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Articles tagged with: Cancer (see also Leukemia and Breast cancer/breast health) –

New molecular road map for CRC

April 2017—Molecular testing for colorectal cancer is not for the faint of heart. While that’s not news to Stan Hamilton, MD—he’s head, Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and the Frederick F. Becker distinguished chair in cancer research, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center—he was reminded of this fact recently when a friend looked at the multipage molecular pathology report on his own tumor.

In cancer sequencing, a new lingua franca

February 2017—NGS has taken its NBS, or next big step: a newly published joint consensus guideline on how to interpret and report sequence variants in cancer. With these 20 pages of best practices for making next-generation sequencing a regular part of cancer diagnostics, the field is moving, essentially, from frontier town to gated community.

Guidelines reset horizons of molecular testing in NSCLC

February 2017—It doesn’t happen often. But from time to time, says Gene Finley, MD, director of medical oncology at Allegheny Health Network in western Pennsylvania, a patient who is at death’s door will make such a dramatic recovery with therapy that clinicians refer to it as a “Lazarus effect.”

An unusual BRAF mutation in a patient with melanoma

February 2017—An activating BRAF mutation is found in 40 to 60 percent of melanoma patients. BRAF (B-Raf proto-oncogene) encodes a protein-kinase that activates the MAP kinase/ERK signaling pathway, a pathway that regulates cell differentiation, growth, and survival. Another protein, NRAS, normally activates BRAF. A mutated BRAF, however, can act independently of NRAS and skew cell activity toward growth and survival and away from differentiation.

Cracking the many mysteries of HER2 GEA

January 2017—Only a sadist would want to see gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma become as common as breast cancer. GEA wreaks enough destruction already as the fifth (stomach) and eighth (esophageal) most common cancers worldwide.

Highs, lows of immune checkpoint inhibitors

December 2016—Barry Nelson was the first in his cancer patient support group to undergo immunotherapy, which at the time was in a phase one clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As the therapy became available to others in his group, they would ask for his advice on whether to try it. For the answer, he’d suggest they consult with their doctors and pray. He’d add, “I hope if you decide to go with it that you’ll have the same results that I do.”

Lymphoid neoplasms: Steven Swerdlow on classification revisions

December 2016—In his CAP16 talk, “Lymphoma Diagnosis and Classification: My Search for the Holy Grail,” Steven H. Swerdlow, MD, acknowledged that the quest has been long and contentious and the resulting classification complex. Why, he asked, is lymphoma classification so complex? It reflects an explosion of knowledge about the immune system and lymphomas and an increasing number of therapeutic targets requiring increasingly precise diagnoses. In other words, it reflects the complexity of the disease itself. As oncologist Alan C. Aisenberg, MD, PhD, wrote in 1995, “The complexity of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma reflects the complexity of the lymphoid system.”

Big hopes, bigger questions with PD-L1

November 2016—Progress is a complicated minuet. One popular adage talks of “one step forward, two steps back,” which is not only discouraging but, in an even less-gleaming light, happens to be the title of one of Vladimir Lenin’s books, published in 1904. A more optimistic version (and one less centered on the crisis facing communists in turn-of-the-century Russia) suggests advances occur with two steps forward, mitigated by only one step back.

Epi proColon fires up hopes of capturing screening dodgers

November 2016—When a Hollywood producer forecasts box office receipts, or a public health official contemplates action against a deadly but preventable cancer, there’s one hypothetical that might make both shudder: What if you held a screening and nobody came?

Study finds what could be a key to prostate cancer progression

October 2016—The Gleason classification for prostate cancer is by no means going away. But within the Gleason grade, the presence or absence of a DNA-repair gene mutation may signal who is likely to proceed to invasive cancer, says Colin C. Pritchard, MD, PhD, lead author of a study published Aug. 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine.