Cancer Research

Researchers have identified a biomarker that predicts whether glioblastoma – the most common form of primary brain cancer – will respond to chemotherapy.  

"Every patient diagnosed with glioblastoma is treated with a chemotherapy called temozolomide. About 15 percent of these patients derive long-lasting benefit," said Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, vice-chairman of Academic Affairs, Division of Neurosurgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine and the study's principal investigator. "We need to identify which patients benefit from temozolomide and which another type of treatment. All therapies involve risk and the possibility of side-effects. Patients should not undergo therapies if there's no likelihood of benefit."

Recently findings could help to reduce health care charges while also protecting childhood cancer survivors from heart ailments caused by drug therapy. 

The paper reviewed data from patient histories to show that current standard medical guidelines for protecting childhood cancer survivors from drug treatment-related heart disease and heart failure later in life through periodic heart scans (echocardiographs) are overly cautious.

According to the data, the frequency of such post-cancer screenings can be safely reduced for low-risk patients – with large cost-savings and little reduction in overall quality of patient care.

The gene Metadherin - MTDH - which is implicated in promoting the spread of breast cancer tumors, only stimulates tumor growth when the protein made by the gene interacts with a second protein known as SND1, according to a paper in Cancer Cell.

Invasive breast cancer strikes 1 in 8 women and causes roughly 40,000 deaths each year in the United States. About 20 percent of women with breast cancer go on to develop tumors that spread throughout body, are resistant to chemotherapy, and are often fatal.

A study of triple-negative breast cancer raises the prospect that some patients with aggressive tumors may benefit from a class of anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Melanoma is one of the worst, most metastatic cancers known today.

Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have discovered more than 40 genes that predict the level of aggressiveness of melanoma and that distinguish it from other cancers with a poor prognosis. The discovery will help to identify unique aspects of melanoma that could contribute to determine the risk of developing metastasis in patients with this disease. It explains why a drug, also described by CNIO, is being used to selectively attack the melanoma tumor cells.  

What is the function of these genes? Strangely, the factors that are increased in melanoma share a common mechanism: the formation of vesicles called endosomes.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major cause of disability and death worldwide. An estimated 8.6 million people fell ill and 1.3 million people died from the disease in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Although TB is curable, adherence to therapy is difficult as treatment requires taking antibiotic drugs for at least six months and sometimes up to two years. Poor adherence to medication and other factors have resulted in drug-resistant strains, and currently no effective TB vaccine exists.  

A new paper describes a type of tuberculosis (TB) treatment that involves manipulating the body's response to TB bacteria rather than targeting the bacteria themselves, a concept called host-directed therapy.

Cancer care has had lots of known side effects but one goes less discussed - the "financial toxicity", which is the expense, anxiety and loss of confidence confronting those who face large, unpredictable costs, often compounded by decreased ability to work.

Writing in Cancer, a team of University of Chicago cancer specialists describe the first tool to measure a patient's risk for, and ability to tolerate, financial stress. The researchers named their patient-reported outcome measure COST (COmprehensive Score for financial Toxicity) and uses
11 questions, assembled and refined from conversations with more than 150 patients with advanced cancer. 

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has described a very interesting case of a cancer patient named Daniel. Daniel was a fit man in his mid 30's and was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Within two months it had spread to his lymph nodes and within one year had sprouted secondary cancers in his lungs and liver. During this time Daniel could no longer play basketball and lost over 30 pounds. The cancer then spread to his right hip causing severe pain. The consulting doctor decided to treat the hip pain (tumor) with a high dose of radiation hoping that the damage to the tumor would provide pain relief. The doctor then booked a 3-month follow up appointment not really expecting Daniel to be alive. Three months later, Daniel not only showed up but had gained 11 pounds and was pain free.

A new study finds that seminal fluid - semen - contains biomarkers for prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men. 

University of Adelaide research fellow and lead author Dr Luke Selth says the commonly used PSA (prostate specific antigen) test is by itself not ideal to test for the cancer.
But the results in Endocrine-Related Cancer show that their new test finds presence of certain molecules in seminal fluid and indicates not only whether a man has prostate cancer, but also the severity of the cancer.

Why, as we age, are we more vulnerable to cancer? 

You don't think of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - one of the atomic bomb testing facilities - when you think of breast cancer research, but they know cell mutations.

A new paper in Cell Reports by LBL researchers found that, as women age, the cells responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue stop responding to their immediate surroundings, including mechanical cues that should prompt them to suppress nearby tumors. The disease is most frequently diagnosed among women aged 55 to 64, according to the National Cancer Institute.