunitinib in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. The team assigned 101 previously untreated renal cell carcinoma patients to receive sunitinib, and assessed progression-free survival, overall survival, and toxicity in the context of 16 key SNPs in nine genes. They found that two VEGFR3 missense polymorphisms were associated with reduced progression-free survival with sunitinib, and the CYP3A5*1 high metabolizing allele was associated with an increased risk of toxicity. "Polymorphisms in VEGFR3 and CYP3A5*1 might be able to define a subset of patients with renal-cell carcinoma with decreased sunitinib response and tolerability," the authors write. "If confirmed, these results should promote interventional studies testing alternative therapeutic approaches for patients with such variants."

Also in Lancet Oncology this week, an international team of researchers assessed the effect of crizotinib on overall survival in non-small-cell lung cancer patients with a rearrangement in the ALK gene. In a cohort of 82 patients treated with crizotinib, the one-year overall survival rate was 74 percent and the two-year survival rate was 54 percent. Compared to ALK-positive patients that did not receive crizotinib, the patients that received the drug survived significantly longer. "In patients with advanced, ALK-positive NSCLC, crizotinib therapy is associated with improved survival compared with that of crizotinib-naive controls," the authors write. "ALK rearrangement is not a favorable prognostic factor in advanced NSCLC."

Finally in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Europe, Australia, and Canada present results from a six-year study of CHOP-like chemotherapy with or without rituximab in patients with diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma. The team randomly assigned 823 patients to receive a CHOP-like chemotherapy, either with or without rituximab, and after a median follow-up of 72 months, the researchers observed a 55.8 percent survival rate for the chemotherapy patients, and a 74.3 percent survival rate for the rituximab patients. "Rituximab added to six cycles of CHOP-like chemotherapy improved long-term outcomes for young patients with good-prognosis diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma," the authors write. "The definition of two prognostic subgroups allows a more refined therapeutic approach to these patients."

The Scan

Comfort of Home

The Guardian reports that AstraZeneca is to run more clinical trials from people's homes with the aim of increasing participant diversity.

Keep Under Control

Genetic technologies are among the tools suggested to manage invasive species and feral animals in Australia, Newsweek says.

Just Make It

The New York Times writes that there is increased interest in applying gene synthesis to even more applications.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on OncoDB, mBodyMap, Genomicus

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database to analyze large cancer datasets, human body microbe database, and more.