If You Are Taking Taxotere for Prostate Cancer, This Blog on Minimizing Hair Loss May Be of Interest.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared a cooling cap—a device designed to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy—for use by patients with any kind of solid tumor. FDA initially cleared the device, the DigniCap® Scalp Cooling System, for patients with breast cancer in 2015. The expanded clearance of DigniCap is for “reducing the frequency and severity of hair loss” in adult patients with solid tumors who are receiving chemotherapy types and doses that are associated with this common side effect.

Scalp cooling, which has been used in Europe for several decades, is thought to prevent hair loss by reducing blood flow to hair follicles. Cooling the scalp causes blood vessels to constrict, which may limit the amount of chemotherapy drug that reaches hair follicles.

The DigniCap system uses a tightly fitted cap in which cold liquid circulates to cool the scalp before, during, and after chemotherapy. This cap, which is connected to a machine that regulates the cooling process, is covered by an outer cap, made of neoprene, that acts as an insulator.

The average total cost of scalp cooling ranges between $1,500 and $3,000 per patient, depending on the number of cycles of chemotherapy. Insurance does not currently cover scalp cooling treatments, according to the maker of DigniCap, Dignitana Inc., of Sweden.

For the  full article, see the following link published by the National Cancer Institute.

Biomarker Test Could Reduce Unnecessary Biopsies to Detect Prostate Cancer

Testing for two biomarkers in urine may help some men avoid having to undergo an unnecessary biopsy to detect a suspected prostate cancer, findings from a new study show.

In the NCI-supported study, researchers from Emory University in Atlanta and M.D. Anderson in Houston tested urine samples from men referred for a prostate biopsy for elevated levels of two biomarkers (RNA biomarkers called PCA3 and T2:ERG) that studies have shown are associated with aggressive prostate cancer. Restricting biopsies to only those men with elevated levels of either of the biomarkers would have reduced the number of these unnecessary biopsies by an estimated one-third to one-half, the researchers report May 18 in JAMA Oncology.

At the same time, this pre-biopsy screening approach would still “preserve the ability to detect the more aggressive cancers,” explained the study’s lead investigator, Martin Sanda, M.D., of the Emory University Winship Cancer Institute.

The PCA3 gene is expressed at high levels in prostate cancers, and a urine test for PCA3 RNA is commonly used in clinical practice to monitor for potential disease in men who have a negative biopsy following an abnormal PSA test or digital rectal exam, Dr. Sanda explained. There is also a urine test for T2:ERG, which is the result of a fusion, or translocation of parts of two different genes, TMPRSS2 and ERG. This translocation is found in approximately half of advanced prostate cancers. Currently, the T2:ERG test is only available at a few academic cancer centers.

Currently, there are hurdles to implementing this testing in everyday care, Dr. Sanda cautioned. But the study findings “clearly demonstrate” that testing for these biomarkers could help to address some of the limitations of the current paradigm for prostate cancer screening and early detection, he said. Implementing this pre-biopsy testing in clinical practice may not yet be practical because of the limited availability of the T2:ERG test.

One of the biggest challenges for researchers has been identifying a way to screen for prostate cancer that can differentiate between indolent and potentially life-threatening cancers. One approach being tested is to develop ways to better triage care decisions following an abnormal PSA test, including making more informed decisions about whether to pursue a biopsy. Prostate biopsies have risks, including pain, bleeding, and potentially serious infections. The resulting oversiagnosis and overtreatment of indolent prostate cancers identified via biopsy have their own harms and costs.

You may find it useful to discuss this article and genetic testing with your urologist if you are contemplating a prostate biopsy. For a full description of the study methodology, see the full article which appeared in the June Cancer News Bulletin published by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Antioxidants and Their Colors

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, antioxidants play a role in the fight against cell damage and cancer development. Consuming them is highly recommended for men with prostate cancer. Different types of antioxidants can be grouped by color. For example, antioxidants in red tomatoes are identical to those in red watermelons or pink grapefruits. Antioxidants fall under six main color categories.

1) Tomatoes, pink grapefruits and watermelons contain the red antioxidant, lycopene.

2) Grapes, plums, assorted berries and pomegranates contain the red-purple antioxidant, anthocyanin.

3) Carrots, mangoes, apricots, cantaloupes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes contain the orange antioxidants alpha and beta carotenes.

4) Oranges, peaches, papaya and nectarines contain the orange-yellow antioxidant beta-cryptoxanthin.

5) Spinach, collard, yellow corn, green peas and avocados contain the yellow-green antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

6) Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and bok choy contain the green antioxidants sulforaphane, isothiocyanates and indoles.

7) Garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks, shallots and chives contain the white-green antioxidants allyl sulfides.


A Simplified Guide to the Immune System and How Immunotherapy Can Fight Prostate Cancer

The last post discussed the concept of vaccines for prostate cancer. The second part of the PCF trilogy is an overall simplified view of the immune system, including the various cell types and how they work under both normal and cancerous conditions. This section also describes checkpoint inhibitors and how they are being developed to fight prostate cancer among other types. I again will not summarize the article here but refer the reader to the well-written review in the following link.

The third section describes checkpoint inhibitors in detail focusing on successful applications as well as those scenarios wherein their effects were less than desired. While prostate cancer is the main focus, application to other cancers is also discussed.