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Research roundup from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center

( CHICAGO -- Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn's Perelman School of Medicine will present results from several clinical trials and other key studies during the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting from May 29 through June 2.

Results of Phase II Trial Show Successful Antitumor Response Rate in Patients with Advanced BRCA-Related Ovarian Cancer

Olaparib, an experimental twice-daily oral cancer drug, produces significant antitumor responses in more than a third of patients with BRCA-related advanced ovarian cancer, including those who previously received multiple rounds of chemotherapy. The new research, presented by Susan M. Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on a specific subgroup of patients from a previously reported phase II study of the drug's efficacy in patients with ovarian cancer. (Abstract # 5529)

The majority of patients in the study (137 of 167) had already received at least two other therapies. Thirty four percent of patients in that group responded to the therapy for at least eight months. Among the 30 patients who had received less prior therapies, 47 percent responded to the treatment.

Based on the data, which also revealed no new side effects, olaparib was approved in December 2014 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in patients no longer responding to conventional therapy.

Domchek will present the team's findings on Saturday, May 30 in the Patient and Survivor Care poster session from 1:15 am to 4:45 pm in McCormick Place S Hall A.

Targeted Therapy Everolimus Shows Promise in Advanced Thyroid Cancer Patients Who Stop Responding to Sorafenib

Treating advanced thyroid cancer patients who progressed on the targeted therapy sorafenib with everolimus stabilized their disease for an average of nearly 14 months, according to new research from a phase II trial being presented by Marcia S. Brose, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery and Hematology/Oncology, and director of Penn's Center for Rare Cancers and Personalized Therapy. (Abstract #6072)

In 2013, sorafenib became the first, FDA-approved drug in 40 years to treat advanced (radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated) thyroid cancer patients who don't respond to standard therapies; however, some patients do not fully respond to the targeted therapy. Some progress in some tumors sites, while stabilizing in others.

This is the first demonstration of how everolimus can be combined safely and at full dose with sorafenib, the authors found, offering a promising second line of treatment to keep the cancer at bay for longer in this patient population. The novel approach may also have implications for other tumor types.

One patient achieved a partial response and 18 patients had stable disease after a six-month follow up. The progression-free survival for the patients on the combination was 13.9 months. No complete responses were observed in the 35 patients enrolled in the study.

Brose will present the team's findings on Saturday, May 30 in the Head and Neck Cancer poster session from 1:15 am to 4:45 pm in McCormick Place S Hall A.

Lenvatinib Improves Overall Survival in Older Advanced Thyroid Cancer Patients

The multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor lenvatinib improved overall survival in older (>65) advanced thyroid cancer patients but not younger patients, according to new research from the SELECT trial to be presented by Marcia S. Brose, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery and Hematology/Oncology, and director of Penn's Center for Rare Cancers and Personalized Therapy. (Abstract #6048)

Patients older than 65 with advanced thyroid cancer on the placebo arm had worse overall survival than younger patients on the same arm, but the effect of age was completely mitigated with lenvatinib, when patients over 65 were treated with the drug.

A total of 261 patients took lenvatinib and 131 took a placebo. The overall survival was 22.1 months in older patients who went on treatment vs. 18.4 on the placebo.

The findings suggest a rationale for treating an older patient population first with lenvatinib, which was recently approved by the FDA to treat advanced thyroid cancer (radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated) patients who fail standard therapies.

This is the first time an improvement in overall survival was demonstrated using a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor in the treatment of a solid tumor, the authors report. Furthermore, this finding suggests that, contrary to current practice in many settings, older patients do better, not worse with treatment.

Brose will present the team's findings on Saturday, May 30 in the Head and Neck Cancer poster session from 1:15 am to 4:45 pm in McCormick Place S Hall A.

Race May be a Predictor of Arm and Shoulder Disability for Breast Cancer Survivors Following Surgery

Race may be an important indicator of arm, shoulder, and hand function in women following breast cancer surgery, radiation or other therapy, according to new research being presented by Lorraine Dean, ScD, an instructor in the department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. The study, which showed black women have both significantly higher BMI and worse functionality in their upper extremity following breast cancer surgery, is the first to use validated tools to assess how race may be associated with the overall function of the upper extremity in this patient population. (Abstract #9569)

The study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire used to assess arm function in breast cancer survivors. Based on the results, the authors suggest more research is needed to determine the relationship between race, BMI and upper extremity disability, and should account for additional factors beyond BMI that may contribute to the relationship between race and disability.

Dean will present the team's findings on Saturday, May 30 in the Patient and Survivor Care poster session from 1:15 am to 4:45 pm in McCormick Place S Hall A.

Only a Fraction of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Are Screened for Genetic Abnormalities at Study Enrollment, Despite Available Tests That Help Guide Treatment

Results from a "Connect CLL Registry" study revealed that a majority of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients are not being genetically screened for abnormalities proven to have prognostic value, according to an abstract to be presented by Anthony Mato, MD, MSCE, director of the Center for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CCCL). Connect CLL is a large, prospective, multicenter registry of almost 1,500 CLL patients. (Abstract #7013)

The analysis found that 58 percent of CLL patients are tested for common genetic abnormalities at study enrollment and that only 28 percent of patients were re-tested for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and cytogenetic testing (CG), which screen for specific chromosomal and genetic abnormalities in CLL patients. Such tests can help inform diagnosis, prognosis and treatments, including choosing immunochemo or kinase inhibitor therapies and stem cell transplants.

Tests were more likely performed at academic medical center sites and in patients over 75 and those with insurance, among other factors, the researchers found. The results indicate a need for increased awareness of the importance of this testing, the authors say.

Mato will present the team's findings on Sunday, May 31 in the Leukemia, Myelodysplasia, and Transplantation poster session from 8 am to 11:30 am in McCormick Place S Hall A.

Financial Toxicity and Cancer Care: Multiple Myeloma Patients Highly Vulnerable

Insured patients with multiple myeloma may be particularly vulnerable to "financial toxicity" because of the higher use of novel therapeutics and extended duration of myeloma treatment, according to an abstract to be presented by Scott Huntington, MD, MPH, a fellow in the division of Hematology/Oncology. (Abstract #6600)

A relatively new term, "financial toxicity" is described as the burden of out-of-pocket costs experienced by patients that can affect their wellbeing and become an adverse event of treatment.

Out of 100 patients who completed a survey at the Abramson Cancer Center, 59 percent labelled multiple myeloma treatment costs as higher than expected and 70 percent indicated at least minor financial burden.

Thirty-six percent reported applying for financial assistance, including 18 percent of patients who reported incomes over $100,000. Use of savings was common (46 percent), 21 percent borrowed money to pay for medications, and 17 percent reported delays in treatments due to costs.

"Additional attention to rising treatment costs and cost-sharing is needed to address the growing evidence of financial toxicity impacting patients with cancer," the authors write.

Huntington will present the team's findings on Monday, June 1 in the Health Services Research and Quality of Care poster session from 1:15 am to 4:45 pm in McCormick Place S Hall A.



Peek eye testing app shown to work as well as charts for visual acuity

An app to test eyesight easily and affordably using a smartphone is as accurate as traditional charts, according to a study published today. Peek (the Portable Eye Examination Kit) is a unique smartphone-based system for comprehensive eye testing anywhere in the world which has been designed and developed by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Strathclyde and the NHS Glasgow Centre for Ophthalmic Research. Globally, 285 million people are visually impaired and 80% have diseases which could be cured or prevented. However, most live in ...

Estimating the global burden of cancer in 2013; 14.9 million new cases worldwide

Researchers from around the world have worked together to try to measure the global burden of cancer and they estimate there were 14.9 million new cases of cancer, 8.2 million deaths and 196.3 million years of a healthy life lost in 2013, according to a Special Communication published online by JAMA Oncology. The Global Burden of Disease study by the Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration group provides a comprehensive assessment of new cancer cases (incidence), and cancer-related death and disability. Researchers relied on cancer registries, vital records, verbal ...

Metformin use associated with reduced risk of developing open-angle glaucoma

Taking the medication metformin hydrochloride was associated with reduced risk of developing the sight-threatening disease open-angle glaucoma in people with diabetes, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology. Medications that mimic caloric restriction such as metformin can reduce the risk of some late age-onset disease. It is unknown whether these caloric mimetic drugs affect the risk of age-associated eye diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract or glaucoma. Researcher Julia E. Richards, Ph.D., of the University of ...

Hearing impairment higher among Hispanic/Latino men, older individuals

Hearing impairment was more prevalent among men and older individuals in a study of U.S. Hispanic/Latino adults, according to a report published online by JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Hearing impairment is a common chronic condition that affects adults. Hearing impairment may lead to lower quality of life and is associated with an increased risk for dementia. Most hearing impairment is undiagnosed and untreated. Karen J. Cruickshanks, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and co-authors determined the prevalence of hearing impairment among Hispanic/Latino ...

Nearly 1 in 7 Hispanic/Latino adults has some hearing loss

This news release is available in Spanish. In the largest study to date of hearing loss among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, researchers have found that nearly 1 in 7 has hearing loss, a number similar to the general population prevalence. The analysis also looked at the differences between subgroups and found that Hispanics of Puerto Rican descent have the highest rate of hearing loss, while Mexican-Americans have the lowest. The study identified several potential risk factors for hearing loss, including age, gender, education level, income, noise exposure, ...

New cancer cases rise globally, but death rates are declining in many countries

SEATTLE -- New cases of virtually all types of cancer are rising in countries globally - regardless of income - but the death rates from cancer are falling in many countries, according to a new analysis of 28 cancer groups in 188 countries. Thanks to prevention and treatment, progress has been made in fighting certain cancers, such as childhood leukemia. But researchers found that of all the cancers studied, there was just one - Hodgkin lymphoma - where the number of new cases dropped between 1990 and 2013. Over the same period, age-standardized death rates for all cancers ...

Walnut twig beetle's origin and spread revealed in genetic studies

Walnut twig beetles origin and spread revealed in genetic studies
DAVIS, Calif. - Even though the walnut twig beetle (WTB) is likely native to Arizona, California, and New Mexico, it has become an invasive pest to economically and ecologically important walnut trees throughout much of the Western and into the Eastern United States. Through genetic testing, researchers from the Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) and partners from the University of California, Riverside and U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection have characterized the beetle's geographic distribution and range expansion. Results were recently published in the ...

Protecting women from multiple sclerosis

CHICAGO --- An innocent mistake made by a graduate student in a Northwestern Medicine lab (she accidentally used male mice instead of female mice during an experiment) has led scientists to a novel discovery that offers new insight into why women are more likely than men to develop autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The finding, detailed in a paper published in The Journal of Immunology, focuses on a type of white blood cell, the innate lymphoid cell, that exhibits different immune activities in males versus females. MS is a disease that affects the ...

Acquiring 'perfect' pitch may be possible for some adults

If you're a musician, this sounds too good to be true: University of Chicago psychologists have been able to train some adults to develop the prized musical ability of absolute pitch, and the training's effects last for months. Absolute pitch, commonly known as "perfect pitch," is the ability to identify a note by hearing it. The ability is considered remarkably rare, estimated to be less than one in 10,000 individuals. It has always been a very desired ability among musicians, especially since several famous composers, including Mozart, reportedly had it. The assumption ...

Ancient DNA may provide clues into how past environments affected ancient populations

AUSTIN, Texas -- A new study by anthropologists from The University of Texas at Austin shows for the first time that epigenetic marks on DNA can be detected in a large number of ancient human remains, which may lead to further understanding about the effects of famine and disease in the ancient world. The field of epigenetics looks at chemical modifications to DNA, known as epigenetic marks, that influence which genes are expressed -- or turned on or off. Some epigenetic marks stay in place throughout a person's life, but others may be added or removed in response to ...


How your brain decides blame and punishment -- and how it can be changed

Uniquely human brain region enables punishment decisions

Pinpointing punishment

Chapman University publishes research on attractiveness and mating

E-cigarettes: Special issue from Nicotine & Tobacco Research

Placental problems in early pregnancy associated with 5-fold increased risk of OB & fetal disorders

UT study: Invasive brood parasites a threat to native bird species

Criminals acquire guns through social connections

Restoring ocean health

Report: Cancer remains leading cause of death in US Hispanics

Twin study suggests genetic factors contribute to insomnia in adults

To be fragrant or not: Why do some male hairstreak butterflies lack scent organs?

International team discovers natural defense against HIV

Bolivian biodiversity observatory takes its first steps

Choice of college major influences lifetime earnings more than simply getting a degree

Dominant strain of drug-resistant MRSA decreases in hospitals, but persists in community

Synthetic biology needs robust safety mechanisms before real world application

US defense agencies increase investment in federal synthetic biology research

Robots help to map England's only deep-water Marine Conservation Zone

Mayo researchers identify protein -- may predict who will respond to PD-1 immunotherapy for melanoma

How much water do US fracking operations really use?

New approach to mammograms could improve reliability

The influence of citizen science grows despite some resistance

Unlocking secrets of how fossils form

What happens on the molecular level when smog gets into the lungs?

Using ultrasound to clean medical instruments

Platinum and iron oxide working together get the job done

Tiny silica particles could be used to repair damaged teeth, research shows

A quantum lab for everyone

No way? Charity's logo may influence perception of food in package

[] Research roundup from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center is a service of DragonFly Company. All Rights Reserved.
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