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Surgical Biopsy Proves Safe for Selected Late-Stage Lung Cancer Patients

Surgical Biopsy Proves Safe for Selected Late-Stage Lung Cancer Patients | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Researchers at UC Davis have determined that surgical biopsies can be safely performed on select patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer, which should enhance their access to drugs that target specific genetic mutations such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).


"The findings, published in the July issue of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, address a common problem in treatment for advanced lung cancer: insufficient tumor tissue available for molecular analysis, which is required before prescribing targeted therapy."


Editor's note: Surgical biopsies (removal of a small sample of a tumor) are used by doctors to figure out if a patient's tumor has certain genetic mutations. A tumor's genetic mutations can help determine which treatments are most likely to work. Some doctors are reluctant to take surgical biopsies from patients with late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) because of concerns that dangerous complications will arise. But a new study found that, with careful expert review and good surgical approaches, certain late-stage patients can safely have surgical biopsies.

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UC Davis  |  Jun 26, 2014

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Biomarkers Accurately Distinguish Mesothelioma from Non-Cancerous Tissue

Biomarkers Accurately Distinguish Mesothelioma from Non-Cancerous Tissue | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Scientists have identified four biomarkers that may help resolve the difficult differential diagnosis between malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and non-cancerous pleural tissue with reactive mesothelial proliferations (RMPs). This is a frequent differential diagnostic problem in pleural biopsy samples taken from patients with clinical suspicion of MPM. The ability to make more accurate diagnoses earlier may facilitate improved patient outcomes. This new study appears in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics."


Editor's note: Diagnosis of cancer is not always straightforward. New techniques allow doctors to use the molecular/genetic characteristics of a tumor to more quickly and accurately diagnose cancer. In the research described here, scientists identified new molecular characteristics ("biomarkers") that could be used to help identify mesothelioma tumors.

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 6, 2014

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Responses with Crizotinib in MET-Amplified Lung Cancer Show New Targetable Form of Disease

Responses with Crizotinib in MET-Amplified Lung Cancer Show New Targetable Form of Disease | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"In 2011, the drug crizotinib earned accelerated approval by the US FDA to target the subset of advanced non-small cell lung cancers caused by rearrangements of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, and subsequently was granted regular approval in 2013. The drug also has shown dramatic responses in patients whose lung cancers harbored a different molecular abnormality, namely ROS1 gene rearrangements. Previously unreported phase 1 clinical trial results now show that crizotinib may have a third important molecular target. In advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients with intermediate and high amplifications of the MET gene, crizotinib produced either disease stabilization or tumor response. Sixty-seven percent of patients with high MET amplification showed prolonged response to the drug, which lasted from approximately 6 months to nearly 2.5 years."


Editor's note: Crizotinib (aka Xalkori) is a targeted therapy drug that kills cancer cells by targeting certain molecules found in the cells. It was already known that crizotinib works well for some patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose cancer cells have mutations in the ALK gene and in the ROS1 gene; such mutations, or "molecular biomarkers," are detected by a medical procedure known as "molecular testing," or "genetic testing." Now, scientists say that crizotinib may also be effective for patients with advanced NSCLC whose tumors have abnormally high activity of a protein called MET, which can also be detected via molecular testing.

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ScienceDaily  |  May 31, 2014

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Allegro Diagnostics Confirms Clinical Validation of BronchoGen™ Genomic Test for Improved Diagnosis of Lung Cancer in AEGIS-2 Clinical Trial

"Allegro Diagnostics Corp. today announced that the AEGIS-2 clinical trial has met its primary endpoint, demonstrating that the BronchoGen™ genomic test improves the accuracy of lung cancer diagnosis when used in combination with bronchoscopy. BronchoGen is Allegro Diagnostics’ lead genomic test, and it is built upon the company’s molecular testing platform that utilizes gene expression of cytologically normal epithelial cells in the respiratory tract to aid in the diagnosis of lung cancer. Endpoints in the clinical trial include the sensitivity, specificity and negative predictive value of BronchoGen for identifying patients with malignancy. Complete results from the clinical trial will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal."


Editor's note: Molecular testing of patients' tumor biopsies can be a powerful way to improve diagnosis and guide treatment decisions. Learn more about it.

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Business Wire  |  Apr 2, 2014

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Radiation Therapy Can Treat Suspected Lung Cancer Without Biopsy

Radiation Therapy Can Treat Suspected Lung Cancer Without Biopsy | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Some patients with suspected lung cancer cannot undergo a biopsy due to other illnesses or overall frailty; for others, biopsies are performed, but with inconclusive results. For these patients, the diagnosis of lung cancer often rests on strong evidence from computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans. In many of these cases, lung cancer also cannot be treated with surgery. A recent study confirms radiation therapy as a safe and effective method for controlling lung cancer in such patients. Thirty-four patients with unbiopsied lung cancer received stereotaxic body radiation therapy (SBRT). Tumors stopped growing in all patients but 1, shrank in 7 patients, and disappeared entirely in 8 of them. No severe side effects were observed. Another study demonstrated that SBRT, in which focused, high doses of radiation are given over a relatively small number of sessions, is more effective against inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) than traditional, conventionally fractioned radiotherapy (CFR).

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MedPage Today  |  Dec 2, 2013

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Three Metastasis Myths, Debunked

Three Metastasis Myths, Debunked | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Persistent rumors claim that a needle biopsy–a procedure in which a surgeon removes a small part of a suspected tumor using a needle–can cause cancer to spread. However, there is no evidence that this is the case. On the contrary, biopsies often allow early diagnosis and timely treatment of cancers. Likewise, there is no evidence that massage promotes cancer spread. Indeed, massage therapy for cancer patients can reduce pain, muscle tension, mental stress, and nausea. Cancer spread is driven by biological changes inside the cancer cells, not outside mechanical forces like a biopsy needle or a massage. Finally, sugar does not 'feed' cancer. Excess sugar consumption can contribute to obesity, which is associated with increased risk of several cancers, but by itself, sugar does not have any effect on cancer spread.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 2013

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 2013

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 2013

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Few Circulating Cancer Cells Could Cue Risk of Metastases

"A simple noninvasive blood test matched with state-of-the-art molecular imaging of individual cells could help oncologists understand their patients' chances of survival, say researchers. Metastasis accounts for an estimated 90 percent of cancer deaths. For decades, researchers tried to develop a way to gauge a cancer's risk of metastasizing from a blood sample -- the long-sought-after liquid biopsy."

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ScienceDaily | Jun 9, 2014
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ScienceDaily | Jun 9, 2014

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ScienceDaily  |  Jun 9, 2014

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'Liquid Biopsy' Offers New Way to Track Lung Cancer

'Liquid Biopsy' Offers New Way to Track Lung Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Scientists have shown how a lung cancer patient's blood sample could be used to monitor and predict their response to treatment – paving the way for personalised medicine for the disease.


"The recent study, published in the journalNature Medicine, also offers a method to test new therapies in the lab and to better understand how tumours become resistant to drugs.


"Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive disease with poor survival and new treatments are desperately needed. In many cases the tumour is inoperable and biopsies are difficult to obtain, giving scientists few samples with which to study the disease."

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Medical Xpress  |  Jun 3, 2014

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Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer

Sidestepping the Biopsy With New Tools to Spot Cancer | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"For people with cancer or suspected cancer, the biopsy is a necessary evil — an uncomfortable and somewhat risky procedure to extract tissue for diagnosis or analysis.


"Lynn Lewis, a breast cancer patient in Brooklyn, has had her cancer analyzed an easier way: simple blood tests that are being called 'liquid biopsies.'


"Telltale traces of a tumor are often present in the blood. These traces — either intact cancer cells or fragments of tumor DNA — are present in minuscule amounts, but numerous companies are now coming to market with sophisticated tests that can detect and analyze them."

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The New York Times  |  Apr 7, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Apr 7, 2014

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The New York Times  |  Apr 7, 2014

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Oncologists Differ Widely on Offering Cancer Gene Testing, Study Finds

Oncologists Differ Widely on Offering Cancer Gene Testing, Study Finds | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

"Many cancer researchers believe that cutting-edge advances in genomics will pave the way for personalized or "precision" cancer medicine for all patients in the near future. A new study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, however, suggest that not all doctors are ready to embrace tests that look for hundreds of DNA changes in patients' tumor samples, while others plan to offer this type of cancer gene testing to most of their patients. The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


"The wide variation in attitudes was in part determined by physicians' genomic confidence. Physicians who had a lot of confidence in their ability to use and explain genomic findings were more likely to want to prescribe the test and consider using test results when making treatment recommendations. Physicians with lower levels of genomic confidence were more reluctant to offer such testing. These findings are particularly interesting because the survey was carried out at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), which has a comprehensive research program that allows all consenting patients to have tumor testing that could find mutations and other DNA changes that drive their cancer. In some cases those genomic tumor profiles can provide targets for specific drugs known to be effective against particular mutations."


Editor's note: Cancer gene testing, or molecular testing, can be a powerful tool to help guide treatment decisions. Learn more about it.

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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Medical Xpress  |  Mar 24, 2014

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Previously Neglected Lymph Nodes Are Significant in Mesothelioma

To assess cancer stage, that is, how far advanced a cancer is, doctors routinely examine lymph nodes. However, a subset of lymph nodes located between the ribs near the spine, the so-called posterior intercostal lymph nodes, are not usually assessed in cancer staging. In a retrospective study of patients who had undergone surgery for mesothelioma (a type of lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure), researchers found that the cancer had spread to the posterior intercostal lymph nodes in over half of these patients. Patients who had no evidence of cancer in the posterior intercostal lymph nodes lived nearly 2.5 years longer, on average, than those who had. The posterior intercostal lymph nodes appear to be highly significant and should be biopsied routinely in mesothelioma patients.

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Penn Medicine | Oct 28, 2013

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