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February 25, 2009, 6:25 AM CT

Goserelin improves survival in breast cancer

Goserelin improves survival in breast cancer
Goserelin, a lutenizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist, reduces the long-term risk of disease recurrence and deaths in premenopausal women with early breast cancer who did not take tamoxifen, as per trial data published in the February 24 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Systematic reviews have shown that lutenizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists, including goserelin, reduce the risk of disease recurrence and death due to breast cancer in premenopausal women. However the long-term impact of goserelin was not known, especially compared to women who did or did not take tamoxifen.

Women with breast cancer were randomly assigned to take goserelin (Zoladex), tamoxifen, both agents, or neither drug for two years in the Zoladex in Premenopausal Patients study. In this analysis, which included 2,706 women, Allan Hackshaw, of the Cancer Research UK Trials Centre at University College London, and his colleagues examined the long-term impact of the agents on various outcomes, including the risk of the cancer returning and the risk of dying from breast cancer or any cause.

The effect of two years of goserelin therapy was comparable to that conferred by two years of tamoxifen. Among patients who took goserelin alone, there were 13.9 fewer events per 100 women 15 years after starting therapy, compared with those who did not take either drug. Among women who took both drugs, the benefit of adding goserelin to tamoxifen was smaller (2.8 fewer events per 100 patients) and did not reach statistical significance.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 25, 2009, 6:21 AM CT

Yoga benefits breast cancer patients

Yoga benefits breast cancer patients
Women undertaking a ten week program of 75 minute Restorative Yoga (RY) classes gained positive differences in aspects of mental health such as depression, positive emotions, and spirituality (feeling calm/peaceful) in comparison to the control group. The study, published recently in a special issue of Psycho-Oncology focusing on physical activity, shows the women had a 50% reduction in depression and a 12% increase in feelings of peace and meaning after the yoga sessions.

RY is a gentle type of yoga which is similar to other types of yoga classes, moving the spine in all directions but in a more passive and gentle way. Props such as cushions, bolsters, and blankets provide complete physical support for total relaxation with minimal physical effort, and so people in differing levels of health can practice yoga more easily.

44 women participated in the study, with 22 undertaking the yoga classes and 22 in the waitlist control group. All of the women had breast cancer; 34% were actively undergoing cancer therapy while the majority had already completed therapy. All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the ten week program, asking them to evaluate their quality of life through various measures. The results clearly showed that the women who had been given the RY classes experienced a wide range of benefits in comparison to the control group (who were later all invited to attend identical RY classes).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 25, 2009, 4:55 AM CT

Determining Risk for Pancreatic Cancer

Determining Risk for Pancreatic Cancer
In the latest clinical trial for a technique to detect pancreas cancer, scientists found they could differentiate cells that are malignant from those that are benign, pre-malignant, or even early stage indicators called mucinous cystic lesions.

Pancreas cancer is dangerous to screen for, yet deadly if ignored. The pancreas is extremely sensitive--biopsies can lead to potentially fatal complications--but with few symptoms, the cancer is commonly detected too late.

The disease is the fourth largest cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent. If doctors can find ways to identify early precursor lesions, the disease can be prevented in most individuals.

Reporting online Feb. 10, 2009, in the journal Disease Markers, scientists from Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare report convincing results with their minimally invasive methods for detecting pancreas cancer.

"This technique allows us to detect changes in cells that look normal using microscopy," says co-author Vadim Backman of Northwestern University. "This level of detail allows us to detect cancer in its earliest stages".

Their techniques, called four-dimensional elastic light scattering fingerprinting (4D-ELF) and low-coherence enhanced backscattering spectroscopy (LEBS), identify the cancer and its precursors by analyzing light refracted through cells in the duodenum, a section of the small intestine adjacent to the pancreas.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 20, 2009, 6:04 AM CT

PSA testing for older men

PSA testing for older men
Certain men age 75 to 80 are unlikely to benefit from routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing, as per a Johns Hopkins study reported in the April 2009 issue of The Journal of Urology

The scientists observed that men in this age group with PSA levels less than 3 nanograms per milliliter are unlikely to die of or experience aggressive prostate cancer during their remaining life, suggesting that the use of PSA testing in a number of older men may no longer be needed.

The study, led by scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging's Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), evaluated data from 849 men (122 with and 727 without prostate cancer) who were participating in the BLSA and who had undergone regular PSA testing.

Results showed that among men who were over 75 with PSA levels less than 3 nanograms per milliliter, none died of prostate cancer and only one developed high-risk prostate cancer. In contrast, men of all ages with a PSA level of 3 nanograms per milliliter or greater had a continually rising probability of dying from prostate cancer.

If confirmed by future studies, these results may help determine more specific guidelines for when PSA -based screening might be safely discontinued, as per lead investigator Edward Schaeffer, M.D., an assistant professor of urology at Johns Hopkins. While PSA screening remains a useful tool for helping detect early stages of prostate cancer and is credited with decreasing prostate cancer mortality, discontinuing unneeded PSA testing could significantly reduce the costs of screening and also potentially reduce morbidity resulting from additional tests or therapys.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 19, 2009, 6:18 AM CT

Brain cancers linked to gene mutations

Brain cancers linked to gene mutations
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Duke University Medical Center have linked mutations in two genes, IDH1 and IDH2, to nearly three-quarters of several of the most common types of brain cancers known as gliomas. Among the findings: people with certain tumors that carry these genetic alterations appear to survive at least twice as long as those without them.

Further research on the genes could also lead to more precise diagnosis and therapys, they said.

Reporting in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM), researchers say they looked for IDH1 and IDH2 gene alterations in material taken from 500 brain tumors and 500 non-central nervous system cancers. They located changes in the IDH1 gene in more than 70 percent of three common types of gliomas: low-grade astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and secondary glioblastomas. The changes occurred within a single spot along a string of thousands of genetic coding letters. Some of the brain cancers that did not have alterations in IDH1 had equivalent mutations in another closely related gene, IDH2.

"For patients with these types of common brain tumors, mutations of IDH1/IDH2 are the most frequent genetic alterations yet identified," says D. Williams Parsons, M.D., Ph.D., visiting professor in pediatric oncology at Johns Hopkins and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 19, 2009, 6:04 AM CT

Samples from underwater nuclear bomb target reveal cancer link

Samples from underwater nuclear bomb target reveal cancer link
During a research trip to Puerto Rico, ecologist James Porter took samples from underwater nuclear bomb target USS Killen, expecting to find evidence of radioactive matter instead he found a link to cancer. Data revealed that the closer corals and marine life were to unexploded bombs from the World War II vessel and the surrounding target range, the higher the rates of carcinogenic materials.

"Unexploded bombs are in the ocean for a variety of reasons some were duds that did not explode, others were dumped in the ocean as a means of disposal," said Porter. "And we now know that these munitions are leaking cancer-causing materials and endangering sea life." .

These findings will be presented at the Second International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions on February 25-27 in Honolulu. Data has been gathered since 1999 on the eastern end of the Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico a land and sea area that was used as a naval gunnery and bombing range from 1943-2003. Research revealed that marine life including reef-building corals, feather duster worms and sea urchins closest to the bomb and bomb fragments had the highest levels of toxicity. In fact, carcinogenic materials were found in concentrations up to 100,000 times over established safe limits. This danger zone covered a span of up to two meters from the bomb and its fragments.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 18, 2009, 6:23 AM CT

Cancer survivors more likely to be unemployed

Cancer survivors more likely to be unemployed
An analysis of prior studies finds an association between being a cancer survivor and being unemployed, in comparison to healthy individuals, particularly for survivors of breast and gastrointestinal cancers, as per an article in the February 18 issue of JAMA

Long-term medical and psychological effects of cancer or its therapy may cause impairments that effect social functioning, including the obtainment or retention of employment. Almost half of all cancer survivors are younger than 65 years. "A number of cancer survivors want and are able to return to work after diagnosis and therapy," the authors write. "Relatively few studies have assessed the association of cancer survivorship with unemployment." They add there are several factors that may promote unemployment after the diagnosis and therapy of cancer, including job discrimination, difficulty combining therapy with full-time work and physical or mental limitations.

Angela G. E. M. de Boer, Ph.D., of the Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to determine the risk and factors linked to unemployment among adult cancer survivors compared with healthy control participants. After a search of various databases, the authors identified 26 articles reporting results from 36 studies meeting criteria for inclusion in the analysis. There were 16 studies from the United States, 15 from Europe and 5 from other countries. The 36 studies included 177,969 participants, with 20,366 cancer survivors and 157,603 healthy control participants.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 18, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Predicting recurrence in colorectal cancer

Predicting recurrence in colorectal cancer
(PHILADELPHIA) Findings reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association by scientists at Thomas Jefferson University show that the presence of a biomarker in regional lymph nodes is an independent predictor of disease recurrence in patients with colorectal cancer.

Detection of the biomarker, guanylyl cyclase 2C (GUCY2C), indicates the presence of occult metastases in lymph nodes that may not have been identified by current cancer staging methods, as per Scott Waldman, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

As per Dr. Waldman, who is also the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Professor of Clinical Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College, colorectal cancer that has metastasized, or spread, to the regional lymph nodes carries a worse prognosis and a higher risk for recurrence. However, these metastases are often missed, and the cancer is understaged.

"One of the unmet needs in colorectal cancer is an accurate staging method to determine how far the disease has spread," said Dr. Waldman, who is also director of the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. "The current standard method, histopathology, is imperfect since it only involves looking at a very small sample of the regional lymph nodes under a microscope. There is no way to know whether occult metastases are present in the rest of the tissue".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 18, 2009, 6:08 AM CT

Iron overload in alcoholics

Iron overload in alcoholics
Alcohol and iron are believed to have a synergistic effect in the development of liver injury. Furthermore, alcohol enhances iron absorption. Primary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder, mostly resulting from mutations in the HFE gene, with a disturbance in the iron metabolism which leads to iron accumulation that may eventually result in liver disease. However, data regarding an association between iron metabolism, HFE mutations and alcoholic liver disease are inconclusive at present.

A research article to be published on January 7, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. A research team led by Professor Helena Cortez-Pinto, from Hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon, studied a group of heavy drinkers with and without liver disease. A high prevalence of iron overload was found in alcoholics, which appeared to be correlation to the development of liver disease [odds ration for having liver disease in alcoholics with transferrin saturation greater than 45% was 2.2 (95% CI 1.37-3.54)]. Regarding HFE mutations, only H63D was found to be linked to alcoholic liver disease [odds ratio 1.57 (95% CI 1.02-2.40)]. Alcoholics who were heterozygotes for H63D mutation and had evidence of iron overload, showed an even greater risk of developing liver disease [odds ratio 2.17 (95% CI 1.42-3.32)].........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 18, 2009, 6:04 AM CT

Chemotherapy after surgery in gastric cancer

Chemotherapy after surgery in gastric cancer
Peritoneal carcinomatosis can be thought of as a series of events that together form a peritoneal metastatic cascade. The peritoneal stromal tissue may be a friendly host for tumour proliferation, providing a rich source of growth factors and chemokines known to be involved in tumour metastasis. Till now, our understanding of the molecular mediators that orchestrate this cascade is weakly understood. Astragalus memebranaceus,a traditional chinese herbal medicine used for the therapy of common cold , diarrhea, fatigue anorexia and cardiac diseases. In recent years, it has been proposed that Astragalus may possess anti-apoptosis potential in peritoneal mesothelial cell. In spite of this, the anti-apoptosis effects of Astragalus saponin extract in human peritoneal mesothelial cells during peritoneal carcinomatosishas has not been studied. In this study, the anti-apoptosis effects of Astragalus saponin extract were investigated in human peritoneal mesothelial cells during peritoneal gastric cancer metastasis.

A research article to be published on February 7, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Professor Hui-Mian Xu from Department of Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University.Human peritoneal mesothelial cell line HMrSV5 was co-incubated with gastric cancer cell supernatant and/or Astragalus injection. Morphological changes were observed. Apoptosis was determined by transmission electron microscope. Apoptosis was also quantified by two methods: the detection of acridine orange/ethidium bromide-stained condensed nuclei by fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry. The expressions of Bcl-2 and Bax were reviewed by immunostaining.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source



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Cancer
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.

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