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This Week in Lancet Oncology: May 9, 2012

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In Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in China report on the efficacy of gefitinib as a maintenance treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. The team randomly assigned 296 patients to receive either gefitinib or placebo within three to six week of chemotherapy, and found that progression-free survival was significantly longer with gefitinib compared to placebo. "Clinicians should consider these data when making decisions about maintenance treatment in such patients," the authors write.

Also in Lancet Oncology this week, US researchers report on the use of ipilimumab in melanoma patients with brain metastases. The team enrolled two cohorts of patients — 51 were neurologically asymptomatic and were not receiving corticosteroid treatment, and 21 were symptomatic and on a stable dose of corticosteroids — and administered ipilimumab. They found after 12 weeks than nine patients in the first cohort exhibited disease control, as did one person in the second cohort. When the team assessed patients' brains alone, 12 patients in the first cohort had achieved disease control, as had two patients in the second cohort. "Ipilimumab has activity in some patients with advanced melanoma and brain metastases, particularly when metastases are small and asymptomatic," the authors write. "The drug has no unexpected toxic effects in this population."

And finally in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Australia report their meta-analysis of studies on HPV-associated neoplastic anal lesions in men who have sex with men. The team searched the literature and included 53 studies into its analysis. The analysis found that while the data on this subject are somewhat scarce, the available research shows that anal HPV and precursors of anal cancer were very common in men who have sex with men. "However," the authors write, "on the basis of restricted data, rates of progression to cancer seem to be substantially lower than they are for cervical pre-cancerous lesions. Large, good-quality prospective studies are needed to inform the development of anal cancer screening guidelines for MSM."

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.