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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Wolchok Discusses T-VEC, Other Immunotherapy Developments in Melanoma

Excerpt:

“Melanoma research is rapidly advancing, particularly with immunotherapy, explains Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD.

“ ‘With immunotherapy, we have come an extremely long way in the treatment of melanoma,’ says Wolchok, the Lloyd J. Old/Virginia and Daniel K. Ludwig Chair in Clinical Investigation, chief, Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service, associate director, Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“Combination trials with immunotherapies offer great promise, he says. Recently, the combination of talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC; Imlygic) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) in patients with advanced melanoma demonstrated an objective response rate of 50% in a single-arm phase Ib trial after a median follow-up time of 20 months. Forty-four percent of patients had a durable response lasting more than 6 months; after 18 months, progression-free survival (PFS) was 50% and overall survival was 67%.”

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Immunotherapy Proves Pivotal in Melanoma, Though the Future Holds Challenges

Excerpt:

“Today, the field of melanoma is virtually unrecognizable from what it was not that long ago, says Norman E. Sharpless, MD.

” ‘Most of us are old enough to remember a time when there was nothing going on in melanoma,’ said Sharpless, professor of Medicine and Genetics, chair, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC School of Medicine. ‘Now, to have so many different therapies that are showing promise is very exciting.’

“While there is a clear benefit to having an abundance of therapies, the privilege comes with its own set of difficulties, says Sharpless.”

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Most Popular HRT 'Nearly Trebles Risk of Breast Cancer'

Excerpt:

“A major new study claims women who take the most commonly used form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are nearly three times more likely to develop breast cancer than those who do not.

“The Institute of Cancer Research looked at six years of data for 39,000 menopausal women, of whom 775 had developed the illness. It found those taking combined oestrogen-progestogen HRT – the most popular form – were 2.74 times more likely to develop breast cancer than those not using any HRT at all.

“The risk declined when women stopped taking the treatment, while there was no danger at all connected with taking only oestrogen, which accounts for half of all prescriptions.”

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How Melanoma Spreads to Other Organs in the Body

Excerpt:

“In a landmark discovery, researchers at Tel Aviv University have unraveled the metastatic mechanism of melanoma, the most aggressive of all skin cancers.

“According to a paper published today in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the scientists discovered that before spreading to other organs, a melanoma tumor sends out tiny vesicles containing molecules of microRNA. These induce morphological changes in the dermis in preparation for receiving and transporting the cancer cells. The researchers also found chemical substances that can stop the process and are therefore promising drug candidates.”

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Psychological Effects From ADT a Growing Challenge in Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) can be associated with significant psychological effects in patients with prostate cancer.

“Additionally, these side effects—which include depression, Alzheimer disease, and coronary disease—are often underreported by patients, according to Heather Jim, MD.

“ ‘It is really important for the clinician to let [patients] know that a lot of men experience this. Let’s get them help and try to help them feel better,’ said Jim, who discussed these significant events in her lecture at the 2016 OncLive State of the Science Summit on Genitourinary Cancers.”

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Hypofractionation May Be Poised to Become New Standard of Care for Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“There has been an ongoing debate about which type of radiation therapy is preferable in the treatment of localized prostate cancer: hypofractionation (larger fractions given over 4–5 weeks) or conventional radiotherapy (given over 8–9 weeks). A new study presented at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting may help to resolve that debate.

“The large, randomized trial found that hypofractionation was not inferior to conventional radiation therapy in terms of efficacy or safety in men with localized intermediate-risk prostate cancer. This is the third large, randomized, contemporary study to demonstrate that both techniques have equivalent efficacy and safety.”

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Super ASK Patient: Strategically Selecting a Clinical Trial to Treat Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Update:  We are deeply saddened to report that Angela passed away on June 26, 2017. It is a privilege to continue to share her story and help keep her memory alive.

Angela was diagnosed with de novo stage IV triple-negative breast cancer in September 2015. Before her diagnosis, she worked as a director of research and evaluation at a national organization that supports young inventors and entrepreneurs and advances technology commercialization. She lives with her husband, son, and daughter in western Massachusetts. We asked her how she navigated enrolling in her first clinical trial, which began in May 2016. Continue reading…


Lead Investigator Emphasizes Impact of Equivalent Efficacy With Trastuzumab Biosimilar in HER2+ Breast Cancer

Excerpt:

“With drug prices continuing to rise, access to certain cancer treatments is becoming more challenging for patients facing financial limitations.

“Biosimilars could make it easier for some patients to afford their medications, especially those outside of the United States where these types of agents are more common, says Hope S. Rugo, MD.

“Rugo is the lead investigator on the Heritage study, which is evaluating MYL-1401O, a proposed biosimilar for trastuzumab (Herceptin), in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.”

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