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Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most lethal cancers, as well as one of the most common worldwide. Diagnosis is often made at an advanced stage when surgical resection is not possible. Local control with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) is a first-line therapy. Huo and Eslick demonstrate, through systematic review and meta-analysis, that TACE given in combination with radiotherapy imparts a greater therapeutic benefit than TACE alone. Thomas provides an Editor’s Note.
Continuing Medical Education
Obesity is a growing health concern and a risk factor for many of the most common human cancers. Increased body fat and abdominal fat are risk factors for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Friedenreich et al demonstrate with the Breast Cancer and Exercise Trial in Alberta, a randomized dose comparison trial of moderate- vs high-volume aerobic exercise, that volume of exercise does matter. Reductions in key adiposity measurements were significantly greater in postmenopausal women who exercised an hour for 5 days a week than in those who exercised with the same frequency for 30 minutes. Winters-Stone provides an Invited Commentary.
Does chemotherapy benefit patients near the end of life? Prigerson et al evaluated patients with progressive end-stage cancers for chemotherapy use within the last 4 months before death. As compared with similar patients who did not receive chemotherapy, those who did had no survival benefit. Moreover, patients with a good performance status reported a worse quality of life in the last week of life than similar patients who did not receive chemotherapy. Blanke and Fromme provide an Invited Commentary.
Methods to detect circulating plasma cell-free DNA show promise as a biomarker for cancer diagnostics. Amant et al detected DNA with aberrant genome profiles in the plasma of pregnant women. Three abnormal specimens were identified in material from more than 4000 pregnant women. Evaluation of the 3 women revealed an occult cancer in each of them. These data underscore the usefulness of plasma free DNA as a potent method to detect a wide variety of cancers.
Highlights. JAMA Oncol. 2015;1(6):713. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.0727