CPIC in Back-to-Back News Stories
March 2013Dear Get In Front Supporter,
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. We recognize that focus in this issue of In Front by providing encouragement for screening of this largely preventable cancer. We also share with you our just-released findings on the often overlooked topic of male breast cancer, our latest research on cancer genetics, and two recent breast cancer news stories featuring our scientists. As you can see, we have a lot going on and we’re glad to have you with us as we Get In Front!
First-of-its-kind Study on Male Breast Cancer Details Rates of Different Subtypes
Breast cancer, in both men and women, is increasingly recognized to be comprised of different subtypes. However, prior to a recent study involving CPIC scientists, detailed findings about male breast cancer subtypes were not available, making it difficult to understand much about how the disease develops and what treatments can be most effective. In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists from CPIC and MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas took a comprehensive look at male breast cancer, breaking down the disease rates by subtype and race/ethnicity. “We found that 81% of the male breast cancers were hormone receptor- or HR-positive, meaning that the tumors were the type that’s sensitive to estrogen or progesterone hormones. Fifteen percent had the more aggressive HER2-positive tumors and fewer than 4% had the difficult-to-treat triple receptor-negative (TN) tumors,” said CPIC Research Scientist Christina Clarke, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors. “This kind of detailed information from a representative sample of male breast cancer patients simply did not exist prior to this study.”
Behind the Scenes: CPIC Scientists Invited to Serve on Editorial Board of Prestigious Cancer Research Journal
In addition to CPIC scientists conducting their own research, it is not uncommon for them to receive recognition for their expertise and leadership from others in the field of cancer research. CPIC research scientists Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., and Esther M. John, Ph.D., were recently invited by the editors of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, to serve on the journal’s editorial board for the next two years. Drs. Gomez and John have agreed to serve on the board, through which they will play a critical role in helping to evaluate research and in recommending which scientific manuscripts to accept for publication in the journal. Together with the other editorial board members, they will use their expertise to review manuscripts, encourage other scientists to submit manuscripts, and contribute articles to the journal based on their own research. Congratulations to Drs. Gomez and John as they assume these important roles in the publication and dissemination of cancer research findings!
Get Motivated to Get Screened!
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and there’s definitely good news to report about this cancer: it’s one of the few that, in almost all cases, we know how to prevent. In fact, CPIC Research Scientist Bang Hai Nguyen, Dr.P.H., says that “with early screening and detection, colorectal cancer is 90% preventable and curable.” But colorectal cancer is still the third most common cancer, suggesting that people may not be getting the screening they need. It’s recommended that everyone begin screening regularly at age 50. People at increased risk need to be screened before age 50. Some people are anxious about the procedure and it may help to hear what other people have said about their screening experience. If you or your loved one would rather not have a colonoscopy, it’s important to know that multiple screening options exist. If cost is a concern, some counties in California provide information about local, low cost medical services. Spread the word and Get In Front!
Do Genes Associated with Cancer in Some People Also Influence Cancer Risk in Other Groups?
One of the most recent research grants funded at CPIC is supporting the work of CPIC Research Scientist Dr. Iona Cheng. Part of the collaborative study, Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE), Dr. Cheng’s work will involve looking at genetic risk factors across five racial/ethnic groups to understand whether DNA changes already found to be associated with cancer in one racial/ethnic group also influence cancer risk in other groups. This collaborative study is focused on typically understudied populations and will use close to 34,000 DNA samples from the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC) study, conducted in Hawaii and California.
CPIC Scientists’ Comments Featured Back-to-Back in Breast Cancer News Stories
In addition to the recent news coverage of CPIC findings on breast cancer and prostate cancer, CPIC scientists were recently in the news twice in the same day, talking about breast cancer studies and trends among specific populations in the United States. On February 26th, CPIC Research Scientist Scarlett Gomez, Ph.D., was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle’s article, “Breast Cancer Ties to Environment Probed.” Dr. Gomez’s important work in studying breast cancer risk among US-born and foreign-born Asian women, as well as her related comments, appear on page two of the article. On the same day, CPIC Research Scientist Christina Clarke, Ph.D., was also featured in the news due to her expertise in studying breast cancer incidence trends. Dr. Clarke appeared on the CBS/KPIX evening news, responding to findings from a recent study reporting alarmingly increasing rates of the deadliest form of breast cancer in young women, ages 25-39.
© Cancer Prevention Institute of California