Monday, May 30, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: May 29

Happy Memorial Day from We hope everyone is able to enjoy a day with family and friends. We honor those we have lost in service to our country and those we have lost to other battles.

The research world continues to fight breast cancer. Here are today's top breast cancer research developments.

Mepilex Lite dressings for skin reactions to radiation

For women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, a recent randomised trial found that Mepilex Lite dressings significantly reduced the severity of radiation-induced skin reactions when compared to standard aqueous creams. The dressings reduced pain and discomfort and permitted women to wear normal clothing, thereby increasing quality of life.

Three breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) studies

This weekend, we added three studies on breast conserving surgery to our database. All three were from the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics and may be found on the breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) page of our website.

The first, from The Netherlands, found that for patients under 40 with early-stage breast cancer, 10-year overall survival rates were "not impaired" after breast conserving surgery as compared to after mastectomy. In addition, patients with 1 to 3 positive nodes had a better prognosis after breast conserving surgery than after mastectomy.

Researchers from the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program found that women with basal and HER2 molecular subtypes of breast cancer had higher true recurrence rates than others after breast conserving surgery. They concluded that for basal cancers, strategies such as increased boost doses, concomitant radiation and chemotherapy, and/or targeted agents should be explored.

Finally, French researchers concluded that women who had previously received radiation therapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, were still candidates for breast conserving surgery plus radiation, with accommodations to protect heart and lung tissue.

More on cancer cell behavior from the biology labs

Medical News Today covered two discoveries in from the breast cancer biology labs.

The first revealed that in healthy cells, the p53 tumor suppressor can resist signals from defective growth factors and prevent improper cell division for 8 continuous hours. After 8 hours of signals from a growth factor, p53 releases "its grip on the cell's DNA, allowing it to divide." Cancerous cells lack or have defective p53. This understanding of differences between healthy and cancerous cells may lead to "new effective approaches to chemotherapy."

The second study revealed that cancer cells accelerate aging of nearby connective tissue, resulting in inflammation, which provides "fuel" for the tumor to grow or metastasize. This discovery may lead to future treatments involving anti-inflammatory and antioxidant products.

We'll continue to add developments in breast cancer research to our database and website, and highlight new discoveries here. Please stay tuned.

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