The 20 to 30 per cent of women with breast cancer in which the tumour’s cells express greater quantities than usual of the protein HER2 — or which express enhanced HER2 — should rejoice in last week’s report in The New England Journal of Medicine. This confirmed that many of these cancers will respond dramatically to Herceptin.
The journal described the drug’s effects as “simply stunning” and said that those who care for patients with HER2-expressing breast cancers should review treatment schedules immediately.
This should remove the objection of some UK authorities who have refused to fund the prescription of Herceptin for women until the cancer is advanced.
HER2-heavy secreting cancers are likely to be more malignant than other breast cancers. They are more likely to be found in younger women and those in whom the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes under the arm when it is first diagnosed, reports Times Online.
Doctors from Montefiore Medical Center in New York say previously inoperable patients can benefit from a process that combines limited surgery to remove most of the tumor and then implants the seeds in the remaining cancer that surgery cannot fix.
Usually the tumors have invaded bones and blood vessels and further surgery is not possible. The radioactive seeds, used in a procedure called brachytherapy, can target the cancer in those places.
The researchers presented their findings at the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology meeting in Denver.
They studied 35 patients, many of whom had successful results from the combination treatment.
Among other encouraging developments:
A study shows fruit and vegetable consumption might be a positive step in fighting off prostate cancer.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine's Department of Urology studied how apigenin a flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables and herbs affected mice with prostate tumors.
The Case team fed the mice apigenin for eight weeks, then implanted the tumor and continued the apigenin treatment.
The team was building off recent studies that said lower cancer risk may be due to the flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables.
They found the tumors' growth slowed and observed none of the side effects commonly found in treatment.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta said his team found apigenin lowered "inflammation and oxidative stress" as well as increasing a protein that fights prostate cancer, informs United Press International.