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Long or Ultralong Cigarettes Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Long or Ultralong Cigarettes Increase Lung Cancer Risk | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Smokers of long or ultralong cigarettes are at greater risk for lung and oral cancer than smokers of regular and king-size cigarettes, a recent study determined. Researchers analyzed urine tests from over 3,500 smokers and found that those who smoked long or ultralong cigarettes had higher levels of tobacco-related carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Female, black, and older smokers were more likely to smoke long or ultralong cigarettes.

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Medical Xpress | Oct 28, 2013

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New Biomarker May Allow Development of Less Invasive Test for Lung Cancer, New Lung Cancer Treatments

New Biomarker May Allow Development of Less Invasive Test for Lung Cancer, New Lung Cancer Treatments | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

MicroRNAs are small molecules that turn down or switch off other genes and influence a wide range of processes in cells throughout the body. Researchers discovered that the microRNA 4423 (miR-4423) is found in higher levels in cells lining the airways of the lungs than in other parts of the body. But, levels of miR-4423 are lower in lung tumors and in otherwise normal-appearing airway cells of people with lung cancer. Because miR-4423 is found on the surface of the airways, measuring miR-4423 levels may serve as a relatively noninvasive test for lung cancer. Adding miR-4423 back inhibited the growth of lung cancer cells in cell cultures and decreased the size of lung cancer tumors implanted into mice. Increasing miR-4423 levels may therefore also form the basis of future lung cancer treatments.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 25, 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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Cancer Insurance Can Protect Against High Costs of Treatment

Cancer Insurance Can Protect Against High Costs of Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The often enormous costs of cancer treatment can financially ruin patients or lead them to end treatment early. To help control expenditures, the American Cancer Society recommends that people become familiar with the terms of their health insurance policies. In addition to traditional health insurance, some companies offer cancer-care supplemental plans. The initial diagnosis benefit, a lump sum paid out if the enrollee is diagnosed with cancer, helps defray the cost of deductibles early on. Transportation benefits can aid patients who have to travel for their treatment. However, cancer-care supplemental plans need to be set up as a protective measure; people usually cannot enroll in them after having been diagnosed with cancer.

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Tahlequah Daily Press | Oct 23, 2013

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Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 25, 2013 4:31 PM

Tahlequah Daily Press | Oct 23, 2013

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Tahlequah Daily Press | Oct 23, 2013

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Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Benefits and Concerns

Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Benefits and Concerns | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Policymakers and regulatory agencies are increasingly pushing for more public access to clinical trial information. Requiring clinical trial sponsors to be more transparent about their findings would provide greater accountability and discourage unethical trial practices, suppression or selective reporting of results, or misleading analyses. Data sharing would also prevent unnecessary duplication of studies. However, disclosing clinical trial data also risks compromising the privacy of trial participants. Moreover, making a sponsor’s trial data freely available could give unfair advantages to competitors, who could potentially use the data without incurring the cost of producing it. This may discourage companies from performing trials altogether. Clinical trial data sharing therefore needs to incorporate reasonable safeguards for participant privacy and companies’ intellectual property.

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New England Journal of Medicine | Oct 21, 2013

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Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 30, 2013 3:58 PM

New England Journal of Medicine | Oct 21, 2013

Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 30, 2013 3:58 PM

New England Journal of Medicine | Oct 21, 2013

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U.S. Doctors Begin to Question High Cost of Cancer Medicines

U.S. Doctors Begin to Question High Cost of Cancer Medicines | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Cancer drug prices have risen dramatically since the early 2000s, especially in the U.S. Some doctors are beginning to balk at medications that, in some cases, can cost over $10,000 a month and often offer only marginal improvements in survival. Other drugs do produce dramatic increases in life expectancy, but accumulating expenses force patients to stop treatment. Several aspects of the U.S. drug market contribute to high prices, including long patent durations that shield drug makers from competition, and Medicare’s inability to negotiate better prices with drug makers. Health authorities in several other countries have started to refuse coverage for drugs that, in their estimation, do not offer enough benefit to warrant their high cost. Notably, cancer drug prices in those countries are significantly lower than in the U.S. In 2012, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center became the first major U.S. hospital to refuse offering a cancer drug–zif-aflibercept (Zaltrap)–due to price concerns.

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New York Magazine | Oct 20, 2013

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Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 23, 2013 2:03 PM

New York Magazine | Oct 20, 2013

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New York Magazine | Oct 20, 2013

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New Drug May Overcome Resistance to Xalkori

New Drug May Overcome Resistance to Xalkori | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The drug crizotinib (Xalkori) is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations in the ALK gene. However, most patients develop resistance to the drug, usually because of further mutations in the ALK gene. A new ALK inhibitor drug, PF-06463922, may offer a solution. PF-06463922 blocked a variety of Xalkori-resistant mutant versions of ALK in cell cultures, and inhibited the growth of Xalkori-resistant ALK-mutant tumors in mice. PF-06463922 also combated tumor cells driven by mutations in ROS1, a gene closely related to ALK, in mouse models. Like Xalkori, PF-06463922 may therefore also be effective for NSCLC patients with ROS1 mutations. Finally, PF-06463922 was able to penetrate into the brain in multiple animal species–important because lung cancer often spreads to the brain.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 20, 2013

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Doctors Should Discuss Treatment Expenses with Patients

Doctors Should Discuss Treatment Expenses with Patients | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A recent editorial argues that doctors should talk about the issue of cost when discussing treatment options with patients. High out-of-pocket treatment expenses can cause severe financial hardship that may affect patients’ well-being. A study showed that over 60% of patients want to discuss treatment cost with their doctors, yet only 15% do so. Even though patients frequently want to choose the best treatment regardless of expense, sometimes there are viable lower-cost alternatives. Moreover, some patients may indeed be willing to trade potential medical benefits for less financial distress. Finally, even if patients do not change their treatment choices, discussing treatment costs can help them prepare financially for expensive procedures and learn about options for dealing with medical debt.

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HealthDay | Oct 16, 2013

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Blood Biomarkers May Aid Cancer Detection

Blood Biomarkers May Aid Cancer Detection | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A recent study may point the way to a blood test for detecting lung, prostate, and other cancers. Blood levels of a family of molecules called serum-free fatty acids (FFAs) and their breakdown products were one- to six-times higher in patients with lung or prostate cancer than in cancer-free individuals. Once tumors were surgically removed, FFA levels dropped sharply within 24 hours. Measuring FFA levels may therefore also help determine how successful a cancer surgery was and monitor whether cancer is returning. The only blood test currently available for prostate cancer, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, often detects cancer where there is none, leading to unnecessary biopsies and complications. So far there is no blood test for lung cancer.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 15, 2013

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Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 17, 2013 4:36 PM

ScienceDaily | Oct 15, 2013

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Too Little or Too Much: Medication Adherence Problems with Oral Cancer Drugs

Too Little or Too Much: Medication Adherence Problems with Oral Cancer Drugs | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

New cancer drugs that can be taken orally allow patients to take their medication at home, making treatment significantly more convenient. However, moving treatment out of the controlled hospital environment increases the risk of medication mistakes. A review found that 20% to 80% of patients taking oral cancer drugs deviated from the correct dose. Problems included both underadherence (taking less medication than prescribed) and overadherence (taking too much medication). Reasons for overadherence included patients continuing to take their medication during 'rest cycles' intended to be drug-free or overcompensating for missed doses. Under- and overadherence were more likely in patients with complex drug regimens. Overadherence was associated with more side effects, while underadherence decreased side effects, but risked undermining the effectiveness of the cancer treatment.

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MedPage Today | Oct 13, 2013

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Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 15, 2013 2:42 PM

MedPage Today | Oct 13, 2013

Cancer Commons's curator insight, October 15, 2013 2:42 PM

MedPage Today | Oct 13, 2013

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Blogger Offers a Glimpse of Her Cancer Hospital Experience

Blogger Offers a Glimpse of Her Cancer Hospital Experience | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

On her blog, Living with Cancer, Susan Gubar regularly shares her experiences with, and reflections on, her life with ovarian cancer. In her latest post, she offers a frank account of her experiences inside a cancer hospital. While Gubar expresses gratitude for the kindness and competence of the doctors and nurses treating her, she also addresses the frustrating and frightening aspects of hospitalization—from bewildering medical jargon, to invasive procedures, to unappealing hospital food.

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New York Times | Oct 10, 2013

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, October 14, 2013 2:27 PM

Food, language, lighting, wait times, visiting hours...it all matters when someone is hospitalized.  Healthcare professionals and executives who participate in iPEC's (the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching - www.iPECWellbeing.com) programs learn about the six areas of influence and the profound impact they have on our stress levels, personal wellbeing, satisfaction and engagement.  

 

Blogger Susan Gubar's post reminds us that it all matters and the more mindfulness we can bring to healthcare along with aligning the goals (healing & wellbeing) with the tools provided (nourishing, healthy and tasty food, for example), the better the outcome for all.

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NIH Clinical Trials Severely Limited by U.S. Government Shutdown

NIH Clinical Trials Severely Limited by U.S. Government Shutdown | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. national medical research agency, continue to enroll patients despite the U.S. government shutdown, but the scope and pace of enrollments have been drastically reduced. More than 13,000 NIH employees, about three-quarters of its workforce, have been forced to take unpaid leave. As a result, in the week since the shutdown, only 12 new participants were admitted to existing trials, compared to around 200 in a typical week. Only patients in imminent danger of dying are being enrolled, most of them cancer patients. No new trials are being started, and at least seven studies have been delayed since the shutdown began.

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New York Times | Oct 9, 2013

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Chemotherapy Associated with Longer Survival in Elderly Patients with SCLC

Chemotherapy Associated with Longer Survival in Elderly Patients with SCLC | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Although it is generally accepted that chemotherapy can benefit patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), the value of chemotherapy in elderly patients compared to other treatment options is less well-known. A retrospective study analyzing over 10,000 medical records of SCLC patients aged 65 years or older found that those who had received chemotherapy survived on average 6.5 months longer. However, only around two-thirds of elderly patients had been treated with chemotherapy. Older patients were less likely to be given chemotherapy, even though the survival benefits of chemotherapy were seen even in patients over the age of 80 years. Other treatments, such as radiation or surgery, were also linked to longer survival.

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Healio | Oct 1, 2013

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Genetic Mutation May Offer New Treatment Target for Some Lung Cancers

Genetic Mutation May Offer New Treatment Target for Some Lung Cancers | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

DNA analyses of lung adenocarcinomas, a type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), found that some tumors contain a kind of mutation called a gene fusion in a gene called NTRK1. The mutation consists of NTRK1, which is involved in cell growth, merging with a different gene. As a result, the gene’s product, a protein called TRKA, is continuously 'switched on,' independent of the signals that normally activate it. Treating cell cultures of lung cancer cells containing the NTRK1 gene fusion with TRKA inhibitors suppressed their growth. Patients with gene fusions in another gene, ALK, experience tumor shrinkage in response to treatment with the ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori). Similarly, TRKA inhibitors may act as targeted therapies for lung adenocarcinoma patients with NTRK1 mutations.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 27, 2013

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Experts Suggest Ways to Increase Cancer Patient Participation in Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are the cornerstone of developing better cancer care. However, less than 5% of cancer patients participate in clinical trials. A recent meeting of cancer experts developed a list of recommendations for increasing clinical trial enrollment. Strategies at the patient and community level include involving patient advocates and community leaders in clinical trial recruitment, simplifying patient consent forms, and providing interpreters. At the physician level, electronic registries may help keep doctors informed about the availability of clinical trials for their patients. Doctors must also work on speaking to their patients about clinical trials in culturally sensitive ways. Finally, at the level of organizations that initiate clinical trials, institutions need to become more efficient about opening and conducting trials.

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Medscape | Oct 25, 2013

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Medscape | Oct 25, 2013

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Medscape | Oct 25, 2013

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Diabetes Drug Glucophage May Make Radiation Therapy More Effective

Diabetes Drug Glucophage May Make Radiation Therapy More Effective | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Past studies have suggested that the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) may make lung cancer tumors more susceptible to radiation, and therefore make radiation therapy more effective. Researchers therefore analyzed the medical records of patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had been treated with radiation and chemotherapy. Sixteen of these patients had been taking Glucophage at the time. All of the Glucophage-treated patients are still alive and the cancer has returned in only two so far (an average of 10.4 months after the treatment)–better outcomes than what was seen in the patients who were not on Glucophage. Glucophage also made tumors more sensitive to radiation treatment in a mouse model of lung cancer.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 23, 2013

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Internet Use Linked to Cancer-Preventive Behaviors in Older Adults

Internet Use Linked to Cancer-Preventive Behaviors in Older Adults | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

A UK survey found that older individuals who use the Internet are more likely to engage in cancer-preventive behaviors. Adults aged 50 years and older who were regular Internet users were 50% more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than non-users. They were also more physically active, smoked less, and ate more fruits and vegetables. Younger, wealthier, and more educated respondents were more likely to use the Internet, and fewer women and non-white survey participants used the Internet. However, the link between Internet use and cancer-preventive behaviors remained even after controlling for these factors. Given the apparent beneficial influence of Internet use on cancer outcomes, the survey’s authors urge policymakers to promote better Internet access for currently underserved demographics.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 22, 2013

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ScienceDaily | Oct 22, 2013

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ScienceDaily | Oct 22, 2013

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Alimta Offers Only Limited Advantage in Lung Cancer Study

The recent PointBreak clinical trial compared two treatment regimens for non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Previously untreated patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC received initial treatment with carboplatin (Paraplatin), bevacizumab (Avastin), and either pemetrexed (Alimta) or paclitaxel (Taxol/Abraxane). The Alimta-treated group was then given maintenance treatment with Alimta and Avastin, while the other patients received Avastin only. Alimta treatment was associated with slightly longer times until the cancer progressed again (average 6.0 months, compared to 5.6 in the Alimta-free regimen). However, overall survival did not differ between the groups. The two regimens differed in what specific side effect were most common, but had similar overall toxicities and were generally tolerable.

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MedPage Today | Oct 21, 2013

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New Drug May Offer Option for Lung Cancer Patients Resistant to Tarceva/Iressa

New Drug May Offer Option for Lung Cancer Patients Resistant to Tarceva/Iressa | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Drugs known as EGFR inhibitors—like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa)—are used to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with so-called 'activating mutations' in the EGFR gene. Unfortunately, drug resistance develops relatively quickly in most patients. Resistance is often due to additional EGFR mutations, so-called 'resistance mutations,' such as EGFR T790M. Researcher have developed a new EGFR inhibitor, AZD9291, which targets both activating and resistance mutant forms of EGFR. AZD9291 inhibited the growth of EGFR-mutant NSCLC cell cultures and eradicated lung cancer tumors with either activating or resistance mutations in mice. Because AZD9291 is less active against normal, non-mutant EGFR, it may have fewer side effects than other EGFR inhibitors. Initial tests of AZD9291 in patients have been promising.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 20, 2013

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Researchers Identify Genetic Mutations That Occur Across Cancer Types

Researchers Identify Genetic Mutations That Occur Across Cancer Types | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

By analyzing the genetic profiles of thousands of tumors from 12 major cancer types, researchers have identified over 100 genes that are frequently mutated in a variety of cancers. While some mutations were specific for certain cancer types, many occurred in different, apparently unrelated cancers. Most tumors had between two and six mutations in genes that drive cancer, suggesting that a relatively small number of mutations in key genes is enough to produce cancer. Researchers also found that mutations in some genes predicted poorer outcomes, while others were associated with better prognoses. Such analyses may eventually lead to the development of a single, inclusive diagnostic test that assesses all relevant mutations for all cancer types.

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ScienceDaily | Oct 16, 2013

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New Blood Test Distinguishes Between Benign and Cancerous Lung Growths

New Blood Test Distinguishes Between Benign and Cancerous Lung Growths | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Nodules (small, round growths) on the lung can be a sign of developing lung cancer; other times, they can be harmless. Distinguishing between these two possibilities currently requires invasive–and potentially dangerous–biopsies or surgery. A new blood test may help doctors determine the likelihood of a patient’s lung nodules being cancerous and warranting further follow-up. Instead of focusing on a single biomarker, the test measures relative levels of several 'cooperative' proteins that interact to influence cell growth and lung inflammation and play a role in lung cancer. In a study, the test was more than 90% accurate in detecting whether or not lung nodules were harmless.

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Medical Xpress | Oct 16, 2013

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Immunotherapy Promises Breakthroughs in Cancer Treatment

Immunotherapy Promises Breakthroughs in Cancer Treatment | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Researchers have begun to identify the mechanisms that tumors use to protect themselves from the body’s immune system. Disrupting these mechanisms frees the immune system to attack the cancer, offering the hope of effective therapies for otherwise hard-to-treat cancers. Among the first such treatments is ipilimumab (Yervoy), which was approved for treatment of melanoma in 2011. Additional immunotherapy drugs are currently under investigation for lung cancer treatment. Overall, these drugs produce modest increases in average survival. However, some patients respond dramatically: 20% of melanoma patients treated with Yervoy in a clinical trial are still alive up to 10 years later. In others, immunotherapy can cause the immune system to attack healthy cells also, leading to dangerous or even fatal reactions. Further research aims to uncover the reasons behind these different responses.

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New York Times | Oct 14, 2013

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New York Times | Oct 14, 2013

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Online Forums Offer Unique Resource to Cancer Patients, Researchers

Online Forums Offer Unique Resource to Cancer Patients, Researchers | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and online discussion forums, have become important resources for cancer patients. These platforms also offer cancer researchers valuable insight into how patients are affected by cancer and cancer treatments. A recent study analyzed threads discussing treatment on online colorectal cancer forums. The most common themes were side effects, treatment response, and impact on patients’ lives and emotions. While many patients expressed anxiety about their treatment, often due to uncertainty about effectiveness and risks, they noted that lack of treatment would cause even greater anxiety. The most frequently expressed emotions were hope and appreciation for treatment. These narratives show that the impact of cancer treatment goes beyond efficacy and toxicity, and illustrate its effect on the emotional wellbeing of patients.

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Medical News Today | Oct 11, 2013

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Tambre Leighn's curator insight, October 14, 2013 2:29 PM

The power of social media, technology and the epatient and health advocates can be the catalyst for change inspired by those with first hand experience inside a system that often isn't working at its highest potential.

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Effect of New Lung Cancer Drug Depends on MET Protein Expression Levels

Effect of New Lung Cancer Drug Depends on MET Protein Expression Levels | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

The cell protein MET is overexpressed in more than half of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. MET overexpression is associated with worse prognoses and plays a role in drug resistance to EGFR inhibitors like erlotinib (Tarceva). A recent clinical trial examined the effects of onartuzumab, which inhibits MET function, on recurrent NSCLC. Patients received either onartuzumab and Tarceva or Tarceva only. In patients who overexpressed MET, adding onartuzumab increased the time until cancer progression and prolonged overall survival. In contrast, in patients without MET overexpression, adding onartuzumab worsened outcomes. This finding highlights the importance of diagnostic testing in choosing the best cancer treatment. A clinical trial investigating the onartuzumab-Tarceva combination in MET-overexpressing patients only is currently enrolling participants.

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ASCO Post | Oct 10, 2013

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Adding Tarceva to Avastin Maintenance Therapy Does Not Increase Lung Cancer Survival

Adding Tarceva to Avastin Maintenance Therapy Does Not Increase Lung Cancer Survival | Lung Cancer Dispatch | Scoop.it

Results from the ATLAS clinical trial indicate that adding erlotinib (Tarceva) to maintenance therapy with bevacizumab (Avastin) does not increase survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients with advanced NSCLC who had been successfully treated with chemotherapy and Avastin received continued treatment with Avastin plus either Tarceva or a placebo. In patients who received both Avastin and Tarceva, the cancer took longer to start progressing again than in the patients given only Avastin (4.8 vs 3.7 mo, on average), but overall survival was not significantly different. Moreover, patients treated with both Tarceva and Avastin experienced more side effects. However, the benefits of added Tarceva were greater in the subgroup of patients with mutations in the EGFR gene.

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MedPage Today | Oct 7, 2013

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