News | October 08, 2008

RT, New Treatment Raise Survival Rates in Esophageal Cancer Patients

October 9, 2008 - A new therapeutic treatment, when delivered endoscopically and used in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, improved survival rates in patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer, according to a study released at the 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

A Phase 2 multi-center study on the safety and long-term efficacy of a new biologic therapy called TNFerade, an injection of an anti-tumor agent, was conducted in 24 patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer.

Patients received standard care chemotherapy and radiation plus TNFerade injection directly into the esophageal tumor through an endoscope or an ultrasound-guided endoscope. TNFerade contains a non-replicating virus, which has been engineered to deliver the gene for a cancer fighting protein, TNF-alpha and works synergistically with chemoradiation representing a "triple threat" to cancer cells.

After a total of five treatments of TNFerade and surgery, researchers found most tumors were of the adenocarcinoma type. TNFerade in combination with chemoradiation in this group of patients, resulted in a median survival of 48.4 months, in contrast to previously published trials showing a median survival of 9.7 to 34 months. At 48 months, three patients had tumor resections, which showed no residual cancer cells in the surgical specimens.

Kenneth Chang, M.D., University of California Irvine Medical Center, where he and his colleagues conducted the study, noted, “TNFerade is a promising treatment that represents a new paradigm in esophageal cancer treatment, with the gastroenterologist administering the local anti-tumor agent through a scope."

For more information: www.acg.gi.org

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