Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Weight Gain Associated with TNBC Risk

In a study of postmenopausal women, participants who lost weight had a lower risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer than those who maintained or gained weight. The research was published online in CANCER, a journal of the American Cancer Society.

The findings suggest that weight loss may help lower postmenopausal women’s breast cancer risk. [NOTE: I was postmenopausal and I lost weight right before I was diagnosed with TNBC—both times.]

Although obesity has been strongly related to breast cancer risk, studies examining whether weight loss might reduce postmenopausal women’s risk have provided mixed results. To examine the issue, Rowan Chlebowski, MD, PhD, of the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, and his colleagues analyzed information on 61,335 women participating in the World Health Initiative Observational Study who had no prior breast cancer and had normal mammogram results. The women’s body weight, height, and body mass index were assessed at the start of the study and again 3 years later. 

During an average follow-up of 11.4 years, there were 3,061 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed. Women with weight loss at 5 percent or more had a 12 percent lower breast cancer risk compared with stable weight women, with no interaction by body mass index. Weight gain of 5 percent or more was associated with a 54 percent higher incidence of triple negative breast cancer.

“Our study indicates that moderate, relatively short-term weight reduction was associated with a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women,” said Dr. Chlebowski. “These are observational results, but they are also supported by randomized clinical trial evidence from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial where, in a randomized clinical trial setting, adopting a low-fat dietary pattern that was associated with a similar magnitude of weight loss resulted in a significant improvement in breast cancer overall survival. These findings, taken together, provide strong correlative evidence that a modest weight loss program can impact breast cancer.”

Friday, October 5, 2018

Nanoparticles Improve TNBC treatment

The chemotherapy drug doxorubicin encapsulated in nanoparticles an be especially effective in treating triple-negative breast cancer, according to a study published in Precision Nanomedicine.   
Researchers found that increased cell kill in triple-negative breast cancer cells was associated with the smallest size of nanoparticles and the slowest release of doxorubicin.
"Nanomedicine is a very exciting avenue in modern drug development," said Adam Friedman, MD, director of the Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic at GW Cancer Center, professor of dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and senior author of the study. "Nanotechnology offers many benefits, including the ability to purposefully customize your drug or diagnostic at the atomic scale, enhancing its ability to interact with its biological target and improve outcomes and potentially safety."
Friedman acknowledges that this study is an initial step, but it "provides clues for new potential strategies utilizing and manipulating nanotechnology to overcome cancer cell drug resistance. We have our work cut out for us, but this study shows that we are moving in the right direction."

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Eating Bacon Might Increase Your Breast Cancer Risk

A new study in the International Journal of Cancer reviewed previous research on the link between meat consumption and breast cancer risk and concluded that processed meat increases your breast cancer risk significantly. This includes bacon, ham,  sausage, hot dogs, salami, and beef jerky.

Researchers found that eating processed meat was associated with a 9% higher breast cancer risk. Interestingly, they found no significant association between red (unprocessed) meat intake and risk of breast cancer. Risk was increased in both ER-negative and ER-positive cancers. Of the 15 studies, two found a greater link between a diet of processed meat and ER-negative cancers.  

"Cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer,” said lead author Dr. Maryam Farvid, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Monday, June 4, 2018

TNBC patients with high T-cell signatures may have higher survival rates

Here’s one way triple-negative cancer works, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center:
Tumor cells reprogram metabolic pathways to gain control over a type of immune cell that allows cancer growth.
Here’s the technical explanation: Myeloid-derived suppressor cells that live in and around a cancerous tumor encourage a stem cell-like growth that’s linked to TNBC. The more of these suppressor cells a patient has, the worse the outcome. This means the patient’s immune system isn’t strong enough to fight against the tumor.
And when there are a large number of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, immunotherapy treatments tend to be ineffective because the immune T-cells that immunotherapy targets are suppressed.
By looking at triple-negative breast cancer cells, researchers found that the metabolic process by which cells break down glucose also regulates the expression of a specific isoform that in turn causes more suppressor cells to develop. The immune system can’t mount enough of an assault on the tumor cells, which translates to poor outcomes in some TNBC patients. 
“We hope that by understanding the biology better, it may lead to new ways to help these patients,” says Weiping Zou, M.D., Ph.D., the Charles B. de Nancrede Professor of Surgery, Pathology, Immunology and Biology at the University of Michigan.
Looking at samples from 250 triple-negative breast cancer patients, researchers found that when the metabolic pathway for glycolysis was enriched, so were the immune suppressor cells — and this linked with worse overall survival. In contrast, tumors with a high T-cell signature exhibited fewer of these suppressor cells and the patients had better outcomes.
The study is published in Cell Metabolism.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What if the news is really bad? What do we want from our doc?

"Doctors still are underprepared for these difficult discussions.
They tend to focus on the disease and not the patient."

Imagine you get the worst news possible: You have late stage cancer. Your doctor lays out the treatment options: chemo, radiation, surgery. You hear lots of numbers, some of them probably related to your prognosis, but you’ve just been told you have cancer. They make no sense. You trust the doc, as do many patients, so you do what the doc tells you. It’s all about a cure.
What if, instead of burying you with data, the doctor instead sat down, looked you in the eye, and clearly and honestly explained your prognosis, then began talking about making you comfortable and giving you the best quality of life possible, but did not promise a cure.
Which doctor would you trust most?  

Monday, January 22, 2018

Breastfeeding Cuts TNBC Risk in Younger Women

Women under the age of 50 who breastfed for at least 24 months over their lifetime had a lower risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer, in a recent large-scale study conducted through multiple breast cancer research organizations. For women with three or more full-term pregnancies, risk increases two-fold if they did not breastfeed or only did so for less than a year. No increase in risk was seen for women who breast-fed for more than a year.  The  study was led by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and epublished ahead of print on January 13 in the International Journal of Cancer.

None of these associations were observed among women age 50 or older.

So, that's why breastfeeding both my kids did not help me. I was 60 at diagnosis.

The study was based on data from 5,669 women who participated in the San Francisco Bay Area Breast Cancer Study, the Northern California site of the Breast Cancer Family Registry, and the Los Angeles County Asian American Breast Cancer Study. Of these, 558 had TNBC.