Lifting the Stigma: The Importance of HPV Vaccination Education in Head and Neck Cancer

Author: Hayley Virgil Source: Although a stigma has persisted surrounding human papillomavirus (HPV)–associated head and neck cancers, a lot of progress has been made through education efforts within the head and neck surgical oncology community, according to Tom Thomas, MD, MPH, an Otolaryngologist and director of Head and Neck Reconstructive Surgery and Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) at the Leonard B. Kahn Head and Neck Cancer Institute at Morristown Medical Center of Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, said in an interview with Cancer Network. The main reason for stigma to persist is due to lack of public understanding of the science behind HPV infection and disease progression.HPV is a family of over 150 viruses and the leading cause of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the world, but a minority can cause cancer. Most of us are often exposed to HPV through intimate contact, but we can fight off the disease and eliminate it.However, in a small minority of us, disease could potentially remain dormant for decades before resurfacing. “We don't know the triggers of this coming back as cancer later, stated Dr. Thomas. When it comes to HPV associated oropharyngeal cancer, Dr. Thomas is careful in counseling patients and their current partners about the long latency of the virus. Without this premise, there can be misunderstanding and distrust in the relationship, that can affect cancer treatment. If caught early, the disease has a good cure rate. “HPV associated oropharyngeal cancer is a curable cancer. If caught early and treated [...]

2022-06-29T15:15:31-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to PDS0101 Plus Pembrolizumab in Advanced Head and Neck Cancer

Author: Ariana Pelosci Source: Fast track designation was granted to PDS0101 plus pembrolizumab, which is currently being assessed in the phase 2 VERSATILE study in patients with recurrent or metastatic human papillomavirus 16–positive head and neck cancer. PDS0101 plus pembrolizumab (Keytruda) has been granted fast track designation by the FDA for patients with recurrent or metastatic human papillomavirus (HPV) 16–positive head and neck cancer, according to a press release from PDS Biotechnology.1 The combination is currently being investigated in the phase 2 VERSATILE-002 study (NCT04260126) in the aforementioned patient population. PDS0101 is a subcutaneous T cell HPV-specific immunotherapeutic that can encourage high levels of CD8-positive and CD-4 positive T cells. This is achieved by activating numerous immune pathways. These T cells have been observed to target different tumors that have occurred as a result of HPV16 infection. “We are thrilled that the FDA has granted fast track designation for PDS0101 in combination with [pembrolizumab],” Frank Bedu-Addo, PhD, chief executive officer of PDS Biotech, said in the press release. “The HPV-associated head and neck cancer prevalence continues to rise, leaving this affected group with limited treatment options to date. Receiving this designation underscores the potential of the Versamune® platform and the need for a new therapy that may improve outcomes for those with this devastating disease.” At the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, results from the trial were presented.2 In stage 1 of the study, 17 patients were included who were checkpoint inhibitor naïve with 4 [...]

2022-06-29T15:16:49-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Primary Transoral Surgery Yields Good Swallowing Outcomes Despite Increased Risk of Death in HPV-related OPSCC

Author: Hayley Virgil Source: Despite an increased risk of grade 5 toxicities, patients with human papillomavirus–related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who received primary transoral surgery and neck dissection vs radiotherapy experienced good swallowing outcomes at 1 year. Good swallowing outcomes were observed at 1 year among patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)–related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who were treated with primary transoral surgery (TOS) and neck dissection vs radiotherapy despite an increased risk of developing grade 5 toxicities, according to findings from the phase 2 ORATOR2 trial (NCT03210103). At a median follow up of 17 months, investigators reported 3 deaths in both the TOS and neck dissection arm, 2 of which were treatment related and 1 due to myocardial infarction at 8.5 months. The 2 treatment-related deaths were reported following TORS and were due to oropharyngeal hemorrhage and cervical vertebral osteomyelitis. Moreover, investigators reported 4 progression-free survival (PFS) events in this arm, 3 of which were mortality events and 1 due to local recurrence. As such, overall survival (OS) and PFS data were considered immature at the time of study. In total, 67% of patients in the radiotherapy arm and 71% in the TOS and neck dissection arm experienced grade 2 to 5 toxic effects. The study included patients who were 18 years or older with T1 to T2 disease and N0 to N2 staging. Those who enrolled were randomized 1:1 to either the primary radiotherapy group, including 60 Gys followed by concurrent weekly cisplatin chemotherapy at 40 mg/m2 in [...]

2022-06-29T15:19:48-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

How MRI and CT predict flap failure after head and neck reconstructive cancer surgery

Author: Noah Fromson Source: A composite picture from MR perfusion of a free flap demonstrating measurements made within the flap. Credit: Michigan Medicine When a patient with head and neck cancer has surgery to remove it, they often need reconstructive surgery in the form of a “free flap”, which is skin and tissue taken from a different part of the body and connected to the blood vessels of the wound in need of repair. This free flap method, called microvascular reconstruction, carries around a 10-40% risk of wound complications, with 10% of cases requiring another surgery. A Michigan Medicine study finds that early postoperative CT scans and MRIs can help predict whether a flap will fail, which could allow surgeons to intervene earlier. The results are published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. “All patients who have this procedure can be investigated with non-invasive post-operative CT or MRI perfusion, and these two methods show a lot of promise as accurate biomarkers of predicting free flap viability,” said Ashok Srinivasan, M.D., FACR, senior author of the paper and neuroradiologist at University of Michigan Health. “By seeing how much blood is flowing in and out of the tissue, we may be able to predict if the flap will succeed and if the patient can be discharged earlier, or it may be able to tell us sooner that surgical intervention is needed to repair the flap. Radiologists have used CT and MRI perfusion with contrast to look at blood perfusion [...]

Acupuncture Improves Symptoms of Radiation-Induced Xerostomia in Head and Neck Cancer

Author: Andrea S. Blevins Primeau, PhD, MBA Source: Acupuncture can improve symptoms of radiation-induced xerostomia in patients with head and neck cancer, according to a phase 3 trial presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting 2022. Patients who underwent true acupuncture reported greater improvements in symptoms and quality of life than did patients who underwent sham acupuncture and those who received standard oral hygiene alone. These results suggest that acupuncture should be considered for treating radiation-induced xerostomia, said study presenter Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr Cohen explained that current treatments for radiation-induced xerostomia have a low success rate, but small studies have suggested that acupuncture may relieve symptoms. The researchers therefore set out to evaluate acupuncture in a randomized, phase 3, controlled trial. The trial enrolled adults with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The patients had received bilateral radiation therapy and subsequently developed grade 2-3 xerostomia. All patients completed radiation therapy at least 12 months before enrollment, and parotid glands and at least 1 submandibular gland were intact. A total of 258 patients underwent randomization. They all received standard oral hygiene and were randomly assigned to undergo true acupuncture (n=86), sham acupuncture (n=86), or no additional intervention (n=86). Patients who underwent acupuncture did so twice weekly for 4 weeks. Patients who achieved a minor response continued with true or sham acupuncture for an additional 4 weeks. Baseline characteristics were well balanced across the arms. A majority of patients were men, were [...]

2022-06-23T23:41:07-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Scientists hacked a locust’s brain to sniff out human cancer

Source: Author: Jessica Hamzelou Cyborg locust brains can help spot the telltale signs of human cancer in the lab, a new study has shown. The team behind the work hopes it could one day lead to an insect-based breath test that could be used in cancer screening, or inspire an artificial version that works in much the same way. Other animals have been taught to spot signs that humans are sick. For example, dogs can be trained to detect when their owners’ blood sugar levels start to drop, or if they develop cancer, tuberculosis, or even covid. In all cases, the animals are thought to be sensing chemicals that people emit through body odor or breath. The mix of chemicals can vary depending on a person’s metabolism, which is thought to change when we get sick. But dogs are expensive to train and look after. And making a device that mimics a dog’s nose has proved extremely difficult to do, says Debajit Saha, one of the scientists behind the latest work, which has not yet been peer-reviewed. “These changes are almost in parts per trillion,” says Saha, a neural engineer at Michigan State University. This makes them hard to pick up even with state-of-the-art technologies, he adds. But animals have evolved to interpret such subtle changes in scents. So he and his colleagues decided to “hijack” an animal brain instead. Courtesy of researchers The researchers chose to work with locusts because these insects have been well studied [...]

Michael Douglas regrets calling this “the best cure” for cancer

Source: Author: Luisa Colón For decades, Michael Douglas has been box office gold, starring in blockbusters such as Wall Street, Fatal Attraction, and Basic Instinct, to name just a few. But in 2010 the actor made headlines for a different reason when he revealed that he'd been diagnosed with throat cancer at the age of 65. After successfully undergoing both chemotherapy and radiation, the star made a full recovery—but three years later, he revealed it wasn't actually throat cancer he'd been battling against. Read on to find out what it really was, and why he regrets making an unusual claim regarding what caused his condition, as well as what "the best cure" for it was. In the summer of 2013, Michael Douglas spoke to the Guardian about his experience with what he then described as throat cancer. After "many months of oral discomfort… a series of specialists missed the tumor and instead prescribed antibiotics," reported the Guardian. "Douglas then went to see a friend's doctor in Montreal who looked inside his mouth using a tongue depressor." The doctor discovered the tumor and ordered a biopsy, and Douglas was soon diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Recalling his eight grueling weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, and subsequent liquids-only diet—during which he lost 45 pounds—Douglas told the Guardian it was a "rough ride," adding, "… the amount of chemo I was getting, it zaps all the good stuff too. It made me very weak." Later that year, Michael Douglas fans were surprised [...]

Throat cancer survivor: Why I’m an HPV vaccine advocate and a MyCancerConnection Volunteer

Author: George Brownfield Source: By the time I was diagnosed with HPV-related throat cancer in the summer of 2014, I’d been working as a senior systems analyst at MD Anderson for more than 20 years. I’d seen some of the incredible things our doctors were doing for people and was very aware of our reputation. So, there was never any doubt about where I’d be going for throat cancer treatment. Once I was cancer-free, I realized I wanted to pay it forward. That’s why I started volunteering through myCancerConnection, MD Anderson’s one-on-one cancer support community for patients and caregivers. I also became a vocal advocate for vaccinating kids against HPV. My throat cancer diagnosis The ear, nose and throat specialist who initially diagnosed me was very timid about telling me why my lymph nodes were swollen. The only thing he ever really stated plainly was that I needed to get to MD Anderson. As a result, I wasn’t even sure I had throat cancer until I met with surgical oncologist Dr. Amy Hessel. She was clear and precise about my diagnosis, but also very comforting. She told me that the cancer was stage I, and she knew exactly how to treat it. I was going to be fine. I felt such a sense of relief. The cancer was mainly in my left aryepiglottic fold and piriform sinus. That's the first part of the swallowing tube, which acts sort of like a funnel in directing food to the esophagus. Dr. [...]

2022-06-14T07:23:58-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Cancer diagnosis and treatment: Smokers are 10 times more likely to develop tongue cancer

Author: Shalini Saksena Source: People are unaware that tobacco contains more than 60 dangerous chemicals, including carcinogen promoting substances. The symptoms of tongue cancer may not be visible in early stages, especially if disease is towards base of tongue: Dr Kapil Dev. Large tumors are removed by a partial glossectomy, which involves removing a portion of the tongue. Cigarette smoking is a common sight today, not only among adults but the youngsters too. While the habit of smoking is more of social behavior for many, its harmful consequences are only realized when the body starts breaking down. Dr Kapil Dev, consultant, Surgical Oncology, HCG Cancer Hospital in Jaipur told News9 that many people are unaware that tobacco contains more than 60 dangerous chemicals, including carcinogens and cancer-promoting substances, which can infiltrate the body's numerous systems and cause mouth, lung and even tongue cancer. What is tongue cancer? It is a type of cancer that develops in the tongue's cells. Tongue cancer most commonly develops in the thin, flat squamous cells that line the surface of the tongue. It occurs, like other cancers, when cells divide uncontrollably and accumulate to form a tumor. There are two types of tongue cancers. "One is known as oral tongue cancer because it affects the section of the tongue that can be projected out. The other takes place near the base of the tongue, where it joins your throat. This type of cancer, known as oropharyngeal cancer, is frequently detected after it has progressed [...]

2022-06-14T07:11:31-07:00June, 2022|Oral Cancer News|

Canada poised to become 1st country to add warnings on individual cigarettes

Source: Author: Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press Canada is poised to become the first country in the world to require that a warning be printed on every cigarette. The move builds on Canada’s mandate to include graphic photo warnings on tobacco products’ packaging – a groundbreaking policy that started an international trend when it was introduced two decades ago. “We need to address the concern that these messages may have lost their novelty, and to an extent we worry that they may have lost their impact as well,” Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett said at a news conference Friday. “Adding health warnings on individual tobacco products will help ensure that these essential messages reach people, including the youth who often access cigarettes one at a time in social situations, sidestepping the information printed on a package.” A consultation period for the proposed change is set to begin Saturday, and the government anticipates the changes coming into force in the latter half of 2023. While the exact messaging printed on cigarettes could change, Bennett said the current proposal is: “Poison in every puff.” Bennett also revealed expanded warnings for cigarette packages that include a longer list of smoking’s health effects, including stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and peripheral vascular disease. Canada has required the photo warnings since the turn of the millennium, but the images haven’t been updated in a decade. Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, said he hopes the warnings printed directly on cigarettes become [...]

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