“Women with early-stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk recurrence score from a 21-gene expression assay may be able to avoid chemotherapy, according to a retrospective study published in Cancer.
” ‘Through years of research discoveries, it became clear that we were overtreating many women with breast cancer, especially those with early-stage breast cancer,’ Carlos H. Barcenas, MD, assistant professor of breast medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a press release. ‘In addition to chemotherapy’s obvious side effects, there were also long-term complications for these women as survivors.’ ”
“Hair loss—one of the most-feared side effects of cancer treatment—may have met its match. Scientists have known since the 80s that cooling a person’s scalp can prevent significant hair loss during chemotherapy. A cooling device called DigniCap was approved for women with breast cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015. This cap was tested in a clinical trial at UCLA led by Dr. Sara Hurvitz, director of hematology and oncology breast cancer program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Two studies published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the cap was effective; results showed that women lost less than 50 percent of their hair. The trial Hurvitz participated in paved the way for physicians to help people with cancer overcome one of the most visible signs of treatment.”
“In patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, lymph node–negative breast cancer with a recurrence score (RS) based on a 21-gene expression assay of 11 to 25, outcomes were similar whether chemotherapy was used or not used, according to a retrospective analysis. However, the study’s limited follow-up means a benefit from chemotherapy in these patients cannot be ruled out.
“The Oncotype DX 21-gene expression assay is the most commonly used test of this kind in breast cancer in the United States. It offers an RS, and previous research has shown that patients with an RS below 11 fare very well when treated with endocrine therapy alone. ‘To our knowledge, it is unknown whether chemotherapy provides any additional benefit in outcomes in patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, lymph node–negative, early-stage breast cancer with an RS of 11 to 25 who are treated with endocrine therapy,’ wrote study authors led by Carlos H. Barcenas, MD, MSc, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.”
“Women with early-stage breast cancer who had an intermediate risk recurrence score (RS) from a 21-gene expression assay had similar outcomes, regardless of whether they received chemotherapy, a new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer finds.
“The encouraging research, published in the journal CANCER, still needs to be validated in an ongoing international trial. If verified, women with intermediate scores may one day be able to avoid chemotherapy as standard of care.”
“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.’ ”