Women's Cancer News
Mar. 5, 2014

Doctor's war on a common surgery — morcellation
The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)
Hooman Noorchashm isn't a gynecologist, but his battle against a common — and potentially dangerous — hysterectomy procedure has triggered a heated debate and yielded changes in how it is done. The Harvard-affiliated cardiothoracic surgeon has by all accounts become the driving force trying to curb morcellation, a procedure that may have spread a dangerous form of uterine cancer in his wife.More

HPV vaccine effective for Danish women
The vaccine against the dreaded human papillomavirus (HPV), which can trigger the development of cervical cancer, has proved effective in Denmark. So concludes a new study of the incidence of cervical precursor lesions in Danish girls and women who have been vaccinated with the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The study is the first of its kind where scientists study the nationwide difference in the incidence of cervical precursor lesions among vaccinated and non-vaccinated women. More

Should pharma be criticized for investing too much in fighting cancer?
Earlier in the year, Helen Thomas of Wall Street Journal wrote on the “Heard on the Street” column about the large and highly concentrated investments that the biopharmaceutical industry is making in oncology research. Citing data from a Barclays analysis, Thomas voiced the following concern. “A question arises over where R&D dollars are being allocated. Barclays says that one-third of spending is going into oncology and inflammation, despite these areas accounting for less than 17 percent of projected revenue. New drugs don’t necessarily cannibalize sales of existing treatments. But if R&D spending is becoming more concentrated, firms may be swapping development risk for commercial and marketing risk.” More

Study: Salvage cytoreductive surgery for patients with recurrent endometrial cancer
7th Space Interactive
Salvage cytoreductive surgery (SCR) has been shown to improve the survival of cancer patients. This study aimed to determine the survival benefits of SCR for recurrent endometrial cancer in Chinese population. The study's conclusion showed optimal SCR and high histology grade are associated with prolonged overall survival for patients with recurrent endometrial cancer.More

Blocking myoferlin gene can reduce breast cancer cell migration
New research suggests that a protein only recently linked to cancer has a significant effect on the risk that breast cancer will spread, and that lowering the protein's level in cell cultures and mice reduces chances for the disease to extend beyond the initial tumor. The team of medical and engineering researchers at The Ohio State University previously determined that modifying a single gene to reduce this protein's level in breast cancer cells lowered the cells' ability to migrate away from the tumor site.More

Double mastectomy halves death risk for women with BRCA-related breast cancer
Women with BRCA-related breast cancer who have a double mastectomy are nearly 50 percent less likely to die of breast cancer within 20 years of diagnosis compared with women who have a single mastectomy, according to a new study. The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest a double mastectomy may be an effective first-line treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation.More

Common cancers evade detection by silencing parts of immune system cells
Health News Digest
Researchers say they have identified a set of genes that appear to predict which tumors can evade detection by the body's immune system, a step that may enable them to eventually target only the patients most likely to respond best to a new class of treatment. Immune therapy for ovarian, breast and colorectal cancer has so far had limited success, primarily because the immune system often can't destroy the cancer cells. In a report published online Feb. 16 in the journal Oncotarget, the research team says it has identified genes that have been repressed through so-called epigenetic changes, which help the cells to evade the immune system. The researchers were able to reverse these epigenetic changes with the use of an FDA-approved drug, forcing the cancer cells out of hiding and potentially making them better targets for the same immune therapy that in the past may have failed.More