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Two CCTG trials earn top honours

Canadian Cancer Society names two Canadian Cancer Trials Group trials best of 2016.

Two trials supported by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) based at Queen’s University were selected by the Canadian Cancer Society’s list of the top 10 research impact stories for 2016.

The two trials – which revealed new techniques to improve glioblastoma survival in the elderly and demonstrated how extending hormone therapy could keep breast cancer at bay, respectively – were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

“These trials are representative of the key work of the CCTG to identify new cancer treatments,” says Janet Dancey, CCTG director. “The group continues to bring forward the best ideas for new treatments from Canadian investigators and prove their benefit in trials conducted across Canada and internationally. The impact of these results will resonate and improve the outcomes for patients with cancer around the world.”

Chris O’Callaghan (Oncology) was the senior investigator on the CE.6 trial, which examined the use of the cancer drug temozolomide in the treatment of glioblastoma – an incurable form of brain cancer.  The trial found that adding the drug to a shortened course of radiation therapy, followed by monthly maintenance doses, significantly improved the survival rate of elderly patients.

“The results of the CE.6 trial build on CCTG's previous work in establishing the international standard of care for the treatment of glioblastoma by confirming the optimal therapy for elderly patients suffering from this disease,” says Dr. O’Callaghan.

Wendy Parulekar (Oncology) supervised the MA.17R trial, which examined the extension of aromatase inhibitor treatment in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer. The study found that extending aromatase inhibitor treatment from five to 10 years reduces the risk of recurrence by 34 per cent.

Results of this trial mean that women and their doctors will be able to make a more informed decision about whether they want to extend treatment.

“The selection of the MA.17R trial as a top 10 research impact story of 2016 demonstrates the value of collaboration between patients and health care professionals to test new treatment strategies aimed at improving breast cancer outcomes,” says Dr. Parulekar. “CCTG is committed to building on the results of MA.17R to understand the multidimensional impact of breast cancer therapies on patient’s lives.”

For more information visit the Canadian Cancer Society website.

The Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) is a cancer clinical trials cooperative group that conducts phase I-III trials testing anti-cancer and supportive therapies across Canada and internationally. It is a national program of the Canadian Cancer Society.  The CCTG's Central Operations and Statistics Office is located at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

The Canadian Cancer Society funds excellence through its highly competitive, gold standard expert-review selection process. Last year, the Society invested $44 million to fund the country’s most promising cancer research in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for those living with and beyond cancer.