Most-Read Oncology Articles in 2011

Nancy R. Terry


December 08, 2011

In This Article

Counting Down: Most-Read Articles 10 to 2

What did oncologists read on Medscape in 2011?

The list of top articles highlights scientific and therapeutic breakthroughs, new drug approvals, and warnings about adverse effects. Yet, economic factors -- as they affect practice and personal life -- were of continuous concern. The Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2011 and the information it generated were of particular interest to Medscape members.

The top 10 most compelling articles for oncologists, as determined by how many of our members chose to read them, are provided below. If you missed these important articles, please take a minute to review them and see what your colleagues are reading.

Here are the highlights from the Medscape Top 10 for oncology in 2011:

10. 'Strongest Ever Data' in Breast Cancer With Everolimus

The combination of everolimus (Afinitor, Novartis) plus exemestane produced "the strongest data ever seen in estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer," according to principal investigator José Baselga, MD, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, as told to Medscape Medical News at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference.

9. Best-Ever Survival Data in Advanced Pancreatic Cancer in NEJM

A chemotherapy combination was shown to provide the best survival time ever reported in metastatic pancreatic cancer, according to a study from French researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported by Medscape Medical News.

8. 'Time to Celebrate'; New Metastatic Melanoma Agent Wows ASCO

In a study that was accompanied by much praise and grand declarations, the targeted therapy vemurafenib dramatically improved progression-free and overall survival, compared with standard chemotherapy, in patients with advanced melanoma with no previous treatment.The 675-patient phase 3 study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2011 Annual Meeting and reported by Medscape Medical News.

7. FDA Approves Denosumab for Patients With Cancer

The osteoporosis drug denosumab (Prolia, Amgen Inc) received approval in September from the US Food and Drug Administration for 2 new indications:

  • as a treatment to increase bone mass in women at high risk for fracture who are receiving adjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy for breast cancer, and

  • as a treatment to increase bone mass in men at high risk for fracture who are receiving androgen deprivation therapy for nonmetastatic prostate cancer.

Read the complete Medscape Medical News Alert.

6. I'm Struggling to Live on $160,000 a Year: MD Lament

Most people who don't have "MD" or "DO" after their name would assume that $160,000 is a darn good annual income.

That's what a typical primary care doctor -- family physician or internist -- earns after expenses but before taxes, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2011 not enough in a world where rising costs collide with stagnant reimbursements.

Read the complete article from Medscape Business of Medicine.

5. 'Very, Very Important Paper' on Prostate Cancer Surveillance

Radical prostatectomy appears to be a wise choice for men with early-stage prostate cancer who are younger than 65 years, according to new data from a Swedish randomized clinical trial that compares surgery with "watchful waiting." The study shows that, at 15 years, the cumulative incidence of death from prostate cancer was 14.6% among 347 men randomized to prostatectomy and 20.7% among 348 men being observed without treatment.

The new data from the ongoing Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group Study Number 4 (SPCG-4) appeared in the May 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and was reported by Medscape Medical News.

4. FDA Warns of Prostate Cancer Risk With Reductase Inhibitors

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alerted healthcare professionals in June about changes in the labeling for 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARI), which include dutasteride and finasteride. The drug labels now warn that there is an increased risk of being diagnosed with a high-grade prostate cancer while taking these drugs. Both drugs are marketed for use in benign prostate hypertrophy and have also been investigated for prostate cancer prevention in men at high risk.

Read the complete Medscape Medical News Alert.

3. Bevacizumab Linked to Fatal Adverse Effects in Cancer Patients

Just over a month after the FDA proposed withdrawing the breast cancer indication for bevacizumab, a new study showed that the drug might be associated with an increased risk for treatment-related death.

The meta-analysis, which appeared in the February 2 issue of JAMA, found that the overall incidence of fatal adverse events with bevacizumab in combination with chemotherapy was 2.5%; the incidence was 1.7% in patients who received chemotherapy alone.

Read the complete article from Medscape Medical News.

2. FDA Approves New Drug for Advanced NSCLC

In August, the FDA approved crizotinib (Xalkori, Pfizer) for the treatment of late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients who express the abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene.

In patients with ALK rearrangement, crizotinib has shown striking activity and appears to prolong survival. The ALK rearrangement is found in about 4% to 5% of NSCLC cases, which extrapolates to approximately 8,000 to 10,000 patients each year in the United States. Worldwide, an estimated 40,000 patients each year are diagnosed with ALK-positive NSCLC.

Read the complete article from Medscape Medical News Alerts.


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