New Kind of Cancer Study Finds New Targets for Tailored Treatments

“A new kind of cancer study supports the idea that traditional treatment can be turned on its head, with patients given targeted therapy based not on where their tumors started but on their own genetic mutations.

“Researchers used a targeted melanoma drug to treat patients with a range of cancers, from lung cancer to brain cancer, who weren’t being helped by traditional chemotherapy any more. Even though they had many different types of tumors, they all had one thing in common — a genetic mutation called BRAFV600.

“It’s a mutation familiar to doctors who treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s seen in about half of melanoma cases. A pill called vemurafenib, sold under the brand name Zelboraf, specifically targets the mutation. It helps about half of patients with melanoma who have the mutation.

“The same mutation is sometimes seen in colon cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, brain tumors and some blood cancers.”


Breast Cancer Survivors May Have Higher Thyroid Cancer Risk

“Women who survive breast cancer may have a higher-than-average risk of developing thyroid cancer in the next several years, a new study suggests.

“Looking at government data on over 700,000 U.S. women treated for breast cancer, researchers found that the women had a higher-than-normal risk of developing thyroid cancer—particularly within five years of the breast cancer diagnosis.

“The study results suggest that breast cancer survivors should have ‘vigilant screening’ for thyroid cancer in the first five years after their diagnosis, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Jennifer Hong Kuo, a surgeon at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.”