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Preview: Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology - Issue - science feeds

Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology - Issue - science feeds

Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology provides physicians and academics with authoritative and topical discussions of key developments in the field.


Genetics: APOBEC conundrum solved


Cytosine mutations within TCA and TCT motifs, which are caused by the APOBEC cytosine deaminases, are common in tumours described in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Genetic studies have identified associations with cancer risk for common germline variants close to a gene cluster that encodes

Skin cancer: Avelumab effective against Merkel-cell carcinoma


Data from a phase II trial indicate that avelumab, an anti PD-L1 monoclonal antibody, is safe and effective in patients with advanced-stage Merkel-cell carcinoma. In a cohort of 88 patients, who were not selected for PD-L1 expression, 28 (31.8%) had an objective response to treatment,

Gastrointestinal cancer: Mutational signatures reveal distinct subgroups


Data from a whole-genome sequencing analysis of 129 patients with oesophageal adenocarcinoma reveal the existence of three distinct molecular subtypes of this heterogeneous cancer: tumours enriched with BRCA mutations, with defective homologous recombination; those dominated by T>G mutations, with a high mutational load and

Thyroid cancer: BRAF and/or TERT mutations increase mortality


Results of a clinical correlation study indicate that patients with papillary thyroid cancer harbouring mutations in established oncogenes have inferior survival outcomes compared with patients harbouring wild-type forms of these genes. The genotypes of 1,051 patients with papillary thyroid cancer were investigated for the presence

Kidney cancer: Papillary features predict survival in ncRCC


Despite the availability of evidence from clinical trials on the optimal treatment of patients with metastatic, clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma (RCC), only limited data are available on the treatment of those with non-clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma (ncRCC) or unclassified renal-cell carcinoma (uRCC). Now, data from a phase

Immunotherapy: Interferon in anti-CTLA-4 responses


Immune-checkpoint blockade is a breakthrough in anticancer therapy, with dramatic sustained responses observed across a range of tumour types. Nevertheless, response rates are modest and acquired resistance can occur. IFNγ is a hallmark cytokine of an antitumour immune response, and disruption of the IFNγ pathway

In the news: From IBCD 2016


In the words of Denis Lacombe, co-Chair of the Innovation and Biomarkers in Cancer Drug Development (IBCD) meeting, “we need to adapt quickly to the rapidly evolving field of precision medicine.” These opening remarks set the agenda for this meeting, a joint project from the

Head and neck cancer: Gemcitabine improves patient survival


Patients with metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma generally receive platinum-containing doublet chemotherapy as a first-line treatment; however, the effectiveness of this approach, even in comparison with supportive therapy alone, has not been directly compared. Now, data from an open-label phase III trial indicate that the efficacy of

Breast cancer: CTC heterogeneity is dynamic


Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from patients with hormone-receptor-positive (HR+) and HER2-negative (HER2−) breast cancer acquire HER2 expression, but how these changes affect tumour progression and response to therapy remains unclear. This question was addressed by Shyamala Maheswaran and Daniel Haber in

Immunotherapy: Exploiting natural killers in AML


Patients with relapsed and/or refractory acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) have a poor prognosis; allogeneic stem-cell transplantation is potentially curative, but many patients are ineligible. A novel approach involving adoptive transfer of preactivated natural killer (NK) cells might enable the 'graft-versus-host' response to be harnessed without

Prostate cancer: Moderate hypofractionated radiotherapy — not yet a standard of care


A theoretical radiobiological rationale supports the use of hypofractionated radiotherapy (higher radiation doses per fraction over a shorter period of time compared with conventional fractionation) for the treatment of prostate cancer. The investigators of two recently published phase III clinical trials with different designs have come to opposing conclusions regarding whether hypofractionated radiotherapy should be considered a new standard of care.

Lung cancer: Stage III NSCLC — is it time to centralize care?


Eaton et al. report a very strong association between institutional clinical trial accrual volume and the survival of patients with stage III NSCLC. The observed volume effect might have been exaggerated by artefact. More work is required to quantify the volume effect and understand its causes, before rushing to centralize care.

Genetics: Are circRNAs involved in cancer pathogenesis?


In a paper published recently in Cell, Guarnerio et al. suggest that circular RNAs derived from cancer-associated chromosomal translocations have an oncogenic role; however, the experimental approach that the authors used was inadequate to generate sufficient evidence to prove this role, calling their study into question.

Pharmacokinetics of metronomic chemotherapy: a neglected but crucial aspect


Metronomic chemotherapy describes the close, regular administration of chemotherapy drugs at less-toxic doses over prolonged periods of time. In 2015, the results of randomized phase III clinical trials demonstrated encouraging, albeit limited, efficacy benefits of metronomic chemotherapy regimens administered as adjuvant maintenance therapy for the

Triple-negative breast cancer: challenges and opportunities of a heterogeneous disease


Chemotherapy is the primary established systemic treatment for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in both the early and advanced-stages of the disease. The lack of targeted therapies and the poor prognosis of patients with TNBC have fostered a major effort to discover actionable molecular

Towards a new classification of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms


Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NENs) constitute a heterogeneous group of tumours associated with variable clinical presentations, growth rates, and prognoses. To improve the management of GEP-NENs, the WHO developed a classification system that enables tumours to be graded based on markers of cell proliferation in biopsy

Addressing unwarranted variations in colorectal cancer outcomes: a conceptual approach


In the clinical setting, the term 'unwarranted variation' refers to variations in patient outcomes that cannot be explained by the patient's underlying illness or medical needs, or the dictates of evidence-based medicine. These types of variations persist even after adjusting for patient-specific factors. Unwarranted variation