London, April 14 (IANS) British drugmaker AstraZeneca on Wednesday said its drug Tagrisso has been approved in China for treatment of some patients with early stage lung cancer.China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) approved the drug as an adjuvant therapy for early-stage lung cancer patients with a mutation of the EGFR gene, AstraZeneca said.The approval was based on positive results from a Phase 3 trial, the company said, adding that Tagrisso is the only targeted medicine to show efficacy in the treatment of early-stage lung cancer in a global trial and the first such medicine approved in China.More than a third of the world's lung cancer patients are in China and among those with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), approximately 40 per cent have tumours with an EGFR mutation."The expedited approval of Tagrisso in China as part of a curative-intent regimen for early-stage EGFR-mutated lung cancer underscores the high unmet need in this setting and our commitment to improving outcomes in a country with one of the highest rates of EGFR mutations in the world," Dave Fredrickson, Executive Vice President, Oncology Business Unit, AstraZeneca, said in a statement."This approval reinforces the importance of EGFR testing across all stages of lung cancer, prior to treatment decisions, to ensure as many patients as possible can benefit from targeted therapies like Tagrisso and live cancer-free longer."While up to 30 per cent of all patients with NSCLC may be diagnosed early enough to have surgery with curative intent, recurrence is still common in early-stage disease.Tagrisso is approved to treat early-stage lung cancer in more than a dozen countries, including the US, and additional global regulatory reviews are ongoing, AstraZeneca said.Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, accounting for about one-fifth of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is broadly split into NSCLC and small cell lung cancer, with 80-85 per cent classified as NSCLC.--IANSgb/vd
Toronto, April 13 (IANS) Common medications used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) may adversely raise the risk of skin cancers in people aged 66 and above, claims a new study.
Long-term intake of antihypertensive medications called thiazide diuretics, including hydrochlorothiazide, are linked with higher rates of non-melanoma and melanoma -- the two major types of skin cancers, globalnews.ca reported.
The findings have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
However, other common blood pressure drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers, did not raise this risk, the study showed.
Hydrochlorothiazide is known to make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation and sunlight, meaning patients can get sunburned more easily, according to Health Canada.
"The theory is that by making our skin cells more sensitive to the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or a tanning bed, that medication might increase skin cancer risk," Aaron Drucker, study co-author and dermatologist at the Women's College Hospital, in Canada was quoted as saying to globalnews.ca.
The study included 3,02,634 patients in Ontario who were prescribed an antihypertensive medication between 1998 and 2017.
Patients with higher risk of skin cancer must consider other treatment alternatives, the researchers suggested, adding patients taking thiazide diuretics must periodically monitor for skin cancer.
While most skin cancers do not lead to death and can be treated with a simple surgery, an advanced squamous cell skin cancer or melanoma may put a patient's life at risk, Drucker said.
New York, April 7 (IANS) The risks of acute myeloid leukemia (AML)-- a type of blood cancer -- in children with Down syndrome is stronger than expected, according to a new study.The study led by researchers from the University of Chicago, Davis Health and San Francisco, examined medical data of more than 3.9 million children born between 1996-2016 in seven US healthcare systems or in Ontario, Canada. It showed that 2.8 per cent of children with Down syndrome were diagnosed with leukemia, compared to 0.05 per cent of other children.Compared to other children, kids with Down syndrome had a higher risk of AML before 5 years of age and a higher risk of acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL) regardless of age. In children with Down syndrome, ALL was more common between ages 2-4 years, while AML was more common in younger kids -- the highest during the first year of life. For other children, AML incidence remained very low through 14 years, whereas ALL peaked at 3 years and steadily declined until 8 years.Further, male children were more likely to be diagnosed with Down syndrome and more likely to develop leukemia than their counterparts, revealed the findings published in The Journal of Pediatrics. "The good news is that childhood leukemia can be very treatable if caught early," said Diana L Miglioretti, Professor at the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences.The researchers urged parents of kids with Down syndrome to keep an eye for signs of leukemia. Common symptoms include fatigue or pale skin, infections and fever, easy bleeding or bruising, shortness of breath and coughing. Parents are advised to talk to the pediatrician if their children exhibit any of these symptoms.Moreover, exposure to higher levels of radiation such as CT scanning have shown increases in leukemia risk."Given the potential for ionising radiation to increase leukemia risk in children with Down syndrome, other non-ionizing radiation modes of imaging, such as ultrasound and MRI, should be used as the first line image tests," said Rebecca Smith-Bindman, professor at UCSF.--IANSrvt/bg
London, April 5 (IANS) A novel breast cancer treatment that takes just five minutes instead of the current two and a half hours has been launched across the UK by the National Health Service (NHS) England.The injection called Phesgo will be offered to eligible patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, undergoing chemotherapy. It takes as little as five minutes to prepare and administer, compared with two infusions that can take up to two and a half hours.Phesgo jabs can be given alongside chemotherapy or on its own. The injection will also significantly cut down the risk of COVID infection for cancer patients by reducing the amount of time spent in hospital."This new injection, which can substantially cut treatment time for people with breast cancer, is the latest in a series of changes which have meant the NHS has been able to deliver vital cancer treatment while keeping patients safe from Covid," Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer, said in a statement. Phesgo is a fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab with trastuzumab that previously would have been given as separate IV infusions."Approval of Phesgo being used on the NHS in England is fantastic news as thousands of women with HER2 positive breast cancer will now benefit from a quicker and kinder treatment method," said Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now."Reducing the time patients need to spend in hospital, this more efficient treatment method also promises to free up precious time for healthcare professionals when the NHS is already under unprecedented strain due to COVID-19," Morgan added.The NHS has prioritised cancer care during the coronavirus pandemic and the latest figures show that hospitals carried out more than two cancer treatments for every patient they treated for COVID-19, the statement said.--IANSrvt/bg
New York, April 3 (IANS) Researchers have found a possible explanation for why many cancer drugs that kill tumour cells in mouse models won't work in human trials.In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers reported the extensive presence of mouse viruses in patient-derived xenografts (PDX).PDX models are developed by implanting human tumour tissues in immune-deficient mice, and are commonly used to help test and develop cancer drugs."What we found is that when you put a human tumour in a mouse, that tumour is not the same as the tumour that was in the cancer patient," said researcher W. Jim Zheng from the University of Texas."The majority of tumours we tested were compromised by mouse viruses," Zheng added.Using a data-driven approach, the researchers analyzed 184 data sets generated from sequencing PDX samples. Of the 184 samples, 170 showed the presence of mouse viruses.The infection is associated with significant changes in tumors, and the researcher said that could affect PDX as a drug testing model for humans."When scientists are looking for a way to kill a tumour using the PDX model, they assume the tumour in the mouse is the same as cancer patients, but they are not," Zheng said."It makes the results of a cancer drug look promising when you think the medication kills the tumour -- but in reality, it will not work in human trial, as the medication kills the virus-compromised tumor in mouse," Zheng added.--IANSvc/sdr/
New York, Bariatric surgery can significantly reduce the risk of cancer in individuals with severe obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), say researchers, including an Indian-origin.
In addition to an overall reduction in cancer risk for obese individuals, the findings indicate that bariatric surgery was associated with significant risk reductions in these individuals for the following obesity-related cancers -- colorectal, pancreatic, endometrial and thyroid cancers, as well as hepatocellular carcinoma and multiple myeloma.
"We knew that obesity leads to certain problems, including cancer, but no one had ever looked at it the other way around -- whether weight loss actually reduced the risk of those cancers," said researcher Vinod K. Rustgi from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the US.
"Our study showed that all cancers were decreased, but obesity-related cancers in particular were decreased even more. Specifically, it showed a reduction in risk for all types of cancer by 18 per cent, with the risk for obesity-related cancers being reduced by 25 per cent. When comparing cirrhotic versus non-cirrhotic patients, cancer risk was reduced by 38 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively," Rustgi added.
For the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, the research team looked at de-identified claims data of more than 98,000 privately insured individuals age 18 to 64 years old, who were diagnosed with severe obesity and NAFLD between 2007 and 2017.
Of those, more than a third (34.1 per cent) subsequently had bariatric surgery.
According to the researchers, the study results offer practical insight for clinicians and building blocks for future studies on the connection between NAFLD and cancer.
"Understanding the connection between NAFLD and cancer may identify new targets and treatments, such as antidiabetic-, satiety-, or GLP-1-based medications, for chemoprevention in NAFLD/NASH," the researchers said.
"Though bariatric surgery is a more aggressive approach than lifestyle modifications, surgery may provide additional benefits, such as improved quality of life and decreased long-term healthcare costs," they noted. (IANS)