Lymph Node Radiation May Halt Breast Cancer Recurrences

“Two new studies show promising results for the use of radiation therapy to prevent breast cancer from coming back.

“The research shows that when patients with breast cancer received radiation therapy to their lymph nodes – not just the area of the breast where cancer occurred – cancer did not recur in the original site or spread to other parts of the body. Interestingly, the results were the same regardless of whether the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes.

“A group of Canadian researchers at the Juravinski Cancer Center at Hamilton Health Sciences led a study of more than 1,800 women. In a separate project, researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied more than 4,000 European women. Results were published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“All of the participants had undergone a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. The studies then compared recurrence and survival data between a group of women who received radiation to their lymph nodes against those who did not.”


Ultrasound May Lead to Less Invasive Surgery in Lymph Node-Positive Breast Cancer

“Women with lymph node-positive breast cancer who demonstrate complete nodal response by axillary ultrasound after neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be able to avoid axillary dissection, according to study results.

“ ‘Our goal here is really to try to get away from, “Every patient with breast cancer needs these drugs and this amount of chemotherapy and surgery,” and instead to personalize surgical treatment based on how the patient responds to chemotherapy,’ Judy Boughey, MD, chair of the division of surgery research at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said in a press release.

“The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) Z1071 trial included 687 patients with T0-4, N1-2, M0 primary invasive breast cancer. All patients completed neoadjuvant chemotherapy, underwent sentinel lymph node surgery and axillary dissection, and had axillary ultrasound images available for review.

“Previously published results indicated a 12.6% false-negative rate for sentinel lymph node surgery after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for patients who presented with node-positive disease and had two or more sentinel lymph nodes identified and removed. This false-negative rate exceeded the predetermined acceptable rate of 10%. The result suggested patient selection or technique must be improved prior to widespread adoption of sentinel lymph node surgery in this setting, according to study background…

“ ‘That’s one of the really nice things about giving chemotherapy up front,’ Boughey said. ‘It allows us to be less invasive with surgery, both in terms of breast surgery and lymph node surgery, and to tailor treatment based on response to chemotherapy.’ “


Non-Invasive Gene Expression Profile Test Shown to Identify Sentinel Lymph Node Negative Melanoma Patients at High Risk of Metastasis

“Castle Biosciences Inc. has announced study results showing its gene expression profile (GEP) test (DecisionDx-Melanoma) can identify primary cutaneous (skin) melanoma tumors that are likely to metastasize in patients who had a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy. The data are being presented at the Latest in Dermatology Research Symposium session of the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. The DecisionDx-Melanoma test completed validation in 2013 and is widely used to determine metastatic risk in Stage I and II melanoma patients.”


Super Patient: Chelsea Price Takes Charge of Stage III Melanoma


Late in 2010, Chelsea Price’s boyfriend noticed that a mole on her upper back was scabbed and weeping. “It had always been there but he thought I should get it checked,” recalls Chelsea, who was then 23 years old. By the time her dermatology appointment rolled around, however, the mole had healed. “I almost cancelled,” she says.

Good thing she didn’t. At her follow-up appointment, her dermatologist casually said, “Hey, it’s melanoma.” Thinking he was kidding, Chelsea started laughing. When she realized he was serious, she was stunned. Continue reading…


Long-Term Study Confirms Success of Method for Detecting Spread of Deadly Skin Cancer

“Research at UCLA on a technique for detecting the earliest spread of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has confirmed that the procedure significantly prolongs patients’ survival rates compared with traditional “watch and wait” techniques.

“The technique, which combines lymphatic mapping and sentinel-node biopsy, allows doctors to quickly determine whether the disease has spread, or metastasized, to the lymph nodes, which occurs in approximately 20 percent of patients. Patients with cancer in their lymph nodes may benefit from having their other nearby lymph nodes removed. For the other approximately 80 percent of patients in whom the tumors have not spread to the lymph nodes, the technique spares the patient from unnecessary surgery and its associated complications and substantial costs.”


The Number of Tumor Cells Spread to Sentinel Lymph Nodes Affects Melanoma Prognosis

“Cancer cell spread to the sentinel node — the lymph node to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor — is a risk factor for melanoma death. The prognosis of a patient largely depends on the number of disseminated cancer cells per million lymphocytes in the sentinel node. Even very low numbers were found to be predictive for reduced survival.”


MicroRNA-31 Predicts the Presence of Lymph Node Metastases and Survival in Lung Adenocarcinoma Patients

We performed genome-wide microRNA-sequencing (miRNA-seq) in primary cancer tissue from lung adenocarcinoma patients to identify markers for the presence of lymph node metastasis. MiR-31 was upregulated in lung adenocarcinoma tissues from patients with lymph node metastases compared to those without lymph node metastases. MiR-31 increases cell migration, invasion, and proliferation in an ERK1/2 signaling dependent manner. Low expression of miR-31 is associated with excellent survival for T2N0 patients.