Archive for the ‘breast cancer’ Category

Can Exercise Improve Memory of Breast Cancer Survivors”

Friday, July 15th, 2016

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A new study published in Psycho-Oncology concluded that moderate to vigorous physical activity is related to improved subjective memory in breast cancer survivors. Researchers believe the exercise alleviates stress and benefits women psychologically, that in turn aids in memory. Researchers looked at memory and exercise in breast cancer survivors in two groups of 1,477 women and 362 women. Findings showed a link between improved memory with higher levels of physical activity in both groups of breast cancer survivors. They also found that increased physical activity had fewer subjective memory problems, a higher level of confidence. lower distress and fatigue that all influenced their subjective memory.

Can Acupressure reduce Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016


logo1267406_mdA new study published in JAMA Oncology concluded that acupressure reduces persistent fatigue in women who have been treated for breast cancer.   Researchers studied 424 breast cancer survivors from the Michigan Tumor Registry and randomized them to relaxing acupressure (often used to treat insomnia) , stimulating acupressure (often used to increase energy), or usual care including typical sleep management techniques. Subjects were taught how to find and stimulate the acupressure points so they could perform it at home once daily for 6 weeks. At the end of the study period, both acupressure treatments resulted in significant, sustained improvement in fatigue. However, only the relaxing acupressure showed an improved sleep quality, and overall improved quality of life.

Overall researchers found that acupressure reduced fatigue by 27 percent to 34 percent over 6 weeks. About 2/3 of the women who did relaxing acupressure obtained normal fatigue levels.

because fatigue is a common long-term effects of breast cancer treatment  that lasts up to 10 years for about 1/3 of women (moderate to severe), and because it was relatively easy to teach the women to do acupressure (learned in about 15 minutes) researchers concluded “Given the brief training required to learn acupressure, this intervention could be a low-cost option for treating fatigue.” Further research is planned.

Can Smoking Interfere with Breast Cancer Treatment?

Friday, June 24th, 2016


Logos 005New research published in the British Journal of Cancer  concluded that common treatment for breast cancer works less well in patients who smoke, compared to non-smokers. The study followed 1,016 breast cancer patients in southern Sweden diagnosed between 2002 and 2012. At the time of surgery they were asked whether they were smokers or non-smokers and about one in five said they were a regular smoker or social smoker. The impact of smoking was evaluated based upon type of breast cancer treatment received after surgery.

Results showed that women over age 50 treated with aromatase inhibitors, were affected by smoking. The aromatase treatment prevents the body from generating estrogen in fatty tissue and thereby reduces the risk of recurrence in women with estrogen-receptive positive breast cancer. This treatment worked significantly better in non-smokers. Researchers said “Smokers who were treated with aromatase inhibitors had a three times higher risk of recurrence of breast cancer compared with the non-smokers who got the same treatment.” They also found that “the smokers also had an increased risk of dying, either from the breast cancer or from other illnesses, during the time we followed them.”

However, the researchers found little or no difference between smokers and non-smokers treated with the drug tamoxifen, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. Despite telling patients of the importance of stopping smoking only ten perce of the 206 smokers stopped in the first year after surgery. Researchers said the number of smokers who stopper was too small to determine if that made a difference in their future risk. More research is needed.

Can A Healthy Lifestyle Reduce Risk for High Risk Breast Cancer Patients.

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016


A new study published in May, 2016 in JAMA Oncology  concluded that women with a high risk of developing breast cancer based upon family history and genetic risk can reduce the chances of developing the disease by following a healthy lifestyle. Researchers developed a model predicting the risk of breast cancer by analyzing records of more than 17,000 women with breast cancer and nearly 20,000 women without the disease and another 6,000 women from another study group. Individual-level data on risk such as age, weight, smoking status, and  factors on almost 100 common gene variations, each of which are known to have a modest association with breast cancer but in combination they can lead to substantial elevated risk. The common gene variations in the study were quite different from the well known rare mutations in genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 where having a single variant can mean a very high risk of developing cancer.

They found that roughly 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be prevented by modifying known risk factors such as drinking less alcohol, losing weight and not taking hormone replacement therapy. They also found that a large fraction of the total preventable cases would occur among women at higher levels because of genetic risk factors, family history and a few other factors that cannot be modified. They found that white women who are at high risk but who had a low body index mass index, who did not drink or smoke, and who did not use hormone replacement therapy, had about the same risk as an average white woman in the United States and that the average chance that a 30 year old white woman will develop breast cancer before age 80 is about 11 percent. Researchers said “People think that their genetic risk for developing cancer is set in stone,. While you can’t change your genes, this study tells us even people who are at high genetic risk can change their health outlook by making better lifestyle choices such as eating right, exercises, and quitting smoking.”

This study is a first step in understanding how advances in the field of genetics can be used to develop preventive strategies to help women improve their odds of avoiding breast cancer.




















Protein-A Breast Cancer Tumor Suppressor.

Friday, May 27th, 2016


Logos 005A new study published recently in online Oncogene concluded that  HOXA5 protein in normal breast cells acts as a tumor suppressor that halts abnormal cell growth. This builds upon  previous research finding that many breast cancer patients have a lower level of HOXA5 protein, a gene product known to control cell differentiation and death, and lower levels of the protein corresponded to poorer outcomes for patients.

In the study, researchers analyzed gene expression from human breast cell lines lacking HOXA5 and found that the protein seems to help maintain several traits in normal breast cancer, including the ability to adhere to other epithelial cells, and the presence of molecules marking the cells as differentiated and not capable of self-renewal like breast stem cells. When they depleted the HOXA5 proein in other breast cell lines in the lab, the cells became more immature, or stemlike, as well as more mobile. They also found that HOCA3 regulates the production of two other proteins, CD24 and E-cadherin, cells, without CD24, the cells begin to revert toward a stem like state, and without E-cadherin, cells lose some of the glue that binds them to other cells.  Consequently, breast cells without HOXA5 were more likely to grow aggressively in lab experiments forming structures similar to those seen as tumor cells ready to metastasize.

After injecting human tumor cells with and without HOXA5 into the mammary fat pad of mice they found that tumor cells containing protein carried anywhere from 10 to 17 times fewer breast stem cells, and tumor growth from the injected cells were about 3 times smaller than those in mice who received tumor cells with depleted levels of HOXA5. Further research is planned on breast cancer and the role of HOXA5,

Epigenetic Regulation of Metastatic Breast Cancer Progression Gene Identified

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016


A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concluded that a gene playing a role in the development of breast cancer metastasis has been identified and may help to predict disease progression and serve as a target for development of future breast cancer therapies.

The gene called serum deprivation response (SDPR) was identified and the mechanism by which it is down-regulated, or silenced, in breast cancer cells promoting tumor spread were discovered. Using a breast cancer progression model, they found that aggressive, metastatic breast cancer cells have little or no genetic expression of SDPR and furthermore when it is over-expressed (turned on) this gene in models of breast cancer cells with propensity to metastasis show a significant reduction in metastatic disease. This study shows the importance of gene regulation by epigenetics instead of genetic mechanisms enabling cancer cells to readily adapt to new micro environments of various organs in the human body at sites away from the initial sites at which the cancer cells formed. Researchers report this work is crucial because the spread of cancer is the major cause of death. They say “It is of utmost importance to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms that facilitate/prevent cancer metastasis.” They continue “While this is a significant advance in deciphering the molecular bassis of metastatic disease and may help to predict progression to metastatic cancer, its potential importance in the development of future precision cancer therapies have yet to be worked out from the identification  of druggable targets regulated by SDPR.”

Can Insulin Levels of Breast Cancer Patients Affect Their Prognosis?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015


logo1267406_mdA new study presented at the Advanced Breast Cancer Third International Consensus Conference recently reported that patients with breast cancer that has metastasized  to other parts of the body and who have higher insulin levels than normal, but are not diabetic, have a significantly worse prognosis compared with those with normal insulin levels.

In the study 125 metastatic breast cancer patients who were non diabetic and all with HER2 negative tumors  receiving first line chemotherapy as part of a clinical tria were includedl. The relationship of insulin resistance and length of time patients survived without the disease getting worse (progression-free survival, or PFS) and overall survival (length of time the patient remained alive or OS) was evaluated. Researchers concluded “After taking into account other factors likely to affect PFS and OS in these patients, such as age and body mass index (BMI). we found that higher insulin levels were an independent factor leading to a worse prognosis in patients with advanced breast cancer.”

Researchers suggested adopting simple lifestyle changes such as a better diet and more exercise, and the use of cheap and widely available  drugs such as metformin as ways to tackle the problem. In addition, clinicians need to be more aware of these results. More research is planned.

Potential New Breast Cancer Screening Device.

Friday, October 30th, 2015

logo1267406_mdA report this week in the journal Biomedical and Engineering Express discusses a handheld  optical scanner with the potential to offer breast cancer imaging in real time using a near-infrared laser diode source to produce an image of the breast tissue. An advantage is that the device is more adaptable to breast shape and density, and allows imaging of the chest wall region which are difficult to image with conventional methods. An important benefit over mammography is that there is no ionizing radiation dose and fewer issues imaging dense tissues.

The device builds an image of the tissue by mapping the optical absorption, which is altered by the concentration of hemoglobin (protein in red blood cells). Regions with higher concentrations of hemoglobin may indicate higher blood flow due to an abnormality such as a tumor.  Women scanned also said it was very comfortable and many said they did not feel anything.

Researchers said “We’re currently working on the mathematical tools required to process the images and produce 3D tomographic order to determine tumor size and depth.” Their ongoing efforts involve extensive clinical work to demonstrate the capability of the device to pre-screen for any breast abnormality, followed by seeking FDA approval prior to clinical use.

Does Weight Training Help Breast Cancer Survivors Regain Muscle Strength?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Logos 005A new study published in the journal Healthcare concluded that a weight training regime can help women who’ve survive weakened bodies from chemotherapy regain their strength and get on with their lives. In other words, the weight training helps them regain muscle and bone strength that was lost due to chemotherapy and physical activity. Researchers said “Cancer treatment causes accelerated aging” “What we are finding is that many breast cancer survivors are very weak in the upper body.”  Carrying groceries, reaching down to pick up something, or walking short distances can become difficult. Weight resistance can reverse these problems.

In the study researchers worked with 27 breast cancer survivors between ages 51 and 74 who participated in two, one hour sessions each week using a variety of weight machines under supervision. They also walked for five minutes as a warm up and spent time stretching after completing the exercises. At the end of the 6 months the subjects physical functions improved 12 percent and none of the women experiences injuries or lymphedema-two potential problems that had prevented other researchers from carrying out such a program.

The subjects functionality was measured by the Continuous-Scale Physical Function Performance Test that is a 10-item test that simulates routine chores such as dfoing laundry, sweeping, packing and carrying groceries, walking up bus stairs, and taking a jacket off and on. More research is ongoing.

Can High Risk Breast Cancer Recurrence Patients be Identified?

Friday, September 25th, 2015


A new study published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics concluded that a new simple blood test might be able to determine the risk of recurrence, or the cancer invading other organs such as the lungs, bone or brain for women successfully treated for breast cancer. Researchers identified 21 DNA hypermethylation hotspots–gene locations along the 3 billion chemical bases of DNA–with increased levels of methylation that could indicate the existence of metastatic cancer.  They said “These findings could lead to a highly sensitive blood-based test panel–a type of liquid biopsy–which could help improve the care of women with breast cancer.” They said further “This 21-gene signature is a potential biomarker that could indicate patients who are at high risk of cancer recurrence, either in the breast or elsewhere in the body, and who might benefit from additional therapy to eliminate the potential of recurrence.” In this study the 21 genes that were differentially methylated were consistently higher in patients with metastatic breast cancer when compared with levels in healthy individuals and cancer free survivors.