Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fixing anemia doesn’t improve survival for head and neck cancer patients

05.10.2004


Boosting the blood count – in effect, curing anemia – in conjunction with radiation therapy won’t help patients with head and neck cancer fare any better than with radiation alone, says a national study led by Jefferson Medical College researchers. Physicians have known for decades that patients who have anemia and are undergoing radiation therapy, especially for head and neck cancer, do much worse in terms of controlling their cancer and survival.

One theory proposes that anemia makes tumors more resistant to radiation because it promotes hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen, within the tumor, says Mitchell Machtay, M.D., Walter J. Curran Jr., M.D., associate professor and vice chair of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center. Hypoxia is known to cause such resistance.

"The hope was that by correcting anemia, there would be a better oxygenation of the tumor environment and the tumor would be more sensitive to radiation and easier to kill," he says. To find out, he and his co-workers looked at 141 patients with head and neck cancer who had mild to moderate anemia. Of those, 71 patients were randomly assigned to receive the hormone erythropoietin during radiation therapy, while 70 were given only radiation. Erythropoietin spurs production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.



Yet, while erythropoietin significantly increased the red blood cell count and lessened the patients’ anemia, it didn’t help them have better tumor control or survival.

Dr. Machtay presents his group’s findings Oct. 5, 2004 at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 46th annual meeting in Atlanta.

Patients had squamous cell carcinoma, which can include cancers of the voicebox, throat, and mouth, and is primarily a smoking-caused cancer.

"We’ve clearly shown that just correcting the anemia is probably not going to help the patients," Dr. Machtay says. "Anemia is probably not the cause of the poor prognosis, but rather a marker for such a prognosis. You just can’t correct it and think that will change the tumor control outcome."

He points out that a similar study published last year in the journal The Lancet in fact showed that those who were given erythropoietin and radiation actually did worse than those patients treated with radiation alone.

He argues for more basic research on the problem.

"There’s a need to go back to pre-clinical laboratory studies and investigate how in cases of anemia and tumor hypoxia, erythropoietin and other growth factors could affect outcome at a biological level," he says. The study was conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, a federally funded cancer clinical trials group that carries out multi-disciplinary research nationwide. Dr. Machtay is the group’s deputy chairman.

Steve Benowitz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jefferson.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>