Posts tagged ‘lung cancer’
The HER2 protein is most well-known for its link to breast cancer, but it’s tied to a small portion of lung cancers as well. Now researchers have found that drugs that fight HER2-linked breast cancers may be effective against HER2-sensitive lung cancers as well.
The study, published ahead of print on April 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, involved 16 patients diagnosed with Stage IV HER2-mutated nonsmall cell lung cancer. After conventional chemotherapy, the patients were given HER2-targeted drugs — including Herceptin — and were monitored for disease progression. Drugs that target HER2 work by shutting down production of the cancer-promoting protein, which can hit overdrive due to a gene mutation.
The scientists reported that patients on either the HER2-targeted drug afatinib or on Herceptin-based combinations exhibited a disease control rate — either stabilization or partial remission of the disease — of 100 and 93 percent, respectively. Furthermore, those on the HER2-targeted drugs had a median progression-free survival of over five months.
Karen Reckamp, M.D., M.S., co-chair of City of Hope’s Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program, told MedPageToday that, although only 2 percent of patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer are positive for HER2 mutations, the numbers add up. As she pointed out, more than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Continue reading “Drugs for HER2-linked breast cancer may work against lung cancer” »
Small cell lung cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that readily metastasizes to other organs in the body. The disease can be tough to treat, because the cancer cells often develop resistance to the drugs commonly used against them.
Now City of Hope researchers may have found a way to overcome this drug resistance – by using an extract of the milk thistle plant. The plant has long been used as a natural supplement for various conditions, and the latest research opens the door on a powerful new use. Findings from the researchers’ laboratory study were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.
Susan Kane, Ph.D., a professor in City of Hope’s Department of Cancer Biology, and David Sadava, Ph.D., a visiting professor from the Claremont Colleges, compared effects of the extract silibinin on two specific cancer cell lines that have shown resistance to three common chemotherapeutics – etoposide, doxorubicin and vincristine.
Continue reading “Milk thistle extract could help defeat small cell lung cancer” »
Lung cancer screening saves lives — and it can be done in a cost-effective way. Lung cancer specialists have been saying this for years, and the chorus is growing louder.
On the heels of a Cancer study concluding that screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) could save more than 12,000 lives each year — if offered to those eligible under certain broad guidelines — comes this provocative question from a City of Hope expert: What do cars, TVs and lung cancer have in common?
The question — the title of an article on Cancer Network, home of the journal Oncology — is posed by City of Hope’s Frederic Grannis, M.D., a clinical professor in the Department of Surgery. It bears the subhead: “Musings of a Cynical Curmudgeon.”
“Most Americans are aware that technical experts from Consumer Reports magazine consistently rank televisions and automobiles manufactured by Japanese companies higher than their U.S. counterparts, but I believe that neither Consumer Reports nor U.S. physicians — including so-called lung cancer ‘thought leaders’ — understand how much better lung cancer treatment results are in Japan,” Grannis writes. Continue reading “Follow Japan’s lead in screening for lung cancer, expert urges” »
Breakthroughs that help patients don’t happen by accident, not often anyway. Instead, they require painstaking work carefully conducted over time. City of Hope researchers understand this.
They’re currently exploring an array of avenues in their mission to improve care and outcomes. Here’s a look at some of their ongoing research:
T cell immunotherapy for cancer
Under the direction of Stephen J. Forman, M.D., the Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, researchers are studying genetically modified subpopulations of T cells to be used in the treatment of cancer.
Forman’s team has developed a platform for selecting, genetically altering and expanding T cells and now is conducting a clinical trial using this therapy to treat patients undergoing autologous transplant for treatment of recurrent lymphoma. The goal is to introduce a tumor-specific immune response to help reduce the chances of relapse. Continue reading “In pursuit of cancer breakthroughs: A snapshot of current research” »
Lung cancer incidence and deaths have declined in recent years — due to declining tobacco consumption — but lung cancer remains the second most commonly occurring cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. This year, it is expected to kill almost 160,000 Americans.
Tobacco avoidance and smoking cessation are the most effective ways to reduce future lung cancer cases and deaths, but researchers also are assessing whether regular screenings can help by detecting lung cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages.
According to a study published online Feb. 25 in the journal Cancer, the American Cancer Society’s peer-reviewed journal, screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) could save more than 12,000 lives each year if every screening-eligible American received an annual scan. Continue reading “CT scans for lung cancer can save 12,000 lives a year, study says” »
Perhaps we should use additional risk factors – not just the ones currently used – when selecting whom to screen for lung cancer, suggest researchers in a new study.
In research published in the Feb. 21 issue of New England Journal of Medicine, scientists compared the results of two models for lung cancer prediction. One was based on the National Lung Screening Trial, or NLST. The other was based on what’s known as the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, helpfully referred to as PLCO.
NLST had found that screening with low-dose CT was an effective way to reduce lung cancer mortality – and in a cost-effective way. PLCO went a step further in its effort to screen patients, adding level of education, family history of lung cancer and whether the patient had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among other factors.
The researchers compared data from the two trials and found, in short, that the more restrictive criteria would be better at detecting lung cancer without a loss of specificity.
“Because the mortality reduction from CT screening effectiveness did not vary according to lung-cancer risk, it appears that use of the PLCO to select persons for lung-screening programs could potentially be an effective method leading to improved cost-effectiveness of screening with additional deaths from lung cancer prevented,” they concluded.
City of Hope’s Dan Raz, M.D., supports this conclusion, up to a point. As he told MedPage Today: “The way the criteria were established for the NLST was not based on scientific fact. They were trying to come up with criteria that would result in a positive study … and rightfully so.”
But Raz, a proponent of early screening for people at high risk of lung cancer, thinks that the PLCO model is just an “important step. That doesn’t mean that’s where screening should stop.”
Other data might actually be more useful, he says. Like many researchers, he wants to explore that data to create the most effective criteria.
His goal in short: “Screen people more effectively.”
When Bridget Marshall is touring visitors around City of Hope, one of her favorite stops is the Japanese Garden where a waterfall flows under a wooden bridge, sending the water pooling into a tranquil pond populated with koi and turtles.
It’s a sanctuary drenched in metaphor, says Marshall. “The waterfall is the turbulence of life,” she tells visitors, “and the pond is the tranquility in life.”
As a cancer survivor, the Visitor Services associate has felt that turbulence and tranquility in her own life.
In 2006, a routine mammogram at City of Hope revealed that she had stage 1 and stage 2 tumors in her breast. Entering the surreal transition from employee to patient, she came under the care of a team including I. Benjamin Paz, M.D. , vice chair of the Department of Surgery, Thehang Luu, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research, and Eric Radany, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
“When you hear you have cancer, your mind goes into an altered state,” she told an interviewer in 2010. “You can’t think straight. It takes awhile to connect. I remember thinking, ‘How do I tell my mother?’” Continue reading “‘My cancer diagnosis: What I wish I’d known’ – Bridget Marshall” »
Palliative care is often misunderstood by patients – and by physicians. Much too often, it is thought of as end-of-life care, offered in hospices when treatment efforts have been abandoned. In fact, palliative medicine is about helping patients better manage their treatment experience, specifically pain and side effects.
The misconception means that too many patients don’t get the care they need. A new study published online today in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reinforces the benefits of making palliative care an integral part of lung cancer treatment.
Previous studies had established that palliative care does improve patients’ experiences and treatment outcomes. Researchers for the new study wanted to identify what was happening during early palliative care clinics, understand when key issues were addressed during the course of treatment, and compare how physicians and palliative specialists each reacted during these critical time points.
Understanding the key issues discussed, and when they’re discussed, can enable medical experts to create effective guidelines for integrated palliative care in the treatment of cancers and other diseases.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle examined the medical data of 20 randomly-selected lung cancer patients who had received palliative care as part of their treatment. They each analyzed the histories of five patients who survived less than three months, up to six months, up to one year and up to two years. Continue reading “Palliative care can benefit lung cancer treatment, study suggests” »
Lung cancer is a tough disease to treat. Only 18 percent of patients diagnosed with nonsmall cell lung cancer are alive five years after their diagnosis, and only 6 percent of small cell lung cancer patients are alive five years after their diagnosis.
Researchers knew that African-American patients have a higher death rate from lung cancer than white patients. Now they’ve found that, depending on black patients’ neighborhoods, those numbers may be even worse than expected.
On Wednesday, the journal JAMA Surgery published a study by University of Washington researchers who wanted “to examine the relationship between race and lung cancer mortality and the effect of residential segregation in the United States.”
The study found that the lung cancer death rate for black patients rises with the neighborhood’s percentage of African-American residents. On the other hand, segregation was linked in an opposite way to white patients’ death rate. For them, the death rate decreases as the percentage of white residents rises. Continue reading “Segregation linked to mortality in black lung cancer patients” »