Enhancing Chemotherapy and Protecting the Heart

Researchers at the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry have found a way to increase chemotherapy's effectiveness while shielding the heart from its harmful side effects. Many chemotherapeutic drugs, including anthracyclines such as doxorubicin, are known to cause damage to the heart as a result of the activation of p53. This protein fights cancer by inducing apoptosis—programmed cell death—in tumors. However, it also induces apoptosis in other organs, including the heart, whe...
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Chemotherapy Agents Differ in Long-Term Cardiac Risks

​Although anthracyclines—chemotherapeutic agents that are extracted from Streptomyces bacterium—can be highly effective in the fight against various pediatric cancers, they carry a long-term risk of cardiovascular disease that continues to impact patients well into their adult lives. While this much is well known, the impact of specific anthracyclines on cardiac risk has not been adequately studied. In a study published in JAMA Oncology, researchers have now identified the relative long-ter...
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Hypodiploid Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Improving Treatment

Around 2% of all pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have hypodiploid ALL, a high-risk subtype in which leukemic cells have 25 to 44 chromosomes rather than the standard 46. Researchers have now found important clues that can help alter the poor prognosis for this condition. In a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, investigators performed a retrospective study of patients with hypodiploid ALL enrolled in research trials for 16 cooperative study groups ...
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PTUPB: A Key to Hindering Tumor Inflammation

Although chemotherapy is a potent treatment, it sometimes causes dying cancer cells to become inflamed, triggering the growth of more malignant cells. Researchers have discovered a new anti-inflammatory compound that decreases tumor inflammation and reduces cancer growth in ovarian tumors in mice. In these recent developments, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigators discovered that first-line platinum- and taxane-based chemotherapies fuel a macrophage-derived ...
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“Sponge” Absorbs Excess Chemo Drugs to Avoid Side Effects

Chemotherapy can be highly effective at treating cancer, but doctors often cannot prescribe the optimal cancer-killing dose due to systemic toxic side effects. When chemotherapy is administered to a cancerous organ via intra-arterial infusion, 50% to 80% of the drug generally does not remain in that organ. The excess passes on to the veins that drain the organ, entering the circulatory system, where it gets distributed to the rest of the body. Researchers from the University of California, Berke...
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Preventing Chemotherapy-Induced Metastasis in Breast Cancer

Chemotherapy is effective in treating invasive breast cancer. But can it also cause metastasis? Experimental studies in mice have suggested that this may be the case. In a further investigation of this matter, an international team of researchers has shown that two classes of chemotherapy drugs used in neoadjuvant (pre-operative) breast cancer therapy, taxanes and anthracyclines, cause tumors to release extracellular vesicles (EVs) such as exosomes that can enable the seeding and growth of metas...
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Appendix Cancer Model Predicts Efficacy of Chemotherapy

Because appendix cancer is rare, with only 1,000 people diagnosed in the United States every year, it is not as well understood as more common tumor types. That might change with the development of a patient-specific organoid model of the appendix which allows physicians to predict the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments prior to beginning them. Since every patient responds differently to treatment, this model, created by scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) ...
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Antiemetic Guideline Adherence: Challenges and Opportunities for Oncology Nurses With Rebecca Clark-Snow, RN, BSN, OCN

The introduction of effective antiemetic regimens in recent years has led many clinicians to assume that CINV is no longer a major problem. However, nausea and vomiting are frequent complications of cancer treatment, occurring in up to 80% of patients receiving chemotherapy. Although CINV can be prevented in most patients with the use of guideline-recommended antiemetic regimens, Rebecca Clark-Snow, RN, BSN, OCN and colleagues (2018) recently revealed low adherence to antiemetic guidelines among...
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Therapeutic Target Identified in Chemo Brain

Chemotherapy is a life-saving treatment for many patients with cancer. However, it can also leave patients with lasting neurological deficits through a condition commonly known as "chemo brain." "It's wonderful that they're alive, but their quality of life is really suffering," commented Erin Gibson, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine. "If we can do anything to improve that, there is a huge population that could benefit." In a study published in Cell, Dr...
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Exploring the Effects of Chemo Brain in Breast Cancer Patients With Patricia A. Gibbons, PhD, RN, AOCN

Many patients with cancer who receive systemic therapy experience cancer treatment-related cognitive impairment, commonly referred to as "chemo brain." Chemo brain is characterized by the inability to remember certain things and having trouble finishing tasks or learning new skills. For most patients, these effects are short-term; however, other patients may have long-term mental changes which negatively impact their everyday life. At the Oncology Nursing Society 43rd Annual Congress in Washingt...
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In Relapsed/Refractory AML, Immunotherapy Plus Chemotherapy Yields Results

​A phase 2 clinical trial of a chemotherapy/immunotherapy combination involving azacitidine and nivolumab has produced promising results in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The most common type of leukemia, AML is a deadly cancer of the blood and bone marrow with a 5-year survival rate of only 27.4%. Some patients experience relapse after initial treatment success; others have refractory disease, where some leukemic cells remain in the bone marrow even after agg...
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Preventing Premature Menopause in Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can cure early-stage breast cancer, but it can also result in premature menopause, a highly unwelcome long-term side effect. In the final results of its investigation, the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG)'s Prevention of Early Menopause Study (POEMS) reports a potential solution: women who receive goserelin (Zoladex®, AstraZeneca) along with standard chemotherapy for hormone-receptor negative breast cancer increase their chances of becoming pregnant without negatively impacting ...
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