The latest developments in cancer research and treatment for October 2021


The news is happening all the time in the field of cancer. Sometimes it’s important, like the word that a breakthrough drug has increased survival for hard-to-treat cancer. Sometimes it’s smaller. All of this can be important to you and your family as you navigate your cancer journey. We do our best to keep you up to date with a monthly summary of some of the most important recent cancer news.

Saliva testing: the wave of the future for HPV-related head and neck cancer screening?

What’s new A test for the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in saliva could be a way to dramatically improve the early detection of head and neck cancer (HNC), according to research published on September 21 in the Molecular diagnostic journal. Not all HNCs are linked to HPV, but HPV-linked HNCs are on the rise in the United States.

Research Details Australian researchers performed saliva tests on 491 patients with newly diagnosed HNC and 10 with recurrent HNC to determine if saliva was an effective biomarker for these types of cancers, and more specifically, for the survival patterns of patients with HNC. ‘throat cancer. Study participants were followed for up to five years. Of the study participants, 43 percent provided positive samples for high-risk HPV. Patients with saliva tests positive for high-risk HPV tended to be slightly younger (60 vs. 62 years).

Why is this important Usually, these types of cancers are found at more advanced stages. Early detection, however, increases the yields of five-year survival by up to 20 percent according to recent data from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer.Net. Saliva-based tests “have the potential to be transformative,” the study’s co-investigator said in a related press release, not only in terms of early detection, but also to personalize treatment and assess the outcome. prognosis.

Chemotherapy may weaken immune response to COVID-19 vaccine

What’s new Chemotherapy appears to affect a cancer patient’s ability to generate antibodies after COVID-19 vaccine, according to one study published on September 30 in JAMA Oncology.

Research Details A team of researchers from Austria and Italy studied antibody production after COVID-19 vaccination in 595 cancer patients who received chemotherapy with or without immunotherapy and compared them to healthy adults. (Most patients had lung, breast, or blood cancer.) All study participants developed antibodies to the SARS-COV-2 virus after the first dose and higher levels after the second dose. . But cancer patients who received chemotherapy alone or in combination with immunotherapy had altered antibody production. Additionally, blood cancer patients who received immunotherapy targeting B cells produced the lowest levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

Why is this important Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for people who are immunocompromised such as cancer. But the results of the study suggest that some cancer treatments prevent the full production of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. New research underscores the need to speak with your doctor about booster injections and whether and how aggressively to continue to take measures to protect against illness, such as regular COVID-19 testing, masks and social distancing during active treatment.

New Breast Cancer Risk Prediction Tool for Black American Women

What’s new A new personalized breast cancer prediction model predicts risk in black American women as accurately as the most frequently used questionnaire-based breast cancer risk prediction models in white women, according to a study published on October 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Research Details Researchers gathered data from three case-control studies of 6,578 black American women aged 30 to 69, along with age and race-specific breast cancer incidence and death rates. , in order to develop a risk prediction tool. The model was then validated using data from 51,798 women participating in the ongoing 15-year Black Women’s Health Study. During these years, 1,515 women participating in the study developed invasive breast cancer. Risk factors included age, first-degree family history, breast biopsy, five years or more of oral contraceptive use, early menstruation, and not breastfeeding. The results of the study showed that the new model was able to accurately predict which women would develop breast cancer within the next five years compared to models developed for white women. It was more accurate for black women under 40.

Why is this important Given the rate of early-onset breast cancer and breast cancer death rates among black American women, accurate risk prediction tools are long overdue. This new tool offers black American women the opportunity to fill existing gaps in care and treatment and make earlier decisions on risk reduction strategies.

Eating nuts may reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence

What’s new Eating just over half an ounce of nuts per week can halve your risk of breast cancer recurrence, metastasis or death, according to research published on October 19 in the International Journal of Breast Cancer.

Research Details Chinese researchers looked at the eating habits and other lifestyle factors of 3,575 women in a study of breast cancer survivors, all of whom had completed detailed questionnaires about food frequency five years after having been diagnosed for the first time. Out of a median follow-up of 8.27 years, there were 347 deaths from all causes and 252 deaths from breast cancer. Ten years after being initially diagnosed with breast cancer, women who reported consuming just over half an ounce of nuts (including peanuts, walnuts, and other nuts) were at risk of recurrence. of their cancer, advanced cancer or breast cancer 52% lower. specific deaths compared to women who did not report eating nuts. Overall survival appeared to be even higher in women who ate more than half an ounce of nuts per week compared to women who did not.

Why is this important This is the first study to show an association between nut consumption and improved breast cancer outcomes.

Many sunscreens do not offer the claimed UV protection

What’s new Lab results show that many of the sunscreens currently available in the United States contain lower Sun Protection Factor (SPF) values ​​than what is stated on their labels, according to a study published on October 3 in Journal of Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Phytomedicine.

Research Details Researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed 51 sunscreens with an SPF labeled between 15 and 110 for their ability to protect against ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. All the products were lotions and the selection was based on active ingredients, SPF values ​​and dedicated storage space. Not only did the products fall well below the expected level of protection, but most offered only 42-59% of the stated SPF value.

Why is this important Skin cancer is the most diagnosed in the United States and is on the increase, according to the American Cancer Society. While the majority of these cancers are the less dangerous types of basal and squamous cells, melanoma is responsible for most skin cancer deaths. Sunscreen is one of the most effective tools for reducing exposure to UV rays that lead to cancer. EWG has a online reference tool So you can research safe and effective sunscreens that live up to their claims before you buy.

New trial tests triple negative vaccine against breast cancer

What’s new Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have started recruiting for a new clinical trial aimed at testing a vaccine to prevent triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive and deadly form of the disease.

Research Details This phase 1 study is designed to test and determine the maximum tolerated dose and immune responses of the vaccine in 18-24 participants who have completed treatment for early-stage triple-negative breast cancer, are tumor-free, and are high-grade. risk of recurrence. All study participants will receive three doses of the vaccine two weeks apart and will be closely monitored for side effects. The vaccine targets a protein (ɑ-lactalbumin) associated with the production of breast milk during breastfeeding, and which is also present in the majority of triple-negative cancers. Research in lab mice has shown that activating the immune system to work against this protein creates a proactive attack on emerging breast tumors and helps prevent their growth.

Why is this important Triple negative breast cancer is difficult to treat because it does not carry as many targets vulnerable to available cancer treatments.


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