Cancer Research

One in six women (17 percent) diagnosed with breast cancer go to their doctor with a symptom other than a lump - the most commonly reported breast cancer symptom - according to data from 2009/10 National Audit of Cancer Diagnosis in Primary Care presented at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer conference in Liverpool. There are more than 53,600 breast cancers diagnosed in the UK every year and 11,400 deaths from the disease annually.

Breast symptoms, other than a breast lump, that may be a sign of cancer (termed 'non-lump' in the study) include nipple abnormalities, breast pain, skin abnormalities, ulceration, shape abnormalities and an infected or inflamed breast.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of cancer. Early detection is essential to improve prognoses. Working toward that goal, a collaboration of researchers in Japan has discovered proteins in the blood which improve the detection of pancreatic cancer. When used in combination with conventional pancreatic cancer biomarkers, it enables the diagnosis of early stage pancreatic cancer, which was previously thought to be difficult.

Tumours are an accumulation of cells that divide without control, accumulating hundreds of chromosomal alterations and mutations in their DNA. These alterations are triggered in part by a type of damage to the DNA known as replicative stress. To survive in the face of this chaos, tumour cells need the intervention of the damage response protein ATR, known for its role as guardian of genome integrity, to which they become addicted. After eight years of work, Oscar Fernández-Capetillo's team at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has discovered that blocking this protein has antitumour effects in several animal models of cancer, such as an aggressive type of acute myeloid leukaemia and Ewing sarcoma.

With over 120,000 patients in the United States waiting for a kidney transplant, scientists and physicians are constantly looking to expand the pool of available organs through increasing donation and optimizing allocation. Researchers analyzed data from thousands of transplants and developed a scoring system for donor kidneys that they hope might expand the pool of available organs in two ways. They published their findings in the Annals of Transplantation.

People with the most common type of lung cancer whose disease has spread to the brain could be spared potentially harmful whole brain radiotherapy, according to new research published in The Lancet. The phase 3 randomized trial found that whole brain radiotherapy had no beneficial effect on length or quality of survival over treatment with steroids and other supportive care.

Despite its widespread use, until now there has been no robust evidence to determine whether whole brain radiotherapy, which can have substantial side effects (eg, fatigue, nausea, neurotoxicity), is better than best supportive care alone in terms of prolonging life or improving quality of life.

While preventing cancer is impossible, what will be possible soon is making cancer far more manageable, like diabetes, and treatment far less debilitating. A new drug delivery system called a "metronomic dosage regimen," uses significantly lower doses of chemotherapeutic drugs but at more frequent time intervals. This would have multiple goals of killing cancer cells, creating a hostile biological environment for their growth, reducing toxicity from the drug regimen and avoiding the development of resistance to the cancer drugs being used.

The duration of overweight and obesity in women's adult lives is correlated with cancer risk in a PLOS Medicine longitudinal study.

A new paper in
EBioMedicine finds that infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), one of eight known viruses in the herpes family to infect humans, may put some women at increased risk for developing breast cancer.  

EBV is one of the most common viruses and is best known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis. More than 90 percent of the world's population carries EBV, and most individuals experience no effects from infection, but it has been linked to everything from cancer to Hodgkin's disease so it's hard to know which are real.

Given the anticipated increase in cancer imaging over the next decade [1, 2], radiologists need to solidify their position as central members of the cancer team by identifying toxicity early and understanding the implications of their findings.

A team of radiologists and researchers led by Stephanie A. Holler Howard, of the Department of Radiology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, write in the American Journal of Roentgenology that they want to broaden the radiologist's understanding of imaging-evident toxicity. 

Scientists have discovered the switch to harness the power of cord blood and potentially increase the supply of stem cells for cancer patients needing transplantation therapy to fight their disease. 
Stem cells were first discovered in Toronto in 1961 at the
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
 by Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch, a discovery that launched a new field of science and formed the basis of all stem cell research that continues to this day.