Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

January 7, 2020

Research News Roundup–December 2019

By Elizabeth Zimmermann
diverse research team, female researcher readys slide on microscope tray while two male colleagues watch

December's Research News Roundup highlights a number of advancements in understanding and treating different cancers, including blood, breast and gastrointestinal; in addition to other research news from Mayo Clinic.

The Roundup also connects readers to related resources. Read on for more information from Mayo Clinic Research.

male doctor in conversation with male patient, both are middle-aged

A Mayo Clinic study involving 5,540 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer found maintenance chemotherapy after initial treatment is more beneficial for patients whose disease is under control, compared with more aggressive treatment.

A maintenance strategy with a fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy, such as 5-FU or capecitabine, is preferred, though observation (no chemo) is an acceptable option for some patients, according to the analysis of results from 12 randomized clinical trials. The study appears in JAMA Oncology.


diverse group of resident physicians in clinical hallway at Mayo Clinic

Gender pay equity in the field of medicine remains elusive. Gender-based pay differences have been shown to persist, even when controlling for experience, clinical productivity, academic rank and other factors. These inequities result in significantly lower lifetime earnings, job burnout and negative attitudes toward work, and adverse effects on the profession and society.

One model for eliminating pay disparities among physicians is a structured, salary-only plan that incorporates national benchmarks, and standardized pay steps and increments, such as the plan that is used at Mayo Clinic.

A Mayo Clinic study set out to assess how well the institution adheres to its own compensation model and achieves pay equity.  Read more in the news release.


This is an alarming trend, as stomach cancer is a devastating disease. There is little awareness in the U.S. of the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, and many younger patients may be diagnosed late.

Many people under 60 who develop stomach cancer have a "genetically and clinically distinct" disease, new Mayo Clinic research has discovered.

female doctor examining younger middle-aged African American female patient

Compared to stomach cancer in older adults, this new, early onset form often grows and spreads more quickly, has a worse prognosis, and is more resistant to traditional chemotherapy treatments, the study finds. The research was published recently in the journal Surgery.

While rates of stomach cancer in older patients have been declining for decades, this early onset cancer is increasing and now makes up more than 30% of stomach cancer diagnoses.


artist's interpretation of microbes, colorful cells of different shapes and sizes

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy in the U.S. and the fourth most common cancer among women. In addition, endometrial cancer incidence rates are on the rise in the western world, suggesting that alterations in environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, and the vaginal microbiome may be important drivers in its cause.

In a study published in Scientific Reports Mayo Clinic researchers identified a vaginal microbiome signature associated with endometrial cancer, which is in part promoted by post menopause. The goal of the study was to understand how endometrial cancer risk factors alter the reproductive tract microbiome and endometrial cancer risk.


Researchers found most women who survive breast cancer beyond 10 years are at risk to develop serious medical conditions including heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease

close up shot of woman in white tank top with pink ribbon attached over left breast

Overall survival of patients with breast cancer in the U.S. has significantly improved over the past two decades. However, as breast cancer survivors live longer, their risk of developing other serious medical conditions also increases, according to a Mayo Clinic-led study published in the journal Cancer.

The retrospective study provides the largest and most recent population-based, long- term analysis to date of non-cancer causes of death among women diagnosed with breast cancer. It also provides a detailed assessment of changes in the risk of each cause of death, compared to those in the general U.S. population over the same period.


smiling young woman with new hair growth just beginning to show on her head

Mayo Clinic researchers presented 22 different studies during the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, Dec. 10–14.

Three in particular were highlighted in the Mayo Clinic news release. Titles below are taken from the plain language release, but link to the abstracts presented at the symposium.


group of people lifting kettlebells in a fitness class

High-intensity group workout classes are increasingly popular at fitness centers. While research has shown that these workouts can have cardiovascular and other benefits, few studies have been conducted on whether they lead to more injuries.

Mayo Clinic study that closely tracked 100 participants in a six-week high-intensity functional training program showed a statistically insignificant increase in the rate of injury, compared with less intensive workouts.

The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, reported an injury rate of 9 injuries per 1,000 training hours during the six-week training, compared with 5 injuries per 1,000 training hours during the six weeks preceding enrollment. The data showed that 18% of participants reported an injury during the training period, and 37.5% reported an injury during a training session.


gloved, with lab coat and dark rimmed glasses; female researcher pipetting samples

There were dozens of presentations featuring Mayo Clinic research throughout the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, Dec. 7–10 in Orlando.

Three were featured in the news release from Mayo. The below titles are drawn from the news release, but are linked to the related abstracts:

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Tags: breast cancer, cancer, cancer genomics, CAR-T, cardiovascular medicine, chemotherapy, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, hematology, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, myeloma, News, Research News Roundup, stomach cancer

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