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Ovarian cancer forms outside ovaries March 3, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Ovarian cancer forms outside ovaries

Sat Mar 3, 2012

In a startling revelation, a new study has found that the deadliest type of ovarian cancer, high grade serous cancer (HGSC), which accounts for 90 per cent of deaths, often starts in the fallopian tubes rather than the ovaries. If the symptoms are recognised early enough, it can be diagnosed and treated effectively, say the findings of the DOvE (Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer Early) study, led by a research team from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Canada, and published in a recent issue of The Lancet Oncology. The study could revolutionise the way the disease is diagnosed.

The study also found that women over 50 years who suffer from bloating, high urinary frequency, abdominal or pelvic discomfort are about 10 times more likely to have ovarian cancer than those who do not.

The DOvE project was initiated in May 2008 to assess symptomatic women for ovarian cancer early, when chances of recovery are highest. During the pilot phase of the study, 1,455 women aged 50 years or more were assessed. As a result, cancers were diagnosed earlier, when 73 per cent of women could benefit from complete surgery, leaving no visible disease.

Dr Lucy Gilbert, Director of Gynaecologic Oncology at the MUHC and principal investigator of the DovE study conducted over a period of four years says, “Each year 2,16,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 70 per cent of them will die unless we act on the information we have without delay. We encourage healthcare professionals around the world to be aware that high grade serous cancer often starts in the fallopian tubes. So the traditional tests — ultrasound scan of the ovaries and the one-off CA125 blood test — are not enough to diagnose high grade serous cancer (HGSC) in time.

“As the killer variety of ovarian cancer is not really cancer of the ovary, we have to rethink the current diagnostic test, or these cancers will be missed,” adds Dr Gilbert, who is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University.

At Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Cancer Centre, Dr Amita Maheshwari, Associate Professor of Gynaecologic Oncology, agrees that the study is important and certain variant cancers can arise in the fallopian tubes. “There are 28,000 new cases of ovarian cancer every year in the country as against 1.34 lakh new cases of cervical cancer and one lakh new cases of breast cancer,” she says, adding that early detection is important and, sadly, there are no cost effective screening tests for ovarian cancer.

Dr Hemant Tongaonkar, gynaecologic oncologist at Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital and Research Centre, says that since the early symptoms of ovarian cancer are vague and mimic other conditions, the DoVE study had been taken up to develop a probability tool for detection.

Dr A Nanda Kumar, Director of the National Cancer Registry Programme, Bangalore, says that due to the high mortality, the aetiology of the cancer of the ovary has been the subject of several investigations. Experts agree that ovarian cancer is less common but more deadly. Kumar says this is because we do not have a screening test and most cancers are diagnosed in the advanced stage.

Indian Express

Exclusive Patents on the BRCA Genes: Adding Burden to an Already Overburdened Cancer Community March 2, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Exclusive Patents on the BRCA Genes: Adding Burden to an Already Overburdened Cancer Community

 March 1, 2012

By Sue Friedman, Executive Director, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE)

As part of the ACLU’s Taking Back Our Genes campaign , guest blogger Sue Friedman, the Executive Director of FORCE, describes the adverse impact the exclusive patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 have on the cancer community.

It is our position that the awarding of exclusive patents for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to Myriad Genetics has adversely affected access to care and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, adding additional burden to our already overburdened hereditary cancer community. For that reason, we support the litigation challenging the BRCA gene patents and filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court with other patient advocacy groups.

In our 13 years of advocating for and serving the hereditary cancer community, we have seen firsthand the adverse effects of exclusive gene patenting.

Exclusive licensing of BRCA testing stifles research, including:
Research on PARP inhibitors, targeted therapy for BRCA-associated cancer: We believe that the BRCA gene patent has had a profound impact by delaying and slowing the development of targeted cancer therapies for people with BRCA mutations. PARP inhibitors are a class of drugs that were developed based on scientists’ knowledge of how hereditary cancers develop in people with BRCA mutations. The drugs showed activity and early studies were promising in several types of hereditary cancers including breast, ovarian, and prostate. PARP inhibitor research has been ongoing since 2005, and today, seven years later, the drugs have yet to gain FDA approval. After meeting with the FDA, we were told that for targeted therapies that benefit a distinct population (such as people with a BRCA mutation) to receive FDA approval, they require that any companion laboratory test identifying a target population must be FDA approved as well. BRACAnalysis — Myriad’s test for BRCA mutations is not FDA-approved. Myriad is a CLIA-approved laboratory; they were never required to receive FDA approval in order to market their test, and it doesn’t appear that they have plans to seek FDA approval. Because Myriad holds the patent on the gene, no other lab can develop an FDA-approved test to identify BRCA mutation carriers.

Research that helps determine which BRCA genetic changes are deleterious and which are not: BIC (Breast Information Core) is a large international consortium organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. BIC’s goal is to provide critical research to determine gene changes that may be cancer-causing versus those which aren’t. Around 2004, Myriad stopped contributing data to the BIC database. About 7 percent of BRCA tests return with an inconclusive result and data from BIC is used to help better classify these variants to determine if they are cancer-causing. According to a 2010 article in the Genomics Law Report, Myriad quietly stopped contributing data to BIC in favor of building its own database to retain a competitive advantage over other gene testing companies once their patent runs out.

Exclusive licensing negatively impacts BRCA test interpretation: Myriad’s decision to no longer contribute to the BIC database has impeded the interpretation of a type of inconclusive test result known as a Variant of Uncertain Significance (VUS). Once the patent does expire, the fact that Myriad no longer contributes mutation information to the BIC consortium will limit other laboratories’ ability to interpret certain test results. A 2011 article from the New York Times suggested that withholding this data may provide a competitive benefit to Myriad over other laboratories after their patent expires. But it comes at the cost of critical information that could help provide information to families that have inconclusive genetic test results right now.

The excessive cost of testing limits access and negatively affects clinical care: There is now evidence-based information demonstrating that identifying those who have the highest risk for breast and ovarian cancer can lower breast, ovarian, and all-cause mortality through genetic testing and surgical prevention. The cost of prevention, both in dollars and human lives, is less than the cost of treating cancer once it is diagnosed. Yet, people are being denied access to critical health information due to the excessive cost of BRCA testing. Financial assistance for BRCA testing is limited, especially for people who have any type of health insurance. With patent exclusivity and a monopoly on the test, Myriad has increased the cost of their test even as the cost of genetic technology and gene sequencing has gone down. The full-sequencing BRCA testing costs about $3,500, making it cost-prohibitive for many people. Further, Myriad charges an additional $750 for expanded testing known as BART to look for mutations known as large rearrangements in some people who test negative with full BRCA sequencing.

You can learn more about FORCE’s advocacy here.

And if you agree that human genes should not be patented, please join us in Taking Back Our Genes.



March Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month March 2, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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March Is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

AnnA Rushton

March 1, 2012 
Another of the cancers that is linked to excess oestrogen, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to establish good hormonal balance to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer

Although the majority of the 6,500 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year are menopausal, it is not solely confined to that group as younger women are also at risk.

The good news is that with early detection the survival rate is good with seven out of ten women treated will survive for five or more years.    The bad news is that some of the symptoms are similar to those seen in more common conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) so your doctor may find it hard to diagnose.

What Can You Do?

Awareness is key, because to help your doctor diagnose ovarian cancer you need to monitor your body and report any symptoms as soon as you spot them. Also, cervical screening tests (smear tests) will not help to detect ovarian cancer so don’t rely on getting a clear result from that indicating you are clear of ovarian cancer.

Women need to learn to recognise the symptoms and go to see their doctor as soon as possible if they have any of the following consistently over a month and they don’t go away:

Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain

Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not the normal blow up around a period that comes and goes)

Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

Urinary symptoms such as more frequent or urgent need to pee

Those are the most common symptoms, but sometimes there can be other such as:

Changes in bowel habit

Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)

Unexplained weight loss

If you regularly experience any of these symptoms and they are not normal for you then please don’t hesitate but go and see your doctor.  They may be nothing, but it is important to be checked out.   It will help your doctor if you also keep a note of your symptoms such as when they occur and if related to specific events.  They will also want to know if there is any history of ovarian or breast cancer in your immediate family.

What Treatment Is Available?

First your doctor may suggest a CA125 blood test and, depending upon the results, they may order an internal scan. Alternatively, they may refer you to a specialist gynaecology unit for investigation, or if they do not think ovarian cancer is a likely cause they may ask you to return if your symptoms do not clear over a period of time.

Treatment normally involves chemotherapy and/or surgery – usually a total hysterectomy.  If this is the case then supplemental bio-identical progesterone will help to counter the effects of this sudden surgical menopause.

Reducing Your Risk

Having a healthy hormone balance is essential and monitoring yourself for symptoms of oestrogen dominance, and tackling them would certainly be a good start.  This article by Dame Dr Shirley Bond outlines them here and a diet that reduces other risk factors such as animal fats and refined sugar and replaces them with more plant-based foods, complex carbohydrates and fibre will also be of benefit.

Bio-Health News

Cancer misdiagnosis claim refuted March 2, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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HOSPITAL bosses have disputed claims that three ‘serious’ cases were misdiagnosed by gynaecological departments in Oxford.

The claim was made by an anonymous GP in a survey by a doctors’ magazine.

He told GP journal Pulse he knew of three ‘serious’ cases which had been misdiagnosed by the gynaecological department at the John Radcliffe Hospital – including one of a patient with ovarian cancer.

He said: “We wrote a letter. All we wanted was something back saying ‘let’s look at this’. Instead we got a five-sentence reply saying ‘under Nice guidelines we did nothing negligent’.”

Sir Jonathan Michael, chief executive of the Oxford UniversityHospitals Trust, said: “The trust has robust processes in place to ensure that high standards of clinical care are delivered in our hospitals. If at any time a GP or patient feels that the standard of care received from our trust falls short of their expectations, we urge them to raise these through the appropriate channels.

“It is impossible to comment on such anecdotal comments given anonymously but the trust would be more than happy to address the concerns.”

Oxford Times

Let’s hear it for medical care in Oxford

Ovarian sentinel node: is it feasible? March 1, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Ovarian sentinel node: is it feasible?

Nyberg RHKorkola PMäenpää J.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland. reita.nyberg@pshp.fi



To examine whether the intraoperative combined injection technique is feasible in locating the sentinel node(s) of the ovary.


In 16 patients with high-risk uterine cancer and normal postmenopausal ovaries, technetium isotope and blue dye were injected in the right or left ovary during laparotomy, respectively. During the operation, the pelvic and para-aortic lymphatic areas were searched, and the number, method of detection, and location(s) of the hot and/or bluenode(s) were recorded.


One to 3 sentinel nodes per patient were identified in all but 1 patient (15 of 16, 94%). The sentinel nodes (n = 30) were all located in the para-aortic area. The sentinel nodes of the left ovary were mainly (9 of 14, 64%) located above the inferior mesenteric artery level, as the most sentinel nodes of the right ovary (15 of 16, 94%) were found below the inferior mesenteric artery level (P = 0.001). There were no contralateral or bilateral sentinel nodes.


The combined intraoperative injection technique with radioisotope and blue dye is fast enough to identify the ovarian sentinel node(s). The stained nodes were consistently located on a certain lymphatic area. The sentinel nodeconcept for the early ovarian cancer deserves more attention.

International Journal of Gynecological Cancer

Click on the link for further information on Sentinel Node Biopsy


Stem Cell Finding Could Expand Women’s Lifetime Supply of Eggs March 1, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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While this post isn’t about ovarian cancer, per se, it may provide some encouragement to those who have recently been diagnosed and/or starting treatment.  


Stem Cell Finding Could Expand Women’s Lifetime Supply of Eggs

Research might lead to new reproductive technologies, older pregnancies, researchers say

 Monday, February 27, 2012

(HealthDay News) — Researchers report that they’ve isolated stem cells from adult human ovaries that can mature into eggs that may be capable of fertilization.

The lab findings, which upend longstanding scientific theory, could potentially lead to new reproductive technologies and possibly extend the years of a woman’s fertility.

It was long believed that women were born with a lifetime supply of eggs, which was depleted by menopause. But a growing body of research — including a new paper from Massachusetts General Hospital — suggests egg production may continue into adulthood. The study is published in the March issue of Nature Medicine.

“Fifty years of thinking, in every aspect of experiments, of interpreting the results, and of the clinical management of ovarian function and fertility in women was dictated by one simple belief that turns out to be incorrect,” said lead study author Jonathan Tilly, director of the hospital’s Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology. “That belief was the egg cell pool endowed at birth is a fixed entity that cannot be renewed.”

Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of the Center for Human Reproduction at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., said the study is “exciting” but emphasized the work is still very preliminary.

“This is experimental,” Hershlag said. “This is a beginning of perhaps something that could bring in new opportunities, but it’s going to be a long time in my estimation until clinically we’ll be able to actually have human eggs created from stem cells that make babies.”

The same team at Mass General caused a stir in 2004 when it published a paper in Nature reporting that female mice retain the ability to make new egg cells well into adulthood.

In both mice and humans, the vast majority of egg cells die through a process called programmed cell death, or apoptosis, the body’s way of eliminating unneeded or damaged cells. For humans, that process is dramatic. Female fetuses have about 6 to 7 million eggs at about 20 weeks’ gestation, a little more than 1 million at birth, and about 300,000 by puberty.

Studying mice egg cells and follicles, the tiny sacs in which stem cells become eggs, the Mass General researchers discovered something that didn’t make mathematical sense.

Most prior research had focused on counting the healthy eggs in the ovaries, and then made assumptions about how many had died from that, Tilly said. But his lab looked at it the opposite way and focused on cell death.

“We found far too many eggs were dying than could be accounted for by the net change in the healthy egg pool,” Tilly said. “We reasoned that maybe the field had missed something.” They wondered if stem, or precursor cells, were repopulating the ovaries with new eggs.

Initially, the findings were met with skepticism, according to the study authors, but subsequent research bolstered the conclusions.

Those included a 2009 study from a team in China, published in Nature Cell Biology, that isolated, purified and cultured egg stem cells from adult mice, and subsequently introduced them into mice ovaries that were rendered infertile. The infertile mice eventually produced mature oocytes that were fertilized and developed into healthy baby mice.

Studies showing that women had the same capacity as mice were lacking, however.

In this study, Tilly’s team used tissue from Japanese women in their 20s and 30s with gender identity disorder, who had their ovaries removed as part of gender reassignment surgery.

The researchers isolated the egg precursor cells and inserted into them a gene from a jellyfish that glows green, then inserted the treated cells into biopsied human ovarian tissue. They then transplanted the human tissue into mice. The green fluorescence allowed researchers to see that the stem cells generated new egg cells.

Tilly said the process makes evolutionary sense. “If you look at this from an evolutionary perspective, males have sperm stem cells that continually make sperm. Because species propagation is so important, we want to make sure it’s the best sperm, so don’t want sperm sitting around for 60 years waiting to get used,” he said. It makes no sense from an evolutionary perspective that “females will be born with all the eggs they will have and let them sit there,” he noted.

Hershlag, meanwhile, said much remains to be overcome.

“Ultimately, in our field only one thing counts,” he said, “and that is if you can make an egg that can make a healthy baby.”

SOURCES: Jonathan Tilly, Ph.D., director, Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Avner Hershlag, M.D., chief, Center for Human Reproduction, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Manhasset, N.Y.; Feb. 26, 2012, Nature Medicine, online



Study: Cryoablation puts a chill on ovarian cancer tumors February 29, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Study: Cryoablation puts a chill on ovarian cancer tumors

Feb 2012

Cryoablation has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for ovarian cancer, and this “freeze and destroy” technique could offer an alternative to surgery or chemotherapy for patients whose disease is in the late stages and oligometastatic, according to research published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology and presented at the 2012 International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy in Miami in January.

Hyun Bang, MD, of the department of radiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and colleagues performed a study of 21 ovarian cancer patients who underwent ultrasound-guided, percutaneous cryoablation in order to assess complications, recurrences and overall survival. Forty-eight tumors on the soft tissue, liver and lungs were treated during the seven-year study period.

Results showed that the median survival was 56.9 months, though the authors noted an average period of 37.8 months occurred between the diagnosis of metastatic disease to the cryoablation procedure. For comparison, most women whose tumors aren’t successfully removed surgically—approximately 60 percent of cases—survive seven months to 30 months.

Bang and colleagues also calculated that cryoablation delivers results at a lower cost than alternative treatments. Medical costs in the study registered an average of $26,806 per life year saved compared with the current standard of care costing approximately $100,000 per life year saved.

“[Multisite cryoablation] of metastatic epithelial ovarian cancer is a well-tolerated treatment alternative, especially for patients with anesthesia risks, painful lesions or those seeking local control during chemotherapy,” concluded the authors. “Preliminary calculations of high patient survival and cost-effectiveness suggest that cryoablation could effectively and economically augment the palliative care of metastatic disease.”

Because cryoablation is performed using an extremely cold needle inserted into the skin, it causes less pain and offers a faster recovery than surgery, according to the authors.

The research team has published two papers detailing the findings as they relate to kidney and lung cancers, with a third recently submitted on colon cancer. Bang recognized the long-term effectiveness and financial benefits of the treatment in a statement, saying that with enough evidence and proven data, “eventually, people will start listening.”

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in 22,000 women each year and is the most damaging cancer to the female reproductive system, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Health Imaging

Targeted treatment for ovarian cancer to be studied at University Hospitals February 28, 2012

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Targeted treatment for ovarian cancer to be studied at University Hospitals

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Physicians at University Hospitals Case Medical Center are developing four clinical trials to test a therapy that has been around for several decades, but which only recently has been used to treat ovarian, endometrial (uterine) and select other gynecologic cancers.

The studies, which physicians hope to begin this spring, have been designed for a very specific patient population — no more than a couple dozen women with ovarian or endometrial cancer will be enrolled in each one. The trials will help researchers compare and learn relatively quickly how to use heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC, as effectively as possible, said Dr. Robert DeBernardo, a gynecologic oncologist at UH and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

The procedure, administered in the operating room right after surgery to remove malignant tumors or tissue, flows a hyperthermic — or heated — sterilized chemotherapy solution through catheters directly into a patient’s abdominal cavity. The heat makes cancer cells “leak” so chemotherapy can enter the cells more effectively.

The effect of chemotherapy delivered directly to the abdomen is more potent than intravenous delivery, which takes longer to reach the intended area. And because the targeted delivery of HIPEC minimizes the rest of the body’s exposure to the treatment, it helps reduce some side effects, such as hair loss.

“Giving chemotherapy in the [operating room] is complicated, but it’s not something that can’t be done,” DeBernardo said. “We need to really show: Is this a beneficial therapy?”

Not only will the studies shed light on how well HIPEC controls when and where the cancer recurs, but they will also focus closely on side effects, costs and the length of hospital stays.

Here are the Phase 1 trials:

• A study involving the use of heated chemotherapy for ovarian cancer that has spread to the chest. What the surgical team has dubbed HITEC (the “T” coming from the word intrathoracic) is performed after minimally invasive lung surgery. “To my knowledge, no one has treated ovarian cancer [that has spread to] the chest like this,” DeBernardo said.

• A study for advanced ovarian-cancer patients whose cancer is in remission following surgery and chemotherapy. The patients will undergo HIPEC to prevent recurrence.

• A study for patients whose cancer recurs; HIPEC will be performed following surgery.

• A study for patients who undergo chemotherapy prior to surgery and HIPEC during the surgery.

Ovarian cancer is especially challenging to treat, as it is often not detected until it has spread. The cancer antigen 125 blood test, which can detect elevated levels of CA-125 — a trait often found in women with ovarian cancer — is not recommended as a screening test in women with an average risk of the disease because elevated levels can signal many other conditions.

Over the past two decades, treatments have evolved and improved, says DeBernardo.

Not only has it become easier to perform aggressive tissue-removing surgery (the primary way to diagnose ovarian cancer), but surgeons have become more specialized in cancer-tissue removal. Women also are able to better tolerate treatment.

“The thing about women with ovarian cancer [is,] we don’t cure very many people with ovarian cancer,” DeBernardo said. “We can control it, we can keep it at bay. But it almost always comes back. That’s where HIPEC comes in. It may improve things.”

The Cleveland Clinic began treating abdominal cancers — appendix, colorectal, gastric, ovarian and peritoneal mesolthelioma (a cancer of the lining of the abdominal cavity) with HIPEC in 2010. UH followed suit last summer, with DeBernardo working with other surgical oncologists and general surgeons to launch the program at UH Seidman Cancer Center.

Buoyed by the results of a national study that appeared in 2006 in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed a higher rate of survival for women with ovarian cancer who were treated with HIPEC versus intravenous chemotherapy, hospitals began to explore the HIPEC option.

“The unfortunate fact is, even though it’s good science, there is still only a minority of women getting offered that treatment,” DeBernardo said. The reasons are varied, and include that not all women have ready access to a hospital with a gynecologic on-

cologist or other skilled staff who are able to integrate HIPEC as part of treatment.

Last August, led by DeBernardo, UH launched a dedicated HIPEC program for gynecological cancers. The surgical team performed its first HIPEC treatment in August 2011. Since then, there have been more than two dozen cases.

Jan Belleville of Hubbard was DeBernardo’s first HIPEC patient.

Other than feeling something — not pain, but something — in her lower abdomen in the summer of 2006, Belleville had no reason to think it was ovarian cancer.

“I had had fibroids and thought that was all it was,” said Belleville, 68. But it wasn’t.

Belleville was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer, which by then had spread through her abdominal cavity to her liver. Her first surgery included radiation therapy. Chemotherapy followed.

After being in remission for a year, Belleville’s cancer returned to her liver. She had another operation, followed by more chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer went into remission for six months, then came back. After more chemotherapy, remission again for three months. But the cancer came back again. This time it had spread to her lungs.

After treating Belleville with different types of chemotherapy that proved ineffective, DeBernardo and his colleague, Dr. Jason Robke, decided to do something else.

Last summer, they approached her about having HIPEC/HITEC surgery. She would be their first case.

“I never have doubted that I was being guided in the right direction,” Belleville said.

In late July, she had the first of two HIPEC/HITEC operations, on the left side of her chest. Four weeks later, surgeons operated on the right side. Those surgeries — which were each roughly three hours long, including about 90 minutes for administering the chemotherapy — were the seventh and eighth since she was first diagnosed.

The surgeries stabilized Belleville’s levels of CA-125, the protein in the blood that is found in ovarian cancer cells at a much higher level than in normal cells.

Shortness of breath and lack of energy earlier this month prompted more tests; X-rays detected spots on her lungs, evidence that the cancer had returned there.

Despite the news, Belleville and her husband went ahead with a planned vacation to Florida. Last week, she started intravenous chemotherapy.

“I think it bought me a really nice Thanksgiving, a beautiful holiday over Christmas,” an upbeat Belleville said about the six-month remission that followed her HIPEC/HITEC procedure. “I don’t consider this [recurrence] a setback.”


Key discovery in the treatment of ovarian cancer February 26, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Key discovery in the treatment of ovarian cancer

Feb 2012

There is a great achievement in the study of ovarian cancer. Researchers have identified a peptide-receptor system, which will help in the understanding the progression and treatment of human ovarian cancer that affects a large population of women worldwide.

For this, researcher conducted this study on immunocompromised mice. They transplanted molecularly engineered humanovarian cancer cells  to have a lower expression of opioidgrowth factor receptor (OGFr). They found that ovarian tumours grew rapidly.

These findings were made by the researchers at The Pennsylvania State  University  College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Their study brings a fresh insight into the pathogenesis and therapy of a lethal cancer that is the fifth most important cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the USA for over 75 years.

The opioid growth factor (OGF)(also-termed [Met5]-enkephalin)-OGFr axis plays a vital role in cancer as it is related to development, and cellular renewal by regulating cell proliferation. This study has also answered the requirement of this peptide-receptor system for the development of carcinogenesis.

The study has also found that Human ovarian cancer call  lines that were genetically engineered to underexpress OGFr developed far more faster in tissue culture than control (empty vector/wildtype) cell lines.

Moreover, adding OGF to cultures of these genetically engineered cells did not respond to the inhibitory peptide and change cell number that showed the loss of OGFr interfered with the function of the OGF-OGFr axis with respect to controlling cell proliferation.

Immunocompromised mice in which ovarian cancer cells were transplanted that showed a reduction in OGFr exhibited tumours much earlier than controls, and these tumours developed more rapidly than controls.

With this knowledge that the pathway for OGF-OGFr regulation of cell proliferation in ovarian cancer is by way of escalating the cyclin-dependent inhibitory kinase proteins p16 and p21, it can be said that reducing the quantity of OGFr results in a rise in the number of cells entering the G1/S phase of the cell cycle.

This process has influence on increasing the progression of tumorigenic events.

These results reflects on the critical nature of OGFr in human ovarian cancer, and that the receptor along with its ligand, OGF, is necessary for deciding the course of these neoplasias.

Dr. Ian S. Zagon and Dr. Patricia J. McLaughlin found that endogenous opioids acts as growth factors, and have been pioneers in translating their findings from the bench to the bedside.

“Ovarian cancers frequently have a methylation of p16 that is associated with an increased progression of ovarian cancer and a loss of OGFr in ovarian tumors,” Dr. Renee N. Donahue a researcher in the Department of Neural and Behavioral Sciences said.

“The diminished expression of OGFr and its repercussions on tumorigenesis, only adds to the concern about the need for information concerning genetic and epigenetic changes that may impact the course of disease and its treatment.

“Our findings also hold potentially ominous overtones for those individuals taking naltrexone for addictive disorders. The dosage used for treatment of addiction blocks opioid receptors continually. The present findings that diminishing the OGF-OGFr axis by depleting the receptor exacerbates tumorigenesis, could place these patients using naltrexone at risk for accelerating disease processes that involve cell proliferation,” Dr. Donahue has been quoted as saying.

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of ExperimentalBiology and Medicine, opined that this forceful evidence confirmed the absolute requirement for OGFr (and OGF) as a tonically active inhibitory regulatory mechanism in ovarian cancer.

“As a corollary, amplifying the OGF-OGFr pathway is a novel and highly effective biotherapeutic strategy to suppress the progression of these deadly cancers,” Dr Goodman stated.

Experimental Biology and Medicine has published this study.

With inputs from ANI


Mother With Ovarian Cancer Fights To Give Back February 26, 2012

Posted by patoconnor in cancer, gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer, tubal cancer, Uncategorized, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer.
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Mother With Ovarian Cancer Fights To Give Back

Feb 2012

MT. LEBANON (KDKA) – A young mother diagnosed with cancer has found a way to give back, by raising $6,000 to donate to a foundation that is helping to keep her alive.

Christina Radzilowicz, 42, of Mt. Lebanon thought that she had done everything right to live a healthy life. She was a runner, ate well and had regular medical check-ups. But none of that prevented her from becoming one of the 70,000 Americans between the ages of 15-and-39 diagnosed each year with cancer.

Three-and-a-half-years ago, her world was turned upside down when she found out she had Ovarian Cancer.

Her son, John, and daughter, Anastasya, were 10 and 6 at the time.

“I can’t let that be the case. Little kids are not projects you can wrap up in a couple of months,” Radzilowicz said.

She decided she needed to stay on this earth for her husband and children.

“I have this obligation that I willingly take to be their mom, and that includes fighting as hard as I can to allow that privilege.”

She found the I’m Too Young To Have Cancer Foundation online, and after listening to their webcasts she found reason for hope.

Radzilowicz has now set a new goal to raise $6,000 and donate it to this foundation. She has raised a quarter of it so far.

She is determined to be at the OMG! Cancer Summit For Young Adults in Las Vegas on March 30, where cancer patients can learn about education, advocacy, research and networking.

Radzilowicz knows that as a wife, mother and woman she has much to share with other young moms about living in the crucible of cancer.

“Yes, cancer may be a part of our lives but we’re going to get busy living,” she said.


If you’re willing to help Christina – donations can be made through her website, CrowdRise.com/CRad or through Eden’s Market, 99 Alfred Street, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228 – and you can reach Christina directly atchristina.radzilowicz@gmail.com.