Research Summaries

This section contains the latest highlighted research for patients from ASCO medical journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as an archive of research highlights from previous ASCO scientific meetings (2011-2015). For the latest research highlights from more recent ASCO meetings, visit the Cancer.Net Blog or check out Cancer.Net’s audio podcasts and videos for patients.

To search this archive, use the drop-down menu below. 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.

May 14, 2014

In a recent phase I clinical trial, about 50% of patients receiving a new targeted therapy for worsening non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had the cancer shrink. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Specifically, this new targeted therapy, AZD9291, targets changes or mutations to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). 

May 14, 2014

Early-stage research suggests that a new targeted drug, PLX3397, could become a treatment option for people with a neoplastic joint disorder called pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS). PVNS is a rare joint condition that usually affects the hip or knee, causing tumors to form in these joints that destroy joint tissue and cause severe, life-changing symptoms. PVNS is a type of uncontrollable cell growth, similar to a cancer, but it is not considered a cancer because it usually does not spread to other parts of the body.

May 14, 2014

A new model predicts that nationwide lung cancer screening for people enrolled in Medicare who have a high risk of the disease would double the percentage of early-stage lung cancers diagnosed over five years. In March 2014, the U.S Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended that people age 55 to 80 with a high risk of lung cancer due to cigarette smoking receive screening for the disease each year with low dose computed tomography (CT).

June 3, 2013

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.

June 3, 2013

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.

June 3, 2013

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.

June 3, 2013

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.

June 2, 2013

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.

June 2, 2013

In a recent study, researchers found that the drug sorafenib (Nexavar) keeps metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer from worsening when treatment with radioactive iodine has stopped working. Differentiated thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer; it is called “differentiated” because the cancerous thyroid cells look like normal thyroid cells when viewed under a microscope. Metastatic cancer means the thyroid cancer has spread outside of the thyroid.

June 2, 2013

In a new study, researchers found that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to first-line (first treatments given) chemoradiation therapy did not lengthen the lives of patients with a common and aggressive type of brain tumor called glioblastoma. Chemoradiation therapy is a combination of chemotherapy, which is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, and radiation therapy, which is the use of high energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells.

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