New discovery could help combat side effects of cancer immunotherapy

Source: Author: staff Researchers in Liverpool and the US have made a breakthrough that could lead to improved immunotherapy treatments for some cancer patients. Their findings, which have been published in Nature, provide critical clues to why many immunotherapies trigger dangerous side effects – and point to a better strategy for treating patients with solid tumours, such as head and neck cancers. The work was led by Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Professor of Immuno-Oncology at the University of Liverpool and a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and Professor Pandurangan Vijayanand at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California. Immunotherapy side effects While immunotherapy has revolutionised the world of cancer treatment, long term disease control is achieved in only around 20 to 30 percent of patients with solid cancers. Immunotherapy can also come at a cost as many patients develop serious problems in their lungs, bowel, and even skin during treatment. These side effects can be debilitating and may force physicians to stop the immunotherapy. When head and neck patients started showing adverse side effects during an immunotherapy trial sponsored and funded by Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development in a number of cancer centres across the UK, the researchers went back through the data and worked with patient samples to see what went wrong. The patients had been given an oral cancer immunotherapy called a PI3Kδ inhibitor, which are new to the cancer immunotherapy scene, but hold promise for their ability to inhibit “regulatory” T [...]

Treatment for HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer varies by facility type

Author: Mark Leiser Source: DALLAS — Treatment modality for HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma varied considerably by facility type, according to study results. The findings — presented at American Head & Neck Society Annual Meeting — showed academic hospitals more frequently utilized surgery instead of radiation therapy or chemoradiation therapy alone as the primary treatment modality for early- and late-stage cancers. The findings suggest a lack of standardized treatment regimens that prevent patients from receiving universal care independent of facility resources, Monica S. Trent, MD, first-year resident at University of California, Irvine, and colleagues concluded. “There are many different ways to treat HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and, in order to try to determine the best treatment option, it is important to know who is offering what types of treatment at different centers,” Trent told Healio. “Our results show patients are being treated differently depending on where they present, and treatment is not standardized across different types of facilities.” Background and methods HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma is distinct from HPV-negative disease. It more frequently affects younger, healthier patients, and it is associated with improved prognosis and better historical survival outcomes after standard radiation and chemoradiation treatment protocols. The development of transoral robotic surgery offers an alternative upfront treatment option that could reduce short- and long-term morbidity without compromising oncologic outcomes, according to study background. However, due to the required resources and training needed for this modality, it has been offered primarily at academic medical centers. Trent and colleagues retrospectively [...]

2022-05-05T09:26:39-07:00May, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Gene mutations that contribute to head and neck cancer also provide ‘precision’ treatment targets

Source: Author: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University About one-fifth of often deadly head and neck cancers harbor genetic mutations in a pathway that is key to normal cell growth, and scientists report those mutations, which enable abnormal cancer cell growth, can also make the cancer vulnerable. Keys to targeting that vulnerability include individualized genomic analysis to identify a patient's specific mutation, and finding the drugs that directly target it, investigations that should be given more attention in cancer therapy development, they report in a review article in the journal NPJ Genomic Medicine. The MAPK pathway is a "signaling hub" for cells important to the usual development of the head and neck region, and activating key pathway constituents, like the genes MAPK1 and HRAS, is known to drive the growth of a variety of cancers, says Dr. Vivian Wai Yan Lui, molecular pharmacologist and translational scientist at the Georgia Cancer Center and Medical College of Georgia and the paper's corresponding author. But the mutations in the genes in the MAPK pathway that enable tumor growth can also make it sensitive to drug therapy, says Lui. While a lot of discovery is still needed to find more mutations in the MAPK pathway and the drugs that target them, Lui says they are among the most logical treatment targets for this tough-to-treat cancer. As she speaks, she is looking in her lab for drugs that kill head and neck primary tumors from patients, and at the genetics behind how they [...]

Rebuilding a jaw in a day

Source: Author: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Patients who lose a part of their jaw — whether from injury, infection, disease, or as a side effect of cancer treatment—can have the missing jawbone replaced through reconstruction. But most are left with a life-altering dilemma: Their new jaw is missing its teeth. That isn’t the case, however, for those treated by Cedars-Sinai’s “jaw-in-a-day” team. The team—a partnership between Cedars-Sinai and the Los Angeles Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery—is one of just a handful across the country performing a relatively new procedure where patients receive a jaw replacement complete with dental implants in one surgery. “People who have a traditional jaw reconstruction get a new jawbone, but it isn’t very functional,” said oral/maxillofacial surgeon Steven Kupferman, DMD, MD. “The jaw is meant to talk and chew, and without teeth, it can’t do those things as well.” A Tricky Reconstruction In the traditional jaw-replacement procedure—called fibula free flap surgery—the surgeon replaces the damaged jawbone with a section of bone cut from the fibula, the outer bone in the lower leg, which can be removed without compromising the patient’s ability to walk. It is possible for patients to have dental implants added to the jaw in a separate procedure, but head and neck surgeon Jon Mallen-St. Clair, MD, PhD, who has performed many fibula free flap procedures, said that rarely happens. “The patient may be worn out from going through that major reconstruction operation,” Mallen-St. Clair said. “And the oral surgeon could be worried [...]

Oral Cancer – Not just for smokers

Author: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc Source: Doctors diagnose about 50,000 new cases of oral cancer every year, and about 10,000 people with oral cancer die every year. Men are twice as likely to get oral cancer than women. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. We want to draw awareness to this terrible disease in hopes you will take action to prevent or catch it early with routine screenings and self-checks. While smoking and alcohol consumption increase your risk of oral cancer 15 times, having human papilloma virus (HPV) increases your risk by 30 times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly all sexually active adults will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Although cervical cancer is more closely associated with HPV, oral cancer can be caused by some types of HPV. Then again, 25% of oral cancer patients have no attributable risk factors. Prevention is key Like most cancers, reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking greatly reduces your chances for getting oral cancer. Applying SPF lip balm can help protect you from lip cancer. Using condoms during sexual activity may reduce your risk of contracting HPV. Dr. Sandra Balmoria with CMH Family Care Center recently gave a talk on teen health and expressed the importance of the HPV vaccine. “The only vaccine we have for cancer is the HPV vaccine — Gardasil,” Balmoria said. “This vaccine is available in a two or three-part series for ages 11-45.” The vaccine is available for [...]

2022-04-26T12:52:21-07:00April, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Could blocking or deleting a protein help prevent common oral cancers?

Source: Author: Boston University The most common head and neck cancer—oral squamous cell carcinoma—often starts off, as many other cancers do, quite innocently. Perhaps as a little white patch in the mouth or a small red bump on the gums. Easy to ignore, to downplay. But then something changes, and the little blotch becomes more ominous, starts growing, burrowing into connective tissue. Patients who are lucky enough to see a dentist before things take a nasty turn have a shot at being able to prevent the lesions from turning cancerous—or can at least make sure treatment starts when it’s most effective. But for those who aren’t that lucky, the outlook can be bleak: the five-year survival rate of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is around 66 percent. More than 10,000 Americans die of oral cancer every year; smokers and drinkers are hardest hit. Now, researchers at Boston University’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine have found that dialing back—or even genetically deleting—a protein that seems to spur the cancer’s growth might help limit a tumor’s development and spread. They say their findings make the protein, an enzyme called lysine-specific demethylase 1, a potential “druggable target”—something that doctors could aim chemo and immuno-oncology therapies at to take down a tumor. The study was published in February in Molecular Cancer Research. Given that at least one-third of Americans don’t visit a dentist regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the discovery could be a future lifesaver for [...]

Head and Neck Cancers: Understanding Risk Factors, Advances in Treatment, and the HPV Vaccine.

Author: John Fernandez Source: The classification is known as “head and neck cancers” — but these cases don’t involve the brain and spine. They do involved just about everything else above the collarbone. April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, when cancer specialists take extra time to remind the public of the top risk factors: tobacco, alcohol, sun exposure and HPV (human papillomavirus). It’s also the time of year when specialists relay the importance of screenings and healthy living. That’s because head and neck cancers are preventable, said Geoffrey Young, M.D., Ph.D., chief of head and neck surgery at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health. Head and neck cancers are more treatable today. “There are been significant developments in surgery, radiation therapy and systemic therapy,” explains Dr. Young. “These include transoral robotic surgery, targeted proton radiation, and immunotherapy. All are changing the face of head and neck cancer with new protocols and clinical trials coming out every day.” Head and neck cancers can involve the mucosal lining of upper aero-digestive tract, including nasal cavity/sinuses, oral cavity (tongue, palate, gums), pharynx (back of the throat) and the voicebox (larynx). Head and neck cancer specialists also treat salivary gland cancers, skin cancers and thyroid cancers. “The treatment of head and neck cancer is very complex and multidisciplinary consultation with head and neck surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology is often necessary,” adds Dr. Young. The HPV Vaccine Over the last few years, HPV has been making headlines because of the promising development [...]

2022-04-18T09:53:05-07:00April, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Researchers find new treatment combo effective for head and neck cancer

Source: Author: Simona Shemer Israeli researchers have helped to develop a new treatment combination for patients with advanced or metastatic head and neck cancer (HNC). The treatment, which uses both a targeted drug and immunotherapy following a certain sequence and within a specific time frame, blocks a signaling pathway that suppresses the immune system and keeps it from fighting tumor cells. The research was conducted by an international team of scientists led by PhD student Manu Prasad in the laboratory of Prof. Moshe Elkabets of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Their findings were just published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer in a study co-authored by Israeli, Chinese, French, German, and US researchers. The researchers targeted an aggressive type of HNC which is driven by the hyperactivation of a specific signaling pathway that will not allow the immune system to kill tumor cells. This was found in more than 40 percent of HNC cases. Head and neck cancers include cancer in the larynx (voice box), throat, lips, mouth, nose, and salivary gland, or malignant tumors that arise from the lining of the head and neck regions. The treatments currently available treatments are ineffective, Prof. Elkabets tells NoCamels. HNC develops in multiple sites on a person and existing treatments, which include chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy have a relatively low response rate of about 20 percent. The average survival rate for patients in Stage III or IV of the disease is only about [...]

Early warning signs of oral cancer

Author: MetroCreative Connection Source: Oral cancer is a significant threat across the globe. Data from the World Health Organization indicates that more than 450,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. The Oral Cancer Foundation notes that oral cancers are part of a group of cancers referred to as head and neck cancers. All cancers in that group are potentially dangerous, but oral cancers account for roughly 85 percent of all head and neck cancer diagnoses, which underscores the importance of routine oral health checkups. The Moffitt Cancer Center® in Florida notes that many dentists perform oral cancer screenings during routine checkups, which dispels the notion that checkups are unnecessary for individuals who practice proper dental hygiene every day. The American Dental Association notes there is not a one-size-fits-all regimen for dental health. However, at least two visits to a dentist per year can ensure teeth stay clean and afford dentists opportunities to screen for oral cancers and detect other issues, including gingivitis. In addition to scheduling routine checkups, individuals can learn to spot the common symptoms of oral cancer. The Moffitt Cancer Center urges individuals to seek medical attention if any of these signs persist for more than two weeks: A sore, irritation or thickness in the mouth or throat • A white or red patch on the inside of the mouth • A feeling that something is caught in the throat • Hoarseness or other vocal changes • Persistent coughing • Difficulty chewing, swallowing or [...]

2022-04-05T07:38:47-07:00April, 2022|Oral Cancer News|
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