Using the drop-down menu below, read about highlighted scientific news for patients from ASCO's Annual Meetings, Symposia, and medical journals for the past three years. You can select a specific year, meeting or publication, 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 next ASCO Annual Meeting will be held May 29-June 2, 2015, in Chicago. To read the Annual Meeting summaries compiled into a yearly newsletter, you can also review Research Round Up: News for Patients from the ASCO Annual Meeting. Don’t forget to check out audio podcasts and videos about this news, as well. And a list of upcoming Symposia can be found here. And, in addition to the highlighted studies below, thousands of scientific abstracts are released each year at different ASCO meetings. To search the entire collection of meeting abstracts, visit ASCO's website.
A large, long-term follow-up study showed that people who were overweight or obese years before their pancreatic cancer diagnosis tend to have more advanced stage at diagnosis and shorter survival. Prior research had suggested that having a higher body mass index (BMI) increases one’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer. This is the first prospective study to demonstrate that BMI also affects outcomes after diagnosis.
An analysis of data collected in a large retrospective study showed that married patients tend to live longer after a cancer diagnosis than unmarried patients. Married patients are also more likely to have earlier-stage cancer at diagnosis and more likely to receive appropriate treatments, such as surgery and radiation therapy. The findings also suggest that more effort should be invested in improving social support services for unmarried patients with cancer.
A large-scale survey of Long Island women who were having mammography to screen for breast cancer shows that the majority (more than 90%) either under- or overestimated their risk of developing this disease during their lifetime. Additionally, four out of every 10 women surveyed (40%) said they had never discussed their personal breast cancer risk with a doctor.
A new study has found that using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in addition to mammography, before or immediately after a lumpectomy (surgical removal of the tumor and a small, cancer-free margin of tissue around the tumor) was not linked to a decrease in how often women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the breast experienced a local recurrence (cancer that comes back in the same area of the breast after treatment) or contralateral breast cancer (a new tumor that develops in the other breast).
A large study found that women who received radiation therapy to treat ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast (DCIS) had no increased risk of developing cardiovascular (heart) disease compared with the general population or patients with DCIS who only had surgery. Previous studies involving patients with breast and other cancers have shown that radiation therapy directed at areas near the heart can increase their long-term risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so these results may help women who are deciding on their treatment plan and may reassure DCIS survivors who received radiation therapy.
The combination of docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere) and a new drug called ganetespib lengthens patients’ lives when used as a second-line therapy for advanced lung cancer, according to a new, large study. Second-line therapy is treatment that is given after the first treatment stops working.
In a recent genetic study, researchers found that one in five African American women with breast cancer have an inherited (passed down in the family) mutation (change) in at least one of the 18 genes that are linked with a higher risk of breast cancer. Compared to the general population, African American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, die from the disease, and have triple-negative breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer is a fast-growing and difficult-to-treat cancer that does not have hormone receptors (for the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone) or HER2 receptors (a protein found on some breast tumors). Researchers have suspected that these differences are due to inherited genes linked to breast cancer, but this is the first study to look at all known breast cancer gene mutations, not just BRCA genes.
Results from a recent study show that directing radiation therapy to the underarm lymph nodes works as well as removing the lymph nodes with surgery and is less likely to cause lymphedema for women with early-stage breast cancer. Lymphedema is the abnormal buildup of fluid (lymph) in the arm, causing swelling that can be painful and limit a person’s movement. It is a common side effect from both surgery and radiation therapy to the underarm lymph nodes.
Women with higher-risk, early-stage breast cancer who received weekly chemotherapy with paclitaxel (Taxol) after surgery as part of a clinical trial lived for the same amount of time without the cancer returning as those who received higher doses of the same drug every two weeks (known as dose-dense therapy). However, the researchers found that the women who received chemotherapy every week experienced fewer and less serious treatment-related side effects.
A recent study comparing five or 10 years of tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Soltamox) therapy for early-stage, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer showed that continuing tamoxifen for longer than five years further lowers the risk of a breast cancer recurrence (return of the cancer) and death. ER-positive breast cancer uses the hormone estrogen to grow and spread. Tamoxifen is a type of hormonal therapy that blocks the effects of estrogen on tumor growth and has been proven to lower the risk of a breast cancer recurrence and lengthen the lives of women with early-stage breast cancer. Currently, the standard length of tamoxifen therapy is five years, and women start it right after finishing surgery or chemotherapy.