Study Shows Abiraterone Acetate Is Useful Even in Most Aggressive Prostate Cancers

“In 1048 prostate cancer patients previously treated with docetaxel and 996 metastatic, castration-resistant patients, treatment with the androgen-lowering drug abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) led to longer overall disease control, even when a very high Gleason score indicated especially aggressive cancer.Results recently published in the Annals of Oncology show that for patients with Gleason score greater than 8, post-docetaxel treatment with abiraterone extended progression-free survival from 5.5 months to 6.4 months, and pre-chemotherapy abiraterone treatment extended progression-free survival from 8.2 months to 16.5 months.”


Immunomedics Reports Complete Responses in Patients With Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer After Sacituzumab Govitecan Treatment

“Immunomedics, Inc., (IMMU) today announced that among 49 patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) evaluated for response to treatments with sacituzumab govitecan in a mid-stage clinical study, 31%, or 15 patients, showed a reduction in tumor size of 30% or more. They include 2 patients with complete response. Response assessments were based on the rules set by the Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST 1.1). Adding the 22 patients with responses between less than 30% tumor shrinkage and less than 20% tumor increase, the disease control rate was 76%.

“Sacituzumab govitecan also produced significant duration of response in these responding patients. Measured as the time it takes from the beginning of sacituzumab govitecan treatments to when the cancer progresses, the median progression-free survival (PFS) for the 48 patients who received the optimal doses of 8 or 10 mg/kg was 6.0 months. Importantly, 63% of patients (22 of 35) had a time-to-progression longer than their last therapy, notwithstanding disease progression has not yet happened in 56% of patients at the time of analysis.

“These results were presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by Dr. Aditya Bardia of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, MA, and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, who commented, ‘Given that a majority of the patients enrolled into this study had failed 4 or more prior cancer therapies, some as many as 11, we are quite encouraged with sacituzumab govitecan in this late-stage setting in an aggressive disease that is difficult to treat.’ “


Certain Form of Baldness at Age 45 Linked to Higher Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

“A new, large cohort analysis from the prospective Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, indicates that men who had moderate baldness affecting both the front and the crown of their head at age 45 were at a 40% increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer (usually indicates a faster growing tumor resulting in poorer prognosis relative to non-aggressive prostate cancer) later in life, compared to men with no baldness. There was no significant link between other patterns of baldness and prostate cancer risk. The study, published September 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, supports earlier research suggesting that male pattern baldness and prostate cancer may be linked.

” ‘Our study found an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer only in men with a very specific pattern of hair loss, baldness at the front and moderate hair-thinning on the crown of the head, at the age of 45. But we saw no increased risk for any form of prostate cancer in men with other hair-loss patterns,’ said senior study author Michael B. Cook, PhD, an investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. ‘While our data show a strong possibility for a link between the development of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer, it’s too soon to apply these findings to patient care.’


Some Aggressive Cancers May Respond to Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

“New research raises the prospect that some cancer patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

“Studying triple-negative breast cancer, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that some aggressive tumors rely on an antiviral pathway that appears to drive inflammation, widely recognized for roles in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

“The tumors that activate this particular antiviral pathway always have dysfunctional forms of the proteins p53 and ARF, both encoded by genes known for being highly mutated in various cancers. The investigators found that the two genes compensate for each other. If both are mutated, the tumors that form are more aggressive than if only one of these genes is lost.

“When both genes are lost and the antiviral pathway is activated, patients may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called JAK inhibitors, currently prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis.”

Editor’s note: Recent research shows that drugs known as JAK inhibitors, often prescribed for arthritis, might also help fight certain types of breast cancer. Specifically, JAK inhibitors might benefit patients with triple-negative breast cancer whose tumors have mutated forms of the proteins p53 and ARF. The researchers are working with specialists to identify patients with those mutations who might benefit from JAK inhibitors.


On the Path of Better Ways to Treat Prostate Cancer

“Improved screening means doctors are more likely to detect prostate cancer in time to treat it, but knowing when that treatment will be necessary is still uncertain.

“Prostate cancer develops in two distinct ways. In one form, it is a slow-growing cancer that affects one in nine men overall or one in five men aged 85 or older, and which can be treated if detected early. The other form looks just like its twin, but is aggressive, becomes resistant to treatment, spreads rapidly and eventually kills the patient.”


Scientists Discover Why Combo Treatment Works for People with High-Risk Prostate Cancer


The vast majority of high-risk prostate cancer cases are caused by abnormally high activity of a protein called the androgen receptor. Present in many prostate cells, androgen receptors detect androgen hormones (including testosterone), and in response, turn on or off genes. Genes that are regulated by androgen hormones are critical for the development of the prostate and maintenance of its function. But when the androgen receptor is overly active, which can occur via several different processes in the aging prostate, it can activate genes that can lead to uncontrolled proliferation of prostate cells. This contributes to the development of aggressive prostate cancer. Continue reading…


Ectopic Activation of Germline and Placental Genes Identifies Aggressive Metastasis-Prone Lung Cancers

“Activation of normally silent tissue-specific genes and the resulting cell “identity crisis” are the unexplored consequences of malignant epigenetic reprogramming. We designed a strategy for investigating this reprogramming, which consisted of identifying a large number of tissue-restricted genes that are epigenetically silenced in normal somatic cells and then detecting their expression in cancer. This approach led to the demonstration that large-scale “off-context” gene activations systematically occur in a variety of cancer types.”