Friday, April 20, 2012

Aspirin and Cancer Prevention

Aspirin has been around for a long time. Salicylic which is from will bark was recorded as early as 300 B.C. I was used to relieve aches and pains. The official drug called aspirin in the year of 1899. Acetyl-salicylic acid became the new chemical combination.

In recent years it has been advised for people with heart problems to take a baby aspirin regularly to prevent blockages in the cardiac system.
Now the subject of aspirin helping prevent cancer is in the news.  There are new statistics of the use of aspirin in clinical trials have been promising.  Here are the results:

A combined analysis of 51 randomized trials found that daily aspirin use reduces the risk of new cancer diagnoses as well as the risk of cancer death. These results were published in The Lancet.
A growing body of evidence suggests that aspirin may reduce the risk of several types of cancer, with particularly strong evidence for colorectal cancer. Not all studies have found a benefit, however, and any potential benefits of aspirin must be weighed against risks such as bleeding.
To further explore the relationships between daily aspirin and cancer, researchers conducted a combined analysis of 51 previous randomized trials. The trials were originally designed to evaluate the effect of daily aspirin on outcomes such as heart disease, but information about cancer was also available.
  • Daily aspirin reduced cancer deaths. After five years, aspirin users had a 37 percent reduction in risk of cancer death.
  • Aspirin also reduced the likelihood of developing cancer. From three years onward, aspirin users had a 24 percent reduction in the risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
  • As expected, aspirin carried a risk of major bleeding, but this risk appeared to diminish over time.
Another study published in the same issue of The Lancet evaluated the effect of daily aspirin on cancer metastasis (the spread of cancer from its original site to other parts of the body). The study focused on 987 people who were diagnosed with cancer while participating in one of five trials of aspirin use. Those who were taking aspirin were less likely to have metastatic cancer than those who were not taking aspirin.
These results suggest that regular aspirin use may reduce cancer incidence and mortality, but concerns remain about the risks of regular aspirin use in healthy individuals. People who are considering using aspirin on a regular basis are advised to discuss the risks and benefits with their physician.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lung Cancer Personalized Treatment

The new direction of cancer treatment is becoming personalized to the characteristics of individual patients. Instead of treating specific cancers the same way for all patients researchers are focusing on the characteristic's of each patient and their tumors.
These new ways of treatment was presented at the Third European Lung Cancer Conference in Geneva.

A major goal of lung cancer treatment is to tailor the treatment to the individual," says Dr Fiona Blackhall from The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, UK. "The studies that will be presented at ELCC 2012 are important practical steps to achieving this in the clinic. Methods ranging from convenient blood-based molecular tests, detailed genetic analysis of tumors and functional imaging techniques have been applied in patient populations receiving a range of treatments. These findings provide impetus to continue developing a personalized medicine approach to lung cancer with the overall aim of selecting the most effective treatment for the individual."

Proteins provide clues to outcomes

An international group of researchers report promising results with a test that may identify patients likely to benefit from first-line therapy with a particular drug combination.
Dr Oliver Gautschi from the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK), and collaborators from The Netherlands and the US company developing the test, conducted a retrospective analysis of two phase-II trials with a serum proteomic classifier called VeriStrat-. Their aim was to evaluate the prognostic value of the test in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer receiving first-line treatment with bevacizumab and erlotinib.
VeriStrat- uses mass spectrometry to measure proteins in pre-treatment blood and assigns a result that correlates with outcome from treatment with a class of drugs known as EGFR inhibitors, which includes erlotinib and gefitinib. The test was initially developed and validated in patients who had already been treated with chemotherapy, and who then received an EGFR inhibitor in second line, Dr Gautschi explains.
"We conducted this project to see if the test is also prognostic in untreated patients who received an EGFR inhibitor in the first line. Until now, this has not been clear."
The researchers used VeriStrat- to analyze blood samples from 117 patients previously enrolled in two phase II trials and compared the results to the patients' progression-free survival and overall survival. The analysis showed that those classified by the test as likely to have better outcomes on EGFR inhibitor therapy did indeed live longer.
"The difference in overall survival between patients classified by the test as likely to have better or worse outcomes when receiving EGFR inhibitors was clinically relevant," Dr Gautschi said. However he noted that definitive conclusions about the use of this test in previously untreated patients requires further studies.
"There is an unmet need for reliable blood-based markers in patients with lung cancer, because lung tumors are harder to biopsy than breast tumours for example. The current study indicates that modern technologies, such as proteomics, are promising tools, which need further validation in large trials," he said. In this context, the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP) is currently launching a prospective phase-III trial to futher validate this test in patients with lung cancer.

                                            Gene Based Lung Cancer Treatment

For more information:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Brain Cancer Vaccine Results Are Provocative

Lengthening the life of a patient with brain tumors is wonderful news. Phase 2 of the clinical trials paves the way for testing a new therapy that combines a brain cancer vaccine with the oncology drug, Avastin

A new report of this news was reported today by the University of California, San Francisco.

This vaccine is individualized by using tissue from the patient's tumor. This procedure has proven effective in a multicenter phase 2 clinical trial at extending their lives by several months or longer. The patients suffered from recurrent glioblastoma multiforme—which kills thousands of Americans every year.

These results, to be announced Tuesday, April 17 at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) meeting in Miami, compared the effectiveness of the vaccine for more than 40 patients treated at UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, at the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

The trial found the vaccine could extend survival for the patients by several months when compared to 80 other patients who were treated at the same hospitals and received standard therapy—47 weeks compared to 32 weeks. Several of the patients who received the cancer vaccine have survived for more than a year.
“These results are provocative,” said UCSF neurosurgeon Andrew Parsa, MD, PhD, who led the research. “They suggest that doctors may be able to extend survival even longer by combining the vaccine with other drugs that enhance this immune response.”

The next step, he said, will be a more extensive, randomized clinical trial to look at the effectiveness of the vaccine combined with the drug Avastin, a standard therapy for this type of cancer, compared to the effectiveness of Avastin alone. Those trials, to be run by the National Cancer Institute, will begin enrolling patients later this year.

To read more of this article:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thyroid Nodule Testing By Molecular Cytology

Many people have thyroid problems.  Due to the instability of trying to control the function of the thyroid nodules can develop. An endocrinologist will need to do a biopsy if calcification is seen from an ultrasound
report. The doctor will take an aspiration needle and extract tissue from the nodules to be put on slide and prepared by the histology lab for the pathologist to view to determine carcinoma.

Genzyme and Veracyte have a great announcement concerning diagnosing cancer from thyroid nodules . These companies are the leaders in molecular cytology as tool for diagnosis.

The following are excerpts from a recent news article on the web about a testing product and how it really can be better than a microscopic view under a microscope.

Genzyme, a Sanofi company , and Veracyte, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company pioneering the emerging field of molecular cytology, today announced that the Afirma(R) Thyroid FNA Analysis, an innovative approach for improved thyroid nodule diagnosis, is now available to patients across the United States.

The Afirma(R) Thyroid FNA Analysis combines expert cytopathology assessment of thyroid nodule fine needle aspiration (FNA) samples, with the Afirma(R) Gene Expression Classifier, a novel genomic test, used to resolve inconclusive results and thus help patients whose nodules are actually benign avoid unnecessary surgery. Two independent clinical studies to date have shown that the Afirma(R) Gene Expression Classifier can reclassify patients with indeterminate thyroid FNA results as "benign" with the same degree of accuracy as a benign cytopathology diagnosis.

Thyroid cancer is the fastest-growing cancer in the U.S., with an estimated 56,460 new cases expected in 2012, according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 450,000 thyroid nodule FNAs -- a minimally invasive procedure to extract cells for examination under a microscope -- are performed in the U.S. each year to rule out cancer. Thyroid nodule FNAs are challenging to interpret, however, producing ambiguous results in up to 30 percent of cases. Current guidelines recommend that most patients with ambiguous results undergo thyroid resection for a definitive diagnosis. Post-surgical results, however, show that only 20-30 percent of these patients have cancer. 

"Until now, most patients with 'indeterminate' thyroid nodules based on cytology went to surgery to help ensure that a cancer was not missed," said Dr. Bryan Haugen, professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "Now, the Afirma(R) Gene Expression Classifier can potentially help tens of thousands of patients with inconclusive thyroid nodules each year avoid unnecessary surgery and improve patient outcomes." 

Genzyme is an established leader in endocrinology globally, developing and marketing Thyrogen(R) (thyrotropin alfa for injection) for patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer. Thyrogen(R) is used as an adjunctive diagnostic tool for serum thyroglobulin (Tg) testing with or without radioiodine imaging. Thyrogen(R) is also approved in the U.S. and Europe as an adjunctive treatment for radioiodine ablation of thyroid tissue remnants in patients who have undergone a near total or total thyroidectomy for well-differentiated thyroid cancer and who do not have evidence of metastatic thyroid cancer.