Today's breast cancer news update has a little something for everyone. For women in treatment, there's a story on tamoxifen, an overview of DCIS treatment options and an update on a vaccine in development. For women who have completed treatment, there are stories on fatigue and post-trauma survival. Of general interest, there are pieces on the biology of cancer cells and breast cancer statistics in South Chicago.
BREAST CANCER NEWS FOR WOMEN IN TREATMENT
Tamoxifen affected by genetic mutations and anti-depressants
Yesterday, CBS News Miami published a story and video explaining why tamoxifen may not be effective in some women. Mutations in CYP2D6 genes and anti-depressants, such as Zoloft and Prozac, may interfere with tamoxifen metabolism. Interestingly, the story notes that a "hint" that tamoxifen may not be working is the absence of hot flashes.
An overview of DCIS treatment options
In a commentary, "Management of DCIS - A Work in Progress," cancernetwork.com reviewed the latest treatment options for DCIS. In addition to standard options such as breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) or mastectomy, the article addresses prognostic factors and a future role for molecular markers, such as HER2 status.
Plans for phase III vaccine trial make progress
In a GlobeNewswire press release, RXi Pharmaceuticals announced progress in its plans for a phase III trial of its NeuVax vaccine to prevent recurrence in early-stage, node-positive breast cancer with low to intermediate HER2 expression. A principal investigator has been named, conditional site approvals have been received, an organization has been selected to manage international centers and manufacturing approvals have been submitted. The trial is expected to commence in the first half of 2012.
BREAST CANCER NEWS FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE COMPLETED TREATMENT
Stress and growth after the trauma of breast cancer
After the stress of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, some women experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). BreastCancer.org provides an overview of symptoms and management suggestions.
Yesterday, an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer explored studies on "the positive side of trauma and grief." For some women, experiencing a trauma such as breast cancer results in personal growth. The "key quality" for post-traumatic growth appears to be "expressive flexibility," the ability to express or suppress emotions as necessary. Experts caution that it is "bad to expect growth." The last thing patients need is more pressure.
Biofield therapy to treat fatigue in breast cancer survivors
Breast cancer survivors often battle fatigue. HemOnc Today wrote about a recent study in Cancer on the complementary therapy known as biofield healing. Basically, a biofield is believed to be the energy or aura that surrounds a person. In the study, biofield healing and mock healing both significantly reduced fatigue compared to wait-list controls. Only biofield therapy made a significant difference in cortisol slope. Because both biofield and mock therapy improved fatigue, the results may be partially due to "nonspecific factors," such as scheduled rest, touch and clinical intervention. However, because biofield healing had a greater effect on general and mental fatigue, the authors note that further study is warranted.
BREAST CANCER NEWS OF GENERAL INTEREST
How breast cancer cells evade natural killer cells
In a healthy immune system, natural killer (NK) cells exhibit anti-tumor activity. In breast cancer, tumor cells and the surrounding microenvironment develop the ability to escape NK cell antitumor immunity. The biological process is explained in a GEN: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News story on a recent study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Breast cancer mortality rates in South Chicago
Yesterday, a story in the Chicago Sun Times revealed that Chicago's south and southwest side neighborhoods are the "unhealthiest in the city." Those areas had the highest breast cancer mortality rates and few breast health services. Neighborhoods in the north and northwest have more breast health resources and the lowest breast cancer mortality rates. Dr. Bechara Choucair, Chicago's commissioner of health, noted that black women are less likely to get breast cancer, but more likely to die from it. He said the focus "needs to be on making sure black women have more access to mammography, better quality mammography and more timely treatment."
Please check back tomorrow for more breast cancer news highlights from LATESTBreastCancer.com.