The team of the cooperative Ewing sarcoma study under the direction of Prof. Dr. Uta Dirksen wants to help small and young patients with Ewing sarcomas even further. The non-profit organization German Cancer Aid (in German: Deutsche Krebshilfe) is providing the scientist at the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen (acronym: UDE) and the Deputy Director of Children's Hospital III at the West German Tumour Centre of the University Hospital Essen (acronym: UK Essen) with 4.1 million euros for the study.
Hope for better chances of recovery: The new study iEUROEWING of the Society for Paediatric Oncology and Haematology (In German: GPOH) is intended to enable patients up to the age of 50 from at least 12 countries to participate. In Germany, about 1 to 3 out of every 1 million people currently suffer from Ewing sarcomas every year.
At the beginning of their disease, they usually do not show any of the symptoms known from other cancers, such as fatigue, night sweats or weight loss, but have often had fluctuating pain for months. As a result, Ewing sarcomas are often diagnosed late. "In more than 20 percent of patients, an Ewing's sarcoma has already metastasized and in another 20 percent, the tumors have already reached a critical size that is associated with a worse prognosis, similar to metastatic disease," said Prof. Dirksen.
Currently, very intensive therapies are used for healing. Nevertheless, too many patients still suffer a relapse. "This affects between 20 to 30 percent of patients in whom the tumor has not yet spread and more than half of those in whom it has already spread," said Prof. Dirksen. For people with cases in which an Ewing sarcoma has already spread, despite very intensive therapy, so far only a minimal improvement in the chances of recovery has been achieved.
In the upcoming study, the research team intends to test whether the use of new substances can improve the chances of recovery and increase the tolerability of the therapy. For patients with high-risk tumors, the iEUROEWING protocol will test the effect of targeted cancer drugs.
Together with researchers from Heidelberg and Munich, Prof. Dirksen also founded the "Transnational Ewing Sarcoma Research Association". For the new study, the people who give their consent will collect biomaterial that will enable researchers to further improve therapy options and understand tumor biology.