In the battle for survival in solid tumors ince Larry Einhorn reported that chemotherapy could cure testicular cancer?
That was the question my primary care doctor asked me today during a visit to review a back injury. After reviewing the evidence, we both reluctantly agreed that all progress since then in solid tumors such as breast, lung, colorectal etc was largely incremental.
In liquid tumors such as leukemia and lymphoma, however, the picture is much rosier with the advent of Rituxan and Gleevec for the treatment of NHL and CML respectively, as well as improvements in bone marrow transplantation (SCT). SCT is curative in some patients, but must be balanced by a 20% risk of mortality from the procedure itself.
For all the interesting developments with targeted therapies, our knowledge of the science and biology still has a long way to go before we can start using the big C word, cure.