A collection of recently published news items.

Postmenopausal women with ER-positive breast cancer who have high intratumor heterogeneity of estrogen receptors have twice the risk of death from the disease as patients with low intratumor heterogeneity, researchers found. The study followed 573 women diagnosed between 1976 and 1990 who received either tamoxifen or no systemic therapy after surgery (J Natl Cancer Inst 2018 Jan 19 [Epub ahead of print]).

The American Cancer Society says that the cancer mortality rate decreased by 26% between 1991 and 2015—roughly 2.3 million fewer deaths—a change largely attributed to declines in mortality for lung, breast, and prostate cancers (CA Cancer J Clin 2018;68:7–30). The overall mortality rate, however, varied by race: In 2015, it was 14% higher for blacks than for whites.

Alcohol, in the form of ethanol, damages DNA in stem cells in mice, resulting in a rearrangement of chromosomes and irreversible changes to DNA sequences, according to a recent study (Nature 2018;553:171–7). Researchers also found that mice lacking the aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme ALDH2 that normally breaks down acetaldehyde, a by-product of ethanol, incurred four times as much DNA damage as control mice.

A gene expression profile test that helps predict the recurrence of breast cancer, Oncotype DX, may be less cost-effective under real-world conditions than originally thought (J Clin Oncol 2018 Jan 8 [Epub ahead of print]). The test was previously shown to be cost-effective under ideal conditions. But researchers found that in community practice, the cost-effectiveness ratio for testing versus usual care without testing was $188,125 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), almost five times the ratio of $39,496 per QALY under ideal conditions.

Researchers identified a possible biomarker of response to anti–PD-1 therapy in patients with melanoma. They conducted a detailed analysis of the immune cell subsets in the peripheral blood of patients with stage IV melanoma before and after 12 weeks of treatment (Nat Med 2018 Jan 8 [Epub ahead of print]). They found that the frequency of CD14+CD16HLADRhi monocytes was a strong predictor of treatment success.

For more news on cancer research, visit Cancer Discovery online at http://cancerdiscovery.aacrjournals.org/content/early/by/section.