“UCLA scientists have discovered that people with cancers containing genetic mutations JAK1 or JAK2, which are known to prevent tumors from recognizing or receiving signals from T cells to stop growing, will have little or no benefit from the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. This early-stage research has allowed them to determine for the first time why some people with advanced melanoma or advanced colon cancer will not respond to pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 treatment.
“The study, led by Dr. Antoni Ribas, director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program, also found that JAK1 or JAK2 genetic mutations led to a loss of reactive PD-L1 expression. PD-L1 is an immune biomarker expressed on tumor cells and pembrolizumab requires an abundance of it to effectively attack cancer cells.”
“As oncologists await future treatment advances in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), the key is to unleash the full potential of available therapies, Robert Dreicer, MD, asserted during the 2016 CFS Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium.
“One agent that oncologist are focused on optimizing, Dreicer said, is radium-223 (Xofigo). Optimal use of this treatment remains mostly unknown, with current efforts focusing on exploring the agent’s potential in combination regimens.
“For instance, a phase III trial is randomizing patients with bone predominant mCRPC to radium-223 plus abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) or abiraterone alone (NCT02043678). Additionally, a randomized phase IIa study is evaluating the efficacy and safety of radium-223 in combination with abiraterone or enzalutamide (Xtandi) in patients with mCRPC to investigate bone-scan response, radiological progression-free survival, overall survival, and skeletal events (NCT02034552).”
“A prospective study is investigating whether breast cancer surgery can be eliminated in patients who respond well to neoadjuvant systemic therapy.
“The phase II single-center trial, conducted out of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (NCT02945579), aims to determine how often breast cancer recurs in patients who previously received chemotherapy and follow-up radiation therapy, but not surgery, and have no evidence of disease. Forty patients with early-stage, triple-negative or HER2-positive breast cancer care underwent image-guided biopsy after completing chemotherapy and before beginning radiation therapy to see if surgery is necessary.”
“A new study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente has identified genetic predictors of normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in healthy men, which could be used to improve the accuracy of PSA-based prostate cancer screening tests.
“Until recently, PSA tests for prostate cancer were considered an exemplar of successful early cancer detection leading to improved treatment outcomes. But over the past five years, a series of studies has suggested that the tests are not sensitive enough: frequent false positives lead to too many unnecessary medical procedures, and false negatives give men a false sense of security. In 2012, the test was given a ‘D’ rating by the U.S. Preventive Task Force, and the test is no longer covered by some insurers.”
“After surgery to remove the prostate, more than 30 percent of men have a recurrence, and until now there has not been clear evidence about the best way to stop the disease from killing them. Most are given radiation, but prescribing drugs to counter the effects of male hormones has been inconsistent.”
“In a new study, Yale researchers identified a novel genetic defect that prevents brain tumor cells from repairing damaged DNA. They found that the defect is highly sensitive to an existing FDA-approved drug used to treat ovarian cancer—a discovery that challenges current practice for treatment of brain tumors and other cancers with the same genetic defect, said the scientists.
“The study was published on Feb. 1 by Science Translational Medicine.
“Certain malignant brain tumors and leukemias have mutations in genes known as IDH1 and IDH2. The mutations render the cancers sensitive to treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, significantly increasing the survival time for patients with the mutations. To better understand this sensitivity, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Yale created models of the mutation in cell cultures.”
“Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have used animal models to reveal new information about the impact – positive and negative – that soy consumption could have on a common breast cancer treatment.
“The scientists have uncovered the biological pathways in rats by which longtime soy consumption improves effectiveness of tamoxifen and reduces breast cancer recurrence. But they also show why eating or drinking soy-based foods for the first time while being treated with tamoxifen can, conversely, reduce effectiveness of the drug, and promote recurrence.
“The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, uncovers the molecular biology behind how soy consumption, especially its most active isoflavone, genistein, affects tamoxifen—both positively and negatively.”