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Surgery beats chemotherapy for tongue cancer
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/27/2013) - Patients with tongue cancer who started their treatment with a course of chemotherapy fared significantly worse than patients who received surgery first, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. This is contrary to protocols for larynx cancer, in which a single dose of chemotherapy helps determine which patients fare better with chemotherapy and radiation and which patients should elect for surgery. In larynx cancer, this approach, which was pioneered and extensively researched at U-M, has led to better patient survival and functional outcomes. But this new study, which appears in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, describes a clear failure.

Study identifies potential therapeutic target for incurable, rare type of soft-tissue cancer
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/27/2013) - In a study published online in Cell Reports, scientists from the UT Southwestern Medical Center (home of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center) found that inhibiting the action of a protein called BRD4 caused cancer cells to die in a mouse model of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). MPNSTs are highly aggressive sarcomas that form around nerves. These tumors can develop sporadically, but about half of cases are in patients with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) that affects 1 in 3,500 people.

Gene therapy method targets tumor blood vessels
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/24/2013) - Working in mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (home of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center) report developing a gene delivery method long sought in the field of gene therapy: a deactivated virus carrying a gene of interest that can be injected into the bloodstream and make its way to the right cells. In this early proof-of-concept study, the scientists have shown that they can target tumor blood vessels in mice without affecting healthy tissues.

Breast cancer patients experience fewer side effects from anticancer drug when receiving acupuncture
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/24/2013) - A new analysis by researchers from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center has found that both real and sham acupuncture treatments may help alleviate side effects of drugs commonly used to treat breast cancer. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings may help clinicians improve care for cancer patients. The results also raise the question of whether sham acupuncture is truly inert or may, like real acupuncture, have beneficial effects.

University of Colorado researchers find that muscle-invasive and non-muscle invasive bladder cancers arise from different stem cells
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/20/2013) - A Colorado University Cancer Center study published today in the journal Stem Cells shows that progenitor cells that create dangerous, muscle-invasive bladder cancer are different than the progenitor cells that create non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.

Researchers find that Angelina Jolie's preventive mastectomy raised awareness, but not knowledge of breast cancer risk
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/20/2013) - Angelina Jolie heightened awareness about breast cancer when she announced in May 2013 that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy, but a new study by the University of Maryland School of Public Health reveals that despite widespread awareness of Jolie's story, most Americans could not correctly answer questions about breast cancer risk.

Huntsman Cancer Center researchers explore why K-Ras gene mutations prove so deadly in cancer
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/20/2013) - Cells with a mutation in the gene called K-Ras found mostly in cancers with the worst prognoses behave in ways that subvert the normal mechanisms of cell death.

Pain drugs used in prostate gland removal linked to cancer outcome
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/18/2013) - The methods used to anesthetize prostate cancer patients and control pain when their prostate glands are surgically removed for adenocarcinoma may affect their long-term cancer outcomes, a study led by Mayo Clinic has found. Opioids, painkillers commonly given during and after surgery, may suppress the immune system's ability to fight cancer cells. The research suggests that supplementing general anesthesia with a spinal or epidural painkiller before a radical prostatectomy reduces a patient's need for opioids after surgery, and this finding was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence. The findings are published online in the British Journal of Anaesthesia.

Personalized vaccine for most lethal type of brain tumor shows promise
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/17/2013) - Patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) treated with an experimental vaccine made from the patient's own resected tumor tissue showed an improved survival compared with historical patients who received the standard of care alone, according to an analysis of a phase 2 trial of this vaccine that was recently published in the journal Neuro-Oncology and accompanied by an editorial highlighting the importance of the trial. This phase 2 trial, conducted by researchers from the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine and its Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, enrolled 41 adult patients with recurrent tumors between 2007 and 2011.

Additional drug shows promise for women with triple-negative breast cancer
NCI Cancer Center News
(Posted: 12/16/2013) - In a nationwide study of women with triple-negative breast cancer, adding the chemotherapy drug carboplatin or the angiogenesis inhibitor Avastin to standard chemotherapy drugs brought a sharp increase in the number of patients whose tumors shrank away completely, investigators reported at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The study, sponsored by the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, includes authors from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brown University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Mount Sinai Medical Center.

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