Deregulation and inhibition of the immune system contributes to cancer development. Many therapeutic strategies aim to re-stimulate the immune system to recognize cancer cells and target them for destruction. Researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center report that a dendritic cell vaccine that targets the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells is safe and effectively stimulates the immune system leading to regression of early-stage breast cancer.
For years, cancer patients have expressed concerns, been frustrated by, and even joked about the loss of mental sharpness they sometimes experience before, during, and after treatment. They and their doctors often refer to this mental fog as “chemo brain.” Now, the largest study of chemo brain to date finds that breast cancer patients describe it as a “substantial and pervasive problem” for as long as 6 months after treatment.
Over the last 25 years, the detection and management of breast cancer has changed significantly. A new analysis shows that, over this period, rates of death to breast cancer have fallen in most of the 47 countries examined. However, it also highlights some significant exceptions, particularly in South Korea and parts of Latin America.
By looking at the expression levels of downstream genes of the regulators in breast cancer, investigators at Dartmouth Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC), led by Chao Cheng, PhD, have identified a gene signature in E2F4 that is predictive of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. The findings, published in Breast Cancer Research, define a new opportunity for personalizing medicine for women whose Oncotype DX assay results classify them as of “intermediate-risk for recurrence.” Until now, there has been no standard of care for those with intermediate risk. Results at NCCC support reclassifying 20-30% of those patients as “high-risk for recurrence,” indicating they should receive aggressive follow-up treatment.
The investigators said that improved dialogue can clarify patient/caregiver expectations about disease management and also dispel false beliefs that the principles guiding adjuvant treatment apply similarly to metastatic treatment.
The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, also suggests the vaccine primes patients’ white blood cells to attack tumor cells, slowing down the progression of the cancer.
A report on repeat operations following breast conservation surgery for breast cancer has found that almost a quarter of patients went on to have further surgical intervention. Could the introduction of new guidelines for surgery reduce this number?