UR Oncologists Study How to Stop Cancer From Spreading to Bones

National Clinical Study Focuses on People with Advanced Lung Cancer

March 23, 2005

Oncologists at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center are leading a national clinical study to determine if a commonly used therapy to help strengthen bones could prevent lung cancer cells from spreading to the bones.

About 60 percent of people with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer experience bone metastases, which is very painful, says thoracic oncologist Kishan Pandya, M.D., principal investigator on the Phase II study.

He is leading the team analyzing whether Zometa, a therapy that also helps ease the pain of bone metastases, could prevent the disease progression in people with this form of cancer.

The Novartis-funded study will recruit 240 patients from 25 cancer centers from around the country, including several patients from Rochester.  Participants would receive injections of the drug in addition to standard chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy.

“We believe that even when people have metastatic cancer, we want to treat it more like a chronic disease – keep patients well enough to enjoy a good quality of life,” says Pandya, director of clinical trials at the Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. 

About 172,570 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, according to the American Cancer Society. About six out of 10 people with lung cancer die within a year of finding out they have lung cancer.  Another seven or eight will die within two years.

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