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Welcome to the Cancer Health Forums, a round-the-clock discussion area for people who have any type of cancer, their friends and family and others with questions about living with cancer. Check in frequently to read what others have to say, post your comments, and hopefully learn more about how you can reach your own health goals.

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Topics - Cancer Health Editors

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The immune checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) led to longer survival than platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a PD-L1 level of 1 percent or higher, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting this month in Chicago.

“A large number of patients with lung cancer now have a new treatment option withbetter efficacy and fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy,” said lead researcher Gilberto Lopes, MD, of the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Our study shows that pembrolizumab provides more benefit than chemotherapy for two thirds of all people with the most common type of lung cancer.”


Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is often one component of treatment for gynecologic malignancies such as cervical, vaginal, and endometrial cancer.

The goal of radiation therapy is to administer an effective dose of radiation to a patient’s cancerous area while minimizing exposure of tissues that could be harmed, such as the bladder, bowel, and rectum. Radiation is delivered in one of two ways: from the outside, using external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), or internally, which involves inserting a radioactive source within a natural cavity or implanting radioactive seeds into tissue near or within the tumor — called brachytherapy.


Before 2016, patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma — a rare and extremely deadly skin cancer — had no good treatment options to extend their lives more than a few months. Then, with two pivotal trials, everything changed.

On June 4, investigators presented new, long-term data from these trials that show immunotherapy drugs help a significant subset of patients with this cancer survive much longer than would otherwise be possible. These results crystalize preliminary results from 2016 and 2017 that were promising enough to change the standard of care for MCC and gain a drug approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the cancer’s first.


People with HIV who go on antiretroviral treatment and maintain a fully suppressed viral load over the course of many years greatly mitigate their risk of cancer. However, such long-term viral suppression does not eliminate the disparity in cancer risk between those with and without HIV.

Publishing their findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers studied 1999 to 2015 Veterans Affairs data on 42,441 HIV-positive veterans (who were followed for a median 7.4 years) along with data on 104,712 demographically matched HIV-negative veterans (who were followed for a median 10.1 years).


Undergoing chemotherapy and radiation prior to surgery and using a four-drug regimen afterward led to slower disease progression and longer survival for people with hard-to-treat pancreatic cancer, according to results from a pair of studies presented last week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

“Pancreatic cancer is notoriously aggressive and typically has a poor prognosis, so it is a major win to find that a new treatment regimen significantly improves survival for patients with this disease,” said ASCO expert Andrew Epstein, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.


Testing the genetic characteristics of tumors and using the results to guide the choice of treatment led to longer survival in a large study of people with hard-to-treat cancer, according to a presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting last week in Chicago. However, the 10-year overall survival rate in the matched treatment group reached only 6 percent, showing much room for improvement.

“Precision medicine requires complete understanding of tumor biology,” lead researcher Apostolia Maria Tsimberidou, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston told reporters at an ASCO press briefing. “I’m optimistic that in the next few years we will dramatically improve outcomes of patients with cancer with the increasing use of precision medicine.”


More than 95 percent of multiple myeloma patients treated with high doses of an experimental CAR-T therapy showed a reduction in their cancer, including 50 percent with complete responses, according to results from a small study presented this week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

Read more... https://www.cancerhealth.com/article/new-cart-therapy-leads-durable-multiple-myeloma-remission

Therapies that recruit the immune system to attack tumors are revolutionizing cancer care. Among these successful immunotherapies is a class known as “checkpoint inhibitors” that unmask tumors’ ability to hide from the immune system.

However, checkpoint inhibitors aren’t universally successful against all cancers. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation unpacks the actions taken by an especially dangerous cancer type — triple-negative breast cancer — to initiate the process that eventually allows the cancer to become invisible to the immune system.

By defining the roots of immune system evasion, researchers hope to develop therapies that could augment those currently in use, making the immune system an even more powerful partner in combatting cancer.


A new targeted therapy directed against RET mutations, which occur in many types of cancer, demonstrated promising activity in an early clinical trial presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting this week in Chicago.

If LOXO-292 continues to do well in larger studies, it could become part of an emerging paradigm of treating cancer based on its genetic characteristics regardless of where it occurs in the body, known as being site or location agnostic.

Alexander Drilon, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York presented findings from LIBRETTO-001, a global Phase I trial evaluating LOXO-292, Loxo Oncology’s selective inhibitor of the receptor tyrosine kinase RET.

Loxo made headlines at last year’s ASCO meeting with its experimental drug larotrectinib, which is active against all types of cancer with tropomyosin receptor kinase fusions. Larotrectinib received a breakthrough therapy designation and priority review status from the Food and Drug Administration; an approval decision is expected in November.


This question was posted to the Cancer Health Facebook wall and we wanted to share our response in the Forums so more could be helped.

I have prostate cancer and now the Dr. says that I have a big mass on my left lung and lymph node. This was just found out this past week. Any help I would appreciate in any way.

The composition of bacteria in the digestive tract may affect how well immunotherapy for cancer treatment works, according to two studies recently published in Science magazine.

One study found that people with more diverse gut bacteria responded better to PD-1 checkpoint blockers for treatment of advanced melanoma. The other showed that certain types of bacteria influenced the effectiveness of these drugs for epithelial tumors.

In recent years, a growing body of research has shown that intestinal bacteria, known as the gut microbiome, play a role in many health conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to HIV infection. They may also affect the likelihood of developing cancer and how well treatment will work.

Rather than attacking cancer directly, like traditional chemotherapy, immunotherapy helps the immune system recognize and fight cancer cells. PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors are monoclonal antibodies that block the PD-1 receptor on T cells, the main soldiers of the immune system. Some tumors can use PD-1 to turn off immune responses against them. Drugs that block PD-1 can release the brakes and restore T-cell activity against cancer cells.


In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HairToStay hosted a fundraiser at Charles Chocolates on Sunday, October 15. Though the event was dubbed “Chillin’ with Charles,” the rare warm San Francisco sun put the gourmet chocolates at risk of melting.

Bethany Hornthal founded HairToStay to provide subsidies for automated scalp cooling technology to prevent hair loss during cancer treatment. Automated systems like Dignitana’s DigniCap replace older cooling caps that must be kept in a freezer and switched out frequently during therapy. Paxman, Penguin Cold Caps and others also make automated scalp cooling systems.

Last year only around 30 medical centers in the United States offered automated scalp cooling and it was FDA-approved only for breast cancer, Hornthal said. Today scalp cooling is available at over 100 centers and it is approved for people with any type of solid tumor. However, it is still seldom covered by insurance.

Read more about the event here...

Cancer treatments are notoriously hard on patients, as more often than not, they cause unpleasant side effects. But findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that reporting these complications sooner rather than later may increase how long folks live, reports the Associated Press.

For the study, researchers selected 766 people being treated for a variety of advanced cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Scientists divided individuals into two groups: those who received regular care and those who used an online tool to log common symptoms related to therapy, such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, fatigue and pain.

Participants noted any difficulties they experienced at least once a week or sooner if they had a particular issue. Doctors viewed reports during checkups with patients, and nurses received email alerts when anyone suffered severe side effects. (Nurses responded immediately about 80 percent of the time and requested medicines to relieve patients’ pain or other issues.)


Cancer Research News & Studies / Sugar Stimulates Cancer Growth
« on: October 27, 2017, 03:20:40 pm »
Studies have shown that some foods increase the risk of developing cancer. Now, new study findings published in Nature Communications suggest that there’s a link between sugar and tumor growth.

For the nine-year study, researchers from Belgium looked to determine the correlation between “the strength of the Warburg effect and tumor aggressiveness.” The Warburg effect refers to the process by which cancer cells produce energy via the fermentation of glucose, which leads to tumor growth. For their experiment, scientists used yeast cells, since their fermentation process is similar to that of cells.

Findings revealed that sugar not only causes tumors to grow but also makes cells multiply faster. The sugar also produces more Ras proteins, known to be the most common cancer-causing genes, which help fuel aggressive tumors.


Researchers who study exceptional responders—patients who have dramatic and long-lasting responses to treatments for cancer that were not effective for most similar patients—met recently to exchange ideas and discuss the state of the science in this emerging field.

The NCI-sponsored meeting, held May 11 at NCI’s Shady Grove campus in Rockville, Maryland, featured updates on the Exceptional Responders Initiative, a pilot study that aims to gain insights into the biological mechanisms that give rise to these unusual responses to treatments.

By analyzing tumors from exceptional responders, the researchers hope to identify the genetic and molecular changes that underlie their responses to treatment. Such studies could also reveal biomarkers that could be used to predict responses to the same or similar treatments in other patients.


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