Unexpected Presence of Glucose Receptor in Ovarian Cancer Links to Metabolism

ovarian cancer

A new study of non-diabetic women with ovarian cancer reveals a potential correlation and area for further study regarding the expression of the GLUT1 glucose transporter receptor at the cancer tissue level. GLUT1 is a receptor protein involved in the absorption of glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream and across membranes in the body. Physiologically, GLUT1 is not traceable in the ovaries. However, in patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer, use of immunohistochemical methods revealed the presence of this gluclose receptor, which tends to be intensely expressed in the most aggressive cases.

The study, titled, “GLUT1 receptor expression and circulating levels of fasting glucose in high grade serous ovarian cancer,” appeared recently in the journal entitled Journal of Cell Physiology, an international, peer reviewed journal focused on cancer-related issues. The authors belong to a multidisciplinary Italian-American team, which has long collaborated with Prof. Antonio Giordano, Director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death among gynecological cancers. Despite remarkable achievements in terms of diagnoses and therapeutics, patient outcomes in terms of survival rates have remained largely unchanged. This is largely due to our limited understanding of the underlying mechanisms and pathways,” says Dr. Maddalena Barba, researcher at the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome, Central Italy.

“This study revealed a higher expression of the glucose transporter 1 in cancer samples of patients with lower glucose levels in non-diabetic women. These findings provide evidence in support of our prior results from this same study population. Indeed, we have recently observed an association between cancer stage at diagnosis and circulating levels of fasting glucose,” explains Dr. Vici, clinical researcher at the division of Medical Oncology 2 of the IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute.

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To Help Prevent Breast Cancer, Avoid Excessive Estrogen Exposure

Good news: According to the National Cancer Institute’s Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses continues to decline, and the rate of patients who survive at least five years after diagnosis is improving. These trends prove that although far too many people are still afflicted with cancer, cancer prevention strategies work. But the news isn’t all rosy. Cancer rates in women haven’t declined for several decades and we aren’t making progress in the fight against breast cancer. Each year, almost 250,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and in recent years that number has slowly risen. Many people think there’s little they can do to prevent breast cancer because they think it’s all in their genes. But mutations of the two genes that are the most well-known risks, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, only cause 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers. Looking beyond genes, there is much that can be done to reduce risks. Hormones drive many cases of breast cancer. Prolonged excessive estrogen exposure is a major risk factor.

Here are some things that will help you avoid excessive estrogen exposure and substantially lower your risk of breast cancer.

  • Since body fat plays a major role in estrogen production, maintain a healthy weight through diet and physical activity. EWG’s new Cancer Defense Diet gives advice on what foods to eat to reduce cancer risk.
  • Drink in moderation, if at all. Alcohol can interfere with the action of estrogen in the body.
  • Carefully consider hormone replacement therapy and oral contraception options. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of these medications.
  • Reduce your exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in many foods, packaging items and consumer products.

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Physicians’ Misunderstanding Of Genetic Test Results May Hamper Mastectomy Decisions For Breast Cancer Patients

genetic test results











Women with breast cancer do not receive timely genetic test results or have adequate access to effective genetic counseling, which may compromise treatment decisions, according to research from Stanford and the University of Michigan.

A recent survey of over 2,000 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer found that half of those who undergo bilateral mastectomy after genetic testing don’t actually have mutations known to confer increased risk of additional cancers, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and four other U.S. medical centers. Instead the women had what are known as variants of uncertain significance, or VUS, that are often eventually found to be harmless. A bilateral mastectomy is a surgical procedure in which both of a woman’s breasts are removed after a diagnosis of cancer in one breast. The finding highlights the need for genetic counselors to help both patients and physicians better understand the results of genetic testing intended to determine a woman’s risk for cancer recurrence or for developing a separate cancer in her ovaries or unaffected breast.

“Our findings suggest a limited understanding among physicians and patients of the meaning of genetic testing results,” said Allison Kurian, MD, associate professor of medicine and of health research and policy at Stanford. “Clinical practice guidelines state that variants of uncertain significance should not be considered to confer high cancer risk, and that patients with these variants should be counseled similarly to a patient whose genetic test is normal. However, many of the physicians surveyed in our study stated that they manage these patients in the same way as they do patients with mutations known to increase a woman’s risk.”

Only about half of the surveyed women who received genetic testing ever discussed their test results with a genetic counselor, and between one-quarter and one-half of the surveyed breast cancer surgeons indicated they treat women with VUS no differently than women with known cancer-associated mutations, the researchers found. Furthermore, some women undergo surgery prior to receiving genetic testing or seeing the results.

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Researchers Reveal How Cancer Can Spread Even Before A Tumor Develops

cancer can spread

Even before tumors develop, with a few defined molecular alterations, breast cancer can spread to organs and remain quiet for long periods of time. They can then awaken to form aggressive, deadly breast cancer metastasis, says a team of investigators led by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Regensburg in Germany.

They say their finding, published in two papers in the journal Nature, and conducted in animal models and tested in human samples, now solves the mystery of how breast cancer metastasis forms without a primary tumor in this new model of early dissemination and metastasis. Furthermore, a clinical primary tumor may never develop, investigators say.The University of Regensburg team had discovered that cancer cells could spread not only from a highly mutated, overtly evolved and pathologically-defined invasive tumors, but also from early stage cancers commonly considered incapable of spreading cells. However, how these early cancer lesions could spawn cells with traits of malignant tumors was unknown.

In two papers published in the journal Nature, and conducted in animal models and tested in human samples, the two teams now have identified the first mechanisms that allow cells to spread early in cancer progression and contribute to metastasis. In the study from Mount Sinai, two changes in mammary cancer cells – a switched-on oncogene and a turned-off tumor suppressor – motivated cells to travel from breast tissue to the lungs and other parts of the body. There, the cells stayed quiet until a growth switch was activated and metastases developed in lungs.

“This research provides insight into the mechanisms of early cancer spread and may shed light into unexplained phenomena – among them, why as many as 5 percent of cancer patients worldwide have cancer metastases but no original tumor, and most importantly, why it is so difficult to treat cancer that has spread,” says the study’s senior investigators, Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Maria Soledad Sosa, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacological Sciences, and graduate student Kathryn Harper of The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Breast Cancer Risk Prevention: Discovery of Inflammation Protein

Previous studies have linked drugs such as aspirin to reduced breast cancer risk, however long-term use can bring about side effects in the general population. Adelaide researchers may have found a better way to use anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent breast cancer. The Hospital Research Foundation has identified a protein that causes inflammation and increased breast density in some women, increasing their breast cancer risk.

Associate Professor Wendy Ingman, from the University of Adelaide, said the findings were a step towards prevention. “If we can identify the women who are most at risk of breast cancer and who would most benefit from an anti-inflammatory treatment such as aspirin, then we can target our treatment to the right population,” she said.

“Women with extremely dense breast tissue have a four to sixfold increase in risk of breast cancer, compared to women with low density,” Associate Professor Ingman said. “Now we’re at the point where we can identify new treatments for reducing breast density and reducing women’s breast cancer risk.”

It is thought that almost 8 per cent of women have extremely high breast density, increasing the chance they will develop breast cancer.

“I think if you’d asked me five years ago what the prospects were for breast cancer prevention, I would have had difficulty answering it,” Associate Professor Ingman said.

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Breast Cancer Deaths Have Dropped In Many Countries

Over the last 25 years, the detection and management of breast cancer has changed significantly. A new analysis shows that, over this period, rates of breast cancer deaths have fallen in most of the 47 countries examined. However, it also highlights some significant exceptions, particularly in South Korea and parts of Latin America.
women wearing pink and breast cancer ribbons.

Researchers suggest that contrasts in healthcare systems and patient management between similar countries could explain disparities in breast cancer death rate. The results of the study were recently presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas.

breast cancer deaths

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women – both in the developed and the developing world, say the World Health Organization (WHO). The United Nations agency maintains that the cornerstone of breast cancer control is early detection in order to improve outcomes and survival.

Cécile Pizot – of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, and lead author of the new study – says that worldwide, breast cancer accounts for a quarter of all cancers in women.


Biggest decline in deaths occurred in England and Wales

The analysis shows that deaths to breast cancer fell in 39 of 47 countries – including the United States and most of the developed countries in Europe. The biggest decline in breast cancer deaths over the 26-year period – a drop of 46 percent – occurred in England and Wales.

Pizot says this was no surprise, because of the improvements there have been in detection and treatment over recent decades. The analysis also highlights disparities in other parts of the world. For instance, in Latin America, while breast cancer rates for women of all ages have dropped in Argentina and Chile, they have gone up in Brazil and Colombia. The steepest increase in breast cancer mortality occurred in South Korea – both overall and in individual age groups. In total, the East Asian nation has seen an 83 percent rise in breast cancer deaths in the 1987-2013 period.

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