Testing for Immune ‘Hotspots’ Can Predict Risk That Breast Cancer Will Return


“Scientists have developed a new test that can pick out women at high risk of relapsing from breast cancer within 10 years of diagnosis.

“Their study looked for immune cell ‘hotspots’ in and around tumours, and found that women who had a high number of hotspots were more likely to relapse than those with lower numbers.

“The new test could help more accurately assess the risk of cancer returning in individual patients, and offer them monitoring or preventative treatment.”

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Naturally Occurring Symptoms May Be Mistaken for Tamoxifen Side-Effects


“Women taking tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer were less likely to continue taking the drug if they suffered nausea and vomiting, according to new data presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium today (Friday).

“The researchers found that women who experienced these symptoms after starting tamoxifen as part of the Cancer Research UK funded International Breast Cancer Intervention Study (IBIS-1), were more likely to stop taking the medication.

“But this new analysis also reveals that women given a placebo who experienced the same symptoms were equally as likely to stop. This suggests that some symptoms due to other causes, were being mistaken for side effects of tamoxifen.”

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The Best Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer


“As both a breast cancer specialist and a survivor of the disease, I know well that all women are at risk for breast cancer – no matter their family history of the disease.

“Only about 10 percent of breast cancers are associated with an inherited gene, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations. The other 90 percent of breast cancers are mostly due to lifestyle causes, reproductive choices and environmental exposures.

“While some of these factors are beyond our control, there are a number of things we can do to substantially lower our risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, half of all breast cancers could be prevented through a combination of lifestyle changes, starting as late as age 50 – and there’s a number of ways you can lower your risk.”

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Osteoporosis Drug Shows Promise for Breast Cancer Prevention in BRCA1 Carriers


“TNFSF11, also known as RANKL, shows potential as a genetic pathway in the prevention of breast cancer for women carrying BRCA1 mutations. Early study findings, published in Nature Medicine, show that a drug currently used in the treatment of osteoporosis, denosumab (Xgeva)—an inhibitor of RANKL—could also be used for the prevention and delay of tumor growth for BRCA1-mutation carriers.

“ ‘These findings imply an integral role for the RANK pathway in tumor initiation in BRCA1-mutation carriers and lend support to clinical studies for the “repurposing” of denosumab as a novel preventative therapy strategy in these and possibly other “high-risk” women,’ wrote study authors.”

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Here’s the Amount of Exercise That Lowers Breast Cancer Risk

“More than 100 studies have found that physical activity can lower breast cancer risk; the most active women tend to have a 25% lower chance of developing the disease than the least active women. But how does exercise help?

“Christine Friedenreich, scientific leader of cancer epidemiology and prevention research at Alberta Health Services, and her colleagues had identified body fat as a possible pathway to lowering cancer risk. In an earlier study, they found that women exercising 225 minutes a week showed dramatic drops in total body fat, abdominal fat and other adiposity measures.

“That inspired the team to examine more closely the effects of the commonly recommended 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week on body fat measures. They compared these effects to a doubling of that amount of activity, to 300 minutes a week, to see if more exercise had a greater effect in lowering body fat.”

VIDEO: Uptake of Chemoprevention for Breast Cancer Remains Poor

“Patricia Ganz, MD, medical oncologist at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA, discusses an education session at the ASCO Annual Meeting that examined reasons why chemoprevention is underutilized in patients with breast cancer.

“ ‘In spite of high-level evidence from multiple randomized clinical trials that show substantial reduction in the risk of getting breast cancer — especially ER-positive breast cancer — very few women are identified as being at high risk,’ Ganz told HemOnc Today. ‘And even of those who are identified, the recommendation and the use of … tamoxifen and raloxifene is very infrequent.’ ”

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Findings Confirm That Coffee Protects Against Breast Cancer Recurrence

“A number of research studies have shown that coffee helps to protect against breast cancer. A new study led by Lund University, has confirmed that coffee inhibits the growth of tumours and reduces the risk of recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with the drug tamoxifen.

“The study, which is a follow-up of the results the researchers obtained two years ago, was carried out at Lund University and Skåne University Hospital, in collaboration with researchers in the UK.

” ‘Now, unlike in the previous study, we have combined information about the patients’ lifestyle and clinical data from 1090 breast cancer patients with studies on breast cancer cells. The study shows that among the over 500 women treated with tamoxifen, those who had drunk at least two cups of coffee a day had only half the risk of recurrence of those who drank less coffee or none at all’, explain researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernström, who obtained the results in collaboration with Jeff Holly and his research team at University of Bristol.

” ‘The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumours and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumours. We saw that this was already the case at the time of diagnosis.’ “

“Why Did This Happen to Me?”

“That question is perhaps the most common one raised by patients facing a diagnosis of cancer for the first time. There are so many campaigns about how to ‘avoid’ cancer: no white sugar, no chemicals, all-plant diets, regular exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink. I can see how one can get the impression that if one does all of it, cancer will never touch him or her. Yet, every once in a while, someone comes to my office who drives home the message that all most people can do—and all most clinicians can advise—is risk reduction, not prevention. Such was the case with Laurie*.

“Laurie was in her early fifties, the mom of twin girls. She had prided herself on being a health nut—aerobic exercise in the morning, yoga in the evening. She did not eat red meat and didn’t drink alcohol. Her family adopted an organic diet; she even grew her own vegetables. She was proud of her reputation as the ‘healthiest mom on the block.’ She had told me that others in her little town often sought her counsel about how to get healthier.

“Then, she found a mass in her breast. At first, she couldn’t believe it, thinking it must have been a blocked duct. However, it grew with time, and eventually, a mass appeared under her axilla.

“By the time she was diagnosed she had a 5cm breast mass and at least two sonographically suspicious nodes. A biopsy confirmed triple-negative breast cancer. She was devastated. Even more, she just couldn’t understand how this happened to her.”

VIDEO: 'Full Spectrum' of Melanoma Prevention, Treatment Options Available

“In this video, Sancy A Leachman, MD, PhD, discusses the latest developments in the prevention and treatment of melanoma the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

“ ‘We finally have a full spectrum of prevention, early treatment and late treatment options for melanoma, which is the first time we’ve had this sort of spectrum of possibilities’ Leachman, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at Oregon Health and Science University and director of the melanoma program at Knight Cancer Institute, told Healio.com/Dermatology.

“Melanoma is becoming more like childhood leukemia, Leachman said, in that physicians are ‘whittling away at the number of people dying from the disease and simultaneously, in dermatology we have the opportunity to whittle away the number that ever get there.’

“Among new prevention and treatment options, Leachman discussed applying genetics for various testing and identifying which patients are likely to respond to certain diseases.”

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