Newswise — ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Research on the latest approaches for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of GI cancers was released today in advance of the 2014 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium being held January 16-18, 2014, at The Moscone West Building in San Francisco, CA.

Five top studies from the Symposium were featured in a presscast today:

Adding Ramucirumab to Standard Second-Line Chemotherapy Improves Survival for Patients with Metastatic Gastric Cancer: Results of a global, phase III clinical trial of more than 600 patients suggest that combination therapy with the experimental targeted agent ramucirimab could become a new treatment option for previously treated gastric cancer, where there are few effective therapies that extend life.

Combination of Two Anti-Cancer Vaccines Improves Survival in Patients with Metastatic Pancreas Cancer: In a phase II clinical trial of 90 patients, the anti-cancer vaccine CRS-207 was added to GVAX Pancreas as a treatment for metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This is the first randomized study to show improved overall survival for patients with metastatic pancreas cancer treated with immunotherapy.

Long-Lasting Response and Increased Progression-Free Survival with New Chemotherapy Combination for Patients with Treatment-Resistant Neuroendocrine Tumors: Nearly all patients in this ongoing, phase II clinical trial experienced clinical benefit from the combination of capecitabine and temozolomide (CAPTEM), including tumor shrinkage and stalled tumor growth. CAPTEM was effective even in patients with carcinoid tumors, which are usually resistant to chemotherapy.

Oral Chemotherapy Equivalent to Infusional Chemotherapy for Patients with Stage II or III Rectal Cancer: New findings from a phase III clinical trial indicate that combining pre-operative radiation with capecitabine is equally as effective as pre-operative 5-fluoraouracil (5-FU). This is the largest clinical study showing there is no difference in clinical benefit between oral and infusional treatments; the study also showed that adding oxaliplatin to either treatment did not increase clinical response.

RAS Status Predicts Response to Combination Panitumumab Treatment in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC): A genetic analysis of tumor samples collected as part of a large, phase III study demonstrates that tumors with RAS mutations are unlikely to benefit from the addition of panitumumab to second-line FOLFIRI chemotherapy. This analysis is the first to examine the effects of RAS mutations on second-line treatment.

“Three of the studies presented today demonstrate how advances in combination therapies can improve the prognosis of patients diagnosed with historically difficult to treat cancers,” said Smitha Krishnamurthi, MD, who moderated the presscast. “Two additional studies make strides in improving patients’ quality of life by providing an equally effective, but more convenient, treatment choice for patients with rectal cancer and by reducing unnecessary treatment for certain subsets of patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Together these five studies exemplify the type of breakthrough research being released at the 2014 GI Symposium.”

Gastrointestinal cancers include those of the colon/rectum, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, small intestine, anus and other digestive organs. It is estimated that 289,610 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with these cancers in 2014 and 147,260 will die from them.*

The 2014 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium is co-sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO).

Information for Media:

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Oncologist-approved patient information resources are available on ASCO’s cancer information website, Cancer.Net.

An interactive history of cancer research advances, including those in colorectal, pancreatic and stomach cancer, can be found at ASCO’s Cancer Progress website at



2014 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium News Planning Team William M. Grady, MD, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, Smitha S. Krishnamurthi, MD, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Laura Dawson, MD, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), Jennifer F. Tseng, MD, MPH, Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO).

Click here to view the disclosures for the News Planning Team.

About ASCO The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With nearly 35,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds ground-breaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. For ASCO information and resources, visit Patient-oriented cancer information is available at

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