A Sisterhood unparalleled by any other
Women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by not taking combination estrogen/progestin hormone therapy, not smoking, minimizing their exposure to radiation during CT scans and the like, avoiding weight gain after menopause, cutting back on alcohol, and staying active, a new report says.
Researchers at a commercial DNA testing service say they have found a handful of genes that help determine whether a woman spends her life as an A cup or a D.
Those genes might also be tied, they say, to a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
"There are surprising connections between some of the genes involved in determining breast size and the genes involved in breast cancer," lead author Nick Eriksson, a researcher with the California-based personal genomics company 23andMe, told The Huffington Post.
(Source: The Huffington Post)
Human tumors transplanted into laboratory mice disappeared or shrank when scientists treated the animals with a single antibody, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The antibody works by masking a protein flag on cancer cells that protects them from macrophages and other cells in the immune system. The scientists achieved the findings with human breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate cancer samples.
A customized web-based support tool provides customized information on the risks and management of breast cancer. The online decision guide helps a woman make important decisions regarding treatment options and, according to a new study, helps them feel comfortable with their choice.
Researchers discovered the tool was especially helpful for women at high risk of breast cancer, reducing their anxietyand helping them make a decision.
The web-based tool, called the “Guide to Decide,” includes general information about breast cancer and personalized information about an individual woman’s five-year risk of breast cancer. The guide walks women through two medical options to prevent breast cancer: tamoxifen and raloxifene.
Information was tailored to each woman’s age and race, and included information on the benefits and risk of tamoxifen and raloxifene as well as how it would affect the woman’s breast cancer risk.
In the study, researchers looked at post-menopausal women ages 40-74 who were considered at high risk of breast cancer. Of the 1,012 women who participated, 690 were randomly assigned to view the decision guide.
Participants were asked after viewing the guide and again three months later about whether they wanted to receive preventive treatment and how they felt about that decision.
Women who viewed the guide reported significantly less uncertainty when deciding whether to take tamoxifen or raloxifene, and three months later they were more likely to have made a decision.
“Since the decision to use tamoxifen or raloxifene to prevent breast cancer is based on each woman’s preferences, with no single right or wrong answer, the intervention enabled each woman to weigh the relative risks and benefits for herself and make a decision that aligned with her own values and preferences,” said study first author Matthew (Mateo) P. Banegas, M.P.H., M.S., a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington.
“Because the guide was web-based, women could access it in the comfort of their home or preferred setting, at their own pace, and with their family, friends or other support system around. In addition, tailoring the information meant it matched each woman’s circumstances and was much more personal,” said senior author Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D.
Researchers say their next area of study involves looking at preventing information overload — how many risks and benefits can be presented to patients before they are overwhelmed by information and are not able to process it fully.
Now women suffering from breast cancer have a way to improve their overall quality of life.
Researchers show that exercise during cancer treatment helps reduce depression and severe fatigue in women.
"Women who are physically active may also have more confidence in their own ability to continue with family-related, household, work-related, or social activities, which bring meaning and satisfaction to their lives," Jamie M. Stagl, M.S., doctoral student in Clinical Health Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at UM and lead author of the study, said.
"This may lead to appraisals of lower fatigue, heightened quality of life, and less depression."
A team from the University of Miami conducted a study consisting of 240 women recently diagnosed with non-metastatic breast cancer and recruited from four to 10 weeks post-surgery. Participants attended a 10-week, group-based Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management (CBSM) intervention, or a one-day psychoeducation “self-help” comparison group. In addition, researchers monitored the women’s reported physical activity levels.
While these researchers have previously shown that stress management improves breast cancer treatment, the current study reveals that there are additional benefits for women who are also physically active throughout treatment.
"Women who increased the amount of time they spent being physically active between the weeks after surgery and their adjuvant therapy had less ‘fatigue disruption’ ¬— their fatigue did not disrupt their ability to perform everyday activities," Stagl said. "They also showed a decrease in depressed mood and an increase in quality of life."
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a new class of molecular mutation in various forms of breast cancer, a finding that may shed new light on development and growth of different types of breast tumors. Called fusion transcripts, the mutated forms of RNA may also provide a way to identify tumor subtypes and offer new strategies to treat them, investigators say.
Their study, published in the April 15 issue of Cancer Research, is the first to systematically search for fusion genes and fusion transcripts linked to different types of breast tumors.
Oncologists currently recognize three basic types of breast tumors — estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive, HER2-positive, and triple negative.
"But breast cancer is much more complex than indicated by these three subtypes, and one of the challenges of treating the disease is to identify gene markers that predict how a tumor will respond to a specific treatment," says senior investigator Edith Perez, M.D., deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida and director of the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program, which involves researchers at all three Mayo Clinic campuses.
"The discovery of subtype-specific fusion transcripts in breast cancer represents a step in this direction," she says. "Our findings indicate that fusion transcripts are much more common in breast cancer than had been realized. They represent a new class of mutation whose role in breast cancer is not understood at all."
"Fusion transcripts have the power to produce proteins that are relevant to tumor development, growth, and sensitivity to treatment, so we may have a brand new set of genomic changes that may help us understand, and treat, breast cancer in a new way," says E. Aubrey Thompson, Ph.D., professor of Biology at Mayo Clinic’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, and co-director of the Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program.
"This is a novel discovery that will now require additional investigation," he says. "We need to understand what these fusion transcripts and proteins are doing."
Fusion transcripts are created when chromosomes break apart and recombine, an event that commonly occurs in cancer cells. During this process, fusion genes are created when two halves of normal genes become linked. Fusion genes (DNA) create fusion transcripts (RNA), which then produce fusion proteins.
"Mistakes are made," Dr. Thompson says. "That is one of the salient properties of tumor cells, because they are defective in repairing damage to their genes."
"These mutated proteins may have an entirely new, cancer-promoting function, or they may interfere with normal cellular functions."
Fusion transcripts are common in blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Before this discovery, however, few were found in solid cancers such as breast tumors.
Because fusion genes, transcript, and protein are generally found only in tumors, they make ideal biomarkers to identify tumor cells, Dr. Perez says.
Also, proteins produced by fusion transcripts may be relevant to tumor growth, as has been seen in blood cancers and in lung cancer, she says.
"These transcripts may mark regions of localized chromosomal instability that are linked to growth of breast cancer. If we can develop drugs against these transcripts, they will be ideal therapeutic targets," Dr. Perez says. "We have a lot of exciting work to do in the next few years."