238 Cancer Research Topics for Undergraduates and High School Students

Are you looking for the best oncology research topics? You’re at the right place! StudyCorgi has prepared a list of cancer research topics for undergraduates and high school students! Read on to find a good title for your projects or term papers on prostate, breast, and other cancer types.

🏆 Best Research Topics on Cancer

👍 good cancer research topics & essay examples, 📝 current cancer titles for essays, 🎓 interesting cancer topics to write about, 💡 simple cancer research paper topics, 📌 easy cancer essay topics, ❓ questions about cancer research, 🗣️ cancer topics for presentation, 🏥 cancer project ideas.

  • A Research of Breast Cancer Survival We know the cancer of breast tissue as Breast cancer. It has reported too that breast cancer affects woman ageing of any age at least in the western world.
  • Massage Therapy vs. Simple Touch to Improve Pain and Mood in Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Randomized Trial The primary objective of this qualitative research is to understand the people’s perception of a particular issue. Qualitative researches focus on a holistic description.
  • Tanning Booths and Skin Cancer Relationship – Medicine The paper establishes the relationship between tanning booths and skin cancer and examines the dangers of tanning booths among high school students.
  • Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer This research discusses, Experience of adjuvant treatment among postmenopausal women with breast cancer: health-related quality of life, symptom experience, stressful events and coping strategies.
  • From Breast Cancer to Zika Virus – Nursing Issues The paper studies relations between diabetes type II and oral hygiene, treatment of cardiovascular diseases, vision loss, breast cancer, and preventing Zika virus.
  • Approaches to Cancer Care Cancer is one of the most significant health problems of the modern society. Various types of cancer threaten or take the lives of thousands of people.
  • Inner Strength in Women Survivors of Cancer This is a summary of the article “The role of inner strength in quality of life and self-management in women survivors of cancer” by C. Dingley and G. Roux.
  • Cancer Management: Effective Diagnosis, Treatment, Lessening the Effects of Complications Cancer refers to any dangerous and abnormal mass of tissue caused by hysterical dissection of cells in the body. Effective management of cancer entails timely and effective diagnosis.

  • Cancer Diagnosis, Complications and Treatment Cancer may be suspected depending on the individual’s symptoms. The symptoms may present themselves during physical examinations or screening tests.
  • Possible Trends in the Cause of Cancer Among the most problematic issues regarding cancer and its treatment, the fact that the disease may affect any part of the patient’s body needs to be outlined.
  • Cancer Treatment Research: Informed Consent The paper contains an informed consent letter inviting to become a part of the research project dedicated to cancer treatment methods in Hispanic patients.
  • Prostate Cancer: African American Cancer Initiative The initiative will to create awareness about the risks of prostate cancer and the importance of regular screening. It has been designed reduce the health disparities between the races.
  • Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy in Cancer Patients The paper reviews Lesiuk’s study “The effect of mindfulness-based music therapy on attention and mood in women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer”.
  • Breast Cancer: Disease Screening and Diagnosis The paper studies the medical case of a female patient with the risk of breast cancer increased by the fact that cancers were recently diagnosed in her family.
  • Cancer Diagnostics, Staging and Complications It is important to determine the most optimal approach to cancer treatment since this disease has many complications and is one of the most problematic.
  • Physical and Mental Care for Cancer Patients The approach to the care of cancer should include physical and psychological treatment, appropriate diagnosis procedures, education for patients and their families.
  • Who Work with Cancer Patients? The presented study tested the practice of asking nurses who work with cancer patients to regularly gather for open discussions of their stress-related issues and coping strategies.
  • Lung Cancer, Its Etiology Pathophysiology The genetic/epigenetic alterations alter signal transduction pathways in cells. This paper examines the etiologic factors and mechanisms of pathophysiology of lung cancer.
  • Birth Control Pills and Cervical Cancer Development The study question to be addressed is ‘how does the use of birth control pills enhance the risks of developing cervical cancer?’
  • Endometrial Cancer Symptoms in Women After 35 The main objective of the study will be to establish some of the common symptoms portrayed by women under the age of 35 years when they are diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
  • Cervical Cancer Screening Methodology This paper reviews cervical cancer screening methodology and provides a rationale for applying each recommendation to a specific group of the population.
  • Cancer: Steps of the Implementation Plan The main goal of this paper is to outline three steps of an implementation plan for the medical intervention that will help to increase the quality of life of cancer patients at later stages.
  • Gastric Cancer Treatment: Data Collection The paper describes variables and data collection for research on the prevalence of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in Hispanic patients with gastric cancer.
  • Music Therapy Effects for Breast Cancer Patients The research question for this study is whether mindfulness-based music therapy influences attention and mood in women who receive adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.
  • Cancer Care Approaches: Diagnosis, Side Effects, and Treatment Cancer care is a complex process that requires extensive understanding of the various dynamics of cancer diagnosis, staging, treatment, prevention, and management.
  • Community Cancer Screening and Detection Project Poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles have led to an increase in the rate of people suffering from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and a range of weight problems.
  • Value Care of Cancer Cancer is a chronic disease that emanates from genetic mutations, which causes cells to lose their cellular regulation mechanisms and grow uncontrollably.
  • Breast Cancer Studies: Evaluation and Analysis of Scientific Papers This paper assesses the level of effectiveness and reliability of studies, as well as offer a separate intervention that can help at least partially solve the problem of breast cancer.
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention Among British Women This paper discusses the policies developed in the UK to prevent cervical cancer among adult women and the measure taken to improve the health and well-being of women.
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Cancer Patients Cancer is one of the prevalent diseases in the world. The disease itself as well as cancer treatment becomes a frequent cause of psychological distress for patients.
  • Approach to the Care of Cancer This paper discusses cancer, including the approach to cancer care, cancer complications and side effects, and the ways of addressing the side effects.
  • Cancer Burden and Prevention Strategies The essay examines cancer statistics, prevention strategies, and management interventions aimed at mitigating outcomes and improving the quality of life.
  • Cancer Effects Management Methods Several methods that can be employed to manage the physical and psychological effects of cancer on the patient are described.
  • Cervical Cancer in the UK Cervical cancer is one of the most common diseases affecting women, and has a significant amount of lethal outcomes.
  • Skin Cancer: Examination and Prevention The paper presents recommendations for a skin examination, lists populations with increased risk of skin cancer and gives recommendations regarding sun exposure.
  • Mammography Screening and Breast Cancer Mortality The study has been designed to measure the effectiveness of breast cancer decision aids (DAs) in improving mammography screening intentions in African-American women 65 years and older.
  • Mammary Cancer: Health Screening Initiative Breast cancer is one of the dangerous conditions, which might lead to lethal consequences. This type of cancer is a malignant tumor of the glandular tissue of the breast.
  • Mindfulness-Based Music Therapy and Cancer Treatment Music therapy is currently viewed as one of the tools for managing the stress that women undergoing cancer treatment are experiencing.
  • Bladder Cancer, Its Mortality Trends and Projection One of the current events in epidemiology is conducting an analysis of bladder cancer incidence, mortality trends, and projection.
  • Cancer Risk Factors: Biology Concepts The development of cancer cells is associated with the halting of the process of cell generation and decay that may be considered one of the basic aspects of the physical health.
  • Breast Cancer Screening Promotion The article begins with a brief description of the North Carolina Breast Cancer Screening Program. The program included social-ecological and community organizing approaches to health promotion.
  • Anxiety and Depression Among Females with Cancer The study investigated the prevalence of and the potential factors of risk for anxiety and/or depression among females with early breast cancer during the first 5 years.
  • Cancer Stages, Treatment and Side Effects The paper delves into the peculiarities of diagnosing, managing, complications, and side effects of the treatment of cancer.
  • Gastric Cancer Treatment: Research Instrument The paper describes selecting an instrument for research on the prevalence of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in Hispanic patients with gastric cancer.
  • Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment An effective approach to cancer care should consider both physical and emotional needs that cancer patients have.
  • Breast Cancer and Effective Medical Treatment The aim of this paper is to characterize breast cancer and to describe the modern methods of its treatment and prevention.
  • Breast Cancer Inheritance Biophysical Factors The biophysical factors operating in this situation are the age of the patient and the possible inheritance of breast cancer. The psychological factors are her mental health records.
  • Cervical Cancer: Pathophysiological Processes Cervical cancer is a serious disease that may take human lives in a short period of time because its signs and symptoms are not always easily recognized.
  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Prostate Cancer The paper discusses diagnostic methods of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer as common diseases of the genitourinary system in men older 40 years.
  • Vomiting and Nausea in Patients with Gastric Cancer The major focus of the proposed research is the prevention of nausea and vomiting in patients with gastric cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Colon Cancer Among Male Hispanic Population The problem of colon cancer among the male Hispanic population in the United States is a major cause of concern.
  • Cancer Patients and Survivors Support Group This paper dwells upon some peculiarities of managing a support group consisting of young adult cancer patients and cancer survivors.
  • Women’s Healthcare: Breast Cancer Prevention & Treatment Preventive services for patients who are at risk of breast cancer include medications for risk reduction of the disease and screening for breast cancer using film mammography.
  • Cancer Care, Diagnostics and Complications This paper gives a detailed approach to care of cancer. The other issues discussed include the diagnosis and staging of cancer.
  • Anthem Blue Cross: Breast Cancer Screenings This paper aims to present a detailed economic report regarding the implementation of breast cancer screenings that Anthem Blue Cross will provide free of charge.
  • Reactive Oxygen Species and Cancer Cells Relationship The study research problem focuses on the relationship between reactive oxygen species (ROS) caused by oxidative stress and cancer cells
  • Pain Management Issues in Cancer Patients Pain has a significant effect on the quality of life of cancer patients, their view of the effectiveness of treatment, disease progression, and survival.
  • Prevention of Breast Cancer The problem of the study is a major one because it is connected to one of the critical health concerns that affect women worldwide: breast cancer.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Factors and Prevention Colorectal cancer is a serious disease that is estimated to affect many individuals in the US by 2030. The primary approach to preventing it is regular screenings.
  • Breast Cancer and Stress Heightening This paper aims to discuss three educational interventions that can help patients to manage their stressful experiences.
  • Skin Cancer in Latin American Population The paper analyzes the prevalence of skin cancer among Latin Americans, focuses on the significance of this problem, and suggests opportunities for improvement.
  • Cervical Cancer Intervention in Clinical Practice A lot of research has been done on the topic of cervical cancer and how various strategies of intervention work to address it.
  • Depression in Female Cancer Patients and Survivors Depression is often associated with fatigue and sleep disturbances that prevent females from thinking positively and focusing on the treatment and its outcomes.
  • Cancer Pain Management and Education Programs The paper below presents a detailed summary of a proposal aimed at examining how cancer patients can embrace education programs focusing on pain management practices.
  • Alternative Medicine in Cancer Pain Management The quality of life of cancer patients can be improved by combining pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies to achieve the desired effect and alleviate pain.
  • Lung & Bronchus Cancer Rates in the United States Lung and bronchus cancer rates in the United States continue to decrease but with significant differences in histology, gender, and race.
  • “A Culturally Tailored Internet Cancer Support Group for Asian American Breast Cancer Survivors”: Article Analysis Medicine, as a holistic science, recognizes the individual cultural uniqueness of every patient in order to deliver a better quality of care.
  • American Cancer Society Guidelines Implementation Healthcare system practice guidelines represent systematically developed statements intended to assist practitioners and patients in making decisions about relevant health care.
  • Cancer: Approach to Care This paper focuses on investigating the diagnosis, complications, and treatment of cancer through the concept of approach to care for patients with the disease.
  • American Cancer Society: Risk Factors, Effective Care and Enhancing Nursing Knowledge This work aims to describe the factors contributing to the yearly incidence and mortality rates of cancers in Americans and safe care at the disease stages.
  • The Approach to the Care of Cancer Cancer is considered to be the leading cause of death worldwide. The most common cancers are breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, and colorectal cancer.
  • Factors Influencing Breast Cancer Screening in Low-Income African Americans in Tennessee This article focuses on understanding the factors that are associated with the decision and obstacles to breast cancer screening in African-American women living in Tennessee.
  • Recommendations for Breast Cancer Screening: USPSTF Guidelines This paper aims to give a proper recommendation for breast cancer screening under USPSTF guidelines while considering the differences in patients’ epidemiology.
  • Evaluating Intrinsic and Non-Intrinsic Cancer Risk Factors Cancer is a disease that can affect every cell of the human body and is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells that can divide and invade surrounding tissues.
  • Databases in Early Lung Cancer Screening This paper proposes a database that is designed to assist medical workers with the early detection of lung cancer.
  • Miami Breast Cancer Conference: Scholarly Activity Breast cancer is a prominent variation of the condition, as the body part is generally considered to be among the most common targets for the illness.
  • Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention This paper aims to discuss breast cancer epidemiology and socioeconomic factors with regard to the young, middle, and older adults to identify risks, prevention, and opportunities.
  • Computed Tomography and Related Cancer Risks Research demonstrates that computed tomography (CT) may indeed increase the risks of cancer, but it also shows that CT’s value cannot be overstated.
  • “Preferences for Photographic Art Among Hospitalized Patients With Cancer” the Article by Hanson, H., Schroeter, K., Hanson, A., Asmus, K., & Grossman, A. The present article reports on one of many research studies that aim to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding complementary therapy for patients with cancer.
  • “Preferences for Photographic Art Among Hospitalized Patients With Cancer” the Article by Asmus, K., & Grossman, A., Hanson, H. and Schroeter, K. Cancer has always been a complex health condition to treat, and the advancements in alternative and complementary therapies have captured professionals’ attention.
  • “Preferences for Photographic Art Among Hospitalized Patients With Cancer” the Article by Grossman, A., Schroeter, K., Hanson, A. and Hanson, H. The article reviewed in the scope of this paper is titled “Preferences for Photographic Art among Hospitalized Patients with Cancer.”
  • “Preferences for Photographic Art Among Hospitalized Patients With Cancer” the Article by Hanson et al. The investigated research paper delves into the topical problem of cancer and attempts to improve patients` states by using multiple approaches, tools, or devices.
  • Lung Cancer Early Screening in African Americans New communication policies should be incorporated into the healthcare system in the US to enhance annual CT screening for high-risk patients exposed to smoke and chemical poisons.
  • Ethical Dilemma: Handling a Request for No Further Cancer Treatment Modern technologies can prolong a person’s life and interrupt it, and this is a person’s choice of which decision to make.
  • Colon Cancer: Possible Treatment Analysis Colon cancer also referred to as colorectal cancer, is characterized by a high incidence in the USA, especially among men above 50.
  • Breast Cancer: Discussion of the Problems and Way of Treatment An analytical and evaluative case that is intended to recover fully the problem of breast cancer and explain the ways of its treatment in the context of nursing.
  • Cancer and Contemporary Therapeutic Approaches Cancer is a hazardous disease due to its potential lethality. This essay describes the basic traits of cancer and contemporary therapeutic approaches to the condition.
  • Cancer: Symptoms and Consequences The research of the symptoms of cancer and its consequences to evaluate the seriousness of the problem in the USA but and the whole world.
  • Understanding the Skin Cancer Causes and Protecting the Skin Exposure to too much sun can lead to skin cancer. If we do not change our habits majority of us will one time get skin cancer during our lifetime and many people will die from it.
  • Skin Cancer, Its Causes and Preventive Measures Skin cancer is one of the most common of all cancers, therefore, society needs to know the risks involved and must be better educated when it comes to preventative measures.
  • Cancer Interference With Dna Replication Reports indicate that a greater percentage of human cancers originate from chemical substances as well as environmental substances.
  • Racism in Breast Cancer Treatment Cancer treatment is the least studied field that arises numerous ambiguities and requires a more sophisticated approach in studying.
  • Cancer Problem for Today’s Women The critique imposed in the study encompasses the fullness of the knowledge base in medical innovative therapies and pre-caution procedures for women living with cancer.
  • The Colon Cancer: Main Aspects The essay looked into historical aspects of colon cancer, its prevalence, prevention and treatment of colon cancer, and further scientific research in colon cancer.
  • Cultural Sensitivity in Medicine and Cancer Treatment Any medical practitioner should understand the cultural aspects of a community for him to be able to come up with a lasting solution for cancer treatment.
  • Cancer Prevalence and Health Care More than 5 million people living today in the US are living with cancer. Sixty three percent of 65 years and above have had cancer.
  • Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines: Lung Cancer The evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) target early detection of lung cancer in patients based on screening tools and techniques suggested by the recent literature.
  • Listing Occupational Carcinogens and Cancer Prevention Occupational carcinogens make up bulk of the known human carcinogens. In the quest to define occupational carcinogens the number of staff exposed is of paramount importance.
  • Women’s Disease: Breast Cancer and Its Consequence Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer types worldwide amounting to 25-30% of all cancer cases detected yearly among women.
  • A Family Experience of a Child Being Diagnosed With Cancer Family members of a child being diagnosed with cancer have to go through a long and complicated road that regrettably, not always leads to success.
  • Cervical Cancer: Case Study The paper reviews the cervical cancer key determinants, factors to ensure access to prevention technologies, and the trials that the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention faces.
  • Cancer: Definition, Epidemiology, and Pain Management Cancer is estimated to reveal itself in as many as 100 types. Statistically, in 2008 the mortality rate from cancer was at the level of 62%.
  • The Use of Nanotechnology: Cancer Diagnostics and Treatment This article provides an overview of research and presentations on the use of nanotechnology for cancer treatment.
  • Spread of Respiratory Cancer and Ethnicity of the Patient Based on the descriptive statistics, it is possible to study how the spread of respiratory cancer and the ethnicity of the patient are related.
  • Disease Research: Breast Cancer Breast cancer is a multifactorial, complex illness that demands proper clinical understanding and a multidisciplinary way to determine diagnosis and treatment.
  • Lung Cancer among Indigenous Australians A great number of severe diseases are widespread among the Indigenous Australian community. Cancer, especially lung cancer, is one of the most frequent cases.
  • Care of Breast Cancer-Related Lymphoedema The lymphoedema’s clinical manifestations include swelling of the upper or lower extremities, violation of skin nutrition, and subcutaneous fat tissue.
  • Pancreatic Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment Treatment is complicated by the fact that pancreatic cancer often does not cause any symptoms until it reaches a large size or does not spread to other tissues.
  • Genetic Mechanism of Colorectal Cancer Colorectal Cancer (CRC) occurrence is connected to environmental factors, hereditary factors, and individual ones.
  • Virtual Colonoscopy – Colon Cancer Screening Virtual Colonoscopy is constantly becoming more and more popular, in comparison with the traditional approach and conventional colonoscopy in particular.
  • Synthetic Lethality Approach as Used in Cancer Treatment The essay aims to demonstrate that Synthetic Lethality (SL) is an effective therapy that triggers two mutations in cancer cells that lead to cell death in the result.
  • Cancer and Humor in Children: Approach to Research The paper has discussed the factors that a researcher must consider when planning to investigate the relationship between the sense of humor and hospitalized childhood cancer stressors.
  • The Disease of Breast Cancer: Definition and Treatment Breast cancer is a serious disease during which the breast cells experience abnormal growth. Females usually have a higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Type C Personality as a Risk Factor for Cancer The paper is on the scientific relationship between personality C and the aspects of gene and hormonal activity that leads to the build-up of cancer cells.
  • Human Patient Simulation for Skin Cancer Prevention Kuhrik et al. conclude that human patient simulation (HPS) can benefit future healthcare providers and promote early prevention and detection.
  • Breast Cancer: Analysis and Data Collection The study to determine the quality of health was a qualitative research study because it showed a significant improved in the quality of life for the breast cancer victims.
  • Nutritional “Cures” for Clients With Cancer or HIV-AIDS The paper analysis nutrition, which can play a pivotal role in providing some relief to patients especially those with HIV/AIDS.
  • Nutrition Research With Reference to Colorectal Cancer The present paper is concerned with evaluating the validity and reliability of nutrition research with reference to colorectal cancer.
  • Pancreatic Cancer: Diagnostics and Treatment The article analyses the most recent techniques in the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer malignancy with a very poor prognosis.
  • Expanded Treatment Options in the Adjuvant Therapy of Colon Cancer Nurses can make a difference in improving survival rates for stage III and IV patients by remaining up to date about treatment options offered by new adjuvant agents.
  • Prophylaxis Breast Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment
  • Summaries of Three Articles About Lung Cancer
  • Socioeconomic Factors of Oral Cancer
  • Grant Proposal: Cancel Cancer
  • Approach to Care. Human Cancer
  • Lung Cancer: Causes and Treatment
  • Americcan College of Radiology Protocol and Cancer Therapy Response to Antiangiogenetic Drug
  • African American Women and Cancer
  • Virtual Colonoscopy to Screen for Colon Cancer
  • Effects of Nutrition on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Control
  • Cancer Treatment Practice Data Research
  • The New Cancer Cure
  • Cancer Pain Experiences in Caucasians vs. Minorities
  • Impact of Alcohol Abuse on Breast Cancer Risk in Women
  • Cervical Cancer: Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Breast Cancer Development and Progression: Understanding Epigenetic Mechanisms
  • Deathography of Cancer
  • A Perfusion Based 3D Cancer Model for Micro Tumor Formation
  • Pathology the Respiratory System: Lung Cancer
  • Functional Characterization of MicroRNAs in Prostate Cancer
  • How Cancer Affects the Skin?
  • Colorectal Cancer Intervention Model
  • The Cobalt-60 Machine in the Fight Against Cancer
  • Breast Cancer: Literature Review
  • Does Marijuana Use and Misuse Cause Cancer?
  • The Relationship Between Breast Cancer and Genes
  • Prostate Cancer Among Blacks in Maryland: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
  • Approach to Cancer Care: Diagnosing and Treatment
  • Esophageal Cancer and Its Treatment
  • Breast Cancer: Research Review Paper
  • Genetic Alterations and Cancer
  • Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in UK
  • Skin Cancer Types, Cells of Origin
  • Wellness Programs for Colorectal Cancer
  • Addressing Risk Factors for Lung Cancer
  • Cancer Biology: Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes
  • Cancer Treatment and Role of Nurses
  • Processed Meat Consumption Causes Pancreatic Cancer
  • “Identifying Dietary Patterns Compatible With the Reduction of Cancer Risk” Article Review
  • Breast Cancer: Pathophysiology, Types and Treatment
  • Optimal Care For Patients With All Forms of Cancer
  • Health Promotion to Reduce Lung Cancer: Grant Proposal Template
  • Factors of Older Adults’ Decision on Cancer Treatment
  • The Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Young Women
  • Behavioral Theory: Education Program for Oral Cancer
  • Breast Cancer: Etiology, Signs and Symptoms
  • Prostate Cancer Among the Blacks in the State of Maryland
  • Understanding Epigenetic Mechanisms in Breast Cancer
  • Reducing Cancer Risk With Diet and Lifestyle Change
  • Multicausality: Reserpine, Breast Cancer, and Obesity
  • A Collaborative Stress Management Initiative for Mothers of Cancer Children
  • The Risk Factors of Breast Cancer
  • Dental Caries Among Survivors of Childhood Cancer
  • Addressing Cancer: The Nursing Process
  • Breast Cancer and Exercise. Article Summary
  • Lung and Bronchus Cancer in Smoking Americans
  • Skin Cancer Prevention in Australia
  • Researching of Testicular Cancer
  • Public Health Initiative on Prostrate Cancer Among Maryland’s Blacks
  • Postoperative Breast Cancer Care
  • BRCA Gene Mutation and Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Early Detection, Prevention, and Survivorship in Arab Countries
  • HIV-AIDS, Nutrition and Cancer in Society
  • Breast Cancer: The Story of One Patient
  • American Cancer Society: The Aspects of Melanoma
  • The Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer
  • Herceptin and Breast Cancer Treatment
  • Cancer Patients: The Effectiveness of Pain Diary
  • How to Lower your Cancer Risk. Nutrition Action Health Letter
  • Cancer Insurance Evaluation
  • Post-operative Breast Cancer Patients With Depression: Annotated Bibliography
  • Case Brief on Colon Cancer and Colostomy
  • Can Aspirin Help Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer?
  • What Are the Challenges for Relative Effectiveness Assessment and Early Access of Cancer Immunotherapies in Europe?
  • Does Cellular Phone Use Contribute to Cancer Formation?
  • Has Medical Innovation Reduced Cancer Mortality?
  • Can Diet and Exercise Help Prevent Cancer?
  • Does Detecting Breast Cancer with MRIs Increase the Rate of Mastectomies?
  • How Are Cancer Cells Structurally Different From Normal?
  • Can Elderly Patients With Pancreatic Cancer Gain Survival Advantages Through More Radical Surgeries?
  • How Does Cancer Affect Individuals From All Backgrounds?
  • Can Immunogenic Chemotherapies Relieve Cancer Cell Resistance to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors?
  • Does Diet Really Help Prevent Colon Cancer?
  • Why Do African American Women Contract Breast or Cervical Cancer More Than Any Other Ethnic Group?
  • How Does Cancer Form and Spread in the Human Body?
  • Can Korean Red Ginseng Increase the Life Span of Cancer Patients?
  • Does Natural Killer Cell Deficiency Increase the Risk of Cancer?
  • Why Do Women Generally Get Breast Cancer Rather Than Other Cancers?
  • Should the Cervical Cancer Vaccine for Girls Be Compulsory?
  • Can Religion Help the Healing Process of Cancer?
  • Does Green Tea Offer the Prescription for Beating Cancer?
  • How Can Nanomedicine Help Cure Cancer?
  • What Are the Symptoms and Treatments for Breast Cancer?
  • Does Medicare Coverage Improve Cancer Detection and Mortality Outcomes?
  • Are Pet Owners Really at Greater Risk of Cancer?
  • How Can People Protect Themselves From Cancer?
  • Does the Immune System Naturally Protect Against Cancer?
  • Understanding cancer: causes, types, and risk factors.
  • Complementary and alternative medicine for cancer patients.
  • Environmental factors affecting cancer risk.
  • The connection between cancer and aging.
  • The role of artificial intelligence in cancer diagnosis.
  • Strategies for improving quality of life after cancer treatment.
  • Precision oncology: how it works.
  • The significance of biomarkers in cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
  • The role of diet in preventing and managing cancer.
  • Ways to reduce cancer risks.
  • Breast cancer awareness campaign: causes and prevention.
  • Art therapy sessions for cancer patients.
  • A healthy eating cookbook for a balanced diet during chemotherapy.
  • Inspirational storytelling: collecting personal stories of cancer survivors.
  • Raising awareness of the effects of smoking on cancer risk.
  • Cancer prevention podcast: interviewing experts.
  • Decision-making guide for cancer treatment for patients and their families.
  • Surveying the impact of cancer treatment on patients’ daily lives.
  • Volunteer-based transportation services for cancer patients.
  • A social media campaign for raising awareness about cancer.
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StudyCorgi. (2023, August 26). 238 Cancer Research Topics for Undergraduates and High School Students. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/ideas/cancer-essay-topics/

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cancer topics for research papers

One in five people worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime. Prevention of cancer has become one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st century. It has a critical role to play in the fight against cancer. Based on current scientific evidence, at least 40% of all cancer cases could be prevented with effective primary prevention measures, and further mortality can be reduced through early detection of tumours.

This feature presents selected content from the IARC website for recent years, including news items, press releases, videos, etc.

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Cancer Types

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Publication date: 21 June, 2022, 14:21

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  • Published: 19 April 2022

Focus Issue: The Future Of Cancer Research

Nature Medicine volume  28 ,  page 601 ( 2022 ) Cite this article

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New treatments and technologies offer exciting prospects for cancer research and care, but their global impact rests on widespread implementation and accessibility.

Cancer care has advanced at an impressive pace in recent years. New insights into tumor immunology and biology, combined with advances in artificial intelligence, nano tools, genetic engineering and sequencing — to name but a few — promise ever-more-powerful capabilities in the prevention, diagnosis and personalized treatment of cancer. How do we harness and build on these advances? How do we make them work in different global settings? In this issue, we present a Focus dedicated to the future of cancer research, in which we take stock of progress and explore ways to deliver research and care that is innovative, sustainable and patient focused.

This year brought news that two of the first patients with leukemia to receive chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell treatment remain in remission more than a decade later . Writing in this issue, Carl June — who helped to treat these first patients — and colleagues reflect on how early transplant medicine laid a solid foundation for CAR T cell development in blood cancers, and how this is now paving the way for the use of engineered cell therapies in solid cancers. In a noteworthy step toward this goal, Haas and colleagues present results of a phase 1 trial of CAR T cells in metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer — a disease that has seen relatively few new treatment options in recent years.

Up to now, CAR T cells have been used only in the context of relapsed or refractory hematological malignancies, but in this issue, Neelapu et al . present phase 2 study data that suggest CAR T cell therapy could be beneficial when used earlier in certain high-risk patients. In addition, prospective data from van den Brink et al . support a role for the gut microbiome composition in CAR T cell therapy outcomes, highlighting new avenues of research to help maximize therapeutic benefit.

Although the idea that the gut microbiome influences CAR T cell therapy outcomes may be relatively new, it has been known for some time that it has a role in the response to checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy. A plethora of microbe-targeting therapies are now under investigation for cancer treatment; in this issue, Pal and colleagues describe one such strategy — whereby the combination of a defined microbial supplement with checkpoint blockade led to improved responses in patients with advanced kidney cancer. In their Review, Jennifer Wargo and colleagues take stock of the latest research in this field, and predict that microbial targeting could become a pillar of personalized cancer care over the next decade.

The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day was ‘Close the care gap’ — a message that is woven through several pieces in this issue. Early detection strategies have enormous potential to make a difference in this area; reviewing the latest advances, Rebecca Fitzgerald and colleagues ask who should be tested, and how — and outline their vision for personalized, risk-based screening, keeping in mind practicality and clinical implementation. Journalist Carrie Arnold reports on an emerging strategy known as ‘theranostics’ that aims to both diagnose and treat cancers in a unified approach, highlighting the growing commercial interest in this field. Of course, commercial interest does not equate to widespread availability or equal access to new therapies, and increasingly sophisticated technologies — although beneficial for some — can serve to widen existing inequalities.

Pediatric cancers lag far behind adult cancers in terms of drug development and approval. Nancy Goodman, a patient advocate whose son died from a childhood cancer, argues that market failures are largely to blame for the gap — but that legislative changes can correct this. Although in some cases there is a strong mechanistic rationale for testing promising adult cancer therapies or combinations in children, translational research is also needed to identify new therapeutic targets — such as the approach taken by Behjati and colleagues , which sheds new light on the molecular characteristics of an aggressive form of infant leukemia.

Meanwhile, for adult cancers, countless new therapeutic modalities are on the horizon , and drug approvals based on genomic biomarkers have accelerated in recent years. Unfortunately, their implementation into routine clinical care is progressing at a much slower pace. In their Perspective, Emile Voest and colleagues point out that bridging this gap will require investment in health infrastructure, as well as in education and decision-support tools, among other things.

Perhaps the most striking gap is that between high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries, not only in terms of cancer survival outcomes but also in terms of resources and infrastructure for impactful research. In their Perspective, CS Pramesh and colleagues outline their top priorities for cancer research in low- and middle-income countries, arguing that cancer research must be regionally relevant and geared toward reducing the number of patients diagnosed with advanced disease. Practicality is key — a sentiment echoed by Bishal Gyawali and Christopher Booth, who call for a “ common sense revolution ” in oncology, and regulatory policies and trial designs that serve patients better.

To realize this goal, clinical trial endpoints and outcome measures should be designed to minimize the burden on patients and maximize the potential for improving on the standard of care. This should go beyond survival outcomes; systemic effects, including cachexia and pain, have a major impact on quality of life and mental health during and after treatment. Two articles in this issue highlight the enormous psychological burden associated with a cancer diagnosis; increased risks of depression, self-harm and suicide emphasize the need for psychosocial interventions and a holistic approach to treatment.

As noted by members of the Bloomberg New Economy International Cancer Coalition in their Comment , the widespread adoption of telemedicine and remote monitoring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could, if retained, help to make cancer trials more patient centered. Therefore, as health systems and research infrastructures adapt to the ongoing pandemic, there exists an unprecedented opportunity to reshape the landscape of cancer research.

We at Nature Medicine are committed to helping shape this transformation. We are issuing a call for research papers that utilize innovative approaches to address current challenges in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment — both clinical trials and population-based studies with global implications. Readers can find more information about publishing clinical research in Nature Medicine at https://www.nature.com/nm/clinicalresearch .

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Focus Issue: The Future Of Cancer Research. Nat Med 28 , 601 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01809-z

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Published : 19 April 2022

Issue Date : April 2022

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-01809-z

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Cancer Biology

Focus areas.

The mission of the Department of Cancer Biology is to identify and understand the causes of cancer, to develop innovative approaches to reduce cancer incidence, to create and test novel and more effective therapies, and to translate these findings into clinical care for the benefit of patients.

Research in our department is highly collaborative and is potentiated through close interactions with other basic science departments and translated through clinical collaborations.

Our faculty members are aligned into eight research focus areas that address cancer development, progression and treatment.

Cancer disparities

While cancer affects everyone, certain groups have higher rates of cancer cases, deaths and health complications. These differences can be associated with genetics, sex, racial and ethnic populations, socioeconomic status, or specific geographic areas. Studying the factors that lead to cancer disparities leads to more-effective prevention and treatment approaches for the affected populations.

  • Read more about the cancer disparities focus area .

Cancer stem cells

The stem cell theory of cancer proposes that among the many different types of cells within a cancer, there exists a subpopulation of cells called cancer stem cells that multiply indefinitely, are resistant to chemotherapy, and are thought to be responsible for relapse after therapy. Cancer stem cells also give rise to highly metastatic cells that spread to other organs and tissues within the body. A deeper understanding of cancer stem cells is leading to better implementation of existing anti-cancer therapies and identification of new approaches that target the cancer stem cells specifically.

  • Read more about the cancer stem cells focus area .

Cancer systems biology

Cancer is a complex disease with many molecular, genetic and cellular causes. Considering these causes as a system of interactions can lead to a better understanding of the processes involved in the development of cancer and response to therapies. Cancer systems biology integrates advanced experimental models, insights from genome sequencing and other large-scale data projects, and computational models to create unified models of cancer behavior.

  • Read more about the cancer systems biology focus area .

Oncogenic gene dysregulation and carcinogenesis

Cancer initiates from genetic alterations, including mutations, deletions and copy number gains, that function to activate cancer-promoting pathways or to block processes that normally inhibit cancer development. Through better understanding of pro- and anti-cancer signaling processes and how they become dysregulated in carcinogenesis and tumor progression, our team can improve biological tools for clinicians and devise molecularly targeted therapies to intervene.

  • Read more about the oncogenic gene dysregulation and carcinogenesis focus area .

Precision cancer medicine and translational therapeutics

Cancers develop and respond to therapies differently from one patient to the next. A better understanding of the specific processes driving cancer growth and spread in an individual patient allows for tailored therapeutic strategies that are more effective with minimal side effects. Profiling the mutations and abnormalities that drive a tumor, in combination with development of experimental models that assess the specific responses of cancer cells to therapeutics that target those abnormalities, has dramatically improved outcomes in many cancer types.

  • Read more about the precision cancer medicine and translational therapeutics focus area .

Tumor immunology and immunotherapy

Therapeutic strategies that stimulate the immune system to target cancer cells can lead to long-lasting tumor regression and minimize relapse. Integrated efforts of laboratory researchers and clinicians are leading to improved knowledge of how the immune system interacts with cancer cells and how immune processes can be intentionally manipulated for therapeutic effect.

  • Read more about the tumor immunology and immunotherapy focus area .

Tumor invasion and metastasis

A fundamental property of malignant tumor cells is the ability to invade surrounding tissues and to metastasize to other organs. These abilities underlie the majority of cancer-associated deaths. While invasion and metastasis are often thought of as the final stages of tumor development, recent studies have shown that tumor spread can occur even at early stages of tumor development, sometimes even before the primary tumor has been identified. Development of therapies targeting invasion and metastasis has the promise to significantly reduce cancer mortality.

  • Read more about the tumor invasion and metastasis focus area .

Tumor microenvironment

Tumors require complex interactions with surrounding blood vessels, immune cells, supportive tissue structures and cell types that are distinct to the tumor site in order to grow, become invasive and metastasize. Tumors influence their microenvironment by releasing soluble signals that lead to degradation and remodeling of the tissue structures that constrain their growth. Targeting the interactions of tumors with the microenvironment is an important and developing area of study.

  • Read more about the tumor microenvironment focus area .

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Cancer Research Paper

This sample cancer research paper features: 7800 words (approx. 26 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 35 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.

This research paper on global burden of cancer, its trends and projections, is split into four themes. The first section provides a basic description of the main sources of routine cancer information. The second section describes the international variation in cancer using the latest available cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence estimates. Global trends of the most commonly occurring tumors are then presented in the third section, primarily based on high-quality incidence data from established cancer registries worldwide. The final section discusses how the global profile of cancer might look around 2020, on the basis of projections of population aging and growth and some assumptions on future cancer trends.

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Academic writing, editing, proofreading, and problem solving services, definitions, uses, and caveats, producing global estimates of cancer burden, global burden of cancer 2002, geographical variations in the eight most common cancers, temporal variations in the five most common cancers, predicting cancer in 2020.

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More Cancer Research Papers:

  • Brain Tumours Research Paper
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  • Cancer Screening Research Paper
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  • Colorectal Cancer Research Paper
  • Diet and Cancer Research Paper
  • Environmental Carcinogens Research Paper
  • Esophageal Cancer Research Paper
  • Gastric Cancer Research Paper
  • Leukemia Research Paper
  • Liver Cancer Research Paper
  • Lung Cancer Research Paper
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  • Meat Consumption and Cancer Research Paper
  • Oral Cancer Research Paper
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  • Pancreatic Cancer Research Paper
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  • Sun Exposure And Skin Cancer Research Paper

Routine Measures of Cancer Burden

Cancer incidence is the frequency of occurrence of new cases of cancer in a defined population for a given period of time. It can be expressed as the absolute number of cases, although computation of rates is required for comparative purposes, with the denominator the person-time at risk from which the cases in the numerator arose. The statistic is useful in providing clues to the underlying risk factors and in planning and prioritizing resources for primary prevention, where the aim is to reduce incidence via changes in cultural and personal patterns of behavior.

Population-based cancer registries collect and classify information on all new cases of cancer in a defined population and provide statistics on occurrence for the purposes of assessing and controlling the impact of cancer in the community. Registries may cover entire national populations or selected regions. The comparability, completeness, and accuracy of incidence data are essential in making reliable inferences regarding geographical and temporal variations in incidence rates. The Cancer Incidence In Five Continents (CI5) series, first published in 1962, is now in its eighth volume (Parkin et al., 2002) and covers diagnoses of cancer 1993–97 in 186 registries in 57 countries. Inclusion is a good marker of the quality of an individual registry, given that the editorial process includes numerous assessments of data quality.

Mortality provides a measure of the impact of cancer and is expressed either as number of deaths occurring or as a mortality rate: The number of deaths per 100 000 persons per year. Mortality is a product of the incidence and the case fatality from a given cancer. Death rates estimate the average risk to the population of dying from a specific cancer, while fatality, the inverse of cancer survival (the time that elapsed between the diagnosis of cancer and death from it), represents the probability that an individual with cancer will die from it. Data derive from vital registration systems, where usually a medical practitioner certifies the fact and cause of death. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) provides a standardized system of nomenclature and coding, and a suggested format for the death certificate.

Mortality data are affected by both the degree of detail and the quality of the information, that is, the accuracy of the recorded cause of death and the completeness of registration. These are known to vary considerably between countries and over time. Mortality data are, however, more comprehensively available than incidence: The WHO mortality databank contains national cancer mortality data on over 70 countries, and for many, over extended periods of time. This availability partly explains its common application as a surrogate for incidence in both geographic and temporal studies of cancer, although its use must be guarded where survival differences are suspected between the groups being compared.

Prevalence is a more complex measure of cancer incidence, fatality, and other influences operating in affected individuals prior to death or cure. Partial prevalence is a useful measure for quantifying the resource requirements needed for treating and supporting cancer patients, as it limits the number of patients to those diagnosed during a fixed time in the past. Prevalence for cases diagnosed within a certain number of years are of relevance to initial treatment (within 1 year), clinical follow-up (2–3 years) and possible cure (4–5 years). There are some exceptions, primarily that of female breast cancer, for which the risk of death remains higher than the general population for many more years.

For several decades, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has complied and published estimates of global cancer burden. The first publication in 1984 estimated cancer incidence for 12 common cancers in 1975 in 24 world areas (Parkin et al., 1984); the most recent estimates (for 2002) were compiled as part of IARC’s GLOBOCAN series published in 2004 (Parkin et al., 2005). This database contains regional and country-specific estimates of the cancer incidence, mortality, and prevalence worldwide for 26 cancer sites (Ferlay et al., 2004).

Cancer Research Paper

National cancer incidence and mortality data are available for a minority of countries of the world, so estimation procedures are necessary to obtain a comprehensive global picture of cancer. The available sources and methods used to derive the GLOBOCAN 2002 estimates are summarized in Table 1 and Figure 1 (incidence) and Figure 2 (mortality). The baseline data for the compilation are the cancer incidence, mortality, and survival data sets considered the best available within a given country. Incidence rates for a country are obtained wherever possible from cancer registries serving the whole population, or a representative sample of it. The most recent national mortality data from the WHO databank are used to obtain information on cancer deaths. As cancer registries record mortality as well as incidence, a country’s incidence may be estimated by applying a registry-based incidence: mortality ratio to its national mortality data. As mortality data are available for many more countries than incidence (Figures 1 and 2), there are known problems of accuracy and completeness. Adjustments are made where underrecording of mortality is suspected, and deaths recorded as uterus cancer are reallocated back to the specific sites of cervix or corpus uteri. Global prevalence is estimated from combining the estimated incidence data with appropriate estimates of survival (Pisani et al., 2002) (Table 1).

Cancer Research Paper

Geographical Variations in Cancer Worldwide

To provide a recent profile of global cancer burden as well as highlight some of the international variations, incidence, mortality, and prevalence estimates are presented from GLOBOCAN 2002. As well as describing the numbers of persons affected, comparisons of risk in different groups are described by the age-standardized rate using the weights from the world standard. Such an adjustment for age allows for the differing population age structures between countries and regions.

The international variability of cancer burden is briefly presented here according to 23 geographical areas for which the United Nations provides population estimates. In the following text, the terms developed and more developed refer to the regions or countries of North America, Europe (including all of the former USSR),

Australia and New Zealand, and Japan, and developing or less developed, the remainder. According to this classification and the corresponding United Nations (UN) population estimates, just over 5.1 billion people of the global population of 6.3 billion were living in less developed regions of the world in 2002, four times the number resident in developed areas (1.2 billion).

Almost 11 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2002, over 6.5 million died from cancer, and approximately 24.5 million were living with cancer worldwide (Table 2). These total cancer estimates exclude nonmelanoma skin cancers, given difficulties in their accurate measurement and resultant lack of data. In terms of incidence, the leading four cancers, lung (12.4% of global total), female breast (10.6%), colorectum (9.4%), and stomach (8.6%) comprise over 40% of the world cancer burden. A similar percentage emerges for mortality, although lung cancer alone is responsible for one in every six of the deaths from cancer worldwide in 2002 (17.5%). Half of the global cancer mortality burden is explained by five cancers on adding liver cancer (responsible for 8.9% of all cancer deaths) to the above list. The relative magnitude of prevalence reflects both incidence and prognosis, and therefore the most prevalent cancers are female breast (17.9%) followed by colorectum (11.5%) and prostate (9.6%).

Cancer Research Paper

The distribution and frequency of the different cancer types varies by sex and region as well by the measure used to profile disease burden. In women, breast and cervical cancer rank first and second in frequency above colorectal, lung, and stomach cancers worldwide, while liver cancer in men ranks as the fifth most frequent cancer globally and the third most common cause of cancer death (Figure 3 and Table 3). Previous estimates for 1990 showed that the division of cancer burden between less and more developed countries was quite similar (Parkin et al., 1999). The more recent estimates indicate a disproportionate number of cancer cases occur in the developing world (53%), while in terms of mortality, closer to two-thirds of the burden now occurs in less developed regions (Table 4). The shift partly reflects increasing incidence rates of some common cancers in these areas, but the numbers of cases are also profoundly affected by the demographic phenomenon of continuing rapid population growth and aging, particularly in the developing world (see the section titled ‘Predicting cancer in 2020’). According to world area, about one-fourth of the global incidence (2.9 million new cases) and one-fifth of the global mortality (1.4 million deaths) occurs within Eastern Asia, which includes China; in contrast, an estimated 1400 new cases occurred in the Micronesia and Polynesia regions combined. On adjusting for population size and age structure, the comparison reveals a fourfold and threefold variation in age-standardized rates between regions in men and women, respectively (Figure 3). Overall rates are highest in North America, Australia/New Zealand, and Western Europe, and lowest in Northern and Western Africa (Figure 3).

Cancer Research Paper

The relative importance of different cancer sites also varies between and within the developing and developed regions (Table 3). Liver and cervical cancer are the fourth and fifth most common new cancers after lung, stomach, and female breast in less developed regions, while the incidence of esophageal cancer (ranking sixth) is more common than colorectal cancer. In developed areas, prostate cancer ranks above stomach cancer as the fourth most frequent cancer in 2002 (after lung, colorectal, and female breast), while cervical and esophageal cancer only rank 16th and 18th in frequency, respectively. The overall risk in different regions evidently reflects the additive contribution of different forms of cancer (Figure 4), so that in Northern Africa, for instance, rates are low for most cancer types other than bladder cancer in men and breast cancer in women. In contrast, in Southern Africa where rates are twice as high, there are elevated rates of a number of neoplasms including prostate, lung, and esophagus in men, and cervix and breast cancer in women.

Cancer Research Paper

Lung cancer has ranked as the most common neoplasm globally for several decades. In 2002, over 1.3 million new cases were diagnosed, of which almost one million were in men, making it the most frequent cancer to affect men and the third most common among women (Figure 3). Lung cancer incidence and mortality rates rank first in many developed and developing regions. Age-adjusted incidence rates are highest in Northern America (in both sexes) and in Europe, particularly among Eastern European men (Figure 5). Moderately high rates of lung cancer are seen in Eastern Asia (including China and Japan) and Oceania, with rates lowest in Africa.

Cancer Research Paper

Among women, breast cancer dominates in both developing and developed regions, with over 1.1 million new cases per year worldwide (Figure 3). Thus, close to one in four of the five million women diagnosed with a cancer in 2002 were diagnosed with breast cancer (Table 3), making it the second most frequent cancer when both sexes are considered together. In terms of mortality, breast cancer ranks lower (fifth) and given the high incidence and relatively favorable prognosis, it is by far the most prevalent form of cancer, with almost 4.5 million women diagnosed and living with breast cancer within the 5-year period up to 2002 (Table 2). More than half the incident cases occur in the developed world, with the highest incidence seen in Northern America, Oceania, and Northern and Western Europe (Figure 6). The disease tends to be less common in developing countries, although incidence rates are increasing in many (see the section titled ‘Cancer trends worldwide’).

Cancer Research Paper

There were just over one million new cases of colorectal cancer in 2002. Similar numbers of men and women are affected, with one in ten cancer patients diagnosed with this cancer. Approximately 50% fewer colorectal deaths (5.3 million) were estimated worldwide in the same year, making it the second most prevalent cancer globally (2.8 million). In more developed countries, two-thirds of a million colorectal cancer cases were estimated for 2002, ranking it second to lung cancer in global frequency (Table 2). It is the most common cause of cancer in Australia and New Zealand, and rates tend to be high in most developed regions (Figure 7 and Table 5). In formerly low-risk Japan, markedly increasing trends in colorectal cancer incidence have been observed in recent decades, to the extent that Japanese populations now have among the highest incidence rates in the world.

Cancer Research Paper

Stomach cancer has historically ranked as the second most frequent cancer worldwide, but according to the 2002 estimates, the disease ranked fourth (0.9 million new cases) behind lung, breast, and colorectum. It remains the second most common cause of mortality from cancer, however, with 0.7 million deaths occurring worldwide in the same year (Table 2). Roughly two-thirds of the new cases and deaths in 2002 occurred in men (Table 3), with a similar fraction occurring in developing countries. Rates are highest in Eastern Asia (Figure 8), notably in Japan, where one in five cancers diagnosed were stomach cancer. Rates are also elevated in Eastern Europe and in some South American countries, notably Uruguay and Argentina.

Cancer Research Paper

An estimated 0.7 million new cases of prostate cancer occurred worldwide in 2002 (Table 2), making this the fifth most common cancer globally and second in importance in males (Table 3). Mortality is much lower than incidence, with an estimated 0.2 million deaths in the same year (Figure 9). Three-quarters of the prostate cancer incidence worldwide occurred in the developed regions where the disease affects one in five male cancer patients. Incidence rates are notably elevated in North America, with rates considerably higher than next placed Australia/New Zealand, Northern and Western Europe. In contrast, rates in many developed countries are low: There is at least a 75fold variation in the incidence if one compares rates in the United States and China in 2002. The magnitude of such variations reflects more the high prevalence of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing in some Western countries – as a means to detect latent cancers in asymptomatic individuals – than real differences in risk. In this respect, mortality rates may be a better guide to true geographical differences than incidence.

Cancer Research Paper

Liver cancer is the fifth most frequent cancer globally: Over 0.6 million new cases were estimated in 2002 (Table 2). Due to its poor prognosis, it is also the third most common cause of cancer death after lung and stomach cancer, with just under 0.6 million deaths in the same year. Much of the burden is observed among men and populations residing in developing regions: It is the third most common cancer of cancer incidence and the second most common cause of cancer death among males. Rates are highest in Eastern Asia, with China having half of the global liver cancer burden (Figure 10). Rates are also elevated in Central and Eastern Asia.

Cancer Research Paper

Esophageal cancer was responsible for approximately 0.45 million of the global cancer incidence and has a rather poor prognosis, almost 0.4 million deaths (Table 2). Over four-fifths of the burden is borne by the less developed world, where it is the fourth most common cause of cancer death after lung, liver, and stomach cancer. The geographic variability in the risk of esophageal cancer worldwide is striking, with the highest risk areas of the world in the so-called esophageal cancer belt, which extends from northern Iran through central Asia to north-central China. Rates are thus elevated in Eastern Asia, but are also high in sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 11).

Cancer Research Paper

Cervix cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide in 2002, with almost 0.5 million new cases and about 0.25 million deaths (Table 3). Over 80% of the burden occurs in the less developed regions, where cervix cancer accounts for 15% of female cancers. The highest incidence rates are observed in Southern and Eastern Africa, Melanesia, and the Caribbean (Figure 12). Rates in most developed countries are low, and overall, cervix cancer accounts for less than 4% of the total cancer incidence burden.

Cancer Research Paper

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a very rare form of cancer in most world regions but is now one of the most common cancers in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Approximately 57 000 new cases occurred in Africa in 2002 and, due to poor survival associated with AIDS, approximately 52 000 deaths.

Cancer Trends Worldwide

Investigations of cancer trends have important applications in epidemiological research and in planning and evaluating cancer control strategies. Analyses of how rates of different cancers are changing in different populations over time can provide clues to the underlying determinants and serve as an aid to formulating, implementing, or further developing population-based preventative strategies. Genetic factors have only a minor impact on time trends of cancer in the absence of large migrational influxes and exoduses within the population under study.

Issues concerning data quality and other detectable artifacts in interpreting time trends have been comprehensively addressed (Saxen, 1982; Muir et al., 1994). Truly valid studies would require, for instance, that the definition and content, criteria of malignancy, and likelihood of diagnosis of cancer have not changed with time, that case ascertainment has been equally efficient throughout the study period, that ICD indexing has not changed, and the accuracy and specificity of coding is consistent with time (Muir et al., 1994). Although few data series would meet each of these criteria, cancerspecific artifacts and their likely effects on time trends are reasonably well understood. The efforts of cancer registries in standardizing procedures and data definitions have been important in establishing consistently the high quality and comparability of cancer incidence data over time.

Global trends in the five most common cancers are presented as age-adjusted incidence rates by 5-year calendar period using data from 16 cancer registries representing countries within four regions complied in successive volumes of CI5. While these figures can only provide a broad overview of trends, references are made to trends in cancer mortality (where the trends diverge from incidence), in the age-specific rates by calendar period or birth cohort (where the age-adjusted trends are partially misleading), and according to subsite or histological groups (where they differ from the overall trend).

Lung Cancer

Temporal studies of lung cancer incidence and mortality have played an important role in validating smoking as the primary cause of the disease. The contrasting trends observed in different parts of the world largely reflect the changing profile of tobacco use – the number of cigarettes smoked, the duration of habit, and the composition of the tobacco – within different populations over time. Among males (Figure 13), overall rates in many developed countries – in Northern Europe, Northern America, and Australia – have tended to peak and subsequently decline, although there is a distinct variability in the magnitude of the rates and the year of peak incidence. There have been dramatic increases in rates in many Eastern European countries including Hungary, which presently has the highest rate worldwide. In contrast, there are the beginnings of a decline in some European countries, as observed in Spain and Slovakia (Figure 13). Uniform increases are observed in Japan, with rates of lung cancer doubling within 20 years. In the developing countries displayed in Figure 13, rates tend to be reasonably stable or decreasing; there is, however, a consistent and large variation in lung cancer risk: Rates in Cali are, for instance, five times those of Mumbai.

Cancer Research Paper

The global profile of female lung cancer trends is somewhat different. Rates tend to be steadily increasing with time in most countries, an observation that reflects the more recent acquisition of the smoking habit among women (Figure 14). In some Western populations – in the United States and United Kingdom, where the downturn in the prevalence of smoking among women has been established longest – plateaus and recent declines are emerging in the trends. In Spain, as in many (mostly developing) countries, lung cancer rates have been historically low. However, recent increases – as can be can now be detected in the Zaragoza population – illustrate the shift in smoking activity among women during the past two or three decades. A similar pattern can possibly be seen in Mumbai, India.

Cancer Research Paper

Recent estimates of the proportion of lung cancer cases due to smoking indicate about 85% of cases in men and 47% in women are due to smoking worldwide, although there is considerable regional variation, and these figures are more representative of countries/regions with a long history of smoking: The current fraction is much lower, for example in Africa and Southern Asia. With transnational tobacco companies using a global tactic to expand their sales, however, a smoking epidemic is emerging in many developing countries and the corresponding attributable fraction is likely to increase. The extent of the projected increases in lung cancer and other tobacco-related diseases have been quantified in China, the pattern of substantially increased burden will likely be repeated in many countries in Asia, Africa, and South America (Peto et al., 1999).

Since the 1950s, its has been established that lung cancer incidence or mortality trends by age are primarily a birth cohort phenomenon, that is, incidence rates in a given birth cohort can be related to the smoking habits of the same generation. The smoking epidemic therefore produces changes in rates first observed within younger age groups that lead to increasingly higher overall rates as these generations reach the older age groups, where lung cancer is most common. Figure 15 depicts lung cancer mortality rates plotted against birth cohort by age for U.S. men and women according to race (Devesa et al., 1989), and provides an illustrative example of the importance of these generational influences. Successive cohort-specific declines in mortality can be observed in men born in the 1930s and in women born 10–15 years later, as they begin to relinquish the smoking habit. The impact of the phenomenon in the overall age-adjusted rates can be seen in Figures 13 and 14.

Cancer Research Paper

There are intriguing differences in time trends by histological type of lung cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma incidence rates among men have declined in North America and in some European countries, whereas among women they have generally increased. In contrast, lung cancer adenocarcinoma rates have increased in both sexes in many world areas. Such observations are probably explained by shifts in cigarette composition, towards low-tar, low-nicotine, and filtered cigarettes (Wynder and Muscat, 1995).

Female breast cancer incidence and mortality rates have been increasing in many populations in both developed and developing regions in the last few decades. The temporal patterns are complex, however, in view of the numerous and interactive risk factors involved, as well as the introduction of screening (affecting both incidence and mortality) and improving therapy (affecting mortality) in some Western countries. In several Nordic countries, England and Wales, and The Netherlands, incidence rates had been rising before the introduction of national screening programs in the mid to late 1980s (e.g., Sweden in Figure 16) (Botha et al., 2003). Mean annual incremental increases of 1–3% were observed in a number of European countries in the 1980s and 1990s, including those that had either not introduced programs, had implemented them recently, or had only regional or pilot programs under way (e.g., Slovakia in Figure 16).

Cancer Research Paper

The pattern observed in North America resembles that of Europe, with similar increases in incidence in both white and black women (Figure 16). Most of the increase in the United States occurred in the early to mid-1980s and is related to the escalation of screening during this time. The overall rate of increase slowed in the late 1980s. Early studies of Connecticut incidence trends prior to widespread mammography emerging documented the importance of birth cohort effects (Stevens et al., 1982).

Increasing mortality rates were observed in many Western countries from the 1950s to 1980s, particularly in eastern and southern Europe. A plateau and subsequent decline in mortality in the 1980s in several northern European countries has also been noted in the United States and Canada. The decrease was seen in both younger and older women (Figure 17). Despite the international consensus that there is sufficient evidence for the efficacy of screening women aged 50–69 by mammography in reducing breast cancer mortality (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2002), quantification of its contribution to the observed mortality declines has been problematic. While some of the overall reduction in breast cancer mortality has been attributed directly to screening via prediction models, the observed declines – a 25% reduction by 2000 – started in 1986, before screening was introduced. In addition to mammography, a number of improvements have probably contributed to the trend, and include the establishment of treatment protocols, improved chemotherapeutic options, and better therapeutic guidelines. Some recent decreases in mortality are also seen in several countries without national screening programs, although these tend to be confined mainly to younger age groups. Mortality is increasing in several eastern European countries, including the Russian Federation, Estonia, and Hungary.

Cancer Research Paper

Some of the largest increases in breast cancer mortality are observed in non-Western countries historically at relatively low risk (Figure 17). Breast cancer remains relatively rare in Japan for instance, although rates of both incidence and mortality have been increasing fairly rapidly (Figures 16 and 17), an observation consistent with the reported increasing risk among successive generations of women (Wakai et al., 1995). In less developed countries, increases in breast cancer incidence and mortality are evident and are often more marked in younger generations of women (Parkin, 1994). There have been reported increases in Bombay, Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong in the last few decades, although in relatively highrisk South American countries such as Uruguay and Chile, the observed mortality rates are reasonably stable among younger women (Parkin, 1994). These increases are often attributed to the westernization of lifestyles, an ill-defined surrogate for changes in factors such as childbearing, dietary habits, and exposure to exogenous estrogen, toward a distribution closer in profile to that of women of the industrialized countries in the West. In Japan, for instance, decreasing age at menarche, increasing age at menopause, decreasing fertility, increasing age at first birth, and increases in both height and weight have been noted (Wakai et al., 1995).

While there are some important differences in the epidemiological characteristics of colon and rectal cancer, Figures 18 and 19 depict the sex-specific trends for colon and rectum combined, thus avoiding the recognized problems of varying subsite allocation of cancers found at the rectosigmoid junction. The most notable features of global trends are the rather rapid increases in male and female rates in countries formerly at low risk. The greatest increases in incidence of colorectal cancer are in Hong Kong, Singapore, Israel, and particularly in the presently high-risk Japan, where there has been a threefold increase in incidence in men in just two decades (Figures 18 and 19). There have also been large rises in several Eastern European countries, including Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland as well as in parts of South America, including Colombia and Puerto Rico. In the high-risk countries, incidence trends are either gradually increasing (South Thames, Sweden), stabilizing (New South Wales), or declining with time (North America). Such moderation has been noted particularly in younger age groups (Coleman et al., 1993). In contrast to the recent attenuation of rates seen in some Western and Northern European countries, relatively large increases have been also observed in Spain (Figures 18 and 19).

Cancer Research Paper

Declines in mortality may be a consequence of changes in incidence, a result of progress in therapy or a result from the effects of improved early detection. The pattern in the United States is probably due to more widespread screening, resulting in stage-specific shifts in incidence and a subsequent increase in survival (Troisi et al., 1999).

In high-risk Western countries, there has been a notable shift in the subsite distribution within the colorectum, with increases in incidence of proximal (ascending colon) relative to distal cancer (descending and sigmoid colon) (Thorn et al., 1998; Troisi et al., 1999). In low-risk populations such as Singapore, however, the reverse effect has been reported (Huang et al., 1999), while the trend in proximal and distal rates was similar in Shanghai ( Ji et al., 1998). For rectal cancers, the countries with the most rapid increases tend to be in Eastern Europe and Japan. In the United States, there has been a decline in incidence and mortality for several decades in females of both races and in white men, although a recent increase in rectal cancer is apparent in black males (Troisi et al., 1999).

The risk factors that could explain the geographical and temporal variations in colorectal cancer are likely numerous and interactive. The observed declines in distal cancer incidence in some Western populations may be the result of increasing detection and treatment of premalignant polyps, although some improvements in the quality of the diet in younger generations may explain the observation, notably in the United States and some European populations, and the result of cohort-led declines in incidence rates among younger age groups (Coleman et al., 1993). Where rates are increasing, in Asia and in Eastern Europe, a westernization of lifestyle may in part be responsible, particularly with respect to a Western diet. The rapid increases in some populations in Asia imply the importance of genetic susceptibility.

Uniform declines in rates during the last half century in most populations worldwide remain the central epidemiological feature of stomach cancer; the effect can be seen in both men (Figure 20) and women (Figure 21). While the decreases are more marked in more affluent countries, trends in those developing countries with suitable data also portray downward trends (Figures 20 and 21). The temporal profile is consistent with improved food preservation techniques and better nutrition, particularly the invention of refrigeration for the transport and storage of food, making obsolete salting, smoking, and pickling. There is also evidence that, at least in Western countries, there is a progressive decline in infection rates with Helicobacter pylori between successive birth cohorts, likely a result of continual changes within the childhood environment.

Cancer Research Paper

Some studies have reported that the declines in gastric cancer are restricted to intestinal-type adenocarcinoma, with rather stable incidence trends observed for the diffuse-type carcinomas. There has been particular interest in the distinct trends of cancers of the gastric cardia, where rising rates are observed in several populations (Powell et al., 2002). While explanations are not yet established, there have been concomitant increases in the prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the lower third of the esophagus. It is possible, therefore, that much of the increase in cardia incidence represents misclassification of cancers at the gastroesophageal junction (Ekstrom et al., 1999).

Cancer Research Paper

The large increases in prostate cancer incidence in highrisk countries shown in Figure 22 can be attributed mainly to increasing detection following transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), and, more recently, due to the use of PSA. In the United States, incidence rates were increasing slowly up to the 1980s (Figure 23), probably due to a genuine increase in risk, coupled with an increasing diagnosis of latent, asymptomatic cancers in prostatectomy specimens, due to the increasing use of TURP (Potosky et al., 1990). Beginning in 1986, and accelerating after 1988, there was a rapid increase in incidence, coinciding with the introduction of testing with PSA, allowing the detection of preclinical (asymptomatic) disease (Potosky et al., 1995).

Cancer Research Paper

Prostate cancer mortality rates in the United States had been increasing slowly since the 1970s (Figure 23). With the introduction of PSA screening, and the dramatic surge of incidence induced by it, there was an increase in the rate of increase in mortality, but this was very much less marked than the change in incidence. More recently (since 1992 in white men, 1994 in black men), mortality rates have decreased. The contribution that PSA screening and/or improved treatment has made to the slow, steady decline continues to be the subject of much debate. The increased mortality is probably partly due to miscertification of cause of death among the large number of men who had been diagnosed with latent prostate cancer in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The later decline may be partly attributable to a reversal of this effect; it seems unlikely that screening was entirely responsible. The lead-time (between screen detection and usual clinical presentation) would have to be very short, if screening were to have such a rapid effect on mortality. Similar mortality trends have been reported in Australia, Canada, the UK, France, and the Netherlands, although, in general, they are less pronounced, or occurred later, than in the United States. In some of the countries concerned (Canada, Australia), there has been considerable screening activity, but this is not the case in others where the falls in mortality are just as marked (France, Germany, Italy, UK) (Oliver et al., 2001).

Cancer Research Paper

Predictions of future cancer burden have become established tools in planning health policy and allocating future resources, as well as in measuring the success (or failure) of specific interventions. Commonly, predicted rates are obtained by extrapolating recent trends forward into the future via a simple statistical model, with the corresponding population projections applied to this to obtain the predicted number of cases. On a global scale, however, it is not easy, even for the major cancer sites, to predict burden in 2020 by such means. Historical patterns are not always a sound basis for future projections, and past trends of the common cancer forms are often different between and within world regions. Further, it is impossible to achieve in practical terms, given the insufficient availability of data for most of the world.

It is assumed, therefore, that current overall cancer incidence rates will be the same in 2020, with the predicted numbers presented by applying sex and age-specific population forecasts for the same year. Irrespective of changing risk, population growth and aging are extremely important in determining likely future burden, and demographic changes will continue to have major consequences over the next half century, particularly in the developing world. One illustrative scenario that allows for changing risk of several common cancers is also examined.

Table 6 displays the predicted number of new cases of all cancers based on the estimated incidence rates in 2002 applied to population projections in 2020. In the absence of changing risk or intervention, it is projected that by 2020, there will be about 15.8 million new cases of cancer worldwide, an approximately 45% increase from 2002. Three fifths of the total burden will reside in less developed regions as a result of a more rapid aging and population growth. The greatest relative increase in developing countries will occur among the elderly (defined here as aged 65 or over): An 80% increase is projected from the 2 million cases in 2002 to 3.7 million by 2020. Worldwide, roughly half of the predicted 5 million additional incident cases in 2020 will occur in this age group.

Cancer Research Paper

To give an indication of the impact of changing risk on future numbers, Table 7 shows the additional burden that would occur if the generally observed (increasing) breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer incidence trends and (decreasing) stomach cancer trends were to continue at a rate of growth/reduction of 1% per annum. While the increases are modest compared to the demographic component, a nearly 0.75 million additional new cases would be expected in 2020 given the combined 1% increases in breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer rates. This would be partially offset by a quarter million drop in incidence were stomach cancer rates to decline with the equivalent rate of change.

Cancer Research Paper

In practice, the net effect of time trends on future worldwide burden is difficult to guess. For several sites, trends are in different directions in different world regions and can change direction even on the short term, as has been observed for lung cancer in the last decade. The foreseeable demographic changes are projected to substantially increase the magnitude of global cancer incidence in the next decades. Other than making provisions for an older and disproportionately larger number of persons diagnosed with cancer within the developing regions, effective cancer control activities – including the capacity to reduce and nullify the tobacco epidemic – can limit its impact. This is particularly the case among the vast populations living in Asia, Africa, and South America, where the destructive effects of tobacco to health are beginning to be realized.


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  • Ferlay J, Bray F, Pisani P, and Parkin DM (2004) GLOBOCAN 2002: Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide. IARC Cancer Base N 5. Lyon, France: IARC.
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303 Cancer Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best cancer topic ideas & essay examples, 👍 good essay topics on cancer, 📌 most interesting cancer topics to write about, 💡 good research topics about cancer, ⭐ simple & easy cancer essay titles, 🔎 interesting topics to write about cancer, 💯 free cancer essay topic generator.

  • Case Management for Breast Cancer Patients In this respect, preventive measures should be taken in order to decrease the mortality rates all over the world in terms of cancer illness and breast cancer in particular.
  • Risk factors, staging, and treatment of breast cancer This is so because huge amounts of resources have been used in the research and the development of the breast cancer drugs that in effect help the body to combat the cancer by providing additional […]
  • Malevolence of Cancer: Pathogenesis and Treatment Options Administration of new and advanced drugs that are effective in killing cancer cells is also a step towards improving the treatment of cancer.
  • Healthcare Demographics of Prostate Cancer in the US Cancer in the United States is quite prevalent among the citizens and the disease mainly affects the minority groups, in comparison with the majority in the population.
  • Health Risks and Prevention: Cardiovascular Disease and Cancers In addition, African Americans men have a higher risk of prostate cancer just as it is with men with a family history of the cancer. CRP test is recommended for persons who are at the […]
  • Cancer treatment by Nanotechnology Nanotechnology will offer several advantages to the diagnosis, treatment and care of cancer patients in Saudi Arabia. Since nanotechnology is more efficient and fast in treating cancer, the future of cancer treatment in Saudi Arabia […]
  • Treatment Options for Breast Cancer This type of breast cancer manifests itself in the tubes/ducts which form the channel for transporting milk from the breast to the nipple.”Lobular carcinoma: this type of cancer usually begins in the milk producing regions […]
  • Breast Cancer Incidence and Ethnicity This paper explores the different rates of breast cancer incidence as far as the different ethnic groups in the US are concerned as well as the most probable way of reducing the rates of incidence […]

  • Radiation Therapy for Testicular Cancer The manner in which radiation is used to treat testicular cancer depends on the level of development of the cancerous tissue.
  • Breast Cancer Symptoms and Causes The mammogram is the first indication of breast cancer, even though other indications such as the presence of the lymph nodes in the armpits are also the early indications of breast cancer.
  • Breast Cancer Definition and Treatment In the case where “the cells which appear like breast cancer are still confined to the ducts or lobules of the breast, it is called pre-invasive breast cancer”.”The most widespread pre-invasive type of breast cancer […]
  • Breast Cancer: Disease Prevention The first indicator of breast cancer is the presence of a lump that feels like a swollen matter that is not tender like the rest of the breast tissues.
  • Prostate Cancer Treatment It is with such concerns that the issue of sexual treatment after prostate surgery has become meaningful and significant in the field of the psychology of sexuality.
  • Health Outcome of Tobacco Use: Lung Cancer Tobacco smoking takes so many lives each day, and the most terrible point with regard to this situation is that people are aware of that horrible statistics, but still, continue smoking; lung cancer, caused by […]
  • The Problem of Skin Cancer in Australia Generally the issue of skin cancer in Australia is widely known to people despite the fact that the cases have not been mitigated appropriately.
  • Asbestos and Rising Of Cancer The first category is made up of asbestos that is white in colour while the second is made up of asbestos that is blue in colour.
  • Medical Marijuana use for Terminal Colon Cancer The author hopes to use this paper to highlight the uses of marijuana in management of colon cancer at its terminal stage.
  • American Cancer Society History Its main duty is to ensure there is a reduction of the number of patients suffering from cancer and eradication of the disease as one of the major health problem faced by many Americans today.
  • International Expansion Strategy of Australia Cancer Care Hospital. Due to the high quality facilities in the hospital, the Australian market has proved not to be substantial; hence the need to expand and target other markets in the world so as to accomplish their […]
  • Descriptive Epidemiology of Cancer in the UK The figure below shows the number of newly diagnosed cancer cases in men and women in the United Kingdom, 2010. Figure 2 shows the standardized incidence and mortality rate of cancer cases in the United […]
  • Current Standing of Breast Cancer and its Effects on the Society It then places particular focus on the testing and treatment of breast cancer, the effects and conditions associated with it, from a financial point of view, and the possible improvements worth making in service or […]
  • Employing Cancer Vulnerability Reduction in Ukraine Identifying the younger groups from the older groups, who are more vulnerable In the area of identifying the young from the older generations, with reference to cancer vulnerability in Ukraine, it should be clearly understood […]
  • Stem Cell Therapy in Colorectal Cancer The novel therapeutic methods used against colorectal cancer stem cells ranges from antibodies and antibody constructs to engineered nanoparticles that target cancerous stem cells in the colon.
  • Health Information Seeking and Breast Cancer Diagnosis Emotional support is also concerned with the kind of information given to patients and how the information is conveyed. It is equally significant to underscore the role of information in handling breast cancer patients immediately […]
  • Gallbladder Cancer, its Causes and Rates Age escalates the progression of gallstones into gallbladder cancer because of the time it takes for symptoms of the latter to appear.
  • Explanation of Cancer Disease This leads to numerous types of cancers depending on the part of the body where they form. Indicators of cancers depend on the location of the malignant cells.
  • Technologies: Improving the MD Anderson Cancer Center Website When implementing SEO in the Google search, it is necessary to revise the algorithms constantly for the search result of the MD Anderson Cancer Center website to remain at the top.
  • Breast Cancer Public Relations Campaign Audiences It is clear that the breast cancer campaign will target at women in their 30-40s as this is one of the most vulnerable categories of women as they often pay little attention to the […]
  • Lung Cancer Disease and Prevention Methods Lung cancer is a common and deadly form of cancer characterized by the development of cancerous cells in the lungs of the individual. Lung cancer is the type of cancer characterized by the development of […]
  • Prevention of Cancer: Good Nutrition and Positive Behavior The reason why nutrition has been associated with the risk of cancer is because of the various studies that show variation in cancer incidences based on time and place.
  • Skin Cancer: Types and Cells of Origin Skin cancer is very often considered a disease connected with the cell cycle, although it is not actually the case, as cancer cells can easily grow and divide.
  • Women Healthcare: Breast Cancer Reducing the levels of myoferlin alters the breast cancer cells’ mechanical properties, as it is evident from the fact that the shape and ability of breast cancer cells to spread is low with reduced production […]
  • The Effectiveness of Music for Cancer Patients The first group enjoyed a 15 minutes’ music session before commencement of the treatment while the other group never enjoyed such music and the patients were only left to rest waiting for the treatment.
  • Breast Cancer: Treatment and Rehabilitation Options Depending on the site of occurrence, breast cancer can form ductal carcinomas and lobular carcinomas if they occur in the ducts and lobules of the breast, respectively. Breast cancer and treatment methods have significant effects […]
  • American Cancer Society’ Social Media Networks Usage The report will provide information on how ACS has utilized Facebook and Twitter services to communicate to its stakeholders. This has led to considerable communication between the stakeholders and the organization.
  • The Internet Use at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital As explained in the previous section, the hospital’s website provides access to a lot of information about its services and activities.
  • Cancer Patient’s Autonomy and Medical Ethics However, there is the need to distinguish between the right of access to treatment and the respect of autonomy to reject treatment.
  • Healthcare Research: Bladder Cancer Independent Variables Thus, the dependent variable for the study was bladder cancer, while the independent variables were age category, alcohol consumption, and level of income.
  • Breast Cancer Screening Among Non-Adherent Women This is one of the aspects that can be identified. This is one of the short-comings that can be singled out, and this particular model may not be fully appropriate in this context.
  • Cancer Disease and Its Impact The symptoms of the disease vary greatly, depending on the size of the tumor, location of the tumor, and the manner in which the tumor spreads.
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Among African Americans There are reasons that motivate women to seek mammography for example the belief that early detection will enable them treat the cancer in early stages, and their trust for the safety of mammogram. Social marketing […]
  • Cancer Patients’ Financial Status and Life Quality The article’s main issue is the existence of financial strains, which affect the quality of life amongst the aged people dying with cancer.
  • Jordanian Breast Cancer Survival Rates in 1997-2002 This objective came from the realization that the best way to test the efficacy of breast cancer treatment and to uncover intervening factors influencing the efficacy of these treatments was to investigate the rates of […]
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease and Stomach Cancer Diagnostics The main idea of this paper is to dwell upon peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer, the causes of the diseases, signs and symptoms, and how the diseases are diagnosed.
  • Breast Cancer Patients’ Functions and Suitable Jobs The key symptom of breast cancer is the occurrence of a protuberance in the breast. A screening mammography, scrutiny of the patient’s family history and a breast examination help in the diagnosis of breast cancer.
  • Palliative Care for Adult Patients with Cancer Because of the frequent painful experiences of the target population, it is crucial to develop a homogenous approach that will lead to the long-awaited relief and help improve the quality of the patients’ life.
  • Palliative Care for Adult Cancer Patients Therefore, the fact that the key variables of the study will have to be compared needs to be brought up. As the table below shows, it will be crucial to spend a large amount of […]
  • Palliative Care for Cancer Patients: Search Strategies In adult patients with cancer pain, what is the significance of receiving palliative care from the palliative care team when compared to conventional care practice in terms of pain intensity reduction and improved pain management […]
  • Obesity as a Risk Factor for Uterine Cancer The number of obese people in the United States is on the rise. This is the case because the current trends in obesity have led to more cases of cancer.
  • Breast Cancer Patients’ Life Quality and Wellbeing The article “Complementary Exercise and Quality of Life in Patients with Breast Cancer” examines the role of complementary exercises towards improving the lives of women with breast cancer.
  • Skin Cancer in Australia and Health Campaign According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the incidence of skin cancer in Australia is the highest in the world.
  • Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Laboratory Tests First, the size of the prostate and second the consistency of the prostate. Prostate cancer sets in as a result of benign enlargement of the prostate.
  • Cervical Cancer, Its Nature and Symptoms However, the incidence rate has reduced by half in the last three decades owing to the extensive endorsement of the Papanicolaou test and the removal of precancerous cells.
  • Colorectal Cancer, Diagnosis and Treatment Plan The role of the colon is to absorb nutrients and water from the stool before it is excreted from the body.
  • Cancer Epidemiology Among Chinese Americans The scholars argue that the Chinese Americans as well as other represantatives of the Asian nations living in the United States are prone to cancer due to the mix of the internal and external factors. […]
  • Prostate Cancer, Its Genetics and Prevention Methods Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that develops in men and that affects the prostate. It is not possible to prevent genetics from initiating the development of prostate cancer because mutations occur in genes […]
  • Organic Foods Consumption and Cancer Prevention It should also be stressed that the potential impact of the proposed research will contribute to the field of nutrition in disease prevention.
  • Testicular Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment It develops in the testicles, and its symptoms include painless lumps or swellings in the testicles, fluid buildup in the scrotum, pain around the groin area, and discomfort in the scrotum. Several methods and approaches […]
  • Cervical Cancer: Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy Understanding the role of imaging and radiation therapy in the diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer is important, especially for effective prevention and management.
  • Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign It may also need more time to be implemented as the development of the advertisement, and all visuals will take time.
  • Cervical Cancer and Risk Factors The development of the illness can be provoked by the background diseases which lead to the transformation of the vaginal part of the cervix: polyps, papillomas, cervicitis, erosions and others.
  • Gastric Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Gastric cancer or cancer of the stomach occurs when normal cells of the stomach change to become cancerous cells. This type of gastric cancer is usually as a result of problems that are caused by […]
  • Gua Sha in Cancer Therapy Against Myalgia Despite the fact that the use of convenience sampling may have contributed to the creation of research biases, the choice of the Laser Doppler imaging as the means of retrieving the relevant data along with […]
  • Prostate Cancer and Age-Related Risk Factors Prostate cancer is one of the types of cancer that have various treatment options. The prognosis for prostate cancer is dependent on the grade group and stage of development.
  • Prostate Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment As the name suggests, the condition attacks the prostate, which is a gland found in the male reproductive system. It will change the misperception that prostate cancer is a disease of the elderly.
  • Cancer and Women’s and Men’s Health Statistics from the American Cancer Society indicate that the number of women and men suffering from breast and prostate cancer respectively, is rising.
  • The Role of Epigenetics in Cancer: Contributors to the Formation of Cancer Tumors The methyl groups used in the study were based on human genome motifs and were previously shown to be associated with the silencing of genes and methylation in the development of humans [3].
  • Screening for Breast Cancer The main goal of this paper is to describe the specific set of clinical circumstances under which the application of screening is the most beneficial for women aged 40 to 74 years.
  • Epigenetics and Its Role in Cancer Detection and Prevention Epigenetics is a branch of biology which is concerned with studying the changes in the expression of genes that occur not due to the changes in the DNA itself, but because of the conditions in […]
  • Children with Cancer and Schooling Challenges The rationale for the study was to identify what society has done to meet the social needs of children with cancer.
  • Nursing for Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer Patient It also discusses the appropriateness of hospice care for the patient and the skills needed to assist the patient and the family in handling the situation.
  • Community-Based Participatory Research on Cancer CBPR is a joint study of a particular problem where all the members of the partnership program work on analyzing the progress of all the stages of the research process.
  • Protein Diet, Telomere Length, and Cancer Based on the premise that cancerous cells rely on the process of glycolysis in generating high energy, Ho et al.undertook a study to determine the effect of diets with low carbohydrate and high protein and […]
  • Cancer Treatment Effects on Sexual Function The purpose of the research is to discover the influence that cancer treatment has on sexual function. Hunter refers to the analysis of the influence of cervical cancer treatment on the sexual function and intimate […]
  • Children with Cancer and Their Social Activities Therefore, the main objective of the proposed research study is to find a relevant and accurate answer to the following research question: What is the connection between childhood cancer and the social activities of those […]
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Plan Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lower part of the uterus known as the cervix. The presence of these cells in the cervix is an indication that a woman may be […]
  • Air Pollution as a Factor for Renal Cancer Therefore, to prevent renal cancer, it is crucial to examine the primary causes and look for better strategies to curb the issue.
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Innovative approaches for cancer treatment: current perspectives and new challenges

Carlotta pucci.

1 Smart Bio-Interfaces, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, 56025 Pisa, Italy

a https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8976-3711

Chiara Martinelli

b https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9360-1689

Gianni Ciofani

2 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Italy

c https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1192-3647

Every year, cancer is responsible for millions of deaths worldwide and, even though much progress has been achieved in medicine, there are still many issues that must be addressed in order to improve cancer therapy. For this reason, oncological research is putting a lot of effort towards finding new and efficient therapies which can alleviate critical side effects caused by conventional treatments. Different technologies are currently under evaluation in clinical trials or have been already introduced into clinical practice. While nanomedicine is contributing to the development of biocompatible materials both for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, bioengineering of extracellular vesicles and cells derived from patients has allowed designing ad hoc systems and univocal targeting strategies. In this review, we will provide an in-depth analysis of the most innovative advances in basic and applied cancer research.


Cancer is one of the main causes of death worldwide, and in the past decade, many research studies have focused on finding new therapies to reduce the side effects caused by conventional therapies.

During cancer progression, tumours become highly heterogeneous, creating a mixed population of cells characterised by different molecular features and diverse responsivity to therapies. This heterogeneity can be appreciated both at spatial and temporal levels and is the key factor responsible for the development of resistant phenotypes promoted by a selective pressure upon treatment administration [ 1 ]. Usually, cancer is treated as a global and homogeneous disease and tumours are considered as a whole population of cells. Thus, a deep understanding of these complex phenomena is of fundamental importance in order to design precise and efficient therapies.

Nanomedicine offers a versatile platform of biocompatible and biodegradable systems that are able to deliver conventional chemotherapeutic drugs in vivo , increasing their bioavailability and concentration around tumour tissues, and improving their release profile [ 2 ]. Nanoparticles can be exploited for different applications, ranging from diagnosis to therapy [ 2 ].

Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs), responsible for cancer development, microenvironment modification and required for metastatic progression, have been widely investigated as efficient drug delivery vehicles [ 3 ].

Natural antioxidants and many phytochemicals have been recently introduced as anti-cancer adjuvant therapies due to their anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic properties [ 4 , 5 ].

Targeted therapy is another branch of cancer therapy aiming at targeting a specific site, such as tumour vasculature or intracellular organelles, leaving the surroundings unaffected. This enormously increases the specificity of the treatment, reducing its drawbacks [ 6 ].

Another promising opportunity relies on gene therapy and expression of genes triggering apoptosis [ 7 ] and wild type tumour suppressors [ 8 ], or the targeted silencing mediated by siRNAs, currently under evaluation in many clinical trials worldwide [ 9 ].

Thermal ablation of tumours and magnetic hyperthermia are opening new opportunities for precision medicine, making the treatment localised in very narrow and precise areas. These methods could be a potential substitute for more invasive practices, such as surgery [ 10 , 11 ].

Furthermore, new fields such as radiomics and pathomics are contributing to the development of innovative approaches for collecting big amounts of data and elaborate new therapeutic strategies [ 12 , 13 ] and predict accurate responses, clinical outcome and cancer recurrence [ 14 – 16 ].

Taken all together, these strategies will be able to provide the best personalised therapies for cancer patients, highlighting the importance of combining multiple disciplines to get the best outcome.

In this review, we will provide a general overview of the most advanced basic and applied cancer therapies, as well as newly proposed methods that are currently under investigation at the research stage that should overcome the limitation of conventional therapies; different approaches to cancer diagnosis and therapy and their current status in the clinical context will be discussed, underlining their impact as innovative anti-cancer strategies.


Nanoparticles are small systems (1–1,000 nm in size) with peculiar physicochemical properties due to their size and high surface-to-volume ratio [ 17 ]. Biocompatible nanoparticles are used in cancer medicine to overcome some of the issues related to conventional therapies, such as the low specificity and bioavailability of drugs or contrast agents [ 2 ]. Therefore, encapsulation of the active agents in nanoparticles will increase their solubility/biocompatibility, their stability in bodily fluids and retention time in the tumour vasculature [ 18 – 20 ]. Furthermore, nanoparticles can be engineered to be extremely selective for a precise target [ 21 , 22 ] (see the “Targeted therapy and immunotherapy” section) and to release the drug in a controlled way by responding to a specific stimulus [ 18 , 23 – 25 ]. This is the case of ThermoDox, a liposomal formulation that can release doxorubicin as a response to an increment of temperature [ 26 ].

Inorganic nanoparticles are generally used as contrast agents for diagnosis purposes. Among them, quantum dots are small light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals with peculiar electronic and optical properties, which make them highly fluorescent, resistant to photobleaching and sensitive for detection and imaging purposes [ 27 ]. Combined with active ingredients, they can be promising tools for theranostic applications [ 27 ]. In a recent study, quantum dots coated with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) were conjugated to anti-HER2 antibody and localised in specific tumour cells [ 28 ].

Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are usually exploited as contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because they interact with magnetic fields [ 29 , 30 ]. Five types of SPIONs have been tested for MRI: ferumoxides (Feridex in the US, Endorem in Europe), ferucarbotran (Resovist), ferucarbotran C (Supravist, SHU 555 C), ferumoxtran-10 (Combidex) and NC100150 (Clariscan). Ferucarbotran is currently available in few countries, while the others have been removed from the market [ 25 ]. SPIONs have also been studied for cancer treatment by magnetic hyperthermia (see the “Thermal ablation and magnetic hyperthermia” section), and a formulation of iron oxide coated with aminosilane called Nanotherm has been already approved for the treatment of glioblastoma [ 31 ].

Gold nanoparticles have raised interest because of their optical and electrical properties and low toxicity [ 32 – 34 ]. They are mainly used as contrast agents for X-ray imaging, computed tomography [ 25 ], photoacoustic imaging [ 35 ] and photodynamic therapy [ 36 ]. A nanoshell made of a silica core and a gold shell coated with PEG was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 and commercialised as AuroShell (Nanospectra) for the treatment of breast cancer by photodynamic therapy [ 25 ].

Organic nanoparticles are mainly used as delivery systems for drugs. Liposomes and micelles are both made of phospholipids, but they differ in their morphology. Liposomes are spherical particles having at least one lipid bilayer, resembling the structure of cell membranes. They are mainly used to encapsulate hydrophilic drugs in their aqueous core, but hydrophobic drugs can also be accommodated in the bilayer or chemically attached to the particles [ 37 ]. Micelles, instead, own a hydrophobic core that can encapsulate hydrophobic drugs [ 38 ]. Doxil, doxorubicin-loaded PEGylated liposomes, were the first nanoparticles approved by the FDA in 1995 to treat AIDS-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma [ 39 ]. This formulation drastically reduces doxorubicin side effects. Since then, other liposomal formulations have been approved by the FDA for cancer therapy, such as Myocet and DaunoXome [ 40 – 42 ]. Polymeric nanoparticles are made of biocompatible or natural polymers, such as poly(lactide-co-glycolide), poly(ε-caprolactone), chitosan, alginate and albumin [ 43 ]. Some formulations have already been accepted by the FDA, such as Abraxane (albumin-paclitaxel particles for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma) and Ontak (an engineered protein combining interleukin-2 and diphtheria toxins for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s peripheral T-cell lymphomas).

As well as these systems, which have been either accepted or are under clinical investigation, it is worth mentioning some new nanoparticles currently undergoing testing at the research level, which should improve treatment performance. For example, solid lipid nanoparticles, made of lipids that are solid at body temperature [ 44 ], and fabricated to load hydrophobic drugs [ 45 ] have been demonstrated to give a higher drug stability and prolonged release compared to other systems; however, the encapsulation efficiency is often low because of their high crystallinity [ 46 ]. To overcome this issue, one or more lipids, liquid at room temperature (like oleic acid, for example), are included in the formulation [ 47 ]. Lipid nanoparticles are good candidates for brain tumour therapy as they are able to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) [ 48 ]. A recent work showed that lipid nanoparticles loaded with SPIONs and temozolomide are efficient to treat glioblastoma since they combine the effect of the conventional chemotherapy and hyperthermia [ 49 , 50 ]. Dendrimers are another family of nanoparticles composed of polymers with a repetitive branched structure and characterised by a globular morphology [ 51 , 52 ]. Their architecture can be easily controlled, making their structure extremely versatile for many applications. For example, some recent studies show that poly-L-lysine (PLL) dendrimers loaded with doxorubicin induce anti-angiogenic responses in in vivo tumour models [ 53 ]. Currently, there is only one clinical trial for a formulation named ImDendrim based on a dendrimer and on a rhenium complex coupled to an imidazolium ligand, for the treatment of inoperable liver cancers that do not respond to conventional therapies [ 54 ].

Extracellular vesicles for cancer diagnosis and therapy

EVs are classified in two categories based on their biogenesis. Specifically, exosomes are small vesicles of around 30–150 nm originated from endosomes in physiological and pathological conditions and released by a fusion of multivesicular bodies (MVBs) to the cell membrane [ 55 , 56 ], while shed microvesicles (sMVs), with a typical size of 50–1,300 nm, are present in almost any extracellular bodily fluid and are responsible for the exchange of molecular materials between cells [ 57 , 58 ]. Exosomes are involved in cancer development and spreading [ 3 , 59 , 60 ], in the bidirectional communication between tumour cells and surrounding tissues, and in the construction of the microenvironment needed for pre-metastatic niche establishment and metastatic progression [ 61 ]. Hence, circulating vesicles are clinically relevant in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and follow up. Exosomes are actually recognised as valid diagnostic tools, but they can also be isolated and exploited as anti-cancer vaccines or nanosized drug carriers in cancer therapy [ 62 ].

Nowadays, one of the main issues in cancer diagnosis is the early identification of biomarkers by non-invasive techniques. Obtaining a significant amount of information, before and during tumour treatment, should allow the monitoring of cancer progression and the efficacy of therapeutic regimens. Liquid biopsies to detect circulating tumour cells, RNAs, DNAs and exosomes have been used as indicators for personalised medicine [ 63 ]. In recent years, exosomes detection has been validated as a reliable tool for preclinical practice in different cancer types [ 64 ], thanks to the identification of their content: double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) [ 65 , 66 ], messenger RNA (mRNA), micro RNA (miRNA), long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) [ 67 ], proteins and lipids [ 68 ]. DsDNA has been detected in exosomes isolated from plasma and serum of different cancer cell types, and mutated genes involved in tumorigenesis, such as mutated KRAS and TP53 [ 69 , 70 ], have been identified as disease predictors. Similarly, exosomal AR-V7 mRNA has been used as a prognostic marker of resistance to hormonal therapy in metastatic prostate cancer patients [ 71 ]. Gene expression profiling of multiple RNAs from urinary exosomes has been adopted as an efficient diagnostic tool [ 72 ]. LncRNAs isolated from serum exosomes have been exploited for disease prognosis in colorectal cancer patients [ 73 ], and multiple miRNAs allow one to distinguish between different lung cancer subtypes [ 74 ]. GPC1-positive exosomes have been employed to detect pancreatic cancer [ 75 ], while circulating exosomal macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) was able to predict liver metastasis onset [ 76 ]. Finally, multiple lipids present in urinary exosomes have been approved as prostate cancer indicators [ 77 ]. Due to the high variability of patient classes and sample size, and in order to obtain clinically significant results for a fast and effective diagnosis, huge investments in exosome research will be required in the near future.

Exosomes could also be exploited as natural, biocompatible and low immunogenic nanocarriers for drug delivery in cancer therapy. They can be passively loaded by mixing purified vesicles with small drugs [ 78 – 82 ], or actively loaded by means of laboratory techniques, such as electroporation and sonication [ 83 , 84 ]. Superparamagnetic nanoparticles conjugated to transferrin have been tested for the isolation of exosomes expressing transferrin receptor from mice blood. After incubation with doxorubicin, they have been used to target liver cancer cells in response to external magnetic fields, inhibiting cell growth both in vitro and in vivo [ 80 ]. Kim et al. [ 83 ] engineered mouse macrophage-derived exosomes with aminoethyl anisamide-PEG to target sigma receptor, overexpressed in lung cancer cells and passively loaded them with paclitaxel. These systems acted as targeting agents able to suppress metastatic growth in vivo .

Three clinical trials with loaded exosomes are currently ongoing for the treatment of different tumours [ 85 – 87 ]: a phase I trial is evaluating the ability of exosomes to deliver curcumin to normal and colon cancer tissues [ 85 ]; a phase II trial is investigating the in vivo performance of autologous tumour cell-derived microparticles carrying methotrexate in lung cancer patients [ 86 ] and a clinical inquiry is focusing on autologous erythrocyte-derived microparticles loaded with methotrexate for gastric, colorectal and ovarian cancer treatment [ 87 ].

Recently, new strategies to produce ad hoc exosomes have been developed. Cells releasing exosomes have been genetically engineered to overexpress specific macromolecules, or modified to release exosomes with particular targeting molecules [ 88 – 90 ].

Exosomes derived from different cancer cells have already been exploited as cancer vaccines. Autologous dendritic cell-derived exosomes with improved immunostimulatory function have been tested in a phase II clinical trial for the activation of CD8 + T cells [ 91 ] in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, observing disease stabilisation and a better overall survival [ 92 ]. In a phase I trial, ascites-derived exosomes supplemented with granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) have been administered to colorectal cancer patients, soliciting a tumour-specific immune response [ 93 ].

Many issues related to exosomes clinical translation remain open and are mostly connected to the definition of preclinical procedures for isolation, quantification, storage and standard protocols for drug loading. It is becoming even more necessary to distinguish between tumour and healthy blood cell-derived vesicles to characterise their post-isolation half-life and to perform standard content analyses. For these purposes, innovative approaches and technologies have been set up, such as microarrays and specific monoclonal antibodies and RNA markers amplification strategies [ 94 ].

Natural antioxidants in cancer therapy

Every day, the human body undergoes several exogenous insults, such as ultraviolet (UV) rays, air pollution and tobacco smoke, which result in the production of reactive species, especially oxidants and free radicals, responsible for the onset of many diseases, including cancer. These molecules can also be produced as a consequence of clinical administration of drugs, but they are also naturally created inside our cells and tissues by mitochondria and peroxisomes, and from macrophages metabolism, during normal physiological aerobic processes.

Oxidative stress and radical oxygen species are able to damage DNA (genetic alterations, DNA double strand breaks and chromosomal aberrations [ 95 , 96 ]) and other bio-macromolecules [ 97 ], such as lipids (membrane peroxidation and necrosis [ 98 ]) and proteins (significantly changing the regulation of transcription factors and, as a consequence, of essential metabolic pathways [ 99 ]).

The protective mechanisms our body has developed against these molecules are sometimes insufficient to counteract the huge damages produced. Recently, in addition to research into the roles of the physiological enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GP), natural antioxidants such as vitamins, polyphenols and plant-derived bioactive compounds are being studied in order to introduce them as preventive agents and potential therapeutic drugs [ 100 , 101 ]. These molecules have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and are found in many vegetables and spices [ 102 ]. Vitamins, alkaloids, flavonoids, carotenoids, curcumin, berberine, quercetin and many other compounds have been screened in vitro and tested in vivo , displaying appreciable anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic properties, and have been introduced as complementary therapies for cancer [ 4 , 5 , 103 ].

Despite the advantages of using natural drugs, their translation into clinical practice remains difficult due to their limited bioavailability and/or toxicity. Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound extracted from turmeric ( Curcuma longa ), is a traditional Southeast Asian remedy with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and chemopreventive and therapeutic activities [ 104 ]. It has been shown to have cytotoxic effects in different kinds of tumours, such as brain, lung, leukaemia, pancreatic and hepatocellular carcinoma [ 105 , 106 ], with no adverse effects in normal cells at the effective therapeutic doses [ 107 ]. Curcumin can modulate a plethora of cellular mechanisms [ 108 , 109 ]; however, its biological properties, and as a consequence, the treatment duration and the efficient therapeutic doses, have not been completely elucidated yet. This molecule is highly lipophilic, poorly soluble in water and not very stable [ 110 ]. Different strategies and specific carriers, such as liposomes and micelles [ 111 , 112 ], have been developed to improve its bioavailability. Currently, 24 clinical trials involving curcumin are ongoing and 23 have been already completed [ 113 ].

Berberine is an alkaloid compound extracted from different plants, such as Berberis . Recently, it has been demonstrated to be effective against different tumours and to act as a chemopreventive agent, modulating many signalling pathways [ 114 , 115 ]. Like curcumin, it is poorly soluble in water; therefore, different nanotechnological strategies have been developed to facilitate its delivery across cell membranes [ 116 – 119 ]; six clinical trials are open and one has been completed [ 120 ].

Quercetin, a polyphenolic flavonoid found in fruits and vegetable, has been proven to be effective to treat several tumours, such as lung, prostate, liver, colon and breast cancers [ 121 – 123 ], by binding cellular receptors and interfering with many signalling pathways [ 124 ]. Interestingly, it has been shown to be effective also in combination with chemotherapeutic agents [ 125 ]. Presently, seven clinical trials are open and four have been completed [ 126 ].

Targeted therapy and immunotherapy

One of the main problems of conventional cancer therapy is the low specificity of chemotherapeutic drugs for cancer cells. In fact, most drugs act both on healthy and diseased tissues, generating severe side effects. Researchers are putting a lot of effort into finding a way to target only the desired site. Nanoparticles have raised great interest for their tendency to accumulate more in tumour tissues due to the enhanced permeability and retention effect (EPR) [ 127 ]. This process, called passive targeting, relies on the small size of nanoparticles and the leaky vasculature and impaired lymphatic drainage of neoplastic tissues [ 6 ]. Passive targeting, however, is difficult to control and can induce multidrug resistance (MDR) [ 128 ]. Active targeting, on the other hand, enhances the uptake by tumour cells by targeting specific receptors that are overexpressed on them [ 129 , 130 ]. Nanoparticles, for example, can be functionalized with ligands that univocally bind particular cells or subcellular sites [ 6 ]. Several kinds of ligands can be used, such as small molecules, peptides, proteins, aptamers and antibodies.

Folic acid and biotin are small molecules, whose receptors are overexpressed in tumour tissues. Several nanocarriers have been functionalized with folic acid to target ovarian and endometrial cancers [ 131 ]: folic acid-conjugated polyethylene glycol-poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles delivering docetaxel increased drug cellular uptake by human cervical carcinoma cells [ 132 ]. Small ligands are cheap and can be linked to nanoparticles by simple conjugation chemistry [ 133 , 134 ].

Different kinds of small peptides and proteins are also effective in active targeting. Angiopep-2 is a peptide that has raised great interest in the treatment of brain cancer [ 135 ], because it binds to low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP1) of endothelial cells in the BBB, and it is also overexpressed in glioblastoma cancer cells [ 136 ]. Bombesin peptide conjugated to poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles loaded with docetaxel was used to target the gastrin-releasing peptide receptor, overexpressed on cell surface of prostate, breast, ovarian, pancreatic and colorectal cancer cells [ 137 , 138 ]. Transferrin is a serum glycoprotein overexpressed on many solid tumours, especially on glioblastoma multiforme cells [ 139 ], and on epithelial cells of the BBB [ 6 , 140 ]. Transferrin-conjugated chitosan-PEG nanoparticles delivering paclitaxel exhibited a higher cytotoxicity towards transferrin-overexpressing human non-small cell lung cancer cells (NSCLCs) (HOP-62) [ 141 ].

Aptamers are small synthetic single-stranded RNA or DNA oligonucleotides folded into specific shapes that make them capable of binding specific targets [ 142 ]. Farokhzad et al. [ 143 ] reported that the use of A10 RNA aptamer conjugated to docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles significantly enhances in vitro cytotoxicity. The same aptamer has been also used to prepare quantum dot-doxorubicin conjugates [ 144 ].

Antibodies are currently the most exploited ligands for active targeting. These proteins have a typical ‘Y’ shape, where the two arms are responsible for the selective interaction with the antigen [ 145 ]. Antibodies can be used as immunoconjugates, when conjugated to a drug or nanoparticle, or naked. In the first case, their function is mainly to target a specific antigen overexpressed on cancer cells. Antibodies used for this purpose include those ones that bind to the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), the transferrin receptor (TfR) and the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) [ 6 ]. Rapamycin-PLGA nanoparticle conjugated to EGFR antibody exhibited higher cellular uptake by human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7), with enhanced apoptotic activity [ 146 ]. Loperamide-loaded human serum albumin nanoparticles conjugated to antibodies that specifically bind transferrin receptor successfully crossed the BBB and delivered the drug to the desired site [ 147 ].

Naked antibodies or immunoconjugates can also be used in immunotherapy, which is a cancer treatment that aims at stimulating or restoring the immune system of the patient against cancer cells [ 148 ]. Antibodies can act as markers for cancer cells to make them more vulnerable to the immune system response (non-specific immune stimulation), or as inhibitors for immune checkpoint proteins on cancer cell surface, that can modulate the action of T-cells [ 148 ]. Several antibodies have been already tested and accepted by FDA for immunotherapy, such as rituximab (1997, [ 149 ]), ibritumomab tiuxetan (2002, [ 150 ]), trastuzumab emtansine (2013, [ 151 ]), nivolumab (2014, [ 152 ]) and pembrolizumab (2014, [ 153 ]).

Immunotherapy can be achieved by another strategy called adoptive cell transfer (ACT) and it consists of isolating T-lymphocytes (T-cells) with the highest activity against cancer directly from the patient’s blood, expanding them ex vivo , and reinfusing them again into the patient [ 154 ]. Autologous T-cells can be genetically engineered in vitro to express a chimaeric antigen receptor (CAR), which makes them more specific against cancer cell antigens [ 148 ]. Different CARs can be designed to be directed against a certain cancer antigen. The genetic modification of T-cells can be achieved by different methods such as viral transduction, non-viral methods like DNA-based transposons, CRISPR/Cas9 or other plasmid DNA and mRNA transfer techniques (i.e., electroporation, encapsulation in nanoparticles) [ 155 ]. ACT protocols have been already adopted in clinical practice for advanced or recurrent acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and for some aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma [ 148 ]. For example, it has been shown that the treatment of end-stage patients affected by acute lymphocytic leukaemia with CAR T-cells led to a full recovery in up to 92% of patients [ 155 ]. Despite these very promising results, much research is currently devoted to understanding the long-term side effects of CAR T-cell therapies and their fate within tumours, and to improving CAR T-cell expansion technologies.

Gene therapy for cancer treatment

Gene therapy is intended as the introduction of a normal copy of a defective gene in the genome in order to cure specific diseases [ 156 ]. The first application dates back to 1990 when a retroviral vector was exploited to deliver the adenosine deaminase (ADA) gene to T-cells in patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) [ 157 ]. Further research demonstrated that gene therapy could be applied in many human rare and chronic disorders and, most importantly, in cancer treatment. Approximately 2,900 gene therapy clinical trials are currently ongoing, 66.6% of which are related to cancer [ 158 ]. Different strategies are under evaluation for cancer gene therapy: 1) expression of pro-apoptotic [ 159 , 160 ] and chemo-sensitising genes [ 4 ]; 2) expression of wild type tumour suppressor genes [ 5 ]; 3) expression of genes able to solicit specific antitumour immune responses and 4) targeted silencing of oncogenes.

One approach relied on thymidine kinase (TK) gene delivery, followed by administration of prodrug ganciclovir to activate its expression and induce specific cytotoxicity [ 161 ]. This has been clinically translated for the treatment of prostate cancer and glioma [ 162 – 164 ]. In recent decades, different vectors carrying the p53 tumour suppressor gene have been evaluated for clinical applications. ONYX-015 has been tested in NSCLC patients and gave a high response rate when administered alone or together with chemotherapy [ 165 ]. Gendicine, a recombinant adenovirus carrying wild-type p53 in head and neck squamous cell cancer had a similar success, inducing complete disease regression when combined with radiotherapy [ 166 ].

Despite many achievements, there are still some challenges to face when dealing with gene therapy, such as the selection of the right conditions for optimal expression levels and the choice of the best delivery system to univocally target cancer cells. Gene therapy also presents some drawbacks linked to genome integration, limited efficacy in specific subsets of patients and high chances of being neutralised by the immune system. Therefore, particular interest has been elicited by targeted gene silencing approaches.

RNA interference (RNAi) has been recently established as an efficient technology both for basic research and medical translation. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) consist of double-stranded RNAs [ 167 ] able to produce targeted gene silencing. This process is intracellularly mediated by the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), responsible for cleaving the messenger RNA (mRNA), thus leading to interference with protein synthesis [ 168 ]. This physiological mechanism has been demonstrated in many eukaryotes, including animals. A few years after RNAi discovery, the first clinical application for wet-age related macular degeneration treatment entered phase I clinical trial [ 169 ]. Since cancer is triggered by precise molecular mechanisms, siRNAs can be rationally designed to block desired targets responsible for cell proliferation and metastatic invasion. This strategy relies on siRNA-mediated gene silencing of anti-apoptotic proteins [ 170 ], transcription factors (i.e., c-myc gene) [ 171 , 172 ] or cancer mutated genes (i.e., K-RAS ) [ 173 ]. Most of the clinical trials currently ongoing are based on local administration of siRNA oligonucleotides in a specific tissue/organ or on systemic delivery throughout the entire body [ 9 , 174 ]. Using siRNA-based drugs has several advantages: 1) safety, since they do not interact with the genome; 2) high efficacy, because only small amounts can produce a dramatic gene downregulation; 3) possibility of being designed for any specific target; 4) fewer side effects when compared to conventional therapies and 5) low costs of production [ 175 , 176 ]. However, siRNAs are relatively unstable in vivo and can be phagocytosed during blood circulation, excreted by renal filtration, or undergo enzymatic degradation [ 177 ]. Occasionally, they can induce off-target effects [ 178 ] or elicit innate immune responses, followed by specific inflammation [ 179 , 180 ]. Since naked siRNAs are negatively charged hydrophilic molecules, they cannot spontaneously cross cell membranes. Consequently, different delivery strategies are currently under study, such as chemical modification, encapsulation into lipid or polymeric carriers or conjugation with organic molecules (polymers, peptides, lipids, antibodies, small molecules [ 181 ], for efficient targeting [ 182 , 183 ]). Chemical modifications include the insertion of a phosphorothioate at 3’ end to reduce exonuclease degradation [ 184 ], the introduction of 2’ O-methyl group to obtain longer half-life in plasma [ 185 ] and the modification by 2,4-dinitrophenol to favour membrane permeability [ 186 ]. Nevertheless, the degradation of modified siRNAs often elicits cytotoxic effects; therefore, it is preferable to design ad hoc nanocarriers.

Different cationic lipid nanoparticles, such as liposomes, micelles and solid lipid nanoparticles [ 183 ], have been exploited for siRNA loading. Cationic liposomes interact with negatively charged nucleic acids, which can be easily transfected by simple electrostatic interactions [ 187 , 188 ]. They can be constituted by 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium propane (DOTAP) and N-{1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy) propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium methyl sulphate (DOTMA) [ 189 ]. A theranostic agent consisting of an anticancer survivin siRNA entrapped in PEGylated liposomes has been developed to achieve simultaneous localisation inside tumour cells by means of entrapped MR agents and fluorophores and reduction of proliferation in vivo [ 190 ].

Neutral liposomes based on 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC) have shown high efficacy in mice models of ovarian carcinoma and colorectal cancer [ 191 , 192 ]. A phase I clinical trial is currently recruiting patients for evaluating the safety of siRNA-EphA2-DOPC when administered to patients with advanced and recurrent cancer [ 193 ].

Stable nucleic acid lipid particles (SNALPs) have been evaluated in non-human primates [ 194 ]. SiRNAs have been encapsulated in a mixture of cationic lipids coated with a shell of polyethylene glycol (PEG) [ 195 ]. SNALPs entered a phase I clinical trial in patients affected by advanced solid tumours with liver involvement [ 196 ] and a phase I/II trial for treating neuroendocrine tumours and adrenocortical carcinoma patients refractory to standard therapy [ 197 ].

SiRNAs can be condensed in cationic polymers such as chitosan, cyclodextrin and polyethylenimine (PEI). Chitosan is a natural polysaccharide that, due to its cationic charge, has been exploited as carrier for nucleic acids in vitro and in vivo [ 198 ]. Specifically, a targeted siRNA has been delivered in mice xenografts of breast cancer [ 199 ]. Cyclodextrin polymers coated with PEG, conjugated with human transferrin and carrying a siRNA called CALAA-01, inhibit tumour growth by reducing the expression of M2 subunit of ribonucleotide reductase (R2), and have entered a phase I clinical trial [ 200 ]. PEI is able to form small cationic nanoparticles containing siRNAs and it has been exploited as antitumoural, upon loading with HER-2 receptor-specific siRNA [ 201 ]. A phase II clinical trial is presently starting to evaluate siG12D LODER directed to mutated KRAS oncogene and encapsulated into a biodegradable polymeric matrix for locally treating advanced pancreatic cancer patients in combination with chemotherapy [ 202 ].

SiRNAs may be conjugated to peptides, antibodies and aptamers in order to improve their stability during circulation and to enhance cellular uptake [ 203 ]. A success is represented by siRNAs targeting PSMA, overexpressed in this type of cancer [ 204 ].

The introduction of nanocarriers has largely improved siRNAs stability, pharmacokinetics and biodistribution properties, and the targeting specificity [ 205 , 206 ]. Smart nanomaterials responsive to external (i.e., magnetic field, ultrasounds) and tumour-specific stimuli (i.e., acidic pH, redox conditions) are currently under the development for controlled release and reduction of undesired negative effects [ 207 , 208 ]. Nanocarriers delivering siRNAs undergo a series of pH variations from blood circulation to intracellular environment and, for this reason, many pH responsive materials have been designed to favour cargo release under specific pH conditions [ 209 ]. Poly(allylamine) phosphate nanocarriers, stable at physiological pH, have been developed to release siRNAs in the cytoplasm after disassembly at low endosomal pH [ 210 ].

Although there have been many successes, some questions remain open and make the clinical translation of the siRNA-based approach very challenging, such as the correct doses to be delivered to patients and the many variabilities observed between individuals and different stages of disease. Further research towards controlled release to reach only specific targets, and the set-up of the best personalised therapy for cancer patients will be necessary in the near future.

Thermal ablation and magnetic hyperthermia

Thermal ablation of tumours includes a series of techniques that exploit heat (hyperthermia) or cold (hypothermia) to destroy neoplastic tissues [ 13 ]. It is known that cell necrosis occurs at temperatures lower than -40°C or higher than 60°C. Long exposures to temperatures between 41°C and 55°C are also effective for tumour cell damage. Moreover, it has been shown that cancer cells are more sensitive to high temperatures than healthy ones [ 211 ].

Hypothermic ablation is due to the formation of ice crystals upon cooling, which destroy cell membranes and finally kill cells. Argon gas is the preferred cooling agent because it can cool down the surrounding tissues to -160°C. Also, gases at their critical point, such as nitrogen, can be exploited since they have a higher heat capacity than argon. However, the technology to control and direct them is not well developed yet [ 10 ].

Hyperthermic ablation currently comprises radiofrequency (RF), microwave and laser ablation [ 10 ].

RF ablation is the most used in clinics, because it is effective and safe [ 212 ]. An alternated current of RF waves is applied to a target zone by an insulated electrode tip, while a second electrode, needed to close the circuit, is placed on the skin surface [ 10 ]. The interaction with the current causes the oscillation of ions in the extracellular fluid, which, in turns, produces heat. The more conductive the medium, the more effective the process. For this reason, RF ablation works very well in the liver and in other areas with a high content of water and ions, whereas it has a poor effect in lungs [ 10 ]. Moreover, the efficiency of the treatment decreases with the size of the lesion, giving the best results for areas not larger than 3 cm 2 [ 213 , 214 ].

Microwave ablation is based on the electromagnetic interaction between microwaves and the polar molecules in tissues, like water, that causes their oscillation and the consequent increase in temperature. Unlike the electrical current in RF ablation, microwaves can propagate through any kind of tissue [ 215 , 216 ], and this allows high temperatures to be reached in a short amount of time, to have a deeper penetration and to treat larger areas of tumours [ 217 ].

Laser therapy exploits the properties of laser beams of being very narrow and extremely focused at a specific wavelength. This makes the treatment very powerful and precise, thus a promising alternative to conventional surgery [ 218 ]. The absorption of the light emitted by the laser results in the heating and subsequent damage of the treated area [ 219 ]. Depending on the specific application, different kinds of lasers can be used. Neodymium:yttrium-aluminium-garnet (Nd:YAG) lasers (wavelength of 1064 nm) and diode lasers (wavelength of 800–900 nm) are used to treat internal organs, since they have a penetration depth up to 10 cm [ 218 ]. Conversely, CO 2 lasers (10,600 nm), with a penetration depth of 10 μm up to 1 mm maximum are used for superficial treatments. Laser therapy is receiving a lot of attention in research because of its advantages compared to other ablation techniques, such as a higher efficacy, safety and precision, and a shorter treatment session needed to achieve the same results [ 220 , 221 ]. Moreover, the fibres to transmit laser light are compatible with MRI, allowing for a precise measure of the temperature and the thermal dose [ 222 ]. However, there are still some limitations to overcome, such as the need of a very skilled operator to place the fibre in the correct position [ 218 ].

Finally, a new way to heat tumour tissues, currently under study, is through magnetic hyperthermia. This technique exploits superparamagnetic or ferromagnetic nanoparticles that can generate heat after stimulation with an alternating magnetic field. The most studied systems in nanomedicine are SPIONs [ 11 ]. The production of heat, in this case, is due to the alignment of magnetic domains in the particles when the magnetic field is applied, and the subsequent relaxation processes (Brownian and/or Neel relaxations) during which heat is released, when the magnetic field is removed and the magnetisation of the particles reverts to zero [ 223 ]. Magnetic hyperthermia can reach any area of the body and SPIONs can also act as MRI contrast agents to follow their correct localisation before the stimulation. The particles can be coated with biocompatible polymers and/or lipid and functionalized with specific ligands to impart targeting properties [ 224 ]. As already mentioned, until now, just a formulation of 15-nm iron oxide nanoparticles coated with aminosilane (Nanotherm) obtained approval for the treatment of glioblastoma [ 31 ]. SPIONs have also been successfully encapsulated in lipid nanocarriers together with a chemotherapeutic agent to combine chemotherapy and hyperthermia [ 49 , 50 ].

Recent innovations in cancer therapy: Radiomics and pathomics

Efficient cancer therapy currently relies on surgery and, in approximately 50% of patients, on radiotherapy, that can be delivered by using an external beam source or by inserting locally a radioactive source (in this case, the approach is named brachytherapy), thus obtaining focused irradiation. Currently, localisation of the beam is facilitated by image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), where images of the patient are acquired during the treatment allowing the best amount of radiation to be set. Thanks to the introduction of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), radiation fields of different intensities can be created, helping to reduce doses received by healthy tissues and thus limiting adverse side effects. Finally, by means of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), it has become feasible to convey an ablative dose of radiation only to a small target volume, significantly reducing undesired toxicity [ 225 ].

Unfortunately, radioresistance can arise during treatment, lowering its efficacy. This has been linked to mitochondrial defects; thus, targeting specific functions have proven to be helpful in restoring anti-cancer effects [ 226 ]. A recent study has shown, for example, that radioresistance in an oesophageal adenocarcinoma model is linked to an abnormal structure and size of mitochondria, and the measurement of the energy metabolism in patients has allowed discrimination between treatment resistant and sensitive patients [ 227 ]. Targeting mitochondria with small molecules acting as radiosensitizers is being investigated for gastrointestinal cancer therapy [ 228 ].

Cancer is a complex disease and its successful treatment requires huge efforts in order to merge the plethora of information acquired during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The ability to link the data collected from medical images and molecular investigations has allowed an overview to be obtained of the whole tridimensional volume of the tumour by non-invasive imaging techniques. This matches with the main aim of precision medicine, which is to minimise therapy-related side effects, while optimising its efficacy to achieve the best individualised therapy [ 229 ].

Radiomics and pathomics are two promising and innovative fields based on accumulating quantitative image features from radiology and pathology screenings as therapeutic and prognostic indicators of disease outcome [ 12 , 13 , 230 ]. Many artificial intelligence technologies, such as machine learning application, have been introduced to manage and elaborate the massive amount of collected datasets and to accurately predict the treatment efficacy, the clinical outcome and the disease recurrence. Prediction of the treatment response can help in finding an ad hoc adaptation for the best prognosis and outcome. Nowadays, personalised medicine requires an integrated interpretation of the results obtained by multiple diagnostic approaches, and biomedical images are crucial to provide real-time monitoring of disease progression, being strictly correlated to cancer molecular characterisation.

Radiomics is intended as the high throughput quantification of tumour properties obtained from the analysis of medical images [ 14 , 15 , 231 ]. Pathomics, on the other side, relies on generation and characterisation of high-resolution tissue images [ 16 , 232 , 233 ]. Many studies are focusing on the development of new techniques for image analysis in order to extrapolate information by quantification and disease characterisation [ 234 , 235 ]. Flexible databases are required to manage big volumes of data coming from gene expression, histology, 3D tissue reconstruction (MRI) and metabolic features (positron emission tomography, PET) in order to identify disease phenotypes [ 236 , 237 ].

Currently, there is an urgent need to define univocal data acquisition guidelines. Some initiatives to establish standardised procedures and facilitate clinical translation have been already undertaken, such as quantitative imaging network [ 238 ] or the German National Cohort Consortium [ 239 ]. Precise description of the parameters required for image acquisition and for the creation and use of computational and statistical methods are necessary to set robust protocols for the generation of models in radiation therapy. According to the US National Library of Medicine, approximately 50 clinical trials involving radiomics are currently recruiting patients, and a few have already been completed [ 240 ].

Conclusions and future perspectives

In recent years, research into cancer medicine has taken remarkable steps towards more effective, precise and less invasive cancer treatments ( Figure 1 ). While nanomedicine, combined with targeted therapy, helped improving the biodistribution of new or already tested chemotherapeutic agents around the specific tissue to be treated, other strategies, such as gene therapy, siRNAs delivery, immunotherapy and antioxidant molecules, offer new possibilities to cancer patients. On the other hand, thermal ablation and magnetic hyperthermia are promising alternatives to tumour resection. Finally, radiomics and pathomics approaches help the management of big data sets from cancer patients to improve prognosis and outcome.

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At the moment, the most frequent entries concerning cancer therapies in the database of clinical trials ( www.clinicaltrials.gov ) involve the terms targeted therapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy, highlighting that these are the most popular methodologies under investigation, especially because, as already mentioned before, they have been shown to be very promising and effective ( Figure 2A ). However, Figure 2B shows that the clinical trials started in the past decade on different therapies mentioned in this review (except for liposomes-based therapies) have increased in number, showing how the interest on these new approaches is quickly growing in order to replace and/or improve conventional therapies. In particular, radiomics, immunotherapy and exosomes are the entries whose number has increased the most in the last 10 years.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is can-13-961fig2.jpg

The current scenario for cancer research is wide, offering many possibilities for the constant improvement of treatment, considering not only patient recovery but also caring for their well-being during therapy. As summarised in Table 1 , these new approaches offer many advantages compared to conventional therapies. However, some disadvantages still have to be overcome to improve their performances. Much progress has been made, but many others are likely to come in the near future, producing more and more ad hoc personalised therapies.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Funding declaration

This work was partially supported by the Fondazione CaRiPLo, grant no. 2018-0156 (Nanotechnological countermeasures against Oxidative stress in muscle cells Exposed to Microgravity—NOEMI) and by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement N°709613, SLaMM).

Authors’ contributions

Carlotta Pucci and Chiara Martinelli contributed equally to this work.

179 Cancer Research Topics & Essay Examples

📝 cancer research papers examples, 💡 essay ideas on cancer, 👍 good cancer essay topics to write about, 🏆 best cancer essay titles, 🎓 simple research topics about cancer, ❓ cancer research questions.

  • Breast Cancer Breast cancer is becoming a common infection caused by cancerous cells. Most cases of breast cancer have been diagnosed with more women than men.
  • Cell Phone Dangers to Human Health This research paper aims at investigating whether the use of cell phones is dangerous to human health and makes a critique on some of the recent studies on this topic.
  • Tea Consumption and Human Health Considered one of the most popular beverages globally, tea promotes health and assists in chronic disease prevention like cancer, heart diseases, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention and Women's Well-Being in the UK The research examines the prevention mechanisms of cervical cancer are in the UK and assesses challenges that exist for adult women affected by the disease.
  • Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting: Research Proposal The review of the literature shows that researchers and practitioners are trying to identify cancer treatments that are associated with fewer incidents of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • Cancer and Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting This study focuses on gastric cancer in the Hispanic population, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and proposes an intervention to improve health outcomes.
  • Women's Endometrial Cancer Prevention Endometrial cancer occurs when the cells of the endometrial lining of the uterus start growing in an uncontrollable manner.
  • Cervical Cancer and Screening Procedures Cervical cancer is one of the major health risks for women. This type of cancer is usually caused by the high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Cancer Stages, Treatment, and Effects Reduction The prevalence of cancer cases has increased the workload of health care practitioners, as well as heightened the demand for improved care for patients.
  • Women's Cervical Cancer Prevention in the UK The prevention of cervical cancer in adult females in the UK has been within the lens of researchers for decades.
  • UK Women's Cervical Cancer Prevention Policies The paper describes policies developed in the UK to prevent cervical cancer among adult women and measures to improve the health and wellbeing of women diagnosed with the disease.
  • "Fostering Early Breast Cancer Detection" Article In “Fostering early breast cancer detection,” Shackelford et al. raise a rather important and relevant problem related to breast cancer, in particular, its early detection.
  • Breast Cancer, Its Etiology and Pathophysiology This research paper describes breast cancer in detail, its etiology and risk factors, symptoms and signs, diagnostics, and treatment.
  • Delaware Cancer Incidence and Mortality in 2009-2013 This work describes the trend of cancer both in terms of mortality and incidence, using Delaware's Cancer Incidence and Mortality Report.
  • Immunotherapy, Its Types and Mechanisms This essay examines current and new types of immunotherapies and their mechanisms of action in the immune system.
  • Breast Cancer Screening in the US and Canada The aim of this paper is to discuss the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and its recommendations for breast cancer screening.
  • The Prevention of Breast Cancer This paper includes a study proposal that examines the role of the ARNP in the prevention of breast cancer with the help of screening mammograms.
  • Breast Cancer Screening Mammography is the primary and most effective method for breast cancer screening. The current situation with epidemiology in the United States concerning breast cancer is disturbing.
  • Liver Cancer Pathophysiology and Patient Education This paper studies pathophysiology of liver cancer, peculiarities of its diagnosing and treatment, evaluates their efficiency and provides implications for patent education.
  • Breast Cancer Risks Determined by Family History The client’s major problem is the risk of breast cancer increased by the fact that two intraductal breast cancers were recently diagnosed in her family.
  • Obesity and Endometrial Cancer in Women The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast two studies on obesity and endometrial cancer, with a close focus on their hypotheses, methods, and findings.
  • Approach to Care: Cancer Patient Cancer is one of the most dreaded words in the dictionary. When doctors make the pronouncement that a certain patient has cancer, it is the same as a death sentence.
  • Cervical Cancer Cervical cancer is faced by many women in the USA. It leads to dramatic consequences for this population, which urges healthcare professionals to develop different preemptive measures.
  • Mortality Causes and Rates in the United States This paper discusses problems with heart and vessels and cancer diseases as the main reasons for great mortality rates in the USA.
  • Healthcare Aspects: Cancer Prevention Many individuals underestimate the importance of male breast assessment, and there is a prejudice that only women have a high level of prevalence of breast cancer.
  • Women’s Health as a Topic for a Medical Conference The medical conference provided an opportunity for people of the medical profession to gain the most recent information about women's health.
  • Cancer Treatment & Care and Complications Cancer is a dangerous illness that takes a heavy toll on a person and can be fatal if left untreated for too long.
  • Epidemiology and Health Plans for Miami The paper analyzes three different pandemics prevalent in Miami: cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental disorders.
  • Breast Cancer Detection: Evidence-Based Project The research is expected to expand the knowledge on the role of healthcare specialists in the early detection of breast cancer in adult women belonging to minority groups.
  • Amish Child with Cancer: Medicine vs. Religion A ten-year-old girl born in an Amish family is diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma, which is capable of killing her if not treated with chemotherapy.
  • Hematology: Hodgkin vs. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas Hodgkin's lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are two types of cancer associated with white blood cells. These diseases majorly affect the immune system of a human organism.
  • Introducing Routine Screening in a Gynecological Cancer Setting In evidence-based nursing practice, distress is viewed as one of the primary causes of death among cancer people in contemporary society.
  • Ovarian Cancer and Prophylactic Hysterectomy In this paper, the analysis of the article about the role of prophylactic hysterectomy will be developed to identify its main “take-away” ideas.
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Pain Management Pain during chemotherapy in elderly patients with cancer is one of the most important health issues people with the given problem and health workers face today.
  • Preventive and Well-Care Measures for Men and Women The paper suggests preventative care measures, a description for the adult male and female population, as well as recommendations as to well-care visits.
  • Cancer Patients' Family Support: Con-Position Cancer is a terrible disease that not only destroys the body of a human but also inflicts severe emotional damage.
  • Cancer Patient's Family and Support The paper aims to discuss cancer patient family/friend support from the point of view of financial strain, psychological pressure, and emotional changes.
  • The Ethics of Refusing Treatment of Patient Cancer Public fear of malignant tumors is exceptionally high because there is a widespread belief that treatment is ineffective.
  • Cancer Computer-Aided Diagnosis The top areas of cancer computer-aided diagnosis, which seem to be most often discussed and particularly well translated to practice, are breast, lung, and colon cancer diagnosing.
  • Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment, and Approach to Care The primary task of health facilities is to achieve success in diagnosing, managing complications, and treating all kinds of cancer affecting patients.
  • Fostering Early Breast Cancer Detection The research claims that early detection and prevention of breast cancer is the most topical issue in terms of public health.
  • Epidemiology Topics for Signature Assignment The topic of diabetic retinopathy is relevant to my future career as I will seek to encourage every patient with diabetes to have an eye examination regularly.
  • Cancer Care and Treatment Approaches Cancer is often regarded as a terminal illness even though the modern methods have proved to be quite effective as the rate of survivors is constantly growing.
  • Cancer Diagnosis and Subsequent Treatment A cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment is a grueling ordeal for many patients, which causes not only physical discomfort but tremendous psychological pressures as well.
  • The Effect of "Music in Therapy" on Cancer Patients The existing evidence proves the therapeutic effect of music on a number of issues; apart from that, nursing values its ability to improve people's emotional state.
  • Quality of Life in Cancer Patients: Planned Change Currently, approximately 60% of patients experiencing advanced cancer have to battle with extensive pain among other complications associated with this condition.
  • Approach to Care of Cancer Today, cancer is one of the most significant health problems. However, cancer is a disease that requires an integrated approach to its diagnostics.
  • Cancer: Approach to Care The rapid and abnormal growth of cells can be provoked by a range of factors of the internal and external nature, including both the inheritance factor and unhealthy lifestyles.
  • Breast Cancer: Genetic Counseling This paper focuses on genetic counseling for breast cancer, addressing critical elements of the practice, reasons for referral, and possible patient’s reactions.
  • Cancer Care as a Nursing Process The term “cancer” is used to describe a range of diseases associated with the uncontrolled intense growth of cells that tend to form tumors.
  • The Role of the ARNP in the Prevention of Breast Cancer The sample will consist of ARNPs and women with high risks of developing cancer who should be recommended the use of mammography.
  • Gynecologic Cancer. "Detecting Distress" by O'Connor et al. The outcomes of the analysis allow inferring that there is a correlation between the age of patients and the extent of distress that they experience.
  • Cancer Care Approach: Diagnostics and Treatment The term “cancer” is used to describe a range of diseases associated with the uncontrolled intense growth of cells that tend to form tumors.
  • Cancer Care Approaches and Decision-Making Each cancer case is different, and nurses and physicians need to be attentive to the patient’s needs and concerns and well as physiological and psychological symptoms.
  • Cancer in Women and Prophylactic Measures Cancer is a disease that may infect several organs fast, and patients have to be educated about the possibility of remission, the importance of follow-ups, etc.
  • Breast Cancer: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Treatment This case study investigates the pathophysiology of breast cancer and explores the most recent standards of care.
  • Cancer Prevention and Education in Nursing Practice The role of educators is integrated into nursing practice. Nurses should provide recommendations regarding the most effective measures aimed at preventing cancer.
  • “Acupuncture and Moxibustion as an Evidence-Based Therapy for Cancer” by William Cho “Acupuncture and Moxibustion as an Evidence-Based Therapy for Cancer” by William Cho shows us both the negative and positive sides of acupuncture and moxibustion.
  • Urinary Tract Infection: Health Promotion, Chronic, and Acute Illness This paper describes the diagnosis, treatment, and health promotion of urinary tract infection as an acute disease and cervical cancer as a chronic illness in women.
  • Pain Management for Cancer Patients The paper reveals the importance of education regarding pain treatment for patients who struggle against cancer.
  • Diagnosis and Staging of Cancer This article is devoted to cancer: methods of diagnosis, methods of treatment, possible complications, and methods of prevention are considered.
  • Utilization of the Nursing Process in Cancer Treatment Cancer has become the focus of public discussion over the past couple of decades due to the high mortality rates and the growing yearly incidence of the disease.
  • Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Nursing Care The healthcare system must develop effective treatment techniques for cancer patients, and nurses play a role of paramount importance in this process.
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention Cervical cancer prevention is particularly important, and one of the most effective strategies in this regard is routine screening.
  • Brain Tumors: Classification and Causes Brain tumors grow in the brain. When cells (either independently or due to the influence of a substance) grow massively and reproduce in an unexplainable way they form a tumor.
  • Skin Cancer, Its Types and Prevention of It Skin cancer has been the most common type of cancer over the years, with thousands of Americans being diagnosed with cancer every year.
  • Palliative Care for Cancer Patients This essay discusses palliative care for cancer patients at palliative care centers as opposed to caring at homes.
  • Quality Improvement Initiative and Cancer Screening The paper discusses screening for certain types of cancer. It helps to detect the disease early and increases the chances of successful treatment.
  • Lung and Bronchus Cancer: Descriptive Statistics Lung and bronchus cancer are among the common types of cancer affecting the US population. However, the rate of incidence of this disease has declined markedly from 2000 to 2015.
  • Lung Cancer as a Result of Sensation Seeking The article is related as the addiction to smoking leads to cancer and it shows the visual consequence of such addiction.
  • An Overview of Cancer Disease Cancer cells are also subdivided into primary and secondary tumors. The primary tumors refer to those swellings which develop at the initial stage
  • Prostate Cancer: Review and Analysis Prostate cancer’s risk factors are age, race, diet, and family history. Among the three features, age is considered as the number one risk factor.
  • Breast Cancer - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment This paper will discuss the pathology of breast cancer, especially among women, including its causes, diagnosis, treatment, and risk factors among other aspects.
  • Breast Cancer: Gene Expression Methodologies Cancer develops when there are DNA mutations, cataloguing such genes can lead to a better understanding of the disease and hence guide better development of therapy.
  • Reducing the Incidence of Colorectal Cancer in Older Adults The proposed study will highlight the best methods that can reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in older adults.
  • Approach to Care Cancer Diseases In the article, the diagnosis, staging, complications, side effects, and the means of lessening the physical and psychological effects of cancer are illustrated.
  • Prostate Cancer and Erectile Dysfunction Prostate cancer is very well-spread in the United States. The statistics for this disease are very disturbing.
  • The Characteristics of Breast Cancer The death rate from breast cancer has decreased as the quality of medical care significantly improved that in turn has led to the earlier diagnosis of the disease in the early stages.
  • Breast Cancer: Literature Review Despite numerous studies of risk factors for breast cancer, its reasons still have not been determined definitively.
  • Reducing the Colorectal Cancer Death Rate Colorectal cancer has become very common among the aging poor Americans, especially those who are above 50 years.
  • Risk Factors in the Development of Breast Cancer This paper will address the risk of breast cancer in women as well as the ways in which WHI has helped to change menopause treatment in women.
  • African American Women’s Experiences With Breast Cancer Screening The study established that it is important for African American women to accept a holistic approach to health issues that are concerned with the testing of cancer.
  • Medicare and Medicaid in the United States of America Medicare and Medicaid are public-sponsored health programs in the United States of America. The following paper analyzes the differences between Medicaid and Medicare.
  • African American Women’s Breast Cancer Screening This article examines the screening of breast cancer among American women of African origin. The outcome is generalized to a large audience.
  • Use of Medicinal Marijuana in Florida: Analysis The rest of the instances that may require the use of medicinal cannabis, such as treatment of adolescent or adult cancer patients, are not covered by the Florida legislation.
  • Oncology: Yeast and Cancer Cells The FTIR analysis reveals that crystals resulting from the MA-MAEC technique are GSH-based. GSH was isolated in yeast for the first time in 1929.
  • The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Inflammatory breast cancer is regarded as one of the most severe types of cancer and accounts for about 5% of all breast tumors.
  • The Rates of Lung and Bronchus Cancer Among Smoking Adults in the U.S. Health education can help individuals learn about the dangers of smoking. The lack of knowledge of tobacco smoking and its contribution to cancer development has increased infections.
  • Breast Cancer in Black American Women Black women experience a higher death rate from breast cancer than their white counterparts or any other ethnic group in the United States.
  • HPV Cancer Risks: PICOT Analysis Although there have been campaigns to enlighten people about HPV cancer risks, most parents are still reluctant to encourage their kids to get three-dose vaccination.
  • Epidemiology of Lung and Bronchus Cancer in the US The paper states that lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer for both sexes. The most common cancer types for the two groups are gender-specific.
  • Polymorphism-Mutations and Air Pollution as Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Women might face the disease of breast cancer due to such factors as the pollution of the environment and MTHFR gene polymorphism-mutations.
  • AIDS, Pneumonia, Sarcoma and Herpes in a Patient The patient developed Kaposi Sarcoma (KS), an unusual type of cancer, due to the gradual depletion of CD4 cells.
  • Management of Cancer Pain: Effectiveness of Pain Journal The cancer patients need to keep a pain journal, which is a self-assessment tool in which a person records his or her pain sensations and their management.
  • The Nursing Process in Cancer Treatment The current paper aims to discuss some aspects of cancer treatment, and how it can be performed using the five stages nursing process.
  • National Breast Cancer Coalition The National Breast Cancer Coalition (2021) is an organization that advocates for the needs of patients with breast cancer and promotes education and nurse-patient dialogue.
  • Analysis of the National Breast Cancer Coalition The National Breast Cancer Coalition has sought to improve the current policies regarding managing patients' health needs by revisiting the obstacles.
  • Identifying a Clinical Question Although clinical guidelines may describe the standard practice, they do not, by themselves, set a standard of care for a particular patient.
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Colorectal Cancer Implementation of evidence-based methods in the treatment of colorectal cancer is an effective strategy for minimizing the risks of medical errors.
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer Screening Clinical practice guidelines for colorectal cancer screening gives clinicians a more comprehensive range of tests to choose from when treating colorectal cancer.
  • The Study of Cancer: Colorectal Cancer The paper presents the study of such a type of cancer as colorectal cancer. The probability of suffering from colorectal cancer is about 4%–5%.
  • Colorectal Cancer: Evidence-Based Practice Intervention The proposed intervention aims to raise public awareness regarding the importance of colorectal screening, especially among older adults.
  • Radiation, Inflammation, and Immune Responses in Cancer
  • Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Syndromes and Genetic Testing
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Non-Profit Management Breast Cancer Research Foundation is among the leading charities in the US specializing in conducting research for developing a potential drug for curing cancerous disease.
  • Factors Determining Colorectal Cancer: The Role of the Intestinal Microbiota
  • Alternative Medicines for Various Forms of Cancer
  • Human Papillomaviruses and Polyomaviruses in Skin Cancer
  • Preventing Cervical Cancer With the HPV Vaccination
  • Medical Treatments for Patients With Advanced Prostate Cancer
  • Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and His Discovery of Cancer Treatment
  • Reducing Tobacco Use by Adults People have a responsibility of taking care of their health. However, to accomplish this noble task, which can help in the creation of a healthier nation.
  • Effective Pain Relief Options for Cancer Patients
  • Mobile Genetic Elements in Cellular Differentiation, Genome Stability, and Cancer
  • The Androgen Receptor in Breast Cancer
  • Epigenetic Alteration and MicroRNA Dysregulation in Cancer
  • Healthcare Policy Alternatives in the United States The paper aims at reviewing the healthcare policy in the USA, its scope, and the policy alternatives and political debate surrounding the policies.
  • The Evolving Landscape of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for the Management of Prostate Cancer
  • Ethnicity, Immigration, and Cancer Screening: Evidence for Canadian Women
  • Influential Information People Should Know About Cancer
  • Enhancing the Therapeutic Efficacy of Cancer Treatment With Cannabinoids
  • Ras, Cellular Plasticity, and Tumor Budding in Colorectal Cancer
  • 2000 Treatment Program for Cervical and Breast Cancer Prevention
  • Immunosignature Screening for Multiple Cancer Subtypes Based on Expression Rule
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, Genome Damage, and Cancer
  • Marijuana Legalization in the US: Pros and Cons Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, or flowers of the hemp plant. THC delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is its active chemical.
  • Epigenetic Reprogramming and Cancer Development
  • Redox and Metabolic Circuits in Cancer
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer Heterogeneous Disease Biology
  • Immunogenicity and Immune Silence in Human Cancer
  • Immune Checkpoint Molecules and Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Neovascularization, Angiogenesis and Vasculogenic Mimicry in Cancer
  • Fat Cells and Its Contribution to the Growth of Ovarian Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer and Gene Mutations
  • Grief Response of Patients Diagnosed With Cancer The beginning of anticipatory grief begins when as children, we realize that we will all die or lose a loved one at some point in life. This should prepare us for the loss.
  • Using Cancer Omics To Understand Cancer
  • The Relationship Between Cancer Predisposition and Primary Immunodeficiency
  • Emerging Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approaches for Gastric Cancer
  • Mechanisms and Insights Into Drug Resistance in Cancer
  • Psychological Adaptation in Male Partners of Gay Men With Prostate Cancer This proposal for a dissertation aimed at exploring the link between biological and psychosocial disorders leading to the psychological adaptation of male partners of gay patients.
  • Non-Genomic Actions of Thyroid Hormones in Cancer
  • African American Women and Breast Cancer
  • Systems Biology and the Challenge of Deciphering the Metabolic Mechanisms Underlying Cancer
  • Functions the Bladder Cancer and Effect Smoking Has Biology
  • HEADstrong Foundation’s Management Analysis The current project analyzes the HEADstrong Foundation – a non-profit organization that helps cancer patients in Philadelphia.
  • Environmental Factors That Cause Cancer in Young Children
  • Genetic Mutations May Explain a Brain Cancer’s Tenacity
  • Air Pollution and Its Effects on Cancer Risks
  • Altered Iron Metabolism and Impact in Cancer Biology, Metastasis, and Immunology
  • What Is the Importance of Wearing Sunglasses for Skin Cancer?
  • Prostate Cancer: What We Know and What We Would Like To Know?
  • Does the Immune System Naturally Protect Against Cancer?
  • How Has Cancer Caused Much Misery Throughout History?
  • Why Does Asbestos Cancer Affect More Men?
  • What Are the Risk Factors and Therapeutic Targets in Pancreatic Cancer?
  • Why Women Generally Get Breast Cancer Rather Than Other Cancers?
  • Does Eating Broccoli Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer?
  • Why Lung Cancer Hits Women Harder?
  • Does Depression Cause Cancer?
  • Why Can Radiation, Which Is Known To Induce Cancer?
  • Does Smoking Cause Lung Cancer?
  • Does Cellular Phone Use Contribute to Cancer Formation?
  • What Is the Relationship Between Genetics and Prostate Cancer?
  • Does Detecting Breast Cancer With Mris Increase the Rate of Mastectomies?
  • Why Are Antibiotics for Cancer Treatment?
  • What Is the Link Between Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • Can Asprin Help Reduce the Risk of Lung Cancer?
  • How Cancer Forms and Spread in the Human Body?
  • Links Between Autoimmunity and Cancer?
  • Why Does Kidney Cancer Affect Men About Twice as Often as Women?
  • How Carcinogens Cause Cancer?
  • Is Alternative Treatment of Liver Cancer Herbs Effective?
  • Should the Cervical Cancer Vaccine for Girls Be Compulsory?
  • Why is Bioinformatics and Proteomic Application Essential in the Diagnosis of Complex Disease Like Cancer?
  • How Can Nanomedicine Help Cure Cancer?
  • Does Diet Help to Prevent Colon Cancer?
  • Why Eating Fish Prevents Cancer?
  • Does Spirituality Reduce the Impact of Somatic Symptoms on Distress in Cancer Patients?
  • Why the Cancer Experts Support Gene Testing To Diagnose?

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A List Of Cancer Research Paper Topics To Consider

Sadly, cancer is one of the most common killers in the world today. We have come a long way in identifying some of the causes of certain forms of the illness, but much work needs to be done. If you have received a research paper assignment that deals with cancer, you will have a wealth of topic from which to choose.

We have some suggestions to get you started in the search for a topic that will help you earn top marks!

What Exactly Is Cancer?

What is cancer? What is the difference between benign and malignant tumors? How do cells become cancerous, how do they spread, and by what mechanisms? Can one kind of cancer invade any organ or system, or are they specific to one area of the body? Are there different stages in the development of a cancerous cell? Are cancers in humans the same as cancers in other species?

Different Kinds And Forms Of Cancer

Choose to focus your research and writing on a specific kind of cancer that either interests you, or has affected someone you care about. Breast cancer gets considerable attention and with good cause. It is one of the leading killers of women, but with early detection, it may be controlled or eliminated all together.

Skin cancer is increasingly common, yet many physicians argue that it is usually avoidable. What are the factors that increase our risk of developing skin cancer? Are there any ethnic groups or races that are predisposed to skin cancer? Alternatively, are there any groups that display a very low incidence of this kind of cancer?

Treatments For Cancer

Drugs and chemotherapy can be effectively used to control or destroy certain cancers. Choose a treatment and initiate an in depth discussion of how and why it is effective. Look into the past and do a historical examination of the origins of the illness. When did we first recognize cancer? How far have we come in being able to control or prevent the disease?

Examine traditional medicines or treatments based on a holistic approach to good health. Do Chinese doctors treat cancer the same as British physicians?

We've Saved The Best For Last.....

Sharks don't get cancer. Why not? Even when scientists expose the creatures to high levels of carcinogenic substances, they very rarely fall prey to the killer disease. It is believed that only two sharks have ever been found with malignant tumors. What can we learn from the physiology of these ancient sea creatures that can help us halt the spread of cancer in humans?

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  • Scientists Uncover New Active Regions on Cell Surface Receptor, Expanding Scope for Drug Targets to Treat Heart Disease
  • New Approach to Target a Deadly Form of Prostate Cancer
  • Research Into Use of Diabetes Medication for Treatment of Metastatic Prostate Cancer
  • Research Raises Hopes for New Treatment of Fusion-Driven Cancer
  • Researchers Identify 135 New Melanin Genes Responsible for Pigmentation
  • Using the Body's 'invisible Scalpel' To Remove Brain Cancer
  • Bioengineered Tool Unmasks Cancer Cells
  • New Gene Editing Tool Helps Zero in on Small Cancer-Linked Mutations
  • Researchers Engineer Bacteria That Can Detect Tumor DNA
  • Red Blood Cell Particles Reduce Fat Deposition in Arteries, Potentially Treating Atherosclerosis
  • Researchers Find New Pathway for HIV Invasion of Cell Nucleus
  • A Medication Used for Heart Conditions Improves the Efficacy of Current Treatments for Melanoma in Mouse Models
  • Childhood Cancer: 'New' Immune System Responds Better to Therapy
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  • 'Humanized' Liver in Mice Reveals Roots of Chronic Diseases
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  • AI Model Can Help Determine Where a Patient's Cancer Arose
  • Scientists Uncover a Startling -- And Exploitable -- Coordination of Gene Expression in Tumors
  • Novel Machine Learning Blood Test Detects Cancers With Genome-Wide Mutations in Single Molecules of Cell-Free DNA
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Treatment Research

Despite recommendations, a new analysis shows few people with cancer undergo germline testing to learn if their cancer may have been caused by gene changes inherited from a parent. Germline testing can help doctors determine the best treatments for a patient and help identify people whose family members may be at higher risk of cancer.

ComboMATCH will consist of numerous phase 2 cancer treatment trials that aim to identify promising drug combinations that can advance to larger, more definitive clinical trials.

A new study has compared three formulations of an mRNA vaccine designed to treat cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. All three vaccines showed promise in mice.

Researchers have identified a mechanism by which cancer cells develop specific genetic changes needed to become resistant to targeted therapies. They also showed that this process, called non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), can potentially be disrupted.

For some people with cancer, is 6 months of immunotherapy the only treatment they might ever need? Or 4 weeks of immunotherapy followed by minor surgery? Results from several small clinical trials suggest these scenarios may be bona fide possibilities.

Two research teams have developed ways of overcoming barriers that have limited the effectiveness of CAR T-cell therapies, including engineering ways to potentially make them effective against solid tumors like pancreatic cancer and melanoma.

In people with cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, a rare, but often fatal, side effect is inflammation in the heart, called myocarditis. Researchers have now identified a potential chief cause of this problem: T cells attacking a protein in heart cells called α-myosin.

Researchers have modified a chemo drug, once abandoned because it caused serious gut side effects, so that it is only triggered in tumors but not normal tissues. After promising results in mice, the drug, DRP-104, is now being tested in a clinical trial.

Two research teams have developed a treatment approach that could potentially enable KRAS-targeted drugs—and perhaps other targeted cancer drugs—flag cancer cells for the immune system. In lab studies, the teams paired these targeted drugs with experimental antibody drugs that helped the immune system mount an attack.

Inflammation is considered a hallmark of cancer. Researchers hope to learn more about whether people with cancer might benefit from treatments that target inflammation around tumors. Some early studies have yielded promising results and more are on the horizon.

NCI researchers are developing an immunotherapy that involves injecting protein bits from cytomegalovirus (CMV) into tumors. The proteins coat the tumor, causing immune cells to attack. In mice, the treatment shrank tumors and kept them from returning.

FDA has approved the combination of the targeted drugs dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist) for nearly any type of advanced solid tumor with a specific mutation in the BRAF gene. Data from the NCI-MATCH trial informed the approval.

People with cancer who take immunotherapy drugs often develop skin side effects, including itching and painful rashes. New research in mice suggests these side effects may be caused by the immune system attacking new bacterial colonies on the skin.

Researchers have developed tiny “drug factories” that produce an immune-boosting molecule and can be implanted near tumors. The pinhead-sized beads eliminated tumors in mice with ovarian and colorectal cancer and will soon be tested in human studies.

Women are more likely than men to experience severe side effects from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy, a new study finds. Researchers hope the findings will increase awareness of the problem and help guide patient care.

Research to improve CAR T-cell therapy is progressing rapidly. Researchers are working to expand its use to treat more types of cancer and better understand and manage its side effects. Learn how CAR T-cell therapy works, which cancers it’s used to treat, and current research efforts.

Experts say studies are needed on how to best transition telehealth from a temporary solution during the pandemic to a permanent part of cancer care that’s accessible to all who need it.

Removing immune cells called naive T cells from donated stem cells before they are transplanted may prevent chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in people with leukemia, a new study reports. The procedure did not appear to increase the likelihood of patients’ cancer returning.

A specific form of the HLA gene, HLA-A*03, may make immune checkpoint inhibitors less effective for some people with cancer, according to an NCI-led study. If additional studies confirm the finding, it could help guide the use of these commonly used drugs.

The success of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 could help accelerate research on using mRNA vaccine technology to treat cancer, including the development of personalized cancer vaccines.

Aneuploidy—when cells have too many or too few chromosomes—is common in cancer cells, but scientists didn’t know why. Two new studies suggest that aneuploidy helps the cells survive treatments like chemotherapy and targeted therapies.

New research suggests that fungi in the gut may affect how tumors respond to cancer treatments. In mice, when bacteria were eliminated with antibiotics, fungi filled the void and impaired the immune response after radiation therapy, the study found.

FDA has approved belumosudil (Rezurock) for the treatment of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The approval covers the use of belumosudil for people 12 years and older who have already tried at least two other therapies.

In lab studies, the antibiotic novobiocin showed promise as a treatment for cancers that have become resistant to PARP inhibitors. The drug, which inhibits a protein called DNA polymerase theta, will be tested in NCI-supported clinical trials.

A drug called avasopasem manganese, which has been found to protect normal tissues from radiation therapy, can also make cancer cells more vulnerable to radiation treatment, a new study in mice suggests.

While doctors are familiar with the short-term side effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors, less is known about potential long-term side effects. A new study details the chronic side effects of these drugs in people who received them as part of treatment for melanoma.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors may improve the effectiveness of cancer immune checkpoint inhibitors, according to studies in mice. The drugs appear to improve the immunotherapy drugs’ ability to find tumors and slow their growth.

Researchers have developed a nanoparticle that trains immune cells to attack cancer. According to the NCI-funded study, the nanoparticle slowed the growth of melanoma in mice and was more effective when combined with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.

A comprehensive analysis of patients with cancer who had exceptional responses to therapy has revealed molecular changes in the patients’ tumors that may explain some of the exceptional responses.

Researchers are developing a new class of cancer drugs called radiopharmaceuticals, which deliver radiation therapy directly and specifically to cancer cells. This Cancer Currents story explores the research on these emerging therapies.

FDA has recently approved two blood tests, known as liquid biopsies, that gather genetic information to help inform treatment decisions for people with cancer. This Cancer Currents story explores how the tests are used and who can get the tests.

Cancer cells with a genetic feature called microsatellite instability-high (MSI-high) depend on the enzyme WRN to survive. A new NCI study explains why and reinforces the idea of targeting WRN as a treatment approach for MSI-high cancer.

Efforts to contain the opioid epidemic may be preventing people with cancer from receiving appropriate prescriptions for opioids to manage their cancer pain, according to a new study of oncologists’ opioid prescribing patterns.

The gene-editing tool CRISPR is changing the way scientists study cancer, and may change how cancer is treated. This in-depth blog post describes how this revolutionary technology is being used to better understand cancer and create new treatments.

FDA’s approval of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) to treat people whose cancer is tumor mutational burden-high highlights the importance of genomic testing to guide treatment, including for children with cancer, according to NCI Director Dr. Ned Sharpless.

Patients with acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) that does not respond to steroid therapy are more likely to respond to the drug ruxolitinib (Jakafi) than other available treatments, results from a large clinical trial show.

NCI is developing the capability to produce cellular therapies, like CAR T cells, to be tested in cancer clinical trials at multiple hospital sites. Few laboratories and centers have the capability to make CAR T cells, which has limited the ability to test them more broadly.

An experimental drug may help prevent the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin from harming the heart and does so without interfering with doxorubicin’s ability to kill cancer cells, according to a study in mice.

In people with blood cancers, the health of their gut microbiome appears to affect the risk of dying after receiving an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant, according to an NCI-funded study conducted at four hospitals across the globe.

A novel approach to analyzing tumors may bring precision cancer medicine to more patients. A study showed the approach, which analyzes gene expression using tumor RNA, could accurately predict whether patients had responded to treatment with targeted therapy or immunotherapy.

Bone loss associated with chemotherapy appears to be induced by cells that stop dividing but do not die, a recent study in mice suggests. The researchers tested drugs that could block signals from these senescent cells and reverse bone loss in mice.

Some experts believe that proton therapy is safer than traditional radiation, but research has been limited. A new observational study compared the safety and effectiveness of proton therapy and traditional radiation in adults with advanced cancer.

In people with cancer, the abscopal effect occurs when radiation—or another type of localized therapy—shrinks a targeted tumor but also causes untreated tumors in the body to shrink. Researchers are trying to better understand this phenomenon and take advantage of it to improve cancer therapy.

An experimental drug, AMG 510, that targets mutated forms of the KRAS protein completely shrank tumors in cancer mouse models and data from a small clinical trial show that it appears to be active against different cancer types with a KRAS mutation.

Researchers have engineered an oncolytic virus to kill cancer cells and boost the immune response against tumors. In a new study, the virus provided T cells around tumors with a hormone they need for their own cell-killing functions.

FDA has approved entrectinib (Rozlytrek) for the treatment of children and adults with tumors bearing an NTRK gene fusion. The approval also covers adults with non-small cell lung cancer harboring a ROS1 gene fusion.

A new NCI-supported study showed that altering cancer cell metabolism by feeding mice a diet very low in the nutrient methionine improved the ability of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to shrink tumors.

An NCI-funded clinical trial is testing the immunotherapy drug nivolumab (Opdivo) in people who have advanced cancer and an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis, who are often excluded from such trials.

Researchers have identified a protein called CD24 that may be a new target for cancer immunotherapy. The protein is a ‘don’t eat me’ signal that prevents immune cells called macrophages from engulfing and eating cells.

Injecting cells undergoing necroptosis, a form of cell death, into tumors in mice kickstarted an immune response against the tumors, researchers have found. When combined with immunotherapy, the treatment was effective at eliminating tumors in mice.

Researchers have identified proteins that may play a central role in transforming T cells from powerful destroyers to depleted bystanders that can no longer harm cancer cells. The findings could lead to strategies for boosting cancer immunotherapies.

Did you know that NCI supports clinical trials of new treatments for pet dogs with cancer? Learn more about NCI’s comparative oncology studies and how they may also help people with cancer.

Researchers have discovered a potential way to turn on one of the most commonly silenced tumor-suppressor proteins in cancer, called PTEN. They also found a natural compound, I3C, that in lab studies could flip the on switch.

New findings from a clinical trial suggest that a single dose of radiation therapy may control painful bone metastases as effectively as multiple lower doses of radiation therapy.

The expanding use of cancer immunotherapy has revealed a variety of side effects associated with this treatment approach. Researchers are now trying to better understand how and why these side effects occur and develop strategies for better managing them.

The investigational immunotherapy drug bintrafusp alfa (also called M7824), a bifunctional fusion protein, shrank the tumors of some patients with advanced HPV-related cancers, according to results from a phase 1 clinical trial.

A new study provides insight into how cancer immunotherapy works and suggests ways to enhance the treatment’s effectiveness. The NCI-led study, published in Science, examined the effect of high potassium levels on T cells.

Pain is a common and much-feared symptom among people with cancer and long-term survivors. As more people survive cancer for longer periods, there is a renewed interest in developing new, nonaddictive approaches for managing their chronic pain.

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8 new breakthroughs in the fight against cancer

A technician viewing cells on a microscope and another using a pipette at the National Cancer Institute.

Medical advances are continuing to help the world fight cancer. Image:  UNSPLASH/National Cancer Institute

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