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: 69 results

Back to XRAY Home Back One Page

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Women who exercise have lower breast cancer risk whether or not they have a family history of breast cancer

Most relevant for: Young, high risk women

The effect of physical activity on breast cancer risk was looked at  in a study of over 15,000 women. The results suggest that exercise lowers breast cancer risk regardless of family  history of breast cancer or menopausal status.  (12/6/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Update: Genetic causes of hereditary pancreatic cancer: BRCA and beyond

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

An update on hereditary pancreatic cancer presented at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting covered genes and lifetime risk. The update emphasized that all pancreatic cancer patients should be offered genetic counseling and testing. Genetic test results may impact treatment, screening for other cancers and risk to family members. (11/26/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

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-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Inherited mutations In metastatic breast cancer patients

Most relevant for: People with metastatic breast cancer

Recent research shows that a significant portion of patients with metastatic breast cancer have harmful mutations in a gene associated with hereditary breast cancer and increased breast cancer risk. (9/26/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: MRI or mammograms for detecting breast cancer in families with unknown genetic mutations?

Most relevant for: People with a personal or family history of cancer where no mutation has been found

MRI and mammograms are used together to detect breast cancer in high-risk women who test positive for a BRCA or other gene mutation that increases the risk for breast cancer. For women with a family history of breast cancer but no known genetic mutation, increased screening is recommended. But what method is best? A recent clinical trial in the Netherlands compared MRI and mammography for this population. (8/15/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

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: Medium-High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-High

Quality of Writing

Personal Story: A young woman's story of genetic testing and risk-reducing mastectomy

Most relevant for: Young women of color with a BRCA mutation

Alejandra Campoverdi comes from a family with three generations of breast cancer. As a former White House aide and active educator in the Latina community, she has openly shared her story of genetic testing, her BRCA2 mutation and her plans for risk-reducing mastectomy at age 39. (6/6/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Guideline: FDA approves an immunotherapy treatment for some patients with triple-negative breast cancer

Most relevant for: People with metastatic, triple-negative breast cancer

The FDA approved the use of the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with the chemotherapy agent nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) for certain patients with advanced triple-negative breast cancer. (5/26/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Study: Do Vitamin B supplements alter breast cancer risk for women with BRCA mutations?

Most relevant for: High risk women with a BRCA1 mutation

Vitamins are an essential part of our diet. Vitamin supplements are often used to improve general health. This study explores how vitamin B supplements may affect breast cancer risk in women with BRCA mutations. (5/17/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Guideline: Breast surgeons recommend genetic testing for all breast cancer patients

Most relevant for: Anyone diagnosed with breast cancer

Summary: 

The American Society of Breast Surgeons published statement on genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer on February 10, 2019. It includes recommendations about who should be tested. Among these is the recommendation that all breast cancer patients get genetic testing, as well as women who do not have breast cancer but fit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. (3/25/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Gaps in information about breast cancer risk and prevention impact African American women

Most relevant for: African American women who are at high risk for breast cancer

A study showed that African American women with increased breast cancer risk experienced greater burdens in obtaining information at each step compared to white women. Racial differences in preventive choices correlated with differences in information and provider access. (3/14/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Prevalence of BRCA founder mutations in Bahamian women

Most relevant for: Bahamanian women

Summary:

The Bahamas has the highest known frequency of BRCA mutations among people diagnosed with breast cancer. This study reviewed whether population-based BRCA testing (testing everyone regardless of family or personal history of cancer) would be an effective approach for finding mutation carriers in the Bahamas. (3/4/19)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Low

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Breast cancer implant study suggests links with illness but has serious flaws

Most relevant for: Women with or considering breast implant reconstruction

Summary

An article in the Annals of Surgery, researchers conclude that their work supports an association between silicone breast implants and a range of conditions. This journal article was accompanied by two editorials in which experts voiced their disagreement with the way the analysis was performed and the conclusions of the authors. (2/21/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: The cost of cancer care and impact of financial hardship on treatment

Most relevant for: Anyone diagnosed with cancer

Summary:

Several recent studies on the cost of cancer care show the negative effects on cancer patients. In this XRAYS we review a recent article by Kaiser Health News and associated studies about the financial impact of breast cancer treatment and cost of precision medicine. (2/8/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Study: FORCE online survey: What breast cancer information do young women want and where do they look for it?

Most relevant for: Young women and the health care providers who treat them

Summary:

FORCE developed the CDC-funded Examining Relevance of Articles to Young Survivors or XRAYS program to help young breast cancer survivors and those at high-risk better understand media coverage about new breast cancer research. To ensure that the program would be responsive to users’ needs, FORCE designed a web-based survey to assess where young women look for information about breast cancer and to learn their unmet information needs.  The results of this survey were published in the journal Health Communications. (1/18/19)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Inherited breast cancer in Nigerian women

Most relevant for: Nigerian women or women of Nigerian descent who have breast cancer

A new study shows that among Nigerian women, one in eight cases of breast cancer is due to an inherited mutation in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2 or TP53. (12/5/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Personal Story: Pamela Munster's story of cancer in the family

Most relevant for: People with an inherited mutation linked to cancer

In her essay in The Washington Post, Dr. Pamela Munster recounts her family's history with cancer associated with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene. She details her father's extraordinary journey with pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers. (11/27/18)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Can population-based DNA sequencing find more people at risk for hereditary cancers?

Most relevant for: Women over age 30

It is well documented that many BRCA mutation carriers are missed using current family history-based screening approaches. As a result, experts are beginning to call for population-based BRCA genetic testing—an organized effort to screen all women like we do for breast and cervical cancer.  A recent study looked at whether a population-based genetic testing approach would better identify mutation carriers compared with current practice. (11/17/18)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Surgeon attitude impacts rate of genetic testing after a breast cancer diagnosis

Most relevant for: Young women diagnosed with breast cancer who have not yet had genetic testing

A study in JAMA Surgery this year examined the factors that impact genetic testing after a breast cancer diagnosis. This study suggests that the attitudes of attending surgeons about genetic testing have the most impact on whether patients receive testing. (10/6/18)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: A new method for determining whether genetic variants in BRCA1 increase cancer risk

Most relevant for: People who have a Variant of Uncertain Significance in a gene associated with cancer risk.

Ever since BRCA1 was discovered, researchers have been trying to understand which of the thousands of possible DNA changes in this gene increase cancer risk and which are harmless changes.  A new study in Nature reports how a cutting-edge technology called “genome editing” may be used to classify changes—known as variants of uncertain significance-in BRCA1 as harmful or harmless. Once validated, this same technology may be used to classify variants in other genes. (9/29/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-High

Quality of Writing

Article: Cancer experience in families affects decision making

Most relevant for: Women with an inherited mutation linked to increased risk for cancer

Women with inherited mutations in genes that increase breast and ovarian cancer risk have an additional challenge: coping with how those mutations impact their families and how a family member’s cancer experience can shape their own perception. In a recent U.S. News and World Report article, Elaine Howley explores how a woman's decisions about healthcare, cancer prevention and treatment are affected by experience with cancer in the family. (9/25/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Hormone therapy and breast cancer risk after ovary removal in women with a BRCA1 mutation

Most relevant for: Women with BRCA1 mutations who have had risk-reducing ovary removal and have never been diagnosed with breast cancer

Does hormone therapy (HT) alter the risk of breast cancer for woman carrying a BRCA1 mutation who have never been diagnosed with cancer? In this study, researchers showed that among women with BRCA1 mutations, HT use did not increase breast cancer rates for 10 years after ovary removal. More women taking combined estrogen plus progesterone developed breast cancer compared to those taking estrogen only, though this difference was not statistically significant. (9/7/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Study identifies genes associated with risk of triple-negative breast cancer

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer

Panel testing can identify women who are at increased risk for breast cancer.  However, those at risk for triple-negative breast cancer cannot easily be identified because other than BRCA1, genes that increase the risk for triple-negative breast cancer are unknown.  A new study uses panel testing to identify which genes increase the risk for triple-negative breast cancer. (8/23/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Immunotherapy may lead to long-term remission of metastatic breast cancer

Most relevant for: People with advanced cancers

Metastatic breast cancer is often difficult to treat. In a new approach, called adoptive cell therapy (ACT), a patient’s own T-cells (a type of cancer-fighting immune cells) are collected, multiplied in a lab, and then returned to the patient. The goal is to enhance the patient’s immune system with many more T-cells that recognize and attack metastasized tumor cells. This study reports on a single patient whose metastatic breast cancer is still in remission (no evidence of disease) after more than 22 months following ACT. (8/16/18)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-Low

Quality of Writing

Article: Interview with Angelina Jolie's doctor promotes meatless diet and scientific inaccuracies

Most relevant for:

Dr. Kristi Funk, Angelina Jolie's Hollywood breast surgeon, is promoting her new book about breast cancer. This article from the UK newspaper The Times includes an interview with Funk about her book, which proposes that diet is responsible for breast cancer. This XRAYS addresses scientific inaccuracies in this article. (8/7/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

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

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Evaluation of some direct-to-consumer genetic testing reveals inaccuracies and misinterpretations

Most relevant for: People who are considering or have had direct-to-consumer testing

A clinical genetic testing laboratory examined results from direct-to-consumer genetic testing ordered directly by patients. They found many instances of false positives—reported mutations that were not actually present—and in some cases, reports of variants that "increased risk," but were actually benign. This study emphasized the importance of involving genetics experts in the interpretation of genetic test results. (6/28/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Mutations in Lynch syndrome genes MSH6 and PMS2 may be associated with breast cancer

Most relevant for: Women with an MSH6 or PMS2 mutation

Some women with mutations in MSH6 and PMS2, two Lynch syndrome genes, may have a modest (2 to 3-fold) increased risk for breast cancer. (6/14/18 updated 09/25/19)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: The right not to know when not knowing is dangerous

Most relevant for: People with Icelandic heritage

Healthcare providers are bound by the guiding principle of doing no harm. But how does this concept apply to their patients who have not consented to genetic testing or who do not want to know their results? In that case, is providing test results more harmful or not? Anna Clausen explores these issues in the context of breast cancer gene testing in her Global Health Now article “The Right Not to Know: When Ignorance is Bliss but Deadly.” (4/20/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Study: Take your time, follow your heart: strategies for communication about family planning

Most relevant for: Young high risk women

When a woman is newly diagnosed with a BRCA mutation, she faces many risk management decisions. Although many of these decisions impact family planning, little guidance is available on how to communicate this information. This study examines female previvors’ advice on effective strategies for discussing family planning decisions. (03/28/18)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Guideline: FDA approves at-home test kits for inherited cancer: how useful are they?

Most relevant for: People who are considering or have had direct-to-consumer testing through 23andMe

Interest in personalized genetic testing is growing. Genetic testing about health conditions typically requires a prescription from a health care provider. Until recently, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) testing market has focused on ancestry and discovery of unknown branches of family trees. A laboratory called 23andMe that provides direct-to-consumer genetic testing has been given FDA approval to report results for 3 mutations found in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The FDA statement provides details about this approval and cautions consumers about the limitations of the 23andMe test. (03/19/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium

Quality of Writing

Article: Insurance companies are more than curious about your genetic test results

Most relevant for: People considering testing for an inherited gene mutation

An article on CBSNews.com addressed why insurance companies, particularly long-term insurance companies, might want to know which of their policy holders and potential policy holders have a gene that raises their risk for cancer. The article discusses genetic discrimination by insurance companies that provide long term care policies. Federal laws protect people with gene mutations from discrimination in health insurance. No such federal laws exist for life insurance, disability insurance or long term care. (3/13/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

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: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Should biannual MRIs replace annual mammograms in high-risk women?

Most relevant for: Women at increased risk for breast cancer due to an inherited mutation

The risk of breast cancer is exceptionally high in women who have a personal or family history of breast cancer or who carry a mutation in BRCA or certain other genes. More frequent screening is one strategy for early detection of breast cancer for these women. Study results presented at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium suggest that MRI screening every 6 months may be more effective than the currently recommended annual breast MRI and annual mammogram in detecting early stage breast cancers-which are more treatable-in high-risk women. (2/1/18)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-Low

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: No new high-risk breast cancer genes here

Most relevant for: People with a family history of breast cancer but no known inherited mutation

While some of the genes that cause hereditary breast cancer are known (for example, inherited mutations in genes like BRCA, ATM and PALB2), others remain unidentified. Two studies found 72 DNA changes (also known as “variants” or “SNPs”) that affect breast cancer risk. These variants are different from mutations in genes that dramatically increase cancer risk. Most of these new variants are located outside of the portion of DNA that is used to make proteins. Further research is needed on these new variants before they can be used by doctors to help people understand and manage their risk for cancer. (1/12/18)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Genetic counseling by phone or face-to-face

Most relevant for: People referred to a genetic counselor or those considering genetic testing

Results presented at the 2017 American Psychological Association’s annual meeting showed genetic counseling by telephone is as “safe and effective” in long-term psychological and social outcomes compared to traditional in-person counseling for women at risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. This presentation is an update on research published in 2014. (11/29/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: Preimplantation genetic diagnosis and hereditary cancer

Most relevant for:

Andrew Joseph’s piece for STAT, “A baby with a disease gene or no baby at all: Genetic testing of embryos creates an ethical morass,” focuses on  preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and the emerging ethical issue in the field of reproductive medicine: What to do when patients seeking to get pregnant select embryos with DNA that could lead to a disease or a disability.  (11/8/17)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-High

Quality of Writing

Article: Mixed reviews of at-home genetic testing

Most relevant for: People who are considering or have had direct-to-consumer testing

National guidelines recommend that patients meet with a genetics expert before undergoing genetic testing for cancer risk. Genetic counseling can help patients decide whether genetic testing is right for them and order the most appropriate test. Once test results are available, genetics experts also help patients understand their results. Over the last decade, the popularity of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, such as 23andMe has grown. Some genetic tests are marketed to consumers on television, in print advertisements, and on the Internet. These “at-home” genetic tests give people direct access to their genetic information without first involving a healthcare provider in the process. A recent report outlines the benefits and limitations of DTC genetic testing. (10/20/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Does expanded genetic testing benefit Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer?

Most relevant for: Jewish women with breast cancer who previously tested negative for the three most common BRCA mutations

BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are common in people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent. About 2% of all Ashkenazi Jewish people will test positive for one of three common mutations in these genes. Genetic testing for Jewish people sometimes focuses on only the three most common mutations. For Jewish women with breast cancer, little is known about their chance of carrying a different hereditary mutation that may increase risk. This study looked at expanded genetic testing in Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer to learn how often they carried mutations other than the three most common BRCA gene mutations found in Ashkenazi Jewish people. (09/13/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Quality of Writing: High

Quality of Writing

Article: Parents face challenges when deciding the best time to tell children that they may be at high risk for cancer

Most relevant for: Parents who have an inherited gene mutation

When certain types of cancers run in families, genetic testing can determine whether the cause is hereditary. Genetic testing can help family members understand their cancer risk and make medical decisions to stay healthy. A test result can provide significant insight, but it also creates challenges for parents, because gene mutations that cause hereditary cancers can be passed from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters. People with these mutations must make difficult decisions about when to tell their children that they too may have inherited the mutation. (8/22/2017)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-Low

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

Research Timeline

Article: Report on vaccines to prevent hereditary cancer

Most relevant for: High risk women who have not had breast cancer

On 05/30/2017, Good Morning America aired a segment entitled “Can a vaccine help prevent breast cancer at its earliest stages?” The story outlines the need for cancer prevention and hints at early research into a cancer vaccine. (8/1/17)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: New cancer risk estimates for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers

Most relevant for: Women with an inherited mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2

Cancer risk estimates for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers are important because they impact patient decision-making. Until now, almost all risk estimates for mutation carriers were based on results of retrospective studies that looked back on mutation carriers who had cancer. This new study is prospective—it followed almost 10,000 BRCA mutation carriers without cancer to see if or when they developed breast or ovarian cancer. The cancer risk estimates of this study may be more accurate because it followed mutation carriers who did not have cancer over time. (7/28/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Study: Gaps in genetic testing and decision-making for women with early-stage breast cancer

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with early stage breast cancer

Genetic testing for cancer risk is now more affordable and easier to obtain. As a result, many breast cancer patients are tested without ever seeing a genetic counselor. Genetic testing results affect treatment decision making, but they can be confusing, especially if patients do not receive genetic counseling. This study looks at breast cancer patients’ experiences following genetic testing and how testing results affect surgical decision making. (7/14/17)

Relevance: Medium-Low

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-Low

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Animal Studies

Research Timeline

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: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Patient experiences with genetic testing

Most relevant for: Women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer

Patients can now find out if they have a mutation in more than 20 different genes that are associated with cancer risk, thanks to research advances and the decreasing cost of genetic testing. However, patients’ experiences and use of genetic counseling and testing with these changes are unknown. Do patients want genetic testing? Are they getting tested? (3/7/17)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: A step in the development of a new breast cancer risk assessment tool for Hispanic women

Most relevant for: Hispanic women

Current tools used to calculate breast cancer risk make their estimations based on data from non-Hispanic white women and may not accurately predict breast cancer risk in women of other races and ethnicities. With further testing, a new risk assessment tool developed specifically for Hispanic women could more accurately predict breast cancer risk in women who do not have mutations in BRCA or other genes associated with hereditary breast cancer. (02/07/17)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-Low

Strength of Science

Study: Angelina Jolie spoke out on BRCA testing: Did genetic testing increase?

Most relevant for: People interested in genetic testing for an inherited mutation

Angelina Jolie published an editorial in the New York Times in 2013 about her choice to have a double mastectomy after finding out she was positive for a BRCA1 mutation. Researchers from a recent study claim that her celebrity endorsement of BRCA testing may have missed its target audience (previvors), due to the increase in BRCA testing following publication of the editorial but a decrease in the number of mastectomies performed. However, the study failed to take into account that many women without breast cancer do not pursue mastectomy in the months following genetic testing. (1/4/17)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-Low

Quality of Writing

Personal Story: Why one woman passed on genetic testing

Most relevant for: People considering genetic testing and people who are Ashkenazi Jewish

What are reasons to get or not get genetic testing? Cynthia Graber gives her thoughts on the matter in her Wired opinion piece, "Why I Won't Get the Genetic Test for Breast Cancer." (11/15/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Rare mutations in PALB2, CHEK2, and ATM: how much do they increase cancer risk?

Most relevant for: People who tested positive for one of the rare variants in CHEK2, ATM or PALB2 that are covered in this study

As multi-gene panel tests become more common, people are discovering they have mutations in genes that are not understood as well as BRCA. This can make it difficult to give patients accurate assessments of their cancer risk. For example, mutations in PALB2, CHEK2, and ATM are rare, but some specific changes in these genes are even less common. The goal of this international collaboration was to better understand the cancer risks of some very rare PALB2, CHEK2, and ATM mutations. The findings are relevant only to the specific mutations covered in this paper and do not apply to all people with mutations in PALB2, CHEK2, or ATM. (9/27/16)

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-Low

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-Low

Quality of Writing

Personal Story: Dogs: Companions, hunters, and cancer detectors?

Most relevant for:

In August 2016, many news outlets published stories about how actress Shannen Doherty’s dog was able to sniff out her cancer before she was diagnosed. Is there scientific validity to that claim? (9/616)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Study: How beneficial is online communication after a new diagnosis of breast cancer?

Most relevant for:

Newly diagnosed breast cancer patients often use online communication to find more information about their diagnoses and treatment options. But does online communication benefit these patients' decision-making process? (8/30/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: Racial disparities in BRCA testing: Why?

Most relevant for: African American women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer

Black women receive BRCA testing less frequently than white women. Why is that? Researchers thought the reason might be that black and white women see different health care providers. However, new research suggests that disparities in physician recommendations for testing are the cause: black women with breast cancer were less likely to receive physician recommendations for BRCA testing than white women with breast cancer. There is a need to ensure equity in physician testing recommendations for black women. (7/21/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

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

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Is breast cancer risk increased in BRCA-mutation negative women?

Most relevant for: Women from a family with a known BRCA mutation who tested negative for the mutation in the family

Some women who do not carry a BRCA mutation, but come from a BRCA-positive family, still develop breast cancer. This research examines whether these women are at higher risk for breast cancer, or whether their risk is similar to women in the general population. (4/19/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Medium-Low

Quality of Writing

Article: New York Times report demonstrates need for genetic counseling, but doesn’t give the whole story

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with breast cancer

A New York Times report discussed how genetic testing could provide “grim data” without guidance for patients. While this is a valid concern, this report does not sufficiently emphasize certain important issues regarding genetic testing, particularly the need for genetic counseling by a health care provider with expertise in genetics before and after genetic testing. (4/5/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Study: BRCA testing in young women with breast cancer

Most relevant for: Young women diagnosed with breast cancer who have not yet had genetic testing

National guidelines recommend genetic testing for BRCA mutations in young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. However, little is known about how women decide to get testing, or how they use genetic information to decide on treatment options. This study found that genetic testing is increasing among young breast cancer survivors, and it explores some of the factors that play into patients’ decision making about genetic testing. (3/22/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: What are the genetics underlying 12 different cancer types?

Most relevant for: People diagnosed with cancer

As gene sequencing has become more affordable, researchers and health care providers are now looking for mutations in many genes beyond BRCA1, BRCA2 and others that are associated with known hereditary cancer syndromes. By sequencing thousands of genes rather than just one or two, researchers can better understand which inherited mutations affect cancer risk. In this study, researchers sequenced thousands of genes in patients with one of 12 cancers, including breast, and catalogued which gene mutations are most commonly found in each cancer. (03/01/16)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Are mutations in BRIP1, BARD1, PALB2, and NBN associated with an increased risk for ovarian cancer?

Most relevant for: People with an inherited mutation in BRIP1, BARD1, PALB2, NBN

Many women who have genetic testing for an inherited mutation find that they do not carry a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 despite their personal and family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Panel tests look for mutations in other genes associated with increased cancer risk. However, the cancer risk for people with mutations in some of these other genes is not yet known. This study looks at whether mutations in four genes, BRIP1, BARD1, PALB2, and NBN, are associated with an increased risk for ovarian cancer. The researchers found that BRIP1 mutation carriers have about a 6% risk of developing ovarian cancer by age 80. (02/09/16)

Relevance: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: Potential genetic basis for breast cancer survivors who develop therapy-related leukemia

Most relevant for: Breast cancer patients who have an inherited mutation and breast cancer patients who developed leukemia after treatment for breast cancer.

The population of breast cancer survivors in the United States is increasing. One rare but dangerous long-term effect of breast cancer treatment is an increased risk of leukemia, a type of bone marrow cancer. A recent study uncovered a potential genetic basis for this condition. (01/26/2015)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

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: Medium

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium-High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Human Research

Research Timeline

Study: How many children with cancer have mutations in genes that increase cancer risk?

Most relevant for: Survivors of childhood cancer and people with a family history of relatives diagnosed with childhood cancers

Many genes are associated with increased cancer risk in adults, but it is unclear how common these mutations are in children with cancer. This study found that about 9% of children with cancer carry mutations in a gene that is known to increase cancer risk. Over half of the mutations were in the TP53 gene, which is associated with increased cancer risk at a young age and increased risk of breast cancer in adults. (12/15/2015)

Relevance: Low

Relevance

Quality of Writing: Low

Quality of Writing

Article: What “The Truth About Cancer” got wrong about BRCA mutations and cancer

Most relevant for:

A website called thetruthaboutcancer.com, created a 9-part docu-series titled “The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest” (TACGQ). The video states that Angelina Jolie’s decision to remove her breasts was one made out of fear; one commentator states that her decision was “barbaric." This video  contains a lot of dangerous misinformation about BRCA mutations and inherited cancer. FORCE XRAYS provides the following point-by-point analysis on "The Truth About Cancer." (11/10/2015)

Relevance: Medium-High

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Study: Impact of familial breast cancer risk on young girls

Most relevant for: Young women and girls from high-risk breast cancer families

Does growing up in a family that is at high risk for breast cancer affect young girls? Recent research found girls from families with BRCA mutations and/or a strong family history of cancer to be as well adjusted as peers of the same age. The one difference was that girls from families facing breast cancer risk had more stress related to breast cancer than their peers. While these findings are reassuring, parents know their children best, and they should ask for help if they believe their daughters are not coping well. (11/03/2015)

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

Relevance

Strength of Science: Medium

Strength of Science

Study: Are more men with breast cancer opting for prophylactic mastectomy?

Most relevant for: Men diagnosed with breast cancer

Recent headlines describe the rise in prophylactic double mastectomy for men with breast cancer. We looked at the research to see how many men are choosing this option and what it means for men with breast cancer. (10/6/15)

Relevance: High

Relevance

Strength of Science: High

Strength of Science

Research Timeline: Post Approval

Research Timeline

Study: BRCA mutations more common than expected in young black women with breast cancer

Most relevant for: Young black women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer

Most estimates of the percentage of breast cancer patients with mutations in BRCA are based on studies in white women. These researchers found that black women diagnosed at a young age with breast were twice as likely to have a BRCA mutation than previously reported based on studies in white women with breast cancer diagnosed in the same age categories. This study shows how important it is for all black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at or before age 50 to be referred for genetic counseling and testing. (9/29/15)

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)

Back to XRAY Home Back One Page

Search XRAY studies and articles

Back to XRAY Home

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered