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Cancer patients with brain metastases who develop blood clots may safely receive blood thinners without increased risk of dangerous bleeding, according to a study published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). 

Cancer increases a patient’s risk of developing blood clots. When a patient with cancer develops a clot, treatment with a blood thinning medication called an anticoagulant is often added to their treatment regimen in order to prevent the potentially fatal complication of blood clots traveling to the lungs. However, if cancer spreads to the brain, anticoagulant treatment may be withheld because it could cause dangerous bleeding in the patient’s head, which is already a risk for these patients. The task of preventing dangerous blood clots and avoiding life-threatening bleeding presents a particular challenge for specialists in patients with tumor metastases in the brain. Until recently, no data had confirmed whether blood thinners could be safely administered in these patients. 

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New test may prevent invasive procedures and save lives

“The ability to test for molecular changes allows us to catch or rule out the disease earlier, without invasive procedures,” says BU School of Medicine professor Avrum Spira, who co-developed a genetic early-warning test for lung cancer. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Lung cancer is responsible for the most cancer deaths in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, it will kill an estimated 158,000 people in 2015, more than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. Because lung cancer grows and spreads so quickly, many healthy (and former) smokers undergo diagnostic screening CT scans of the chest, which can detect small lesions in the lungs that may be an early sign of the disease. But abnormal results often lead to painful and invasive biopsies. Now, Avrum Spira has found a better path to diagnosis.

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Use of Mi-Prostate Score would reduce unneeded biopsies

A new urine-based test improved prostate cancer detection – including detecting more aggressive forms of prostate cancer – compared to traditional models based on prostate serum antigen, or PSA, levels, a new study finds.

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Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy should refrain from talking fish oil supplements or eating fatty fish while they are being treated with chemotherapy. A few years ago, the research group of Emile Voest from the Netherlands Cancer Institute discovered that fatty acids which are also present in fish oil can make tumors resistant to chemotherapy. The same research group now shows that these fatty acids are indeed released in the blood when people take fish oil supplements or eat certain types of fatty fish. These new results were published in the journal JAMA Oncology on April 2nd.

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When the going gets tough, grape seed extract gets going: AUniversity of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cancer Letters shows that the more advanced are colorectal cancer cells, the more GSE inhibits their growth and survival. On the other end of the disease spectrum, GSE leaves healthy cells alone entirely.

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