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January 14, 2009, 11:27 PM CT

A new protein that initiates breast cancer

A new protein that initiates breast cancer
Canadian scientists have identified a novel protein in the advancement of breast cancer. As per a recent study from the Universit de Montral and the University of Alberta, reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the protein ARF1 plays a critical role in cancer cell growth and the spread of tumours. Targeting this protein with drug treatment may provide hope to women with breast cancer.

"Until now, ARF1 has been linked to harmless albeit important housekeeping duties of cells," says senior author Audrey Claing, a professor of pharmacology at the Universit de Montral. "The Universit de Montral and the University of Alberta team is the first to characterize the role of ARF1 in breast cancer."

Dr. Claing and her colleagues applied invasive breast cancer cell lines to study ARF1's role. These cells are sensitive to a particular growth factor, called epidermal growth factor or EGF, which has previously been demonstrated to stimulate tumour growth and invasion. Their findings suggest that EGF acts upon ARF1 in these cells. In addition, when ARF1 activity was chemically blocked, breast cancer cell migration and growth was reduced. On the other hand, when ARF1 was overproduced in these cells, their movement was enhanced.

"Taken together our findings reveal an unsuspected role for ARF1 and indicate that this small protein appears to be a potential therapeutic target for the therapy of invasive breast cancers," says Dr. Claing, who is a member of the Groupe d'tude des protines membranaires as well a the Groupe de Recherche Universitaire sur le Mdicament, two multidisciplinary research teams dedicated to the study of membrane protein functions and the identification of new therapeutic targets for drug discovery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 12, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

Insulin levels may have a say in breast cancer risk

Insulin levels may have a say in breast cancer risk
Higher-than-normal levels of insulin place postmenopausal women at increased risk of breast cancer, scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University report. Their findings, reported in the January 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggest that interventions that target insulin and its signaling pathways may decrease breast cancer risk in these women.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Last year, approximately 182,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 died from the disease. The majority of breast cancers arise in women past the age of menopause.

Obesity is a well-established risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, but just how obesity and breast cancer are connected is unclear. A number of scientists have assumed that the link is estrogena hormone that is known to increase breast-cancer risk and is found at higher-than-average levels in obese women. But obese women also have other hormonal imbalances that may play a role in triggering breast cancer. One such imbalance is elevated levels of insulin, which stimulates the growth of breast cells in tissue culture. The Einstein study is the first to prospectively identify insulin's role in breast cancer while controlling for estrogen levels.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 7, 2009, 11:40 PM CT

Structure of key breast cancer target enzyme

Structure of key breast cancer target enzyme
The molecular details of Aromatase, the key enzyme required for the body to make estrogen, are no longer a mystery thanks to the structural biology work done by the Ghosh lab at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Debashis Ghosh's solution of the three-dimensional structure of aromatase is the first time that scientists have been able to visualize the mechanism of synthesizing estrogen.

Credit: Dr. Debashis Ghosh

The molecular details of Aromatase, the key enzyme mandatory for the body to make estrogen, are no longer a mystery thanks to the structural biology work done by the Ghosh lab at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Debashis Ghosh's solution of the three-dimensional structure of aromatase is the first time that researchers have been able to visualize the mechanism of synthesizing estrogen.

In fact, the Ghosh lab has determined the structures of all three of the enzymes involved in controlling estrogen levels that can serve as drug targets for estrogen-dependent tumors in breast cancer. This work is so significant, the world-renowned journal Nature will be publishing the structure of aromatase at 2.90 angstrom resolution in an upcoming issue. The other two enzyme structures determined by the Ghosh lab as part of this project were estrone sulfatase (2003) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (1996). All three enzymes control the levels of estradiol in different tissues.

"This is a dream come true," Dr. Debashis Ghosh, an HWI senior research scientist and a principal investigator who also holds a joint faculty appointment at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), said. "Researchers worldwide have been trying for 35 years to crystallize this membrane-bound enzyme and we are the first to succeed. Now that we know the structures of all three key enzymes implicated in estrogen-dependant breast cancers, our goal is to have a personalized cocktail of inhibitors customized to the specific therapy needs of each patient. Our knowledge about these three enzymes will enable us to develop three mutually exclusive inhibitors customized to each patient's needs which will work in harmony together with minimal side effects".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 5, 2009, 11:41 PM CT

Breast Cancer Gene Linked To Disease Spread

Breast Cancer Gene Linked To Disease Spread
Yibin Kang

Photo: Brian Wilson
A team of scientists at Princeton University and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey has identified a long-sought gene that is fatefully switched on in 30 to 40 percent of all patients with breast cancer, spreading the disease, resisting traditional chemotherapies and eventually leading to death.

The gene, called "Metadherin" or MTDH, is located in a small region of human chromosome 8 and may be crucial to cancer's spread or metastasis because it helps tumor cells stick tightly to blood vessels in distant organs. The gene also makes tumors more resistant to the powerful chemotherapeutic agents normally used to wipe out the deadly cells.

In identifying the genetic mechanism at play in the metastasis of breast cancer, the researchers may have answered one of the biggest mysteries in cancer research and paved the way for new drugs that could thwart the gene's diabolical actions.

"Inhibiting this gene in patients with breast cancer will simultaneously achieve two important goals -- reduce the chance of recurrence and, at the same time, decrease the risk of metastatic dissemination," said Yibin Kang, an assistant professor of molecular biology at Princeton, who led the research. "Clinically, these are the two major reasons why patients with breast cancer die from the disease".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 23, 2008, 10:34 PM CT

Preventing breast cancer with broccoli

Preventing breast cancer with broccoli
Women should go for the broccoli when the relish tray comes around during holiday celebrations this season.

While it has been known for some time that eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, can help prevent breast cancer, the mechanism by which the active substances in these vegetables inhibit cell proliferation was unknown until now.

Researchers in the UC Santa Barbara laboratories of Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology, and Mary Ann Jordan, adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, have shown how the healing power of these vegetables works at the cellular level. Their research is published in this month's journal Carcinogenesis

"Breast cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, can be protected against by eating cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and near relatives of cabbage such as broccoli and cauliflower," said first author Olga Azarenko, who is a graduate student at UCSB. "These vegetables contain compounds called isothiocyanates which we believe to be responsible for the cancer-preventive and anti-carcinogenic activities in these vegetables. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount of the isothiocyanates.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 19, 2008, 5:24 AM CT

Obesity and Lymphedema Risk in Breast Cancer

Obesity and Lymphedema Risk in Breast Cancer
Throughout the world, 10 million breast cancer survivors have a lifetime risk for developing lymphedema, a chronic condition that involves swelling of the limbs and impacts physical and psychosocial health. Second only to the recurrence of cancer, it is the most dreaded effect of breast cancer therapy. In a new study, University of Missouri scientists observed that the risk of developing lymphedema is 40 percent to 60 percent higher in women with body mass index (BMI) classified as overweight or obese in comparison to normal weight women. The scientists recommend increased health education for breast cancer survivors.

"Breast cancer survivors with high BMIs will benefit from education focused on maintaining optimal BMI and lymphedema risk reduction practices," said Jane Armer, professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing and director of nursing research at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. "Overweight women have the greatest risk of developing lymphedema and should be monitored closely for changes in symptoms and limb volume, particularly those who have cancer therapy to the dominant side or experience post-operation swelling".

Based on the analysis, lymphedema is a risk for approximately two-thirds of breast cancer survivors in the 30 months after surgery. Breast cancer survivors who develop post-op swelling have a significantly higher risk (40 percent) of developing lymphedema. As per Armer, patients with high BMIs who experience post-op swelling or were affected by cancer on their dominant side have the highest risk of developing lymphedema. MU scientists observed that comparing BMI and limb volume measurements can help clinicians better detect lymphedema.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 15, 2008, 9:26 PM CT

Breast cancer genome shows evolution

Breast cancer genome shows evolution
A newly published genome sequence of a breast cancer cell line reveals a heavily rearranged genetic blueprint involving breaks and fusions of genes and a broken DNA repair machinery, said scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears online in the journal Genome Research

"It's like a computer program that has become buggy and transcends into something dangerous," said Dr. Aleksandar Milosavljevic, associate professor in the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center. "It makes the cell escape normal controls on cell proliferation. Experimentally, some of the rearrangements in the genome that we found produce fusion genes that confer uncontrolled cell growth and prevent tumor cells from dying, allowing them to grow outside their normal tissue environment. These are all essential attributes of cancer".

"From our standpoint, we are pretty convinced that these genomic translocations may turn out to be prognostic markers and also potential therapeutic targets," said Dr. Adrian Lee, associate professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at BCM and a collaborator on the project. Both scientists are researchers in the National Cancer Institute-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM.

"This is the first study to comprehensively map these genomic translocations to base pair resolution," Lee said. "I think it's pretty clear that the technology Milosavljevic is working with is probably going to change our understanding of breast cancer especially the genetics of breast cancer".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 11, 2008, 10:21 PM CT

Meta-analyses finds in favor of aromatase inhibitors

Meta-analyses finds in favor of aromatase inhibitors
Two separate meta-analyses of clinical trials from around the world that tested tamoxifen against aromatase inhibitor drugs in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer have each reached the same conclusion: aromatase inhibitors are more effective in preventing breast cancer from coming back. Patients using aromatase inhibitors had more than a 3 percent lower cancer recurrence 6-8 years after diagnosis, in comparison to women using tamoxifen alone.

One of these studies also found a significant survival benefit (1.6 percent) for users of aromatase inhibitors, but scientists say not enough time has passed since therapy to judge with confidence whether one drug is superior to another in saving lives. The joint analyses are being presented at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center-American Association for Cancer Research (CTRC-AACR) 31st annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. "Tamoxifen is a good drug, but it looks like aromatase inhibitors may be somewhat better," says James Ingle, M.D., a professor of oncology at Mayo Clinic, who is presenting the results on behalf of the Aromatase Inhibitors Overview Group (AIOG).

"The importance of these findings can be seen from the fact that 80,000 to 90,000 women in the United States alone are using endocrine treatment this year," he says. "While a three percent difference in cancer recurrence may not seem like much, it can mean that several thousand women could be spared from a breast cancer recurrence".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 8, 2008, 10:18 PM CT

Oldest old 'hanging in the balance?'

Oldest old 'hanging in the balance?'
A lack of clear-cut, scientific evidence illustrating the benefits of mammography screening in women over 80 has created a trail of controversy leading to a disturbing conclusion about cancer care in America. "We are ill-prepared from a scientific knowledge perspective to provide cancer health care rationally, ethically, equitably and humanely to the 'booming' older population," say two leading cancer researchers.

In an editorial published online today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), Jeanne S. Mandelblatt , MD, MPH, of Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and co-author Rebecca Silliman, MD, MPH, PhD, of Boston University Medical Center, address the lack of scientific evidence available regarding cancer screening interventions for older Americans an issue at the heart of a controversial breast cancer screening study reported in the JCO earlier this year.

This study used observational data to provide evidence about the effectiveness of mammography screening in older women, in the absence of clinical trials.

In the current editorial, Mandelblatt and Silliman explore the study's biases, all of which make screening seem more beneficial than it may actually be. If, as the editorial authors conclude, reduction in mortality is the appropriate metric to determine the effectiveness of screening then "at this time, we are left with the fact that there is no evidence that screening women 80 and older with mammography results in reductions in mortality".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 6, 2008, 3:49 PM CT

First international conference on inflammatory breast cancer

First international conference on inflammatory breast cancer
Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology and Director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic.

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center will hold the first international inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) conference on December 6-7, to bring together internationally recognized breast cancer clinicians and scientists.

Participants will present new clinical discoveries and participate in educational workshops, with the goal of improving diagnosis and management of this rare but deadly disease.

During the conference, the new IBC International Consortium will be formalized to develop joint international projects aimed at raising global awareness, increasing education and seeking funding to study the disease. The Consortium will consist of participants from ten countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Among its first projects, the Consortium plans to establish a database of IBC cases that will include a tissue and serum bank.

"We are assembling scientists from around the world who are passionate about advancing progress against this disease," says Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology and Director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic. "This is the first conference dedicated exclusively to exchanging knowledge and discussing the complexities of IBC. Our goal is to step up the pace of research and education - ultimately saving women's lives."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

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