The week in brief

July 31st – August 4th

Breast cancer chemo capecitabine (Xeloda) can potentially be dosed differently to lower its toxicity profile, suggests a review of trials. By shifting the dose to a 2,000 mg twice-daily “7 days on, 7 days off” regimen, the rates of severe gastrointestinal side effects such as severe diarrhea may be reduced considerably vs the standard dose. A Phase III trial is ongoing to confirm these findings.


Long work weeks lasting for more than 55 hours may be linked to a heart disease called A-Fib. A-Fib, according to the American Heart Association, is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. A study found that working 55+ hours a week increased the risk of A-Fib by 1.4-fold versus a regular 35- to 40-hour week.


Prostate cancer risk is likely not linked to vasectomy, reports a study. Good news for men who don’t have prostate cancer. How about men who need biopsies to confirm/eliminate a prostate cancer diagnosis? The American Urological Association reported that infections top the list of complications of biopsies, and that drug resistant E. coli was seen as “prominent”. And for those who are living with prostate cancer? A study found that for elderly men with low-risk disease, stepping up their level of physical activity was tied to better survival.


Asthma during pregnancy may be linked to a risk of early-onset asthma for the child if it’s uncontrolled and/or severe. An observational study found that more often than not, kids with asthma had mothers whose asthma were moderate-or-severe and/or uncontrolled, during pregnancy. The study doesn’t show that better asthma control during pregnancy led to a lower risk for their child, but their findings can help prospective parents with asthma plan for their child accordingly.


For kids with acute promyelocytic leukemia (aka APL), taking arsenic trioxide instead of anthracycline chemo for consolidation therapy may lower the overall toxicity profile by limiting their exposure to chemo. A study found that subbing chemo with arsenic lowered the overall chemo exposure by as much as 50%, which is expected to lower the risk of chemo-associated toxicities such as heart damage and infections.

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