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September 22, 2008, 10:28 PM CT

Radiation plus hormone therapy in prostate cancer

Radiation plus hormone therapy in prostate cancer
Boston For men with locally advanced prostate cancer the addition of radiation therapy to anti-androgen hormone treatment reduces the risk of dying of prostate cancer by 50 percent in comparison to those who have anti-androgen hormone therapy alone, as per a randomized study presented September 22, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

"This randomized trial is the first to show that men with locally advanced prostate cancer will survive substantially longer when radiation is added to their therapy plan," Anders Widmark, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor in radiation oncology at Umea University in Umea, Sweden, said. "I would encourage men with locally advanced prostate cancer to talk to their doctor to see if they would be a good candidate for radiation treatment in addition to hormone therapy".

Locally advanced prostate cancer is cancer that has grown close to the border or outside the prostate gland and into neighboring tissue, but has not spread into the lymph nodes or to other organs. In this study, anti-androgen hormone treatment is used to treat prostate cancer by blocking the stimulating effect of testosterone on the prostate cancer cells, to shrink the prostate cancer and slow down the growth of prostate cancer. External beam radiation treatment (also called radiotherapy) involves a series of daily therapys to acurately deliver radiation to the prostate.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 8, 2008, 6:24 PM CT

Painkillers lower levels of prostate cancer biomarker

Painkillers lower levels of prostate cancer biomarker
Common painkillers like aspirin and ibuprofen appear to lower a man's PSA level, the blood biomarker widely used by physicians to help gauge whether a man is at risk of prostate cancer.

But the authors of the study, which appears online Sept. 8 in the journal Cancer, caution that men shouldn't take the painkillers in an effort to prevent prostate cancer just yet.

"We showed that men who regularly took certain medications like aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, had a lower serum PSA level," said first author Eric A. Singer, M.D., M.A., a urology resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "But there's not enough data to say that men who took the medications were less likely to get prostate cancer. This was a limited study, and we do not know how a number of of those men actually got prostate cancer".

Singer's team studied the records of 1319 men over the age of 40 who took part in the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a health census conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The team looked at the men's use of NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as the painkiller acetaminophen, and at their PSA levels. A man's level of PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is one of a number of clues that physicians watch to gauge a man's risk of getting prostate cancer.........

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September 3, 2008, 6:58 PM CT

Too much calcium in blood may increase risk of fatal prostate cancer

Too much calcium in blood may increase risk of fatal prostate cancer
Men who have too much calcium in their bloodstreams may have an increased risk of fatal prostate cancer, as per a new analysis from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin.

"We show that men in upper range of the normal distribution of serum calcium subsequently have an almost three-fold increased risk for fatal prostate cancer," said Gary G. Schwartz, Ph.D., associate professor of cancer biology and of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest, a part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Such excess calcium can be lowered, he said.

The research appears in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Co-author Halcyon G. Skinner of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin stressed there is "little relationship between calcium in the diet and calcium in serum. So men needn't be concerned about reducing their ordinary dietary intakes of calcium".

Schwartz and Skinner analyzed the results of 2,814 men who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-1). Measurement of the amount of calcium in the bloodstreams was determined an average of 9.9 years before prostate cancer was diagnosed.........

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September 3, 2008, 6:54 PM CT

Height linked to risk of prostate cancer development

Height linked to risk of prostate cancer development
A man's height is a modest marker for risk of prostate cancer development, but is more strongly associated with progression of the cancer, say British scientists who conducted their own study on the connection and also evaluated 58 published studies.

In the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, 12 scientists at four universities in England studied more than 9,000 men with and without prostate cancer and estimated that the risk of developing the disease rises by about six percent for every 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) in height a man is over the shortest group of men in the study. That means a man who is one foot taller than the shortest person in the study would have a 19 percent increased risk of developing the disease.

Still, these increases in risk are a lot less than those linked with other established risk factors, such as age, family history of the disease, and race. Because of that, the scientists do not suggest that taller men be screened more often than is typical, or that their cancer therapy be altered.

"In comparison to other risk factors, the magnitude of the additional risk of being taller is small, and we do not think that it should interfere with preventive or clinical decisions in managing prostate cancer," said the study's lead author, Luisa Zuccolo, M.Sc., of the Department of Social Medicine at the University of Bristol. "But the insight arising from this research is of great scientific interest. Little is known on the causes of prostate cancer and this association with height has opened up a new line of scientific inquiry".........

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August 27, 2008, 9:10 PM CT

Health risk behaviors and PSA awareness

Health risk behaviors and PSA awareness
As per a research studyconducted at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, health risk behaviors such as smoking and obesity are linked to lower awareness of the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which could lead to a lower likelihood of undergoing actual prostate cancer screening. Eventhough prior studies have explored predictors of PSA test awareness, this is the first research to focus on health risk behaviors, such as smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, and excessive alcohol consumption. The study findings were published in the recent issue of The Journal of Urology

Awareness of PSA testing is considered an important cognitive precursor of prostate cancer screening and it was found to contribute to differences in prostate cancer screening rates. Earlier studies have suggested that persons who seek out cancer information are more likely to acquire knowledge, demonstrate healthy behaviors, and undergo cancer screening. As per the Mailman School study, a quarter of the men older than 50 years without a history of prostate cancer who were among the population of 7,000 men studied, remain unaware of the PSA test.

"Our primary findings suggested that smoking, physical inactivity and obesity are inversely linked to awareness of the PSA test. These risk behaviors are linked with higher prostate cancer morbidity and mortality," said Firas S. Ahmed, MD, MPH, Mailman School of Public Health, and first author. This finding may be due to a general lack of concern about health maintenance or less interactions with health care providers by smokers, as per Dr. Ahmed.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 21, 2008, 9:19 PM CT

Why a common treatment for prostate cancer ultimately fails

Why a common treatment for prostate cancer ultimately fails
Some of the drugs given to a number of men during their fight against prostate cancer can actually spur some cancer cells to grow, scientists have found. The findings were published online this week in a pair of papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The results may help explain a phenomenon that has bedeviled patients for decades. Hormone treatment, a common therapy for men with advanced prostate cancer, generally keeps the cancer at bay for a year or two. But then, for reasons researchers have never understood, the therapy fails in patients whose disease has spread the cancer begins to grow again, at a time when patients have few therapy options left.

The new findings by a team led by Chawnshang Chang, Ph.D., director of the George Whipple Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center, help explain the process by showing that the androgen receptor, through which male hormones like testosterone work, is much more versatile than previously thought. Under certain conditions the molecule spurs growth, and at other times the molecule squelches growth just like the same molecule does to hair in different locations on a man's head.

The new findings raise the possibility that under some conditions, some therapys designed to treat prostate cancer could instead remove one of the body's natural brakes on the spread of the disease in the body. The scientists stress that the results are based on laboratory studies and on findings in mice, and it's too soon to know yet whether the findings apply directly to prostate cancer in men.........

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July 10, 2008, 9:43 PM CT

Prostate cancer vaccines more effective with hormone therapy

Prostate cancer vaccines more effective with hormone therapy
Among patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, the addition of hormone treatment following vaccine therapy improved overall survival compared with either therapy alone or when the vaccine followed hormone therapy, as per recent data reported in the July 15 Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Philip M. Arlen, M.D., director of the Clinical Research Group for the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, Center for Cancer Research, at the National Cancer Institute, said the findings have important implications for guiding therapy decisions for patients with prostate cancer.

"Vaccines, if and when they are approved, can be safely and effectively combined with other therapies, including hormones," said Arlen. "There appears to be an advantage in overall survival".

Arlen and his colleagues enrolled 42 patients who had castration-resistant prostate cancer. These patients were randomly assigned to receive either a poxvirus-based prostate-specific antigen vaccine or hormone treatment with nilutamide. At progression, patients received the other treatment and continued to receive their original treatment.

For all the patients enrolled in the study, the three-year survival probability was 71 percent and the median overall survival was 4.4 years. Patients randomized to the vaccine had a three-year survival probability of 81 percent and an overall survival of 5.1 years, while patients taking nilutamide had a three-year survival probability of 62 percent and an overall survival of 3.4 years.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 1, 2008, 8:36 PM CT

Designer diet for prostate cancer

Designer diet for prostate cancer
Eating one or more portions of broccoli every week can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and the risk of localised cancer becoming more aggressive.

For the first time, a research group at the Institute of Food Research led by Professor Richard Mithen has provided an explanation of how eating broccoli might reduce cancer risk based upon studies in men, as opposed to trying to extrapolate from animal models. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer for males in western countries. The research has provided an insight into why eating broccoli can help men stay healthy.

For the study, reported in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE on July 2, men who were at risk of developing prostate cancer ate either 400g of broccoli or 400g of peaccording to week in addition to their normal diet over 12 months. Tissue samples were taken from their prostate gland before the start of the trial and after 6 and 12 months, and the expression of every gene measured using Affymetrix microarray technology.

It was observed that there were more changes in gene expression in men who were on the broccoli-rich diet than on the pea diet, and these changes may be linked to the reduction in the risk of developing cancer, that has been reported in epidemiological studies.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 26, 2008, 9:22 PM CT

Promising cancer drug target in prostate tumors

Promising cancer drug target in prostate tumors
Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report they have blocked the development of prostate tumors in cancer-prone mice by knocking out a molecular unit they describe as a "powerhouse" that drives runaway cell growth.

In an article that is being published recently as an advanced online publication by the journal Nature, the scientists say the growth-stimulating molecule called p110beta -- part of a cellular signaling network disrupted in several common cancers -- is a promising target for novel cancer therapies designed to shut it down. The report's lead authors are Shidong Jia, MD, PhD, Zhenning Liu, PhD, Sen Zhang PhD, and Pixu Liu, MD, PhD.

The p110beta molecule and a counterpart, p110alpha, are "isoforms" -- slightly different forms of an enzyme called PI(3)K that is an intense focus of cancer research and drug development. PI(3)K is the linchpin of a cell-signal pathway that responds to growth factor signals from outside the cell.

When activated by growth factor receptors, PI(3)K turns on a cascade of genes and proteins that drives cells to divide and grow. The molecular accelerator is normally kept under control by a tumor-suppressor protein, PTEN, which acts like a brake to curb excess cell growth that could lead to cancer.

Mutations that inactivate PTEN -- in effect releasing the brake on growth signals -- are found in a significant proportion of prostate, breast and brain tumors. The senior authors of the new report, Jean Zhao, PhD, and Thomas Roberts, PhD, previously showed that blocking p110alpha protein inhibits malignant growth induced by various cancer-causing proteins, such as Her2 and EGFR. With that knowledge in hand, the researchers, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, are in the process of developing p110alpha blockers.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 27, 2008, 9:07 PM CT

Estrogen Helps Drive Prostate Cancer

Estrogen Helps Drive Prostate Cancer
Using a breakthrough technology, scientists led by a Weill Cornell Medical College scientist have pinpointed the hormone estrogen as a key player in about half of all prostate cancers.

Estrogen-linked signaling helps drive a discrete and aggressive form of the disease caused by a chromosomal translocation, which in turn results in the fusion of two genes.

"Fifty percent of prostate cancers harbor a common recurrent gene fusion, and we think that this confers a more aggressive nature to these tumors," explains study senior author Dr. Mark A. Rubin, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and vice chair for experimental pathology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Rubin is also attending pathologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"Interfering with this gene fusion - or its downstream molecular pathways - will be crucial in the search for drugs that fight the disease. Based on our new data, we now think that inhibiting estrogen may be one way of doing so," he says.

The findings are published in the May 27 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Rubin conducted the study while at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and in collaboration with Dr. Todd Golub and other members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in Cambridge, Mass. His team is now continuing this line of research at Weill Cornell.........

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Prostate cancer
The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum in male. The tube that carries urine runs through the prostate. The prostate contains cells that make some of the seminal fluid. This fluid protects and nourishes the sperm. Prostate cancer usually starts in the gland cells of the prostate. This kind of cancer is known as adenocarcinoma. Prostate cancer is usually a slow disease, but sometimes it can grow fast and spread quickly to other organs.

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