Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: July 6

Today in breast cancer news, we'll look at a successful study of Afinitor (everolimus) for advanced cancer. We'll also look at recent developments in breast cancer complementary therapies, including vitamin D, acupuncture and tumeric (curcumin).

Positive phase III study results for Afinitor (everolimus)

In a phase III randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study known as BOLERO-2, Afinitor (everolimus) plus Aromasin (exemestane) significantly extended progression-free survival for post-menopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer when compared to placebo plus Aromasin. The study was halted when its goals were reached ahead of schedule. According to a statement from Novartis published in Reuters, the results suggest that the Afinitor/Aromasin combination "has the potential to extend the time until chemotherapy is needed for these patients." The results will be presented at a future medical conference. Regulatory submissions are planned by the end of 2011. Marketing approval is possible in early 2012. For more details, please see the link to the RTT News story on the Afinitor page of our site.

Vitamin D for aromatase inhibitor induced bone loss

Looking at the vitamin D page of our website, most studies this year involve breast cancer risk or prognosis. The June 21 Breast Cancer Research and Treatment study is different. As explained in a July 5 Internal Medicine News story, which can be found under the vitamin D page News tab, aromatase inhibitor induced bone loss was "significantly slowed with increasing supplements of vitamin D." "The magnitude of bone-loss prevention correlated with incremental increases" in serum vitamin D concentrations. According to the Internal Medicine News story,

The findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation at doses higher than standard of 400 to 800 IU/day might be useful to minimize bone loss in women starting out on aromatase inhibitors and who are not eligible for bisphosphonate therapy according to current guidelines.

Acupuncture for breast cancer fatigue

Looking at the acupuncture page of our website, acupuncture has been studied for breast cancer related joint pain, hot flashes and lymphedema. According to the latest study, published on June 25 in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, acupuncture may also be useful to treat breast cancer fatigue. Although it was a small study due to recruitment problems, education on exercise and nutrition plus acupuncture seemed to reduce fatigue. Researchers concluded that the "very promising effect" warrants larger studies to confirm the findings.

Another tumeric (curcumin) study on cancer cells

Breast cancer patients are often interested in tumeric (curcumin) as a complementary therapy. Unfortunately, as our curcumin page shows, there haven't been any significant studies in humans. (There was one promising phase I French study in January 2010.) However, several studies on breast cancer cells have demonstrated anti-cancer activity. Curcumin has been tested as a chemosensitiser or radiotherapy sensitiser to make chemotherapy and radition more effective. The latest study from Germany, dated June 26, demonstrated curcumin's effect on cell growth and survival factors. We'll continue to follow developments in curcumin research and hope to see advanced trials in humans someday soon.

Please check back tomorrow for more breast cancer news and research updates. Until then, all breast cancer news and research for any test or treatment option, including complementary therapies, may be found on our website anytime. We update content daily.

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