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Experience counts with radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, study shows

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Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology with an accompanying editorial, the study compared survival and other outcomes in 470 patients treated with radiation therapy at 101 treatment centers through a clinical trial held from 2002 to 2005. The trial was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and organized by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). The findings indicated that patients treated at the less-experienced centers were more likely to have cancer recurrence (62 percent versus 42 percent at five years) and had poorer overall survival compared with those at the highly-experienced centers (51 percent versus 69 percent five-year survival, respectively)…

Agent prevents prostate cancer growth, spread in animal studies

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Published online Dec. …

Treatment breakthrough for advanced bladder cancer

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Published today in Nature, the study examined an antibody (MPDL3280A) which blocks a protein (PD-L1) thought to help cancer cells evade immune detection. In a phase one, multi-centre international clinical trial, 68 patients with advanced bladder cancer (who had failed all other standard treatments such as chemotherapy) received MPDL3280A, a cancer immunotherapy medicine being developed by Roche. In addition, patients were all tested for the protein PD-L1 and around 30 were identified as having PD-L1 positive tumours. After six weeks of treatment, 43 per cent of PD-L1-positive patients found their tumour had shrunk…

Prostate cancer medications linked with increased risk of heart-related deaths in men with cardiovascular problems

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Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which reduces levels of male hormones in the body to prevent them from stimulating cancer cells, is a mainstay of treatment for prostate cancer. Despite its anticancer effects, ADT has been associated with heart problems, including increased risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death. To investigate this potential link thoroughly, Paul Nguyen, MD, of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, along with David Ziehr of Harvard Medical School and their colleagues, analyzed information on 5,077 men with prostate cancer who were treated between 1997 and 2006. …

Decades of research: Effectiveness of phone counseling for cancer patients still unknown

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“The answer is that we really don’t know yet,” says Sonia Okuyama, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and the paper’s first author. The small sample sizes of most studies, focus on non-Hispanic white patients (predominantly in breast cancer), varied design of the phone interventions offered, and lack of consistency in adhering to reporting guidelines means that despite a high number of published studies, few definitive findings are possible…

Chest radiation to treat childhood cancer increases patients’ risk of breast cancer

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Wilms tumor is a rare childhood kidney cancer that can spread to the lungs. When this spread occurs, patients receive a relatively low dose of 12-14 Gray of radiation therapy to the entire chest. To see if such exposure to radiation affects patients’ risk of developing breast cancer, Norman Breslow, PhD, of the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, led a team that studied nearly 2500 young women who had been treated for Wilms tumor during childhood and who had survived until at least 15 years of age. …

Silencing the speech gene FOXP2 causes breast cancer cells to metastasize — ScienceDaily

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Now a research team led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has identified an unexpected link between a transcription factor known to regulate speech and language development and metastatic colonization of breast cancer. Currently described online in Cell Stem Cell, the new findings demonstrate that, when silenced, the FOXP2 transcription factor, otherwise known as the speech gene, endows breast cancer cells with a number of malignant traits and properties that enable them to survive — and thrive. “We have identified a previously undescribed function for the transcription factor FOXP2 in breast cancer,” explains senior author Antoine Karnoub, PhD, an investigator in the Department of Pathology at BIDMC and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School…

Genetic variant protects some Latina women from breast cancer

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The variant, a difference in just one of the three billion “letters” in the human genome known as a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), originates from indigenous Americans and confers significant protection from breast cancer, particularly the more aggressive estrogen receptor-negative forms of the disease, which generally have a worse prognosis. “The effect is quite significant,” said Elad Ziv, MD, professor of medicine and senior author of the study. “If you have one copy of this variant, which is the case for approximately 20% (the range being 10 to 25 percent) of U.S. …

Genetic variant protects some Latina women from breast cancer — ScienceDaily

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The variant, a difference in just one of the three billion “letters” in the human genome known as a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), originates from indigenous Americans and confers significant protection from breast cancer, particularly the more aggressive estrogen receptor-negative forms of the disease, which generally have a worse prognosis. …

Modeling tumor dormancy: What makes a tumor switch from dormant to malignant?

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A new computational model developed in the laboratory of Salvatore Torquato, a Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, may help illuminate the conditions surrounding tumor dormancy and the switch to a malignant state. Published today in PLOS ONE, the so-called cellular automaton model simulated various scenarios of tumor growth leading to tumor suppression, dormancy or proliferation. “The power of the model is that it lets people to test medically realistic scenarios,” Torquato said. In future collaborations, these scenarios could be engineered in laboratory experiments and the observed outcomes could be used to calibrate the model. …