New chemo regimen helps children with neuroblastoma

June 6, 2011

A new high-dose chemotherapy regimen has been shown to improve survival of children with high-risk neuroblastoma, a common pediatric cancer, according to a European clinical trial published Sunday.

"The study's results are important for patients with this extremely difficult to treat disease," said lead author Ruth Ladenstein of the University of Vienna and St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute in Vienna, Austria.

The results were presented in Chicago at the 47th annual conference of the . More than 30,000 researchers and representatives of pharmaceutical companies participated in the forum.

The phase 3 trial showed better overall survival with a combination of the myeloablative busulphan and (BuMel) compared to a different myeloablative regimen of three chemotherapy drugs, carboplatin, etoposide and melphalan (CEM).

Previously, only 30 percent of children with high-risk neuroblastoma survive long-term.

The study's results show that survival can increase by 20 percent.

"We could potentially improve overall prognosis by up to 35 percent in the future," Ladenstein said.

"Thus, we overcome the 50 percent threshold in survival rates by choosing the right high-dose myeloablative regimen for these patients," she added.

Myeloablative chemotherapy is high-dose chemotherapy that kills cells in the bone marrow, including .

Neuroblastoma is rare, but is the most common cancer in the first year of life and accounts for approximately 15 percent of deaths.

About 650 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, with 40 percent considered high-risk, meaning they are "very likely to recur or progress, despite therapy," the study said.

The trial involved 563 children -- median age 3. After three years, the survival was 60 percent for those receiving busulphan-melphalan compared to 48 percent for the CEM group "and the busulphan group had lower rates of relapse and progression."

"Based on the results, the randomization was stopped early," the study said.

The treatment-related death rate was 3 percent for the busulphan regimen and 5 percent for CEM, the study said.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists develop blood test that spots tumor-derived DNA in people with early-stage cancers

August 16, 2017
In a bid to detect cancers early and in a noninvasive way, scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report they have developed a test that spots tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in blood and have used it to ...

Researchers find 'switch' that turns on immune cells' tumor-killing ability

August 16, 2017
Molecular biologists led by Leonid Pobezinsky and his wife and research collaborator Elena Pobezinskaya at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have published results that for the first time show how a microRNA molecule ...

Cell cycle-blocking drugs can shrink tumors by enlisting immune system in attack on cancer

August 16, 2017
In the brief time that drugs known as CDK4/6 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, doctors have made a startling observation: in certain patients, the drugs—designed to halt cancer ...

Toxic formaldehyde is produced inside our own cells, scientists discover

August 16, 2017
New research has revealed that some of the toxin formaldehyde in our bodies does not come from our environment - it is a by-product of an essential reaction inside our own cells. This could provide new targets for developing ...

Popular immunotherapy target turns out to have a surprising buddy

August 16, 2017
The majority of current cancer immunotherapies focus on PD-L1. This well studied protein turns out to be controlled by a partner, CMTM6, a previously unexplored molecule that is now suddenly also a potential therapeutic target. ...

A metabolic treatment for pancreatic cancer?

August 15, 2017
Pancreatic cancer is now the third leading cause of cancer mortality. Its incidence is increasing in parallel with the population increase in obesity, and its five-year survival rate still hovers at just 8 to 9 percent. Research ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tjcoop3
not rated yet Jun 09, 2011
This is ridiculous. Why do we continue to develop drugs when natural substances probably work better?
Oh yeah, money.
Why is there no study with cannabis oil?
We already know it reduces and even cures some other form of brain cancerous tumors. Even AMA has acknowledged this.
I guess drug companies can't patent it so kids will continue to be abused by them with horribly caustic chemical cocktails.
Money is god to modern western medicine.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.