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Clinician's Corner
July 26, 2006

Hyperthermic Biology and Cancer Therapies: A Hypothesis for the “Lance Armstrong Effect”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Urology (Drs Coffey and Getzenberg), Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences (Dr DeWeese), and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (Drs Coffey, Getzenberg, and DeWeese), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 2006;296(4):445-448. doi:10.1001/jama.296.4.445

There is perhaps no more important question in cancer research than to understand the molecular basis of how the majority of patients with testicular cancer can be treated so effectively. For instance, how could Lance Armstrong, who was diagnosed with very advanced metastatic testicular cancer, be treated so successfully that he could subsequently win multiple grueling Tours de France? Although such therapeutic success is now common for many patients with this type of advanced testicular cancer, this type of outcome is unattainable for the majority of patients with other types of advanced solid tumors. What accounts for the astounding therapeutic success with testicular cancer, and can this outcome be explained both at the cellular and molecular levels? Understanding the basis for the “Lance Armstrong effect” may provide therapeutic targets to enhance cures of other common advanced solid tumors that remain so refractory to the best systemic treatments.