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FORCE's eXamining the Relevance of Articles for You (XRAY) program looks behind the headlines of cancer news to help you understand what the research means for you. XRAY is a reliable source of hereditary cancer research-related news and information.
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Relevance: High

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Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study : Genetic testing for inherited mutations may be helpful for all people with advanced or metastatic cancer

Most relevant for: People with metastatic or recurrent cancer

In a study of nearly 12,000 cancer patients with a variety of cancers, eight percent of participants with metastatic cancer had an inherited mutation in a cancer gene that qualified them for a targeted treatment approved by the FDA or for participation in a clinical trial. The majority of people with metastatic cancer were unaware that they had an inherited mutation, and had not receive gene-directed treatment to which their tumor may have responded. The study authors suggest that genetic testing for inherited mutations may be warranted for all patients with advanced or metastatic cancer. (posted 9/30/21)

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Genetic testing for inherited mutations may be helpful for all people with advanced or metastatic cancer

Relevance: Medium-Low

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Research Timeline: Human Research

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Update : Liquid biopsies for cancer screening, monitoring and treatment

Most relevant for: People considering a liquid biopsy to screen for cancer

Could a simple blood test change cancer detection, treatment and monitoring? Several companies are offering a type of blood test known as a liquid biopsy to detect multiple cancers at their earliest stages, monitor response to treatment and help choose the best treatment. Although progress has been made using liquid biopsies to treat cancer, these tests have not yet been shown to detect cancer early enough to save lives. (posted 9/29/21)

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Liquid biopsies for cancer screening, monitoring and treatment

Relevance: High

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Strength of Science: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study : Frequency of inherited mutations linked to breast cancer are similar in Black and white women

Most relevant for: Non-Hispanic Black and white women with breast cancer

The CARRIERS study looked at the rate of inherited mutations in women with and without breast cancer. In an extension of the CARRIERS study, researchers found no difference in the frequency of inherited mutations in breast cancer genes among Black and white women with breast cancer. A few individual genes differed in frequency: BRCA2 and PALB2 mutations were seen more often in Black women, while CHEK2 mutations were seen less often. Researchers concluded that race should not be used to determine who is referred for genetic testing. (posted 8/13/21)

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Frequency of inherited mutations linked to breast cancer are similar in Black and white women

Relevance: High

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Strength of Science: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study : Cancer risks of people with inherited PALB2 mutations

Most relevant for: people with inherited PALB2 mutations

In the largest study of people with inherited PALB2 mutations to date, the gene was linked to increased lifetime risk of breast cancer in women and men, ovarian and pancreatic cancer but not prostate or colorectal cancer. (posted 7/1/21)

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Cancer risks of people with inherited PALB2 mutations

Relevance: Medium-High

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Strength of Science: High

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Update : Cancer disparities: Colorectal cancer in African Americans

Most relevant for: African Americans concerned about colorectal cancer

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released a 2020 report about cancer disparities among racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In this XRAY review, we highlight data from the report about the burden of colorectal cancer in African Americans, who have the highest rates of diagnosis and death related to the disease among all racial and ethnic groups. (Posted 4/27/21)

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Cancer disparities: Colorectal cancer in African Americans

Relevance: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Guideline : Expert guidelines on COVID-19 vaccines and timing of breast screening tests

Most relevant for: People considering screening mammography after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines work by helping the immune system destroy the virus. Lymph nodes are an important part of the immune system. COVID-19 vaccines may cause temporary swelling in some lymph nodes, which may look suspicious on a mammogram.  The Society for Breast Imaging and other professional organizations have released recommendations for the timing of mammograms after COVID-19 vaccines.  (3/30/21)

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Expert guidelines on COVID-19 vaccines and timing of breast screening tests

Relevance: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Update : FDA approves new imaging drug for detecting spread of prostate cancer

Most relevant for: Men with prostate cancer

On December 1, 2020 the FDA approved a new type of imaging technology to confirm the spread of newly diagnosed prostate cancer that is suspected to be metastatic. The approval also includes use for confirming suspected recurrence in men who have rising PSA after treatment. The approval is based on two clinical trials that showed this new technique to be safe and consistent in accurately detecting cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland. (1/7/21)

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FDA approves new imaging drug for detecting spread of prostate cancer

Relevance: Medium

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Strength of Science: Medium

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study : Inherited gene mutations found in pancreatic cancer families in Spain

Most relevant for: People with pancreatic cancer and a family history of pancreatic or other cancers

This study looked for inherited mutations in genes known to be linked to hereditary pancreatic cancer. The results provide additional evidence that most hereditary pancreatic cancer is due to inherited mutations in genes that were previously associated with other forms of cancer. (10/29/20)

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Inherited gene mutations found in pancreatic cancer families in Spain

Relevance: Medium-High

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Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study : Knowing about an inherited BRCA mutation improves outcomes for women with breast cancer

Most relevant for: Young women with, or at high risk for an inherited BRCA mutation

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are linked to a high lifetime risk of breast and other cancers. This study shows that women who know that they have a BRCA mutation before they are diagnosed with breast cancer have improved outcomes including diagnosis at earlier stages and improved overall survival. (10/26/20)

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Knowing about an inherited BRCA mutation improves outcomes for women with breast cancer

Relevance: Medium-High

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Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Research Timeline: Human Research

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Study : New imaging technology shows promise in detecting of spread of prostate cancer

Most relevant for: Men with high-risk prostate cancer

A new imaging technique is currently being tested to see if it can detect the spread of prostate cancer sooner than standard imaging. Two clinical trials show that the new technique can detect the spread of prostate cancer in men who are newly diagnosed and in men whose cancer returns after treatment. (10/16/20)

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New imaging technology shows promise in detecting of spread of prostate cancer