Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Health Canada has approved DARZALEX® (daratumumab) for patients with multiple myeloma who have had at least one prior therapy

TORONTO, April 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Janssen Inc. announced today that Health Canada has approved DARZALEX® (daratumumab), in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone, or bortezomib and dexamethasone, for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior therapy. Due to the high unmet medical need for multiple myeloma patients, DARZALEX® was granted a Priority Review by Health Canada for this submission.

Data from two Phase 3 studies supported this new approval. They include the open-label, randomized clinical studies POLLUX (MMY3003) and CASTOR (MMY3004). POLLUX was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, with an accompanying editorial, in October 20167; and CASTOR was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August 2016.

Studies mentioned:
Dimopoulos, M. A., Oriol, A., Nahi, H., San-Miguel, J., Bahlis, N. J., Usmani, S. Z., . . . Moreau, P. (2016). Daratumumab, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma. N Engl J Med, 375(14), 1319-1331. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1607751

Palumbo, A., Chanan-Khan, A., Weisel, K., Nooka, A. K., Masszi, T., Beksac, M., . . . Sonneveld, P. (2016). Daratumumab, bortezomib, and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma. N Engl J Med, 375(8), 754-766. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1606038

Higher prostate cancer risks for black men may warrant new approach to screening

A new study indicates that higher prostate cancer death rates among black men in the US may be due to a higher risk of developing preclinical prostate cancer as well as a higher risk of that cancer progressing more quickly to advanced stages. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that screening policies may need to be tailored to the higher-risk status of this population.

Study mentioned:
"Is prostate cancer different in black men? Answers from three natural history models." Alex Tsodikov, Roman Gulati, Tiago M. de Carvalho, Eveline A. M. Heijnsdijk, Rachel A. Hunter-Merrill, Angela B. Mariotto, Harry J. de Koning, and Ruth Etzioni. CANCER; Published Online: April 24, 2017 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30687).
URL Upon Publication.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Malaria parasite could treat cancer

A new study being conducted at the University of British Columbia indicates that a malaria parasite may be able to treat bladder cancer in patients who do not respond favourably to traditional chemotherapy.  According to Mads Daugaard, professor of urologic science, the treatment, "utilizing a combination of malaria protein with a marine sponge toxin" has proven to be 80% effective on mice tested.  While considerable more testing is required on humans, this new finding does bring hope, as bladder cancer kills more than 2,000 Canadians each year.

To read more about the study, click here:

Breast milk tests may one day replace mammograms

A preliminary study conducted at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, scientists have discovered "alterations in protein expression in the breast milk of women with breast cancer compared to women without breast cancer."  According to study author Roshanak Aslebagh, the proteins may indicate potential biomarkers of breast cancer and serve as a viable breast cancer screening mechanism for women under the age of 40.  As the study authors further note, "breast milk analysis may someday offer an alternative to mammograms for women in their childbearing years."

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Avelumab: first FDA-approved treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 23 approved the immunotherapy drug avelumab for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) — a rare, aggressive form of skin cancer — for adults and patients 12 years of age and older. Avelumab, marketed as Bavencio, is the first FDA-approved treatment for MCC.

Avelumab is an antibody that targets programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), a protein found on several types of tumors. PD-L1 binds T cells, white blood cells that defend against disease. This inactivates the T cells and allows tumor cells to avoid immune attack. Avelumab binds to PD-L1, preventing the T cells from being switched off so they can still attack tumor cells.

To read more about avelumab, click here.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

World Cancer Day 2017 Impact Report

The World Cancer Day 2017 Impact Report has now been released.  This document focuses on the activities that took place in more than 100 countries on February 4, 2017, focusing on government actions, municipalities, businesses, communities, and individuals with regards to the impact of cancer.

Click here to read the report.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Survival continues to improve for most cancers

According to a new report published by the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Research Program, overall cancer death rates continue to fall.  Between 2010-2014, death rates decreased for 11 out of 16 common cancers in man, and 13 out of 16 common cancers in women.  These included cancer of the lung, colon, prostate, and breast.  However, death rates for liver, pancreas and brain cancer in women, along with liver and uterus cancers in women continue to rise.

To read more about this report, click here.  

Thursday, 30 March 2017

High doses of vitamin D do not cut cancer risk

A new clinical trial conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School indicate that high doses of vitamin D supplements may not lower risk of developing cancer in older women.  According to Dr. JoAnn Manson, the trial, involving 2,300 older women randomly assigned either high-doses of vitamin D plus calcium or placebo pills resulted in "no compelling evidence that vitamin D reduces cancer incidence."  Two additional trials, comprising 20,000 individuals are currently ongoing.

For more information, click here.

Monday, 27 March 2017

MRI for prostate cancer screening

A new study conducted by Dutch researchers indicates that MRI screening can reduce overdiagnosis of prostate cancer by 50% in men over 70. According to lead researcher Dr. Arnout Alberta, from the urology department at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the study, conducted in 335 men 71 years of age and older, found that "70% of the men...would not have needed biopsies at all if MRI had been used beforehand, because no suspicious areas showed up on their scans."

To read more about this study, click here.  

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Family history of colon cancer necessitates earlier screening

According to a recent hospital news release by Dr. Walter Koltun, chief of colon and rectal surgery at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancers should be screened before age 50.  According to Koltun, "if more than one close relative has had colon or rectal cancer, your risk of getting such a cancer is 12 times greater."

To read more about this news release, click here.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Obesity linked to higher esophageal and stomach cancer risk

A new study from the U.S. National Cancer Institute indicates a correlation between overweight individuals in their 20s with an increased risk of esophageal and stomach cancer should they become obese later in life.  Study data revealed a 60%-80% increase risk of developing the above noted cancers for individuals who were overweight from age 20 compared to those with a normal body weight.  According to lead researcher Jessica Petrick, "these findings underscore the potential of weight control programs for decreasing the likelihood of developing esophageal and stomach cancer, both of which have extremely poor survival ."

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 10 March 2017

CHANGE Cancer Alberta: new cancer prevention program

An innovative new cancer prevention program aimed at increasing physical activity, promoting healthy eating and reducing obesity has been a successful initiative for more than 800 Albertans thus far.  Known as CHANGE, the program "links people at risk of chronic disease with a registered dietitian and an exercise specialist."

To read more about CHANGE, click here.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Soy safe and protective for breast cancer survivors

While the debate surrounding the use of soy for breast cancer patients has been discussed for several years, a new study conducted at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston breast cancer survivors who consumed soy had a lower risk of death during a 10 year follow-up period.  According to Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, assistant professor of epidemiology at Tufts University, "overall, consuming higher levels of soy is associated with a 21% reduction in the risk of death compared to women who consumed soy at a lower level".

To read more about this study, click here.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Brain training for cancer survivor's nerve damage

A new study conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center investigates the use of neurofeedback, aimed at helping cancer survivors control symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nerve damage.  According to lead investigator Sarah Prinsloo, "neurofeedback has no known side effects, can be used in combinations with other treatments and is reasonable cost-effective."

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Colon and rectal cancers rising in young people

Scientists are reporting a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as their 20s and 30s, though the reasons are unclear.

The vast majority of colorectal cancers are still found in older people, with nearly 90 percent of all cases diagnosed in people over 50. But a new study from the American Cancer Society that analyzed cancer incidence by birth year found that colorectal cancer rates, which had dropped steadily for people born between 1890 and 1950, have been increasing for every generation born since 1950. Experts aren’t sure why.

Rectal cancers are rising particularly sharply, far faster than cancers in other parts of the large intestine or colon. The American Cancer Society estimates about 13,500 new cases of colon and rectal cancers will be diagnosed in Americans under 50 this year, with more than 95,500 cases of colon cancer and nearly 40,000 cases of rectal cancer in all age groups.

Read Full Article

Study mentioned:
Colorectal Cancer Incidence Patterns in the United States, 1974–2013
Rebecca L. Siegel Stacey A. Fedewa William F. Anderson Kimberly D. Miller Jiemin Ma Philip S. Rosenberg Ahmedin Jemal
J Natl Cancer Inst (2017) 109 (8): djw322. DOI:
Published: 28 February 2017

Monday, 27 February 2017

SWOG study shows strong long-term survival rates for patients with GIST

Nine years ago, SWOG researchers confirmed a new standard of care for patients with incurable gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), who could survive by being treated with imatinib mesylate, the breakthrough drug marketed as Gleevec. SWOG researchers are back with long-term findings from that study, which estimate that nearly one in four patients treated with Gleevec will survive 10 years. Results are published in JAMA Oncology.

In this new study results published in JAMA Oncology, researchers from SWOG, the international cancer research community supported by the National Cancer Institute, report a follow-up of patients originally enrolled in S0033, a SWOG-led trial supported by other groups in the NCI's National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). Initial results published in 2008 confirmed Gleevec as an effective treatment for advanced GIST patients.

Study mentioned:
JAMA Oncol. 2017 Feb 9. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.6728. [Epub ahead of print]
Correlation of Long-term Results of Imatinib in Advanced Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors With Next-Generation Sequencing Results: Analysis of Phase 3 SWOG Intergroup Trial S0033.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Exercise a powerful ally for breast cancer survivors

New research from Canada indicates that exercise more than any other healthy habit lowers a breast cancer survivors chance of dying.  According to author Dr. Ellen Warner, medical oncology at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre in Ontario, of all of the lifestyle changes patients made in reducing the risk of cancer recurrence, "exercise came out on top, reducing the risk of breast cancer death by about 40%."

To read more about this study, click here.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Long-term adjuvant Tamoxifen therapy and decreases in contralateral breast cancer

Tamoxifen revolutionized personalized medicine as the first targeted therapy proven to save lives in cancer. The paradigm change proposed to block the breast tumor estrogen receptor (ER), apply long-term adjuvant therapy to block estrogen-stimulated recurrences, and apply the potential of tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer. These recommendations have been put into clinical practice for three decades. Please read the latest JAMA editorial on this therapy.

Study mentioned:
Abderrahman B, Jordan VC. Long-term Adjuvant Tamoxifen Therapy and Decreases in Contralateral Breast Cancer . JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(2):163-164. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.3324

The nuclear transport receptor Importin-11 is a tumor suppressor that maintains PTEN protein

Rockefeller University investigators identify a key anti-cancer protein - the study was recently published. Please read more from the Journal of Cell Biology here.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Cancer incidence and mortality rates in Alberta on downward trend

The newly released Report on Cancer Statistics in Alberta indicates that incidence rates of cancer have declined by 0.6% annually between 2001-2014, with a 2.1% decrease per year in mortality rates during that same time period.  The Screening for Life Program emphasizes the importance of early detection and screening on a patient's rate of survival.  According to Dr. Huiming Yang, Medical Director, Screening, Population, Public, and Indigenous Health, "we want Albertans to know what screening options are available to them and we need everyone to take personal responsibility for their health and well-being by asking their doctor about what cancer screening programs are right for them."

To read more about this report, click here.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Breath test may be able to detect stomach cancers earlier

Research recently presented at the European Cancer Congress (ECC) indicates that a breath test may be able to detect earlier incidents of stomach and esophageal cancers.  According to study author Dr. Sheraz Markar from Imperial College in London, A breath test could be used as a noninvasive, first-line test to reduce the number of unnecessary endoscopies."  Measuring 5 chemicals in breath, this test, conducted on more than 300 patients has been found to be 85% accurate.

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

HPV vaccine does not eliminate need for Pap test

With January being designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month, oncologists are reminding patients about the importance and need for women of all ages to undergo Pap test screening.  According to Dr. Jayanthi Lea, from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, "the [HPV] vaccine reduces the risk of cancer, but has not yet been shown to eliminate the need for screening."

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Even small amount of daily activity can boost colon cancer survival

A new U.S. study conducted on 1,200 colon cancer patients indicated a 19% decrease in early risk of death for those exercising 30 minutes or more on a daily basis. Further, individuals who exercised at least 5 hours per week saw their survival rate rise to 25%.  According to Dr. Andrew Chan, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, these findings do support the notion that "patients who have cancer and who are physically active...have a better prognosis."

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Chemo Brain may last for several months after breast cancer treatment

A new study conducted in the United States, considered to be the largest of its kind to date, explored explored the effects of memory and attention issues affecting breast cancer survivors after undergoing chemotherapy treatment.  According to study author Michelle Janelsins, assistant professor o surgery, radiation oncology and neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Wilmot Cancer Institute in New York, "a month after chemo ended, 45% of patients reported a significant decline in so-called cognitive abilities", an effect that continued to linger 6 months later where "36% of patients still felt their mental ability had declined."

To read more about this study, click here.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Drug for advanced bone cancer may require less frequent dosing

Researchers at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute in Newark, Delaware have determined that use of Zometa, a drug used to treat bone cancer, reduces side effects in patients and increases cost savings wen administered every 3 months instead of monthly.  This change in dosage has not resulted in increased risk of bone problems over a 2-year period.  The study, conducted on more than 1800 patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, or multiple myeloma indicated bone problems in 30% of patients who received the drug monthly compared to 29% who were administered the drug every 3 months.

To read more about this study, click here.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New targeted therapies show promise for treating advanced GIST

Two early-phase clinical trials testing new targeted therapies for advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) have produced promising preliminary results. Although the findings are preliminary, Lee Helman, M.D., of NCI's Center for Cancer Research, said the drugs show substantial promise as a treatment for patients with GIST whose tumors stop responding to standard therapies.

The trial results were presented earlier this month at the EORTC-NCI-AACR Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics ConferenceExit Disclaimer in Munich.

Read more here.

Response to Durvalumab increased with high PD-L1 expression in pretreated NSCLC

Durvalumab treatment in the second-line setting or beyond demonstrated clinical benefit and led to durable responses in heavily pretreated patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to findings presented at the 17th World Lung Cancer Conference in Vienna.

Rad more here.

Monday, 19 December 2016

MEK inhibitor/Taxane combination active in triple-negative breast cancer

A small clinical trial demonstrated encouraging clinical activity in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) treated with a MEK inhibitor and a taxane. The combination of cobimetinib (Cotellic) and paclitaxel led to confirmed partial responses in 6 of 16 patients and 2 additional unconfirmed partial responses. Five of the 6 confirmed responses proved to be durable, persisting for about 20 weeks. “This is the first study to evaluate the combination of cobimetinib and paclitaxel in triple-negative breast cancer,” Adam M. Brufsky, MD, PhD, associate chief of hematology oncology, and co-director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues concluded in a presentation at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. “The safety profile of combined cobimetinib and paclitaxel is manageable and consistent with the known safety profiles for each drug.

- See more here.

SABCS 2016: Menopausal symptoms affect adherence with Tamoxifen but also with placebo

Although menopausal symptoms play a role in adherence to tamoxifen, the strength of the association between menopausal symptoms and adherence was similar in women assigned to placebo and those assigned to tamoxifen during a large, placebo-controlled trial by investigators from the United Kingdom and Australia.

Read more here.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Strength training may prevent side effect of breast cancer surgery

New research conducted at Florida State University in Tallahassee suggests that strength training may be beneficial for breast cancer survivors who have had surgery.  The study, conducted on 27 breast cancer survivors who underwent supervised moderate-intensity strength workouts shows that "weightlifting appeared to help prevent swelling in the arms and chest, a common side effect of breast cancer treatment."

To read more about this study, click here.