Oncology & Cancer

Determining risk of recurrence in triple-negative breast cancer

A personalized prognosis for patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer was the goal of a new study by Katherine Varley, Ph.D., researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and assistant professor of oncological ...

Oncology & Cancer

Immunotherapy drug shows potential to cure advanced lung cancer

In a new study including Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital researchers, the cancer immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda), increased survival for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ...

Oncology & Cancer

A 'one-two punch' to wipe out cancerous ovarian cells

Researchers from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have developed a two-step combination therapy to destroy cancer cells. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, they show the ...

Oncology & Cancer

Novel agent reactivates an immune call by LIF blockade

Results from a study spearhead by researchers at the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), show that the blockade of the multi-functional cytokine LIF induces tumor-infiltrating T cells to target and eliminate cancer. ...

Medical research

Immunotherapy and diabetes—a game of hide and seek?

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are an emerging type of cancer immunotherapy that uses the immune system to attack cancer cells. However, in some patients they cause the immune system to attack healthy cells, leading ...

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Cancer

Cancer (medical term: malignant neoplasm) is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood). These three malignant properties of cancers differentiate them from benign tumors, which are self-limited, and do not invade or metastasize. Most cancers form a tumor but some, like leukemia, do not. The branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer is oncology.

Cancer may affect people at all ages, even fetuses, but the risk for most varieties increases with age. Cancer causes about 13% of all human deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, 7.6 million people died from cancer in the world during 2007. Cancers can affect all animals.

Nearly all cancers are caused by abnormalities in the genetic material of the transformed cells. These abnormalities may be due to the effects of carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke, radiation, chemicals, or infectious agents. Other cancer-promoting genetic abnormalities may be randomly acquired through errors in DNA replication, or are inherited, and thus present in all cells from birth. The heritability of cancers are usually affected by complex interactions between carcinogens and the host's genome. New aspects of the genetics of cancer pathogenesis, such as DNA methylation, and microRNAs are increasingly recognized as important.

Genetic abnormalities found in cancer typically affect two general classes of genes. Cancer-promoting oncogenes are typically activated in cancer cells, giving those cells new properties, such as hyperactive growth and division, protection against programmed cell death, loss of respect for normal tissue boundaries, and the ability to become established in diverse tissue environments. Tumor suppressor genes are then inactivated in cancer cells, resulting in the loss of normal functions in those cells, such as accurate DNA replication, control over the cell cycle, orientation and adhesion within tissues, and interaction with protective cells of the immune system.

Diagnosis usually requires the histologic examination of a tissue biopsy specimen by a pathologist, although the initial indication of malignancy can be symptoms or radiographic imaging abnormalities. Most cancers can be treated and some cured, depending on the specific type, location, and stage. Once diagnosed, cancer is usually treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As research develops, treatments are becoming more specific for different varieties of cancer. There has been significant progress in the development of targeted therapy drugs that act specifically on detectable molecular abnormalities in certain tumors, and which minimize damage to normal cells. The prognosis of cancer patients is most influenced by the type of cancer, as well as the stage, or extent of the disease. In addition, histologic grading and the presence of specific molecular markers can also be useful in establishing prognosis, as well as in determining individual treatments.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA