Latest research on Cancer | Oncology

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Tumors backfire with chemotherapy

Not all tumors shrink after chemotherapy treatment. In these cases, there is a risk of developing metastatic disease, such that cancer spreads to different parts of the body. Now, researchers have shed light on this process. Using tumor samples, the team discovered that two chemotherapy drugs (paclitaxel and doxorubicin) were responsible for releasing protein-containing exosomes (small vesicles) called annexin-A6 in mammalian tumors.

Exosomes have the ability to travel to various sites where their cargo is released (including annexin-A6). They observed that annexin-A6 stimulated lung cells to release CCL2 by “attracting” immune cells called monocytes. Monocytes are known to facilitate the survival and growth of tumor cells.

Cancer cells are hungry for glucose

To fuel its “uncontrolled” growth, cancer needs energy. In general, cancer cells receive their energy in the form of glucose. According to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, leukemia cells can “reduce” the ability of normal cells to digest glucose, which means they are more accessible to nourish themselves and fuel their own growth.

Leukemic cells can accomplish this in two ways. First, cancer cells trick fat cells into producing more protein (IGFBP1), which makes “normal” cells less sensitive to insulin, meaning they need more insulin to “use” glucose. When the supply of insulin is inadequate, the glucose uptake of normal cells decreases. The second strategy is microbial: it is different in leukemic animals compared to control mice.

Most women with breast cancer do not follow the guidelines for combating fatigue

New women with fatigued breast cancer may not meet recommendations for supportive care, according to research presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Breast Cancer Virtual Meeting 2020 on May 22.

Details of the investigation French researchers followed more than 7,000 women with breast cancer from 26 French cancer centres for at least five years after diagnosis. They found that a third of the patients reported severe fatigue between three and six months after treatment. While 64 per cent of women follow the recommendations for physical activity to facilitate recovery, 36 per cent do not. Patients who do not follow the recommendations for physical activity are more likely to experience prolonged fatigue.

The authors point out why cancer-related fatigue is common and lasts longer in breast cancer survivors. Survivors of severe fatigue and survival may be prevented from returning to normal activities even after they are cancer-free.

If cancer-related fatigue requires further investigation, recommendations related to physical activity, and recommendations for supportive care, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, are available to guide patients through recovery. “The message here is that we must work harder to encourage patients to be active, and even if it seems negative, exercise, not relaxation, can help them overcome fatigue,” says study author Antonio. De Maglio, MD, by Gustav Rousseau, Villejouif, France.

Turns cancer cells into fat cells to stop the spread of cancer

A team at the University of Basel has found a way to trick breast cancer cells into turning them into fat cells. Researchers have been able to convert EMT-derived breast cancer cells into fat cells in the mouse model to prevent disease.

Using samples from murine and human breast cancer, they set out to determine whether it was possible to attack cancer cells therapeutically during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process when the cells were in a highly plastic state. When rosiglitazone was administered to mice in combination with MEK inhibitors, it stimulated the conversion of cancer cells into functional, postmitotic adipocytes (fat cells).

Creatine powers the T-cell fight against cancer

According to research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, creatine acts as a “molecular battery” for immune cells, storing and distributing energy to immune cells, allowing them to fight cancer. This study, carried out using the mouse model, showed that creatine intake is essential for the anticancer activity of CD8T cells.

Mouse genetically modified laboratory models, in which CD8T cells have a defect in a gene called Slack 6A8, which indicates creatine transporter protein molecules. Animals that cannot take creatine are less likely to fight tumors. The team found that additional work indicated that creatine replacement improves the effectiveness of immunotherapy.

Platinum-based chemotherapy benefits some pancreatic cancer patients

According to a study published in Clinical Research on May 22, 2020, people with metastatic pancreatic cancer with specific genetic mutations in DNA repair genes have achieved better outcomes after receiving platinum-based chemotherapy.

Details of the research from researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center examined the relationship between mutations in DNA repair genes known as homologous recombination (HR) genes and clinical outcomes in 262 metastatic pancreatic cancer patients. Overall, the median survival for all patients was 15.5 months. Further analysis showed that patients with HR gene mutations treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy had a longer survival rate than those without mutations with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy: 25.1 months compared to 15,3 months.

Why about 5 to 9 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients have mutations in the HR gene. These genes are valuable biomarkers that can help assess a patient’s response to treatment, the authors said. “Our data support the use of platinum-based chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for patients with defects in several HR genes,” said Eileen O’Reilly, lead author of Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “The results underscore the importance of genetic testing in newly diagnosed patients to improve treatment decisions.”

Cancer-detecting dogs detect lung cancer with 97% accuracy

After eight weeks of training, three Beagles were able to detect blood serum samples taken from patients with malignant lung cancer and healthy controls with 97% accuracy. This double-blind study is the first step in identifying specific biomarkers for non-small cell lung cancer. The team is now working on a second study, this time using the patient’s breath. They hope that the dogs will be able to detect “traces” of lung, lung, breast and colorectal cancer from patient samples. The team hopes that these studies will lead to better cancer detection and diagnosis solutions.

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