..."But Ms. Caton had a new option, something that became possible only in this new genetic age. She could have a genetic test of her tumor that could reveal her prognosis with uncanny precision. The test identifies one of two gene patterns in eye melanomas. Almost everyone in Class 1 ??? roughly half of patients ??? is cured when the tumor is removed.As for those in Class 2, 70 to 80 percent will die within five years. Their cancers will re-emerge as growths in the liver. For them, there is no cure and no way to slow the disease.
No test has ever been so accurate in predicting cancer outcomes, researchers said.
The data from studies of the test are ???unbelievably impressive,??? said Dr. Michael Birrer, an ovarian cancer specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital. ???I would die to have something like that in ovarian cancer.???
While for now the ocular melanoma test is in a class by itself, cancer researchers say it is a taste of what may be coming as they continue to investigate the genes of cancer cells. Similar tests, not always as definitive but nonetheless able to give prognostic information, are under development or starting to be used for other cancers, like cancers of the blood.
About 2,000 people a year, or about 5 percent of melanoma patients, have ocular melanoma, a tumor of the dark brown melanocytes that form a sheet much like a photographer???s backdrop behind the retina. Those with very large tumors are most likely to have a bad prognosis, but patients with small tumors also can have the deadly type. Often there are no symptoms; the tumor may be discovered by an ophthalmologist during a routine exam. Other patients, though, lose vision or see flashing lights or a sea of floaters in an eye, all signs of damage to the retina as the tumor encroaches.
Most get radiation, a highly radioactive disc placed on the surface of the eye that destroys the tumor in a few days and then is taken out. But those with huge tumors, like Ms. Caton, must have their eye removed.
Ocular melanoma specialists had long noticed that some patients did well and the rest did not, but Dr. Harbour wanted to know why.
Then he saw an opportunity. Ever since he came to Washington University in 1996, Dr. Harbour had been storing bits of tumors from ocular melanoma patients and keeping track of what happened to the patients. Working with his colleagues at the genome center, Dr. Harbour looked for genetic differences in tumors that spread and those that did not.
The genes themselves were no different. But a group of several hundred genes that looked the same in cells from patients in Class 1 and Class 2 were acting differently in the patients who did poorly. The genes were churning out many more proteins in the cells of patients in Class 2. Dr. Harbour found that he could look at the activity of 12 of those genes and predict how well a patient would do.
After a rigorous study to confirm that the test worked, the university licensed it to a small company, Castle Biosciences. They bill more than $6,000, with the price depending on the quality of the sample. But the company has programs to make sure that the poor or uninsured can receive the test, said Derek Maetzold, the company???s president and chief executive.
Some cancer specialists, though, ask what is to be gained by using the test.
When it comes to dividing patients into two prognostic groups, ???the data are really astonishing,??? said Dr. Keith Flaherty, a melanoma researcher at Massachusetts General. Yet, he added, ???There is no treatment yet that will alter the natural history of the disease.???
???Why would you want that information when we don???t have anything we can do for you???? Dr. Flaherty asked. ???That is the fundamental question that has caused people to pause.???
For the majority treated with radiation, having the test requires a biopsy of the tumor before treatment. After going through that, those in Class 2 have no real options other than to wait for the inevitable. ..."
asked byLady_Arwen (6244)
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on July 10, 2012
at 09:38 PM
Yes. Giving your body everything it needs to combat infections/cancer/etc while at the same time removing various potential sources of inflammation can logically only result in the same or better outcome.
If you read the numbers they're saying that 50% of class 1 dies (or at least isn't healed) and 70-80% of class 2. Seems like either way you're screwed, and either way there's a significant percentage that survives so anything you can do to help your body may tip you into the survivor fraction.
on July 10, 2012
at 10:00 PM
i just read that article about starving cancer cells. Also you should google Dr. Burzynski, he has cured "incurable" cases of cancer over and over again(the FDA doesnt like that too much!)
on August 10, 2012
at 05:01 AM
I am in this exact position and had a medium-sized ocular tumor tested as type II 2.5 years ago when the Castle Biosciences test first came out. A couple of months ago the MRI of my liver showed a spot, and it's since grown - treatment will be happening soon. The NYT article came out a few weeks later and I literally had to go lie down for a couple of hours after reading it.
It's clear to me that despite the terrible prognoses of type II, it doesn't kill everyone. I'd like to do everything I can to tip the balance in my favor. I've had a very clean diet for years, but have gone paleo for the past month. I'm working now to edge my diet toward completely ketogenic. I'm taking a lot of vitamin D3 and aspirin every day, plus getting sunshine every day (even my dermatologist agrees that I need this with my previously rock-bottom vit D levels). I'm eating cruciferous veggies, greens, alliums, maitake mushrooms, turmeric and drinking green tea more or less medicinally. I'm working my way up to more fasting (something I never could have done before going paleo.) My kids are 4 and 7 and as far as I'm concerned, death is not an option. I'll take any and all suggestions, plus I love to hear survival stories.
on July 11, 2012
at 01:48 PM
Definitely could help.
Including getting your D3 level up to around 80 ng/ml via sun/supplementation.
on July 11, 2012
at 07:52 AM
That is still a 20%-30% chance. I would do multiple things at the same time. Both Doctor and Diet.
Things to research:
Ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diet w/ coconut oil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natto (fermented soy). Some grassfed liver Vitamin D3 Change meat to exclusively Grassfed Lamb/Beef and Wild Salmon. No chicken or pork. Healing your gut. http://www.siboinfo.com/ Dr Allison Siebecker will do skype calls with you. If you visit her once in person then I think the skype calls can be full up patient doctor..
Things to get rid of:
All Vegetable oils. (This seems like a no brainer but of course research.) All Dairy. (research) White Sugar Soy Protein Powder.
You might study the work of:
He is WAPF friendly but not Paleo. He has a video series in cancer that is interesting. Being his patient involves one flight a year to NY. My friend visits him.
on July 10, 2012
at 11:42 PM
The mitochondria in cancer cells doesn't function properly and can't burn fats or ketones for fuel, only glucose. Ketogenic diets have been studied and found to be very effective against cancer.
There are also many other things that will help listed here: https://sites.google.com/site/retrofoodrevolution/articles/conditions/cancer