GCF is keeping track of interesting research in the field of gastric cancer. Here are some that caught our attention over the last few months:
Can an aspirin a day keep cancer away? Researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K., got quite a bit of press coverage in March for their stunning suggestion that regular use of aspirin reduces the long-term risk of several cancers, including gastric cancer. The researchers reviewed every oncology study published since 1950 that included reports of aspirin use and discovered that the risk of cancer dropped by 25 percent in those taking the over-the-counter remedy daily for three years. After five years, the risk dropped by 37 percent. A second study out of the U.K. found that aspirin reduced the risk of metastatic cancer by 36 percent and the risk of adenocarcinomas—common tumors that occur throughout the body, including the stomach—by 46 percent. But some caution is warranted: Aspirin can also cause stomach upset and bleeding, so it’s important to check with your doctor (as they say on the TV ads) before starting an aspirin regimen.
Harnessing immunology to combat tumors: At the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in April, researchers were buzzing about tumor immunology, specifically the FDA approval of “CTLA4 antibodies.” One of the causes of resistance in cancer is that the checkpoints that modulate immune responses are co-opted by tumors. CTLA4 antibodies are designed to enhance the immune response against tumors. Multiple clinical trials are underway, with a major focus on gastric cancer. And tumor immunology is the subject of the April issue of Nature Cancer Reviews.
Finding the genetic mutations associated with gastric cancer: In the April 8 online edition of the journal Nature Genetics, an international team of scientists led by Duke University reported they had discovered more than 600 genes that become mutated in gastric cancer. The team used advanced DNA sequencing technology to analyze normal and cancerous tissue from patients. “Our study is one of the first gastric cancer studies to investigate the vast majority of human genes at the single nucleotide level,” said co-senior author Teh Bin Tean, director of the NCCS-VARI Translational Research Laboratory at the National Cancer Center Singapore, in a Duke statement. “We screened 18,000 human genes and identified over 600 genes that were previously unknown to be mutated in stomach cancer.” The researchers hope their findings will someday lead to personalized treatments for gastric cancer.