Pancreatic Cancer Surveillance Programs Lead to Earlier Diagnoses and Better Outcomes
Most patients at high risk for developing pancreatic cancer whose disease was found while participating in a screening program were diagnosed with early-stage cancers, according to study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Cancer Hits Home for NCI Director Bertagnolli
In a December 2022 statement, Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, National Cancer Institute director, announced that she was diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer and that her prognosis is favorable. She said she is enrolled in a clinical trial centered around her diagnosis to contribute to the cancer knowledge base and advance care.
Aspirin’s Survival Benefits in Advanced CRC Depend on Patient BMI
Regular use of aspirin after an advanced colorectal cancer diagnosis may extend survival by as much as 14 months for patients with a healthy body mass index score prediagnosis compared to those with obese BMIs, researchers reported in JAMA Network Open.
Annual Report to the Nation Says Cancer Deaths Continue Downward Trend
Overall cancer death rates continued to decline from 2015–2019 among men, women, children, adolescents, and young adults in every major racial and ethnic group, according to the October 2022 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. The National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries jointly issue the report each year to monitor cancer trends across society.
Text-Messaging Prescreening Streamlines Treatment Visits and Care for ICI Toxicities
Prescreening patients for immune-related adverse events during treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors using text messaging may reduce the need for some in-person, preinfusion office visits, researchers reported in JAMA Network Open. The approach may help decrease the burden of cancer care for both patients and providers.
Achieve Equity in Patient Communication With These Evidence-Based Approaches
Equalizing the quality of patient-provider communication for Black versus White patients is one way to reduce the systemic racial disparities prevalent in cancer care, researchers reported in study findings published in the November 2022 issue of the Oncology Nursing Forum. They identified critical opportunities for oncology nurses to improve interpersonal communication with Black patients. Nurses are key drivers to affecting change and cancer outcomes for all patients, they reported.
Hispanic Patients Are at Higher Risk for Aggressive Prostate Cancer but Less Likely to Get Treatment
Compared to their non-Hispanic White counterparts, most Hispanic patients with localized prostate cancer are nearly 20% more likely to have aggressive disease, but the risk varies based on their country of origin, researchers reported in study findings published in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. Additionally, they found that the population faces disparities in access to care, with only approximately 60% receiving appropriate treatment.
During or After Chemo, Exercise Fights Fatigue and Supports Cancer Recovery
Patients who engage in physical activity during or after cancer treatment are less fatigued and return to their usual daily activities faster than those who don’t exercise, researchers reported in JACC: CardioOncology. The benefit is highest among patients who are active during treatment but still pronounced for those who resume physical activity after completing treatment.
Rural Patients Who Miss Radiation Doses Are More Likely to Die From Cancer
Regardless of residence, nearly 25% of patients with cancer overall miss at least 10% of the doses in their radiation treatment plans—but the implications on outcomes are far greater for patients living in rural areas than their urban counterparts, according to new research findings published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.
FDA Approves First Adenoviral Vector-Based Gene Therapy for High-Risk, BCG Unresponsive, Non–Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer
On December 16, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved nadofaragene firadenovec-vncg (Adstiladrin®) for adult patients with high-risk, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin unresponsive, carcinoma in situ, non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer with or without papillary tumors.
Chemo Combo May Be a Bladder Cancer Treatment Alternative During BCG Shortage
Overall survival among patients with non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer who are treated with adjuvant gemcitabine and docetaxel is comparable to overall survival for treatment with bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), researchers reported in the Journal of Urology. The evidence could support a treatment alternative for high-risk patients during the BCG shortage.
Modernized Treatment Approaches for Childhood Cancers Are a Result of COG Clinical Trials
Significant progress has been made with childhood cancer, especially with the efforts of Children's Oncology Group (COG), but some areas still need attention, Doug Hawkins, MD, COG chair, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded network of researchers and hospitals, explained in a September 2022 interview with NCI.
Engaging Community Health Workers Reduces Hospitalizations, Increases Psychosocial, Palliative, and EOL Care
Patients with advanced cancer who met with community health workers between their regular cancer care appointments were less likely to require acute care and more likely to participate in advance care planning and receive mental health, palliative, and hospice care, according to study findings published in JAMA Oncology.
NCI Releases Annual Plan and Budget Proposal for 2024
Along with outlining monetary spending for the upcoming years, the National Cancer Institute’s 2024 annual plan and budget proposal highlights areas of opportunity to advance cancer research, Douglas R. Lowy, MD, who was NCI acting director at the time, said in a September 2022 NCI’s director message.
Healthy Lifestyles Reduce Prostate Cancer Mortality in Patients With Genetic Risk
Patients with germline genetic variants that increase their risk of developing prostate cancer have a lower risk of developing lethal disease when following a healthy lifestyle, according to study findings that researchers reported in European Urology.
Monica Bertagnolli Delivers First NCI Director’s Report, Outlines Principles to Evolve Cancer Research
In her first report as National Cancer Institute director, Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, laid out her eight core principles to guide the agency’s work in reformulating clinical trials and strengthening cancer research during the Clinical Trials Advisory Committee meeting in November 2022.
Biomarkers Are Associated With Frailty After Chemo for Breast Cancer
High levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein before chemotherapy for breast cancer may predict a patient’s propensity to develop clinical decline and frailty after treatment, according to study findings that researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Educational Resources Will Help Biomarkers Have Even More Impact
My passion for biomarkers lies in research, specifically clinical trials. The incorporation of biomarkers in oncology clinical trials has been an important advancement in research, and we’ve seen the effect on improving patient outcomes. Identification of pathogenic variants is essential to prescribing personalized therapy for patients with cancer.
Predictive and Diagnostic Biomarkers
Biomarkers, also called molecular markers or signature molecules, can help clinicians characterize alterations in tumors through the detection of specific DNA, RNA, protein, or metabolomic profiles. These pieces of the cancer puzzle are part of precision oncology that the cancer care team can use to assess patients’ cancer risk and prognosis or monitor disease progression. Biomarkers are also a key factor in determining and tailoring treatment methods and their likelihood of success.
Most Lung Cancer Genetic Variants Are Clinically Actionable and All Patients Should Get Biomarker Testing
More than 95% of germline genetic variants identified through genetic testing in patients with lung cancer are potentially clinically actionable, researchers reported in study findings during the 2022 ASCO Plenary Series Program, leading them to recommend testing all patients with the disease.
Researcher Reflects on How Cancer Was Reported on in the Mid-20th Century
Our understanding of cancer has come a great ways over the past few decades, and some of the progress can be traced back to the 1950’s film Challenge: Science Against Cancer, explained David Cantor, PhD, researcher at the Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, Buenos Aires Argentina, adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park, in a July 2022 essay for the National Library of Medicine.
Put Underserved Populations at the Forefront of the Sexual Health Conversation
Cancer and its treatments can affect a patient’s body in many ways, including sexual function. However, the historical evidence base is focused on cisgender men and their sexual health post-cancer treatment, with sexual health of women and LGBTQIA+ patients largely ignored. I, and many others, are working to change these disparities in research and practice.
Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes Activate Immune Response to Metastatic Breast Cancer
More than two-thirds of patients with hormone receptor–positive metastatic breast cancer respond to personalized immunotherapy with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and more than half of those treated experience measurable tumor shrinkage, according to study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Hispanic Patients See Highest Increase Among Uterine Cancer’s Growing Mortality Rate
Racial and ethnic groups are disproportionately affected by the increase in uterine cancer mortality in the United States, researchers explained in study findings published in JAMA Oncology, with Hispanic patients experiencing the highest burden.
As Skin Cancer Screening Increases, Clinicians Find More Thin Melanomas
Although regular population-based skin cancer screening isn’t recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, more Americans are getting full-body skin exams at dermatology visits or other provider services. Data from a new study published in JAMA Dermatology suggest that the screening uptick is associated with increased diagnoses of early-stage, in situ melanoma, leading the researchers to raise concerns about overdiagnosis.
Single HPV Vaccine Dose May Be Enough to Prevent Cancer
In findings that could have global implications to change the face of female cancers, researchers reported that a single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is highly effective in protecting young women against cervical infection with cancer-causing HPV types. The study results, which were published in NEJM Evidence, build on the body of evidence supporting single-dose HPV vaccines.
Cost Can Prevent Patients From Receiving Follow-Up Care, Study Suggests
Financial considerations are notable barriers for patients with cancer receiving follow-up cancer care, according to study findings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program.
Cancer Mortality Declines Among Black Patients but Remains Disproportionately High
Death rates fell about 2% per year from 1999–2019 for Black patients with cancer, researchers reported in study findings published in JAMA Oncology; however, the population’s cancer mortality remains higher than other racial and ethnic groups for most cancer sites.
Biden Cancer Moonshot Relaunch Will “End Cancer as We Know It”
In a clarion call for action seven years ago, President Barack Obama unveiled the Cancer Moonshot during his last State of the Union address. In that speech, Obama recalled, “Last year, Vice President Joe Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control.”
Sexual Minority Populations Are Less Likely to Obtain Cervical Cancer Screenings
Propensity to adhere to cervical cancer screening recommendations varies widely by sexual orientation, researchers reported in study findings published in Cancer. They found that those in sexual minority groups are nearly 50% less likely to have ever undergone a Pap test.
Medicaid Expansion Under Affordable Care Act Reduces Health Disparities in Cancer Survival, New Study Suggests
A greater increase in cancer survivorship may be an outcome from Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to study results published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in May 2022.
Females Are More Likely to Have Severe Cancer Side Effects Than Males
Broad-based sex differences exist in the severity of side effects from cancer and its treatment, with female patients at an overall 34% higher risk for severe symptoms than male patients—and the risk jumps to nearly 50% for immunotherapies, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Nurses Use Innovation to Perform Symptom and Pain Assessments
Symptom and pain assessment tools can measure multiple aspects of a patient’s pain experience in both ambulatory and acute care settings. My interest in symptom assessment began with to my work as an oncology nurse practitioner, when I witnessed how symptom management can make a positive difference in patients’ lives and ability to tolerate cancer treatment.
CDC Reports More Than 1.7 Million New Cancer Cases in 2019
More than 1.7 million new invasive cancer cases were reported in the United States in 2019, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated in June 2022.
CNS Survivorship Needs More Research, Funding, and Training, Expert Panel Says
Access and reimbursement, patient and provider education, core competencies, and survivorship research funding remain critical barriers for primary central nervous system (CNS) cancer survivorship, a team of National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Oncology Network Evaluating Rare CNS Tumors experts reported in a workshop summary published in Neuro-Oncology Advances.
Use of Anxiety and Depression Drugs Linked to Increased PSA Testing
Patients who take anxiety or depression medication are more likely to obtain prostate-specific antigen tests, according to study findings that researchers presented at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
Pediatric Patients With Cancer Are Vulnerable to Sleep Disturbance
Sleep disturbance has a significant impact on quality of life, including mental and physical health and academic, cognitive, and social functioning. It is one of the most common symptoms reported by pediatric patients with cancer and is significantly related to neurocognitive function for survivors.
Childhood Cancer Survivors Have Healthy but Riskier Pregnancies
Babies born to adult survivors of childhood cancers are as healthy as those born to adults without a history of cancer, but survivors have a higher risk of severe complications during pregnancy, researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
FDA Reports Illumina Cybersecurity Vulnerability May Present Risks for Patient Results and Customer Networks
On June 2, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported a cybersecurity vulnerability that affects software in the Illumina NextSeq 550Dx, MiSeqDx, NextSeq 500, NextSeq 550, MiSeq, iSeq, and MiniSeq next generation sequencing instruments. The devices are used in diagnostic (Dx), research-use only (RUO), or dual boot (either Dx or RUO) modes.
Naive T-Cell Depletion Prevents Chronic GVHD in Transplantation Survivors
A novel stem cell transplantation strategy reduces both the incidence and severity of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients with acute leukemia, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The investigational treatment removes naïve T cells from donor cells before transplanting into patients.
Decree Houses ARPA-H Under NIH Oversight
Since President Joe Biden announced the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in October 2021, the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared responsibility for implementing its goals to improve the U.S. government’s ability to speed biomedical and health research. In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially placed the agency under NIH.
Cutaneous Malignancies Have High Response to Oncolytic Virus Plus Immunotherapy
Combination treatment with an oncolytic virus plus a PD-1 inhibitor shows promise in patients with nonmelanoma skin cancers, researchers reported in early study results during the 2022 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium.
Rep. Upton Retires After Leading Historic Cancer Care Legislation
U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) announced that he would not seek another term in the U.S. Congress during his April 2022 House of Representatives floor remarks. In November 2021, Upton and his colleagues introduced the Cures 2.0 Act, which created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (APRA-H) dedicated to finding and researching a cure for cancer.
E-Cigarettes Increase Risk of Lung and Bladder Cancer More Than Traditional Cigarettes
People with a history of e-cigarette use have a higher risk of developing both lung and bladder cancer than never smokers or even users of regular cigarettes, according to study findings researchers reported during the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
Minority Populations Represent Nearly Half of 100,000 Whole Genome Sequences for Researchers Through All of Us
Among the first set of nearly 100,000 whole genome sequences from participant partners in the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) All of Us Research Program, “about half come from people who self-identify with a racial or ethnic minority group,” Joshua Denny, MD, MS, All of Us chief executive officer, and Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, NIH acting director, said. “That’s extremely important because, until now, over 90% of participants in large genomic studies were of European descent. This lack of diversity has had huge impacts—deepening health disparities and hindering scientific discovery from fully benefiting everyone.”