FROM CANCER PREVENTION RESEARCH
The new year has us all looking forward and the cancer prevention community is no exception.
In a special report entitled “Transforming Cancer Prevention through Precision Medicine and Immune-Oncology,” a team of experts offer a brief look at what we can expect in the near future for cancer prevention research, including a Pre-Cancer Genome Atlas ( PCGA ), and highlight some of the recent advances shaping their optimism.
“Just as precision therapy and immunotherapy are transforming cancer treatment, precision medicine and immunoprevention approaches are being translated to the clinic and showing great promise. We stand at the edge of a new frontier that will include comprehensively characterizing the molecular and cellular events that drive premalignant progression (e.g. PCGA),” Dr. Scott M. Lippman , director of the University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, and his coauthors wrote (Cancer Prev Res. 2016;9:2-10).
The report details some of the clinical firsts in 2015 including genomic studies suggesting that clonal hematopoiesis is a premalignant state for blood cancer, the first precision medicine trial in cancer prevention ( EPOC ) reporting that loss of heterozygosity can predict which patients with premalignant mouth lesions are most likely to develop oral cancer, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommending low-dose aspirin for colorectal cancer prevention based on age and risk.
Randomized trials have also suggested that a single dose of human papillomavirus vaccine can provide durable protection against HPV infection. Tumor biology studies established new chemoprevention for familial adenomatous polyposis syndrome and universal tumor screening guidelines based on DNA mismatch repair mutations and microsatellite instability for colorectal cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome.
Further, remarkable advances have been made in liquid biopsy technology, high-throughput functional screening, and computational biology methods and algorithms that “provide unprecedented opportunities to interrogate the biology of premalignancy…” they noted.
In an American Association for Cancer Research blog post, Dr. Lippman acknowledges that not everyone is the same page when it comes to the underlying principles of cancer prevention.
A “contentious” paper published at the start of 2015 suggested that variations in cancer risk are due to random mutations or what might otherwise be called bad luck. The new year was heralded in by a second paper , however, that came to roughly the opposite conclusion or that most cancers are preventable.
In February, an AACR Cancer Prevention Summit will bring together various stakeholders to discuss the current state of cancer prevention and to identify top priorities and research directions for the field, he noted.
The authors acknowledged grant support from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute.