Monday, October 17, 2016

Ovarian Cancer Research News - Fall 2016

I am pleased to share a number of recently released research studies. The list was compiled by Sarah DeFeo of OCRFA. Links to journal articles may be found on the OCRF page describing each study.

A Mayo Clinic research team has found evidence suggesting that premenopausal women who are not at high risk of ovarian cancer should not have their ovaries removed for the purpose of cancer prevention. 
Dee's Note: Removal of the ovaries should only be considered if you have a BRCA mutation. The side effects from ovary removal may lead to other health issues - cardiac, bone etc.

According to research published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, the PARP inhibitor niraparib improves progression free survival in recurrent, platinum-sensitive women both with and without germline BRCA mutations.
 Dee's Note: This Parp inhibitor showed significant improved progression-free survival versus placebo for women with and without BRCA mutations or homologous recombination deficiency.

A new analysis published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology determined the impact of gynecologic surgeon volumes on patient outcomes.
Dee's Note: Previous studies showed similar results. Low volume surgeon had higher mortality rates. Have your surgery done by a gynecologic oncologist who has completed many of these surgeries. 

New OCRFA-funded research demonstrates how a drug already in clinical trials could be used to boost anti-tumor immunity and cause T-cells to target the cancer directly while minimizing side effects.
Dee's Notes: PDL-1 and PD-1 work to prevent T-cells from fighting cancer cells. It was found that BET ( bromodomain and extraterminal domain)inhibitors can stop BRD4 (bromodomain-containing protein 4) which contributes to PDL-1 expression. 

The European Society of Medical Oncology published a study last week that indicated the reasons for a decrease in deaths from ovarian cancer in both young women and post-menopausal women. 
 Dee's Notes: I am confused about how the deaths from ovarian cancer can decrease if the number of women diagnosed has stayed constant. Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are no longer on oral contraceptives. Anyone have insight into this issue please leave a comment below. 

While primary cytoreductive surgery followed by chemotherapy is the standard of care for newly diagnosed women with advanced ovarian cancer, newly issued practice guidelines suggest that some patients may benefit more from first-line neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) and followed by surgery.
 Dee's Notes: Newly diagnosed women with stage IIIC or IV epithelial ovarian cancer who may only achieve suboptimal debulking ( less than 1 cm) should receive chemotherapy first.

A study published recently in JAMA Oncology showed that CA-125 tests and CT scans are routinely used in ovarian cancer surveillance testing, even though evidence has shown there is no clinical benefit to using these tests
 Dee's Notes: This prospective study showed no benefit to using CA-125 / CT scans as surveillance for OC. "During a 12-month period, there was a mean of 4.6 CA-125 tests and 1.7 CT scans performed per patient" 

The Biennial Ovarian Cancer Research Symposium is presented by the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research. 
 Dee's Note: Good Summary of presentations on OC screening, treatment, microenvironments and disease mechanisms. 

Every Day is a Blessing!  

Friday, October 7, 2016

September - A Busy Awareness Month

Earlier today I realized that almost 30 days have gone by without posting to this blog. My best laid plans to keep up with posting just did not work out.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. This year more so than in the past I spent a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter posting information about awareness events and information on ovarian cancer. I posted for myself as Women of Teal (@womenofteal) and for the Kaleidoscope of Hope Ovarian Cancer Foundation (KOH) (@koh_nj) .

In addition to the work I did at home on the computer I also attended two KOH events as well as an event that my friends, the Lopez family, held for their foundation, the Janice Lopez Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

On Sept 18th I manned the Survivors Table at KOH's Gail MacNeil Morristown Walk. There were special survivor t-shirts, beads and notebooks for survivors. I was so happy to meet eight women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I created a large kaleidoscope image that the women could sign with their date of diagnosis. Eleven women who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer signed the image.

I also got a pleasant surprise. I was awarded the KOH Spirit of Courage Award.
Some of the many walkers at the Gail MacNeil Morristown KOH Walk

Lynn Franklin , President of KOH awarded me the Spirit of Hope Award. 

The next Saturday I attended the Avon-by-the-Sea KOH walk, once again manning the Survivor Table. The day was rainy but that did not stop over 700 walkers from walking the boardwalk at the Jersey shore to help raise funds for ovarian cancer research.

Walkers on the beach waiting for the walk to start.

Bagpipes on the Boardwalk.
I was so happy to add more names to the kaleidoscope image.

Then on Sunday, September 25th, I attended the Janice Lopez Ovarian Cancer Foundation 3rd Concert for the Cure. It was an amazing afternoon listening to the Encore Orchestra of NJ and some amazing Broadway vocalists. Once again I was blessed to be honored by the Foundation and received their first Teal Champion Award.

What a month for me!  I appreciate the awards and being able to share some fun times with my husband and friends. Yet there were times during this month that I felt sad. Sad because so many women who were my friends and advocacy colleagues were not with me at these events as they had been in the past.  I missed Carole, Janice, Gail, Pam and others. It is in their memory that the advocacy work that I do takes on a special meaning for me.

Every Day is a Blessing!