Best of Breast: news for week ending 20 Sept 2013

A summary of the developments in breast cancer research from Google Alerts for the week ending 20 September 2013.

1.  Giving women with breast cancer a shorter course of radiotherapy may be BETTER, study finds

“Women with breast cancer get as much benefit from three weeks of radiotherapy treatment as from the international standard five-week course, research has found.

The latest findings, published in The Lancet Oncology journal, build on results from a five-year trial of radiotherapy given to 4,500 British women after surgery for early breast cancer.

The ten-year follow-up confirms the benefits from the earlier trial, including an unexpected small improvement in survival for those on the short course.

It shows the relapse rates of cancer within the same breast are similar to the international standard course, but with significantly less harm to healthy tissue.”

2.  Mental Fog With Tamoxifen Is Real; Possible Antidote Discovered

– Oh, great.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  I asked my breast surgeon if tamoxifen could cause fatigue, and he said “no”, but google Tamoxifen + fatigue and there is evidence there.  Who knows what else tamoxifen is responsible for?  Why isn’t there a safer alternative?–+Neuroscience)

“A team from the University of Rochester Medical Center has shown scientifically what many women report anecdotally: that the breast cancer drug tamoxifen is toxic to cells of the brain and central nervous system, producing mental fogginess similar to “chemo brain.”

However, in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers also report they’ve discovered an existing drug compound that appears to counteract or rescue brain cells from the adverse effects of the breast cancer drug.

By studying tamoxifen’s impact on central nervous system cell populations and then screening a library of 1,040 compounds already in clinical use or clinical trials, his team identified a substance known as AZD6244, and showed that it essentially eliminated tamoxifen-induced killing of brain cells in mice.”

3.  Gene variations predict breast cancer sleep disturbance

“Researchers have identified cytokine gene variations in women with breast cancer that may help to identify those at increased risk for sleep disturbance following surgery.

They found that variants of three cytokine genes – interleukin-1 receptor 2 (IL1R2), IL13, and nuclear factor kappa beta 2 (NFKB2) – differed significantly between women with high sustained sleep disturbance and those with low sustained sleep disturbance following surgery for breast cancer.”

4.  Young breast cancer patients often overestimate benefit of having healthy breast removed

“Young women with breast cancer often overestimate the odds that cancer will occur in their other, healthy breast, and decide to have the healthy breast surgically removed, a survey conducted by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators indicates. The survey also shows that many patients opt for the procedure—known as a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, or CPM—despite knowing it will be unlikely to improve their chance of survival.”


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