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Adding Ultrasound and MRI to Annual Mammograms Helps Find More Cancers in Women with Dense Breasts
April 3, 2012
Screening plans that add ultrasound and MRI to annual mammograms improves breast cancer detection in women with dense breasts. Read more...0
False Positive Mammogram Results Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk April 5, 2012
A large study found that women who had a false positive mammogram result were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. Read more...0
Most Women Need More Tests After Lumpectomy for DCIS
April 6, 2012
Most women who have lumpectomy to remove DCIS need more procedures -- diagnostic mammograms and/or biopsies -- on the same breast in the 10 years after lumpectomy. Read more...0
Automated Ultrasound for Women with Dense Breasts Approved by FDA Panel
April 13, 2012
An FDA expert panel has recommended that an automated ultrasound device be approved for breast cancer screening in women with dense breasts. Read more...0
Rulebook on breast cancer rewritten
ANI | Apr 19, 2012, 12.05PM IST
Rulebook on breast cancer rewritten (Thinkstock photos/Getty Images)
Scientists have identified new breast cancer genes that could revolutionise treatment for thousands of women.
Researchers at the BC Cancer Agency and University of British Columbia have reclassified the disease into 10 completely new categories based on the genetic fingerprint of a tumour.
Many of these genes could offer much-needed insight into breast cancer biology, allowing doctors to predict whether a tumour will respond to a particular treatment.
Whether the tumour is likely to spread to other parts of the body or if it is likely to return following treatment.
The study is the largest global study of breast cancer tissue ever performed and the culmination of decades of research into the disease.
In the future, this information could be used by doctors to better tailor treatment to the individual patient.
The team at the BC Cancer Agency, in collaboration with Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute and Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology at University of Manitoba, analyzed the DNA and RNA of 2,000 tumour samples taken from women diagnosed with breast cancer between five and 10 years ago.
The sheer number of tumours mapped allowed researchers to spot new patterns in the data.
The new discovery identified genes that were previously unknown to be linked to breast cancer and made it clear that breast cancer is an umbrella term for what really is a number of unique diseases.
Till now, breast cancer had been classified into four subgroups.
"This won't affect women diagnosed today. But in the future, patients will receive treatment targeted to the genetic fingerprint of their tumour," the Daily Express quoted Professor Carlos Caldas, senior group leader at the charity's Cambridge Research Institute, as saying.
"We've moved from knowing what a breast tumour looks like to pinpointing its molecular anatomy. Eventually we'll know which drugs it will respond to.
"The next stage is to discover how tumours in each subgroup behave - for example, do they grow or spread quickly?" Prof Caldas added.
The study has been recently published in the international journal Nature.
Breast cancer classification promises better therapies
Researchers have devised 10 categories for breast cancer tumors, an important stride toward targeting treatments more precisely. The hope is to spare patients unnecessarily toxic therapies.
By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
April 19, 2012
Researchers have found a way to classify breast cancer tumors into 10 distinct categories ranging from very treatable to extremely aggressive, a major step on the way to the long-sought goal of precisely targeting therapies for patients.
The new categories, described in a study released Wednesday, should help scientists devise fresh approaches to treat some of the cancers and could spare many women the risks and pain of unnecessarily toxic treatments, oncologists said.
"If you belong to one group you'll need one therapy, and if you're in another you'll need another," said Dr. Carlos Caldas, a breast cancer geneticist at the University of Cambridge in England who helped oversee the research. For some women, he added, tumor typing might indicate that traditional chemotherapy isn't warranted at all.
"A lot of women are being overtreated," he said. "Can we spare them that?"
The study, published by the journal Nature, is the first of many expected in the coming months that will use genetic clues in breast cancer tumors to help refine categories of the disease, which strikes 1 in 8 women in the U.S.
Doctors like to say that breast cancer is not a single disease, but a range of them. But because they don't completely understand which therapies will work for a given tumor and why, they tend to err on the side of caution - administering treatments in cases in which they may provide little benefit.
This type of research could begin to change that, experts said.
"This is going to have a huge impact on the way we think about breast cancer," said Raju Kucherlapati, a genetics professor at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study. "Together with other data coming out in the next few months, I think the whole landscape of research, discovery and treatment is going to change."
Clinicians already divide tumors into a few different types, and targeted treatments are available for some flavors of the disease. For instance, women with tumors that test positive for a cancer-promoting protein called HER2 often respond well to the drug Herceptin, which isn't effective against other types of tumors.
But in a frustratingly high number of cases, scientists can't explain why one woman will respond to a given treatment and another woman won't - even though they both might have tumors that are estrogen-receptor-positive, for example.
"It's not a very precise art," Caldas said.
Hoping to hone the process, Caldas and colleagues from Britain and Canada analyzed the genetic signatures of samples from 997 tumors, examining how aberrations in DNA turned various genes on and off. They analyzed 2 million spots on the genome, focusing on differences in the number of times a string of DNA is repeated and on small gene variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. They also looked at RNA, which helps translate DNA instructions into proteins, to gauge gene activity.
Then they correlated that data with long-term health outcomes of the women from whom the tumors were removed, establishing a link between the genetic patterns and how tumors progressed. The analysis involved complicated number-crunching and took more than five years to complete.
In the end, the research team identified 10 distinct subtypes of breast cancer. They reinforced previously known groups and were able to make further distinctions within them.
For example, they found that tumors in two of the categories had very few DNA aberrations compared with those in other groups. Tumors in one of these categories appeared to be more susceptible to an immune system attack, and they had one of the best profiles for prognosis.
"These tumors do have something different about them," Caldas said. And by studying them further, he suggested, researchers may discover that they respond well to novel treatments.
The team confirmed the validity of their categories by testing them in a separate group of 995 tumors.
Experts said the scale of the work was "remarkable," as Kucherlapati put it.
"The fact that they have 997 samples for discovery and 995 for validation makes it very special," he said.
Dr. John Glaspy, an oncologist at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, added that the genetic analysis also sheds light on a fundamental question: How do cancers emerge?
"It's an insight into how this whole thing works," he said. "Insight is the beginning of new treatment."
But Glaspy and others also cautioned that the discovery would not revolutionize the practice of medicine right away.
"I want to make sure people won't see this and say, 'Game over!' " said Stephen Friend, cofounder of Sage Bionetworks in Seattle, a nonprofit organization that promotes collaborative medical research. In truth, he said, the ability to match genetic signatures to long-term cancer outcomes is a sign that "the game starts."
University of British Columbia breast cancer researcher Samuel Aparicio, another leader of the study, said scientists would need to conduct clinical trials to determine whether the gene aberrations the team identified could be effectively targeted with existing drugs. The findings should also help pharmaceutical companies create new drugs to fight breast cancer, he added.
"This should be a good stimulus" for industry, he said.
Complementary research is expected shortly from the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Genome Atlas and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England.
Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times0
Adolescent Drinking Boosts Benign Breast Disease Risk
April 18, 2012
New results from the Nurses' Health Study II show a strong link between drinking alcohol during adolescence and the risk of being diagnosed with benign breast disease. Read more...0
Large Review Study Confirms Herceptin's Benefits
April 20, 2012
A large review study has found that women diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer and treated with Herceptin were less likely to have the cancer come back and more likely to survive compared to women who didn't get Herceptin. Read more...0
Researchers Identify 10 Genetic Error Patterns in Breast Cancer
April 23, 2012
Researchers have found 10 patterns of genetic errors linked to breast cancer's prognosis and how it responds to treatment. Read more...0
More Exercise and Stress Management Improves Quality of Life During and After Treatment
April 25, 2012
A study has found that doing more exercise and being in a stress management program after breast cancer surgery improved women's mood, quality of life, and resistance to fatigue. Read more...0
New Guidelines on Exercise and Nutrition During and After Cancer Treatment Released
May 2, 2012
The American Cancer Society has released new guidelines on diet and exercise during and after cancer treatment. Read more...0
Brachytherapy More Likely to Cause Complications, Need for Mastectomy in Older Women
May 2, 2012
A study found that women who had brachytherapy after lumpectomy were more likely to have treatment complications and more likely to need a mastectomy in the 5 years after surgery compared to women who had whole-breast irradiation after lumpectomy. Read more...0
Screening Mammograms Offer Benefits for Women Age 40 to 49
May 3, 2012
A study looking at the value of screening mammograms for women age 40 to 49 found two important benefits. Read more...0
Aggressive Screening Plan Not Needed After Benign Biopsy Results
May 8, 2012
More aggressive breast cancer screening may not make sense after a benign abnormal area is biopsied; following standard breast cancer screening guidelines for women with average breast cancer risk is appropriate. Read more...0
A Common Plastic Chemical, BPA, Is Shown to Affect Breast Development in Fetal Monkeys
May 11, 2012
Research done in monkeys suggests that prenatal exposure to BPA alters breast tissue development, potentially increasing the risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Read more...0
Breast MRI Useful Before Breast Cancer Surgery
May 15, 2012
Breast MRI can play an important role in guiding surgery and treatment for breast cancer, independent of breast density. Read more...0
Men Have Lower Breast Cancer Survival Rate Than Women
May 17, 2012
A large study has found that men diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are more likely to die from the disease than women. Read more...0
Hormone Levels Drop When Obese Women Lose Weight
May 30, 2012
A study suggests that overweight and obese women have higher levels of hormones that can increase breast cancer risk; losing weight through changes in diet and exercise can lower these hormone levels and likely lower breast cancer risk as well. Read more...0
Women Who Work Night Shifts Have Higher Breast Cancer Risk
June 1, 2012
A study has found that women who worked the night shift were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who never worked the night shift. Read more...0
T-DM1 Works Better on Advanced-Stage, HER2-Positive Cancer Than Standard Meds
June 4, 2012
A study found that women diagnosed with advanced-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer that had stopped responding to a standard regimen lived longer without the cancer growing when they got the experimental medicine T-DM1 compared to women who got a different regimen. Read more...0
MRI Better at Assessing Results of Chemo Before Surgery
June 5, 2012
Research shows that breast MRI before surgery is better at assessing how well a cancer responds to neoadjuvant treatment compared to more traditional assessment measures such as a physical exam, mammogram, or ultrasound. Read more...
Radiation Therapy to Chest as Child Increases Breast Cancer Risk in Adulthood
June 5, 2012
A study found that women treated for childhood cancer with radiation therapy to the chest area have a much higher-than-average risk of breast cancer later in life; the risk is about the same as it is for women with an abnormal breast cancer gene. Read more...0
Cymbalta Helps Ease Neuropathy Caused by Chemo
June 6, 2012
A study has found that most people with peripheral neuropathy got some relief from the antidepressant medicine Cymbalta. Read more...0
Ginseng Helps Ease Treatment-Related Fatigue
June 11, 2012
A study has found ginseng capsules helped ease the fatigue that many people have during and after cancer treatment. Read more...0
FDA Approves Perjeta for Metastatic, HER2-Positive Disease
June 11, 2012
The FDA has approved using Perjeta (chemical name: pertuzumab) in combination with Herceptin and Taxotere to treat HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer that hasn't been treated with either Herceptin or chemotherapy yet. Read more...0
Circulating Tumor Cells Linked to Worse Prognosis in Early-Stage Disease
June 19, 2012
A study has found that circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream are linked to worse prognosis in people diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Read more...0
Diabetes Medicine Linked to Lower Risk
June 19, 2012
A large study has found that diabetic women taking the medicine metformin had a lower-than-average-risk of breast cancer. Read more...0
Breast Cancer's Hormone Receptor and HER2 Status Can Change After Diagnosis
June 20, 2012
A study has found that the hormone receptor status and HER2 status of a breast cancer can change after it's diagnosed. Read more...0
AMA Updates Mammogram Policy, Says Screening Should Start at 40
June 21, 2012
The American Medical Association's new policy says that all women should be eligible for screening mammograms starting at age 40 and that all insurance plans should cover the cost of the screening. Read more...0
Another Study Suggests Night Work Raises Risk
June 21, 2012
A French study has found that women who worked the night shift were 35% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who never worked night shifts. Read more...0