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.

January 31, 2012

A new, large study shows that intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is better than conventional conformal radiation therapy (CRT) at reducing side effects and prostate cancer recurrences (cancer that comes back after treatment) and it is less expensive than CRT and proton therapy. Both IMRT and CRT are types of radiation therapy that are designed to aim beams of radiation directly at a tumor. IMRT is better than CRT at varying the strength of the radiation so the tumor gets more radiation and the healthy tissue gets less. Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses protons instead of x-rays to treat cancer.

January 31, 2012

A new clinical trial showed that the drug called radium-223 chloride (Ra-223), designed to treat bone metastases (cancer that has spread to the bone), helps men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer live longer and slows the development of bone problems from the cancer. Castration-resistant prostate cancer is when the cancer continues to grow and spread without needing the male sex hormone testosterone.

January 31, 2012

A new drug was shown to help men with metastatic prostate cancer live longer in a recent clinical trial. Metastatic prostate cancer is cancer that has spread outside the prostate and is often difficult to treat. The drug called MDV3100 was designed to prevent male sex hormones called androgens, such as testosterone, from helping the cancer grow and spread.

January 17, 2012

In a new analysis of results from a previous study, researchers found that certain factors predict whether an advanced neuroendocrine tumor will worsen. Based on these factors, the drug everolimus (Afinitor) combined with octreotide (Sandostatin) may be a more effective treatment than previously thought. A neuroendocrine tumor begins in the hormone-producing cells of the body's neuroendocrine system, which is a cross between hormone-producing cells and nerve cells.

January 17, 2012

Researchers used a new blood test that correctly identified the presence of early-stage pancreatic cancer in two-thirds of patients participating in this study. The test detects a specialized protein, called PAM-4, in a person's blood. PAM-4 is a tumor marker, which is a substance found at higher than normal levels in the blood, urine, and body tissues of people with cancer. Developing a test for pancreatic cancer is important because patients have a better chance of survival when pancreatic cancer is found early. Currently, there is no test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect and diagnose pancreatic cancer early.

January 17, 2012

Researchers found that the targeted therapy regorafenib lengthens the lives of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (colorectal cancer that has spread outside the colon and rectum) and slows the growth of the cancer. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.

January 17, 2012

A new study shows that a specific test can help find which people with Barrett's esophagus have a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Barrett's esophagus is a condition associated with abnormal changes (called dysplasia) in the cells lining the esophagus. These changes are not cancerous, but they can become cancerous over time as the cells become more abnormal. Although all people with Barrett's esophagus are at risk for esophageal cancer, there has been no good way to find out who is more likely to develop cancer.

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.