Cancer Research

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.  


The rising cost of treating and caring for a growing number of cancer patients threatens economic development in low and middle income countries (LMICs), making prevention a key element of health care plans, according to a new commentary.

Authored by researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the American Cancer Society, and Imperial College of London, the commentary says in the absence of the implementation of prevention, LMICs will not have the resources to diagnose and treat all new cancer patients, and the economic burden will soon become unsustainable. The commentary appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).


Lung cancer screening programs that utilize standardized reporting and include cardiothoracic surgeons as part of a multidisciplinary team can successfully be adopted into clinical practice without an increase in surgical intervention for non-cancerous disease, according to an article in the October 2015 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Key points

  • Lung cancer screening programs can be safely and effectively adopted in clinical practice with low rates of surgical intervention for non-cancerous disease

  • Surgical intervention for a non-cancer diagnosis was rare, at 0.24%, which is comparable to the National Lung Screening Trial.


  • Patients with advanced gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) have limited treatment options and there are few oncologists who are specialized in this relatively rare disease. But now results from a multi-center randomized international trial of an innovative treatment show a marked improvement in the length of time patients with mid-gut NETs live without the disease getting worse (progression-free survival, or PFS), researchers reported to the 2015 European Cancer Congress.