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October 23, 2008, 9:21 PM CT

Study finds that practice makes perfect in lung cancer surgery

Study finds that practice makes perfect in lung cancer surgery
Patients operated on by surgeons who do not routinely remove cancer from the lungs may be at a higher risk for complications, as per a research studyconducted by scientists at Duke University Medical Center.

"Our study observed that hospitals that do higher volumes of these types of surgeries have correspondingly lower mortality rates than those who do fewer of the procedures," said Andrew Shaw, M.D., an anesthesiologist at Duke and lead investigator on the study.

"This has important implications for both patients and doctors: patients should choose a center that does these procedures often, and doctors who are only doing a few of these a year should consider either growing their practices, or focusing their attention on other, less complex, types of surgery".

The results of the study would be reported in the recent issue of the journal Cancer Therapy, but they have already appeared online on the journal's Web site. The study was funded by Duke's department of anesthesiology.

The scientists used the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a publicly-available database of hospital admissions dating back 20 years and representing approximately 90 percent of hospitals in the country, to examine death rates following three common types of surgery for lung cancer -- pneumonectomy, in which the whole lung is removed, lobectomy, in which a third to half of the lung is removed, and segmental resection, in which a smaller portion of the lung is removed. Over 130,000 patient data samples were studied.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 7, 2008, 10:18 PM CT

Novel Lung Cancer Vaccine Trial Launched

Novel Lung Cancer Vaccine Trial Launched
Oncologists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla are hoping to stave off the relentless march of advanced lung cancer by treating patients with a novel kind of cancer vaccine. While a number of vaccines attempt to pump up the immune system to fight off a cancer, the new vaccine, Lucanix, is genetically engineered to also trick the cancer into turning off its immune system-suppressing activities.

The first patients have begun enrolling in a new clinical trial at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center testing the effectiveness of the vaccine. The trial will involve 700 patients at some 90 centers worldwide.

Current therapys for advanced lung cancer have limited effectiveness and new therapies are needed, said Lyudmila Bazhenova, M.D., director of the Lung Cancer Unit at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

"The future therapys for advanced lung cancer may involve combinations of chemotherapy and targeted agents, and possibly even biologicals such as this," she said.

Roughly 430 patients die of lung cancer every day in the United States, as per Bazhenova, making it the nation's number one killer, despite being the second most common cancer. "While breast cancer mortality has declined about 15 percent, there hasn't been much improvement in mortality in lung cancer in the past several decades," she said. As per the American Cancer Society, an estimated 215,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed, and 162,000 individuals will die from the disease this year in the United States.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 28, 2008, 9:11 PM CT

Less nicotine to the brain than regular cigarettes?

Less nicotine to the brain than regular cigarettes?
For decades now, cigarette makers have marketed so-called light cigarettes which contain less nicotine than regular smokes with the implication that they are less harmful to smokers' health. A new UCLA study shows, however, that they deliver nearly as much nicotine to the brain.

Reporting in the current online edition of the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, UCLA psychiatry professor Dr. Arthur L. Brody and his colleagues observed that low-nicotine cigarettes act similarly to regular cigarettes, occupying a significant percentage of the brain's nicotine receptors.

Light cigarettes have nicotine levels of 0.6 to 1 milligrams, while regular cigarettes contain between 1.2 and 1.4 milligrams.

The scientists also looked at de-nicotinized cigarettes, which contain only a trace amount of nicotine (0.05 milligrams) and are currently being tested as an adjunct to standard smoking-cessation therapys. They observed that even that low a nicotine level is enough to occupy a sizeable percentage of receptors.

"The two take-home messages are that very little nicotine is needed to occupy a substantial portion of brain nicotine receptors," Brody said, "and cigarettes with less nicotine than regular cigarettes, such as 'light' cigarettes, still occupy most brain nicotine receptors. Thus, low-nicotine cigarettes function almost the same as regular cigarettes in terms of brain nicotine-receptor occupancy.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:20 PM CT

Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy

Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy
In a small study of 20 audiorecorded interactions, physicians seldom responded empathetically to concerns raised by lung cancer patients, as per a report in the September 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Empathy is an important element of effective communication between patients and physicians and is linked to improved patient satisfaction and compliance with recommended therapy," the authors write as background information in the article. "Patients who are more satisfied with the communication in their medical encounters have improved understanding of their condition, with less anxiety and improved mental functioning." However, responding to patients' emotional needs can be challenging for physicians; they may begin medical school with empathy for their patients but gradually learn detachment, perhaps in order to cope with time constraints or sadness.

Diane S. Morse, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y, and his colleagues conducted an analysis of 20 recorded and transcribed consultations between patients with lung cancer (average age 65, all male) and nine physicians (three oncologists and six thoracic surgeons). Each visit contained an average of 326 statements, and those made by patients were coded into three themes: statements about the impact of lung cancer, statements about diagnosis or therapy and statements about health system issues affecting care.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 16, 2008, 10:14 PM CT

Pazopanib shrinks lung cancers before surgery

Pazopanib shrinks lung cancers before surgery
Pazopanib, a new oral angiogenesis inhibitor, has demonstrated interesting activity in difficult to treat non-small-cell lung cancer, US scientists report.

In a phase II trial, 30 out of 35 patients treated with preoperative pazopanib for a minimum of two weeks saw their tumor size shrink by up to 85%.

"This is a positive result that will be explored further," said Prof. Nasser Altorki from Weil Medical College of Cornell University in New York.

"To my knowledge, no other results on the effect of angiogenesis inhibitors in early stage operable lung cancer have been published.

The results presented here with pazopanib indicate a highly active drug in this setting and further development in lung cancer is underway to fully understand the value of this drug in this disease".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 26, 2008, 7:53 PM CT

Common gene disorder doubles risk of lung cancer

Common gene disorder doubles risk of lung cancer
Mayo Clinic scientists have observed that carrying a common genetic disorder doubles the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers and nonsmokers.

The study is reported in the May 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the American Medical Association.

Scientists observed that the genetic disorder, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (1ATD), could explain up to about 12 percent of patients with lung cancer in this study and likely represents the same widespread risk in the general population. "This is a seriously underdiagnosed disorder and suggests that people who have lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) in their families should be screened for these gene carriers," says Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and lead investigator on the study.

The current standard diagnostic test measures protein produced by the gene. Because of the cost and limited availability of the test, it's not suitable for general screenings. A less expensive DNA-based gene panel test is being developed.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 10 million Americans and 120 million people worldwide are 1ATD carriers. As per Dr. Yang, this study shows that the disorder "is among the highest for major gene effects on the risk of a common cancer."........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 20, 2008, 9:53 PM CT

Determining genetic signature of lung tumors

Determining genetic signature of lung tumors
The first U.S. clinical trial using genetic screening to identify lung tumors likely to respond to targeted therapies supports the use of those drugs as first-line therapy rather than after standard chemotherapy has failed. While the study led by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center researchers observed that upfront gefitinib (Iressa) therapy considerably improved the outcomes for non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC), additional research is mandatory before such a strategy can be used for routine therapy planning. The report appears in the May 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This is a pivotal clinical trial that demonstrates the power of personalized medicine in lung cancer therapy, says Lecia Sequist, MD, MPH, of the MGH Cancer Center, who led the study. It is an exciting glimpse into what we hope is the future of cancer care. Instead of a one size fits all treatment, we are moving towards finding the best therapy for each patient.

The most common form of lung cancer, NSCLC is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Until recently, there were no therapy options for NSCLC patients in whom chemotherapy failed. Iressa, which disables the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the surface of lung cancer cells, was approved in 2003 for therapy of NSCLC even though it shrank tumors in less than 15 percent of patients because, in those whom it did help, responses were rapid and dramatic.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 13, 2008, 8:44 PM CT

Mouth may tell the tale of lung damage

Mouth may tell the tale of lung damage
Li Mao, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.
Cells lining the mouth reflect the molecular damage that smoking does to the lining of the lungs, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report today at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Examining oral tissue lining the mouth to gauge cancer-inducing molecular alterations in the lungs could spare patients and those at risk of lung cancer from more invasive, uncomfortable procedures used now, said senior researcher Li Mao, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.

"We are talking about just a brushing inside of the cheek to get the same information we would from lung brushings obtained through bronchoscopy," said study presenter and first author Manisha Bhutani, M.D., a post-doctoral fellow in Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.

The team examined the oral and lung lining tissue - called the epithelium - in 125 chronic smokers enrolled in a large, prospective lung cancer chemoprevention study.

The status of two crucial tumor-suppressing genes was analyzed. The genes, p16 and FHIT, are known to be damaged or silenced very early in the process of cancer development. "There is substantial damage long before there is cancer," Mao said.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 9:22 PM CT

PET Outperforms CT In Malignant Lung Nodules

PET Outperforms CT In Malignant Lung Nodules
Image courtesy of Medical College of Georgia
Scientists involved in a large, multi-institutional study comparing the accuracy of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) in the characterization of lung nodules observed that PET was far more reliable in detecting whether or not a nodule was cancerous.

"CT and PET have been widely used to characterize solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) as non-malignant or cancerous," said James W. Fletcher, professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Ind. "Almost all prior studies examining the accuracy of CT for characterizing lung nodules, however, were performed more than 15 years ago with outdated technology and methods, and prior PET studies were limited by small sample sizes," he noted.

"Detecting and characterizing SPNs is important because cancerous nodules represent a potentially curable form of lung cancer. Identifying which SPNs are most likely to be cancerous enables physicians to initiate the proper treatment before local or distant metastases develop," said Fletcher.

In a head-to-head study addressing the limitations of prior studies, PET and CT images on 344 patients were independently interpreted by a panel of experts in each imaging modality, and their determination of non-malignant and cancerous nodules were in comparison to pathologic findings or changes in SPN size over the next two years.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 28, 2008, 10:57 PM CT

Number of Russian women smokers has doubled

Number of Russian women smokers has doubled
In 1992, seven per cent of women smoked, in comparison to almost 15 per cent by 2003. In the same period, the number of men who smoke has risen from 57 per cent to 63 per cent.

The scientists behind the study, reported in the journal Tobacco Control, blame the privatisation of the previously state owned tobacco industry and the behaviour of the transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) for what they describe as a "very worrying increase".

Between 1992 and 2000, TTCs such as Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International invested approximately US$1.7 billion to gain a 60 per cent share of the privatised Russian tobacco market.

Tobacco advertising had simply not existed in the Soviet era. Yet as soon as the TTCs were there, it was rampant, say researchers. By the mid 1990s it was estimated that half of all billboards in Moscow and three quarters of plastic bags in Russia carried tobacco advertising.

"There can be no doubt that the marketing tactics of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and the like directly underpin this massive increase in smoking that spells disaster for health in Russia," said Dr Anna Gilmore from the School for Health at the University of Bath, who carried out the study with academics from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and University College London, and has been researching tobacco control in the region for over seven years.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Lung cancer
We engage a never-ending daily struggle to understand and defeat the hidden mysteries of cancer. This is a long and laborious fight, but some moments stand out as grim reminders of the severity of the problem and ruthlessness of the enemy. We recently heard about the sad demise of Peter Jennings, who was the news anchor of ABC News for a long time.

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