“Raylene Hollrah was 33, with a young daughter, when she learned she had breast cancer. She made a difficult decision, one she hoped would save her life: She had her breasts removed, underwent grueling chemotherapy and then had reconstructive surgery.
“In 2013, six years after her first diagnosis, cancer struck again — not breast cancer, but a rare malignancy of the immune system — caused by the implants used to rebuild her chest.”
“As of Feb. 1, the agency had received a total of 359 reports of the cancer associated with the implants. The deaths were not caused by breast cancer, the agency said, but by a rare malignancy in the immune system, anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In cases linked to implants, this rare form of cancer grows in the breast, usually in the capsule of scar tissue that forms around an implant. It is usually treatable and not often fatal.
“The problem is more likely to occur with textured implants, which have a pebbly surface, than with smooth implants, the agency said. Of the 359 reported cases, 231 included information about the implant surface: 203 were textured, and 28 smooth.”
Editor’s note: Testing a patient’s tumors for mutated genes can give doctors important information about that patient’s outlook and appropriate treatments. This article discusses two predictive mutations that doctors can test for in the tumors of people with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) who have already been found not to have a mutation in the ALK gene.
“A Mayo Clinic-led group of researchers has discovered three subgroups of a single type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that have markedly different survival rates. These subgroups could not be differentiated by routine pathology but only with the aid of novel genetic tests, which the research team recommends giving to all patients with ALK-negative anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). Findings are published in the journal Blood.
“Patients whose lymphomas had TP63 rearrangements had only a 17 percent chance of living five years beyond diagnosis, compared to 90 percent of patients whose tumors had DUSP22 rearrangements. A third group of tumors, those with neither rearrangement, was associated with an intermediate survival rate.
“ ‘This is the first study to demonstrate unequivocal genetic and clinical heterogeneity among systemic ALK-negative anaplastic large-cell lymphomas,’ says Andrew L. Feldman, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pathologist and senior author on the multi-institutional study. ‘Most strikingly, patients with DUSP22-rearranged ALCL had excellent overall survival rates, while patients with TP63-rearranged ALCL had dismal outcomes and nearly always failed standard therapy.’ Dr. Feldman also is a Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator.”