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February 25, 2009, 6:27 AM CT

Smoking and socioeconomic inequities in lung cancer

Smoking and socioeconomic inequities in lung cancer
Europeans with the least education have a higher occurence rate of lung cancer compared with those with the highest education. However, smoking history accounts for approximately half of this risk, as per a research studyin the February 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Prior studies showed that individuals with a lower socioeconomic status have a higher risk for developing lung cancer. Some studies have also suggested that some of the excess risk of lung cancer is due to smoking.

To further investigate the contribution of smoking to the discrepancy in lung cancer incidence, Gwenn Menvielle, Ph.D., and his colleagues examined the association of smoking, diet, education, and lung cancer in 391,251 individuals in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Menvielle, who conducted the research in The Netherlands at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, and the department of public health of the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, is now at the Institut National de la Sant et de la Recherche Mdicale in Villejuif, France.

The scientists used participants' highest level of education achieved as an indicator of socioeconomic status and had smoking and diet information from questionnaires completed at study entry.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 23, 2009, 6:28 AM CT

Better methods to quit smoking

Better methods to quit smoking
Scientists from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies led by Dr Linda Bauld at Bath, along with colleagues from the University of Glasgow, have published research in the recent issue of Addiction journal comparing the success and cost-effectiveness of two types of stop smoking support services offered by the NHS. These are community-based group stop smoking support and one-to-one support provided in a pharmacy setting.

The study, funded by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Health Scotland, observed that more than a third of smokers using support groups quit smoking after four weeks; almost double the proportion of those using a pharmacy-based support scheme to help them quit.

Dr Linda Bauld said: "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, and the single biggest cause of inequalities in health.

"These findings agree with prior research which shows that smokers who used a support group were more likely to quit. But we know that only a very small proportion of smokers using NHS stop smoking services in the UK use this form of help.

"We need to get the message across that group support, combined with stop smoking medications, works well for a number of people.

"However, we observed that both types of service in Glasgow are reaching and treating smokers from disadvantaged areas in substantial numbers, which is extremely encouraging and will contribute to efforts to reduce inequalities in health".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 19, 2009, 11:50 PM CT

Who with lung cancer live longer?

Who with lung cancer live longer?
Disparities in survival among black patients diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer are not seen when patients are recommended appropriate therapy, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than any other cancer, as per background information in the article. Pulmonary resectionor surgery to remove a portion of the lungprovides the best chance for patients with early-stage disease to be cured. "Black patients with early-stage lung cancer have lower five-year survival rates than white patients, and this difference in outcome has been attributed to lower rates of resection among black patients," the authors write. "Several potential factors underlying racial differences in the receipt of surgical treatment include differences in pulmonary function, access to care, refusal of surgery, beliefs about tumor spread on air exposure at the time of operation and the possibility of cure without surgery, distrust of the health care system and physicians, suboptimal patterns of patient and doctor communication and health care system and provider biases." Of these, access to care is often considered the most important of factors underlying racial disparities.

Farhood Farjah, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and his colleagues designed a study to address whether differences in survival persist when evaluating only patients who had been recommended to receive optimal treatment, in this case lung resection. Patients recommended for treatment were considered likely to have "cleared" at least one major hurdle of access to care. The researchers analyzed data from 17,739 patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer between 1992 and 2002 (average age 75, 89 percent white and 6 percent black) and who were recommended to receive surgical treatment. They tracked whether or not the patients underwent surgery, and their overall survival, through 2005.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 6, 2009, 8:46 PM CT

Cut down on smoking using nicotine gum

Cut down on smoking using nicotine gum
Nicotine gum has been in use for over 20 years to help smokers quit abruptly yet close to two-thirds of smokers report that they would prefer to quit gradually. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare have now observed that smokers who are trying to quit gradually can also be helped by nicotine gum. The results of the first study to test the efficacy and safety of using nicotine gum to assist cessation by gradual reduction are reported in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Almost 3300 smokers participated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Participants were enrolled in 27 study sites across the US. Participants were allowed to choose between 2-mg and 4-mg doses of nicotine gum, with the higher doses generally being selected by heavier smokers. Within each dose group, participants were then randomized to receive either the active gum or a placebo, yielding 4 approximately equal groups.

The study assessed initial 24-hour abstinence and 28-day abstinence, and participants were followed up at 6 months to determine overall success rates for quitting. The odds of smokers achieving 24-hour abstinence were 40 to 90% higher using active gum in comparison to placebo, and 2 to 4.7 times higher for attaining 28-day abstinence. At the end of 6 months, while absolute quit rates were somewhat low, the odds of quitting were about 2 to 6 times greater for active gum users as for the placebo users, with a quit rate of 6% in the 4-mg group.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 5, 2009, 11:34 PM CT

New Tumor Suppressor genes for Lung Cancer

New Tumor Suppressor genes for Lung Cancer
Cancer and cell biology experts at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have identified a new tumor suppressor that may help researchers develop more targeted drug therapies to combat lung cancer.

The study, led by Jorge Moscat, PhD, appears in the January 2009 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Proto-oncogenes are genes that play a role in normal cell growth (turnover of cells and tissue) but, when genetically modified, can cause the out-of-control cell division that leads to cancer. Prior research had established that Ras, a proto-oncogene, is abnormally expressed in up to 25 percent of human lung cancers; however, scientists did not understand the specific cellular events by which abnormal Ras expression leads to transformation.

UC scientists sought to define the interim steps that occur in Ras-induced tumor development to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms leading to cancer.

"These interim steps are critical because they help us determine how best to intervene and stop cancer growth along the way," explains Moscat, corresponding author of the study and chair of UC's cancer and cell biology department. "Right now, cancer treatment is delivered with a sledgehammer and it needs to be more like a scalpel so we avoid unnecessary harm to the body".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 31, 2008, 7:14 AM CT

Taking one gene at a time in lung cancer

Taking one gene at a time in lung cancer
While examining patterns of DNA modification in lung cancer, a team of international scientists has discovered what they say is a surprising new mechanism. They say that "silencing" of a single gene in lung cancer led to a general impairment in genome-wide changes in cells, contributing to cancer development and progression.

In the January 1, 2009, issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, they also report finding a strong link between modification of the key gene, MTHFR, and tobacco use by patients with lung cancer even if the patient had smoked for a short period of time.

The findings reinforce tobacco's link to lung cancer development, but show that deactivating one specific gene through a process known as hypermethylation causes systemic dysfunction, or hypomethylation, in a number of genes, said the study's senior investigator, Zdenko Herceg, Ph.D., head of the Epigenetics Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

"We observed that tobacco-mediated hypermethylation of MTHFR, and consequent partial or complete silencing of the gene, may trigger global hypomethylation and deregulation of DNA synthesis, both of which may contribute to cancer development," he said.

This methylation process, which involves chemically modifying normal DNA in order to change its activity, is seen as an increasingly important factor contributing to so-called "epigenetic inheritance" in cancer development, Herceg said. An epigenetic event is when non-genetic factors cause a gene to change its expression, and this is different from cancer caused by mutated genes that produce errant protein.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 30, 2008, 7:15 AM CT

Food additive may increase speed spread of lung cancer

Food additive may increase speed spread of lung cancer
New research in an animal model suggests that a diet high in inorganic phosphates, which are found in a variety of processed foods including meats, cheeses, beverages, and bakery products, might speed growth of lung cancer tumors and may even contribute to the development of those tumors in individuals predisposed to the disease.

The study also suggests that dietary regulation of inorganic phosphates may play an important role in lung cancer therapy. The research, using a mouse model, was conducted by Myung-Haing Cho, D.V.M., Ph.D., and colleagues at Seoul National University, appears in the first issue for January of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

"Our study indicates that increased intake of inorganic phosphates strongly stimulates lung cancer development in mice, and suggests that dietary regulation of inorganic phosphates appears to be critical for lung cancer therapy as well as prevention," said Dr. Cho.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the world and is also the most frequently diagnosed solid tumor. Nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) constitutes over 75 percent of lung cancers and has an average overall 35-year survival rate of 14 percent. Earlier studies have indicated that approximately 90 percent of NSCLC cases were linked to activation of certain signaling pathways in lung tissue. This study revealed that high levels of inorganic phosphates can stimulate those same pathways.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 22, 2008, 5:22 AM CT

Genes that may cause lung cancer

Genes that may cause lung cancer
Individuals with particular variants of certain genes involved in metabolizing the most potent carcinogen found in cigarette smoke have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. That is the conclusion of a new study reported in the February 1, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study's results may help shed light on how lung cancer develops and could have important implications for preventing smoking-related cancers.

Tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) is a component of cigarette smoke that has been shown to cause lung cancer in rodents. Certain enzymes act to protect the body from this type of chemical by turning it into nontoxic forms or by transporting it from cells. For example, ATP-binding cassette transporters encoded by genes known as ABCB1 and ABCC1 are involved in eliminating carcinogens from the lungs, protecting them against inhaled toxins.

Scientists suspect that individuals with alterations in these genes might have an increased susceptibility to develop lung cancer. Recently, a team of researchers led by Dr. Daru Lu and Dr. Haijian Wang of the Fudan University in Shanghai identified common variants at the beginning and end of the ABC1 and ABCC1 genes. They then analyzed these variants in 500 lung cancer patients and 517 cancer-free controls in a Chinese population.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 17, 2008, 10:22 PM CT

Why only some former smokers develop lung cancer

Why only some former smokers develop lung cancer
Canadian scientists are trying to answer why some smokers develop lung cancer while others remain disease free, despite similar changes in lifestyle.

Results were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die from lung cancer than any other cancer type. In fact, as per 2004 data, more people died from lung cancer than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing lung cancer, even after quitting for long periods of time. "More than 50 percent of newly diagnosed patients with lung cancer are former smokers," said Emily A. Vucic, a graduate student at the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, B.C. "Understanding why some former smokers develop lung cancer is clearly important to the development of early detection, prevention and therapy strategies".

The scientists studied how DNA methylation contributes to lung cancer development in former smokers. Methylation is an important event regulating gene expression during normal development. As we age and in cancer, proper patterns of DNA methylation become deregulated throwing off the tight control of gene activity that normally exists.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 13, 2008, 10:45 PM CT

Proton therapy and concurrent chemotherapy in lung cancer

Proton therapy and concurrent chemotherapy in lung cancer
Patients treated for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer who receive chemotherapy and proton beam treatment have fewer instances of bone marrow toxicity than patients who receive the standard therapy of intensity-modulated radiation (IMRT) and concurrent chemotherapy, as per scientists from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings were reported today at the 2008 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology, sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago. It is the first study to examine the benefits of proton beam treatment and concurrent chemotherapy in advanced patients with lung cancer.

The conventional therapy for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer is intensity-modulated radiation with concurrent chemotherapy. The majority of patients with lung cancer who receive this treatment are at risk of bone marrow toxicity, a debilitating side effect of therapy that further weakens a patient's already vulnerable immune system. The occurrence of bone marrow toxicity - the reduction of hemoglobin, neutrophils, lymphocytes and white blood cells - results in a patient's inability to withstand aggressive therapy, rendering it less effective. This condition often leads to infection, bleeding, fatigue and even death.........

Posted by: Scott      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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