Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 - Page 33

Treatment could prevent anal cancer in people with HIV

Treatment could prevent anal cancer in people with HIV

New research could change standard of care for at-risk populations

Removing anal precancerous tumours in people living with HIV reduced the risk of developing anal cancer by half , according to a large US study . Almost all anal cancers are caused by human papillomavirus infections that create so-called high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions ( HSIL ), which in some cases can turn malignant .

��e ’ ve now shown for the first time that treating anal HS�L is effective at reducing the incidence of anal cancer in a very high-risk group of people — people living with HIV ,” lead author Dr Joel Palefsky of the University of California said in a press release .
The study involved 4,459 individuals living with HIV , aged 35 or older , who either received treatment for HSIL or active monitoring , which currently is the standard approach in the clinic . The group who had their HSIL destroyed with a heat-based treatment saw a 57 percent reduction in the number of people who developed cancer in the following two years compared to those who didn ’ t receive the therapy .
“ The data support treating anal HSIL as the standard of care for people living with HIV who are 35 years of age or older ,” said Dr Palefsky , adding that the treatment could also be considered for other groups without HIV but at increased risk for anal cancer , including people who are immunocompromised or HIV-negative men who have sex with men .
Though anal cancer is rare in the general population , the malignancy is the fourth most common cancer among people living with HIV , who can see an increased incidence of up to 50 fold .
Light-activated immunotherapy might advance brain cancer treatment
The approach promises to improve surgery and reduce risks of relapse


double therapy that makes tiny cancer cells more visible during surgery while boosting the immune system to attack them could help doctors effectively remove glioblastoma , a common and aggressive form of brain cancer .
Developed at The Institute of Cancer Research ( ICR ) in London , the new approach was tested during surgery on mice and involves a fluorescent dye along with an anti-tumour compound that can be activated by shining light on it . This makes cancer tissues glow , allowing surgeons to better pinpoint and remove them while also triggering the compound to kill cancerous cells .
Glioblastoma develops in sensitive areas of the brain that are hard to operate on due to the risk of damaging them . As a result , residual bits of cancer cells can be left behind after surgery , leading to possible relapse in the future . The new therapeutic approach promises to reduce such risk by improving surgery and stimulating the immune system to target cancer cells .
“ Brain cancers like glioblastoma can be hard to treat and sadly , there are too few treatment options for patients . Surgery is challenging due to the location of the tumours , and so new ways to see tumour cells to be removed during surgery , and to treat residual cancer cells that remain afterwards , could be of great benefit , � Dr Gabriela Kramer-Marek , study leader at the ICR , said in a press release .
GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com JULY 2022