Radium-223 Improves QoL Over Placebo in CRPC

“Analyses from the phase III ALSYMPCA trial showed that treatment with the alpha-emitting radiopharmaceutical radium-223 resulted in quality-of-life (QoL) improvements over placebo in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and symptomatic bone metastases.

“ ‘Patients with CRPC and bone metastases often present with symptoms such as pain fatigue, anorexia, and, rarely, spinal cord compression, contributing to rapid and significant deterioration in health-related QoL and mortality,’ wrote study authors led by Sten Nilsson, MD, PhD, of Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.

“The ALSYMPCA trial found that radium-223 prolonged overall survival (OS) as well as time to first symptomatic skeletal event by significant periods. The trial included prospective QoL measurements using the EuroQoL EQ-5D and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Prostate (FACT-P). The results from these tests were published online ahead of print in Annals of Oncology.”


Intermittent Hormonal Therapy Proves to be Viable in Prostate Cancer

“With no significant difference between intermittent and continuous androgen-deprivation therapy, patients with prostate cancer may experience an improvement in their quality of life with the former.

“Androgen-deprivation therapy may be an effective treatment in prostate cancer, though its side effects may result in a loss of quality of life for patients. Allowing low-risk patients to take breaks between treatments—a practice known as intermittent hormonal therapy, or a ‘hormone holiday’—may combat these challenges without impacting survival.

” ‘Intermittent hormonal therapy has been growing in popularity over the years. Patients who receive hormone therapy often have side effects, and giving them so-called “hormone holidays” may improve quality of life. Over the years, there has really been a lot of trials and experimental work that laid the groundwork for this going back 20 years,’ said Leonard G. Gomella, MD, in an interview with Targeted Oncology.”


“Hormone Holiday” Can Improve QoL for Select Patients With Prostate Cancer

“Androgen-deprivation therapy, while an effective treatment for prostate cancer, can result in side effects and a reduced quality of life. Allowing low-risk patients to take breaks between treatments—a practice known as intermittent hormonal therapy, or a ‘hormone holiday’—may combat these challenges without impacting survival.

“A recent systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by JAMA Oncology found no significant difference between intermittent and continuous therapy for overall survival (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.93-1.11; 8 trials, 5352 patients), cancer-specific survival (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.87-1.19; 5 trials, 3613 patients), and progression-free survival (HR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.84-1.05; 4 trials, 1774 patients).”


Long-term Toxicity Surprise With ADT for Prostate Cancer

“In a surprising study result, the use of intermittent androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer is not associated with fewer long-term adverse events than continuous ADT.

“The outcome was unexpected because it was hypothesized that the intermittent schedule, which gives patients a break from the treatment, would be less harmful.

“ADT is a cornerstone of locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer treatment, but is associated with an array of adverse events, including sexual dysfunction, bone demineralization, cardiovascular disease, metabolic complications, cognitive changes, and diminished quality of life.”


Checkpoint Inhibitors Improve QoL in Melanoma Survivors

“The checkpoint inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab not only prolong survival in advanced melanoma patients but also maintain health-related quality of life (QoL), according to two presentations at the Society for Melanoma Research 2015 International Congress, held November 18–21 in San Francisco.

“In the international, randomized, open-label phase III KEYNOTE-006 study, the anti–programmed death-1 (PD-1) humanized monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab provided superior overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and response, and with less high-grade toxicity compared with the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitor ipilimumab in 834 patients with ipilimumab-naive advanced melanoma who received up to one prior therapy.”


Super Advocate: Surviving Lung Cancer Revitalizes Dave Bjork’s Life


In 1998, Dave Bjork went to the doctor for a high fever accompanied by chills so intense that he shivered even though he wore three jackets. A chest X-ray revealed pneumonia and Dave went back to his life. “I didn’t think anything of it,” he says.

But then Dave had another bout of pneumonia only a few months later, and his new X-ray and his old one had a terrible similarity. “My radiologist held up the two X-rays and showed me that the infection was in the same spot,” he says. Next came a CAT scan and a call from his doctor saying they’d found a tumor in his lung. Continue reading…


Short-Course Palliative RT Cuts Cancer Pain

“Short-course palliative radiotherapy provided pain relief equivalent to that of conventional protocols, and allowed patients with advanced cancer to spend more time at home, investigators reported.

“Half as many patients underwent more than five treatment sessions and hospital length of stay decreased by 50% following implementation of a palliative radiation oncology service. At the same time, significantly more patients completed the planned course of radiotherapy, which resulted in a trend toward better pain relief.”


Weight Training Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Regain Functional Strength

“Weight training can be a big boost to breast cancer survivors who are trying to regain muscle and bone strength lost due to cancer treatment and physical inactivity, says a Florida State University researcher.

“In the academic journal Healthcare, FSU Professor of Exercise Science Lynn Panton details how a weight training regimen can help women who’ve survived breast cancer repair chemotherapy-weakened bodies and help them get back to living their lives.

“ ‘Cancer treatment causes this accelerated aging,’ Panton said. ‘What we are finding is that many breast cancer survivors are very weak in the upper body.’ “


Postprostatectomy Radiation Therapy Yields Low Toxicity and Favorable Patient-Reported Quality of Life

“A prospective study of guideline-based, postoperative, image-guided intensity-modulated radiation therapy in patients with prostate cancer found low toxicity profiles and favorable patient-reported quality of life following treatment, with researchers concluding that toxicity and health-related quality of life should not impact the recommendation of radiation therapy following prostatectomy. The research was published by Berlin et al in Practical Radiation Oncology.

“Postprostatectomy radiation therapy has been reported as underutilized, with randomized trials showing the benefit of adjuvant radiation therapy, but only about 10% of patients receiving the treatment. One potential reason for underutilization could be concern over side effects or a negative impact on health-related quality of life.”