Cancer Research News: A Weekly Roundup Of New Developments In Cancer Research And Treatment

Young Women With Aggressive Breast Cancer Do Well With Appropriate Therapy

What’s New Breast cancer in women under age 40 is typically a more aggressive disease, but these women can have good outcomes when guideline-recommended treatments are followed, according to research published April 30 at the European Society for Medical Oncology Breast Cancer congress in Berlin.

Italian researchers looked at 207 people with breast cancer under the age of 35. After following them for 53 months, they found that 85 percent of the women were alive. Only 26 had developed metastatic breast cancer. Disease-free survival was longest in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer (a cancer that grows in response to hormones), followed by those with HER2-positive disease (the cancer has a mutation in a gene that leads to excessive cell growth), and it was lowest in women with triple-negative breast cancer (the cancer has none of the traits of the other two types).

Why It Matters Although breast cancer in younger women is challenging, it does not mean that these women cannot achieve long-term survival, the authors say. However, proper adherence to the treatments in updated standard-of-care guidelines is essential to long-term survival.

Radiation Benefits Women With Hormone-Positive Breast Cancer

What’s New Women with small hormone-receptor positive breast cancer, fare best when they receive radiation along with hormonal therapy after surgery, according to a study presented April 28 at the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) congress in Milan.

The study included 900 postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. All had tumors that were considered low risk for metastasis, and all had the tumors removed with breast-conserving surgery. The analysis showed that 97.5 percent of the women who received radiation plus hormone therapy remained cancer-free after 10 years, compared to 92 percent of those who had hormone therapy alone.

Why It Matters Experts have debated the need for radiation in this group of women. However, the study affirms that adding radiation therapy increases survival, the authors say.

Urine Test Could Help Detect Cancer-Causing Human Papillomavirus

What’s New Researchers say they have developed a urine test that detects high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and precancerous lesions that is as accurate as the traditional cervical tissue test. The study was published online on April 29 in the journal >BMJ Open.

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom conducted a study of 104 women who were screened using two brands of HPV smear test kits. The results were compared to the urine test. About two-thirds of the women tested positive for a strain of HPV that’s linked to the development of cervical cancer, and 18 women had precancerous cervical lesions that required treatment. The urine test performed as well as the HPV tests in detecting the changes.

Why It Matters Precancerous cell changes are detectable 5 to 10 years before cervical cancer develops, say the study authors. Having an easy way to detect changes could lead to more women undergoing treatment that prevents the cancer from developing. Urine tests may provide more convenience and may be especially useful in resource-challenged parts of the world. More research on a greater number of women is necessary to advance the development of the urine test method, the authors say.

Precision Medicine Improves Care for Pediatric Cancer

What’s New A program to look for genetic mutations that may play a role in cancer led to the identification of genomic mutations in 87 percent of pediatric patients enrolled in the study. The information prompted doctors to revise treatment strategies, reclassify the diagnosis, or improve the way they managed the case, according to research published April 26 in >JAMA Network Open.

Researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine, a hospital affiliated with the University of Montreal in Canada, reported on the results of a program, called TRICEPS, which was designed to identify therapeutic alternatives for children and teenagers who had not benefited from standard therapies or who had suffered a relapse.

Why It Matters The World Health Organization has announced guidelines to classify pediatric cancers by gene alterations in tumors rather than the general tumor type. While most children with cancer are successfully treated, progress in pediatric cancer treatment has plateaued over the past 20 years, the authors say, with about 20 percent of childhood and adolescent cancers unresponsive to existing treatments.This approach, they noted, could reinvigorate pediatric cancer care.

High-Dose Brachytherapy Effective for Prostate Cancer

What’s New A single high dose of brachytherapy, a form of radiation treatment in which a radioactive substance is placed inside the body, is safe and effective to treat men with low-risk prostate cancer, according to a study presented April 29 at the ESTRO congress.

Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a study of 441 men with prostate cancer, including low-, medium-, and high-risk cases. The men were treated with a single high dose of radiation. While 166 men also received hormone therapy, none of the study's participants had any surgery or chemotherapy. After two years, 94 percent of the men showed no sign of the cancer returning. For men with low-risk cancer, this figure was 100 percent, compared to 95 percent of men with medium-risk cancer and 92 percent of men with high-risk cancer.

Why It Matters Radiotherapy for prostate cancer typically involves numerous treatments over several days or a week. Single-dose brachytherapy involves a higher dose of radiation via a set of tiny radioactive seeds placed in the prostate gland. This protocol may be more convenient for patients and could cost less, the authors note. "These results indicate that high dose-rate brachytherapy is a safe and effective treatment for men with low-risk prostate cancer, but further research is needed in medium- and high-risk patients to see if the results can be improved with a higher dose,” says Hannah Tharmalingam, MD, a clinical research fellow at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, both in the United Kingdom. “This type of treatment offers an attractive alternative to surgery or other forms of radiotherapy as it has a comparatively low risk of side effects. It is also a patient-friendly option because the treatment can be given quickly at a single hospital visit.”

Early-Phase Study of a Colorectal Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise

What’s New A phase 1 clinical trial of an experimental colorectal cancer vaccine demonstrated that the treatment appears safe and may activate the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The study was published April 23 in the >Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.

Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who developed the vaccine, tested it in 10 people with stage 1 or stage 2 colon cancer. The study showed no serious side effects. Blood samples from the participants showed an activation of a type of T cell that fights cancer recurrence.

Why It Matters While immunotherapies have been beneficial in several types of cancer, they have not been as successful in treating colorectal cancer, requiring scientists to look for different ways to activate the immune system. The vaccine is based on an improved understanding of the factors that fuel colorectal cancer growth and is designed to train the immune system to attack colon cancer that has already spread prior to surgery. Further research on the vaccine is ongoing.

Source : https://www.everydayhealth.com/cancer/research-news-roundup-new-developments-research-treatment/

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