Cancer Research

Researchers have made a breakthrough in explaining how an incurable type of blood cancer develops from an often symptom-less prior blood disorder. All patients diagnosed with myeloma, a cancer of the blood-producing bone marrow, first develop a relatively benign condition called 'monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance' or 'MGUS'. 

MGUS is fairly common in the older population and only progresses to cancer in approximately one in 100 cases. However, currently there is no way of accurately predicting which patients with MGUS are likely to go on to get myeloma.

Scientists have developed a new test to identify patients who are at risk of suffering a relapse from testicular cancer.

Assessing just three features of a common kind of testicular cancer - called non-seminomatous germ cell tumor - can identify those at most at risk of relapse even where there is no evidence of tumor spread.

The researchers believe the test could be used in the clinic to make decisions about which patients should be given chemotherapy.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, analyzed 177 tumor samples from patients with stage I non-seminomatous tumors enrolled in clinical trials through the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Trials Unit. 

A year of treatment with nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, significantly lowered the risk of common, non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk patients, according to a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

All 386 participants in the study had a history of skin cancer, increasing their risk for additional skin cancers. Taken as a twice-daily pill for 12 months, nicotinamide reduced the incidence of new non-melanoma skin cancers by 23 percent relative to placebo controls and cut the incidence of pre-cancerous sun spots by around 15 percent. 

Women with particularly aggressive forms of breast cancer could be identified by a test that predicts whether the disease is likely to spread to the brain.

An analysis of almost 4,000 patients with breast cancer found that testing for high activity in a particular gene called alpha beta (αB)-crystallin could pick out women who were at greater risk of developing secondary brain tumors compared to women who tested negative.

A team including scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, found that women whose breast cancer had begun to spread and who tested positive in the αB-crystallin test were three times more likely to have disease that spread to the brain than those who tested negative.

Cervical cancer is an "enormous burden" for Latin American society, and the third leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the region, say Drs. María Correnti and María Eugenia Cavazza of the Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela. 

"In contrast to other types of cancer, cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease if it is diagnosed and treated early," say Drs Correnti and Cavazza in an accompanying editorial.

"But the absence of an effective prevention strategy leads to delayed diagnosis, and turns it into one of the leading causes of death among young women."

Antioxidants have made a fortune for the dietary supplement industry, but how many people really know what they are and why they’re supposedly good for you? One common claim is that the these molecules can protect you from cancer. This is supposedly because they can counteract other molecules known as “reactive oxygen species” or “free radicals” that can be created in our cells and then damage DNA, potentially leading to cancer.

Scientists have developed a blood test that could help pair cancer patients with the most suitable therapy for their disease and then track the tumor's progress to see if the treatment is working, according to research published today (Thursday) in Clinical Cancer Research.

Using the blood test throughout a patient's treatment gives a 'running commentary' of what is happening to tumors - giving scientists the lowdown on how well the treatment is working, how the cancer is changing and whether it is becoming resistant to treatment. It is the first time a blood test has been used in this way during clinical trials of targeted drugs, proving that the technique can monitor cancer simply and quickly.

Primary care providers are put in a difficult position when screening their male patients for prostate cancer--some guidelines suggest that testing the general population lacks evidence whereas others state that it is appropriate in certain patients. Now a new perspective piece offers some guidance on when to screen patients and how to involve them in decisions about screening and treatment.

Three prime ministers and nearly three years ago, “first bloke” Tim Mathieson caused a brouhaha with his advice on prostate cancer screening:

We can get a blood test for it, but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way.

It was the “small Asian female” part of this statement that attracted criticism, but what of the rest of his advice?

Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades.