XRAY — Behind the Cancer Headlines

FORCE's eXaming 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.

SEARCH RESULTS: 30 results

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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: A new blood test may help predict early-stage breast cancer patients at highest risk for recurrence

Most relevant for: People with early-stage breast cancer

Which patients are at risk for a relapse of early-stage breast cancer? Tests to predict recurrence would help find people who need more monitoring after treatment and provide a chance to find and treat them earlier. This study looked at whether a blood test for tumor DNA (called circulating tumor DNA or ctDNA) is useful for finding people with recurrence earlier than current clinical practice. (11/4/19)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Research Timeline: Human Research

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Personal Story: A “flu shot” against breast cancer? Not so fast

Most relevant for: Women diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)

There have been multiple reports in the media of a Florida woman who had a "shot" to treat her DCIS with a promising outcome. This XRAY reviews the underlying story about this early breast cancer vaccine trial. (10/25/19)

Relevance: High

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Strength of Science: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study: Is it safe for BRCA mutation carriers to become pregnant following breast cancer?

Most relevant for: Women with a BRCA mutation who are considering pregnancy after breast cancer

New research shows that pregnancy after breast cancer is safe for women with BRCA mutations and their babies. (9/4/19)

Relevance: High

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Strength of Science: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study: New targeted therapy approved for early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer

Most relevant for: People with early-stage, Her2-positive breast cancer (stages 1-3)

The KATHERINE trial looked at the benefit of the new drug, Kadcyla, for treating early-stage breast cancer after surgery and chemotherapy. The results of this study led to FDA approval in May 2019. (6/17/19)

Relevance: High

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Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Study: Declining use of chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer: examining oncologist recommendations

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with early stage breast cancer

A new study shows that chemotherapy use for early-stage, node-positive and node-negative breast cancers declined from 2013 to 2015. It also reports that oncologists’ recommendations are influenced to differing degrees by patient preferences and tumor test results, despite unchanging health care guidelines. (8/21/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

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Strength of Science: High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study: Some women with early-stage breast cancer forego chemotherapy

Most relevant for: People with node-negative, ER-positive breast cancer

A research study named the “Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment” (TAILORx) asked whether chemotherapy is beneficial for women who have mid-range Oncotype DX tumor recurrence scores. This trial — the largest breast cancer treatment trial ever conducted— showed that endocrine therapy alone was as effective as endocrine therapy plus chemotherapy in women with certain types of early-stage breast cancer. The results of this trial are expected to be immediately practice changing (7/20/18)

Relevance: Medium

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Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Research Timeline: Human Research

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Study: Metastasis is affected by wound healing and inflammation in study on mice

Most relevant for: Cancer patients who will be, or have recently undergone surgery

This study in mice looked at how wound healing after surgery affects metastasis. Researchers found that wound healing caused changes in the mouse immune system that allowed some cancer cells to grow, but that treatment with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) reduced inflammation and frequency of metastases. While this research is promising, it remains to be seen if similar effects occur in humans. (5/17/18)

Relevance: Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

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Study: Is asparagus linked to breast cancer metastasis?

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with breast cancer

A new study published in the journal Nature shows that asparagine, a protein building block that takes its name from asparagus, promotes the spread of breast cancer in mice. The study by cancer experts from Britain, Canada and the U.S. investigated whether limiting the levels of asparagine in mice could reduce tumor metastasis. (3/2/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

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Study: Survival and mutation status in breast cancer patients under age 40

Most relevant for: Young breast cancer patients

Studies have found conflicting rates of survival for BRCA mutation carriers who develop breast cancer, reporting better, worse and similar outcomes compared to patients with sporadic breast cancer. New results of the large Prospective Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary (POSH) breast cancer study found no difference in survival rates between the two groups. The study also concluded that among young triple-negative breast cancer patients during the first 2 years after diagnosis, BRCA mutation carriers had an initial survival advantage compared to women without a BRCA mutation. (02/15/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study: What is the risk of breast cancer recurrence after nipple-sparing mastectomy?

Most relevant for: Breast cancer patients who are considering or have had a nipple sparing mastectomy

Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) offers better cosmetic results for women who have immediate breast reconstruction (at the same time as their mastectomy). Over the past decade, NSM has gained popularity among surgeons and patients. Studies show that women who keep their own nipples have higher rates of satisfaction and psychological well-being after mastectomy and reconstruction compared to women who lose their nipples. However, little data exists on the long-term risk of recurrence following NSM. New research adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that risk of recurrence is low after NSM in carefully selected patients with breast cancer. (1/25/18)

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: Does extending hormonal therapy impact risk of breast cancer recurrence?

Most relevant for: Women with early-stage ER-positive breast cancer

Hormonal therapy significantly reduces the risk of recurrence for women with early-stage estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Standard hormonal therapy is given for 5 years; extending that therapy for a longer period offers additional protection but has added side effects. This study looked at women who stopped hormonal therapy after 5 years and identified factors that may guide the decision to extend treatment.  (12/21/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Guideline: Can MammaPrint guide treatment decisions?

Most relevant for: Women diagnosed with ER-positive, Her2-negative early-stage breast cancer with 0-3 positive nodes

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently updated its guidelines for MammaPrint, a genomic tumor test that guides treatment decisions for patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer. The update was based on results from the MINDACT study (11/16/17). 

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

Research Timeline

Study: Can chemotherapy before surgery fuel breast cancer metastasis?

Most relevant for: Newly diagnosed breast cancer patients

Some breast cancer patients are given neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy. However, some recent studies have raised concerns that neoadjuvant treatment might actually trigger cancer spread in certain situations. In the current study, researchers used mouse models and human breast cancers to explore this possibility. (10/10/17)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: Can your breast cancer come back?

Most relevant for:

Elaine Howley’s piece for US News & World Report, “Can My Breast Cancer Come Back?” examines a common misperception that many breast cancer patients have after completing treatment, and explains what can actually occur. (7/25/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

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Study: Pregnancy around the time of a breast cancer diagnosis does not negatively affect survival

Most relevant for: Young women diagnosed during or right after pregnancy and young survivors considering pregnancy after breast cancer

The number of women who become pregnant around the time of, or after a breast cancer diagnosis is increasing. However, it is unclear whether pregnancy around the time of a breast cancer diagnosis impacts survival. This recently published study demonstrates that the timing of pregnancy does not negatively affect breast cancer survival rates. (5/24/17)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-Low

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Research Timeline: Animal Studies

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Study: Common genetic change found in some tumors of patients who relapse after aromatase inhibitor treatment

Most relevant for: Patients with ER+ breast cancer

About one in five people diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer relapse within 10 years after treatment. Researchers and health care providers do not know why this happens. This early research aims to identify a genetic change in the tumor that may cause relapse, but more studies are needed to understand why patients relapse and who is at risk. (5/3/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

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Study: Does eating soy affect the risk of death in breast cancer survivors?

Most relevant for:

Is eating soy safe for people who have had breast cancer? This topic has been controversial among health care providers, patients, and survivors for many years because research has yielded mixed results. Some studies suggest people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should eat more soy products, while other studies recommend they eat less or avoid it altogether. Which should it be? Adding to this research is a new study that asked breast cancer survivors about their soy consumption before and after diagnosis. (4/27/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Study: Friends and family may help breast cancer survival

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with breast cancer

Does having a large social network help breast cancer survivors have better outcomes? Research from the current study found that socially isolated breast cancer survivors had an increased risk of recurrence and breast cancer-specific mortality. (3/16/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: High vitamin D levels at breast cancer diagnosis may be associated with a better prognosis

Most relevant for: Women at average risk for breast cancer and newly diagnosed women

Vitamin D is most known for its role in maintaining bone health but vitamin D has additional roles in keeping us healthy. In this study, researchers found that breast cancer patients who had the highest amounts of vitamin D in their blood (slightly over the recommended levels) had better health outcomes, including overall survival, than women with lower amounts of vitamin D. This finding adds to the growing evidence for the role of vitamin D in cancer, but it does not change how breast cancer is prevented or treated. (1/10/17)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: A cancer patient’s tumor is genetically profiled—how does that info help treatment?

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with advanced cancer

Jessica Wapner's Scientific American article explores the difficulties of making the vast amount of information acquired from tumor gene tests useful to patients and physicians. (9/20/16). Update: THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN UPDATED. In late 2017, the FDA approved two separate tumor profiling tests to help guide treatment choices. The FoundationOne CDx (F1CDx) genomic test has been approved to test for 15 different targeted therapies used to treat five types of cancer, including ovarian, colorectal, lung, breast and melanoma. The FDA also approved the MSK-IMPACT and developed for use by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to scan tumor samples for 468 different cancer-associated mutations or alterations.

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Extending aromatase inhibitor duration to 10 years lowers recurrence for ER/PR+ breast cancer patients

Most relevant for:

Hormonal therapy reduces the risk of recurrence for women with early-stage breast cancer that is ER-and/or PR-positive. Standard therapy lasts 5 years. A new study looks at whether extending one type of hormonal therapy, known as aromatase inhibitor therapy, to 10 years lowers recurrence rates even more for these women. (7/26/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

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Study: Can long periods of fasting protect against breast cancer recurrence?

Most relevant for: Breast cancer survivors

Previous research in mice suggested that long periods of fasting provide protection against factors that are associated with a poor cancer outcome. A new study associates prolonged fasting (13 hours or more) at night with a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence, but no association between fasting time at night and mortality. While these findings are interesting, more research needs to be done to confirm them. In the meantime, breast cancer survivors should discuss any concerns about nutrition with their health care providers. 05/30/16

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

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Study: More patients with invasive breast cancer opting for double mastectomies

Most relevant for: Women diagnosed with breast cancer who are recommended to undergo a single mastectomy

Women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer have a number of surgical options. They can have breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) with radiation, a unilateral (single) mastectomy to remove only the tissue from the cancerous breast, or a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), which removes both breasts. A new study finds that more women are opting for CPM, yet overall survival for these patients is not increasing. (5/3/2016)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Cellular diversity in tumors may predict survival for some types of breast cancer

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with breast cancer that is "high-grade" or aggressive

Some tumors are made up of many different types of cells, while others contain generally the same cell type. This study found that among people with high-grade breast cancer, those who have tumors made up of many different cell types have a lower10-year survival rate than people with tumors containing only a single type of cells. This research is an early step towards developing a new test that can help physicians identify cancers that need more aggressive treatment, but more research is needed before it is ready for clinical use. (4/26/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study: Smoking before or after a breast cancer diagnosis associated with poorer breast cancer survival

Most relevant for: People who smoke cigarettes

Cigarette smoking is an important public health issue that causes more than 480,000 deaths annually. Smoking increases the risk of many diseases, from heart disease to stroke. This research indicates that smoking before and or after a diagnosis of breast cancer affects survival, and also shows that it is never too late to quit smoking. (02/23/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

Research Timeline

Study: Sugar promotes tumor growth and metastasis in mouse model breast cancer

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with breast cancer

Previous human studies found associations between high sugar intake and breast cancer risk. This study looked at the direct effect of sugar on breast cancer growth and metastasis in mice. While researchers observed that sugar increased tumor growth and metastasis, more work needs to be done to see if this finding is relevant in humans. It is important to remember, the overall health benefits of limiting sugar intake remain undisputed. (02/02/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

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Study: Does lumpectomy or mastectomy provide better survival for women with early stage breast cancer?

Most relevant for: Women with early stage breast cancer

Previous research has hinted that women who have breast-conserving surgeries have the same, if not better, overall survival as women who have mastectomies. Researchers in this study wanted to see if that was true; they found that women who chose breast-conserving surgeries did have a higher overall survival. However, this study, presented at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, had limitations that make it difficult to interpret the results or to extend them to all women with breast cancer. (01/19/2016)

Relevance: Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

Research Timeline

Study: Do antioxidants encourage the spread of cancer cells?

Most relevant for: The clinical relevance of this study for people is not clear

Scientists do not yet know why some cancers spread to other parts of the body (a process called metastasis). A study in mice suggested that high doses of some antioxidants (chemicals that can protect cells from damage) might actually make it easier for cancer cells to spread. (12/01/2015)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: New research may lead to a blood test that detects breast cancer recurrence earlier

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with early stage breast cancer

Recent headlines announced a blood test that can potentially predict which breast cancer survivors are at risk of recurrence. This particular blood test, one of many being developed, is sometimes called a “liquid biopsy.” This early research focuses on a technique that is promising, but not yet available to breast cancer survivors. (10/12/15)

Note: THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN UPDATED on 11/07/19 with newly-published data. See our updated article: A new blood test may help predict early-stage breast cancer patients at highest risk for recurrence.

 

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Study: All DCIS is not the same: Young women and African American women at higher risk after DCIS diagnosis

Most relevant for: Women diagnosed with DCIS

Diagnoses of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), sometimes called stage 0 breast cancer, have increased in recent decades. Many people with DCIS wonder if they need aggressive treatment. A study looking at the survival of over 100,000 women found that breast cancer mortality after DCIS is low (3%), and identified groups of women who are at higher risk after DCIS. (9/8/15)

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