Monday, December 26, 2016

Herpes virus linked to most common childhood cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 26, 2016 – Newborns with a common virus in the herpes family may have an increased risk of developing acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), according to new research. The study suggests the risk is even greater in Hispanic children.

The new research led by Stephen Francis, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Nevada and University of California, San Francisco was published online in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

High blood pressure drug may block cancer spread

High-resolution microscope image of an invasive breast
cancer cell (magenta) expressing Myosin-10 induced
“sticky-fingers” (green).  Credit: Dr Guillaume 
Jacquemet, University of Turku
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 18, 2016 – Could a drug already approved to reduce high blood pressure block the spread of breast and pancreatic cancer? 

That’s the intriguing question a group of Finnish researchers at the University of Turku are working to find out.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

First viral treatment for brain cancer

Beth Rogers is flanked by her daughter
Amanda Keith and J.D. Day, M.D., who
performed her surgery.
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 11, 2016 – It has been two months since an Hazen, Arkansas woman became the first person in the US to undergo a new viral treatment for glioblastoma, a particularly deadly form of brain cancer, and so far, it is so good.

“That is so neat,”  Beth Rogers said in a press release of being treated so close to home. “I’m just hopeful through this trial that I’m going to help them find better treatment for glioblastoma because we’ve got to do something. And I’m proud that it’s being done in Arkansas at UAMS.”

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blocking key nutrient may kill hard-to-treat form of breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer
cells died rapidly when 

deprived of cystine
CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 27, 2016 – In a new study, Duke University scientists report that an aggressive and treatment-resistant form of breast cancer, called triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), die off rapidly when deprived of a key nutrient called cystine. 

Patients diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, which constitute about 10 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases, have few treatment options outside of surgery and chemotherapy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

New viral therapy shows promise in treating primary liver cancer

Image courtesy Wikipedia
CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 19, 2016 – A virus that causes childhood coughs and colds could help in the fight against primary liver cancer, according to a study published in the journal Gut.

The research team, at Leeds University, Leeds, UK,  found that Reovirus was successful in treating both liver cancer cells grown in the laboratory and those taken directly from patients undergoing surgery for primary liver cancer.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

People with genetic disorder linked to long life have increased death rate from a common cancer drug

CANCER DIGEST – Nov. 13, 2016 – Cancer patients with a genetic disorder that has been linked to long life, ironically may be twice as likely to die when treated with a common chemotherapy drug, a new analysis shows.

Led by George McDonald, MD a gastroenterology researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, researchers analyzed the records of 3500 marrow transplant patients over a ten-year period between 1991 and 2011. The records analyzed included people who had been treated with busulfan as part of a chemotherapy regimen prior to bone marrow transplantation for blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Immunotherapy first may be best for advanced melanoma

CANCER DIGEST  – Nov. 6, 2016 – When it comes to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, what has worked best in recent years have been therapies based on the genetics of the cancer. For melanoma with mutations of the BRAF gene, there have been two approaches. Targeted therapies that seek to selectively kill the cancer and stop it from spreading, and immunotherapies that seek to boost the immune response the cancer.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hormone therapy for prostate cancer linked to increased risk of dementia

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 30, 2016 – A new analysis of the electronic medical records of prostate cancer patients shows a link between hormone blockade therapy and the future risk of dementia.

The researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, looked at deidentified records from Stanford Medicine’s clinical-research data warehouse culled from nearly 10,000 patients with prostate cancer.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Swedish men chose active surveillance

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 21, 2016 – When offered the treatment option of active surveillance, the number of Swedish men with low-risk, slow growing prostate cancer who chose that option increased by one third, a new report shows. The question is, would American men make a similar choice if offered active surveillance?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Blood tests can cut time between diagnosis and treatment

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 17, 2016 – Patients at high risk for lung cancer who have a blood test to identify certain genetic mutations known to play a role in development different types of lung cancer can sharply reduce the time needed to decide on a treatment and start treatment once they are diagnosed with lung cancer, a new study suggests.

Early results of the study will be presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Los Angeles Oct. 26, ahead of publication in the journal CHEST

Monday, October 10, 2016

Drug targeting hormone receptor boosts progression-free survival

A drug that targets hormone receptors of cancer cells boosts the time patients with advanced breast survive without the cancer progressing, a new study shows.

The study showed that fulvestrant, sold as Faslodex by AstraZeneca, women with advanced hormone receptor positive breast cancer had significantly longer progression-free survival, particularly those with less aggressive lower-volume disease, and was reported at the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

First new drug for bladder cancer approved

CANCER DIGEST – Oct. 4, 2016 – The FDA approval of Tecentriq ushers in the first new treatment for advanced bladder cancer in 30 years.

The drug works by blocking a protein tumor cells produce on their cell surfaces that prevents the immune system’s T cells from attacking the cancer cells. The protein tumors produce is known as an "immune checkpoint," that prevents T cells from recognizing and binding to the cancer cell, thus evading the T cell attack. This "checkpoint" protein is called  PD-L1 and Tecentriq binds to it allowing T cells to land and establish a beachhead to attack the cancer cell. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Targeted therapy increases survival in melanoma patients with brain metastases

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro/123rf
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 24, 2016 – In a study comparing outcomes for patients whose melanoma skin cancer has spread to their brains, researchers have found that targeted immunological therapies halted the cancer progression and extended survival better than chemotherapy.

In a study published online Sept. 15 in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL analyzed data from 96 patients with melanoma brain metastases who were treated with radiation therapy within three months of three different types of targeted immune therapies or chemotherapy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Researchers hopeful for improved T cell therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Dr. Stan Riddell, is a senior researcher for the trial –
Fred Hutch file photo
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 17, 2016 – In an early clinical trial designed to determine the optimal safe dose, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA have seen promising results for an anti-cancer immune cell engineered from the patient’s own immune system. 

The early results of the engineered T cell, called JCAR014  were from what is called a dose-finding trial in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

8 more cancers linked to excess weight

Copyright: Kurhan 
CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 31, 2016 – An international team of researchers has identified eight additional types of cancer linked to excess weight and obesity: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma (a type of brain tumor), thyroid cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

The findings are based on a review of more than 1,000 studies of excess weight and cancer risk analyzed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer on Research (IARC), based in France.  The results of the analysis were published Aug. 25 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

New test may identify primary tumor

Epigenetic tests, such as the Epicup
may be used to identify primary
CANCER DIGEST -- Aug. 26, 2016 -- In an article published in The Lancet Oncology, researchers at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ​​show that a newly-developed test, called an epigenetic test, can determine the tissue type of the primary tumor, which would allow doctors to develop more specific treatments for it.

In patients with cancer, initial diagnosis most often includes the detection of the primary or original tumor and the presence or absence of metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells from the original tumor that are growing in other tissues.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Early radiation therapy after prostatectomy may forestall cancer spread

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 17, 2016 – The return of PSA after surgery to remove the prostate is a disconcerting finding for any patient who has undergone such surgery. What to do about it has been controversial among oncologists; should patients undergo immediate radiation therapy or wait and see if the presence of prostate specific antigen (PSA) rises.

A new study by researchers at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic and nine other institutions suggests that early radiation therapy in such cases reduces the chances that the PSA levels rise and the chance that the cancer will spread to another part of the body. The study was published online ahead of print in the Aug. 15, 2016 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Venetoclax safe, shows promise for AML

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 12, 2016 – In a small trial with 32 patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) that no longer responded to chemotherapy, four patients treated with a new drug achieved a complete response, meaning no sign of cancer, and six had no cancer cells present, but continued to have signs of the cancer in their blood.

That is enough of a response to the drug Venclexta (venetoclax) to give researchers hope of adding a new approach to treating acute myelogenous leukemia, a particularly deadly type of blood cancer in which only about 27 percent survive five years after diagnosis.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Patch eliminates colorectal cancer

Researchers at MIT are developing 
an adhesive patch that can stick to 
a tumor site, either before or after 
surgery. – Image courtesy IMES
CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 6, 2016 – One day your doctor may use a patch, much like nicotine patches used to help people stop smoking, to eradicate colon cancer and keep it from coming back, according to a report in the journal Nature Materials.

In an experiment done in mice, researchers at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, have shown that the patch, designed to deliver a triple combination of therapies, was effective whether the tumor was completely removed or not. By contrast, 40 percent of the mice with no patch applied after tumor removal, saw tumor recurrence.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Blocking glutamine may starve colorectal cancer cells

A molecular model of L-glutamine. Image courtesy Jynto
via Wikimedia Commons
CANCER DIGEST – July 31, 2016 – A new clinical trial set to get under way later this summer will try to determine if denying certain types of colorectal cancer cells a specific nutrient will starve them to death.

The Case Western Reserve University trial is based on laboratory and mouse studies showing that colorectal cancer cells with a genetic mutation called PIK3CA died when deprived of the nutrient glutamine, which is an amino acid used by cells to make proteins. This mutation is located in a gene critical for cell division and movement, and is found in approximately one third of all colorectal cancers. Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in human blood and is mostly made in muscle tissue.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Skin cancer screenings don’t boost referrals or surgeries

Melanoma can be cured if caught early. Image courtesy
Brown University
CANCER DIGEST – July 20, 2016 – A new study of more than 1,000 primary care melanoma screenings in the western Pennsylvania area suggests that such screenings would not be harmful as some experts had thought.

Melanoma is one of those cancers that can be cured if caught early, which has led to some experts calling for widespread training of primary care providers to conduct screenings at routine visits. Other experts, however, have worried that widespread screening could lead to overtreatment and unnecessary patient distress.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Education key to acceptance of surgery step to prevent ovarian cancer

CANCER DIGEST – July 12, 2016 – Ovarian cancer most often starts in the fallopian tubes, an observation that caused the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to issue an opinion in January 2015 recommending that women undergoing hysterectomies for non-cancerous conditions should also have the fallopian tubes removed, while sparing the ovaries as a way to prevent ovarian cancer.

In issuing their opinion, the ACOG acknowledged that randomized controlled clinical trials are needed to determine if salpingectomy, or removing fallopian tubes, does reduce ovarian cancer risk.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Gene complex predicts ovarian cancer survival

Richard Morgan is the Director of the University of 
Bradford's Institute of Cancer Therapeutics in the UK
Image courtesy of U of Bradford
CANCER DIGEST  – June 29, 2016 – A new British study has identified a genetic marker that predicts poor survival from ovarian cancer. In addition, the study also identified a set of genes that help the cancer develop resistance to chemotherapy.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, examined the role of HOX genes in ovarian cancer resistance to chemotherapy and whether a drug known as HXR9, which targets HOX, could help prevent the resistance from developing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Navigators improve cancer screening rates

Copyright: Andose, used under license 123rf
CANCER DIGEST – June 22, 2016 – Having a navigator is an ancient method of ensuring you get where you want to go. It appears it is no less true when it comes to navigating the complex US healthcare system.

A new study by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) shows that patients who had navigators, individuals who assist patients in receiving healthcare services, may improve comprehensive cancer screening rates among patients who are not likely to seek recommended screenings.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mid-life PSA test predicts prostate cancer death

CANCER DIGEST – June 19, 2016 – A single PSA test in midlife can predict future prostate cancer death a study in the June 13, 2016 Jounal of Clinical Oncology concludes. 

Led by Mark Preston, MD, MPH, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital study started in 1982 followed more than 22,000 male physicians aged 40 to 59 who gave blood before being randomly assigned to groups, one taking aspirin and beta carotene the other given a placebo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Universal cancer vaccine can attack any cancer

CANCER DIGEST – June 7, 2016– German scientists have reported inching closer to a long sought universal vaccine that will attack cancer, any cancer.

Research groups around the world for decades have been pursuing the vaccine approach, which will rev up a cancer patient’s immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Being physically active may lower your cancer risk

Higher levels of leisure-time physical activity may lower your risk for 13 types of cancers, according to a new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Steven C. Moore, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., and coauthors pooled data from 12 U.S. and European cohorts (groups of study participants) with self-reported physical activity (1987-2004). They analyzed associations of physical activity with the incidence of 26 kinds of cancer.

The study included 1.4 million participants and 186,932 cancers were identified during a median of 11 years of follow-up.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Prostate cancer cure minus the side effects

Credit: University of Michigan Health System
CANCER DIGEST – May 12, 2016 – The trade-off for eradicating prostate cancer has always been about weighing the benefits of surviving the cancer against a reduced quality of life due to the risks of incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

With the careful use of MR imaging, however, researchers say they can tip the balance in favor of survival while minimizing the risk of adverse effects on quality of life.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Highly targeted radiation cures 98.6 percent of early stage prostate cancers

This illustration shows how the Stereotatctic radiation beams
are precisely directed to the tumor, in this case a brain tumor 
CANCER DIGEST -- April 24, 2016 -- A five-year study shows that a highly targeted type of radiation therapy cured 98.6 percent of early stage prostate cancer patients who had undergone no other treatments.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Common treatment for hepatitis B may quadruple risk of colorectal cancer

CANCER DIGEST – April 15, 2016 – Drugs used to suppress the growth of the hepatitis B virus in the liver may increase the risk of colorectal and cervical cancers, researchers say. 

The drugs, called nucleos(t)ide analogues have been shown to be effective in disrupting the action of enzymes that play key roles how the virus reproduces. The drugs include lamivudine, adefovir, entecavir, telbivudine and tenofovir. The Chinese study findings were presented at the International Liver Congress being held this week in Barcelona, Spain.

Monday, April 11, 2016

New drug approved for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

CANCER DIGEST – April 11, 2016 – The FDA today approved a new drug for treatment of patients with a form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

The drug manufactured by AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois, is called Venclexta (venetoclax) and is for the treatment of patients with CLL who have a genetic abnormality called 17p deletion and who have been treated with a least one prior therapy.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Higher levels of vitamin D leads to lower cancer risk

Copyright: robynmac 123RF Stock Photo
CANCER DIGEST – April 7, 2016 – Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that the higher the levels of a marker for vitamin D in the blood, the lower the risk of cancer. The findings are published in the April 6, online issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

The new  study aimed to determine what level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood was required to effectively reduce cancer risk. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is the main form of vitamin D in the blood. Vitamin D has been linked to lower risk of cancer since the 1980s, but what the level needs to be to provide the protection has been controversial.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Study gives new meaning to having a chemical peel

CANCER DIGEST – March 31, 2016 – A chemical peel may prevent cervical cancer, a new Austrian study shows. Researchers at the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) of MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital have developed a new treatment for the pre-stages of cervical cancer, caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. The study appeared in the Feb. 2016 Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The treatment involves using 85% trichloroacetic acid, an acid that is traditionally used for medical and cosmetic skin peeling.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New drug shows promise for drug resistant leukemia

A scanning electron 
microscope image 
from normal circulating 
human blood. – Wikipedia
CANCER DIGEST – March 19, 2016 – Researchers have developed a compound that shows promise for extending survival in patients with a drug-resistant form of leukemia.

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. It has a poor prognosis, with survival rates between 60 percent and 70 percent in children and less than 50 percent in adults.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Viagra ingredient may fuel skin cancer growth

CANCER DIGEST – March 10, 2016 – The active ingredient in Viagra® can stimulate the growth of existing skin tumors, laboratory and animal studies show. Sildenafil is the ingredient used to treat erectile dysfunction and is the active ingredient in a number of other drugs, which have been on the market since the late 1990s. 

Researchers have long debated a possible link between sildenafil and cancer. A long-term study of some 15,000 men in the United States published in 2014 suggested that sildenafil was connected to a higher risk of malignant melanoma.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Moles and melanoma what is the link?

CANCER DIGEST – Mar. 2, 2016 – Most patients with melanoma have few moles a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

In a Harvard School of Public Health study of 566 patients with melanoma Alan Geller and coauthors looked at the association between age, total moles and abnormal moles to see if there was a correlation between

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Study reveals pancreatic cancer is 4 diseases

Copyright : Naveen Kalwa
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 24, 2016 – An international team led by Australian researchers has found that pancreatic cancer is actually four separate diseases, each with different genetic triggers and survival rates.

In a first of its kind research study, the team performed an integrated genomic analysis of 456 pancreatic tumors, which combines the results of several techniques to examine  the genetic code, together with variations in structure and gene activity to determine the core processes that are damaged when normal pancreatic tissues change into aggressive cancers.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Genetically modified immunotherapy shows ‘unprecedented’ success

Scanning electron micrograph
of a human T cell Credit: NIAID
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 16, 2016 – Immune system cells engineered to attack cancer cells raised optimistic “alerts” in the mainstream media this week, as a researcher reported 94 percent of patients with advanced acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) saw their symptoms disappear.

The results were reported at the just concluded American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, DC, by Dr. Stan Ridell, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Overactive thyroid increases breast cancer risk

CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 12, 2016 – Women with overactive thyroids have an 11 percent increased risk of breast cancer according to a study of Danish health registry records. 

The study led by Mette Søgaard, MD, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, analyzed the records of 61,873 Danish women diagnosed with below normal levels of the hormone thyroxine (hypothyroidism) and 80,343 women diagnosed with higher than normal

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cancer drug receives FDA Priority Review for kidney cancer

CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 10, 2016 – Patients with a type of kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body despite surgery and chemotherapy may soon have a new treatment option. 
The FDA granted Priority Review for a drug called lenvatinib (Lenvima®) for treatment in combination with the drug everolimus for kidney cancer that has failed to respond to surgery and prior chemotherapy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New advice for evaluating blood in the urine for signs of cancer

Copyright: luchschen 123RF Photo
CANCER DIGEST – Feb. 2, 2016 – Physicians are being advised to take a second look at blood in the urine, or hematuria, for signs of cancer, by a new report from the American College of Physicians’ High Value Care Task Force.

The Task Force issues advice for physicians on how to detect and evaluate hematuria. The report stems from research at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

'Simple Rules' boost ovarian cancer determination

Cancer Research UK / Wikimedia
CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 20, 2016 – New method of evaluating ovarian lesions shown on ultrasound could dramatically improve the ability of doctors to accurately determine whether they are cysts or cancerous tumors.

In a study published online today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a group of European researchers led by Professor Dirk Timmerman, MD, PhD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, showed the new method to be accurate nearly 90 to 100 percent of the time, which could speed treatment for those women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Friday, January 15, 2016

FDA approved drug might be effective in preventing colorectal cancer for some

Link between obesity and colorectal cancer risk found

CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 15, 2016 – A drug FDA-approved for treatment of other bowel conditions may prevent colorectal cancer in obese people a new study shows.

Researchers looking to understand the link between obesity and an increased risk of colorectal cancer found that a key hormone in the intestine is blocked in mice on a high calorie diet, which in turn turned off a tumor suppression mechanism in intestinal cells.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Radiation plus chemo reduces recurrence in some pancreatic cancer

Image provided by Mayo Clinic
CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 5, 2016 – Pancreatic cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiation after surgery were less likely to have the cancer recur within the five years following treatment than patients who only received chemotherapy after surgery.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ultrasound shown comparable to mammography for breast cancer detection

Portable ultrasound may be comparable
to mammography for detecting breast
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 31, 2015 – Ultrasound is as sensitive for detecting breast cancer as mammography, and should be considered for testing for the disease according to an international study.

Researchers led by by Wendie Berg, MD, PhD, in the Department of Radiology at Magee-Women’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center conducted the study involving 2,809 women from 20 different centers in the United States, Canada and Argentina. Of those 2,662 completed three annual