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Journal Watch

September 30, 2021 | Tom Wilemon

People at high genetic risk for colorectal cancer benefit more from lifestyle changes

People with a high polygenic risk score for colorectal cancer could benefit more by preventing the disease by leading healthy lifestyles than those at lower genetic risk, according to a study by Vanderbilt researchers published in the April issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Analyzing data from participants in the UK Biobank, the researchers estimated that maintaining a healthy lifestyle was associated with a nearly 40% reduction in colorectal cancer risk among those with a high genetic risk of developing the disease. The percentage dropped to only about 25% among people at a low genetic risk for this cancer. People with a high genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle were more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer than those with a low genetic risk and a healthy lifestyle.


Potential booster for immunotherapy melanoma treatment

A team of Vanderbilt researchers has shown in a preclinical study that the investigational drug rigosertib could be a potential booster treatment to elicit response to immunotherapies among melanoma patients. While immune checkpoint blockade therapies are already an established first-line treatment for metastatic melanoma patients, these immunotherapies are effective for about 52% of patients. The team of researchers, utilizing mouse models and patient-derived xenografts, investigated whether rigosertib would enhance response to these immunotherapies. Their study, published June 6 in Molecular Cancer, indicated that rigosertib was well tolerated in mice and inhibited tumor growth by about 50% as a standalone treatment and by about 70% when combined with anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapies.


Patients benefit by scheduling lung screens with mammograms

Women who are longtime smokers could potentially save their lives by undergoing lung screens on the same day they schedule mammograms, according to a study by Vanderbilt researchers published in the Journal of Medical Screening. The researchers reviewed data from 18,040 women who were screened for breast cancer in 2015 at two imaging facilities that also performed lung screenings. Of that number, a confirmed 251 met the guidelines for lung screens, but only 63 of them were also screened for lung cancer by June 2019. Three of the women who underwent lung screening were diagnosed with lung cancer, and none died. Of the 188 women who weren’t screened, seven were later diagnosed with lung cancer — including more advanced stages of the disease — resulting in five deaths.


Analysis reveals macrophages associated with kidney cancer recurrence

A white blood cell, the TREM2/APOE/C1Q-positive macrophage, has been identified as a potential biomarker to predict recurrence of the most common type of kidney cancer and as a possible target for drug development. Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center utilized a relatively new algorithm called MetaVIPER with single-cell RNA sequencing to identify the macrophage associated with clear cell renal carcinoma recurrence. Then, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center validated the findings using a larger tumor dataset. The findings were published May 20 in Cell. About 40% of patients who undergo surgery for clear cell renal carcinoma relapse and develop metastases.


Method proposed to correct long-term survival rates with immunotherapies

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have transformed cancer care to the point where the popular Cox proportional-hazards model provides misleading estimates of the treatment effect, according to a new study published April 15 in JAMA Oncology. The study, “Development and Evaluation of a Method to Correct Misinterpretation of Clinical Trial Results with Long-term Survival,” suggests that some of the published survival data for these immunotherapies should be reanalyzed for potential misinterpretation.