Antibiotics and Colon Cancer Risk, Immunotherapy Efficacy for Older Adults and More

  • Israeli scientists discovered that white blood cells, known as eosinophils, can help the body fight cancer, particularly cancer metastasis in the lungs. An original function of eosinophils is to aim the immune system at fighting parasites; they are also the cause of allergies.The findings from the animal study published in Cancer Research can lay a foundation for novel cancer treatments in the future.
  • Researchers from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Convergence Institute conducted a retrospective analysis of large biomarkers’ datasets from tumors and healthy tissue. They found that older cancer patients could benefit as much as younger patients from cancer immunotherapies. The data suggested that biomarkers for immunotherapies could still be used as a basis to select immunotherapy treatment in older patients as in young ones, even though it is known that immunotherapy response weakens with aging. The study, which can potentially increase the use of immunotherapy in older population, was published in Cell Reports.
  • A group of researchers from Ireland and France published a study on using microwave imaging to detect breast cancer. Potentially, this could be promising non-invasive technology with fewer side effects than currently used imaging modalities. The study was published in Academic Radiology.
  • Swedish population-based study found a correlation between long-term (more than six months) use of antibiotics and risk of developing colon cancer five to ten years down the line. However, it is important to note that while epidemiological studies can establish a correlation, they can’t prove causation. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
  • Researchers from Japan conducted a study that established a correlation between the tumor size in poorly differentiated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the risk of early recurrence and patient survival, thus paving the way to improving the treatment of HCC patients. The study was published in Liver Cancer.

Heart Failure and Cancer, Tissue Specific Cancer Development and More

  • In a new study, researchers analyzed data from a German health database from over 100,000 patients with heart failure and the same number of people without this condition for ten years to establish cancer incidence in both groups over time. The study found a correlation between heart failure and cancer incidence. 25.7 percent of patients with heart failure developed some form of cancer, compared with 16.2 percent of those who did not have heart failure. The study also provided statistics on cancer types, demonstrating such correlation on a more granular level. Although this type of retrospective research can establish correlation but not causation, it would be prudent for patients with heart failure to get regular cancer screening as a preventive measure. The study was published in ESC Heart Failure.
  • Another team of researchers from Germany conducted a preclinical study on genetic processes underlying pancreatic and biliary tract cancer development. They established that tissue-specific (in this case, bile duct and pancreas epithelium) genetic interplay with an oncogene plays the causative role in the development of different types of cancers. This will help understand different tissue-specific responses to cancer therapy, which is important in the practice of precision medicine. The study was published in Cancer Discovery.
  • Researchers from the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and the University of California, Riverside developed a method of identifying fatty acids uptake by a single cell. Fatty acids, along with glucose and amino acids, are known to be a source of energy for cell proliferation, including cancer cell proliferation. But unlike glucose metabolism, the biological mechanism of fatty acids uptake by a cell was not well understood. The researchers developed a chemical approach to “profiling” the fatty acid uptake into the cells in connection to protein signaling in cancer cells. Using a brain cancer model, they gained new insight into the role of fatty acids in cancer development and created a potential for the new therapy to block the tumor growth. The study was published in Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  • Scientists at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), part of Sinai Health, classified all cancers into just two categories, “based on the presence or absence of a protein called the Yes-associated protein, or YAP.” This new understanding can lay the foundation for developing different cancer treatment strategies based on whether the cancer is YAPon or YAPoff type. The study was published in Cancer Cell.

New Findings on Nutrition and Colon Cancer

In a new study, researchers from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology demonstrated the health benefits of red seaweed. Two sugars contained in red seaweed manifested prebiotic activity in-vitro. Additionally, the authors found that one of those sugar, 3,6-anhydro-l-galactose, had properties able to fight colon cancer in-vitro. Those preliminary findings may help explain why Japan has the lowest incidence of colon cancer. The study was published in Marine Drugs

A recent study by oncologists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute identified how red meat consumption affects DNA.. From observational studies, it has been known that a correlation existed between consuming red meat and colon cancer, but the biological mechanisms were not understood. The authors discovered that some compounds found in red meat caused alkylation, a type of DNA damage. This study is a crucial step in understanding why high consumption of red meat increases the risk of colon cancer. The study was published in Cancer Discovery.