Imaging surveillance is an acceptable alternative to surgical excision in patients with benign papilloma, diagnosed at breast core biopsy without cell abnormalities, a new study shows. The study, conducted at the Breast Health Center of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, included 119 papillomas diagnosed at core biopsy without abnormal cells. Imaging follow-up of a minimum of two years without surgical excision was performed on 66 lesions; no cancer was found in this group, said Jessica Leung, MD, FACR, lead author of the study. Surgical excision was done on the remaining 53 lesions, with 50 of those being benign. Ductal carcinoma in situ was diagnosed in the remaining three lesions, she said. The "histological upgrade rate" (the core biopsy indicated the lesion was benign, but the surgical excision found cancer) was 2.
A pioneering approach to imaging breast cancer in mice has revealed new clues about why the human immune system often fails to attack tumors and keep cancer in check. This observation, by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), may help to reveal new approaches to cancer immunotherapy. Published in the journal Cancer Cell, the work shows that the body's natural defenses trip over themselves on their way to attacking a tumor. The activated immune cells, alerted to the threat of the tumor, should make their way to the site of the cancer and then attack and shrink the tumor. Instead, these immune cells are headed off at the pass. A completely separate set of healthy cells that are already in contact with the tumor effectively establish a defensive perimeter around it.
Scientists from Imperial College London say that women with very high levels of methylation in an area of a gene, known as ATM, had double the risk of going on to develop breast cancer, compared to those without the faulty gene. Their study, which has been published in the journal Cancer Research, found that a woman's risk of breast cancer may be decided several years before the disease develops. Dr James Flanagan say he has uncovered compelling evidence that "epigenetic" gene changes may be linked with breast cancer risk. Flanagan and team examined 640 women with breast cancer and 741 women without (controls) who enrolled in the previous three months. The earliest enrollee joined in 1992. Women donated blood samples every three years before their breast cancer was diagnosed. The aim was to determine whether methylation could predict future cancer risk in women.
Lymph nodes help to fight off infections by producing immune cells and filtering foreign materials from the body, such as bacteria or cancer cells. Thus, one of the first places that cancer cells are found when they leave the primary tumor is in the lymph nodes. The spread of cancer cells to the lymph nodes, lymphatic metastasis, is known to indicate a poor prognosis in many types of cancers; how tumor cells reach the lymph nodes, however, is not well understood. A new study by Dr. Heide Ford and colleagues at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora reveals a mechanism underlying this process in breast cancer. Using mouse models, their team found that a protein called SIX1 is a critical player in early stage metastasis, especially lymphatic metastasis. Their study showed that SIX1 induced expression of another protein called VEGF-C, which stimulated the formation of new lymphatic vessels within and near the primary tumor and lymphatic invasion.
Although cancer recurrence may be the overriding fear for many survivors, nearly half of survivors from a recently presented study died from other conditions. These results indicate survivors could potentially benefit from a more comprehensive, less cancer-focused approach to their health, according to lead researcher Yi Ning, M.D., Sc.D., assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and community health at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and associate research member at VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, Va. Ning presented the results at the AACR Annual Meeting 2012, March 31 - April 4. "We realized that the mortality rates for some types of cancer, such as breast cancer, had declined, " said Ning. "Cancer survivors live much longer than they did several decades ago.