A poor gut microbiome could cause breast cancer to spread

New research from the University of Virginia Cancer Center and recently published in the journal Cancer Research suggests that an unhealthy gut microbiome could result in the spread of breast cancer throughout the body.

The research was spearheaded by Melanie Rutkowski, PhD, of UVA’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology. Dr. Rutkowski used mice to show how an unhealthy gut caused breast cancer to become much more aggressive, leading it to disseminate to other parts of the body.

“When we disrupted the microbiome’s equilibrium in mice by chronically treating them antibiotics, it resulted in inflammation systemically and within the mammary tissue,” Dr. Rutkowski explains. “In this inflamed environment, tumor cells were much more able to disseminate from the tissue into the blood and to the lungs, which is a major site for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to metastasize.”

“Disrupting the microbiome resulted in long-term inflammation within the tissue and the tumor environment, “Rutkowski said.” These findings suggest that having an unhealthy microbiome, and the changes that occur within the tissue that are related to an unhealthy microbiome, may be early predictors of invasive or metastatic breast cancer. Ultimately, based upon these findings, we would speculate that an unhealthy microbiome contributes to increased invasion and a higher incidence of metastatic disease.”

However, Rutkowski is quick to reassure that the use of antibiotics in human women should not be enough to disrupt a women’s microbiome to the extent that she was with the mice in her research. Instead, she says, her methods utilized antibiotics as a means to disrupt the microbiomes of the mice and simulate what an unhealthy biome looks like, so as to determine its influence on the spread of breast cancer. Women with breast cancer should not, she says, refrain using antibiotics if needed to treat an infection just because of her study’s results.

The take-home message from Dr. Rutkowskiâ’s research is how crucial a healthy microbiome is, not just to prevent the spread of breast cancer, but for overall good health.

Source: Labroots

“Lock-‘n’-block” drug may prevent cancer from metastasizing

A new approach to breast cancer may prevent cancer from reappearing years later.

They got all of it are the reassuring words people hope to hear following cancer surgery, but a growing understanding of the science of how cancer spreads, and metastasizes, is suggesting that not only is this almost never true but and here is the surprising part it might be better to try to contain the cancer than to eliminate it.

The new approach, which at this point has been tested only in animal models, is called “Lock-‘n’-block” and a national team of scientists led by researchers at Purdue University has found that a drug already on the market for another use is showing strong promise as a therapy to keep breast cancer from metastasizing.

Michael Wendt, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, says that cancer researchers are beginning to realize they have been chasing an impossible goal.

Most cancer therapy is targeted with the idea that we want to kill all of the cancer cells. Rid the body of cancer. But recently, there are lots of studies that suggest that we’re never going to be able to do that. Cancer cells evolve so fast that they will always find a way to overcome any type of therapy Wendt said. An emerging concept in cancer treatment is that maybe we shouldn’t try to kill all of the cancer cells, but try to keep them in a low state that doesn’t generate any kind of symptoms. A sort of dormancy, if you will.

Wendt has led a multi-institutional study that has identified a drug fostamatinib, which is sold under the trade name Tavalisse that was shown to be effective in mice in blocking and containing metastatic cancer cells. The research was recently published in the journal Cancer Research.

Aparna Shinde, a researcher at AbbVie Inc., and formerly a graduate student in the Purdue’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, said the research focused on breast cancer because it is especially known to lead to metatisizing cancers years later.

After you have breast cancer you always get this dissemination of cancer cells, she said. Breast cancer is no longer considered a curable disease it is now considered a chronic disease, because 10 or 20 years later, you can get secondary tumors because of the metastasizing cells.

But now we have shown that we can block these cells in a dormant state so that even if a patient has these metastizing cells we can hold them in this state for a very long time.

Wendt explains that when cancer cells move from a primary tumor and go to another part of the body, they can go through some form of years-long dormancy or latency. These cancer cells are very resistant to current drug therapies, because current drugs are designed to target cells that grow faster than normal cells, as tumor cells do. That is not true of these disseminated cancer cells, which can lie dormant for many, many years.

So that’s the goal we are exploring now. Instead of trying to eliminate those disseminated cells, how do we keep them in that dormant state? Wendt said.

The researchers used the drug fostamatinib because it inhibits a particular protein, spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK), that is found in these disseminated cancer cells.

This is great for us because this is a drug with low toxicity. It’s designed for people with chronic disease so that they can take for a long time, Wendt said. So, we think fostamatinib is a perfect candidate for this kind of years-long “Lock-‘n’-block” type of approach. We think this is a good candidate to move forward for a trial to see if we can stabilize dormancy. If SYK is expressed in other cancers this could apply to those as well.

In their current study, the researchers removed breast cancer tumors from the mice surgically. The tumor cells were labeled with luciferase, the bioluminescent firefly protein, which allows the researchers to track and quantify the level of metatisizing cells.

The researchers found that the cancer cells treated with fostamatinib remained in a dormant state and did not cause metastases in other areas of the body.

Our work is unique because there hasn’t been much research that tests treatments in a post-surgical metastatic setting. Most research is focused on treating the primary tumor. We are looking to target the later processes of disease to see if we can hold tumor cells in their dormant state, Wendt said. But you can imagine that clinical trials for this kind of thing is going to be very difficult because technically the patients are in remission and disease-free. We suspect that these patients have these dormant cancer cells disseminating through their bodies, but we don’t have a way to detect those right now.

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-04-lock-n-block-drug-cancer-metastasizing.html?fbclid=IwAR18tygFU20g3OHiCSXp5BXcFsRAyEt-C1q7n3ASXRXagEhbsXJqc1xYOnA

The Evolution of Breast Cancer Treatment with Cryoablation

Being told you have breast cancer prompts a long list of questions. And selecting a treatment for breast cancer is among the first questions you might have.

Surgery?

Chemotherapy?

These questions and more can create as much fear and stress as they do confusion when you’ve received a breast cancer diagnosis.

Another treatment option to consider

New treatment solutions also invite a variety of questions. But the answers that surround cryoablation for breast cancer deliver much needed hope.

Think of cryoablation as putting your tumor(s) in a deep freeze. Even more is it’s ability to eliminate cancer cells on the spot!

And unlike common surgical procedures for breast cancer, your recovery period with cryoablation can be minutes not months.

Here are the basic

Guided by imaging (ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI), cryoablation inserts a special freezing probe (a type of catheter) through the skin and to the tumor to be treated. 1

Keep in mind that how cryoablation is used will vary from one cancer treatment facility to another.

Inside the breast tumor, the cryoablation device (probe) delivers liquid nitrogen to actually freeze and destroy the cancerous tissue. On the technical side, the freezing process can span six to eight minutes at temperatures of 40 degrees below zero and colder.

The treated area is allowed to thaw for approximately 10 minutes. Then another six to eight minute freeze is applied.

The probe will be removed, the tiny incision is covered and you go home! Start to finish, your cryoablation procedure can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

And in most cases there’s

  • No hospital stay
  • No sedation
  • No scar
  • No pain

Follow-up is common every six months during the first five years post treatment. Annual check-ups are sufficient after the initial follow-up period.

Results and advantages worth considering

With cryoablation, several observational studies have demonstrated a higher survival rate among patients with stage IV breast cancer in whom the primary tumor is completely excised at the time of diagnosis. 2

The proven safety and effectiveness of cryoablation for breast cancer treatment is worthy of your questions. A consultation will answer your questions and provide a thorough overview of the procedure for treating your specific condition.

Contact us about cancer treatment solutions including cryoablation for breast cancer. Schedule a consultation to be informed about your non-surgical cancer treatment options.

  1. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/recur_metast/treat_metast/options/surgery
  2. https://interventionalnews.com/cryoablation-allows-safe-and-effective-local-control-of-breast-cancer

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