Archive for August, 2007

Individualizing Treatment for Breast Cancer Adjuvant Therapy: Genetic Tissue Microarray Analysis

August 4, 2007

CORT has been a leader in the integration of new technology into daily cancer treatment.   For patients who have been diagnosed with early stage localized breast cancer, the decision of whether to have chemotherapy to reduce the risk of disease recurrence is always difficult.  For instance, a patient with a 15% risk of disease recurrence (based on general characteristics of the breast tumor) might experience a reduction in risk of 5-6% by having chemotherapy.  That risk reduction must be balanced against the side effects of treatment, or the chances of a more serious or long-term effect of therapy.   Making matters more difficult, not all patients who have a similar cancer size or stage have the same risk of recurrence.  For instance, within the group of women with the 15% risk noted above, there may be some with a low risk for recurrence (for instance 7 or 8%), and others who have a much higher risk (for instance 30%). 

Fortunately, new technology is now available that may allow for more sophisticated risk prediction in certain breast cancer patients.  That technology is based upon the analysis of tumor tissue gene expression patterns by a technique known as a microarray.  The FDA has approved the use of the OncoType DX Test, which is a gene panel that has been proven to accurately give an individualized risk assessment for breast cancer patients who have lymph node-negative, ER (estrogen receptor) positive disease.  This test is also being explored in other populations of patients. 

The results of the test are expressed as a RS (Recurrence Score).   A high RS predicts for a high risk of disease recurrence (for example, approaching the 30% recurrence as in the example discussed above) despite the use of hormone therapy (tamoxifen=Nolvadex).  Low RS scores predict very favorable outcomes (low recurrence risk) with hormone therapy alone.  For more informaiton about the RS, visit

CORT physicians are proactive in the use of genetic profiling for patients whose tumors match the proper characteristics where the technology has been validated. 

CORT is also actively recruiting patients into the TAILORx Study, a national study of that will determine the best treatment for patients who have intermediate RS scores by the OncoType DX test.  For more information on having consultation with a CORT physician, or about this important study, call 972-566-5588 and ask to speak with a Study Coordinator.

Lung Cancer Vaccine Study: Stimuvax

August 4, 2007

CORT continues its investigation of a vaccine for prevention of recurrence of Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer )(NSCLC).  In collaboration with EMD Pharmaceuticals, CORT is conducting a study of Stimuvax, a vaccine for patients who have completed a standard program of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for treatment of unresectable Stage III NSCLC. 

Patients who qualify will randomly receive a placebo or active vaccine treatment for 8 weekly doses, followed by 4 additional doses every 6 weeks.  For information on this study, call 972-566-5588 and ask to speak with a Study Coordinator.  Additional information about CORT and the studies available may be found at

Patients who have unresectable Stage III NSCLC who complete a standard program of chemotherapy and radiation therapy continue to have a very high risk of recurrence.  The purpose of this study is to determine if the vaccination program can effectively reduce that risk.