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February 5, 2009, 6:21 AM CT

Hormone Replacement therapy indicted again

Hormone Replacement therapy indicted again

Postmenopausal women who take combined estrogen plus progestin menopausal hormone treatment for at least five years double their annual risk of breast cancer, as per new analyses from a major study that clearly establishes a link between hormone use and breast cancer, Stanford scientists say. The multi-center study also observed that women on hormones can quickly reduce their risks of cancer simply by stopping the treatment.

The study is a follow-up to the landmark Women's Health Initiative report of 2002, which observed that postmenopausal women taking estrogen plus progestin were at far greater risk of developing breast cancer and other serious conditions than women on placebo.

After publication of the WHI data, use of hormone treatment plummeted in the United States - from 60 million prescriptions in 2001 to 20 million in 2005. Breast cancer rates also declined significantly within the year, suggesting a strong link between hormone use and cancer risk. But some researchers still questioned the connection, saying the dip in breast cancer rates could not have occurred so rapidly and may have been correlation to patterns of mammogram use.

The latest study, however, should put those questions to rest, said Marcia Stefanick, PhD, professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 13, 2007, 12:43 AM CT

Women well informed about breast cancer

Women well informed about breast cancer
As per a new GfK Roper Public Affairs survey sponsored by CancerCare, a national nonprofit cancer support organization, while the majority (76 percent) of women surveyed said they know at least a fair amount about breast cancer, a number of remain unaware of the important recent progress made in therapy. Fewer than one out of four (23 percent) women ages 50-65 have heard of new therapies for breast cancer, revealing a gap between awareness and information that women can use toward better therapy.

"These survey results suggest that a number of women still lack essential disease therapy information, which reinforces the need for women to educate themselves to help get the best therapy," said Diane Blum, MSW, executive director of CancerCare. "While great progress has been made in breast cancer awareness through public education and increased media coverage, women with breast cancer would benefit from more information about advances in therapys after surgery".

As per the survey, nearly all respondents were aware of chemotherapy and radiation. However, fewer than one out of four had heard of newer therapies such as aromatase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies, nor were they informed about their benefits.

Doctor-patient dialogue is vital

If diagnosed, the majority of respondents said they would actively work with their doctor to identify the proper therapy. The survey also observed that 71 percent of women would research the condition on their own in addition to discussing therapy options with their doctor. However, 86 percent were not certain they would know what questions to ask.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 20, 2007, 9:13 PM CT

Gene profiling and resistance to Herceptin

Gene profiling and resistance to Herceptin
Using gene chips to profile tumors before therapy, scientists at Harvard and Yale Universities found markers that identified breast cancer subtypes resistant to Herceptin, the primary therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer. They say this advance could help further refine treatment for the 25 to 30 percent of patients with breast cancer with this class of tumor.

In the February 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the scientists observed that HER2-positive tumors that did not respond to Herceptin expressed certain basal markers, growth factors and growth factor receptors. One of these, insulin-growth factor receptor 1(IGF-1R), was linked to a Herceptin response rate that was half that of tumors that did not express IGF-1R.

They also discovered that resistant tumors continue to over-express the HER2 growth factor protein -- an important finding given that a number of researchers had thought that loss of HER2 was likely responsible for Herceptin resistance.

"Herceptin has revolutionized the care of HER2-positive breast cancer for a number of patients, but unfortunately, not for some. This work demonstrates that digging deeper into the molecular subtypes of these tumors helps us understand why some tumors are resistant and may point to ways to remedy that," said the studys lead author, Lyndsay Harris, M.D., associate professor and Director of the Breast Cancer Disease Unit at Yale University Medical Center.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


December 13, 2006, 6:32 PM CT

International Trial Of Novel Breast Cancer Drug

International Trial Of Novel Breast Cancer Drug
A clinical trial of a new targeted breast cancer drug, led by physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center, has begun enrolling patients. The TEACH (Tykerb Evaluation After CHemotherapy) trial will investigate the experimental drug Tykerb (lapatinib) in patients with early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer who have not been treated with Herceptin, another targeted drug used for the same type of tumor. The MGH is the lead institution for the international trial, which is being sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Tykerb.

"This trial represents another step toward understanding the role of targeted therapies in extending disease-free survival," said Paul Goss, MD, PhD, director of Breast Cancer Research at the MGH Cancer Center, who proposed the TEACH study and chairs the International Steering Committee.

About one quarter of patients with breast cancer have tumors that overexpress or produce too a number of copies of a receptor molecule called HER2. Because cellular growth is stimulated by the overactivity of this molecule, which also is called ErbB2, these tumors are more likely to recur and are less responsive to hormone-based therapys. Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody that blocks the HER2 receptor, is approved by the FDA as an adjuvant therapy - given along with chemotherapy after surgical removal and/or radiation treatment - for early-stage, node-positive and HER2-positive tumors as well as for metastatic tumors.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 7:45 AM CT

Psychological Needs Of Breast Cancer Patients

Psychological Needs Of Breast Cancer Patients
Almost half of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer are found to have clinically significant emotional distress or symptoms of psychiatric disorders before therapy is begun, as per a new study reported in the recent issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study reveals that while virtually all of the women admitted to,experiencing some level of emotional distress, 47 percent met clinically significant screening criteria for emotional distress or a psychiatric disorder, including major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Studies have shown that significant emotional distress, including mood disorders and related functional impairments, afflict up to one-third of breast cancer survivors for up to 20 years after therapy. However, little was previously known about the baseline psychological status of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer.

To help characterize pre-treatment psychological status, Mark T. Hegel, Ph.D. of the Department of Psychiatry and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center of Dartmouth Medical School and his colleagues conducted psychiatric and functional screening of 236 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Their findings indicate that almost one in two women met clinically significant criteria for emotional distress or a psychiatric disorder. The most common problem was moderate to severe emotional distress (41 percent). The most usually reported source of distress was correlation to the cancer diagnosis (100 percent), followed by uncertainty about therapy (96 percent) and concern about physical problems (81 percent). Twenty-one percent of women met criteria for psychiatric disorders, including major depression (11 percent) and PTSD (10 percent). These women also demonstrated significant declines in daily functioning that were due to the emotional disorders. Treatment for their cancer had still not begun.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 5:31 PM CT

How Multiple Copies Of A Gene Affect Metastasis?

How Multiple Copies Of A Gene Affect Metastasis?
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have for the first time described how multiple copies of a gene are responsible for metastases in early-stage breast cancer and poor prognosis for patients.

As per a research findings published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the gene, called uPAR, offers a promising target for therapeutic drugs to stop or slow the progression of the disease and could serve as a screening tool for assessing which types of drugs a patient will respond to.

The gene launches a biochemical process in which a molecule called plasmin perforates the membranes of tissues, causing the membranes to break down and allowing the cancer cells to escape into the bloodstream and to adjacent tissues. The result is metastasizing breast cancer. About 20 percent to 25 percent of breast-cancer patients were shown to have uPAR gene amplification, which means they carry too a number of copies of the gene.

"The uPAR system probably plays a role in metastases in a number of of the common solid tumors," said Dr. Jonathan Uhr, professor in the Cancer Immunobiology Center and of microbiology and the study's senior author.

While analyzing slides of individual tumor cells - either from the primary tumor or circulating tumor cells - of 72 patients with advanced recurrent breast carcinoma, the UT Southwestern research team discovered how uPAR may work in concert with another known breast cancer gene, HER-2.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 27, 2006, 5:11 AM CT

Women With Mental Disorders And Mammograms

Women With Mental Disorders And Mammograms
Women with mental disorders are less likely to have screening mammograms than women without mental illness, although.

the nature of the mental illness does play a role, as per a large study published by Indiana University School of Medicine and Richard Roudebush VA Health Services Center for Excellence scientists in the recent issue of Journal of General Internal Medicine. Previous to this study, little was known about whether the type or severity of mental illness influences receipt of preventive services such as mammograms.

"Eventhough women with mental disorders are less likely to receive mammography than women who do not have mental disorders, we observed that both the type and severity of mental illness does influence the receipt of mammograms. Women with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are significantly less likely to receive mammograms than women in the general population. However, women with mild depression do not differ markedly. But, as depression severity increases, so does the likelihood that women will not receive needed screening," said senior author Caroline Carney Doebbeling, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the I.U. School of Medicine. She is also a Regenstrief Institute, Inc. research scientist and director of the IU.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 17, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Older Breast Cancer Patients May Be Under-treated

Older Breast Cancer Patients May Be Under-treated
Elderly breast cancer patients who received care in a community hospital setting may have been under-diagnosed, under-staged and under-treated, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The number of older patients with breast cancer has increased along with overall elderly population, as per background information in the article. About half of patients with breast cancer are older than 65 years and 35 percent are older than 70; 77 percent of breast cancer deaths occur in women older than 55. Choosing the appropriate therapy for older patients is a challenge, because a number of have other serious illnesses in addition to their cancer that may threaten their health and shorten their lives. Questions remain about the best screening protocols for elderly women, as well. Some current guidelines suggest that women stop having mammograms at age 70, while others provide no upper limit.

David A. Litvak, M.D., then of Michigan State University, Lansing, and now at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Orange County, Calif., and Rajeev Arora, M.D., used a tumor registry database to identify 354 women age 70 or older who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1992 and 2002 at a community hospital. The scientists studied the group of women as a whole and also divided them into three age groups for analysis: ages 70 to 74 (136 patients), 75 to 79 (115 patients) and 80 or older (103 patients).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts
MRI is better than MDCT for determining if and how far breast cancer has spread into the breast ducts and should be used before patients receive breast conserving treatment, a new study shows.

"Patients have a lower survival rate if their surgical margins are positive for tumor cells. A positive surgical margin is commonly the result of inadequate resection of the cancer's intraductal component," said Akiko Shimauchi, MD, at Tohoku University in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. "Accurate preoperative diagnosis of the intraductal component allows the surgeon to achieve a cancer-free surgical margin," she said.

The study included 69 patients with proven invasive cancer, 44 of which had an intraductal component, said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI correctly identified 33 of the 44 cases, while MDCT correctly identified 27. "MRI revealed the presence of the intraductal component with significantly higher sensitivity (75%) in comparison to MDCT (61%), Dr. Shimauchi said.

"The lesions that were missed by both examinations were the ductal extension type, i.e. the tumor included a dominant mass with an outward extension of cancer cells, with a relatively small ductal component," said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI was better able to detect the smaller ductal components than MDCT, she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 23, 2006, 5:11 AM CT

Targeting Protein S14 In Breast Cancer Treatment

Targeting Protein S14 In Breast Cancer Treatment Dartmouth researchers Wendy Wells and William Kinlaw are looking into a protein called S14. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
William Kinlaw, an associate professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, has been working on a protein called S14 since 1990. Over the past few months, however, the news about S14 has picked up. Through a series of recently published academic studies, Kinlaw and colleagues are ready to pronounce S14 a potential drug target in treating breast cancer.

"Over the past three years, we've learned about S14 and its role in communicating information about the nutrient and energy supply to genes mandatory for fat metabolism in breast cancer cells," says Kinlaw, who is also affiliated with the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "With this knowledge has also come the understanding that most breast cancers have found a mechanism to turn on the S14 gene".

He explains that these tumors are 'addicted' to S14, because it is mandatory for the activation of a group of genes that allow the cancer cells to make fat. Kinlaw and his team have observed that breast cancer cells die if S14 is removed, and their analysis of human breast tumors indicates that S14 is critical for metastasis.

"This makes sense, as fat is a crucial fuel for breast cancers," he says. "We believe this is particularly so during a tumor cell's attempt to journey from the breast to other parts of the body, because the normal breast tissue supplies machinery that allows tumor cells to acquire fat from the bloodstream. Our data support the hypothesis that once the cells leave this metabolically friendly breast environment, the ability to manufacture their own fat becomes a make-or-break issue".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:11 AM CT

"DES Daughters" And Risk Of Breast Cancer

So-called "DES daughters," born to mothers who used the anti-miscarriage drug diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy, are at a substantially greater risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who were not exposed to the drug in utero.

Reporting in the recent issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a nationwide team of researchers found that DES daughters over age 40 had 1.9 times the risk of developing breast cancer, compared to unexposed women of the same age. They also found that the relative risk of developing the cancer was even greater in DES daughters over age 50, but say the number of older women in their study group is, as yet, too small for a firm statistical comparison.

"This is really unwelcome news because so many women worldwide were prenatally exposed to DES, and these women are just now approaching the age at which breast cancer becomes more common," said the study's lead author, Julie Palmer, Sc.D., professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.

She said an estimated one to two million women in the U.S. were exposed to DES, which was frequently prescribed to women from the 1940s through 1960s to prevent miscarriages.

The ongoing study suggests that DES-exposed women are developing the typical range of breast cancers after age 40 at a faster rate than non-exposed women of the same ages. The researchers also found that the highest relative risk of developing breast cancer was observed in study participants from the cohorts with the highest cumulative doses of DES exposure.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink


May 3, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

Fenretinide Cuts The Risk Of Second Breast Cancers

Fenretinide Cuts The Risk Of Second Breast Cancers
A 15-year follow-up of women in a breast cancer trial has found that fenretinide[1] - a drug correlation to vitamin A - significantly cuts the risk of a second breast cancer among younger patients.

The Italian research team reporting the findings on-line (Thursday 4 May) in Annals of Oncology[2], are sufficiently convinced of the drug's protective potential to call for a trial to test its use as a preventive in pre-menopausal healthy women at high risk of the disease. They are now seeking international partners and funding for such a trial.

The women in the long-term follow-up comprised a sub-group of 1,700 - 60% of the patients in a 10-centre trial lead by Professor Umberto Veronesi and co-ordinated by Milan's Istituto Nazionale Tumori when he was its director. The study, which began in 1987, randomised more than 2,800 women to receive 200 mg fenretinide daily for five years or no extra therapy after surgery for early-stage breast cancer.

The new analysis, also lead by Professor Veronesi, who is now Director of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, followed the 1,739 patients who had been recruited by the Istituto Nazionale Tumori centre, investigating whether these patients developed a second cancer either in the treated breast or the other breast.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

Raloxifene as Effective as Tamoxifen in Preventing Breast Cancer

Raloxifene as Effective as Tamoxifen in Preventing Breast Cancer Tamoxifen and raloxifene
The largest North American breast cancer prevention trial, the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR trial, has compiled an initial analysis of study data and found the osteoporosis drug raloxifene works as well as tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women at increased risk of the disease. Both drugs reduced the risk of developing invasive breast cancer by about 50 percent.

In addition, within the study, women who were prospectively and randomly assigned to take raloxifene daily, and who were followed for an average of about four years, had 36 percent fewer uterine cancers and 29 percent fewer blood clots than the women who were assigned to take tamoxifen. Uterine cancers, particularly endometrial cancers, are a rare but serious side effect of tamoxifen. Both tamoxifen and raloxifene are known to increase a woman's risk of blood clots.

Participants in STAR are now receiving information about which drug they were taking. Women assigned to raloxifene will continue to be provided with the drug until they have completed five years of therapy. Those women assigned to tamoxifen can choose to continue taking tamoxifen or to receive raloxifene to complete their five years of therapy.

"Women everywhere are at risk for breast cancer, and we are pleased that Houston-area women have had the chance to participate in this important study," says says Therese B. Bevers, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences and principal investigator of STAR at M. D. Anderson.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


April 14, 2006, 9:07 AM CT

Estrogen Alone HRT Does Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Estrogen Alone HRT Does Not Increase Breast Cancer Risk
New research is suggesting that estrogen may not be as bad it was thought in terms of breast cancer risk. Scientists have found that estrogen-alone hormone treatment does not increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This result comes from an updated analysis of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Estrogen-Alone Trial.

These results are in apparent contrast with previously reported WHI Estrogen plus Progestin Trial, which found an increase in breast cancer if use exceeds 5 years.

These new research findings appear in the latest issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). These researchers followed postmenopausal women who were taking estrogen-alone hormone replacement over a period of 7 years. Over this period, women who were taking estrogen replacement actually had fewer breast cancers compared to those women who were taking placebo.

While women who were taking estrogen-alone hormone replacement had an incidence rate of 28 per 10,0000 participants per year, women who were taking placebo had an incidence rate of 34 per 10,000 participants per year. The difference in rates of breast cancer (6 per 10,000) between the groups was not statistically significant, meaning it could have occurred by chance.

The new analysis also found that participants taking estrogen had 50 percent more abnormal mammograms compared to those women who were taking placebo. Obviously an abnormal mammogram does not necessarily mean cancer as it was shown in the study results.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 7:07 AM CT

Social Isolation Has Its Toll In Breast Cancer

Social Isolation Has Its Toll In Breast Cancer
A new research has found that women who have few close friends or family members at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis are more likely to die from breast cancer compared to those who have better social support structure.

Study author Dr. Candyce H. Kroenke, of the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco says that social support is very important in breast cancer. Social isolation can lead to a limitation of access to health care, and can lead to inadequate care and may affect the breast cancer outcome.

Research findings from Kroenke and his colleagues appear in the latest issue of Journal of clinical oncology. The scientists painstakingly analyzed the data from nearly 3,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study to come to this conclusion. These women completed periodic questionnaires, including items correlation to their social networks, such as marital status and number and frequency of contacts with close friends and relatives, and their social-emotional support, or their having a confidant.

The scientists found that socially isolated women, including those with few relatives or friends and who did not belong to any church or community groups, were 66 percent more likely to die from all causes and twice as likely to die from breast cancer than those who were the most socially integrated.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


April 10, 2006, 8:10 PM CT

Hormone Use Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Hormone Use Linked To Increased Breast Cancer Risk
Hormone treatment appears to be associated with increased risk of breast cancer among black women, with a stronger link for leaner women, as per a research studyin the April 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Prior research has suggested that the long-term use of female hormone treatment is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer, as per background information in the article. However, most of the women in the largest studies have been white, and few studies have looked at the risks specifically in black women.

Lynn Rosenberg, Sc.D., of Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University, and his colleagues examined the association in 23,191 women age 40 years or older who were part of the Black Women's Health Study, conducted by researchers at Boston University and Howard University, Washington, D.C. The participants filled out an initial questionnaire about medical history, menopausal status and hormone use when they enrolled in the study in 1995. Follow-up questionnaires that also included questions about the development of breast cancer were completed every two years through the year 2003. The women's body mass index (BMI) was calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists from the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) who conducted the landmark Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT), report a seven-year and final update of the trial results in the November 16, 2005, Journal of the National Cancer Institute*. In this final report, reductions in breast cancer incidence among participants taking tamoxifen were found to be very similar compared to those reported in 1998 when initial findings from the BCPT were released. The conclusion is supported by the observation that the incidence rate of breast cancer was relatively constant through seven years of follow-up among women who received tamoxifen and by the fact that the rate remained stable for at least two years beyond the time that women stopped taking the drug. The risks of stroke, deep-vein thrombosis, and cataracts -- possible side-effects of tamoxifen treatment -- were also similar to those reported previously.

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