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Journal Watch

January 15, 2020

New prostate cancer treatment concept

Prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men in the United States, is poorly responsive to immunotherapy. Recent clinical trials have hinted that combining immunotherapy and radiation therapy may be a powerful treatment approach for castration-resistant prostate cancer. Austin Kirschner, MD, PhD, and colleagues combined radiotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibition in a castration-resistant prostate cancer mouse model. They established prostate cancer tumors in two different locations in each mouse, treated the mice with PD-1 or PD-L1-directed immunotherapy and irradiated one of the two tumors. The combined therapy increased median survival 70-130% compared to immunotherapy alone. The findings were reported Aug. 14, 2019, in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.


Men with breast cancer have higher mortality rate

Men with breast cancer are more likely to die than their female counterparts, across all stages of disease, with the disparity persisting even when clinical characteristics, such as cancer types, treatment and access to care are considered, according to a study by Vanderbilt researchers published Sept. 19, 2019, in JAMA Oncology. The persistent disparity, derived from an analysis of data from the National Cancer Database, suggests a possible distinct cancer biology, less effective treatment or compliance issues, and perhaps unhealthy lifestyles among men may be responsible for the lower overall survival rates, said Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, MPH, the study’s senior author.


Potential second-line melanoma treatment identified

A study from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs led by Anna Vilgelm, MD, PhD, and Ann Richmond, PhD, has identified a possible second-line treatment for melanoma patients. The potential treatment would render CDK4/6 inhibitors, a class of drugs prescribed for some breast cancers, also effective against melanoma by combining the inhibitors with MDM2 compounds, which are currently in drug development. Utilizing melanoma patient-derived xenografts in mouse models, Vilgelm and colleagues first uncovered the molecular mechanisms of CDK4/6 resistance and then tested whether the combination therapy would reverse that process. They reported tumor regression in multiple mouse models and in human tumor slice culture assays. The research was published Aug. 14, 2019, in Science Translational Medicine.


High fiber, yogurt diet associated with lower lung cancer risk

A diet high in fiber and yogurt is associated with a reduced risk for lung cancer, according to a study by Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, MPH and colleagues published online   Oct. 24, 2019, in JAMA Oncology. The study is based on an analysis of data from studies involving 1.4 million adults conducted in the United States, Europe and Asia. Those with high yogurt consumption who also were in the group consuming the most fiber had a 33% reduced lung cancer risk compared with those who did not consume yogurt and that were in the group consuming the least fiber.


Study backs genetic testing for all metastatic breast cancer patients

Genetic testing for all metastatic breast cancer patients may be an optimal strategy for identifying additional patients with increased risk as well as response to targeted therapies, according to research by Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, published Sept. 11, 2019, in JAMA Oncology. In the study, 100 patients were tested regardless of whether they met the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. Among the 14 patients who did test positive for a likely pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant, 43% (six patients) did not meet the NCCN guidelines.


Cardiac risk factors with relapsed multiple myeloma therapy

More than half of patients with relapsed multiple myeloma treated with carfilzomib experienced cardiac issues during treatment, according to a multi-institutional study published June 12, 2019, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study recommends that patients undergo a detailed cardiovascular history before being prescribed carfilzomib and then be monitored with natriuretic peptide testing, an indicator for heart failure.