A University of Utah researcher is participating in two major national studies that the National Cancer Institute believes could have significant impact on survival of patients with bladder cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
About 46,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year, and 29,000 others will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.Dr. Harmon J. Eyre, professor of medicine at the U. College of Medicine and the American Cancer Society's immediate past president, is part of a nationwide network of investigators funded by the institute to conduct the clinical trials.
Eyre said the bladder cancer study compares one of the standard treatments for bladder cancer - surgical removal of the bladder or cystectomy - to a four-drug combination, followed by surgery.
Researchers, he said, have reason to believe that chemotherapy given before surgery may increase survival and lessen the chances of tumor recurrence.
In the initial studies in bladder cancer patients, 70 percent of those receiving chemotherapy responded favorably, with the tumor shrinking. In a third of those responding patients, the tumor disappeared. These, however, are early results and patients must be followed longer to see if the response continues and if the new treatments can affect survival.
Eyre said the study of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a type of cancer that develops in the lymph system - compares three newly developed chemotherapy regimens with the most commonly used chemotherapy treatment.
Combination chemotherapy has cured many patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and prolonged the lives of others.
Researchers are comparing all four of these treatments for the first time to determine how the new drug combinations compare with the current standing treatment.
Additional information on these clinical trials can be obtained by calling the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.