October 28, 2009 -- A clinical trial for women with an aggressive form of metastatic breast cancer is now open at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, and will open soon at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, the only sites in the state to be designated as study locations. The trial features a novel drug that is seen as a significant breakthrough in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer or TNBC.
The hospitals are seeking a limited number of women with TNBC to test an experimental medication, BSI 201, which is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase or PARP inhibitor. PARP is an enzyme that normal cells use to repair DNA when it is damaged. It is thought that cancer cells also use PARP to overcome the effects of chemotherapy, allowing the cells to repair damage from chemotherapy and therefore continue to grow. When used in conjunction with traditional chemotherapeutic drugs that damage the DNA of the cancer cell, this targeted PARP inhibitor selectively blocks a cancer cell's ability to repair itself, thus causing the cancer cell to die. MORE.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Lab tests using cisplatin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide (4HC), and docetaxel against breast tumors showed that cisplatin was most effective against triple negative cancers. In research presented at the 2009 Breast Cancer Symposium of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists:
• ER- breast cancer is more sensitive to cisplatin than ER+ breast cancer.
• ER- breast cancer is more sensitive to cisplatin than ER+ breast cancer.
• Her2- is slightly more sensitive than Her2+
• ER- /Her2- breast cancer is more sensitive than ER-/Her2+.
So, if you add up the negatives, that means that triple negative gets a special boost from cisplatin.
Researchers also noted that breast tumors defined as “poorly-differentiated” are more sensitive to cisplatin than moderate and well- differentiated tumors
The researchers’ conclusion: “Cisplatin is the most active of the four tested drugs in TNBC.”
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have received a two-year, $4.7 million “Grand Opportunities” stimulus grant from the National Institutes of Health to launch a ground-breaking cancer drug discovery program.
The Vanderbilt Molecular Target Discovery and Development Center, a joint effort of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology (VICB) and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, initially will hone in on “triple-negative” breast cancer, a particularly deadly form of the disease.
Researchers will try to identify genes that are the “drivers” for the different subtypes of triple-negative breast cancer, and then fashion drugs to block the action of the proteins encoded by the genes, with the intent of killing the cancer cells.
“The beauty of this approach is that if you end up with drugs at the end of this whole process, you already know which patients should get them,” said VICB director Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., and the grant's principal investigator. More.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Studies have been inconsistent in finding a relationship between Vitamin D and breast cancer. Now, recent research continues this ambiguity. A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research in August 2009 found no association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and levels of Vitamin D, regardless of hormone receptor status, body mass index, postmenopausal hormone therapy, weight gain, season of the year, or calcium intake.
However, researchers did note that:
• the source of Vitamin D might be important, with women who get the vitamin through their diet—in fortified milk or fish, for example—having higher levels circulating in their bodies. Also, dietary Vitamin D is strongly correlated with calcium, which may be effective in fighting breast cancer.
• Women living at northern latitudes—above 37° —get less Vitamin D from the sun and were more likely to have breast cancer than those in southern latitudes. This, however, could be due to chance, researchers say.
Of three previously published studies, two found a relationship between Vitamin D and breast cancer:
• An analysis of 701 cases from the Nurses' Health Study found a 27 percent lower relative risk of breast cancer in women with higher levels of Vitamin D.
• An analysis from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reported a relative risk for fatal breast cancer among women with low levels of Vitamin D.
• Among 1005 postmenopausal cases in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, no association was found between Vitamin D and breast cancer risk.
So, what do we make of this? My conclusion: There is no risk found in taking Vitamin D, so let's make it part of our diet. If there is a chance it helps, why not take it? Dietary sources are better than supplements. The National Institute of Health provides an overview of Vitamin D and provides a list of its sources. The best source: cod liver oil. Sure, it tastes icky, but breast cancer is no picnic either.
NOTE, this study used the terminology serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D or, simplified, 25(OH)D. For clarification of this terminology, check out the Medline Plus Encyclopedia. Basically, the terms refer to the blood test that measures levels of Vitamin D in the blood. The normal range is 30 to 74 nanograms per milliliter.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
According to researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, pathologically complete response (PCR) is a primary factor for cancer survival, regardless of race.
The study consisted of 2,074 patients diagnosed with Stages II and III breast cancer who were treated at the M.D. Anderson between 1994 and 2008. Of these:
• 1,334 (64.3 percent) were white, with a 12.3 percent PCR.
• 302 (14.6 percent) black, with a 12.5 percent PCR.
• 316 (15.2 percent) Hispanic, with a 14.23 percent PCR.
• 122 (5.9 percent) "other" race groups, with a 11.5 percent PCR.
The median age was 50. All received neoadjuvant—before surgery—anthracycline- and taxane-based chemotherapy.
At a follow-up of 30 months, there were 438 recurrences and 327 deaths. The recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were:
• 71percent and 79 percent in whites.
• 60 percent and 57 percent in blacks
• 76 percent and 79 percent in Hispanics
• 75 percent and 84 percent in "other.”
"Our findings confirm pathological complete response is a strong prognostic indicator and a surrogate for good survival, despite a patient's race, and that it's vital we continue to strive towards achieving this milestone for all women with breast cancer," said Mariana Chavez MacGregor, M.D., a medical oncology fellow at M. D. Anderson. "The study also mandates that we continue to research the differences across races in breast cancer."
Read the complete news release here.
The drug Vorinostat prevented the formation of brain metastases of triple negative breast cancer in mice by 62 percent, according to research in the September 29 journal Clinical Cancer Research. The drug crosses the blood-brain barrier, which in the past has been a literal wall to drugs entering the brain, making brain cancer largely untreatable. According to the study’s researchers, from the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, Vorinostat works on both strands of the cancer DNA, slowing the rate of tumor growth. They suggest that it might be an effective cancer fighter in combination with other drugs or radiation.
Source: Palmieri D, Lockman PR, et al. Vorinostat Inhibits Brain Metastatic Colonization in a Model of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and Induces DNA Double-Strand Breaks. Clin Cancer Res. Sept. 29, 2009. Vol.15, No. 19.