Big Developments In Cancer Research

Dr. Praveen Reddy with Texas Oncology, came on Newschannel 6 at Noon to share some of the big announcements from this year's American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting:


  • Men with advanced prostate cancer are benefiting from a new medication called Zytiga. Through clinical trials, it was discovered that a third of men with advanced prostate cancer who received the drug coupled with hormone therapy prior to surgery had only a little or no cancer at all after six months of treatment. This is very significant since most men with advanced prostate cancer have a poor prognosis due to the cancer metastasizing.
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  • Additionally, it was discovered that men with minimally-spread hormone-sensitive prostate cancer benefit from continuous hormone therapy rather than intermittent hormone therapy, which was the typical treatment for prostate cancer because it was believed that it would help reduce side effects such as loss of sexual desire, weight gain, impotence, and hot flashes. However, the new study shows that men who received continuous hormone lived about two years longer than those who received intermittent hormone therapy.
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  • Another big breakthrough presented at ASCO this year was the targeted therapy drug afatinib. A study showed that the drug was better than chemotherapy at keeping advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations (changes) to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) from progressing longer.  The research showed that it took about four months longer for the cancer to progress when patients received afatinib. The drug also helped slow the development of symptoms associated with lung cancer, such as coughing and shortness of breath. Additionally, since the drug is taken orally, there are less office visits than if they were receiving chemotherapy.
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  • A new breast cancer treatment dubbed the ‘smart bomb' improves the time that women with very advanced breast cancer live without the disease progressing. The treatment delivers a toxic load of chemotherapy to cancerous cells by binding it with Herceptin, the first gene-targeted therapy for breast cancer. The treatment is referred to as T-DM1 and causes fewer side effects. Women who underwent this treatment didn't experience hair loss or nausea, and the surrounding healthy tissue was left unaffected.
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  • Cancer treatment is getting more targeted, and we are able to test and target specific genetic mutations and attack cancerous cells without sacrificing the health of healthy tissue and cells. This will result in more effective treatment and lessen the side effects of cancer treatment overall.