The Mystery Of An Old Diabetes Drug That May Reduce Cancer Risk: Research Opens Exciting New Avenues In Cancer Prevention
In 2005, news first broke that researchers in Scotland found unexpectedly low rates of cancer among diabetics taking metformin, a drug commonly prescribed to patients with Type II diabetes. Many follow-up studies reported similar findings, some suggesting as much as a 50-per-cent reduction in risk. How could this anti-diabetic drug reduce the risk of developing cancer and what were the mechanisms involved? In a paper published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, researchers from McGill University and the University of Montreal reported an unexpected finding: they learned that exposure to metformin reduces the cellular mutation rate and the accumulation of DNA damage. It is well known that such mutations are directly involved in carcinogenesis, but lowering cancer risk by inhibiting the mutation rate has never been shown to be feasible.
The latest results on Bayer HealthCare's investigational compound regorafenib (BAY 73-4506) from the international, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III CORRECT (Colorectal cancer treated with regorafenib or place after failure of standard therapy) trial have been announced by Bayer HealthCare. The study, conducted in North America, Europe, Australia, Japan and China enrolled 760 individuals with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), whose disease had progressed during or within 3 months following last administration of approved standard therapies, such as oxaliplatin, bevacizumab and cetuximab, irinotecan, fluropyrimidine, and pantiumumab. Participants were randomized to two groups. One group received regorafenib in addition to best supportive care (BSC), while the other group received placebo in addition to BSC.
Investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center have identified a new genetic signature associated with bile duct cancer, a usually deadly tumor for which effective treatment currently is limited. Their report, which has been published online in The Oncologist, finds that growth-enhancing mutations in two related genes may account for nearly a quarter of bile duct tumors arising within the liver, presenting the possibility that drugs targeting this mutation could represent a new strategy to control tumor growth. "Patients with bile duct cancer have a generally poor prognosis. Most of them are diagnosed with advanced or metastatic disease, so surgical resection is not feasible, " says co-senior author Andrew Zhu, MD, PhD, director of Liver Cancer Research at the MGH Cancer Center.
Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer have been treated with Tykerb (lapatinib) both in combination with herceptin (trastuzumab), and as an alternative single-agent therapy for pre-surgery (neo-adjuvant) chemotherapy. Two new studies on these drugs, one published in The Lancet Oncology and one in The Lancet, have demonstrated that lapatinib appears to be less beneficial than trastuzumab as a single-agent therapy, whilst The Lancet publication reveals that a combination of both drugs seems to be nearly twice as effective as single-agent therapy, even though lapatinib causes more side effects. (HER2), The Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2, is a powerful mediator of cellular growth and proliferation. In approximately 15% of breast tumors, the HER2 gene is amplified with a corresponding over-expression of the HER2 receptor, which is linked to a poor outcome.
UK researchers have found a gene that plays an important part in the development of oesophageal cancer or cancer of the gullet. They announced their news to the press on Thursday. Every year, more than 8, 000 people in the UK discover they have oesophageal cancer, and the rates are going up. The disease is more common in the UK than other European countries. The chances of surviving oesophageal cancer are very slim: only 8% of patients are alive more than 5 years after diagnosis. Unfortunately, scientists know little about how the cancer develops, and there are very few treatments available. Professor David Kelsell from Barts and the London Medical School, Queen Mary, University of London and colleagues from the University of Dundee and the University of Liverpool, studied three families who suffer from a rare heriditary condition called tylosis with oesophageal cancer.