Solution Proposed To A 2000-year-old Problem In Oncology: Recent Developments | 99524
Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System
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A bimodal pattern of hazard of relapse among early-stage breast cancer patients has been identified in multiple databases
from US, Europe and Asia. We are studying these data to determine if this can lead to new ideas on how to prevent relapse
in breast cancer. Using computer simulation and access to a very high-quality database from Milan for patients treated with
mastectomy only, we proposed that relapses within 3 years of surgery are stimulated somehow by the surgical procedure. Most
relapses in breast cancer are in this early category. Retrospective data from a Brussels anesthesiology group suggests a plausible
mechanism. Use of ketorolac, a common NSAID analgesic used before surgery was associated with far superior disease-free
survival. The expected prominent early relapse events in months 9-18 are reduced 5-fold. Transient systemic inflammation
accompanying surgery (identified by IL-6 in serum) could facilitate angiogenesis of dormant micrometastases, proliferation
of dormant single cells, and seeding of circulating cancer stem cells (perhaps in part released from bone marrow) resulting in
early relapse and could have been effectively blocked by the perioperative anti-inflammatory agent. If this observation holds
up to further scrutiny, it could mean that the simple use of this safe, inexpensive and effective anti-inflammatory agent at and
perhaps after surgery might eliminate early relapses. We suggest this would be most effective for triple negative breast cancer
and be especially valuable in low and middle-income countries. Similar bimodal patterns have been identified in other cancers
suggesting a general effect. Based on their writings, Galen and Celsus knew of this 2000 years ago.
Michael W Retsky (PhD in Physics from University of Chicago) made a career change to cancer research thirty years ago. He is Research Associate at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Honorary Reader at University College London. He was on Judah Folkman’s staff at Harvard Medical School for 12 years. Retsky is Editor of a Springer-Nature book on the breast cancer project published July 2017. After diagnosis of stage IIIc colon cancer in 1994, he was the first person to use what is now called metronomic chemotherapy. He is a founder and for 10 years was on the Board of Directors of the Colon Cancer Alliance. He has published more than 70 papers in physics and cancer.