ACE Inhibitor Protects Heart and Lungs from Radiation Damage in Rats

Lung and breast cancers are often treated with radiation, but repeated high doses can also harm healthy tissues in the lungs and heart. New research suggests that both organs can be protected during radiation with a drug called captopril, an ACE inhibitor that is commonly used to treat cardiovascular disease. Radiation causes fibrosis (excess connective tissue) in the heart, diminishing blood flow to—and so damaging—the lungs. However, captopril decreases fibrosis in irradiated hearts and, therefore, also protects the lungs in rats, researchers reported at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology’s 2013 forum. The researchers are now designing a clinical trial to see if captopril also protects against radiation damage in people.


ACE Inhibitor Protects Heart and Lungs from Radiation Damage in Rats

Lung and breast cancers are often treated with radiation, but repeated high doses can also harm healthy tissues in the lungs and heart. New research suggests that both organs can be protected during radiation with a drug called captopril, an ACE inhibitor that is commonly used to treat cardiovascular disease. Radiation causes fibrosis (excess connective tissue) in the heart, diminishing blood flow to—and so damaging—the lungs. However, captopril decreases fibrosis in irradiated hearts and, therefore, also protects the lungs in rats, researchers reported at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology’s 2013 forum. The researchers are now designing a clinical trial to see if captopril also protects against radiation damage in people.


Vemurafenib and radiation therapy in melanoma brain metastases

“Brain metastases in malignant melanoma carries a poor prognosis with minimal response to any therapy. The purpose of this pilot analysis was to find the effectiveness of vemurafenib, an oral BRAF inhibitor, and radiation therapy in V600 mutated melanoma with brain metastases. BRAF mutation status of the melanoma patients was determined by real-time PCR assay…”


ALK inhibitor PF02341066 (crizotinib) increases sensitivity to radiation in non-small cell lung cancer expressing EML4-ALK

Crizotinib (PF02341066) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of ALK that has been shown to selectively inhibit growth of cancer cells that harbor the EML4-ALK fusion, found in a subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Our current findings indicate that PF02341066 acts as a radiation sensitizer in cells harboring the EML4-ALK fusion, providing a rationale for a clinical trial combining ALK inhibitor with radiation in the NSCLC expressing ALK.


Doubts Incite Conflict over Prostate Cancer Vaccine Provenge

Results of a clinical trial that evaluated the prostate cancer vaccine Provenge have come under scrutiny. Questions arise regarding the reported 4-month survival benefit that ultimately led to FDA approval. Disputers suggest that a flaw in methods led to the survival benefit, but that the vaccine may actually cause harm.


Study Finds Surgery for Early Prostate Cancer Unecessary

A recent study evaluated the usefulness of surgery versus observation to treat localized prostate cancer. In the study, 731 men were followed for 10 years. Those treated with surgery did not have a significant decreased risk of death compared to those who were observed for advancing cancer.

Primary source: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1113162?query=featured_home


Yearly Prostate Cancer Screening May Decrease Quality of Life

A recent study weighed the benefits of yearly prostate cancer screening, finding that the potential disadvantages decrease the potential advantages by 23%. Harmful results of yearly prostate screening include negative prostate biopsies, radical prostatectomy, and radiation therapy.


Prostate Cancer Gene May Determine Tumor Growth, Return

A recent study found a relationship between the SPARCL1 gene and prostate cancer recurrence. Individuals who had lower activity of the gene had a higher risk of prostate cancer recurrence over 10 years. A test to detect SPARCL1 is being designed.

Primary source: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/37/14977.full.pdf+html


NEJM Poll Reveals Lack of Consensus Among Clinicians over PSA Screening

The utility of (prostate-specific antigen) PSA screening to inform prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment has been a topic of heated debate. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) conducted a poll that indicates a lack of consensus among clinicians regarding best prostate cancer screening practices. Many clinicians feel patients should make informed decisions regarding testing preferences.