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Are Pap smears on the way out?
The New York Times
Women who want to be screened for cervical cancer have just received a new option — and a new quandary. The venerable Pap smear, which has been the only screening tool to look for cancer in asymptomatic women for many decades, now has a rival, a genetic test that looks for the viruses implicated in causing cervical cancer. Adding a new option seems a positive development. Yet some critics have opposed using the new test as a primary screening tool lest it displace the Pap test, which has been credited with cutting the incidence and death rate from cervical cancer sharply in recent decades.
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Merck & Co's vintafolide fails ovarian cancer trial
PharmaTimes
Merck & Co has halted a late-stage trial of its closely-watched compound vintafolide in ovarian cancer, news which has seen partner Endocyte's stock collapse 62 percent. The U.S. major noted that an interim futility analysis by a data safety monitoring board has recommended that a Phase III study be stopped because vintafolide did not demonstrate efficacy regarding progression-free survival in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. The trial was evaluating vintafolide in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin compared to the latter plus placebo.
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OVARIAN CANCER


Glutamine ratio is key ovarian cancer indicator
Science Codex
An analysis of the metabolic profiles of hundreds of ovarian tumors has revealed a new method for tailoring treatments for ovarian cancer and for assessing whether ovarian cancer cells have the potential to metastasize. The research is part of a growing effort among cancer researchers worldwide to create treatments that target the altered metabolism of cancer cells.
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Emerging role for bevacizumab in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer
Medscape (Free login required)
Combining bevacizumab (Avastin) with standard chemotherapy eases symptoms in patients with platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer, new results from the AURELIA trial confirm. The study demonstrated that adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy led to a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival and objective response rate over standard chemotherapy alone, but there was no overall survival benefit.
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MORCELLATION


Highmark will continue to pay for controversial procedure
Pittsburgh Business Times
Health insurer Highmark Inc. said it would continue paying doctors for a common gynecologic procedure that has been linked to an increased cancer risk, pending a final ruling by the Food and Drug Administration. Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger said the use of a procedure, called power morcellation, in hysterectomy and removal of painful uterine fibroids would be “left to the physician’s discretion in patients best suited for it” until further action by the FDA.
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J&J suspends sale of device used in fibroid surgery
Reuters
Johnson & Johnson suspended worldwide sale of its device used in fibroid surgery amid concerns over its potential to spread undetected cancer beyond the uterus. The company said it is suspending the sale of its power morcellators until their role in fibroid treatment is better understood and redefined by the medical community.
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TREATMENT


New phase III clinical trial shows non-invasive focused ultrasound treatment relieves cancer pain
News-Medical
When cancer progresses and spreads to the bone, patients often suffer debilitating pain. Now, a new phase III clinical trial shows that non-invasive magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound treatment that heats the cancer within the bone, relieves pain and improves function for most patients when other treatment options are limited. Magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) is a technique that's been safely used to treat thousands of women with uterine fibroids.
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RESEARCH


Molecular tumor board helps in advanced cancer cases
Medical Xpress
With accelerating development of personalized cancer treatments matched to a patient's DNA sequencing, proponents say frontline physicians increasingly need help to maneuver through the complex genomic landscape to find the most effective, individualized therapy. Researchers detail their experience evaluating 34 patients between December 2012 and June 2013 using a molecular tumor board – a new type of advisory group comprised of multidisciplinary experts, including those in the fields of tumor genetics, basic science and bioinformatics.
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Women's Cancer News
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Jessica Taylor, Senior Medical Editor, 202-684-7169  
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