Shock and Awe On Breast Cancer

Radiologists provide new hope with tumor removal

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) To add strength to the war on breast cancer, invasive radiologists have developed an innovative technique that both stuns a breast tumor’s growth by blocking an enzyme needed to encourage cancer cells’ growth and injecting a powerful cancer drug directly into the tumor.

Think of it as a Shock (laser used to block the enzyme) and Awe (injecting drugs directly into the tumor) approach to delay the growth and spread of breast cancer.

Jeff H. Geschwind, M.D., FSIR, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine explains that once breast cancer has metastasized, surgical resection or tumor removal may be ineffective.

His research team found a way to keep a breast cancer tumor dormant, which makes surgical resection or tumor removal a more viable option.

dailyRx Insight: Promising new treatment provides more hope for breast cancer patients.

Awareness and screening has increased early stage diagnosis of cancer tumors. There is room for new therapies in the early diagnosis stage of breast cancer. Presently, even with the early diagnosis, there are a significant number of patients whose therapies fail.

Metastatic spread may occur in 50 percent of the apparently localized breast cancer patients and nearly 30 percent of patients who are lymph node-negative develop distant metastases within five years.

These dismal statistics underscore the need for development of new treatment options. 

The surgical options are having limited success, so Dr. Geschwind believes identifying the breast cancer tumor while still dormant can potentially increase the likelihood that a tumor can be treated successfully.

Geschwind’s study shows that an ulstrasound-guided intra-tumoral treatment with the drug 3-bromopyruvate is quite a hopeful therapy with the strategy being to delay the growth and spread of the dormant tumor.

Cancer is diagnosed in over 12 million people each year, kills over 7 million and one out of every three people will be diagnosed with an invasive cancer at some point in their lifetime in the United States. Cancer is a group of diseases classified by abnormal and uncontrolled cellular growth in a particular organ or tissue type in the body. Cancer is caused by a multitude of factors including genetics and infections, but a majority of cancers can be attributed to environmental causes, such as smoking, and being exposed to carcinogens or radiation. Cancer will produce symptoms that affect the organ it is located in, such as coughing and shortness of breath from a lung cancer, constipation and bloody stools from colon cancer, or headaches and cognitive problems from a brain cancer. Other cancers such as leukemia and blood cancers may produce flu-like symptoms and sudden infections. Some cancers may be discovered by physical evidence, such as feeling a lump in breast cancer. Treatment for cancer is usually one of, or a combination of, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Newer treatments such as hormonal drugs and targeted drugs (Herceptin in breast cancer, Erbitux in colon cancer, Avastin in several) are making cancer treatment even more specific to the patient and the disease. Diagnosis is based off of physical examination and several imaging techniques such as MRI, PET scan laparoscopy and when a pathologist examines a piece of cancerous tissue.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 30, 2011
Last Updated:
April 1, 2011