Posts tagged ‘Cy Stein’


Prostate cancer: Twitter users have questions; we have answers

September 5, 2013 | by


What are prostate cancer risk factors? What are the early symptoms? What are the latest treatment advances?  Twitter users had questions – and City of Hope physicians had answers during today’s TweetChat.

Offering their expertise were Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., City of Hope’s Arthur & Rosalie Kaplan Chair in Medical Oncology, and Mark Kawachi, M.D., associate clinical professor in City of Hope’s Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology. They discussed prostate cancer research, screening, treatment and much more under the hashtag #ProstateChat.

You can read the full chat below.

For more answers, attend our Ask the Experts session on Sept. 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Titled “Prostate Cancer: What Every Man (and Woman) Should Know,” the session will sort through conflicting information about the detection and treatment of prostate cancer by providing the latest information and answers to your questions. It will also address state-of-the-art robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery.

Sign up online here or call 800-535-1390, ext. 65669. 
 
Above, Kawachi elaborates on the management of side effects. (Only so much can be explained in a Tweet.) Here, he discusses prostate cancer screening.

» Continue Reading


Questions about fish oil: Study links Omega-3s to prostate cancer

September 3, 2013 | by

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have so many health benefits and so few side effects that a daily dose has seemed like a no-brainer. Until now.

Fish oil has now been linked to a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer. One expert calls the findings a "game-changer."

Fish oil has now been linked to a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer. One expert calls the findings a “game-changer.”

Long linked to heart health, Omega-3s have been shown to lower high triglycerides and, at the right dosages, to reduce the risk of heart disease. Though the evidence of their benefits is less conclusive for other health conditions, Omega-3s in the form of fish oil are sometimes used in attempts to reduce the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual pain, artherosclerosis, kidney problems and age-related eye disease, to name just a few.

Now a new study has linked the consumption of these Omega-3s to a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer. For men who take the supplements to protect their heart, this study could well be “a game changer,” says City of Hope’s Cy Stein, M.D., the Arthur & Rosalie Kaplan Chair in Medical Oncology.

» Continue Reading


Prostate Cancer Awareness: Survival rate has soared

September 1, 2013 | by

Have questions about prostate cancer? Check out our TweetChat.

Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., and Mark Kawachi, M.D., associate clinical professor in City of Hope’s Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology, participated in a TweetChat on Thursday, Sept. 5, from 11 a.m. to noon Pacific. They discussed prostate cancer research, screening, treatment and management of possible side effects such as incontinence and impotence. To read a log of that TweetChat, click here.

 

Real medical breakthroughs are few and far between, but advances in treating prostate cancer come close.

Photomicrograph of invasive prostate adenocarcinoma

Photomicrograph of invasive prostate adenocarcinoma. (Photo courtesy of National Institutes of Health)

Over the last 40 years, the overall five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer patients has jumped from 64 percent in 1973 to over 99 percent now. Further, men diagnosed with local or regional prostate cancer today have what’s considered a 100 percent chance of five-year survival, due to improvements in fighting the disease with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Despite this overwhelming success, obstacles remain in diagnosing and treating the disease. The month of September, designated Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, offers an opportunity to reflect on the successes and the challenges.

“The PSA [prostate specific antigen] test is not all it’s cracked up to be,” said Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., City of Hope’s Arthur & Rosalie Kaplan Chair in Medical Oncology. “But it’s one of the very few tools we have available now to screen for and monitor the disease.”

And for men whose cancers are not detected until they’ve metastasized to distant areas of the body, the survival odds plummets to less than 28 percent. And prostate cancer will claim the lives of almost 30,000 men this year, according to the American Cancer Society. » Continue Reading


Supreme Court ruling on gene patents sets precedent, experts say

June 17, 2013 | by

Months after hearing the arguments and weeks before concluding its current session, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that human genes are a product of nature and are not patentable.

One June 13, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes are not patentable, thus allowing other companies to test for BRCA gene mutations at a fraction of the current price.

On June 13, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes are not patentable, thus allowing other companies to test for BRCA gene mutations at a fraction of the current price.

In the court’s majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote: “A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.”

The immediate effect of the June 13 ruling: Myriad Genetics no longer holds the patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as the monopoly on testing for the genes’ cancer-causing mutations. This means other companies can test for these genes, likely for a fraction of the approximately $3,000 Myriad is currently charging. Additionally, panel tests that scan for multiple mutations at the same time can now include BRCA genes in their mix.

Myriad’s BRCA patents were set to expire in two years even if they had been upheld, but “the principle is important,” Jeffrey Weitzel, M.D., director of City of Hope’s Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics, told the Los Angeles Times. The ruling sets a precedent affecting future genetic research and the development of gene-based tests and therapies, he said. » Continue Reading


ASCO 2013: Drug shortage impacts oncologists, patients (VIDEO)

June 4, 2013 | by

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlrpLyqTpN4]

The annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) offers more than a way to highlight the numerous advances toward a cure for cancer. It also allows for reflection on barriers to quality research and optimal care.

A briefing Friday focused on the impact of declining public funds for cancer research; today, a presentation called attention to the prevailing problem of cancer drug shortages.

For this report, ASCO had randomly selected its members for a survey from March to September 2012. Of the 250 responses received, 214 were used for this study. Among the findings:

  • More than 80 percent of oncologists and hematologists reported experiencing drug shortages during that period.
  • A total of 94 percent said the shortage had affected treatment, and 83 percent said they were unable to prescribe standard chemotherapy.
  • Approximately 13 percent said the shortage lowered patients’ enrollment – or caused them to suspend participation – in clinical trials.

According to Food and Drug Administration data, the drug shortage is a rapidly escalating problem. In 2005, there were 61 reported shortages; that figure almost doubled to 121 in 2012. » Continue Reading


Forgo cancer screening? No thanks, say older Americans

March 17, 2013 | by

In recent years, older Americans have been advised to stop undergoing certain cancer screenings — such as Pap smears and prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, tests — because experts say they can lead to costly, risky and unnecessary medical procedures. What do senior citizens think of this advice? Not much.

Some have questioned the value of some medical screenings for older Americans. But the older Americans themselves haven't. In fact, they're likely to view with distrust a doctor who advises they forego such tests.

Some have questioned the value of some medical screenings for older Americans. But the older Americans themselves haven’t. In fact, they’re likely to view with distrust a doctor who advises they forego such tests.

At least that’s the perception of many of those interviewed for a study published March 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine. For that study, researchers questioned a small cross-section of older Americans to assess their views about medical screenings (and giving up those once-prescribed rituals). The findings were based on interviews with 33 adults between 63 and 91 years of age whose average age was 76.

“Despite the growing consensus that we need to curb overscreening, changing patient and physician behavior will be difficult in light of older adults’ highly favorable views of screening,” wrote lead author Alexia M. Torke, M.D., M.S., of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.

» Continue Reading


Blood thinners might prolong life for prostate cancer patients

February 22, 2013 | by

Being on a blood-thinning medication is not unusual. In the U.S., more than 2 million people take the drugs. But although blood-thinners are well-known for their ability to prevent dangerous blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke, new research suggests they may also be useful against prostate cancer.

New study may suggest a link between blood thinning medication and prostate cancer survival, but experts advise against reaching for the aspirin bottle (Credit: Dynamic Graphics / Thinkstock)

A new study suggests a link between blood-thinning medication and prostate cancer survival, but experts advise against automatically reaching for the aspirin bottle. (Credit: Dynamic Graphics / Thinkstock)

In a study involving 247 men with metastatic prostate cancer, researchers found that men who took blood-thinning medication in conjunction with chemotherapy survived for an average of almost 21 months, compared to a survival of approximately 17 months for those men who didn’t.The findings, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Symposium on Feb. 14 to 16, were especially surprising to the researchers, who thought that the underlying conditions indicating blood-thinner use (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) might have reduced survival time instead.

Although there are other studies linking blood thinners — including aspirin — to improved survival, researchers say prostate cancer patients shouldn’t start taking them just yet. » Continue Reading


To fight cancer, get screened – regularly

February 22, 2013 | by

One in a series of articles about how to reduce the risk of cancer…

The adage “you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken” rings particularly true for cancers, where early detection means more effective treatments and better survival odds.

Mammograms and other recommended screenings can help catch cancer in its earliest, most treatble stages

Mammograms and other recommended screenings can help catch cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages

However, too many Americans neglect to get these potentially lifesaving tests. According to a 2012 Frontiers in Oncology study surveying more than 170,000 U.S. participants, aside from colorectal cancer screening, Americans fell short of meeting the screening goals set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010  initiative.

The researchers also analyzed a subset of participants who are cancer survivors. Although the survivors had better overall adherence to getting screened regularly, even they did not meet Healthy People 2010 goals for cervical cancer screening.

Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan Chair and Professor of the Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, said Americans should do a better job of getting screened.

“It is the easiest way to catch cancer in its earliest stages, when it is the most curable,” Stein said.

For example, the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with stage I colorectal cancer is 74%, whereas by stage IV the odds drop to a dismal 6%. This drastic decline is also seen in many other cancers.

With this in mind, it should be a no-brainer for everyone to get screened in accordance to current recommended guidelines. According to the American Cancer Society, this includes: » Continue Reading


‘Drug holidays’ might help melanoma, but probably not all cancers

January 10, 2013 | by

Cancer cells can build up a resistance to the drugs commonly used to combat the disease – it’s one of cancer’s many defensive survival mechanisms. In a research letter published Jan. 9 in the journal Nature, however, researchers report that intermittent treatment appears to have helped overcome drug-resistant melanoma in the lab.

The results are promising, but they’re hardly ready for prime-time.

Researchers might overcome drug resistant-melanoma by using intermittent treatment instead of standard treatment.

Researchers might overcome drug resistant-melanoma by using intermittent treatment instead of standard treatment.

Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., City of Hope’s Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan Chair and Professor of the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, is cautious about whether the results — found in mice — will translate into human benefit.

Scientists in the study used mice with a common type of melanoma linked to a mutation in the BRAF gene. More than half of all melanoma patients have a BRAF-mutated cancer. The drug vemurafenib inhibits BRAF proteins, which leads to apoptosis – or natural cell death – of the melanoma. However, the melanoma can develop a resistance to vemurafenib.

Not only do the cancer cells find different ways to survive the lack of BRAF proteins, they also learn to thrive on the drug treatment itself, feeding off of the vemurafenib to continue growing. » Continue Reading


Prostate cancer: The top treatment advances in 2012

December 28, 2012 | by

Advances in prostate cancer treatment probably won’t make most Americans’ list of top 2012 events, but for some men, and their families, such developments stand out among the year’s medical news.

Slide of prostate cancer

Two FDA approvals topped the list of advances in treatment of prostate cancer (shown here via slide) during 2012, one City of Hope expert says.

Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director for clinical research, holds up two 2012 events as being particularly significant in the treatment of prostate cancer. One was  the FDA approval of the drug enzalutamide (Xtandi) for the treatment of men previously treated with the chemotherapy drug taxotere (Docetaxel) .

“This is an excellent drug that works, in summary, by blocking the interaction of testosterone, the male sex hormone, with the androgen receptor, which drives the growth and metastasis of prostate cancer cell,” says Stein, the Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan chair and professor of the Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research. “Enzalutamide has been shown to prolong median life expectancy by approximately 5 months, and is very well-tolerated by most patients.”  » Continue Reading