Cancer Research

Stage IV cancer patients and their caregivers don't agree on the value of another year of life versus other end-of-life improvements.

Cancer is an expensive proposition emotionally and also financially. High-cost treatments may result in only moderate improvements in length or quality of life. Because such decisions are very difficult for patients to make, in some cases the decision is entirely deferred to a family caregiver.  

Triple-negative breast cancers are around 15% of all breast cancers and they lack any of the three receptors (oestrogen, progesterone or HER2) that would make them responsive to targeted drugs.

Triple-negative breast cancer patients have a higher risk of disease recurrence and shorter survival than those with other breast cancers and tend to fall into two categories: those that succumb to their disease within 3-5 years, regardless of treatment; and those that remain disease free for longer than the average non-triple-negative breast cancer patient (at least 8 years post-diagnosis).  Survival prospects tend to be either very good or very bad because triple-negative breast cancers are two distinct diseases that likely originate from different cell types.

A new study finds that it is possible to detect endometrial cancer using tumor DNA picked up by ordinary tampons. DNA samples from vaginal secretions can show the presence of chemical "off" switches - known as methylation - that can disable genes that normally keep cancer in check.

The finding is a critical step toward a convenient and effective screening test for endometrial cancer, which is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States.

Obese women have greater risk of developing a weight-related cancer in their lifetime than women of a healthy weight, according to new statistics.  Obesity increases a woman's risk of developing at least seven types of cancer - including bowel, post-menopausal breast, gallbladder, womb, kidney, pancreatic and esophageal cancer - and in a group of obese women, 274 will be diagnosed with a bodyweight-linked cancer in their lifetime, compared to 194 women diagnosed in a group of 1,000 healthy weight women. A 40 percent higher rate.
Metastatic melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths in the United States because once has spread - metastasized - life expectancy for patients is dramatically shortened.

Melanoma diagnosis and treatment has progressed a lot and the future looks even brighter but the current reference therapy for patients diagnosed with metastatic melanoma is Dacarbazine (DTIC), which is associated with relatively poor patient outcomes.
Gastric bypass and similar stomach-shrinking surgeries are a popular option for obese patients looking to lose weight and they have even been linked to a decreased risk in many types of cancers - except colon cancer. A 2013 long-term study of 77,000 obese patients found that colon cancer rates were higher but a new study in mice could explain the association - and raise safety concerns for a new generation of weight-loss drugs. 

Researchers have found that by changing the selectivity of an enzyme, a small molecule could potentially be used to decrease the likelihood of alcohol-related cancers in an at-risk population.

Cancer vaccines turn the body's own immune system specifically against tumor cells and one area of study are vaccines that are directed against neoantigens, proteins that have undergone a genetic mutation in tumor cells and are therefore different than counterparts in healthy cells.
A new study has found that giving acetate supplements sped up the growth and metastasis of tumors in mice.

Acetate is a major compound produced in the gut by host bacteria, which can have beneficial and also potentially harmful effects on human health. Further studies are needed to determine whether restricting acetate production by gut bacteria will affect growth of tumors.
A cancer false alarm could put people off checking out cancer symptoms they develop in the future, according to a review of papers.

More than 80 percent of patients with potential cancer symptoms are given the all-clear after investigations. But according to the new paper, having a false alarm might discourage people from seeking help, even years later, if they notice possible symptoms of the disease again.