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.

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 on combining human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap testing for regular cervical cancer screening showed that it is safe for women to have cervical cancer screening every three years instead of every year. The study also showed that HPV testing identified more women at high risk for cervical cancer than Pap testing. HPV, a virus most commonly passed from person to person during sexual activity, is a major risk factor for cervical cancer.

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.

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.

March 14, 2011

A new study has shown that a surgical technique can effectively locate and extract viable sperm in more than one-third of adult survivors of childhood cancer, who were previously considered sterile due to prior chemotherapy. Many of these men were subsequently able to have children with the help of in vitro fertilization, and the results offer a proven option for many male cancer survivors who want to be fathers but were thought infertile.

February 15, 2011

In a large European study, researchers looked at using first-time prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels as a way to guide future screening for prostate cancer. PSA is a protein found in higher-than-normal levels in men with prostate cancer and some noncancerous prostate conditions. Men with higher-than-normal PSA levels may be recommended for a biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue for examination under a microscope) to look for cancer.

February 15, 2011

A new study on the drug dutasteride (Avodart) showed that it can slow the growth of early-stage prostate cancer for men whose prostate cancer is being monitored with a method called active surveillance. Active surveillance or watchful waiting is a common way to monitor prostate cancer that is growing slowly when actively treating the cancer would cause more discomfort than the disease itself. The cancer is monitored closely and active treatment begins only if the tumor shows signs of becoming more aggressive or spreading, causes pain, or blocks the urinary tract.

February 15, 2011

According to an analysis of prostate cancer surgeries, surgeons need experience with robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALP) to achieve the best results. RALP is a procedure in which a camera and instruments are inserted through small, keyhole incisions in the patient's abdomen. The surgeon then directs the robotic instruments to remove the prostate gland and surrounding tissue. It is possibly much less invasive than an open radical prostatectomy and may reduce recovery time. In general, robotic prostatectomy has less bleeding and less pain, but sexual and urinary side effects can be similar to an open radical prostatectomy.

January 31, 2011

Researchers have shown a form of personalized gene therapy that uses a patient's own immune cells could treat metastatic melanoma and synovial cell sarcoma tumors, representing a potentially new therapeutic approach against these and other cancers.