Testosterone-Related Genetic Mutation Leads to Deadlier Outcomes In Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“A team of Cleveland Clinic-Mayo Clinic researchers has shown for the first time that patients with advanced prostate cancer are more likely to die earlier from their disease if they carry a specific testosterone-related genetic abnormality.

“The findings, published in the September 2016 edition of The Lancet Oncology, suggest that a specific, inherited polymorphism, or inherited genetic change, in the HSD3B1 gene renders standard therapy for metastatic prostate cancer less effective. The researchers anticipate that the findings will lead to a simple blood test to detect the presence of the polymorphism, personalizing cancer treatment and indicating which patients may need more aggressive treatment.”

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Waiting for Cancer

Excerpt:

“With cancer, there are generally two scenarios – you either have it or you don’t. But I am somewhere in the middle, stuck inside a vortex. I don’t have cancer, but as a notable breast surgeon told me, ‘For you, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get it, but when.’ And so I find myself on permanent standby… just waiting.

“While many women at risk for cancer opt to have themselves tested for the BRCA gene mutation, which significantly increases one’s risk of developing breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer, it’s not a test I would have chosen to take, given the absence of cancer in my family.

“My husband was adopted and wanted to learn more about his genetic makeup, so he selected an online genetics test, 23andMe, and out of curiosity, I decided to join him.”

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Gene Tests Identify Breast Cancer Patients Who Can Skip Chemotherapy, Study Says

Excerpt:

“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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Liquid Biopsies for Identification of EGFR Mutations and Prediction of Recurrence

Excerpt:

“Three manuscripts published in the recent issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the official journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), explored the versatility of liquid biopsies by identifying EGFR mutations using circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in urine and plasma and examining circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in plasma to predict the risk of lung cancer recurrence after surgical resection. Collectively, these findings illustrate the potential and reach of liquid biopsies in both identifying patients suitable for targeted treatment as well as predicting cancer recurrence.

“Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer with the highest cancer-related mortality worldwide. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for roughly 85% of lung cancer and most patients present with advanced disease at diagnosis. Surgical resection is the preferred treatment option for patients with medically operable tumors. However, disease recurrence occurs in approximately 50% of cases. Patients with advanced disease are often not candidates for surgical resection and commonly harbor driver mutations that can be targeted by drugs. A major challenge for assessing driver mutations, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, in advanced disease is the scarcity of suitable biopsy tissue for molecular testing. A minimally invasive alternative to invasive tissue biopsy is the use of liquid biopsy, which analyzes ctDNA or CTCs in a liquid biological sample (i.e. urine, blood, or serum).”

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Can Big Data Help Cure Cancer?

Excerpt:

“Curing cancer seems like something that would happen at hospitals and not in computer rooms. But applying analytics to human DNA and the DNA of cancer cells is a promising frontier of cancer research that can help patients get the best treatment for the type of cancer they have, minimize the negative impact of that treatment on them, and ultimately save lives.

“For Intel’s Bryce Olson, it’s a personal mission.

“Olson is a prostate cancer patient and global marketing director of the Health and Life Sciences Group at chipmaker Intel. Together with the Knight Cancer Center Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, Intel is the company that has been driving the Collaborative Cancer Cloud project.”

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Study Finds Incidence of Mutations in DNA-Repair Genes Significantly Higher in Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“The incidence of mutations in DNA-repair genes was significantly higher among men with metastatic prostate cancer than among men with localized disease (11.8% vs 4.6%), according to a study by Pritchard et al reported in The New England Journal of Medicine. In addition, the frequency of germline mutations in DNA-repair genes among men with metastatic prostate cancer did not differ significantly according to age at diagnosis or family history of prostate cancer. ”

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Study Suggests Men with Metastatic Prostate Cancer Should Be Tested for Inherited Mutations

Excerpt:

“Inherited mutations in DNA-repair genes, such as the BRCA genes, can increase cancer risk. A new study shows that DNA-repair mutations are significantly more common in men with metastatic prostate cancer compared with men whose prostate cancer hasn’t spread. This suggests all men with advanced prostate cancer should be tested for inherited DNA-repair mutations to help select the most effective therapies and provide information on family risk.”

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Mutation Status May Guide Endocrine Therapy for Advanced Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“Plasma analysis of ESR1 mutations may aid in the identification of appropriate endocrine therapy for patients with advanced breast cancer who progress after treatment with aromatase inhibitors, according to study results published in Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“ ‘Although diverse mechanisms of resistance to endocrine therapy have been described, recent evidence identified mutations in the ER gene (ESR1),’ Nicholas C. Turner, MA, MRCP, PhD, consultant medical oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and team leader at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at Institute for Cancer Research, London, and colleagues wrote. ‘ESR1 mutations occur rarely in primary breast cancer, but have a high prevalence in advanced breast cancers previously treated with aromatase inhibitors, implying evolution through selective treatment pressure.’ ”

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Should We Sequence the DNA of Every Cancer Patient?

Excerpt:

“A startup called Strata Oncology says it plans to give away advanced genetic tests to 100,000 patients struggling with cancer. But there’s a profit motive: it hopes to identify patients with specific rare DNA errors and steer them to drug companies.

“Strata, which was founded last year and has raised $12 million from investors, says it is set up to run 50,000 next-generation sequencing tests a year. Such tests probe the DNA of tumor tissue, searching for mutations in hundreds of genes at once, hoping to surface clues about what drug a patient should be taking.

“Similar tests are already offered commercially to doctors by several companies, including Foundation Medicine of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and can cost $5,000 each.”

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