Category Archives: Breast Cancer

Surgery for Breast Cancer May Awaken Sleeping Cancer Cells

Surgery for Breast Cancer May Awaken Sleeping Cancer Cells
Surgery for Breast Cancer May Awaken Sleeping Cancer Cells

One of the challenges in developing immunotherapy for cancer treatments is that benefits of a method are sometimes offset by drawbacks. In a recent example, scientists have found that breast cancer surgery may trigger micrometastases that are too small to be found on imaging.

Seeking Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Approximately 35 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer already have thousands of these micrometastases lying dormant in their system. Only half of them develop into full-blown metastatic cancer, and scientists believe the half that remain dormant are controlled by immune system activity.

A research team at the Whitehead Institute wanted to explore the problem, but they didn’t want to withhold surgery from breast cancer patients to form a control group. Testing was conducted on mice that had been injected with breast cancer cells and undergone simulated “surgery.”

“Surgery-Driven Interruption of Dormancy”

Of the mice that had “surgery,” 60 percent had continued growth of cancer cells, while only 10 percent of the mice that didn’t receive surgery had the same result. The team concluded that “surgical wounding” superseded attacks by the immune system, allowing the tiny malignancies to grow.

The test also uncovered a possible solution. When the mice were given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) pre- and post-“surgery,” it appeared to counteract the negative effects of the wounds. This opens the door to the possibility of over-the-counter products such as aspirin and ibuprofen being used as treatments.

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Anti-Inflammatory Medicine May Improve Breast Cancer Prognosis

There is New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment
There is New Hope for Breast Cancer Treatment

In addition to immunotherapy for cancer, many women with breast cancer will undergo surgery as part of their treatment. While cancer may sometimes spread after a mastectomy or lumpectomy, researchers have discovered that a course of anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the risk.

What Causes Post-Surgery Cancer Spread?

Scientists have been puzzled as to why breast cancer is more likely to spread during the first 18 months post-surgery. According to a study by a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the healing process is the surprise culprit.

As senior author Robert Weinberg explains, the patient’s immune system directs its activity toward healing the wounds left by the surgery. The result is that stray cancer cells are left free to continue growing into new tumors.

In testing on mice, anti-inflammatory drugs were successful in preventing the spread of cancer cells. While research has suggested a similar effect in humans, specific testing is needed for confirmation.

Fighting Stage IV Breast Cancer

Gastroenterologist Andrew Chan has been researching the potential of aspirin as an anti-cancer treatment. While Chan says that studies have demonstrated positive benefits, the focus has been on long-term rather than short-term recurrence.

Researchers are particularly interested in the implications of the MIT study because most breast cancer deaths are a result of metastasis rather than effects of the original tumor.

Treating Advanced Tumors with Immunotherapy for Cancer

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New Research: Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain

Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain
Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain

Bringing a new immuno oncology drug to market is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. A team of researchers is trying to expedite the process, using computer modeling to find a drug that treats metastasized breast cancer.

Can One Drug Fight Two Types of Cancer?

Triple negative breast cancer is the most difficult form to treat. Once the cancer metastasizes to the brain, survival time is generally shorter. Scientists at Houston Methodist analyzed thousands of current drugs in search of one that could prevent metastasis.

The team’s efforts paid off when they hit on edelfosine, a drug which is FDA-approved for investigational leukemia treatment. Edelfosine has also been the subject of clinical research for primary brain tumors.

In a study to test the discovery, mice were injected with triple negative breast cancer stem cells obtained from patients. The cancer cells metastasized to the brain, but treatment with edelfosine prevented the cells from further growth.

A “Game-Changer” in Immuno Oncology

Dr. Stephen T. Wong, one of the study’s authors, referred to the concept of repurposing drug compounds to prevent metastatic brain cancer as a “game-changer.” In past research, Wong and his co-workers have discovered other drugs that are being repurposed in clinical trials.

The study’s co-author, Dr. Hong Zhao, said they hope to move edelfosine to a phase II clinical study within the next few years. In addition, scientists want to investigate use of the compound on other forms of cancer.

Issels®: Successful Treatment of Therapy-Resistant Cancer

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New Cancer Treatments May Be Studied After Gene Breakthrough Research for Breast Cancer

New Cancer Treatments May Be Studied After Gene Breakthrough Research for Breast Cancer
New Cancer Treatments May Be Studied After Gene Breakthrough Research for Breast Cancer

In the most comprehensive breast cancer treatment study of its kind to-date, scientists may have uncovered the potential for new breast cancer treatment therapies, and possibilities for the development of new drugs aimed at preventing the disease.

More than 100 Genes Linked to Breast Cancer Revealed
After discovering a bounty of genes linked to breast cancer, scientists may soon be able to develop new genetic tests for predicting breast cancer risk, and using the data obtained, ensure targeted cancer treatment for patients.

Genes Linked to Survival Could Aid in Prevention
Thirty-two additional genes, linked to survival in those with receptor-positive breast cancer, were also uncovered. These are hoped to be used to test new treatments, as well as for providing targeted prevention protocols for those most at-risk of developing breast cancer.

Super Sleuths
In the study, funded by Breast Cancer Now, scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research in London used a new genetic technique called ‘Capture Hi-C’ to analyze how genes interacted with 33 DNA regions known to play a role in breast cancer. Of the 110 genes identified in the study, the majority had not been previously linked to breast cancer, providing fresh new insight for those striving to develop improved cancer treatment regimens.

A Vital Piece to Puzzling Out the Disease
The findings are seen as integral to unraveling how genetic changes in the building blocks of the body’s DNA influence breast cancer risk, providing a key piece to solving the cancer puzzle.

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“Feed” Your Battle Against Breast Cancer with These Food Tips

Diet Tips for Breast Cancer Patients
Diet Tips for Breast Cancer Patients

Is there an ideal diet to aid in breast cancer treatment? While there is no ‘best diet’ for those undergoing treatment, to reduce the risks of treatment and support your body, nutritional science conducted by the University of Hawaii Cancer Center points to ways that modifying diet may help.

Taking a ‘Bite’ Out of Risks

In terms of breast cancer treatment and prevention, research shows this hormonally-driven disease is strongly affected by obesity. However treatment time is NOT the time for weight loss. Instead, a shift to the development of healthful habits, including a balanced diet that promotes overall health, is ideal.

Foods that Feed the Battle

A diet of fresh veggies, plant-based proteins, and high-fiber foods – foods packed with phytochemicals, antioxidants, flavonoids, isoflavones, and other super-food, cancer-fighting properties – is ideal. Limiting alcohol intake is also advisable, as excessive intake is linked to cancer risk.

What’s on the Menu?

– Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.
– Plant-based proteins, including soy, beans, nuts and seeds.
– Other lean proteins that help boost immunity and retain muscle mass, such as poultry, fish, and eggs.
– High-fiber fruits, veggies, and grains like rice and quinoa that keep appetite (and cholesterol) in check.

Planning for Success

Planning shopping and meals on ‘good days’ can help make dietary changes and adequate nutrition easier. Form a monthly/weekly meal plan, ‘batch cooking’ large hearty stews or casseroles that can be easily packed into smaller portions for easy reheating when you’re under-the-weather. Aim for 5-6 smaller meals/day.

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New Imaging System Identifies If a Breast Cancer Will Respond Favorably to Chemotherapy

New Imaging System Identifies If a Breast Cancer Will Respond Favorably to Chemotherapy
New Imaging System Identifies If a Breast Cancer Will Respond Favorably to Chemotherapy

When it comes to fighting tumors, effective cancer treatment is only part of the equation. Researchers are also seeking ways to determine which patients will be more receptive to a particular course of treatment. A recent study offers encouraging results for a method of predicting breast cancer response to chemotherapy.

Predicting Chemotherapy Response in Breast Cancer Patients

Women newly diagnosed with breast cancer that is invasive but operable frequently undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy beginning five to six months before surgery. Chances of recurrence are reduced in patients whose cancer cells are completely eliminated by the chemotherapy.

According to Dr. Dawn Hershman, co-leader of the study conducted at Columbia University in NYC, determining which patients are likely to achieve a favorable response makes a significant difference in cancer treatment. If their chances of positive response are low, adjustments can be made for a more effective treatment.

Reading the Clues in 3D Imaging

Based on the idea that chemotherapy affects a tumor’s vascular network, the research team set out to determine if imaging could be used to detect these changes. Blood absorbs light, so the scientists used a system incorporating red and near-infrared lighting.

Armed with 3D images of both breasts, researchers studied the ways in which blood interacted with the tumors. In a group of 34 patients, blood outflow accurately identified 92.3 percent of responders, while increase in blood concentration identified non-responders in 90.5 percent.

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