“A new Yale study suggests that patients with a common form of lung cancer may still benefit from delayed chemotherapy started up to four months after surgery, according to the researchers.
“The study was published online by JAMA Oncology on Jan. 5, 2017.
“Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. For patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) — one of two major types of lung cancer — chemotherapy after cancer surgery has been shown to benefit patients with larger tumors or those with cancer in the lymph nodes.”
“A subgroup of patients with a devastating brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme benefited from treatment with a class of chemotherapy drugs that two previous large clinical trials indicated was ineffective against the disease, according to a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
“Specifically, patients in the subgroup who were treated with chemotherapy drugs that block the growth of new blood vessels in the tumor lived an average of about one year longer than those who were given other classes of chemotherapy drugs, the researchers found.”
“Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer survive four months longer with fewer side effects on an immunotherapy drug called atezolizumab compared to chemotherapy, according to a phase 3 clinical trial published in The Lancet.
“The trial enrolled 1225 advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients who have no more treatment options, but this study used an early analysis of the first 850 patients from the trial. Half of the group were given atezolizumab and the other half were given docetaxel chemotherapy, which is the standard treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.
“Patients given atezolizumab – a drug that blocks the programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) protein – survived for an average of 13.8 months, compared with 9.6 months for those on chemotherapy.”
“While nothing easy or simple comes from a cancer diagnosis, one of the most traumatic experiences for breast cancer patients, particularly for women, is hair loss. Dr. Julie Nangia, assistant professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center within the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, sees this all too frequently when treating her patients.
” ‘Hair loss takes a tremendous toll on the patient’s body image, and they no longer have the anonymity of hiding the disease; everyone can see that they’re sick,’ said Nangia. ‘Patients and physicians have been hoping and searching for methods or therapies to prevent or reduce hair loss due to chemotherapy, but the options have been very limited due to the complexity of both the disease and the treatment.’
“Nangia may have found the answer in research presented at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which details the results of a study using a scalp cooling cap to reduce hair loss in breast cancer patients undergoing taxane or anthracycline chemotherapy.”
“Shortly after his mother died of cancer two years ago, Jeff Ettinger, then-chief executive of Hormel Foods, asked the company’s specialty division to explore how to help people undergoing treatment or recovering from it.
“The timing was right. The Cancer Nutrition Consortium, a group of U.S. cancer researchers, was looking for a food manufacturer to produce nutritional products based on what they saw was a gaping need. Patients undergoing chemotherapy tend to experience extreme fatigue, unintentional weight loss and suppressed appetite and energy.
” ‘You feel like you finished the New York marathon and have no energy to cook,’ said Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, a Florida physician and consortium board member. ‘Many people end up going to a fast-food restaurant to take home a meal, which is not the nutrition they need.’ ”
“Recent studies have reopened discussion of a seemingly closed case against earlier use of chemotherapy in prostate cancer.
“Chemotherapy has an established role in the management of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, but its use in earlier-stage disease has remained controversial. Given the heterogeneous nature of the disease, prolonged clinical course associated with indolent disease, and concern about overdiagnosis and overtreatment, clinicians have reached no consensus about potential patient subgroups that might benefit from earlier use of chemotherapy. Differences of opinion played out again in pro/con articles published online in JAMA Oncology.”
“Ceritinib provides longer progression-free survival than chemotherapy in crizotinib-pre-treated patients with non-small-cell lung cancer harbouring an ALK rearrangement, according to results of the phase III ASCEND-5 study presented at the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen.
” ‘Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) should receive front line therapy with the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor crizotinib,’ said lead author Professor Giorgio Scagliotti, head of the Department of Oncology, University of Turin, Italy. ‘Most patients develop resistance to crizotinib and currently second line treatment is represented by chemotherapy alone.’ ”
“This was a randomized phase III trial including 6693 women with early-stage breast cancer designed to assess whether patients at high clinical risk (via Adjuvant! Online) and low genomic risk (via MammaPrint) would have similar metastasis-free survival if treated without chemotherapy. A total of 1550 patients (23.2%) were deemed to be at high clinical risk and low genomic risk. No significant difference in the 5-year metastasis-free survival rate was noted in women who received chemotherapy compared with those who did not (95.9% vs 94.7%).
“These findings suggest that nearly half of women at high clinical risk may not need chemotherapy for breast cancer.”
“When is it safe for a woman with breast cancer to skip chemotherapy?
“A new study helps answer that question, based on a test of gene activity in tumors. It found that nearly half of women with early-stage breast cancer who would traditionally receive chemo can avoid it, with little risk of the cancer coming back or spreading in the next five years.
“The so-called genomic test measures the activity of genes that control the growth and spread of cancer, and can identify women with a low risk of recurrence and therefore little to gain from chemo.”
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