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New Herceptin treatment combo can be saf...

New Herceptin treatment combo can be safer for aggressive breast cancer

HerceptinThe effective breast cancer drug Herceptin can be administered in a way that greatly reduces one of its most serious side effects, a risk of heart damage, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Herceptin targets a protein called Her2 which appears on the surface of the cancer cells in about one quarter of breast cancer patients. As a result of the Her2 protein, women who develop that type of cancer often have a more aggressive form. Previous studies, confirmed by the latest one, have found that if Her2 positive patients get Herceptin together with a chemotherapy drug soon after the initial surgery — called adjuvant therapy — their chance of a recurrence drops by about 50 percent. That discovery is one of the greatest successes in the history of breast cancer research.
Most doctors give Herceptin together with the familiar chemotherapy drug called adriamycin. Adriamycin by itself increases the risk for heart problems, including heart failure and even death. Combined with Herceptin, the heart risk is greater.

Urine test shows prostate cancer risk

Urine test shows prostate cancer risk

Urine test may show risk for prostate cancerA new urine test can help aid early detection of and treatment decisions about prostate cancer, a study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology finds.

The test supplements an elevated prostate specific antigen, or PSA, screening result, and could help some men delay or avoid a needle biopsy while pointing out men at highest risk for clinically significant prostate cancer.

The test looks for a genetic anomaly that occurs in about half of all prostate cancers, an instance of two genes changing places and fusing together. This gene fusion, TMPRSS2:ERG, is believed to cause prostate cancer. Studies in prostate tissues show that the gene fusion almost always indicates cancer. But because the gene fusion is present only half the time, the researchers also included another marker, PCA3. The combination was more predictive of cancer than either marker alone.