Genetic changes in head and neck cancer, immunotherapy resistance identified

Source: MedicalXPress Date: April 26th, 2021 Author: University of San Diego-California A multi-institutional team of researchers has identified both the genetic abnormalities that drive pre-cancer cells into becoming an invasive type of head and neck cancer and patients who are least likely to respond to immunotherapy. "Through a series of surprises, we followed clues that focused more and more tightly on specific genetic imbalances and their role in the effects of specific immune components in tumor development," said co-principal investigator Webster Cavenee, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. "The genetic abnormalities we identified drive changes in the immune cell composition of the tumors that, in turn, dictates responsiveness to standard of care immune checkpoint inhibitors." Reporting in the April 26, 2021 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe the role of somatic copy-number alterations—abnormalities that result in the loss or gain in a copy of a gene—and the loss of chromosome 9p in the development of human papillomavirus (HPV)-negative head and neck cancer. The loss of chromosome 9p and the deletion of JAK2 and PD-LI, two neighboring genes found on chromosome 9p, was associated with resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of cancer immunotherapy that uses antibodies to make tumor cells visible to a patient's immune system. "Although programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitors represent a major breakthrough in cancer treatment, only 15 percent of patients with HPV-negative head and neck cancer respond to treatment," said [...]

2021-04-27T10:01:12-07:00April, 2021|Oral Cancer News|

Sentinel node biopsy makes case in oral cavity cancer

Source: Author: Charles Bankhead Patients with early-stage oral cavity cancers had similar survival with less neck disability with a less invasive approach to lymph node assessment, a multicenter randomized study showed. The 3-year overall survival (OS) rate was 87.9% with sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) and 86.6% with elective node dissection (ND). The 3-year disease-free survival (DFS) rate was 78.7% versus 81.3% in the SLNB and ND groups. Both outcomes met statistical criteria for noninferiority of the two approaches to lymph node assessment. The SLNB group had significantly better scores on a test of neck function, reported Yasuhisa Hasegawa, MD, PhD, of Asahi University Hospital in Gifu, Japan, and co-authors. "SLNB-navigated ND is noninferior and less invasive than elective ND," the authors wrote in the paper online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. "The results of this study may promote a widespread use of SLNB (for early-stage OCSCC [oral-cavity squamous cell carcinoma]) worldwide." The results added to a growing volume of evidence suggesting similar outcomes between SLNB and the more-invasive ND. Last year a randomized study from France showed a 2-year relapse-free survival rate of 89-91% with the two approaches to lymph node assessment in oral and oropharyngeal cancer. A large retrospective cohort study resulted in similar OS and a shorter hospital stay as compared with ND. Multiple studies have demonstrated improved functional outcomes and lower complication rates with SLNB, the authors noted. Optimal management of clinically node-negative early-stage OCSCC remains controversial. Advantages have been reported for observation, ND, [...]

A new method for fighting ‘cold’ tumors

Source: Author: news release University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus Not all cancerous tumors are created equal. Some tumors, known as "hot" tumors, show signs of inflammation, which means they are infiltrated with T cells working to fight the cancer. Those tumors are easier to treat, as immunotherapy drugs can then amp up the immune response. "Cold" tumors, on the other hand, have no T-cell infiltration, which means the immune system is not stepping in to help. With these tumors, immunotherapy is of little use. It's the latter type of tumor that researchers Michael Knitz and radiation oncologist and University of Colorado Cancer Center member Sana Karam, MD, PhD, address in new research published this week in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer. Working with mouse models in Karam's specialty area of head and neck cancers, Knitz and Karam studied the role of T cells in tumor treatment. "What we found is that the cells that normally tell the T cell, 'Hey, here's a tumor -- come and attack it,' are being silenced," Karam says. She and her team found that regulatory T cells (Tregs), a specialized T cell type that suppresses immune response, are essentially telling the T cells to stop fighting the cancer. "Tregs normally serve as an important balance in a healthy immune system," Knitz says. "They prevent autoimmune disease and put the brakes on the T cells when needed. However, in many tumors, Tregs are too numerous or overly suppressive, bringing the T cell response [...]

A story NOT silenced by oral cancer: a message to dental professionals

Source: dentistryiq Author: Eva Grayzel The storyteller gets tongue cancer? How ironic! Sharing my personal oral cancer journey publicly is a tribute to those who came before me and an obligation to those who will follow. Knowing my story will save lives. That’s why I tell it. Here it is, in a nutshell. Just a simple little sore spot It started with a sore on the left side of my tongue. A strange place for what seemed like an ordinary canker sore. After four weeks, I went to an oral surgeon, complaining of pain. He said if it bothered me so much, he could take it off. Two weeks later, the oral surgeon’s receptionist called to tell me my biopsy was negative. “Excuse me, are you calling the right patient?” I was never told about a biopsy. “The oral surgeon took tissue from your tongue, correct?” she questioned. “Yes, that was me.” I thought to myself, What could they possibly be looking for in a biopsy of the tongue? “You have nothing to worry about,” she assured me. I did not know I had to worry. She should have said my biopsy was negative for cancer. I had no idea you could get cancer in the mouth. No dental professional had ever used the word cancer in my presence. Cancer of the oral cavity was simply beyond my scope of understanding. “Nothing to worry about” Two years later, the sore returned right over the biopsy site. Eight weeks later, I [...]

Addressing unmet needs for head and neck cancer awareness month

Source: Author: Sara Karlovitch Head and neck cancers, also known as squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, account for nearly 50,000 cases of cancer per year in the United States. April is head and neck cancer month. According to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), alcohol and tobacco use are major risk factors for developing head and neck cancers. However, infection with the cancer-causing types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) also increases the risk for certain forms of the cancer, as well as eating preserved or salted foods, poor oral hygiene, occupational exposure to wood dust, asbestos, and synthetic fibers, radiation exposure, and Epstein-Barr virus infection in endemic regions, including southeast Asia. Head and neck cancers are more common among men than women. Additionally, most patients who are diagnosed with this type of cancer are 50 years or older. Symptoms include a lump or sore on that does not go away or heal, difficulty swallowing, changes in voice, or a sore throat that does not resolve or heal. Trials such as the KEYNOTE-048 study (NCT02358031), which investigated the use of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as a first line treatment for recurrent or metastatic squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, have changed how head and neck cancers are treated. While many patients recover, many are still affected by life-long disabilities as the result of their disease and treatment. Stuart J. Wong, MD, a medical oncologist, professor, and director of the Center for Disease Prevention Research at the [...]

How this surgery center is changing the way doctors communicate with patients

Source: Author: WBFF staff Head and neck cancers have a variety of causes, including human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, alcohol and tobacco use, sun exposure, poor oral health, or occupational exposure to hazardous materials. Regardless of the cancer's cause, recovery often depends on how quickly a patient can begin treatment. The experience of starting treatment is of particular interest to Farzad Masroor, M.D., a surgeon at GBMC's Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head and Neck Center, and his team. "The head and neck areas are how we interface with the world," he said. "The mouth and throat are vital to talking and tasting, and when treatments focus on those areas, it will invariably affect a patient's quality of life." To help minimize the need for invasive treatments like surgery and radiation, Dr. Masroor and his colleagues prioritize early detection and care to yield the best possible outcomes. Although patients are encouraged to see their primary physicians or dermatologists before making an appointment with a surgeon, Dr. Masroor also recommends that patients refer themselves if they are concerned that cancer is present. "I would rather see my office filled with people who I can reassure about their health than have patients delay care and end up with something seriously wrong that requires a significant procedure," he said. Courtesy phone consultations with a head and neck surgeon at the Milton J. Dance, Jr. Center are available for patients in these instances. Though these are not designed to replace in-person visits, they allow patients [...]

Cancer vaccine shows early promise across tumor types

Source: Author: Walter Alexander A personalized cancer vaccine proved possible to manufacture and was well tolerated in an early phase I clinical trial, researchers said. The vaccine, known as PGV-001, was given to 13 patients with solid tumors or multiple myeloma who had a high risk of recurrence after surgery or stem cell transplant. At last follow-up, four patients were still alive without evidence of disease and had not received subsequent therapy, four were alive and receiving therapy, three had died, and two could not be contacted for follow-up. Thomas Marron, MD, of Mount Sinai in New York presented these results at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting recently. “While cancer immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of cancer, we know that the majority of patients fail to achieve significant clinical response,” Marron said during his presentation. Personalized vaccines may help prime an improved immune response, he said. With this in mind, Marron and colleagues developed PGV-001, a vaccine consisting of customized peptides – a kind of amino acid -- given to patients along with initial treatment. Feasibility and safety Vaccines were given to 13 patients. Six had head and neck cancer, three had multiple myeloma – a cancer of the white blood cells -- two had lung cancer, one had breast cancer, and one had bladder cancer. Eleven patients received all 10 intended doses, and two patients received at least eight doses. “The vaccine was well tolerated, with only half of patients experiencing mild, grade 1 adverse [...]

Dental Professionals Should Remember the HPV Vaccine Too

Source: Dentistry Today Date: April 13th, 2021 Author: Jo-Anne Jones We live in a viral world as we patiently await the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people already have chosen to be vaccinated to protect themselves from getting the virus, or, at the very least, minimize its severity. The harsh nature of the pandemic has led to expediency in developing the vaccine, which has not been typical, historically speaking. While the COVID-19 vaccine took less than a year to develop, the mumps vaccine took four years. The polio vaccine took 13 years. The human papillomavirus (HPV), flu, and chicken pox vaccines took 17, 27, and 28 years, respectively. Looking back in the annals of history, we have the remarkable work of Edward Jenner to thank for his development of the first vaccine. His work involved deliberately infecting a human being with a mild dose of smallpox. His rigorous trials were controlled, repeatable, and documented in his 1798 publication, “An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ.” Jenner devoted the remainder of his life advocating for the safe and effective administration of the vaccine. In 1972, routine smallpox vaccination ended in the United States, followed by the World Health Organization declaring the disease’s elimination in 1980. Another such vaccine victory is the polio vaccine, which was first available in the United States in 1955. Thanks to its widespread use, the United States has been polio-free since 1979. And while the United States government has said that dentists [...]

2021-04-13T12:57:09-07:00April, 2021|OCF In The News|

Roche launches Elecsys Anti-p53 immunoassay to aid diagnosis of various cancer types

Source: Author: press release, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd Roche today announced the launch of the Elecsys Anti-p53 immunoassay for the in vitro quantitative determination of anti-p53 antibodies. This test is used to aid physicians to diagnose throat cancer, bowel cancer and breast cancer in patients, in conjunction with other diagnostic tests. The assay is now available for all markets accepting the CE Mark. “The addition of our Elecsys Anti-p53 immunoassay will help clinicians to quickly and reliably diagnose several prevalent cancers and might assist in leading to a better prognosis for many patients.”, said Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Diagnostics. “Beyond breakthrough cancer medicines, Roche also offers a growing number of testing solutions to help physicians diagnose and treat people with cancer. p53 is protein which, when active, helps to regulate processes which stop tumors from developing. A mutation of p53 is present in half of solid tumor cancers and is the most common genetic change identified so far in human cancers.1 Certain mutations of p53 can lead to a build up of p53 which results in the formation of anti-p53 autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are antibodies that mistakenly target and react with a person’s own tissues. Between 20-50% of patients with mutated p53 will produce anti-p53 autoantibodies.2 This mutation causes the tumor suppressive function of p53 to switch to a tumor-promoting function and thus cancer development. Early appearance of anti-p53 antibodies during tumour development may have potential to detect malignant changes.3 The Elecsys Anti-p53 immunoassay detects these anti-p53 antibodies and, when [...]

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