New research published in the latest print edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Vol. 27, No. 9) shows a treatment combination used in breast and lung cancers to be effective against Hodgkin’s disease in pre-teens and young adults. Richard Drachtman, MD, the interim chief and medical director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is a member of the author team. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Hodgkin’s disease is a type of lymphoma, which compromises the body’s immune system by affecting lymph nodes, lymph tissues, and other entities in the body responsible for fighting infection. According to the American Cancer Society, 8,200 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in the United States last year, with about 1,300 deaths. It is most common in people aged 15 to 40 and in those older than 55. Between 10 and 15 percent of all cases are found in children and teens.
At focus in the study, Phase II Study of Weekly Gemcitabine and Vinorelbine for Children with Recurrent or Refractory Hodgkin’s Disease: A Children’s Oncology Group Report, was a drug combination known as GV (Gemcitabine and Vinorelbine). Previous studies have shown that GV has been well tolerated by adults with breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Investigators found that when children and young adults with Hodgkin’s disease that was recurrent or treatment resistant were administered GV, the response was greater than reported for either drug by itself. Predominant side effects were hematologic in nature and primarily consisted of decreased bone marrow activity, which results in fewer platelets and red and white blood cells.
The research looked at 30 patients with a median age of 17, who were heavily treated in their initial stage of Hodgkin’s disease. A median of five, 21-day cycles of GV was administered to each patient. Results showed 19 of 25 patients had measurable responses, with six having complete response, 11 having a very good partial response and two had a partial response. And while the one-year, event-free and overall survival rates measured 59.5 percent and 86 percent respectively, the study team notes that further evaluation of GV for this population of patients is warranted.
Dr. Drachtman, who is also a professor of pediatrics at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and his study colleagues are part of the Children’s Oncology Group, which is the world’s largest cooperative pediatric cancer research organization.
Along with Drachtman, the author team consists of Peter D. Cole, MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center; Cindy L. Schwartz, MD, Brown Medical School, Hasbro Children’s Hospital; Pedro A. de Alarcon, MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Lu Chen, PhD, Children’s Oncology Group; and Tanya M. Trippett, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
The research, which was presented in part as a poster presentation at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in December 2007, was supported in part by a National Cancer Institute Grant (CA98543) and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (CI-16-03).
About The Cancer Institute of New Jersey
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is dedicated to improving the prevention, detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer. CINJ’s physician-scientists engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice quite literally bringing research to life. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a center of excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. To support CINJ, please call the Cancer Institute of New Jersey Foundation at 1-888-333-CINJ.
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides a mechanism to rapidly disseminate important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Hospital, Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Affiliate Hospitals: Bayshore Community Hospital, CentraState Healthcare System, Cooper University Hospital*, JFK Medical Center, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (CINJ at Hamilton), Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Somerset Medical Center, Southern Ocean County Hospital, The University Hospital/UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center at Princeton. *Academic Affiliate.