Posts tagged ‘breast cancer research’

New screening panel could target BRCA mutations common to Hispanic women

February 19, 2015 | by

Although many Hispanic women face a high risk of mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes – increasing their risk of breast and ovarian cancer – screenings for these mutations can be prohibitively expensive in Mexico and other Latin American countries. As a result, too many women don’t get the information they need to make informed health choices.

BRCA gene mutations in Hispanic women

Many Hispanic women carry specific mutations in the BRCA genes. Now City of Hope researchers have developed a panel that could  spot  these BRCA mutations, helping them make more informed decisions.

City of Hope researchers may have found a solution to this problem: testing for the specific mutations most common in women of Hispanic descent.

In findings reported in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, researchers reported that they were able to detect 68 percent of all BRCA mutations in a recent study’s participants by using a HISPANEL – a test panel developed by Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., director of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics at City of Hope. Further, by focusing on these specific mutations, rather than the full range of all possible BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, the cost of testing amounted to only 2 percent of the cost of testing for all BRCA mutations. » Continue Reading

How is a breast cancer metastasis like an alien invader?

January 29, 2015 | by

We’ve seen it in science fiction: The aliens begin terra-forming a planet to create a friendly habitat that gives them, not the inhabitants, all the advantages when the colonization begins.

Aliens and breast cancer cells

Breast cancer metastasis is like an alien invader: It can remake an environment to benefit its kind, not the native cells.

Turns out, cancer does essentially the same thing when it metastasizes, according to new research from City of Hope. The findings, in which glucose plays a crucial role, were published online by Nature Cell Biology.

“Cancer cells have a sweet tooth,” said S. Emily Wang, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at City of Hope and the study’s principal investigator. “They are addicted to glucose.”

That’s the sugar that fuels their growth, and ensuring an unlimited supply of that fuel is how the terra-forming begins.  » Continue Reading

Insulin and breast cancer risk? Connection may be stronger than weight

January 26, 2015 | by

When it comes to breast cancer risk, insulin levels may matter more than weight, new research has found.

Breast cancer risk

New study indicates that insulin levels are more closely tied than weight to breast cancer risk.

The study from Imperial College London School of Public Health, published in the journal Cancer Research, indicates that metabolic health – not a person’s weight or body mass index – increases breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Although high insulin levels frequently occur in women who are overweight or obese, women at normal weights may have unhealthly insulin levels, as well, putting them at a perhaps unexpected increase in breast cancer risk. Likewise, some obese women may have normal levels of the hormone.

The study of insulin and breast cancer risk included 3,300 women without diabetes, 497 of whom developed breast cancer during the study’s eight years. The study analyzed weight, fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that aids in using digested food for energy. An inability to produce insulin or use it properly leads to diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when the body is unable to use insulin efficiently, resulting in hyperglycemia. The condition is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes. » Continue Reading

With breast cancer treatment, expertise – and research – matter

October 23, 2014 | by

The breast cancer statistic is attention-getting: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. That doesn’t mean that, if you’re one of eight women at a dinner table, one of you is fated to have breast cancer (read more on that breast cancer statistic), but it does mean that the risk of developing breast cancer is not to be taken lightly. Neither is the decision on where to get breast cancer treatment.

Breast cancer treatment and research

In breast cancer treatment, location matters. That location should also be the home of research. City of Hope understands this.

As a nationally known biomedical research institution and as one of the nation’s few comprehensive cancer centers, City of Hope can provide access to therapies, research and clinical trials that other hospitals can’t.

Let’s start with clinical trials and research. The clinical trials available to City of Hope patients often stem from the research conducted on the City of Hope campus, where breast cancer specialists and researchers work together on therapies to improve survival and quality of life. Those clinical trials include assessments of new chemotherapy drugs, targeted therapies, hormone therapies, new surgical techniques and new radiation approaches — all focused on improving breast cancer treatment, detection and prevention. » Continue Reading

Breast cancer awareness has been raised. Now it’s time for action

October 1, 2014 | by

This time of year, how can anyone not think pink? Through the power of pastel packaging, October has been etched permanently into the American public’s consciousness as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The color pink is now synonymous with breast cancer.

breast cancer awareness

If you recognize this symbol as a Breast Cancer Awareness Month ribbon, you’re awareness of breast cancer has been raised. Now it’s time to take action.

Suffice to say, awareness has been raised.

Now it’s time to make the most of that awareness. Now it’s time for action. That action can come when you choose a health plan, when you choose an oncologist, when you donate or even when you shop for a purse, a tape dispenser or a really great moisturizer.

* If you’re choosing a health plan, choose one that provides access to top-of-the-line expertise.

Research by Julie Wolfson, M.D., M.S.H.S., assistant professor of City of Hope’s Department of Pediatrics and Department of Population Sciences, has found that, in cancer, where you get care matters. » Continue Reading

Radiation linked to lower lymphedema risk in breast cancer patients

April 30, 2014 | by

For some breast cancer patients whose cancer has also spread to their axillary lymph nodes, radiation might be a better option than surgically removing the nodes, a new study suggests.

A new study finds radiation poses a lower risk of lymphedema for women treated for breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes than removing the nodes.

A new study finds radiation poses a lower risk of lymphedema for women treated for breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes than removing the nodes.

Previous studies have shown that, when looking strictly at survival, both approaches are about equal. The new study finds that radiation therapy, which is emerging as a treatment protocol for breast cancer affecting the lymph nodes, is associated with significantly fewer complications than removal of the nodes.

The results from the international multicenter trial are being presented in Las Vegas at Breast Cancer Update 2014, the 15th annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons. The study included nearly 5,000 randomized patients. It found those patients with positive sentinel nodes treated with radiation suffered less lymphedema – swelling, usually in the arms or legs associated with blockage in the lymphatic system – as well as less arm parasthesia and other postsurgery complications.

But breast cancer specialists aren’t advising women to automatically choose radiation over lymph node removal. » Continue Reading

Veliparib shows promise for BRCA-related breast cancer patients

January 10, 2014 | by

Of the estimated 230,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S., approximately 12,000 patients carry harmful mutations on either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

breast cancer

Researchers are investigating the effectiveness of various drugs against breast cancer, including the PARP inhibitor veliparib.

Cancer cells carrying these mutations are unable to properly repair double-strand DNA. Because specific enzymes – poly ADP-ribose polymerase 1 and 2 (known as PARP1 and PARP2) – are needed for DNA repair in malignant (as well as normal) cells, drugs known as PARP inhibitors often are used to help kill the cells.

As George Somlo, M.D.,  professor in City of Hope’s Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, puts it: In BRCA1- or BRCA2-related  breast cancer, exposing the cancer cells to PARP inhibitors greatly enhances the potential for  irreversible single- or double-strand DNA damage.

In the fight against cancer, that kind of DNA damage is ideal.

Now Somlo and his colleagues are learning even more about how a specific PARP inhibitor, called veliparib (or ABT-888), could improve cancer treatment. » Continue Reading