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Clinical Trial Participation Among Cancer Patients Shows Uptick

More people with cancer are taking part in clinical trials, according to a study published online April 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study notes that at least one in five people with cancer participated in some form of clinical research between 2016 and 2017, according to an April 3 article in U.S. News & World Report. Enrollment in cancer treatment trials was 7%, more than double previous participation estimates of 2% to 3% of patients. The findings were based on a national sample from the Commission on Cancer, which accredits cancer programs at hospitals, representing more than 70% of all cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. Participation in treatment trials was 22% at National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers versus 4% at community hospitals, researchers found. Most U.S. cancer patients receive treatment at a community hospital. “We know that most patients with cancer will participate in a clinical trial if given the chance, and the level of enrollment we see at NCI-designated cancer centers shows what participation can be when patients are offered trials,” said senior researcher Mark Fleury, a policy principal at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Skipping Axillary Surgery for Certain Early-stage Breast Cancers

People with early-stage breast cancer typically receive a sentinel lymph node biopsy, which uses a dye for surgeons to locate and then remove the closest lymph nodes to the cancer. This process helps physicians determine the cancer stage and treatment course. Traces of cancer found in a sentinel lymph node could spur more extensive surgery to remove additional lymph nodes, in a procedure known as an axillary lymph node dissection. New research shows that patients with early-stage breast cancer with node-negative disease but one or two sentinel node metastases who undergo sentinel lymph node biopsy alone are as about as likely to live five years without recurrence as those who have axillary dissection, an April 3 MedPage Today article reports. Most patients in the study received nodal radiation therapy as part of their treatment after surgery, according to the study published in the April 4 issue of New England Journal of Medicine. “It is clear that the role of axillary dissection is rapidly disappearing,” wrote Kandace McGuire, a surgical oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, Virginia, in an editorial that accompanied the study.

Analysis Predicts Surge in Prostate Cancer

Given the population growth and an aging worldwide population, the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is projected to double to 2.9 million a year by 2040, with annual deaths predicted to rise by 85%, according to an April 4 Lancet report. The analysis predicts prostate cancer cases will increase from 1.4 million a year in 2020 to 2.9 million by 2040. The number of deaths worldwide is predicted to rise by 85% over the same 20-year period, from 375,000 in 2020 to almost 700,000 by 2040. The true death toll will probably be higher because of underdiagnosis and missing data in low- and middle-income countries, an April 4 article in the Guardian reports. “Evidence-based interventions, such as improved early detection and education programs, will help to save lives and prevent ill health from prostate cancer in the years to come,” said Nick James, a professor of prostate cancer research at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. The findings will be presented at the European Association of Urology’s Annual Congress in Paris on April 6.