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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Sep 13, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Sweden present a population-based study of post-treatment symptoms in long-term survivors of gynecological cancers, who have undergone radiation therapy. The team analyzed data from 789 cancer survivors treated with pelvic radiation therapy alone or combined with surgery, and 478 controls. Cancer survivors reported a higher occurrence of symptoms like protracted genital pain and a lack of control over bladder and/or bowels than the controls, the authors write, and survivors treated with radiation therapy alone showed a higher rate of symptoms than survivors treated with radiation and surgery. "Gynecological cancer survivors previously treated with pelvic radiation report a higher occurrence of symptoms from the urinary and gastrointestinal tract as well as lymphedema, sexual dysfunction and pelvic pain compared with non-irradiated control women," the team adds. "Health-care providers need to actively ask patients about specific symptoms in order to provide proper diagnostic investigations and management."

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, UK researchers explore immune activation in cancer patients through a combination therapy of human lymphokine-activated killer cells and dendritic cells. The team observed the effects of a combination therapy in melanoma cells, and saw that a co-culture of dendritic cells and LAKs led to phenotypic activation of natural killer cells within the LAK population. This, in turn, was associated with increased production of inflammatory cytokines and enhanced cytotoxicity against tumor cells. "Clinical-grade LAKs/DCs represents a practical, effective combination cell immunotherapy for stimulation of both innate and adaptive anti-tumor immunity in cancer patients," the authors write.

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, another group of UK researchers presents findings from a study of an accelerated drug regimen for intermediate and poor prognosis metastatic germ cell tumor patients. The bleomycin-etoposide-cisplatin combination therapy, BEP, is one of the most effective against germ cell tumors. For this study, the researchers aimed to assess safety and efficacy for a dose-dense BEP regimen. They tested an accelerated regimen in 16 male patients with intermediate or poor prognosis metastatic germ cell tumors, and found that toxicities were comparable to standard BEP regimens. "Complete response was achieved after chemotherapy alone in two patients and following chemotherapy plus surgery in nine additional patients," the authors write. "Four patients had a partial response and normalized their marker levels. … Accelerated BEP is tolerable without major additional toxicity. A randomized controlled trial will be required to obtain comparative efficacy data."

The Scan

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