Categories
cancer Malignant

Malignant cancer diagnosed in a dinosaur for the first time – Phys.org

Malignant cancer diagnosed in a dinosaur for the first time
The main tumour mass is at the top of the bone, and can be seen on the 3D reconstruction in yellow; red gray is the normal bone and red denotes the medullary cavity. Credit: Centrosaurus diagram by Danielle Dufault. Courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum.© Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University

A collaboration led by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and McMaster University has led to the discovery and diagnosis of an aggressive malignant bone cancer—an osteosarcoma—for the first time ever in a dinosaur. No malignant cancers (tumours that can spread throughout the body and have severe health implications) have ever been documented in dinosaurs previously. The paper was published August 3rd in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet Oncology.

The cancerous bone in question is the fibula (lower leg bone) from Centrosaurus apertus, a horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Originally discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta in 1989, the badly malformed end of the fossil was originally thought to represent a healing fracture. Noting the unusual properties of the bone on a trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in 2017, Dr. David Evans, James and Louise Temerty Endowed Chair of Vertebrate Palaeontology from the ROM, and Drs. Mark Crowther, Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, and Snezana Popovic, an osteopathologist, both at McMaster University, decided to investigate it further using modern medical techniques. They assembled a team of multidisciplinary specialists and medical professionals from fields including pathology, radiology, orthopaedic surgery, and palaeopathology. The team re-evaluated the bone and approached the diagnosis similarly to how it would be approached for the diagnosis of an unknown tumour in a human patient.

“Diagnosis of aggressive like this in dinosaurs has been elusive and requires medical expertise and multiple levels of analysis to properly identify,” says Crowther, who is also a Royal Patrons Circle donor and volunteer at the ROM. “Here, we show the unmistakable signature of advanced bone cancer in 76-million-year-old horned dinosaur—the first of its kind. It’s very exciting.”

Malignant cancer diagnosed in a dinosaur for the first time
Comparison between thin sections of the cancerous shin bone (left) and normal shin bone of the horned dinosaur Centrosaurus apertus. The fossils were thin sectioned to compare the bone microstructure and properly diagnose the osteosarcoma. Credit: Royal Ontario Museum.© Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University

After carefully examining, documenting, and casting the bone, the team performed high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scans. They then thin-sectioned the fossil bone and examined it under a microscope to assess it at the bone-cellular level. Powerful three-dimensional CT reconstruction tools were used to visualize the progression of the cancer through the bone. Using this rigorous process, the investigators reached a diagnosis of osteosarcoma.

To confirm this diagnosis, they then compared the fossil to a normal fibula from a dinosaur of the same species, as well as to a human fibula with a confirmed case of osteosarcoma. The fossil specimen is from an adult dinosaur with an advanced stage of cancer that may have invaded other body systems. Yet it was found in a massive bonebed, suggesting it died as part of a large herd of Centrosaurus struck down by a flood.

“The shin bone shows aggressive cancer at an advanced stage. The cancer would have had crippling effects on the individual and made it very vulnerable to the formidable tyrannosaur predators of the time,” says Evans, an expert on these horned dinosaurs. “The fact that this plant-eating dinosaur lived in a large, protective herd may have allowed it to survive longer than it normally would have with such a devastating disease.”






This 3D animation, reconstructed based on high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (HRXCT) scans, shows the main tumor mass (yellow) at the top of the fibula as well as the progression of the tumour into the other end of the bone.The malignant tumour is in yellow; the normal bone is in gray, and red delineates the medullary cavity. Credit: Royal Ontario Museum.© Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University

Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that usually occurs in the second or third decade of life. It is an overgrowth of disorganized bone that spreads rapidly both through the in which it originates and to other organs, including most commonly, the lung. It is the same type of cancer that afflicted Canadian athlete Terry Fox and led to the partial amputation of his right leg prior to Fox’s heroic Marathon of Hope in 1980.

“It is both fascinating and inspiring to see a similar multidisciplinary effort that we use in diagnosing and treating osteosarcoma in our patients leading to the first diagnosis of osteosarcoma in a dinosaur,” says Seper Ekhtiari, an Orthopaedic Surgery Resident at McMaster University. “This discovery reminds us of the common biological links throughout the and reinforces the theory that tends to affect bones when and where they are growing most rapidly.”

This study aims to establish a new standard for the of unclear diseases in dinosaur fossils and opens the door to more precise and more certain diagnoses. Establishing links between human disease and the diseases of the past will help scientists to gain a better understanding of the evolution and genetics of various diseases. Evidence of many other diseases that we share with and other extinct animals may yet be sitting in museum collections in need of re-examination using modern analytical techniques.



Provided by
Royal Ontario Museum

Citation:
Malignant cancer diagnosed in a dinosaur for the first time (2020, August 3)
retrieved 4 August 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-08-malignant-cancer-dinosaur.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More

Categories
cancer nation

Nation’s cancer chief warns delays in cancer care are likely to result in thousands of extra deaths in coming years – The Washington Post

The government’s top cancer doctor warned Thursday that delays in screenings, diagnoses and treatment because of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to result in thousands of “excess” deaths from the disease in coming years.

Norman “Ned” Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, said new estimates by the institute show there will be 10,000 more breast and colorectal cancer deaths over the next decade than would have been expected without the coronavirus. Those deaths represent about a 1 percent increase in the almost 1 million deaths expected from those malignancies in the next 10 years. Breast and colorectal cancer account for about one-sixth of all cancer deaths.

Sharpless said his estimates were based on a “conservative” analysis of the two cancers — perhaps too conservative, he said. The researchers estimated, for example, that there has been a 75 percent decrease in mammograms and colonoscopies in recent months, but now think the number might be 90 percent or more. In either case, he said, the estimates show that even a relatively short disruption of screening and care can lead to more deaths.

The cancer institute head spelled out his views in an editorial published Thursday by Science; he elaborated on them in an interview. He wrote that while there has been a steep drop in cancer diagnoses in the United States since the start of the pandemic, “there is no reason to believe the actual incidence of cancer has dropped.” The result, he said, is that “cancers being missed now will still come to light eventually, but at a later stage (“upstaging”) and with worse prognoses.”

While delaying screenings and care was, to some extent, prudent during the height of the pandemic, “ignoring life-threatening non–COVID-19 conditions such as cancer for too long may turn one public health crisis into many others,” he added in the editorial.

He said doctors can take steps to try to keep the effects from getting worse. They need, for example to make patients feel comfortable about returning to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices for screening and treatment. “If we let them be afraid for six months or a year,” he said, “the numbers get worse and worse.”

His concerns are echoed by many oncologists and cancer centers.

“We are all worried there is a downstream ripple effect where screening studies were omitted completely,” said Margaret E. Van Meter, an oncologist who treats breast cancer at Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah. Routine mammograms — for women without symptoms — were canceled for months at most facilities across the United States, while mammograms for women with symptoms typically continued.

Medical centers also postponed many cancer surgeries they deemed less urgent, such as early-stage breast cancers that could be treated first with medication.

Van Meter said some of her patients who were longtime cancer survivors were happy to switch to telemedicine visits and probably suffered no ill effects. Many newly diagnosed patients with aggressive malignancies have not hesitated to come in for treatment, she said. “When faced with two very serious threats, they are choosing to get cancer treatment,” she said. “They are taking precautions but have not been crippled by coronavirus fear.”

In addition to cancer treatment, Sharpless in the editorial expressed concern that an unprecedented disruption in cancer research may slow the development of needed therapies. “Given the long timeline between basic cancer research and changes to cancer care, the effects of pausing research today may lead to slowdowns in cancer progress for many years to come,” he said.

Read more:

Read More

Categories
cancer having

How having cancer can put Covid-19 patients at higher risk of dying – CNN

(CNN)Researchers are learning more about the risks cancer patients face if they become sick with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has swept through the world.

Patients whose cancer was getting worse or spreading were more than five times more likely to die in the space of a month if they caught Covid-19, researchers said this week during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Even if the patients’ cancer wasn’t spreading, coronavirus infection nearly doubled the risk of dying, the researchers found.
That early data, published in the medical journal The Lancet on Thursday, also showed that patients treated with the controversial coronavirus combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were nearly three times as likely to die within about a month. The researchers found no significant increase in risk for patients given either drug alone.
The researchers from across North America and Europe looked at data on 928 Covid-19 cases from between March and April.

‘Patients with cancer have twice the risk of dying’

About 20% of the patients were treated with the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination and about 10% took hydroxychloroquine alone, Dr. Jeremy Warner, who worked on the research and is an associate professor of medicine and biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told reporters.
“One of the notable things is that only two of these patients got these drugs as part of a clinical trial. The rest of them were given the drugs off label — since these drugs are generally available that’s at the discretion of the treating provider, but it’s still notable,” Warner said. “Patients with all levels of severity of Covid-19 received these drugs, although certainly the patients that were hospitalized were more likely to receive these drugs.”
The US Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health both have warned against using the drugs outside of clinical trials. Currently, there is no approved treatment for Covid-19.
Overall, 121 patients total — or 13% — died during the study period and all deaths occurred within 30 days of being diagnosed with Covid-19, according to the data.
“While it’s not surprising, it’s informative that it looks like patients with cancer have twice the risk of dying than the general public,” Warner told CNN on Thursday.
The new study comes with limitations, including that more research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among a larger group of patients.
“Right now, we’re working to quickly get information about why some patients with cancer become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and identify the factors that affect disease severity and death,” Warner said in a statement. “We’re also interested in the effects of treatments that are being used to treat patients with cancer who have Covid-19.”
Warner told CNN that more research also is needed to examine whether Covid-19 impacts patients with certain types of cancer differently, and how.
“I think the public perceives cancer as perhaps a catch-all, but there are at least 120 different types of cancer, some of which have essentially normal life expectancy with treatment,” Warner said.
A separate study found that patients with lung cancer and other types of cancers in the chest had a 64% increased risk of dying from the coronavirus if they had been treated with chemotherapy recently — within three months of a Covid-19 diagnosis.
Patients given corticosteroids to reduce inflammation were 1.5 times more likely to die. Other types of cancer treatment, such as immunotherapies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, were not associated with a greater risk of death among the patients.
The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, included data on 400 thoracic cancer patients from around the world who had been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Patients with thoracic cancers — lung cancers and others in the chest — already are considered at high risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19 since they tend to be older and already have lung damage, among other risk factors. The data showed that 141 of the patients died. The majority, or 79%, died due to Covid-19 and 10% died due to their cancer.

Cancer patients should not abandon their care, experts say

The research should not deter patients from seeking care for their cancer due to fear of being exposed to the novel coronavirus in hospitals, said Dr. Toni Choueiri, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who worked on the Lancet study.
Patients also should talk to their doctors about what may be best for them, Choueiri said.
“The biggest message here is that if you need treatment for your cancer that could be curative — surgery, radiation, some sort of chemotherapy — you really still should have it,” Choueiri told CNN on Thursday.
“I really worry about the next two to three months when we’re open, when we’re more safe, and a patient is saying, ‘Well my stage three kidney cancer that needs surgery or my acute leukemia that needs chemotherapy, I’m going to delay until next year,'” Choueiri said. “That’s what we don’t want to happen.”
So far more than 100,000 people in the United States have died from Covid-19 during the coronavirus pandemic. The American Cancer Society predicts more than 600,000 people will die this year of cancer, said Dr. William Cance, the society’s chief medical and scientific officer, who was not involved in the new research.
“Cancer is still moving at its pace. So we have to get people back in the research labs. We have to get our clinical trials back up and running, but in the context of this paper, we have to do it safely — and when those patients undergoing therapy get Covid, it appears with these data that they have a much higher risk,” Cance told CNN.
“But one of my greatest worries is the undiagnosed patient, the patients who need to be screened and they’re not getting their screenings. In a lot of areas, colonoscopies have just stopped,” he said.
“One bright spot is we are turning more to telehealth and lots of things can be done very well, if not better, through telehealth. This will force a change in how we take care of cancer patients.”

Read More