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This Week in Lancet Oncology: Nov 30, 2011

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In Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in the US and Canada assess the use of mocetinostat for the treatment of relapsed classical Hodgkin's lymphoma. The team administered mocetinostat to 51 Hodgkin's patients — 28 receiving an 85-milligram dose and 23 receiving a 110-milligram dose. The team found that the disease control rate in the 110-mg group was 35 percent and 25 percent in the 85-mg group, but subsequent dose reductions were needed in the higher dose group because of toxic side effects. "Mocetinostat, 85 mg three times per week, has promising single-agent clinical activity with manageable toxicity in patients with relapsed classical Hodgkin's lymphoma," the authors write.

Also in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Australia report results from a systematic review and meta-analysis of the psychological morbidity and quality of life of ethnic minority cancer patients. The team searched the available literature for articles on anxiety, depression, and distress in minority and majority cancer patients or survivors and found that, overall, minority groups have "significantly worse distress" than majority groups. "Further analyses found disparities to be specific to Hispanic patients in the USA, in whom poorer outcomes were consistent with potentially clinically important differences for distress," the authors write. "Future reports should more clearly describe their minority group samples and analyses should control for clinical and sociodemographic variables known to predict outcomes. Understanding of why outcomes are poor in US Hispanic patients is needed to inform the targeting of interventions."

Finally in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in the US and Europe present results of a phase III trial of fludarabine plus alemtuzumab versus fludarabine alone in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. The team randomly assigned 335 patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia to receive either fludarabine monotherapy or fludarabine-alemtuzumab combination therapy and found that the combination treatment resulted in better progression-free survival and overall survival than fludarabine alone. "The combination of fludarabine and alemtuzumab is another treatment option for patients with previously treated CLL," the authors write.

The Scan

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A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.