Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

Breast Cancer Risk Assessment.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016


Logos 005

A new study in the April 1 issue of Cancer Research reported that women were five times more likely to develop cancer if they had a higher percentage of Ki67, a molecule marker that identifies proliferating cells, in the cells that line the mammary ducts and milk producing lobules. These mammary epithelium cells, undergo drastic changes throughout a woman’s life, and are the location of the majority of breast cancers. Healthy breast tissues the percentage of cells expressing molecular marker Ki67 and p27 was low.

Researchers examined biopsies with some as old as 4 decades earlier, from 302 subjects who had been diagnosed with benign breast disease. They compared tissue from 69 women who later developed cancer to the tissue from the 233 women who did not. Researchers found that those with a higher percentage of Ki67 were five times more likely to develop cancer. Doctors currently test breast tumors for Ki67 levels, yo make decisions about treatment but this was first time Ki67 has been linked to precancerous tissue and used as a predictive tool. Researchers said ” Instead of only telling women that they don’t have cancer, we could test the biopsies and tell women if they were at high risk or low risk for developing breast cancer in the future. ”

Currently, mammograms are considered the best  tool for early detection of breast cancer but there are risks associated with this method including psychological distress, delayed treatment, or over treatment due to false positive and negative results and over diagnosis. In addition mammogram machines use low dose radiation anfd repeated screening can potentially cause cancer.  “If we could minimize unnecessary radiation for women at low risk, that would be good” according to one of the researchers. They further say screening for Ki67 levels would be easy to carry out currently but the researchers want to replicate the results in an independent cohort of women first.

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.

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.


Do More Examiners Reviewing Results of Mammograms Improve Efficacy of Breast Cancer Detection?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

logo1267406_mdA new study published on Medical Express concluded that five independent assessments lead to better results than one or two. Previous researchers found that usually one or even two physicians in Europe review x-rays from mammograms but even when two review them, results are often wrong. About 20% of women with cancer are diagnosed as being cancer free, and about 20 % of those who are cancer free and diagnosed as having cancer. This lead to the study to evaluate collective vs individual intelligence for efficacy when reviewing x-rays.

Using a data set with a large number of mammograms with an independent assessment of each by about one hundred radiologists  as well as the actual health status with a yes or no for cancer on all patients. They found that five independent assessments lead to better results. Simple collective rules such as majority vote or quorum vote in order integrate the vote was used. Compared to the best physician, a collective intellectual vote allowed both the false positives and false negatives from mammograms to be reduced (sensitivity and specificity) ie: cancer diagnosis but no cancer and no cancer diagnosis but cancer. The collective benefit of mammograms begins to occur when three or four physicians are used for the assessment but the benefit of additional assessments significantly start to level off at about 8 or 10 assessments according to the researchers.

Does Obesity Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer among Post Menopausal Women?

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Logos 005

A recent analysis in an article in  online  JAMA Oncology suggested that postmenopausal women who were overweight and obese had an increased risk of invasive breast cancer compared to women of normal weight. Results were based upon data from 67,142 postmenopausal women between 1993 and 1998 with a median age of 13 years of follow-up. There were 3,388 invasive breast cancers.

Results showed 1) women who were overweight or obese as measured by the body mass index had an increased risk of invasive breast cancer compared to women of normal weight measured by the body mass index; 2) the risk was greatest for women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 who had a increased risk of 58 percent when compared with women of normal weight (BMI under 25); 3) a BMI of 35 or higher was associated with an increased risk of estrogen and progesteron receptor-positive breast cancer but not estrogen receptor-negative cancers; 4) obesity was associated with markers of poor prognosis: women with a BMI greater than 35 were more likely to have large tumors, evidence of lymph none involvement and poorly  differentiated tumors; 5) women with a baseline BMI under 25 gaining more than 5 percent body weight during the follow-up period had an increased risk of breast cancer; 6) among overweight or obese women who changed weight (gain or lose) there was no increased risk of breast cancer during follow up; and 7)post-menopausal hormone therapy had no effect on the BMI-breast cancer relationship.  Researchers further said “Obesity is associated with a dose-response increased postmenopausal breast cancer risk, particularly for estrogen receptor-and progesterone receptor-positive disease, but risk does not vary by hormone therapy use ot race/ethnicity.” More research is needed according to the researchers.

Does Breast Cancer Increase the Risk of Thyroid Cancer?

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Does Breast Cancer Increase the Risk of Thyroid Cancer

Risk of Thyroid Cancer: New research presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society concluded that breast cancer survivors are at increased risk of thyroid cancer especially within 5 years of the breast cancer diagnosis. Data used included 704,402 patients with only breast cancer, 49,663 patients with only thyroid cancer, and 1,526 patients who developed thyroid cancer after breast cancer between the years 1973 and 2011.  Those who had breast cancer followed by thyroid cancer were younger on average when diagnosed with breast cancer than those with breast cancer alone; were more likely to have invasive ductal carcinoma; a smaller focus of cancer; and to have received radiation therapy. There was no difference in risk of having hormonal positive or had spread to lymph nodes in the two groups. When compared to those with thyroid cancer alone, those with breast cancer followed by thyroid cancer were more likely to have a more aggressive type of thyroid cancer, but the cancers were smaller in size, and fewer patients required additional radioactive iodine treatment. Patients with breast cancer followed by thyroid cancer were older than those with thyroid cancer only by 65 vs 45 years and the median age for developing the thyroid cancer following breast cancer was 5 years. The researchers recommended that breast cancer patients who receive radiation therapy be followed closely for 5 years.

Improving the Accuracy of Clinical Breast Exams.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Improving the Accuracy of Clinical Breast Exams

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that sensor technology has the potential to significantly improve the teaching of proper techniques for clinical breast exams. In the study researchers asked 553 practicing physicians during an annual clinical meeting to perform simulated clinical breast exams (CBE) under conditions that mimic an office visit for a symptomatic patient. participants completed a demographic survey, reviewed a clinical senario, performed the CBE on a sensor-enabled breast model, and then documented their findings. Researchers hoped to capture CBE technique while clinicians were evaluating the model for a mass. Results showed that physicians who palpated fewer than 10 newtons (a common measurement of force) were able to find two superficial masses on the breast model but missed the two deeper ones. Physicians increasing the amount of palpable pressure unproved the probability of identifying the deeper lesions. It was suggested that the optimum palpable force for deeper lesions is between 12 and 17 newtons. Researchers found that 15 percent of physicians in the study used a technique that put them at significant risk of missing deep tissue lesions near the chest wall. Researchers suggested considering mastery training in the health care professions to overcome this problem.

Lung Cancer Now leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in Women in Developed Countries.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015


A new study published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians concluded that lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer as the leading caused of cancer deaths in females in developed countries. They believe this change reflects the tobacco epidemic in women that occurred later than in men.  Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer deaths for men in both developed and developing countries where breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in women (developing countries).  In 2012 it was estimated that there were  14.1 new cancer cases and 8.2 cancer deaths worldwide. In less developed countries, lung and breast cancer are the most frequent diagnosed cancers and the leading causes of cancer deaths in men and women respectively. In more developed countries, prostate and breast cancer are the more frequent diagnosed cancers among men and women, respectively, and lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women.