Cancer Blog

Here's our collection of cancer-related stories. We sift through a variety of stories and share the issues that we think matter to cancer patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and survivors. Learn about current events in the cancer community, human interest stories, and promising technology and treatment advances. Tell us what you think in the Comments section at the bottom of each post.

Note: The information contained in this service is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in the service is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment of any illness, condition or disease.

Jan

30

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Gene Variant May Predict Early Onset of Brain Tumors

by: cancercompass

New research may help scientist understand why certain people are at a greater risk of developing brain tumors earlier in life.

Scientists from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) evaluated 254 people with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumors, the most common type of brain cancer, and 238 healthy people. The scientists found a specific gene variant that may indicate early onset of brain cancer.

According to a press release from the American Academy of Neurology, 20.6% of people younger than 45 with cancer had the gene variant, compared to 6.4% of people older than 45 with brain tumors and 5.9% of the healthy participants.

Study authors noted that glioblastomas are infrequent in young people, but say these new findings can help identify people who are at higher risk of developing brain tumors at an early age.
 
The study was recently published in Neurology, a journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

 

Jan

30

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Fruit Flies Lead Researchers to Kidney Cancer Biomarker

by: cancercompass

Fruit flies have helped researchers discover a biomarker present in a common type of kidney cancer.

While mining the gene networks of fruit flies, a team from the University of Chicago found SPOP, a biomarker found in 99% of clear cell renal cell carcinomas, but not in normal kidney tissues, according to a recent study published online in the journal Science.

Study authors say physicians could use SPOP to identify Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), which they say is the most common type of kidney cancer. These new findings could lead to new targeted drugs while also confirming the important role organisms like fruit flies play in human disease.

Researchers looked at 300 renal cell cancer samples; 77% were positive for SPOP, while normal kidney samples were negative, according to a University of Chicago press release.

The press release also states that 75% of all renal cell cancers are clear cell RCC. And during the study, researchers found that 99% of the clear cell RCC samples were positive for the SPOP biomarker.

 

Jan

28

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Recent Study Outlines Risk Factors Regarding Preventive Mastectomy

by: cancercompass

More women with breast cancer are choosing to have preventive mastectomies that remove the opposite, unaffected breast, reports USA Today.

Authors of a recent study conducted by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center say these women are making a reasonable decision because tumors in the healthy breast may go undetected, according to the news article.

The M.D. Anderson study, which was published this month in Cancer, followed 542 women over a 7 year period. Of those women, the 25 who opted for preventive mastectomies had cancer in the removed breast.

USA Today reports the study found three factors that increased a woman's risk of cancer in the opposite breast.

Those factors are:

  • More than one tumor in the originally diagnosed breast.
  • If cancer started in the milk producing lobes and spread like seeds instead of forming one lump.
  • High risk according to the Gail Model, which takes into account age, race and other factors.

The USA Today article also points out that while preventive mastectomies may give a woman peace of mind, no study has confirmed the surgery saves lives.

 

Jan

26

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

UK Researchers Launch Study to Understand Relationship Between Leukemia & Caffeine

by: cancercompass

Researchers are conducting a new study to understand the relationship between a mother's caffeine intake and her child's risk for leukemia.

Dr. Marcus Cooke from the University of Leicester is leading the study. Cooke said the study's goal is to understand chromosomal changes during pregnancy.

"We want to find out whether consuming caffeine could lead to the sort of DNA changes in the baby that are linked to risk of leukaemia," Cooke said in a news release.  "This is an important area of research because it is vital that mothers are given the best advice possible."

Cooke and colleagues will work with 1,340 pregnant women, taking blood samples from their newborn babies and comparing each child's DNA with the mother's caffeine consumption.

The study has received funding from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

 

Jan

23

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

New Study Suggests Timing Plays Role in Dosing Chemo

by: cancercompass

Recent research conducted at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill suggests timing plays an important role in dosing chemotherapy.

According to a UNC press release, Aziz Sancar, M.D., Ph.D and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Sarah Graham Kenan professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine, led a study to determine whether chemotherapy is more effective at certain times of day due to low levels in a specific enzyme system.

Researchers focused on the enzyme system called nucleotide excision repair, which can reverse the actions of chemotherapy drugs. Research findings suggest the best time to administer chemotherapy is when this enzyme system is depleted.

Sancar and colleagues studied mouse brain tissue to see when the system's ability to repair damage caused by chemotherapy was at its lowest levels. They found that the enzyme system was at its lowest working level in the morning and its highest level in the evening hours.

Though other studies have alluded to that same conclusion, the idea has been controversial for clinicians who don't think previous research has provided enough scientific explanation to back the idea.

This recent study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sancar says he wants to extend this study to mouse testis to see of the same applies to testicular cancer.

 

Jan

23

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Actual Weight Chemo Doses may Improve Ovarian Cancer Survival Rate

by: cancercompass

A recent study suggests that properly calculating chemotherapy treatment to body weight may minimize the impact of obesity on ovarian cancer survival.

Researchers at the Comprehensive Cancer Center on the campus of the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) found survival rates were the same for slim and obese women if their chemotherapy doses corresponded with their individual weight.

These findings, published online recently in the journal of Gynecologic Oncology, contradict earlier research showing obese women have lower ovarian cancer survival rates. Researchers said "ideal" body weight is often the guide used for dosing chemotherapy when "actual" body weight is more effective.

UAB researchers analyzed medical records from 304 patients diagnosed in a similar stage of aggressive epithelial ovarian cancer and had surgery followed by chemotherapy.

UAB researchers suggest it is possible to use actual weight, body mass index (BMI) and other factors to remove obesity as a hindrance to survival, but they also warn that obesity still puts women at increased risks for complications.

This isn't the first study to suggest body composition plays a role in cancer survival. Read: Lean Muscle Mass Helps Obese Cancer Patients.

 

Jan

22

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Drugs Used to Treat Heart Failure May Help Fight Cancer

by: cancercompass

Drugs used in patients with heart failure and irregular heart beat may slow or stop cancer progression, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to ScienceDaily, these types of digitalis-based drugs, such as digoxin, help reduce the production of the HIF-1 protein. HIF-1 controls the genes that help cells survive under low-oxygen conditions. HIF-1 amounts increase in cancer cells looking to survive in such conditions.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reviewed more than 3,000 FDA-approved drugs, and tested each drug's ability to reduce HIF-1 in cancer cells, according to ScienceDaily, which noted the top 20 drugs reduced the protein by more than 88%. Half of the drugs in that top 20 belong to a class of drugs commonly used for treating heart conditions.

Study authors caution that higher than normal levels of the drugs were used, which means more research is necessary before using these drugs to fight cancer.

 

Jan

21

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Lymphedema Prevention Study Underway

by: cancercompass

Researchers are studying methods to prevent lymphedema, a side effect of breast cancer treatment that some patients face.

According to the Associated Press, Ohio State University is leading the research to understand ways of protecting women from lymphedema, a condition occurring when lymph fluid builds in arms or legs as a result of surgery or radiation treatment.

The study will look at ways of preventing the painful swelling. Some of the possible prevention measures researchers will study are doing special exercises with light weights.

Researchers are recruiting patients at Ohio State, Georgetown and other hospitals, according to the Associated Press.  Results of the study aren't due until 2012.

Learn more about Lymphedema management.

 

Jan

20

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Trials to Begin on Breast Cancer Vaccine

by: cancercompass

Researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences expect to start clinical trials this spring on a breast cancer vaccine, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

UAMS scientists say they hope to prove the immunotherapy will prevent breast cancer recurrence by tricking the body to produce antibodies that encourage cancer cell death.

According to the newspaper report, patients from Arkansas will participate in the first two phases of the trial, which will include five doses of the vaccine.  If successful, the trials will expand to other cancer centers around the country.

The principal investigator for the clinical trial says the vaccine could become another treatment option for breast cancer patients, if the vaccine proves successful in ongoing clinical trials.

 

Jan

16

Permalink Comment RSS (0)

Researchers Identify Gene Abnormality That May Predict Leukemia Relapse

by: cancercompass

Researchers have identified an abnormal gene that could help predict the likelihood of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) relapse in children.

According to a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine:

"Cure rates among children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) now exceed 80%, but current therapies have substantial toxic effects, and up to 20% of patients with ALL have a relapse after initial therapy."

Researchers found that mutations of a gene known as IKZF1, in addition to an absence of the gene, were significantly associated with an increased risk of ALL relapse.

Authors of the Children's Oncology Group study, led by scientists from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, say further research is required to completely understand how changes in IKZF1 lead to leukemia relapse.

However, study authors also noted that these findings may provide the basis for future diagnostic tests that assess the risk of cancer treatment failure.

 

We care about your feedback. Let us know how we can improve your CancerCompass experience.