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News Briefs

Racial Disparities Seen in Breast Cancer Types and Treatment
​A study of 102,064 women with invasive breast cancer included in 18 of the country’s Surveillance, ​Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registries found African-American women and Latinas were most likely to be diagnosed with more advanced tumors and American Indian women were most likely to have a triple-negative tumor. The study also found that 18 percent of African-American women and 16 percent of Latinas received care that diverged from current treatment guidelines compared with 13 percent of white women.

Learn more in the November 2015 
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Doctors Don’t Consistently Recommend HPV Vaccine, Study Finds

National guidelines recommend that 11- and 12-year-olds receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to prevent HPV-related cancers. A survey of 776 pediatricians and family physicians found 27 percent do not strongly endorse the vaccine. In addition, 26 percent said they did not routinely recommend the vaccine for girls before age 13, while 39 percent did not do so for boys under 13. These findings support previous studies that found health care providers recommend the HPV vaccine less strongly than other childhood vaccines. 

Learn more in the November 2015 Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Colorectal Cancer Associated With Memory Problems, Study Suggests
A prospective two-year study of cognitive function in 362 colorectal cancer patients and 72 people without cancer found that 43 percent of the patients with localized tumors had memory and other problems compared with 15 percent of healthy controls. No significant differences were found on any cognitive tests between patients who had chemotherapy and those who did not. The researchers concluded that a colorectal cancer diagnosis is associated with substantial problems with brain functioning, even in patients who do not receive chemotherapy.

Learn more in the Dec. 1, 2015, Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Metformin Is Not Associated With Reduced Prostate Cancer Risk in Men With Diabetes
Metformin is used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. The REDUCE trial enrolled 8,122 men who had an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and a negative biopsy. A new study took a closer look at 540 of the men with diabetes enrolled in REDUCE. It found the men taking metformin or another anti-diabetic medication were as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those not on any medication for diabetes. This suggests metformin is not associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Learn more in the November 2015 Cancer Prevention Research.

FDA Approves New Type of Immunotherapy for Melanoma
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Imlygic (talimogene laherparepvec)—the first oncolytic virus therapy—for melanoma. Imlygic is injected directly into the tumor in the skin or lymph nodes. It was approved after a randomized clinical trial found 16.3 percent of those who received the therapy had their tumors shrink compared to 2.1 percent of those who received a different drug. Imlygic has not been shown to improve overall survival or shrink metastases in the brain, bone, liver, lungs or other internal organs.

Learn more at

Racial and Ethnic Disparities Found in Kids With Hodgkin Lymphoma
Using data collected on 1,778 youth with Hodgkin lymphoma in the Florida Cancer Data System and on 6,027 youth in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, researchers compared survival rates by race and ethnicity. The study, the first of its kind, found black youth had worse overall survival than white and Hispanic youth. In addition, in the SEER database, Hispanic males had a recurrence sooner than white males. More research is needed to determine the causes of these disparities.

Learn more in the online first Nov. 2, 2015, Pediatric Blood & Cancer.

Vitamin D and Calcium Do Not Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Researchers reported results from a randomized clinical trial of 2,259 patients who either took calcium and/or 
vitamin D or a placebo after having a polyp found on a colonoscopy. The study found patients taking one or both supplements were not less likely to have a polyp diagnosed on a follow-up colonoscopy three to five years later. These findings do not support the laboratory studies and smaller trials that have suggested calcium and/or vitamin D might have a role in colorectal cancer prevention.

Learn more in the Oct. 15, 2015, New England Journal of Medicine​.


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