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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

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.