Posts Tagged ‘prostate’

Few Strategies for Dealing With Debilitating Fatigue Offered to Cancer Patients.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

In a new study published in Supportive Care in Cancer researchers reported that many people who have been through cancer and its treatments have severe, debilitating fatigue that can last for months or years and is not being addresse4d by many doctors.  Researchers found that few of the available treatment strategies are prescribed by doctors. Regular physical exercise such as walking has been shown to reduce fatigue. In addition, learning stress management and coping mechanisms can increase restfuless.  Only one-tenth of the subjects said their oncologist team instructed them to become more active or try other non-medication-related fatigue-reducing approaches. However, more than 35% of the subjects had been offered sleep-enhancing medications, even though drugs have been shown to be the least effective approach.Researchers said “Fatigue is a factor that not only significantly diminishes quality of life but is also associated with reduced survival. ..Our results suggest that cancer patients are not receiving appropriate treatment for a significant and widespread problem.”

One hundred sixty stage IV cancer patients, men and women, with moderate to severe fatigue measured by a greater than 5 on an 11 point scale were queried by researchers. Subjects with lung, breast, colon, or prostate cancer were asked whether their oncologist had discussed any of the cancer-fatigue treatments recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines and the extent of the information they received ,  and whether the physician had provided specific counseling, instructions, and recommendations or a prescription to address fatigue.

Cancer types were associated with whether subjects received treatment for fatigue. Only 15 percent of patients with colon cancer and 17 percent with prostate cancer had their fatigue addressed whereas 48 percent of breast cancer patients had been advised of psychosocial intervent9ons.   Researchers found that the majority of subjects were not engaged in behavioral practices that could reduce fatigue and potentially enhance the quality of life. “And about a third reported napping during the day, which can actually worsen fatigue.? Researchers concluded “We could be doing a much better job addressing fatigue, with more reliable instructions for patients and offering treatments that have been shown to work.”

Can a Blood Test Replace the More Invasive Biopsy to Detect Cancer?

Friday, February 10th, 2012

New research published in the journal Physical Biology concluded that an advanced blood test that detects and analyzes circulating tumor cells in the blood of cancer patients was highly sensitive and may provide information comparable to that obtained in surgical biopsies when tested in 5 settings. The new test called HD-CTC labels cells in a patient’s blood in a way that distinguishes circulating tumor cells from ordinary red and white blood cells. It then uses a digital microscope and an image-processing algorithm to isolate the suspect cells with sizes and shapes unlike those of healthy cells so that the pathologist can examine the images of the suspect CTC cells to eliminate false positives. This process is similar to that used by a pathologist with biopsy slides.
To test the technology, five studies were carried out in California, Montana and in the Netherlands.
In the first study researchers examined 83 advanced cancer patients using HD-CTC to document the sensitivity and accuracy for different cancer types. Researchers found that the test detected five or more CTCs per milliliter of blood in 80% of patients with metastatic prostate cancer, 70% of those with metastatic breast cancer, 50% of those with metastatic pancreatic cancer and no healthy subjects. The current gold-standard CTC test (CellSearch) was notably less sensitive in detecting tumor cells in the samples.
Most patients whose CTC count surpassed the detection threshold also showed small aggregates of CTCs, which cancer biologists call “microtumor emboli” that are believed to be incipient metastatic tumors and triggers for blood clots that often kill advanced cancer patients. In study 2, scientist showed that HD-CTC could detect these aggregates in 43% of 71 patients with advanced prostate, lung, pancreas, and breast cancers and in none of a group of 14 healthy subjects.
In the third study, HD-CTC was used to compare circulating tumor cells from prostate cancer patients with cells from prostate cancer cell lines often used as convenient models for prostate cancer biology in the lab. Significant differences were found between the two classes of cells, in their cell morphology and in the way they were labeled by HD-CTC fluorescent tags. These results underscore the need when carrying out research to use cells from cancer patients and not model cancer cells that may be different from the real thing.
Researchers performed HD-CTC tests on 28 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer over periods up to a year in the fourth study. They were able to detect CTCs in 68% of the sample, and the numbers of detected CTCs tended to go up as other measures showed cancer progression.
In the last study the researchers used HD-CTC in 78 patients who had just been diagnosed with various stages of non-small cell lung cancer and that demonstrated that they could detect CTCs even in patients with early stage cancer.
The five studies not only demonstrated the accuracy and effectiveness of the test for a number of different cancer types, it began to explore the utility of the technology for diagnosing and monitoring patients and improving cancer research in the laboratory.