Most patients who die from cancer do not use hospice at the time of their death, ONS member and oncology nurse researcher Dena D. Shore, PhD, RN, OCN®, CNE, reported in an article published in the December 2023 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON). According to her literature review, cancer-related, ethnic and racial, and geographic disparities are frequently involved in delayed or nonuse of hospice care.
Our gut microbiome—the diverse community of microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, viruses, and eukaryotes such as fungi, that inhabit the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—can affect our entire body’s health. Most people’s microbiomes have a healthy balance of organisms that stay contained in the GI tract because of the lining’s tight epithelial cell junctions. But from the gut, bacteria are capable of generating a range of vitamins, synthesizing amino acids, and breaking down and metabolizing indigestible carbohydrates. And a growing body of evidence—including studies conducted by oncology nurse scientists—is uncovering how the gut microbiome can influence a patient’s response to cancer treatment and their overall outcomes.
In two clinical trials, patients who received fruquintinib (Fruzaqla™) had an overall survival of 7.4 and 9.3 months compared to 4.8 and 6.6 months with placebo, leading to the drug’s November 2023 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for adults with metastatic colorectal cancer who previously received standard chemotherapy and experienced disease progression.
In a clinical trial of 65 patients with metastatic or recurrent Merkel cell carcinoma who had not previously received systemic therapy for advanced disease, treatment with retifanlimab-dlwr (Zynyz™) achieved a 52% overall response rate and 18% complete response rate, leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to grant it accelerated approval in March 2023.
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