Study raises questions about effectiveness of biomarkers used in cancer treatments

June 24, 2014

Dr. Mark Clemons has published a study in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment that is the first to demonstrate how changing an anti-cancer therapy can result in significant changes to bone turnover biomarkers. This is important because these biomarkers are commonly used in clinical trials to measure the effectiveness of bone-targeted medicines and treatments. Dr. Clemons stumbled upon this discovery while exploring whether the anti-cancer drug Vandetanib would work well in combination with Fulvestrant when given to postmenopausal breast cancer patients whose cancer has spread to the bone. While the pan-Canadian study found that Vandetinib did not improve the effectiveness of Fulvestrant, it did show that changing an anti-cancer therapy can result in significant changes in bone turnover biomarkers. Previously, it was thought that these biomarkers only changed in response to bone-targeted agents like bisphosphonates. Dr. Clemons` finding calls into question the widespread use of these biomarkers in breast cancer trials. Read the study.

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The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

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