Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Age tied to spread of rectal cancer to lymph nodes

29.10.2012
Findings from Fox Chase Cancer Center suggest, for the first time, that doctors should hunt aggressively for lymph node involvement in younger patients

Rectal cancer is more likely to spread to the lymph nodes in younger patients, according to new findings that Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers will be presenting on October 29 at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's 54th Annual Meeting. The results—which are the first of their kind—suggest that doctors should search for spreading more aggressively in these patients.

Once rectal cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, it is more likely to return to the pelvis following surgery. Administering chemotherapy and radiation before surgery reduces that risk, so before the procedure doctors typically perform a scan—ultrasound, PET, or MRI—to search for signs of cancer in the lymph nodes.

These findings suggest that doctors should hunt for affected lymph nodes more aggressively in younger patients, by perhaps performing multiple scans, says study author Joshua Meyer, MD, attending physician in the Radiation Oncology Department at Fox Chase.

"When doctors have younger patients, they might think twice before being confident rectal cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes," says Meyer. "It makes a lot of sense to be more aggressive in checking for lymph node involvement in people younger than 50."

This is the first study to show that age is associated with the risk that rectal cancer will spread to the lymph nodes, says Meyer. The idea for the project came out of an observation by his collaborator Steven Cohen, MD, chief of gastrointestinal medical oncology at Fox Chase, who noticed a couple of young patients with an early stage of rectal cancer that had unexpectedly spread to the lymph nodes—"which is not something one would expect," says Meyer. "Because of that, he said, 'I wonder if the risk of spread is somehow connected to their age.' I said, 'Well, this is something we can test.'"

Indeed, the researchers had access to a massive database of information about cancer patients run by the National Cancer Institute. They reviewed the case history of more than 56,000 patients diagnosed with rectal cancer between 1988 and 2008. Approximately 2% of patients were ages 20-39; 7.5% were in their 40s.

Overall, the younger patients were, the more likely it was that their cancer had spread to their lymph nodes—regardless of the stage of their tumors. For instance, among those whose tumors were the least invasive into the rectal wall (stage T1), 22.3% of 20-39 year-olds had affected lymph nodes, versus only 10.8% of patients ages 60-69. The same differences appeared in people whose tumors were more invasive—in T3 tumors, the most common presentation, 60.7% of younger patients had tumors that had reached the lymph nodes, versus 49.4% of those in their 60s.

It's not clear why age might influence the spread of rectal cancer, notes Meyer. Perhaps the tumors of younger patients are simply biologically different from those of older patients, rendering them more likely to spread, he speculates.

Even though the researchers reviewed data collected from tens of thousands of patients, these initial findings should be followed up by more research, notes Meyer. "Since this is a first study, I don't think you can definitively say that age is directly related to risk of lymph node involvement in rectal cancer. But it is something one should keep in mind."

Consequently, when young people are diagnosed with rectal cancer, it makes sense to ask their doctors to thoroughly check their lymph nodes for signs of spread before skipping chemotherapy and radiation prior to surgery. "I think it's worth talking about with your doctor."

Meyer's and Cohen's co-authors include Michael Hall, Elin Sigurdson, and Karen Ruth from Fox Chase.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation's first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center's nursing program has received the Magnet status for excellence three consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. For more information, visit Fox Chase's Web site at www.foxchase.org or call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Diana Quattrone | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fccc.edu
http://www.foxchase.org

Further reports about: Bronze Age Cancer Nobel Prize Radiation lymph node multiple scans rectal cancer

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur

nachricht MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>