Ductal carcinoma in situ is a noninvasive form of breast cancer. Although the condition is not life-threatening in itself, it may increase the chances of developing an invasive form of breast cancer later in life. However, a new study suggests that women who have been treated for ductal carcinoma in situ continue to live as long as other women.
According to the American Cancer Society, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) accounts for approximately 1 in 5 newly diagnosed breast cancers.
DCIS is found in the breast's milk ducts and is deemed "noninvasive" because it does not spread to the rest of the body.
However, there is a risk that DCIS evolves into an invasive form of breast cancer - currently estimated at under 30 percent - which is why the condition is typically treated with surgery or a combination of surgery and radiation therapy.
To eat soy or not: That's the question many U.S. women have been asking. Tofu, miso paste and other soybean-based foods are high-quality sources of protein that are low in calories and saturated fat. And studies have shown that they can help prevent cancer.
Yet many doctors recommend that women who have, or are at risk of developing, a common form of breast cancer called estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer avoid eating soybean-based foods because they contain compounds called isoflavones. Some studies suggest that isoflavones can mimic the hormone estrogen and encourage tumor growth.
Now, in an animal study, researchers at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., have uncovered a possible reason for the apparent Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of soy — how it can both prevent cancer and fuel its spread.
The researchers found that rats that were given soybean isoflavones to eat throughout their lives — in particular, one type of soybean isoflavone called genistein — had improved immunity against cancer. But rats that weren't given the isoflavone until after developing breast cancer didn't have that same immune response to kill cancer cells. Instead, these rats had higher rates of cancer growth and higher rates of recurrence after their tumors were removed.
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified a potential treatment for breast cancer metastasis that, if corroborated, could prove beneficial in many other cancer treatments.
That groundbreaking announcement was made in a paper published Dec. 9 in Nature Communications, a medical journal. However, the study's senior author Dr. Zhenkun Lou cautioned that more research is necessary.
The new Mayo study identifies a possible way to prevent the spread of cancer, called metastasis, typically through the lymph system or bloodstream. Perhaps more significantly, the class of drugs tested by Dr. Lou and his team are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The paper suggests that a key drug target, called CDK 4/6, regulates a cancer metastasis protein, dubbed SNAIL. Dr. Lou's research shows that drugs that inhibit CDK 4/6 could prevent the spread of triple-negative breast cancer.
"Metastasis is a hallmark of cancer and a leading cause of cancer death," Dr. Lou said. "Despite great progress in cancer therapy, the prevention of cancer metastasis is still an unfulfilled challenge."
2 millimeters is enough to guard against recurrences while reducing need for additional surgeries
New surgery guidelines for certain breast cancer patients could reduce both unnecessary surgeries and recurrence rates, three U.S. cancer groups say.
The guideline is for treatment of women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who undergo breast-conserving surgery with whole breast radiation. DCIS is an early stage cancer
"The use of a 2-millimeter margin as the standard for an adequate margin in DCIS treated with whole breast radiation therapy is associated with low rates of recurrence of cancer in the breast and has the potential to decrease re-excision rates, improve cosmetic outcome and decrease health care costs," according to the guideline from the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
"Margins more widely clear than 2 millimeters do not further reduce the rates of recurrence of cancer in the breast and their routine use is not supported by evidence," the guidelines stated.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, affecting women worldwide. Although the survival rate is very high when the disease is discovered early, new research suggests that having a large social network might also affect a person's chances of survival.
Having more social ties may lead to higher survival rates, new study finds.
Breast cancer affects hundreds of thousands of women around the world each year. In the United States alone 246,660 women are estimated to receive a breast cancer diagnosis every year. That is 1 in every 8 women.
Around 40,000 American women die of breast cancer every year. However, breast cancer survival rates look encouraging, especially if the disease is detected early.
Since 1990, breast cancer survival rates have been increasing. Due to better screening practices, increased public awareness and early detection, and improved technology and treatments, mortality in women aged 50 and older has been declining significantly for the past 2 decades.
In the U.S. there are currently over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors.
The one-size-fits-all approach to early stage breast cancer creates a paradox: Millions of dollars are spent on unnecessary surgeries and radiation to treat women with low-risk 'in situ' lesions, an estimated 85% of which would never progress to invasive cancers. Meanwhile, the standard conservative treatment is insufficient for many early-stage tumors that have progressed past the in situ stage and fails to prevent their spread to distant sites in the body.
Now Whitehead Institute researchers have identified SMARCE1, a gene overexpressed in the subset of early-stage cancers that are likely to become aggressively invasive -- making it possible for the first time to distinguish poorly invasive tumors from those that will likely spread and metastasize. With such a biomarker, doctors could better tailor therapies designed to match the behavior of each patient's cancer.
The researchers found that 50 percent of the early-stage cancers with high SMARCE1 expression will metastasize at some point in the 10 to 15 years after their initial diagnosis. "Early-stage cancers are not all the same. Some are destined to go rogue and should be treated from the outset with this understanding in mind," says Whitehead Member Piyush Gupta, who is also an assistant professor of biology at MIT.
Breast cancer begins as anomalous cells that divide out of control, usually in the milk ducts. In almost all cases, a patient does not succumb to the initial cancer but to the secondary tumors after the cancer has spread.