California Raises Smoking Age To 21

Thu, May 5, 2016

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Source: www.huffingtonpost.com
Author: Huffington Post Staff
 

The law makes it the second state to raise the minimum age to 21, following Hawaii.

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 31:  Isaiah Atkinson smokes a cigarette in front of the San Francisco Centre on May 31, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  Since 1987, the World Health Organization has celebrated "World No Tobacco Day" to raise awareness to the health risks associated with smoking tobacco. Smoking is the second biggest cause of death globally and is responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California will raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 from 18 under a bill signed on Wednesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, part of a package of anti-smoking measures that also regulates electronic cigarettes.

Under five bills signed into law on Wednesday, California will ban the sale of vaping products or tobacco to anyone under the age of 21, imposing a fine of up to $5,000 against companies that violate the law.

“It is long past due for California to update our approach to tobacco,” said Steven Larson, president of the California Medical Association. “There has been an alarming rise in the use of e-cigarettes by teens, putting them at risk for lifelong addiction.”

Under the measures, electronic cigarettes will be regulated like traditional ones. That means that wherever cigarettes are banned, such as in restaurants, workplaces and public areas, use of e-cigarettes will also be prohibited.

The state will also expand its funding for anti-smoking programs under the bills.

Brown stopped short of allowing local counties to impose their own tobacco taxes, noting in his veto message that several proposed new taxes would be placed before voters on the November ballot.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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Checkpoint inhibitors seen to show potential of immunotherapy in several cancer studies

Wed, May 4, 2016

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Source: immuno-oncologynews.com
Author: Magdalena Kegel

Several new checkpoint inhibitors — a class of immunotherapy drugs used in cancer — continue to show beneficial effects in numerous cancer types, according to data presented at the recent American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Investigated checkpoint inhibitors confirmed earlier results showing evidence of efficacy in melanoma, and also suggested that this class of immunotherapies, which trigger a person’s immune system to attack cancer, might work in patients suffering from certain head and neck cancers.

One of the studies, CheckMate-141, exploring the checkpoint blocker nivolumab (Opdivo) in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, was stopped early after 36 percent of the 361 patients survived for one year — an increase of more than 100 percent compared to patients receiving other treatments.

Squamous cell carcinoma is usually treated with platinum-based chemotherapy, but the effects are often temporary as the cancer tends to return. Moreover, patients who fail to fully recover after chemotherapy are generally resistant to further treatment.

Maura Gillison from Ohio State University, who presented the CheckMate-141 data, said that no effective treatments have been approved for patients with this kind of cancer in over a decade. “I’ve treated head and neck cancers for more than twenty years, and this is the first time I’ve had a drug to go to for patients that have become resistant to first-line treatment,” she said in a press release.

Dr. Emma King, a Cancer Research UK-funded head and neck cancer expert, added that the findings are likely to have a “significant impact” for these cancer patients. “They also reinforce the important shift that we are seeing towards using immunotherapies for cancer treatment.”

“Before nivolumab can be used routinely to treat head and neck cancer in the UK, it will need to approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE),” she added.

Nivolumab was investigated in the CheckMate-069 trial, where its efficiency in advanced melanoma was tested in combination with another checkpoint inhibitor, ipilimumab (Yervoy).

Data presented showed that 60 percent of patients on the combination therapy survived for two years. But the benefit can come with a high price, as severe side effects forced one-third of patients to stop the treatment.

“Both nivolumab and ipilimumab have changed survival expectations in advanced melanoma over the last few years, and these latest data show us that combining these two immunotherapies is an effective two-pronged attack against the cancer,” said Dr. James Larkin, a medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Yet another study found nivolumab to increase five-year survival in advanced melanoma patients to one-third — again, a doubling compared to what can be achieved by conventional treatment.

Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare skin cancer linked to exposure to a common virus, was also among the cancer types showing benefits from checkpoint inhibitor treatment. Once the cancer spreads, no treatments are effective in holding it back. The checkpoint blocker pembrolizumab (Keytruda) caused tumors to shrink in about half of the 26 patients in the trial.

“The trial also suggests that patients whose Merkel cell carcinoma is linked to a virus may be more likely to benefit from this treatment, which fits with the idea that the more danger signals there are in a cancer, the easier it is for the immune system to recognise it,” said Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician.

Early data of checkpoint inhibition in liver and advanced bowel cancer, used in combination with radiofrequency ablation treatment, also showed promising results.

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HPV vaccination rates for boys in Nova Scotia climbing, province says

Wed, May 4, 2016

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Source: www.cbc.ca
Author: Jon Tattrie, CBC News

Nova Scotia has one of the best HPV vaccination rates in the country with boys getting the vaccine at the same rate as girls, the province’s chief public health officer says.

In 2008, Nova Scotia started offering the vaccine to Grade 7 girls to protect against cancer. In 2015, it expanded the program to offer it to boys, too. Strang said he has no official data yet, but frontline reports show boys and girls are getting the vaccine at equal rates.

“We have some of the best coverage rates in the country, if I may brag a little bit. We have 75 to 80 per cent coverage rate for HPV vaccine, which is substantially better than some other provinces,” Strang told Information Morning on Tuesday.

Why boys are less likely to get HPV vaccine
He said evidence shows human papillomavirus (HPV) is a cause of cervical, head and neck cancers, and that vaccination can prevent those cancers.

In Canada, girls between ages nine and 13 can receive a free HPV immunization no matter where they live. Four provinces—Alberta, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and P.E.I.—also offer the vaccine to boys.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), which helps to shape public policy, recommended in 2012 that the HPV vaccine should be provided to boys, just as it is to girls.

It’s a very effective vaccine, Strang said, with studies showing it produces an immune response against the virus. Detecting an impact on the cancer rate will take years, as the first class of vaccinated Nova Scotians age.

“There are some studies now showing already that we’re starting to see some direct impact and decreases in pre-cancerous lesions that can be detected [in] women in their 20s when they start to get regular pap smears,” the doctor said.

Starting a conversation
HPV is spread through sexual activity and Strang said that link has created controversy in other parts of Canada, but not in Nova Scotia.

“We haven’t had any barriers to getting information out from schools to parents. Whether parents are challenged on this at the family level? That may well be an issue for some, but I’m certainly not aware that it’s a major issue that comes out,” he said.

He added that no evidence shows getting the vaccine—or teaching students from the province’s sex guide—impacts sexual activity.

“We’re naïve to think that kids at the Grade 7 age aren’t starting to become sexually active. This is a way we can actually protect them,” he said.

“Maybe in doing that we start a conversation about other ways they need to protect themselves to be healthy while they start to understand about sexuality.”

The Department of Health and Wellness sends vaccine information to schools, which pass it on to parents. Some vaccines are one dose, others are two or three. Two clinics took place in the fall, and the third is happening now.

HPV leads to several cancers
In the absence of vaccination, about 75 per cent of sexually active Canadians will have a sexually transmitted HPV infection in their lifetime, according to NACI.

​Two types of HPV cause 70 per cent of cervical cancer in women, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. In men, the virus is responsible for a high percentage of mouth, nose and throat cancers, as well as some cancers of the penis and anus.

HPV refers to a group of more than 100 types of related viruses, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted infection.

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Baidu Under Investigation After Cancer Patient’s Death

Tue, May 3, 2016

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Source: www.fortune.com
Author: Scott Cendrowski

 

Baidu, the dominant search engine in China, is being investigated by government regulators after social media users criticized the quality of medical ads appearing in its searches.

Chinese social media over the weekend gave widespread exposure to the story of Wei Zexi, a young cancer patient whose family pooled together more than $30,000 for his treatments at a government hospital he found through a Baidu search. The hospital marketed an innovative treatment for synovial sarcoma, the rare form of cancer Wei suffered from. Following an unsuccessful treatment and Wei’s death in April, reports spread that the treatment was much less effective than the hospital had advertised.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) sent investigators to Baidu today, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency

Baidu has endured criticism recently for similar instances in which dubious medical practices were promoted in paid search results. Analysts have estimated around one quarter of its revenues come from medical and health-care advertisers.

“We deeply regret the death of Zexi,” a Baidu spokeswoman said today, adding that the search engine had launched its own internal investigation of the matter.

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

 

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Researchers link hepatitis C virus to head and neck cancers

Wed, Apr 27, 2016

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Source: lymphomanewstoday.com
Author: Magdalena Kegel

A study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shows the hepatitis C infection, previously linked to liver cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is associated with cancers of the head and neck — a finding that could have immediate implications in how hepatitis-infected patients are screened, and how head and neck cancer patients are treated.

Hepatitis C affects as many as 1.5 percent of the U.S. population, making it the most common blood-borne disease in the country, with an estimated 3.9 million having the chronic infection. This number skyrockets to a whopping 130 million to 150 million when considering the global population. New antivirals with few side effects have, however, made it possible to cure up to 90 percent of all hepatitis C patients.

The study, “Association Between Hepatitis C Virus and Head and Neck Cancers,” was performed at an MD Anderson clinic focusing on the unmet medical needs of patients with hepatitis C. The clinic opened in 2009, and to date remains the only hepatitis-focused clinic among comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S.

“Obviously, a hepatitis C infection could impact how patients respond to their cancer therapy. We also realized that many of our hepatitis patients were excluded from clinical trials. Now that many with hepatitis C can be cured, it is important that we first address and potentially cure the virus, so that they can have access to necessary cancer therapy,” said senior author Harrys A. Torres, in a press release.

The viral infection has long been known to lead to liver cancer, with a risk 48 times higher in hepatitis patients compared to the general population. It has also been associated with a two to three-fold increased risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The connection to head and neck cancers has, until now, not been investigated.

“To our surprise, we saw a number of head and neck cancer patients who tested positive for the hepatitis C virus. With this observation, we began to wonder if there was an undiscovered correlation between the two. Our findings tell us that the association between hepatitis C and oropharyngeal and non-oropharyngeal cancers is as high as its link to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Torres, who is also an associate professor of Infectious Disease, Infection Control and Employee Health.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, retrospectively analyzed data on 34,545 patients who had been tested for hepatitis C between 2004 and 2014. Among them were 409 patients with head and neck cancers – 164 with oropharyngeal and 245 with non-oropharyngeal cancer.

Since head and neck cancers are also related to smoking, the research team used another 694 patients suffering smoking-related cancers as a control group. Only 6.5 percent of patients in this group tested positive for hepatitis C.

Patients with head and neck cancers turned out to be much more likely to have a hepatitis infection – 14 percent in patients with oropharyngeal cancer and 20 percent in patients with non-oropharyngeal cancer — compared to only 6.5 percent in the control group.

Expressing it the other way around — a hepatitis C infection increased the risk of various head and neck cancers between 2 and 4.96 times.

Studies of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and liver cancer have shown that treating the viral infection might prevent cancer from developing, and even shrink cancers that have already appeared, as recently reported by Lymphoma News Today.

In fact, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines now recommend clinicians treat the hepatitis first, a recommendation MD Anderson plans to follow.

“What we are trying to make all understand is that this is an infection that has consequences — and it’s an infection we can cure,” Torres said.

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BMS gets US breakthrough status for head & neck cancer

Wed, Apr 27, 2016

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Source: pharmatimes.com
Author: Selina McKee

US regulators have awarded Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immunotherapy Opdivo a breakthrough designation for the potential indication of recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). The move, which should help expedite the drug’s development and review, comes after preliminary clinical evidence indicated it could offer a substantial survival benefit to patients with the condition who have already received platinum-based therapy.

A first look at the data from the Phase III CheckMate-141 trial, stopped early in January 2016 after meeting its primary endpoint of overall survival, showed that patients treated with Opdivo (nivolumab) experienced a 30 percent reduction in the risk of death compared to the investigator’s choice of therapy (methotrexate, docetaxel, or cetuximab), with a median overall survival of 7.5 months versus to 5.1 months.

Safety signals were also looking good, with treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) of any grade occurring in 58.9 percent of patients on Opdivo versus 77.5 percent of patients on investigator’s choice. Grade 3-4 TRAEs were reported in 13.1 percent of patients on Opdivo compared to 35.1 percent taking the investigator’s choice, while two drug-related deaths were reported as related to Opdivo (pneumonitis and hypercalcaemia), and one Grade 5 event of lung infection in the comparator arm.

The findings are particularly pertinent given the particularly bleak outlook for patients whose disease has progressed after platinum therapy and lack of systemic therapies to improve survival, and thus significant unmet medical need for new options.

Head and neck cancer is the seventh most common cancer globally, with an estimated 400,000 to 600,000 new cases per year and 223,000 to 300,000 deaths per year. The five-year survival rate is reported as less than 4% for metastatic Stage IV disease.

Opdivo is already available in the US to treat certain forms of melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and renal cell carcinoma. This marks its fifth breakthrough designation from the FDA, and follows that for classical Hodgkin lymphoma issued just days ago.

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Drug Target in Rare, Lethal Glandular Cancer Discovered

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

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Source: www.dddmag.com
Author: Yale University

 

Using a novel cell culture approach, Yale Cancer Center researchers have discovered critical vulnerabilities in adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC), a rare and lethal glandular cancer with a high recurrence rate and few treatment options. The findings, published April 15th in the journal

Clinical Cancer Research, offer data that ACC and similar cancers could be treated with already available drugs.

ddd1604_yale_cancer

ACC most often occurs in the salivary glands but can originate in the breast, trachea, skin, or other sites. Survival rates at five years are close to 90percent but drop significantly after that with just 40percent surviving at 15 years after diagnosis. It is a slow-growing cancer that affects about 1,200 people each year, with few symptoms in early stages.

Aside from surgery, there are few treatments for ACC, which until now has proven largely resistant to radiation therapy. It is this resistance that prompted Yale researchers to develop a novel cell culture technique to isolate and study ACC cancer stem cells, known to be the root of tumor growth, aggressiveness, and resistance to chemotherapy and radiation, said co-senior author Sergey Ivanov, research scientist in surgery (otolaryngology).

“Within ACC cells, we found the especially aggressive cancer stem cells. As important, we found the Achilles heel of these cells, which is their addiction to NOTCH1, a signaling molecule that helps these cells to survive therapy and multiply,” Ivanov said. “Fortunately, cancer stem cells can be killed by blocking NOTCH1 production.”

The similarities between the ACC stem cells and cancer stem cells derived from other cancers such as melanoma, neuroblastoma, and glioma surprised the researchers, according to co-senior author Wendell Yarbrough, M.D., professor and chief of otolaryngology.

“Our study suggests that drugs, which are now used in clinical trials to block NOTCH signaling in a variety of cancers, could be effective against ACC,” Yarbrough said. “Also, our study highlights that there are good targets for therapeutic development in ACC. These findings should form the basis for clinical trials.”

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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FDA Spends $36 Million on Anti-Chewing Tobacco Ad Campaign

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

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Source: www.freebeacon.com
Author: Elizabeth Harrington
Cans of smokeless tobacco sit in the Tampa Bay Rays dugout before a baseball game between the Rays and the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, April 14, 2010, in Baltimore. After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Cans of smokeless tobacco sit in the Tampa Bay Rays dugout before a baseball game between the Rays and the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, April 14, 2010, in Baltimore. After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

The Food and Drug Administration is spending $36 million on an anti-chewing tobacco advertising campaign targeted at white male teenagers in the midwest.

The federal agency announced Tuesday it is expanding its “Real Cost” anti-tobacco campaign to “educate rural, white male teenagers” and convince them to stop dipping.

“Smokeless tobacco use is culturally ingrained in many rural communities,” the FDA said. “For many, it has become a rite of passage, with these teenagers seeing smokeless tobacco used by role models, such as fathers, grandfathers, older brothers, and community leaders.”

The campaign will run television, radio, and print advertisements, as well as put up public signs and billboards and post on social media.

An FDA spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that the total cost for the campaign is $36 million, which will be financed through taxes on tobacco manufacturers. Paid ads will cost $20 million, and the remaining budget will cover “research, strategic planning, creative development, and contract management.”

The agency is also partnering with two dozen minor league baseball teams in the midwest that will host anti-chewing tobacco events and feature advertisements from the campaign.

“Amplification of messaging from the campaign will take place at 25 Minor League Baseball stadiums throughout this summer using a variety of efforts, including sponsoring in-stadium events, the placement of print ads, running of television ad spots, and opportunities for fans to engage with players who support the FDA’s efforts on smokeless tobacco,” said Tara Goodin, an FDA spokesperson.

The list of minor league clubs participating in the campaign includes the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, the Traverse City Beach Bums in Michigan, the Sioux Falls Canaries, and the Burlington Bees, an Iowa farm team for the Los Angeles Angels.

Chewing tobacco has been banned at ballparks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston, including Fenway Park, and major leaguers can face $250 fines and “are subject to discipline” from Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Rob Manfred if they dip during games.

ESPN reported that signs are now posted in Fenway with a phone number so individuals can call to report on other fans they see chewing tobacco to “alert security.”

The FDA provided an example of one of its new campaign ads, which features a man at a bowling alley with a can of chewing tobacco in his back pocket.

FDA-TRC-Smokeless-Prevention-Campaign-Ad

“This can can cause mouth cancer, tooth loss, brown teeth, jaw pain, white patches, gum disease,” text on the ad reads.

The campaign is targeted at white males aged 12 to 17 who are using smokeless tobacco, which the FDA estimates to be 629,000 nationwide, or 0.19 percent of the U.S. population of 318.9 million.

“Not only is the target audience using smokeless tobacco at a high rate, but many do not fully understand the negative health consequences of their actions,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “In communities where smokeless tobacco use is part of the culture, reaching at-risk teens with compelling messaging is critical to help change their understanding of the risks and harms associated with smokeless tobacco use.”

*This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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Chemotherapy + radiation may improve survival for some elderly

Tue, Apr 19, 2016

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Source: journals.lww.com
Author: Carlson, Robert H., Oncology Times

Because the toxicity of concurrent chemoradiation is greater than radiation therapy alone for definitive head and neck cancer treatment, many clinicians have reservations about offering chemoradiotherapy for elderly head and neck cancer patients.

But a new study shows that combining chemotherapy with radiation therapy improves survival rates for those head and neck cancer patients ages 71 to 79 years who have low comorbidity scores and advanced disease stage, with survival rates similar to that of younger patients.

The study, which used data from the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), suggests elderly patients are being underrepresented in prospective clinical trials that have defined standards of care for head and neck cancer.

“In the era of improved radiation techniques, improved systemic therapy, and better supportive care, we found that chemoradiotherapy does, in fact, improve survival for a large segment of this population,” said Sana Karam, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and senior author on the study.“

“These findings challenge historical data demonstrating no benefit of chemoradiotherapy for patients older than 70 years,” Karam said.

The study was presented at the 2016 Multidisciplinary Head & Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). First author is Arya Amini, MD, a fourth-year resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Before the meeting, Karam discussed the study in an online audio preview for the press.

She said current guidelines for treatment of elderly head and neck cancer are based on trials that are included in the MACH-NC meta-analysis of 16,485 patients in 87 randomized trials (Radiotherapy and Oncology 2009;92:4-14).

While the meta-analysis confirmed a benefit of concomitant chemotherapy in locally-advanced head and neck cancer greater than the benefit with induction chemotherapy, it showed those benefits decreasing with age with no overall survival benefit for patients age 71 and above.

“But only 4 percent of the patients in this meta-analysis were age 71 and above, compared with 9 percent of the 2010 U.S. Census,” Karam pointed out. “The meta-analysis was underpowered, yet it has set our clinical practice guidelines.”

The researchers examined records from the NCDB for patients older than between 1998 and 2011. From 1998-2011, 23 percent of patients in the database were over age 70. Cases for these elderly patients were stratified by whether or not they received chemotherapy concurrent with radiotherapy.

All patients received definitive radiotherapy (66.0-81.6 Gy in 1.2-2.0 Gy fractions). Concurrent chemoradiation was defined as beginning a course of chemotherapy 14 days before or after the start of radiotherapy.

Karam said 68 percent of the patients received radiotherapy alone, and 32 percent received chemoradiotherapy.

Five-Year Survival Improved If Comorbidity Low
The study showed that five-year survival in head and neck cancer patients ages 71 to 79 years was 30.3 percent with concomitant chemotherapy and radiotherapy, versus 15.2 percent for radiotherapy alone.

“Our results showed clearly a significant overall survival benefit with the addition of chemotherapy to radiation therapy,” Karam said.

Chemoradiotherapy was associated with improved survival when patients had comorbidity scores of zero or one, and advanced disease stage.

The researchers also found an overall survival benefit of chemoradiotherapy for patients treated with intensity modulated radiotherapy.

But patients who did not see an overall survival benefit from chemoradiotherapy tended to be ages 79 or older, had a comorbidity score of two or greater, or presented with T-I or T-II disease.

The trend toward worse overall survival for patients with multiple comorbidities was only marginally significant, Karam added.

“These findings may aid clinicians in discussing treatment options with their elderly head and neck cancer patients, and they could guide future prospective trials to confirm the benefit of multimodality treatment in elderly patients, not only for head and neck cancer, but for other cancer sites as well,” Karam said.

Comorbidity, Not Age
In an online audio preview of the meeting for the press, moderator Christine G. Gourin, MD, Associate Professor of Narratology-Head and Neck Surgery, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, said, “These data show us that the key factor is not age, but comorbidity. As we age, we collect comorbidities, and that’s what is probably more significant.”

Gourin commented on the MACH-NC meta-analysis, “that we all know is used by our colleagues in Europe to support not using chemotherapy in elderly patients.

She said her own research using the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) Medicare database found survival results can differ by tumor site—chemoradiation is superior to radiation in oropharyngeal cancer in terms of survival, she said; but in larynx cancer, overall survival is actually worse for chemoradiation.

Those differences were due to late toxicity of treatment, aspiration pneumonia, and dyspepsia.

Karam said her research also found differences between those two tumor sites, but that chemoradiotherapy improved overall survival for both subsets nonetheless.

“There are many differences in the data sets between the NCDB and SEER Medicare databases, including the historic staging analysis. The patient populations are a little different; our reviewers picked up on that when we were submitting the manuscript.”

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a clear cut variable for toxicity, but we did look at time to completion of radiotherapy. We found that patients who got concurrent chemoradiation had a longer time to completion of radiotherapy, suggesting perhaps more treatment breaks.”

“But even after controlling for treatment breaks, we still saw an overall survival advantage regardless of the subset, except for the very elderly and those with multiple comorbidities,” Karam said.

Source:
Oncology Times: 25 April 2016 – Volume 38 – Issue 8 – p 27
doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000482924.27883.03

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Hepatitis C Virus strongly linked to head and neck cancer: study

Tue, Apr 19, 2016

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Source: www.techtimes.com
Author: Deepthi B, Tech Times

People infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), one of the most common blood-borne virus infections, are more prone to developing particular types of head and neck cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Univerity of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have revealed that HCV-infected people are at a higher risk of developing these cancers by around two to five times more than those without the Hepatitis C infection.

“What we are trying to make all understand is that this is an infection that has consequences – and it’s an infection we can cure,” said Dr. Harrys Torres, lead author and an associate professor of infectious diseases at the university.

Torres further explained that the Hepatitis C infection is easily curable and that over 90 percent of the HCV-related cases can be cured without any trouble simply by taking antiviral drugs, although they are expensive.

Also, it is recommended that people should ensure timely screenings and appropriate treatment for HCV, as this can considerably prevent the condition from developing in the body.

Hepatitis C appallingly affects more than 3.5 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, several of them are not even aware that they are infected with the virus.

For the purpose of the study, researchers examined medical records from over 34,500 patients tested for HCV at the cancer center from 2004 to 2014.

The researchers discovered that patients suffering from hepatitis C seemed to exhibit more than double the risk of developing throat and mouth cancers. Additionally, they found that patients with hepatitis C had five times greater risk for cancer in the larynx than in those without the infection.

The researchers believe this discovery could be significantly instrumental in the screening of HCV patients and the treatment for those patients with head and neck cancer.

“We are going to recommend that all patients with head and neck cancer should be screened for hepatitis C, which is not done so far,” affirmed Torres.

Note: The study is featured in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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