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Using the drop-down menu below, read about highlighted scientific news from ASCO's Annual Meetings since 2002. You can select a specific year and/or a specific topic, such as a type of cancer. Selecting "All" will take you to a complete list of articles that appear under all categories.
The 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting was held May 31-June 4, with research news released starting May 15. The 2014 event will be held May 30-June 3.
To read these summaries categorized into a yearly newsletter, you can also review Cancer Advances: News for Patients from the ASCO Annual Meeting.
Don’t forget to check out audio podcasts and videos about this news, as well. And, in addition to the highlighted studies below, thousands of scientific abstracts are released each year at the ASCO Annual Meeting. To search the entire collection of meeting abstracts, visit ASCO's website.
A large study evaluating ovarian cancer screening showed that using both a CA-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound to find early ovarian cancer did not reduce the risk of dying from the disease and resulted in unnecessary follow-up procedures. The CA-125 blood test measures the amount of a tumor marker called CA-125, which may be found in higher levels in women with ovarian cancer. A transvaginal ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of the ovaries. Both tests are used to evaluate the symptoms of ovarian cancer, its stage, and the effectiveness of treatment.
A large study of more than 12,000 Swedish men showed that first-time prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels for men age 44 to 50 predicts the chance of developing metastatic prostate cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) or dying of the disease up to 30 years later. PSA is found in higher-than-normal levels in men with various conditions of the prostate, including prostate cancer and noncancerous conditions.
In a recent study, researchers found that maintenance therapy with olaparib, a type of drug called a PARP inhibitor, increased the amount of time it took for recurrent ovarian cancer (cancer that has come back after treatment) to worsen. Maintenance therapy is ongoing treatment that is given after the standard treatment to help control the growth of cancer.
In an analysis of the genes of more than 2,200 patients, researchers found that patients with specific genetic variations were more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy from chemotherapy with drugs called taxanes than patients without these changes. Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that causes pain and numbness. About one-third of patients who receive chemotherapy with a taxane develop neuropathy, and it can keep a patient from receiving a full dose of chemotherapy. The only other known risks of peripheral neuropathy are older age and a history of diabetes.
A large study on combining human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap testing for regular cervical cancer screening showed that it is safe for women to have cervical cancer screening every three years instead of every year. The study also showed that HPV testing identified more women at high risk for cervical cancer than Pap testing. HPV, a virus most commonly passed from person to person during sexual activity, is a major risk factor for cervical cancer.
In a recent study, the drug cabozantinib helped manage various advanced cancers, particularly prostate, ovarian, and liver cancers. The drug also helped shrink bone metastases (cancer that has spread to the bone). Cabozantinib is a type of targeted therapy, which means it targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.
According to a new study, adding the targeted therapy drug bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy and keeping patients on the drug after chemotherapy ends increases the amount of time it takes for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer, and Fallopian tube cancer to grow and spread. These are all cancers of a woman's reproductive system that are treated similarly.
Researchers found that women with breast cancer who had additional underarm lymph nodes removed after cancer was found in the sentinel lymph node did not live longer than women who had no additional lymph nodes removed. Lymph nodes are the tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection. Doctors examine lymph nodes to learn whether the breast cancer has spread using a sentinel lymph node biopsy. In a sentinel lymph node biopsy, one or a few lymph nodes are removed from under the arm, which is where breast cancer is most likely to spread first. If the sentinel node is cancer-free, then it is likely that the other lymph nodes do not have cancer either. However, if the sentinel lymph node shows evidence of cancer, then doctors often examine additional lymph nodes for cancer in a process called an axillary lymph node dissection. The advantage of a sentinel lymph node biopsy is that it avoids the side effects of an axillary lymph node dissection, such as pain and discomfort and swelling of the arm.
In a new study, researchers discovered that breast cancer tumors that have spread to the liver can have different features than the original tumor. As part of diagnosing breast cancer, several features of the tumor are measured, including estrogen receptors (ER), progesterone receptors (PR), and HER2. Estrogen and progesterone receptors are found in breast cancer cells that depend on estrogen and related hormones to grow. HER2 is a specialized protein found on breast cancer cells that controls cancer growth and spread.
New research shows that men with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer who received hormone therapy combined with radiation therapy lived longer and were less likely to die from prostate cancer. Locally advanced prostate cancer has spread to the area surrounding the prostate, and high-risk prostate cancer is more likely to grow and spread. Men with locally advanced or high-risk prostate cancer are usually treated with hormone therapy after initial treatment with radiation therapy or surgery. Hormone therapy, also called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), for prostate cancer involves stopping the body from producing hormones called androgens. Androgens can help prostate cancer cells grow, so lowering the levels in the body can make prostate cancers shrink or grow more slowly, but it does not cure prostate cancer.