This week’s cancer news

  • Our top story of the week comes from Cancer Research UK’s own labs. Our scientists have developed a new way of looking at how tumours evolve in real-time by tracking DNA changes in the patients’ blood. Our press release and this blog post have more detail.
  • Meanwhile, US scientists have found that breast cancer cells that break off from tumours have a biological ‘fingerprint’. This could allow doctors to spot women whose disease is likely to spread to the brain. Here’s our news story.
  • The BBC covered a lot of interesting research this week. First up, scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) studied twins to trace the root cause of leukaemia back to the womb. Fascinating work – here’s the story.
  • Cancer Research UK supported scientists at the ICR also found that as well as being more likely to get prostate cancer, men with BRCA2 are also more likely to develop aggressive tumours and have the poorest survival rates. Read the BBC article for more info.
  • Finally from the BBC, could male sex hormones drive breast cancer in women in some cases? While it’s an interesting story, it’s worth noting that this work was presented at the AACR annual cancer conference in Washington and hasn’t yet been published.
  • It’s pretty technical, but this blog post about the challenge of balancing the benefits and risks of cancer screening tests is well worth reading. And we fully agree with the sentiment that basic research – such as looking at genetic variations to gauge individual risk – will be the solution to finding ways to “screen smarter”.
  • This discussion about the language used to describe people undergoing cancer treatment struck a chord with us.

And finally