Research Summaries

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.

This includes ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology and its scientific meetings, including the ASCO Annual Meeting, a five-day meeting held each May/June. 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.

March 4, 2013

New findings from a prospective clinical trial in children with non-hereditary retinoblastoma affecting only one eye (unilateral retinoblastoma) will help doctors identify patients who should not receive chemotherapy after surgical removal of the diseased eye.

July 30, 2012

Results of a large, population-based study support guidelines on cervical cancer screening released earlier this year, which recommend “co-testing” consisting of human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and conventional Papanicolaou (Pap) testing every five years.

March 12, 2012

A new, long-term study shows that survival rates for children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of pediatric cancer, climbed steadily between 1990 and 2005. This analysis is the largest study to date of ALL survival, exploring important survival gains based on patient age, race, ethnicity, and subtype of ALL. The findings were published March 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

February 27, 2012

A new study published online February 27, 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that breast cancer survivors who were treated with a common chemotherapy regimen between 1976 and 1995 show worse cognitive performance than women of the same age who never had cancer. The differences emerged mainly in the domains of learning, memory, information processing speed and psychomotor speed. This is the first study to show that such problems, which are known to occur shortly after treatment, may also be present even 20 years after treatment.

February 13, 2012

Lynch syndrome is an inherited condition of cancer predisposition caused by mutations in certain genes involved in repairing DNA damage, called “mismatch repair” genes. A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology provides a new, clearer picture of the cancer risks that carriers of these mutations face, which could ultimately help guide future screening efforts to detect these cancers at an early stage.

December 12, 2011

A large, retrospective study has shown that children of childhood cancer survivors who received prior treatment involving radiation to testes or ovaries and/or chemotherapy with alkylating agents do not have an increased risk for birth defects compared to children of survivors who did not have such cancer treatment. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy with alkylating agents are DNA-damaging treatments, affecting both cancer and healthy cells. The findings provide reassurance that increased risks of birth defects are unlikely for cancer survivors who are concerned about the potential effects of their treatment on their children, and help guide family planning choices.

October 31, 2011

An analysis of more than 3,000 families including women with breast cancer has found that close relatives of women who carry mutations in a BRCA gene - but who themselves do not have such genetic mutations - do not have an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to relatives of women with breast cancer who do not have such mutations.

October 3, 2011

A new study has shown that rates of oropharyngeal cancer, a type of oral cancer, have been increasing dramatically in the United States since 1984, with human papillomavirus (HPV)-related tumors accounting for a growing majority of all new cases.  Researchers showed that the proportion of oropharyngeal cancers that were HPV-positive significantly increased over time, from slightly more than 16 percent of such cancers diagnosed during the 1980s to more than 70 percent diagnosed during the 2000s.

August 29, 2011

A new study has shown that for patients with advanced rectal cancer, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess their tumor's response to pre-surgery chemotherapy or radiation treatment may predict survival. The findings suggest that by using MRI to gauge whether a tumor has responded to such treatments, physicians can use the results to determine whether to proceed with surgery or to consider other treatment options for a given patient. 

March 28, 2011

A new study on the use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing to screen for prostate cancer found that elderly men are being screened much more frequently than men in their early fifties, even though younger men are more likely to benefit from early diagnosis and treatment. Researchers showed that men in their seventies underwent PSA screening for prostate cancer at nearly twice the rate of men in their early fifties. Men 85 and older were screened just as often.