Common local anesthetic may be effective against head and neck cancers

Source: Author: Paul McClure A new study has uncovered how the commonly used local anesthetic drug, lidocaine, activates bitter taste receptors to exert an anti-cancer effect in head and neck cancers. Given its low cost and ready availability, the drug could easily be incorporated into the treatment of patients with this challenging form of cancer. Anyone who’s had a cut sutured up or a dental procedure such as a filling will probably be familiar with lidocaine (also known as lignocaine). While it’s known how the local anesthetic drug exerts its pain-inhibiting effects, it’s been suggested that lidocaine also has a beneficial effect on cancer patients, although how is not fully understood. Now, a study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has solved a long-standing mystery of how lidocaine causes the death of certain cancer cells. “We’ve been following this line of research for years but were surprised to find that lidocaine targets the one receptor that happened to be mostly highly expressed across cancers,” said Robert Lee, a corresponding author of the study. That ‘one receptor’ is T2R14, a bitter taste receptor that’s expressed in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs), cancers with a high mortality and significant treatment-related morbidity. HNSCCs arise in the mucosa of oral and nasal cavities due to exposure to environmental carcinogens and/or the human papillomavirus (HPV). In addition to their role in bitter taste perception, bitter taste receptors (T2Rs) are involved in innate immunity, thyroid function, cardiac physiology, [...]

2023-11-29T18:20:42-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Trial results support ‘new gold standard’ for head and neck cancer radiotherapy

Source: Author: Institute of Cancer Research Phase III trial results on a precision radiotherapy technique support a "new gold standard" for treating head and neck cancer patients. The research suggests the new approach can reduce the risk of swallowing problems after radiotherapy, without impacting the success of treatment. The Dysphagia-Aspiration Related Structures (DARS) trial compared dysphagia-optimized intensity-modulated radiotherapy (DO-IMRT) with standard IMRT. Reducing radiation to muscles involved in swallowing DO-IMRT optimizes IMRT to reduce the risk of swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia. This common side effect of radiotherapy for head and neck cancer can, in some cases, leave patients needing a permanent feeding tube. DO-IMRT lowers the risk of dysphagia by reducing radiation to the pharyngeal muscles, which support swallowing. The DARS study included 112 newly diagnosed participants with oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers (tumors of the throat) from centers across the U.K. and Ireland. Half received standard IMRT and half received DO-IMRT for six weeks. Final results from the trial, which were published in The Lancet Oncology, revealed that: After two years, patients treated with DO-IMRT were more likely to report better swallowing function than those treated with IMRT. After a year, around three-fifths (62%) of DO-IMRT patients reported high normalcy of diet—meaning they were still able to eat at least some foods that require chewing—and more than 8 in 10 (85%) said they felt comfortable eating in public, compared with just under 45% and 75% of those treated with standard IMRT respectively. After just over three years of [...]

2023-11-26T15:49:43-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Despite treatment advances, oral mucositis continues to plague patients with head and neck cancer

Source: Author: Lindsay Fischer Findings from a cohort study of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) suggest that severe oral mucositis continues to be a common adverse event in this population. Findings were published in JAMA Network Open. In this single-institution study, 98.6% (n = 568) of patients who underwent definitive or adjuvant intensity-modulated RT (IMRT) for primary HNC between February 9, 2015, and May 2022, developed some degree of oral mucositis, and 62.5% (n = 360) of these patients developed severe oral mucositis. A total of 576 patients were included in this analysis. The median patient age was 62.5 years (IQR, 53.6-69.1) and 78.3% (n = 451) were male. Most patients were White (88.4%). Most patients (80.6%) also received concurrent chemotherapy. Quality-of-Life Parameters Patients were assessed for mouth and soreness (MTS) scores during radiotherapy through the Oral Mucositis Weekly Questionnaire–Head and Neck Cancer survey. Patients who had higher MTS scores were more likely to require a feeding tube (P = .001); the rate of feeding tube utilization with MTS scores 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively, was 0%, 3.6%, 6.6, 14.7%, and 21.6%. They were also more likely to be hospitalized (P = .02) or require opiate use (P

2023-11-22T13:11:21-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Hydration innovation: Scientists unveil groundbreaking dry mouth remedy

Source: Author: University of Leeds Proof of concept of new material for long-lasting relief from dry mouth conditions. A novel aqueous lubricant technology designed to help people who suffer from a dry mouth is between four and five times more effective than existing commercially available products, according to laboratory tests. Developed by scientists at the University of Leeds, the saliva substitute is described as comparable to natural saliva in the way it hydrates the mouth and acts as a lubricant when food is chewed. Microgel Technology Explained Under a powerful microscope, the molecules in the substance — known as a microgel — appear as a lattice-like network or sponge which bind onto the surface of the mouth. Surrounding the microgel is a polysaccharide-based hydrogel that traps water. This dual function will keep the mouth feeling hydrated for longer. Professor Anwesha Sarkar, who has led the development of the saliva substitute, said: “Our laboratory benchmarking reveals that this substance will have a longer-lasting effect. “The problem with many of the existing commercial products is they are only effective for short periods because they do not bind to the surface of the mouth, with people having to frequently reapply the substance, sometimes while they are talking or as they eat. “That affects people’s quality of life.” Study Findings and Benchmark Results Results from the laboratory evaluation, “Benchmarking of a microgel-reinforced hydrogel-based aqueous lubricant against commercial saliva substitutes,” are reported today (November 20) in the journal Scientific Reports. The performance of the [...]

2023-11-21T20:18:49-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Partnership to boost oral cancer early detection

Source: Author: staff Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) has partnered with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners to ensure general practitioners across Australia have the tools they need to detect oral cancer early and save lives. A national online learning resource has been launched on the RACGP website to empower its members to identify individuals at risk of oral cancer, detect the disease earlier through screening and have important prevention conversations with patients. In Australia, there are more than 4000 new cases of head, neck and lip cancers diagnosed every year and the majority of these are oral cancers. In 2022, there were an estimated 2642 cases of lip and oral cancers with this figure expected to rise in the coming years. Largely due to delayed presentation or diagnosis, oral cancer carries low survival rates, which is why the Victorian Government’s 2016-20 Cancer Plan established the Oral Cancer Screening and Prevention Program to boost prevention and early detection of this disease. Funded by the Victorian Government, the program is led by DHSV in partnership with the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, the Australian Dental Association (Victorian Branch) and the Victorian Department of Health. DHSV launched the Oral Cancer Learning Hub in 202—a practical and evidence-based resource that supports oral health professionals to recognise and refer suspected oral cancers in early stages for faster investigation, diagnosis and treatment. “Because GPs are often the first stop for Victorians seeking medical help, phase two of the program supports GPs to [...]

2023-11-15T15:10:04-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

UK bioengineer designs tools to improve treatment for head and neck cancer

Source: Author: Lindsay Travis One University of Kentucky researcher is working to develop new techniques for radiation treatment to improve survival rates of patients with a specific type of cancer. Caigang Zhu, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the UK Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering. He is also a member of the Molecular and Cellular Oncology Research Program at the UK Markey Cancer Center. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Zhu a prestigious R01 grant of $2 million over five years to develop optical metabolic spectroscopy and imaging tools. Zhu is targeting head and neck squamous cell cancer. Squamous cells line the body's skin, mucous membranes and other tissues, including the mouth, throat and voice box. These types of cancers make up 4% of cases in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. “Cellular metabolism is highly dynamic and strongly influenced by its local vascular microenvironment, gaining a systems-level view of tumor metabolism and vasculature in vivo is essential in understanding many critical cancer biology questions,” said Zhu Currently, there are few techniques to help oncologists answer those questions. Zhu’s Spectroscopic Imaging Laboratory, in the Pigman College of Engineering and supported by Markey, hopes to make a difference. Researchers in the lab will develop a new device to quickly measure tumor properties using a special fiber and smart techniques to map the blood vessels connected to them. “The team will [...]

2023-11-15T15:02:23-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Higher risk of 17 cancers after high BMI in late teens

Source: Author: Peer-Reviewed Publication, University of Gothenburg Men who are overweight or obese at age 18 have a higher risk of 17 different cancers later in life. This has been shown in a study at the University of Gothenburg. The research also describes how the youth obesity epidemic is expected to affect the cancer situation over the next 30 years. In August, a study on higher cancer risk in men who had lower aerobic fitness recorded at the time of compulsory conscription for military service at the age of 18 was presented. The results were independent of any overweight or obesity at conscription. In two new studies published in the journals Obesity and Cancer Medicine, the same research team is now focusing on body mass index (BMI), while the results are independent of the participants' aerobic fitness level. And it turns out that higher BMI at age 18 can be linked to even more cancers later in life than poor fitness at the same age. High BMI at conscription was associated with a higher risk of 17 cancers: lung, head and neck, brain, thyroid, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver, colon, rectal, kidney, and bladder cancer, as well as malignant melanoma, leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma (both Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's). Higher risk already at “normal” BMI For several of the cancer types, the risk was elevated already at a BMI of 20-22.4, within the usually used range of normal weight (18.5-24.9). These included cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, [...]

2023-11-09T06:33:35-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

Yes, really – the HPV vaccine is essential for men, too

Source: Author: Rhod Gilbert Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert was diagnosed with stage four cancer last year. The cancer was in his head and neck and was caused by a virus known as HPV. HPV virus is often associated with cervical cancer and with good reason. The virus is responsible for over 15% of cases of cervical cancer. However, as Gilbert’s diagnosis proves, HPV can affect anybody. In his documentary, Rhod Gilbert: A Pain In The Neck For SU2C, the comic spoke about why he’d decided to invite a film crew to watch him experience treatment for his condition and HPV, it seems, was a huge part of the reason. Gilbert said: “I knew I wouldn’t be well enough to go on stage or TV, but I thought I might be well enough to lie in bed and talk to a documentary team about how ill I was. I thought, ‘It will give me something to do’. “Also, by that point, I’d found out my cancer had been caused by the HPV virus, something we vaccinate kids for. At every turn, I thought, ‘I can do something here, which might actually change things.’” Who the HPV vaccine is for According to the NHS, the HPV vaccine reduces your chances of getting the virus which is spread through skin contact – usually during sex, but not always. The vaccine protects against an increased risk of cervical, mouth, anal, and penile cancer. HPV can also cause genital warts. The vaccine is recommended [...]

2023-11-01T14:40:50-07:00November, 2023|Oral Cancer News|

FDA approves Loqtorz regimens for advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Source: Author: Brielle Benyon The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Loqtorz (toripalimab-tpzi) plus cisplatin and gemcitabine for the frontline treatment of patients with metastatic or recurrent locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Loqtorz was also approved as a single agent for patients with unresectable, recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma that progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy, according to the agency. The approval for the Loqtorz/chemotherapy combination is based off findings from the JUPITER-02 trial, which involved 289 patients who had not received prior treatment. Patients were randomly assigned to receive Loqtorz plus cisplatin and gemcitabine, followed by Loqtorz or placebo with cisplatin and gemcitabine, followed by placebo. Findings showed that the Loqtorz-containing regimen had a better median progression-free survival (time from treatment until disease worsening or death) of 11.7 months, compared to eight months in the placebo group. Overall survival (time from treatment until death of any cause) was also improved with the Loqtorz group, with median overall survival not being reached in patients who received the Loqtorz regimen, meaning that not enough patients died for researchers to determine an average, while it was 33.7 months in the chemotherapy-only group. The single-agent approval is based off findings from the POLARIS-02 trial, which involved 172 patients with unresectable (disease that is unable to be removed via surgery) or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma that was previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy or had disease progression within six months of finishing platinum therapy. The main goal of the trial was overall response rate (percentage of [...]

Yoga may reduce physical decline in HNC population receiving radiotherapy

Source: Author: Russ Conroy A yoga program that included caregivers may reduce adverse effects (AEs) associated with physical functioning decline in patients with head and neck cancer who are undergoing treatment with radiotherapy, according to a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). "These results demonstrate that a focused yoga intervention can be successfully delivered in person or online not only to patients with cancer undergoing radiation therapy but also to their caregivers," according to Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH, FASCO Findings from a study highlighted that 88% of patients assigned to the yoga intervention attended a minimum of 10 sessions, which included 13.1 sessions among those assigned to yoga with their caregiver and 13.3 sessions among patients assigned to yoga on their own. Investigators observed a significant effect on patient-reported physical function and nutrition among those participating in yoga intervention compared with those receiving usual care. There were significantly fewer feeding tubes placed for those in both yoga intervention groups compared with patients undergoing usual care. Additionally, investigators highlighted a marginally significant impact on emergency department visits among those who were included in the yoga intervention arm. There was not a significant effect for hospital admissions among patients assigned to the yoga program. “This study is one of the first to compare a patient-oriented behavioral intervention delivery to one that includes patients and their caregiver,” Kathrin Milbury, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Behavior Science at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer [...]

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