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North Texas Oncologist Shares Takeaway From Conference

Publication: Mesquite News

Earlier this month oncologists from around the country and the world gathered at the 2017 annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), one of the nation’s largest cancer research conferences.

This year brought 38,000 oncologists into one building in Chicago to discuss the latest breakthroughs in cancer care.

Texas Oncology

Rowlett Dr. Tobenna Nwizu spoke on some highlights from this year’s conference and how the innovations and findings are changing the way cancer is treated.

One particular area Nwizu thought was interesting was a study on colorectal cancer.  He explained that the treatment for this is typically surgery, and patients with stage three colorectal cancer are usually treated with six months of chemotherapy.

He said the study compared giving patients chemotherapy for three months versus six months to see if three months would be inferior to the six-month treatment.

“They found out that there wasn’t much of a difference,” Nwizu said. “Patients were given three months of chemotherapy. After three years 74.6 percent were still alive without cancer versus 75.5 percent in patients who were given six months.”

He added that this discovery is important because there are certain side effects to chemotherapy when it comes to treating colorectal cancer.

“When we see cancer patients, our whole goal is to cure their cancer, and the second goal is to have as minimal symptoms as possible and return them to their pre-cancerous state,” Nwizu said.

He explained that the FOLFOX regimen, used to treat colorectal cancer, uses a drug called oxaliplatin which can cause neuropathy, damaging the nerve of the hands and feet, which can be permanent.

“They found that patients given three months of chemotherapy versus six months had lower side effects,” he said.

Prostate cancer

Another hot topic discussed at the conference was treatment for prostate cancer in which a trial conducted looked at adding the drug abiraterone or Zytiga to Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) – patients are given a shot to stop the testicles from producing testosterone.

“When adding this drug (abiraterone/Zytiga) to the Androgen Deprivation Therapy, there was a three-year survival benefit, which was 76 percent to 83 percent. It decreased the relative risk of death by 37 percent and decreased relapse by 70 percent, and decreased the chances of more complications by 50 percent,” said Nwizu.

The oncologists’ conference also discussed immunotherapy and its effectiveness in combination with other treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy.

Nwizu said one of the big things now is combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy.

Read the full story at the Mesquite News.

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