Welcome!

News Feed Item

Clinical trial: robotic surgery may reduce side effects of throat cancer treatment

Throat cancers on the rise due to epidemic of HPV infection

TORONTO, April 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Researchers in London, Ontario, are conducting a first-ever clinical trial to determine which treatment option gives patients with throat cancers the best quality of life. These cancers are dramatically on the rise due to the epidemic of HPV (human papilloma virus) infection.

Surgeon Dr Anthony Nichols and radiation oncologist Dr David Palma at the Lawson Research Centre have received a $223,000 Quality of Life Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society to conduct the study. Dr Nichols is an assistant professor in head and neck surgery at Western University. Dr Palma is a clinician-scientist with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

The current standard treatment for throat cancers is radiation and chemotherapy, which results in good control of the disease but can leave patients with a variety of life-changing side effects, such as problems with speaking, swallowing, tasting and hearing and even feeding tube dependence.

A minimally invasive robotic surgery has emerged as a promising alternative treatment that appears to have fewer side effects.

"Patients with HPV-related throat cancers tend to be younger and healthier and have a good chance of being cured. As they will have to live with the side effects of treatment for decades, post-treatment quality of life is of paramount importance," says Dr Nichols.

"Before we can adopt a new treatment, we have to prove that the rates of cure are as good as they are with the standard treatment, which is chemotherapy with radiation," says Dr. Palma. "Sometimes new technologies are introduced with a lot of hype but don't prove to be helpful in the end. Transoral robotic surgery has shown tremendous promise as a treatment option, and we are the only ones in the world doing this type of study right now."

For the 3-year study, patients with early stage cancer of the oropharynx (which includes the tongue, soft palate, side and back walls of the throat, and tonsils) are invited to participate in a randomized phase II clinical trial. Patients will be assigned to receive either the current standard treatment (radiation, plus or minus chemotherapy) or the robotic surgery. One year after treatment, patient quality of life will be assessed for side effects.

This will be the first clinical trial to directly compare the 2 treatment methods and has the potential to have an international impact on the treatment of patients with throat cancers. In the United States, the robotic surgery is already being used for these types of cancers despite the lack of high-level evidence to support it.

To do the surgery, doctors use tiny robotically controlled surgical implements to remove tumours of the tongue, tonsils, palate or throat. The robot has a viewfinder and 3-D camera that can see around corners, and the tiny robotic arms can get into tight spaces where the surgeon's hands cannot fit. While the surgeon watches what's happening on a screen, the robotic arms precisely mimic the movements of the surgeon's hands and can even filter out the surgeon's hand tremor.

"The Canadian Cancer Society knows how important a patient's quality of life is during and after cancer treatment," says Dr Siân Bevan, Director of Research at the Canadian Cancer Society. "This exciting new surgical method shows great promise to vastly improve quality of life, and we are happy to be able to fund this important study, with the generous support of our donors."

About HPV and cancer

According to Dr. Nichols, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. "The incidence of throat cancers has increased dramatically in recent years due in large part to widespread infection with HPV. The increase is thought to be because of changes in sexual practices that began in the 1960s."

These cancers typically take more than 20 years to develop. Some strains of the HPV virus cause cervical cancer as well as ano-genital cancers. More recently, HPV infections have been found to cause cancers of the oropharynx.

It is estimated that 75% of sexually-active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime. The body's immune system usually gets rid of an HPV infection on its own. Most HPV infections (about 70%) go away without any treatment within 1-2 years. Persistent infection with high-risk HPV types over many years can cause precancerous changes and cancer.

HPV infection is associated with about:

  • 25%-35% of oropharyngeal cancers
  • 40% of vaginal and vulvar cancers
  • 40%-50% of penile cancers
  • 80%-90% of anal cancers

Dr. Nichols says that throat cancer patients whose disease was caused by an HPV infection tend to be diagnosed in their 40s and 50s, as opposed to patients whose throat cancer was caused by smoking and alcohol (these patients tend to be diagnosed at 60 or older).

A vaccine is available in Canada to prevent HPV infection. It protects against the types of HPV that cause 70% of HPV-related cancers. For more information, visit cancer.ca.

Other Quality of Life Grants

Dr Kim Edelstein, Toronto, $299,754 - Since cancer in young adults occurs during crucial formative years, it can have a particularly devastating effect, leaving survivors with a variety of long-term side-effects as a result of the disease and treatment. In her study, Dr Edelstein is exploring the impact of chemotherapy on thinking abilities during the first year after being diagnosed with cancer and whether these changes impact psychosocial development, with the findings to be used to develop strategies to help prevent or decrease these problems.

Dr Stephen Hall, Kingston, $153,029 - Using a series of questionnaires delivered over a 3-year period, Dr Hall will lead the first study of its kind to examine how patients who have had head and neck cancer perceive follow-up appointments to understand their attitudes, needs, fears and expected benefits about the appointments. His goal is to improve the quality of life for survivors by making the follow-up care more effective for individual patients while improving the efficiency of the health care system.

Dr Robert Klaassen, Ottawa, $177,794 - Using a survey developed with the input of patients, caregivers, health care providers and quality of life experts, Dr Klaassen aims to assess the impact of treatments on the quality of life of patients with incurable blood disorders that put them at a high risk of developing cancer. Because of the incurable nature of the conditions - named myelodysplastic syndromes - determining the impact of treatment on quality of life is crucial and this survey may become a critical resource and powerful tool to achieve this.

Dr Andrew Matthew, Toronto, $137,233 - Sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer surgery is one of the most substantial concerns for patients and their partners and has a significant impact on quality of life. To address this important health issue, Dr Matthew is developing a biomedical-psychosocial intervention which incorporates the active participation of the partner and features medical, psychological and social methods, with the eventual goal of introducing a new and effective way to support intimacy and optimal sexual health.

Dr Roanne Thomas, Ottawa, $244,128 - Using a variety of methods, including group discussion, photography, journaling and film, Dr Thomas will document the breast cancer experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Metis women.  Since little is known about the factors which affect the breast cancer experiences of these groups of women, Dr Thomas' study will address gaps in knowledge and care to uncover valuable information for the development of future support programs and education materials for health professionals.

About the Quality of Life Grants

This program has been created to support quality of life cancer research that has the potential to make a significant impact on the burden of disease in patients, survivors and caregivers

About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive.

Visit cancer.ca or call us at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)

Image with caption: "With a Quality of Life grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, Dr. Anthony Nichols (right) and Dr. David Palma will lead a first-ever clinical trial to determine if robotic surgery to treat throat cancer reduces side effects. (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (National Office))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130417_C5793_PHOTO_EN_25578.jpg

Image with caption: "Dr. Anthony Nichols performs robotic surgery on a throat cancer patient. With a Quality of Life grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, he will study if this non-invasive approach reduces side effects. (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (National Office))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130417_C5793_PHOTO_EN_25576.jpg

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Enterprise networks are complex. Moreover, they were designed and deployed to meet a specific set of business requirements at a specific point in time. But, the adoption of cloud services, new business applications and intensifying security policies, among other factors, require IT organizations to continuously deploy configuration changes. Therefore, enterprises are looking for better ways to automate the management of their networks while still leveraging existing capabilities, optimizing perf...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, will discuss how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He will discuss how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
As machines are increasingly connected to the internet, it’s becoming easier to discover the numerous ways Industrial IoT (IIoT) is helping to shape the business world. This is exactly why we have decided to take a closer look at this pervasive movement and to examine the desire to connect more things! Now if you need a refresher on IIoT and how it is changing the world, take a moment and listen to Greg Gorbach with ARC Advisory Group. Gorbach believes, "IIoT will significantly change the worl...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...