Interview with Joan H Schiller, MD
Dr Schiller is Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Deputy Director of the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and Andrea L Simmons Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
Current clinical research
DR LOVE: What are some of the clinical research trials right now that a patient who’s about to consider getting adjuvant chemotherapy might be able to go into?
DR SCHILLER: Well, there are, the best of my knowledge, a total of three in North America, three possible adjuvant studies. One of those adjuvant studies involves a vaccine (Vaccine Clinical Trial Details). To be a candidate for that study, your doctor has to send your tumor to a central lab, and they have to analyze it to see if you’re a candidate for this vaccine. And only about a third of all patients are.
A second study involves a drug called erlotinib, or Tarceva (RADIANT — Erlotinib Clinical Trial Details). And to be eligible for that study, your surgeon has to send your tumor to a central laboratory and they, too, have to analyze it and make sure that you qualify.
The third study is one which I’m involved with. And it is run by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, or ECOG. And it is a study looking at the role of a drug called bevacizumab, or Avastin. And bevacizumab, or Avastin, is a new drug which is what we call a antiangiogenic drug. And what that means, Avastin doesn’t try to kill the tumor. What it does try to control are the blood vessels growing within the tumor. So, it is a way of choking off the blood supply to the tumor.
Now, in this particular randomized study that we’re involved with, half of the patients get randomized to chemotherapy, the standard of care, and the other half get randomized to chemotherapy plus Avastin. So, everybody gets chemotherapy. Everyone gets the standard of care. About half the patients will, in addition to that, go on to get Avastin (ECOG Bevacizumab Clinical Trial Details).