Clinical Oncology

[Tumor induction by chemotherapy]

APRIL 30, 2020

Clinical Oncology - 2020;7(02)

[Without chemotherapy, the fi ve-year survival rate of detected cancers would be between 0 and 15%, depending on the tumor, and between 17 and 85% with current therapy. Several warnings call attention to the dangers of chemotherapy-induced side effects, most notably the potential for tumor-inducing ability, which can affect 5-10% of patients who have recovered beyond fi ve years. Some systematically applied drugs used in chemotherapy (alkylating agents, etoposide, arsenic trioxide) are able to cause mutations in healthy cells of the patients, increasing the likelihood that the mutated cells will start a later (secondary) tumor formation. In addition to mutagenic effects, some chemotherapeutic agents exert their effects on normal myeloid and epithelial cells of the body, which, by altering the tissue microenvironment, create the potential for malignant transformation. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), which can alter gene expression patterns by tumor cell secreted factors and promote the survival and invasiveness of tumor cells by pro-carcinogenic signals, are very important in this process. It is of utmost importance that doctors, pharmacists, technicians and nurses working with cancer-causing materials do not come into direct contact with dangerous substances and wear appropriate protective equipment.]

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[Rapid advance in oncology leads to increasing survival of oncologic patients. More and more of them live long enough to reach either the natural age of menopause or, as a side effect of their oncotherapy, experience the cessation of gonadal function, leading to premature ovarian insuffi ciency, with disturbing vasomotor symtoms and long-term negative cardiovascular and skeletal effects. Thus, an ever increasing number of cancer survivors search endocrinologic help in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The misinterpretation of the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative) Study has lead to an irrational fear of female hormone replacement, both by the general population and medical professionals. It has seemed the logical and safe conclusion to many physicians to avoid HRT, supposing that this attitude defi nitely causes no harm, whereas the decision of prescribing estrogen alone or with progestins might bear oncologic and thromboembolic risks and may even lead to litigation in case of a potentially related complication. However, it was known even before the WHI results that premature menopause and hypogonadism decreases the life expectancy of women by years through its skeletal and cardiovascular effects, and this negative effect correlates with the length of the hypoestrogenaemic period. Yet, the oncologic risk of HRT is extremely diffi cult to assess. In this work we review the latest evidence from in vitro experiments to clinical studies. We group tumours regarding the oncologic risk of properly chosen female hormone replacement therapy in cancer survivors as follows: ’HRT is advanageous’ (e.g. endometrial cancer type I, cervical adenocarcinoma, haematologic malignancies, local cutaneous malignant melanoma, colorectal cancer, hepatocellular cancer); ’HRT is neutral’ (e.g. BRCA 1/2 mutation carriers without cancer, endometrial cancer type II, uterinal carcinosarcoma and adenosarcoma, certain types of ovarian cancer, cervical, vaginal and vulvar squamous cell carcinoma, prolactinoma, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer); ’HRT is relatively contraindicated’ for various reasons (e.g. leiomyosarcoma, certain types of ovarian tumours, brain tumours, advanced metastatic malignant melanoma, lung cancer, gastric cancer, bladder cancer); ’HRT is diasadvantageous and thus contraindicated’ (e.g. breast cancer, endometrial stroma sarcoma, meningioma, glioma, hormone receptor positive gastric and bladder cancer).]

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