Cancer Blog: From Medicineworld.org
Do you read all of the blogs published by medicineworld.org? Many of our bloggers are busy keeping you updated on the various health related topics. We publish the following blogs at this time.
Cancer blog: I manage the cancer blog with lots of help and support form other bloggers. Through this cancer blog my friends and I try to bring stories of hope for patients with cancer. The cancer blog often republishes important blog posts from other cancer related blogs at Medicineworld.org. If you are searching for a blog that covers wide variety of cancer topics, this may be the one for you.
Breast cancer blog: Breast cancer blog is run by Emily and other bloggers and they bring you the latest stories, news and events that are related to breast cancer. Increasing awareness about breast cancer among women and in the general population is the main goal of this breast cancer blog.
Lung cancer blog: Lung cancer blog is managed by Scott with the help of other bloggers. Through this blog Scott and his friends constantly remind the readers about the dangers of smoking. It's a never-ending struggle against this miserable disease with which a social stigma of smoking is associated.
Colon cancer blog: Colon cancer blog is run by Sue and other bloggers. Sue brings a personal touch to the colon cancer blog since her mother died of colon cancer few years ago. She writes about stories, research news and advances in treatment related to colon cancer.
Prostate cancer blog: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. American Cancer Society estimates that over 230,000 new cases of prostate cancer occur in the United state every year. This important blog about prostate cancer is run by Mark and other bloggers. This blog brings news, stories, and other personal observations related to prostate cancer.
Medicineworld.org publishes a diabetes watch blog and this blog is run by JoAnn other bloggers. This diabetes watch blog brings you the latest in the field of diabetes. This includes personal stories, advances in diagnosis and treatment, and other observations about diabetes. Improving awareness about diabetes is an important mission of this group.
March 7, 2006
Dana Reeves Dies of Lung Cancer
Associated press reports that Dana Reeves, widow of late Christopher Reeve has died of lung cancer at the young age of 45. Reeves have been battling with lung cancer in the last few months. She has been diagnosed with lung cancer, just a year after her superman star husband died. Dana Reeves gained enormous praise for her tremendous support for her paralyzed husband over a decade until his tragic death in October last year.
I have written about Reeves previously in this blog. She was fighting lung cancer with courage and determination. This morning the Associated Press reported that Dana Reeves has finally succumbed to this disease.
This sad demise of Dana Reeves again reminds us about the dangers associated with lung cancer and highlights the need for more funding for lung cancer research. It is to be added that Dana Reeves was not a smoker but still develop lung cancer and died from the disease.
Now, more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge," Dana Reeve, said in a statement at the time of her diagnosis. "I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope in the face of life's adversities."
Dana Reeves sets an example for ultimate courage, determination and sacrifice.
March 7, 2006
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Fundraiser
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is hosting a fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for the Research and Treatment of Breast Cancer. Severn Lodge has been officially chosen as the location for the event, which is called "Getaway for the Cure". This event would provide participants with the unique opportunity to have a fun-filled weekend at one of Ontario's upscale premier waterfront resorts while helping Fight against Breast Cancer.
The "Getaway for the Cure" weekend has been scheduled for June 2nd to 4th, 2006, and has a number of renowned guest speakers who are involved in Cancer Research and care. This weekend is expected to have a mix of breast cancer awareness programs and a chance for supporters to have some fun.
This is the second annual Cure Weekend for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and would consist of a series of fundraisers and activities including raffles, company donations, and Breast Cancer Bracelets. In addition, a portion of each reservation package goes towards the Fight against Breast Cancer.
Festivities include a Muskoka beach party, nightly entertainment, spa sessions, wine tasting, boat cruises, sea plane rides, hand writing analysis, belly dancing, horseback riding, and hiking. Renowned guest speakers Bryan Farnum and Dr. Alvin Pettle will be making presentations at the event.
Severn Lodge is one of the few remaining classic Muskoka Resorts in Ontario. The lodge has all the modern conveniences and upscale accommodations that the wealthy enjoy during the summer months, while still maintaining the ambiance and history of Muskoka.
For more information:
Or call 1 800 461 5817
There are a variety of packages available starting at $299 per person, including two nights accommodation with two breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners. Attendees are asked to each sell a minimum of $100 in raffle tickets and $20 in Pink Cancer Bracelets to help generate Funding for Breast Cancer Research.
March 6, 2006
Amifostine Makes Radiation More Effective, Eases Side Effects
The drug amifostine (Ethyol) is commonly used by radiation oncologist to decrease the side effects associated with radiation therapy. This drug is especially used in patients with head and neck cancer who may develop significant side effects due to radiation in the throat area.
In a new study researchers from Brazil have concluded that this drug amifostine eases many of the most common side effects associated with patients receiving radiation. The researchers also found that treatment with amifostine can make cancer cells more susceptible to radiation. This study was published in the recent issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.
These researchers evaluated their theory, via a clinical investigation of already published work, whether adding amifostine to radiation therapy would prevent common side effects, such as mouth dryness, difficulty swallowing, lung inflammation, bladder inflammation, problems with the esophagus and inflammation of the mucous membranes. The researchers also wanted to find out if by reducing the side effects amifostine is inadvertently protecting the tumor from radiation.
The study is based on evaluation of 14 randomized, controlled clinical trials involving 1,451 patients. Patients were split into two groups: one receiving radiation therapy alone and the second receiving radiation therapy in addition to amifostine. Patients taking amifostine were shown to have less radiation-related side effects. The research also showed that the drug did not protect the tumor from the radiation therapy, on the other hand, patients receiving the drug were more likely to have their cancer affected by the radiation than patients not given amifostine.
March 6, 2006
Screening May Result In Over-diagnosis Of Breast Cancer
British medical Journal reports that screening of breast cancer is associated with significant false positivity. Screening may result in 10% rate of false positivity and overdiagnosis, as per this study.
The authors say that most discussions of breast cancer screening are around the benefits of breast cancer screening in terms of reduced deaths, but more discussion is also needed around this negative side effect of breast cancer Screening.
These researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing data from a large breast screening trial conducted in Sweden between 1976 and 1986. The researchers defined over-diagnosis as cases that would never have come to clinical attention without screening.
They followed clinical trial participants until December 2001, 15 years after the trial ended using national registries to track survival and detection of breast cancer.
Fifteen years after the end of the trial, the rate of over-diagnosis of breast cancer was 10% in women randomized to screening at age 55-69 years compared with an unscreened control group.
Although earlier studies on over-diagnosis have shown rates of up to 54%, a recent study suggests a much lower rate of 1%. But none of these studies were based on direct observations, like the present one, say the authors.
"It is widely agreed that screening using mammography can reduce mortality in breast cancer. The rate of over-diagnosis is another issue to be considered in the ongoing discussion about clinical and public health implications of breast cancer screening," they conclude.
In an editorial BMJ discusses the UK breast-screening program and concludes that, despite the fact that breast screening is far from perfect, it does save lives and should be continued.
March 3, 2006
Internet research builds cancer patients' confidence
Newly diagnosed cancer patients who use the Internet to gather information about their disease have a more positive outlook and are more active participants in their treatment, according to a new Temple University study published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Health Communication.
"This is the first study to look at the relationship between Internet use and patient behaviors," said principal investigator and public health professor Sarah Bass, Ph.D. "We wanted to see if access to readily available information about their condition helped patients to cope with issues such as hair loss and other treatment side effects."
For this study, the researchers recruited patients who called a National Cancer Institute-funded 1-800 number, where trained specialists answered questions about the disease and directed callers to cancer-related resources in their area. Once selected, the 442 participants were broken into "direct user, indirect user and non user" categories based on their Internet usage patterns.
According to Bass, direct and indirect users tended to be females between the ages of 50 and 60 who had graduated from college and made more than $60,000 a year.
During the survey, Bass and her colleagues began to see strong parallels between Internet use and the patients' feelings about their treatment. Those who used the Internet and those who received Internet information from family members or friends were more likely to view their relationship with their doctors as a partnership, and were more comfortable asking questions and challenging treatment alternatives.
"They saw the Internet as a powerful tool that enhanced their decision-making ability," Bass said.
Moreover, Bass and her team were pleasantly surprised by the number of early non-users who after eight weeks turned to the Internet for information. When asked about the change, approximately 75 percent said that either family/friend encouragement or the cancer diagnosis itself prompted them to increase their Internet use.
"They didn't want to feel powerless or have to rely on the doctor to make all of the decisions," Bass said.
Source: Temple univeristy
March 3, 2006
Heart Health And Marital Harmony
Hardening of the coronary arteries is more likely in wives when they and their husbands express hostility during marital disagreements, and more common in husbands when either they or their wives act in a controlling manner.
Those are key findings of a study of 150 healthy, older, married couples - mostly in their 60s - conducted by Professor Tim Smith and other psychologists from the University of Utah. Smith was scheduled to present the findings Friday March 3 in Denver during the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, which deals with the influence of psychological factors on physical health.
"Women who are hostile are more likely to have atherosclerosis [hardening of the coronary arteries], especially if their husbands are hostile too," Smith says. "The levels of dominance or control in women or their husbands are not related to women's heart health."
"In men, the hostility - their own or their wives hostility during the interaction - wasn't related to atherosclerosis," he adds. "But their dominance or controlling behavior - or their wives dominance - was related to atherosclerosis in husbands." Smith summarizes: "A low-quality relationship is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease."
Smith conducted the study with University of Utah psychologists Cynthia Berg, a professor; Bert Uchino and Paul Florsheim, both associate professors; and Gale Pearce, a Utah postdoctoral fellow now on the faculty of Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
The study - which began in 2002 and ended in 2005 - involved 150 married couples with at least one member between 60 and 70 years of age and the other one no more than five years older or younger. The couples were recruited through newspaper advertisements and a polling firm. Those who participated had no history of cardiovascular disease and were not taking medicine for it.
Each husband and wife was paid $150 to participate, and also received free of charge a $300 CT scan to look for calcification in their coronary arteries - the arteries that supply the heart muscle and that can cause a heart attack when clogged. Smith says that in otherwise healthy people, calcification represents hardening and narrowing of the arteries that puts them at risk for later heart attack.
Each couple was told to pick a topic - such as money, in-laws, children, vacations and household duties - that was the subject of disagreements in their marriage. Then, while sitting in comfortable chairs and facing each other across a table, each couple discussed the chosen topic for six minutes while they were videotaped.
Psychology graduate students coded the videotaped conversations so that "each comment that reflected a complete thought" was given a code indicating the extent to which it was friendly versus hostile, and submissive versus dominant or controlling.
For example, comments like, "You can be so stupid sometimes" or "you're too negative all the time," were coded as hostile and dominant. Another dominant or controlling comment would be, "I don't want you to do that; I want you to do this."
"A warm, submissive comment would be, 'Oh that's a good idea, let's do it,'" Smith says. "A less warm one would be, 'If it's important to you, I'll do what you want.' An unfriendly, submissive comment is, 'I'll do what you want if you get off my back.'"
March 2, 2006
Fda Approves Erbitux For Head And Neck Cancer
U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval to cetuximab (Erbitux) for the treatment of head and neck cancer. The drug is now approved for use in head and neck cancer in combination with radiation therapy (RT) for the treatment of locally or regionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. The drug may also be used as a single agent for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic SCCHN for whom prior platinum-based therapy has failed.
Erbitux is already approved by FDA for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. This new approval for the treatment of head and neck cancer is based on a study which showed statistically significant improvement in overall survival and duration of locoregional disease control for the combination of radiation therapy with cetuximab when compared to radiation therapy alone. In a separate clinical trial cetuximab was found to be effective with durable objective tumor responses when administered as a single-agent in second- or third-line treatment of advanced SCCHN.
The FDA approval is mainly based on a phase 3 randomized trial of 424 patients with Stage III/IV SCC of the oropharynx, hypopharynx or larynx who had no prior therapy. Patients were randomized to receive either cetuximab plus RT (211 patients) or RT alone (213 patients). Cetuximab was administered as a 400 mg/m² initial dose, followed by 250 mg/m² weekly for the duration of RT(6-7 weeks), starting one week before RT. RT was administered for 6-7 weeks as once daily, twice daily or concomitant boost.
The median survival time was 49 months on the cetuximab plus RT versus 29.3 months observed in patients receiving RT alone. The median duration of locoregional control was 24.4 months in patients receiving cetuximab plus RT versus 14.9 months for those receiving RT alone. The observed effect was primarily confined to patients enrolled in sites in the US.
March 2, 2006
Treating Breast Cancer With Heat
The term hyperthermia is used in the medical literature to indicate a state of higher temperature compared to the normal body temperature. Previous research has evaluated the effectiveness of hyperthermia in the treatment of cancer. It has been shown that hyperthermia may make radiation therapy more effective. However previous clinical trials only yielded mixed results. The major hurdle in using hyperthermia for the treatment of cancer have been the difficulty in providing high enough temperature for the tumor without closing undue adverse effects for the rest of the body. Improvement in technology has made it possible to provide hyperthermia locally without causing significant damage to the rest of the body.
Duke University has recently conducted a study in which the effectiveness of hyperthermia in combination with radiation has been tested. In this trial 21 woman with locally advanced breast cancer were treated with a combination of radiation therapy and hyperthermia. The hyperthermia was delivered using a special pool of water warmed by heat waves.
Most of the woman who had combination of radiation therapy and hyperthermia had significant reduction in the size of their tumor. At least some women tumor decreased to such an extent that a lumpectomy was possible. And the surprising fact was that women who had combination of heat therapy and radiation therapy in fact actually experienced lesser side effects than that would be expected with the standard radiation therapy alone.
March 1, 2006
Some Benign Breast Lesions Could Be Dangerous
Certain breast lesions diagnosed as benign on core needle biopsy have cancer at surgical excision and thus should be removed, according to a study appearing in the March issue of Radiology.
"Our study shows that all papillary lesions of the breast should be surgically excised to avoid missing a cancer," said the study's lead author, Cecilia L. Mercado, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at New York University Medical Center in New York City.
Papillary lesions are benign growths in the duct of the breast. They comprise approximately 1 to 3 percent of all lesions sampled by core needle biopsies. Currently, the treatment of these lesions alternates between radiographic follow-up and surgical excision, and is often dependent upon physician recommendation.
"To date, the management of benign papillary lesions on core needle biopsy has been controversial and may be based on anecdotal evidence or small published studies," Dr. Mercado said. "No definite guidelines are published for management of these lesions."
While papillary lesions may be diagnosed as benign, they can harbor adjacent atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) - a condition characterized by cells of unusual size, shape, and number in the lining of the milk ducts - and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which are cancerous cells confined to the lining of the milk ducts. Left unchecked, both these conditions pose increased risk of future malignancy.
For the study, Dr. Mercado and colleagues reviewed the imaging and histologic follow-up findings in 42 patients diagnosed with benign papillary lesions after breast core needle biopsy. Forty-three biopsies were performed on the 42 patients. Of the 43 biopsies, 36 (84 percent) of the lesions were surgically removed, and seven (16 percent) received long-term imaging follow-up.
Upon surgical excision and follow-up, the diagnoses of nine of 42 patients (21.4 percent) were upgraded to ADH or DCIS. This is a much higher percentage than reported by previous studies.
"This is one of the largest series and shows statistically significant findings," Dr. Mercado said. "The results of our study revealed a considerable upgrade rate to either ADH or DCIS at core-needle biopsy. Therefore, all benign papillary lesions of the breast should be surgically excised, since a considerable number of atypical lesions and malignant lesions could be missed."
March 1, 2006
Prostate Cancer Surgery Could Be Delayed
Delaying surgery -- even for years -- for patients with small, low-grade prostate cancer does not appear to increase the risk of the disease progressing to an incurable form, according to a 10-year Johns Hopkins Medicine study.
The study, published in the March 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found the risk of noncurable prostate cancer -- defined as a less than 75 percent chance of remaining disease-free 10 years after surgery -- was the same for men receiving immediate surgical treatment and those who waited -- on average -- two years before surgery.
"This study suggests that for carefully selected men with prostate cancer who are monitored, the window of cure does not close in the short term. For those men diagnosed with early-stage, low-grade prostate cancer, an alternative to immediate surgical treatment would be careful surveillance," says H. Ballentine Carter, M.D., a professor of urology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and senior author of the study.
Some researchers believe delayed treatment combined with an active surveillance program could decrease over-treatment. Others, however, believe postponing surgery might shift the patient outside the window of curability.
Men screened for prostate cancer with the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test are on average diagnosed with the cancer 10 years earlier than men not undergoing PSA screening. While early diagnosis may contribute to a decrease in prostate cancer mortality in some patients, it may lead to invasive treatments of a cancer that may never present a health risk to the patient.
Carter says Hopkins has been enrolling patients in a monitoring program since 1995 with great success, although some patients prefer to go ahead and pursue treatment for "piece of mind."
"Some patients who learn they have cancer are anxious to have treatment 'yesterday'. We hope this study will illustrate that in many cases a safe alternative to immediate treatment is surveillance," Carter says. "Specifically, these would be men with small, low-grade tumors."
Three-hundred and twenty men believed to have these kinds of tumors have been enrolled in an active surveillance program since 1995. Small, low-grade prostate cancer was defined as having a PSA density (PSA divided by prostate volume) below 0.15, no more than two biopsy cores involved with cancer, no biopsy core that showed more than 50 percent cancerous tissue and no high-grade cancer.
Feb 27, 2006
Nexavar (Sorafenib) Tablets For Lung Cancer
Patients with non-small cell lung cancer may soon have an open trial using Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets in combination with chemotherapy. Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc today announced the initiation of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial studying Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets administered in combination with the chemotherapeutic agents carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
This multicenter study will compare the effectiveness of Nexavar in combination with two chemotherapeutic agents namely carboplatin and paclitaxel. The control arm of the study would be just carboplatin and paclitaxel alone. Study co-coordinators are looking forward to enrolling approximately 900 patients. This study will assess overall survival as the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints would include progression-free survival, tumor response and safety. The study participants may not have received prior systemic anticancer treatment. The study is open to all subtypes of NSCLC including those with squamous cell or adeno carcinomas. Patients in the study will be randomized to receive 400 mg of oral Nexavar twice daily or matching placebo, in addition to carboplatin and paclitaxel for six cycles. After completion of the chemotherapy phase patients will continue in a maintenance phase where Nexavar or placebo will be administered as a single agent. The study will be conducted at more than 130 sites in North America, South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
It is to be noted that Nexavar (sorafenib) has been recently shown to be highly effective in the treatment of renal cell cancer and this drug has been FDA approved for the treatment of renal cell cancer.
Feb 27, 2006
Surgeon's Experience Affects Prostate Cancer Outcome
Before you undergo prostate cancer surgery, it's important to know how many prostate cancer surgeries that surgeon has performed in the past. This is important because the outcome of the surgery and the chance of recurrence may very well depend upon the skills of the surgeon. A recent study showed that chance of prostate cancer recurrence after surgery to remove the prostate is not only influenced by features of the tumor but also by the skill or level of experience of the surgeon.
This study showed that if performed by a surgeon who has performed at least 250 prostate cancer surgeries in the past are more likely to get rid of the cancer permanently. This means that if an experienced urology surgeon performs your surgery you're more likely to be cured.
Don't be hesitant to ask the surgeon about their level of his experience. After he is performing surgery on your body.
These findings were presented at the 2006 Prostate Cancer Symposium in San Francisco. This study is based on 7535 men who had their prostates removed by a procedure called radical prostatectomy. After an average follow-up of 50 months, 1,281 patients (17 percent) experienced a recurrence of prostate cancer as indicated by a rising PSA level.
"The learning curve looks like it continues to rise up to 250 procedures," Scardino said. "But the emphasis," he cautioned, "should not be on the exact number but on the principle that the more the surgeon has done the better."
Feb 27, 2006
HRT Use And Risk Of Breast Cancer
If you're taking postmenopausal hormone therapy this is the time to stop it. A new research has found that postmenopausal hormone therapy with estrogen or estrogen-progestin combination is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk across all ethnic groups.
The link between postmenopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer has been established in previous studies, but it is unclear whether this association varies by specific prognostic factors and ethnicity.
The current research is consistent with previous studies showing an association between hormone therapy use and breast cancer. This risk is higher with estrogen-progestin combination therapy.
Dr. Malcolm Pike from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues write in the International Journal of Cancer about these new research findings. Moreover, "our study provides some of the first results comparing breast cancer risk among different ethnic groups in relation to hormone therapy use. The results suggest that risk among women of other races is similar to the risk previously reported among Whites," they note.
These new conclusions are based on data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study of more than 55,000 women. Current use of estrogen-progestin increases the risk of breast cancer by about 29 percent per 5 years of use. Current use of estrogen was associated with a 10 percent increased risk of breast cancer per 5 years of use.
Feb 27, 2006
Sheryl Crow Undergoes Breast Cancer Surgery
As per her own reports, Rocker Sheryl Crow underwent "successful minimally invasive surgery for breast cancer". This fact is reported on her own web site. The post says, "Her doctors confirm her prognosis as excellent and she will receive radiation treatment as a precaution."
Sheryl Crow, would now will l have radiation therapy as the reports. Just days before undergoing this top-secret surgery for breast cancer, "Extra" spotted a smiling and carefree Sheryl Crow in Santa Monica.
Sheryl Crow is certainly not new to this disease. Her ex-fiance, Lance Armstrong, and her good friend Melissa Etheridge both survived the disease, and she has previously performed at benefits to fight cancer.
Crow had been scheduled to be the first act to perform in the downtown, with a March 31 concert, but had to undergo this surgery.
The singer-songwriter had the surgery in Los Angeles and is now recovering without any complications, said Dave Tomberlin, her publicist. "Her doctors think her prognosis is excellent," said Tomberlin.
Her web site states that she will have to postpone a North American concert tour that was scheduled to begin in March. She said she hoped to reschedule the dates as soon as possible.
Feb 27, 2006
Obesity And Estrogen Related To Breast Cancer
Obesity and estrogen breakdown products may play a significant role in the development of breast cancer, among those women who never used hormone therapy, as per findings published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Dr. Francesmary Modugno, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues, studied the effects of obesity and say "Hormone therapy and body mass index (BMI) have been associated with postmenopausal breast cancer...... Because estrogen metabolism may affect breast cancer risk and can be altered by weight and hormone therapy, it might play a role in the hormone therapy-BMI-breast cancer associations."
These researchers reached this conclusion after analyzing data from women enrolled in the Observational Study of the Women's Health Initiative. They compared levels of two estrogen metabolic products, in 200 women who developed breast cancer and in 200 women who did not.
The researchers found that in women who used hormone therapy, there was a modest but significant increase in breakdown products of estrogen. In this group of women, there was no association among BMI, estrogen metabolism and breast cancer risk.
On the other hand in the group of women who did not use hormone therapy greater BMI and higher levels of estrogen breakdown products were individually and jointly associated with increased cancer risk. The study showed that women with high BMI and high estrogen breakdown products had 3.5-times more likely to develop breast cancer compared to their counterparts.
Feb 23, 2006
New Clues To Iressa And Tarceva Resistance
Thanks to research, now there is more information regarding the mechanism of resistance of cancer cells to drugs like Tarceva (erlotinib) and Iressa (gefitinib).
These drugs belonging to the group of EGFR receptor blockers stop the growth of certain cancers by targeting signaling molecules that are essential to the survival of cancer cells. Researchers have recently found that those who harbor a mutation in the EGFR gene may actually benefit patients in terms of response to treatment. These drugs are however effective only in 10 percent of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, for which subtype of lung cancer this drug is indicated. Also patients who receive this drug may develop acquired resistance during the course of the treatment.
To investigate the issue of drug-resistance, researchers followed six NSCLC patients who'd been treated with either Tarceva or Iressa and later developed secondary resistance. They analyzed tumor samples taken from the patients at various points before and during treatment.
The researchers found that in three of the six patients, tumors continued to grow despite continued therapy. These tumors were found to contain a second mutation in the EGFR gene. Further research revealed this second mutation conferred drug resistance to the EGFR mutant genes that would otherwise be sensitive to Tarceva and Iressa.
The study appears in the Feb. 22 issue of PLoS Medicine.
Feb 23, 2006
Taxotere Beats Navelbine
Taxotere is more effective than Navelbine in the adjuvant treatment of women with history of breast cancer. A new study, which compared these two drugs, showed docetaxel (Taxotere) would beat vinorelbine (Navelbine), in a head-to-head comparison.
This new study comes from Finland and is published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study also found that patients who received nine weeks infusions of trastuzumab (Herceptin) were less likely to have disease recurrences with no increase in cardiac toxicity compared to those who did not receive Herceptin.
Treatment with Taxotere translated into a 42 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer recurrences compared to treatment with Navelbine in the adjuvant setting. However, this comes with a price: women treated with docetaxel had more side effects compared to those who received vinorelbine such as allergic reactions, swelling and fever.
For this large study, Joensuu and his colleagues randomly assigned more than a thousand women with breast cancer three cycles of either docetaxel or vinorelbine, followed by three cycles of other cancer drugs.
Those patients, who had overexpression of HER2/neu gene (numbering 232), were also assigned either to receive nine weeks infusions of Herceptin or a placebo. Those who received the Herceptin had 58 percent reduction in cancer recurrences during the three-year follow-up compared to those who didn't get the drug.
Previous studies have shown that administration of adjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin) for one year reduces the risk of breast cancer recurrence by about 50 percent in those women who have HER2 over expression. Those studies also found Herceptin to be related to increased risk heart problems. The current study with the shorter duration of Herceptin showed 58 percent reduction in cancer recurrence with no significant cardiac toxicity.
Feb 22, 2006
Avastin To Be Tested In Pancreatic Cancer
Researchers are trying to see if a new drug called Avastin would benefit patients pancreatic cancer. FDA currently approves Avastin for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Now a new clinical trial is under way to determine if Avastin in combination with chemotherapy would increase survival in people with pancreatic cancer.
Avastin (bevacizumab) belongs to the newly developed group of targeted drugs. Avastin is anti-angiogenic drug that acts to block the growth of blood vessels in tumors. Dr. Mark Talamonti, who is the chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, heads this new clinical trial. The researchers are planning to use a combination of abdominal radiation therapy, chemotherapy together with Avastin to reduce localized pancreatic tumors that have not metastasized or spread to other organs in the body.
Northwestern Memorial is the sole clinical site where the research trial is being conducted. The phase II clinical trial builds on an earlier study reported in the February 2006 issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.
"Our findings from the previous study suggest that the combination of chemotherapy and radiation is a safe and effective treatment method to reduce the local extent of pancreatic tumors," Talamonti said in a prepared statement.
Feb 21, 2006
Making Sense Of The Psa Test
Male relatives of prostate cancer patients need more information in order to help them understand the possible familial risk of the disease, and to decide whether or not to have a PSA* test, according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer** today (Tuesday).
The benefit of PSA testing as a screening tool remains uncertain. It may have value for screening first degree relatives of men with prostate cancer who are consequently at an increased risk of developing the disease - about 10 to 15 per cent of British men - but this approach needs to be fully tested. However, two Cancer Research UK-funded studies at The Institute of Cancer Research have found that such a targeted screening programme would be difficult to run and may have a low uptake by relatives invited to have their PSA levels tested.
There are many unknowns about the PSA test. It can often detect problems in the prostate at an early stage, but a positive result does not always mean cancer. As such, getting the result of a PSA test can be a confusing situation that requires clear information and advice from health professionals.
The studies were designed to look at how the PSA test could be practicably used as a possible screening test for relatives of prostate cancer patients. Results showed that some patients were reluctant to involve their family members in screening. Many of the relatives who did respond to the suggestion of screening had already had a PSA test, but took part because they still felt they needed more information about prostate cancer.
The PSA test has not been shown to work as a screening test for the general population, although trials are ongoing. One concern is that a raised PSA level, while not always indicative of prostate cancer, nevertheless sometimes leads to invasive investigations that then find the situation to be normal. There is also doubt over whether screening using PSA tests would reduce prostate cancer deaths overall.
Feb 21, 2006
HRT And Risk Of Tubular Breast Cancers
Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) using estrogen-progestin combinations may be associated with a more than two-fold higher relative risk of developing lobular cancer or tubular cancer than of developing ductal cancer. These results come from a large study from Europe, which was recently published in the journal Breast Cancer Research. Findings from this research show for the first time that estrogen-progestin therapy combination is associated with a higher relative risk of developing tubular cancer than ductal cancer, when taken for more than five years. This study also confirms previous findings that postmenopausal hormone therapy using estrogen-progestin is associated with a higher relative risk of lobular cancer than ductal cancer.
This study was conducted by Lena Rosenberg and colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden together with researchers from Genome Institute of Singapore. They combed through the records of 1,888 women with ductal breast cancer, 308 women with lobular cancer and 93 women with tubular breast cancer. All women were matched for age with 3,065 women randomly selected from the population, acted as controls. Both patients and controls were asked to fill in a questionnaire about their medical history, health status and use of menopausal hormone therapy.
Results of the published study show that women who used medium potency estrogen-progestin combination therapy had a higher risk of developing lobular or tubular breast cancer than of developing ductal cancer, compared with women who did not use hormone therapy. Woman who used combination therapy for more than five years were at higher risk for any of these subtypes of breast cancers.
Feb 20, 2006
Treatment Standard For Elderly With Colon Cancer
One of the newest and most potent chemotherapies for colon cancer is as safe and effective for the elderly as it is for younger patients, based on a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-led data review.
The analysis focused on nearly 4,000 colon cancer patients who had been enrolled in four large-scale clinical trials that began in the 1990s nationwide and in Europe. The four studies helped establish the value against colorectal cancer of the chemotherapy regimen known as FOLFOX4, a combination of the standard anticancer drugs 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), leucovorin and the new drug oxaliplatin.
"These four studies redefined the treatment standards for colorectal cancer in the United States," said Dr. Richard Goldberg, professor of medicine in UNC's School of Medicine and chief of hematology-oncology at UNC Health Care. "At the time the trials were designed, FOLFOX was experimental; now it is standard."
Goldberg also is associate director of clinical research at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
He presented the findings of his review Jan. 25 to a gastrointestinal cancer symposium in San Francisco convened by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Radiation Oncology, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Society of Surgical Oncology.
Although the average age of people nationwide with colorectal cancer is 67 years, individuals older than age 70 accounted for only about 16 percent of patients enrolled in the four FOLFOX clinical trials.
According to Goldberg, this shows that older patients are under-enrolled in clinical trials and also explains why doctors who must manage older colon cancer patients "are not as certain what to do for them as they are for the population that is most represented in clinical trials: those under the age of 65."
In our aging society, an increasing number of people with colorectal cancer are going to be in their seventies and eighties, Goldberg said. "So doctors need to sort out what to do for these patients," he added.
Feb 17, 2006
MRI And Mammography
Researchers have found that mammography coupled with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is extremely sensitive in the detection of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). DCIS, or early stage breast carcinoma, is a pre-invasive malignancy and MRI may help identify this type of disease, which may not be visible on a mammogram. This study is published in The Breast Journal.
The study examined the medical records of women diagnosed with DCIS, aged 34 to 79 years, who underwent MRI and mammographic examinations during a period of approximately two years. The results revealed 39 sites of pure DCIS in 33 breasts of 32 women. In each of these women, both MRI and mammograms were performed prior to surgery. Of the 33 breasts involved, DCIS was detected by MRI alone in 64 percent, and detected by mammography alone in only 3 percent. MRI and mammography together detected DCIS in 24 percent of breasts; in 9%, DCIS was found at mastectomy but the mammogram and MRI were negative.
"The results from our small, select group of patients suggest that in women with known or suspected DCIS, determination of the presence and extent of disease may be best established with mammography complemented by MRI," say researchers.
The nuclear grade of DCIS detected by MRI and mammography was similar, though the size of lesions identified by MRI was larger. Breast density did not affect the results.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and that those at increased risk should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of starting mammograms when they are younger, having additional tests (such as MRI) or having more frequent exams. Source: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/
Feb 17, 2006
Physical Activity And Colon Cancer Risk
After all there may be no relationship between physical activity and the risk of development of colon cancer. A larger prospective cohort study of 31,783 American women has found no significant association between levels of physical activity and colon cancer incidence. This study, that is published recently in the International Journal of Cancer, is available via Wiley InterScience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ijc).
Some researchers have previously theorized that it might also inhibit colon cancer. Over forty epidemiologic studies have examined the association with varying results. Many observed a reduction in colon cancer risk for people reporting high levels of activity, compared to those who did not. Several studies have shown a stronger inverse relationship for men, compared to women. Other studies have found no association at all for women.
Researchers led by Brook A. Calton, from the University of California-San Francisco, conducted a prospective study of a large cohort of post-menopausal women in the United States. Using the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project Follow-up Study, they collected information about physical activity and colon cancer cases for 31,783 women. There were 243 cases of colon cancer during the ten-year study period from 1989 to 1998.
Researchers analyzed the data for physical activity for all women, and observed no association between physical activity and the subsequent risk of colon cancer. "The results of this large prospective cohort study among women do not support the hypothesis that physical activity is related to a lower incidence of colon cancer," the authors report.
Feb 16, 2006
COX-2 Inhibitors May Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Those who use the popular painkillers belonging to the group of COX-2 inhibitors and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) regularly may derive substantial benefit in terms of breast cancer protection from the therapy, as per the research report published in the journal BMC Cancer. Popular COX-2 inhibitors include Celebrex and Vioxx. Vioxx have been recently removed from the market due to the concerns of increased risk of heart attack associated with this drug.
The Lead researcher, Dr. Randall Harris and colleagues from the Ohio State College of Medicine and Public Health in Columbus studied 323 breast cancer patients and 649 cancer-free controls to come to this conclusion. They observed a 71 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer with the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors, such as Celebrex and Vioxx, for 2 years or more. Benefits were also observed for those who use ibuprofen and regular full dose (325 mg) of aspirin, but the amount of benefit was less compared to use of COX-2 inhibitors. There were no significant benefits observed with the use of acetaminophen, which has negligible COX-2 activity, or with low-dose (81 mg) aspirin.
Dr. Harris, says that this leads stronger evidence for the theory that COX-2 overexpression may lead to breast cancer and opens up potential avenues for chemoprevention and possibly therapy with selective COX-2 blocking agents.
COX-2 inhibitors have been recently implicated in causing increased risk of heart attacks. COX-2 inhibitors have also been shown to be beneficial in other cancers. Additional clinical studies are required to establish the safety and efficacy of COX-2 inhibitors in the treatment of breast cancer.
Older blogs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.
Cancer Blog: From Medicineworld.org
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.