In this guest post, Dr Susan Clare of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and co-author of a recent paper published in Breast Cancer Research, writes about the importance of research on the ‘normal’ breast and what’s needed to allow this research to take place.
Our limited understanding of the developmental biology and genetics of normal breast tissue is a barrier to progress in understanding the causes of breast cancer and to developing successful prevention strategies and improved treatments. This oft repeated refrain is found in the periodic reviews of the state of breast cancer research and dates back at least to the NCI’s Report of the Breast Cancer Progress Review Group (1997).
Tissues banks and other initiatives mean there …
Cancer is a metabolic disease. So asserts a growing body of evidence, supported by twin pillars. On one hand is strong data from population studies showing that those with metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes, have altered risks of specific types of cancer. Elio Riboli, Director of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, lists the cancers associated with obesity in a revealing interview for BMC Biology: breast post-menopausal, colorectal, endometrium, kidney, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and cardia, and prostate (tentatively).
The second line of evidence is the severe metabolic dysfunction within cancer cells. Familiar oncogenes such as c-myc, that are known to drive forward cancer growth, are now known to also reprogram cellular …
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK every year. There is intense debate over whether men should undergo regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, as outlined in our previous blog post, and clinical trials have come to opposing conclusions about whether PSA screening saves lives or causes unnecessary harm. On one hand, the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) showed that routine PSA testing reduced the risk of dying from prostate cancer by around 20%, whereas the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial found that regular PSA screening did not lead to fewer prostate cancer deaths.
Could stratified screening …
Substantial progress has been made in the targeted therapy of breast cancer, with three new targeted therapies licensed for advanced breast cancer over the last two years. Targeted therapies block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering in specific biological processes responsible for cancer cell growth. Therefore targeted therapies may be more effective and less harmful to normal cells than other cancer treatments, such as traditional chemotherapy that targets all rapidly dividing cells. The most well known targeted therapy at the moment is trastuzumab (Herceptin).
A new thematic series in Breast Cancer Research brings together the translational research behind these new approaches, as well as reviewing treatments with early evidence of efficacy that are still …
Post by Rabia Begum
Obesity is emerging as a major risk factor to cancer susceptibility. With obesity rates on the rise around the world, this has major health and policy implications for us all.
This link between cancer and obesity was debated at the Metabolism, Diet and Disease Conference in 2012, in which the focus was on metabolic factors in common between obesity and cancer and potential strategies for intervening to reduce the associated health risks.
The panel, including Michael Pollak and Stephen Hursting, also discussed the fact that anti-cancer agents are less effective in obese cancer patients, and that the metabolic link to different cancers may not always be the same. Take a look at some of the highlights from …
The incidence of gallbladder cancer varies significantly worldwide, with very high rates in South America, Japan, China and Eastern Europe and lower rates in the US and UK. Interestingly gallbladder cancer is also twice as common in women than men, which arguably may be due to increased exposure to the hormone oestrogen.
The prognosis for living with gallbladder cancer is very poor, and thus research into finding an effective treatment is crucially important. Xiao Liang and colleagues have recently published a promising early study on this subject in Cell & Bioscience, reporting the results of a preliminary experiment using the antimalarial drug chloroquine to aid treatment of the cancer.
Gallbladder cancer is notoriously difficult to treat as …
The epidemiological evidence now seems overwhelming: obesity is a major cause of cancer, which will rise with the rising tide of obesity in the well fed Western world. Elio Riboli will speak on what epidemiology can tell us about how our physiology and habits contribute to the probability of developing cancer at the second BMC conference on Metabolism, diet and disease, and in an interview for BMC Biology he explained how perceptions have changed in the past ten years.
Red and processed meat have notoriously been incriminated in increased risk of cancer, an association recently confirmed by a paper in our sister journal BMC Medicine, with fruit and vegetables, long advocated for health and long …
When we published Luc Tappy’s Q&A on fructose toxicity two years ago at the time of our first conference on Metabolism diet and disease, he took the line that fructose is harmless to people not at special risk of developing metabolic disease, but could reasonably and on the whole should be avoided by people who are at risk, since it is dispensible and may, for reasons connected with our metabolism and homeostatic circuitry, exacerbate any tendency to overeating and obesity.
He didn’t say it was addictive and best avoided altogether, along with any other sweeteners – which is the conclusion that Lew Cantley now arrives at, in a short interview for BMC Biology to introduce some …
Genome Biology would like to announce that we are now inviting Research, Method or Software manuscript submissions for publication in a special issue on cancer progression and heterogeneity, which is planned for late summer 2014.
Recent advances, such as single-cell sequencing technologies, are allowing us to study cancer genomics at a depth that was not previously possible. Now, Genome Biology wants to highlight the importance of this field by publishing a special issue with an emphasis on cancer progression and heterogeneity. We will consider Research, Method and Software manuscripts describing insights into, or developing methods for studying, all aspects of the genomics of cancer progression, including the clonal evolution of cancer, cancer heterogeneity, metastasis, single-cell …
In 2014, Genome Medicine will publish a series focusing on Cancer Epigenomics, guest edited by Stephan Beck (University College London).
Large-scale sequencing and high-throughput ‘omic studies of a wide variety of cancers have revealed epigenomic variations, including DNA methylation, histone modification and mutations in genes involved in epigenetic regulation. These have provided mechanistic insights into cancer initiation and progression, and are revealing novel approaches and targets for therapeutic intervention.
This series aims to bring together translational findings in cancer epigenomics that have the potential to inform new approaches for screening, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer.
The editors are accepting submissions of Research, Method, Database and Software manuscripts. The publication of these articles will be coordinated with specially …