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.

June 4, 2011

A recent study showed that women who have been through menopause and have a high risk of breast cancer were less likely to develop the disease when they received an aromatase inhibitor (AI) called exemestane (Aromasin). An AI is a drug that reduces the amount of the hormone estrogen in a woman's body by stopping tissues and organs other than the ovaries from producing it. Previous research has shown that estrogen may help breast cancer grow. Drugs that block estrogen, such as tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and raloxifene (Evista), have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lower the risk of breast cancer for women at high risk for the disease. However, there is a risk of rare but serious side effects, such as uterine cancer and blood clots, with these two drugs. Researchers designed this study to find another option to lower breast cancer risk with fewer side effects. 

June 4, 2011

Researchers participating in the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium (LCMC) program are looking at the genetic changes, called mutations, that drive lung cancer growth to help recommend treatment options. The LCMC program was designed to show that testing a patient's tumor for mutations at diagnosis is possible, and that doctors can use the results to recommend the most appropriate targeted therapy or clinical trial (research study involving patients). Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.

June 4, 2011

In a recent study, researchers found that radiation therapy to the regional lymph nodes decreases recurrences (cancers that come back after treatment) for women with early-stage breast cancer that has spread or is likely to spread to the lymph nodes. Regional lymph nodes are the lymph nodes near where the tumor started. For breast cancer, these are the lymph nodes in the armpit on the same side of the body where the cancer began, called the axillary lymph nodes.

June 3, 2011

A new program at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center showed that specifically matching targeted therapy to genetic changes in the tumors of patients with advanced cancer, an approach called personalized medicine, better controlled tumor growth and increased survival. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. Not all cancers have the same targets, and targeted therapy is often chosen based on the genes, proteins, and other factors involved in a person's cancer. 

June 3, 2011

A new study shows that using high-dose methotrexate (multiple brand names) for children and young adults with a type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) called high risk B-precursor ALL reduces the risk of recurrence when compared with the standard methotrexate regimen. Recurrence is when the ALL comes back after treatment.

May 18, 2011

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.

May 18, 2011

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.

May 18, 2011

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.

May 18, 2011

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.

May 18, 2011

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.

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