Thursday, 22 September 2016

Pembrolizumab approval Is tip of the iceberg for immunotherapy in HNSCC

The recent approval of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) following progression on a platinum-based chemotherapy was a significant advancement for the disease.

Immunotherapy is a big change for head and neck cancer, but one question still remains - will there be a role for these agents in first-line therapy for patients with metastatic recurrent disease who have not previously failed a platinum-based approach.

Read the interview here.

More cancer patients benefiting from immunotherapy

According o the 2016 Cancer Progress Report, produced by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), "more types of cancer are being successfully treated with immunotherapy."  The report further explains that 4 of 13 new anticancer treatments approved over the past year involve immunotherapy drugs.

To read more about this report, click here.

Monday, 19 September 2016

TKIs competing for frontline therapy in ALK+ NSCLC

Deciding the sequencing order of therapies for patients with ALK-positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a challenge, as new information on next-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) comes to light.

Options and outcomes for various TKIs were discussed during the Physicians’ Education Resource (PER®) seminar “Oncogenic Tumor Board in NSCLC: Targeting Driver Mutations to Maximize Therapeutic Outcomes,” which took place during the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Please read more here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Study reveals how ionising radiation damages DNA and causes cancer

From this study, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have been able to identify in human cancers two characteristic patterns of DNA damage caused by ionising radiation. These fingerprint patterns may now enable doctors to identify which tumours have been caused by radiation, and investigate if they should be treated differently.

Read more here.

Study mentioned:
S. Behjati and G. Gundem et al. (2016) Mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies. Nature Communications DOI: ncomms12605

Monday, 12 September 2016

New study about Kinase Suppressor of Ras (KSR), an unexplored target to develop new cancer therapies

New research from The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai identifies a protein that may be an unexplored target to develop new cancer therapies. The protein, known as kinase suppressor of Ras, or KSR, is a pseudoenzyme that plays a critical role in the transmission of signals in the cell determining whether cells grow, divide, or die. The findings, published in the September issue of the journal Nature, show that targeting KSR could have important therapeutic implications, potentially improving outcomes in many aggressing cancers such as lung and pancreatic cancer.

The lead compound reported in the study, APS-2-79, was shown to modulate Ras signaling and increased the potency of several other cancer drugs within RAS-mutant cell lines.

Read the complete news here.

Study mentioned:
Neil S. Dhawan, Alex P. Scopton, Arvin C. Dar. Small molecule stabilization of the KSR inactive state antagonizes oncogenic Ras signalling. Nature, 2016; 537 (7618): 112 DOI: 10.1038/nature19327

Friday, 9 September 2016

New trial alert: Immune therapy for lymphoma

A new early trial indicates that genetically engineered cells maybe effective to compact non-Hodgkin lymphoma when combined with chemotherapy.  According to the experimental study, white blood cells (T-cells) "are removed from the patient's bloodstream [and] genetically modified so hey can detected and attack cancerous B-cells."  In 32 patients that underwent this treatment in this trial, 1/3 were in complete remission from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

To read more about this trial, click here.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Disparities found in perception of symptoms between patients and oncology team

A recent study has demonstrated that oncology physicians and nurses underestimate the prevalence and impact of fatigue and pain in their patients with cancer.

Key points from this study:
- The prevalence and importance of pain and fatigue inpatients with cancer continue to be underestimated by oncology physicians and nurses.
- Clinicians need to assess symptoms of fatigue and pain carefully at each encounter.
- An increased awareness of patient-reported outcome sand education for HCPs is needed to improve patients’ QOL.

Read more here.

Study mentioned:
Barton, M. K. (2016), Disparities found in perception of symptoms between patients and oncology team. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. doi:10.3322/caac.21311

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Birth control pills believed to be linked to decline in ovarian cancer deaths

According to recent data from the World Health Organization, ovarian cancer death rates fell 16% in the United States and 8% in Canada between 2002-2012, with a similar reduction of 10% in the European Union during this same time period.  According to study lead Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Milan, the decline in ovarian cancer death rates "in some parts of the world is likely the use of birth control pills and the long-term protection against ovarian cancer they provide."  While these findings do not necessarily prove cause-and-effect, they do show that countries with low rates of birth control use had a noticeable smaller decline in ovarian cancer deaths.

To read more about this study, click here.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Vitamin A compound may help in fighting colon cancer

A new animal study conducted at Stanford University School o Medicine in Palo Alto, California, indicates that retinoic acid, "a compound derived in the body from vitamin A", may help suppress colon cancer.  According to study author Dr. Edgar Englemen, colon cancer is associated with inflammation of the bowels, and "retinoic acid has been known for years to be involved in suppressing inflammation in the intestine."

To read more about this study, click here.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients

According to a recently published Cochrane systematic review indicates that music medicine interventions are a comforting therapy and can help with both psychological and physical symptoms experienced by cancer patients.  Upon a review of 52 identified trials encompassing 3731 participants, music interventions were seen to reduce a cancer patient's anxiety and depression levels.  Further, it is believed that music "may have a small effect on heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure."

To read more about this systematic review, click here

Study mentioned:
Bradt J, Dileo C, Magil L, Teague A. Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Published online August 15, 2016.