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Medical News & Perspectives
July 25, 2007

Cancer Agents Show First-Line Potential

JAMA. 2007;298(4):391. doi:10.1001/jama.298.4.391

Chicago—Clinical studies have pointed to various agents as potential new first-line treatments for patients with cancer. At the 43rd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held here in June, researchers presented findings from trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of some of these therapies.

Two trials have investigated treatment options for different types of leukemia. The first study revealed that adding arsenic trioxide to standard therapy significantly increased overall survival among adults with newly diagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Arsenic trioxide has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years, and it is currently prescribed as second-line treatment for patients with APL who do not respond to the standard therapy of combined all-trans retinoic acid and chemotherapy. About 70% of patients taking standard therapy experience a complete response, and 35% to 45% of patients are disease free at 5 years.