Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Recurring cancers in women with a history of breast cancer differ from the original tumors

Data suggests that more time should be focused on tailoring treatment to the specific qualities of the second tumor, rather than trying to distinguish whether it's old or new

When women with a history of breast cancer learn they have breast cancer again, one of the first questions they and their doctors ask is: Has my cancer come back, or is this a new case? Now, new data from Fox Chase Cancer Center suggest that both new and recurring cancers will differ significantly from the original tumors, regardless of how many months or years women spent cancer-free, and doctors should tailor treatment to the specific qualities of the second tumor, regardless of whether it's old or new.

Anita Patt, MD, surgical oncology fellow at Fox Chase and lead author on the study, will be presenting the findings at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Monday, June 6.

"There tends to be a stigma and a lot of anxiety about the word 'recurrence,'" says Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, attending surgeon at Fox Chase and senior author on the study. "Sometimes women will worry more if they believe their original cancer is back, meaning they didn't 'beat it' the first time around. These findings suggest they should not get hung up on that idea, because any subsequent diagnosis – whether it's a recurrence or a new tumor – will look significantly different from their first cancer."

In women with a history of breast cancer, doctors often approach new tumors differently depending on whether they believe it's a recurrence of the first tumor, or a totally new one, Bleicher explains. But there are no official ways to distinguish between the two types, so doctors typically rely on a few criteria, then form their own opinion based on an "overall gestalt," he says.

One of the criteria doctors have used to distinguish between new and recurring cancers is the amount of time women spent cancer-free, reasoning that the longer the time between the two tumors, the more likely the second one is to be an entirely new case.

To investigate if this and other criteria indeed distinguish new and recurring tumors, Bleicher, Patt, and their colleagues looked at data collected from 4,420 women with a history of breast cancer. Two-hundred and thirty five women were eventually diagnosed with another tumor in the same breast, suggesting it could be a recurrence.

However, when the researchers compared the first and second tumors, they saw that 89% differed in at least one key characteristic that could potentially affect treatment or prognosis, regardless of whether the second tumors were new cases or a recurrence of the original cancer. Sixty percent of the second tumors differed from the first by at least 2 or more criteria, including whether or not it would respond to hormones, how it was diagnosed, and whether at least 25 percent of the tumor was confined to the ducts, and therefore less able to spread throughout the body.

Half of the women experienced a second tumor within 60.5 months of their first. And, importantly, the amount of time they spent cancer-free appeared to have no bearing on whether the two tumors differed in any key characteristics.

The findings suggest that patients and doctors shouldn't spend much time determining if the second tumor is a recurrence of the first, or a totally new entity, says Bleicher, and should instead tailor treatment to the specific qualities of the second tumor, regardless of whether it's old or new.

"When a patient comes back with a relapse, whether it's a new tumor or a recurrence, it really doesn't make a difference," he says. "We treat them both as potentially curable."

Co-authors on the study include Tianyu Li, Massimo Cristofanilli, and Elin Sigurdson, from Fox Chase and Gary Freedman from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Fox Chase Cancer Center 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 or call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Diana Quattrone | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Bleicher Cancer original tumors second tumor tailoring treatment

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products

23.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Sensitive grip

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

No compromises: Combining the benefits of 3D printing and casting

23.03.2018 | Process Engineering

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>