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January 5, 2010, 8:51 AM CT

Pomegranate to prevent breast cancer?

Pomegranate to prevent breast cancer?
Eating fruit, such as pomegranates, that contain anti-aromatase phytochemicals reduces the occurence rate of hormone-dependent breast cancer, as per results of a study reported in the recent issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Pomegranate is enriched in a series of compounds known as ellagitannins that, as shown in this study, appear to be responsible for the anti-proliferative effect of the pomegranate.

"Phytochemicals suppress estrogen production that prevents the proliferation of breast cancer cells and the growth of estrogen-responsive tumors," said principal investigator Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., director of the Division of Tumor Cell Biology and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.

Prior research has shown that pomegranate juice punica granatum L is high in antioxidant activity, which is generally attributed to the fruit's high polyphenol content. Ellagic acid found in pomegranates inhibits aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen. Aromatase plays a key role in breast carcinogenesis; therefore, the growth of breast cancer is inhibited.

Chen, along with Lynn Adams, Ph.D., a research fellow at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, and his colleagues, reviewed whether phytochemicals in pomegranates can suppress aromatase and ultimately inhibit cancer growth.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 30, 2009, 8:15 AM CT

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes

Acupuncture reduces hot flashes
Not only is acupuncture as effective as drug treatment at reducing hot flashes in patients with breast cancer, it has the added benefit of potentially increasing a woman's sex drive and improving her sense of well-being, as per a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Study results show that acupuncture, when in comparison to drug treatment, has a longer-lasting effect on the reduction of hot flashes and night sweats for women receiving hormone treatment for breast cancer therapy. Women also report that acupuncture improves their energy and clarity of thought.

The study, published online this week in the Journal of Oncology, is the first randomly controlled trial to compare acupuncture and drug treatment in this way.

"Acupuncture offers patients a safe, effective and durable therapy option for hot flashes, something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors. In comparison to drug treatment, acupuncture actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects," says study main author Eleanor Walker, M.D., division director of breast services in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital.

As per the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. For these women, conventional medical therapy involves chemotherapy and five years of hormone treatment. With such a long course of therapy, side effects of hormone treatment such as vasomotor symptoms hot flashes and night sweats can become a major cause of decreased quality of life, and even discontinuation of therapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 23, 2009, 8:05 AM CT

Improving mammogram accuracy

Improving mammogram accuracy
Members of a Syracuse University research team have shown that an obscure phenomenon called stochastic resonance (SR) can improve the clarity of signals in systems such as radar, sonar and even radiography, used in medical clinics to detect signs of breast cancer. It does this by adding carefully selected noise to the system.

The result has been a distinct improvement in the system's ability to correctly identify premalignant lesions, plus a 36 percent reduction in false positives. The inventors have developed a novel method of calculating precisely the correct type and level of noise to add to existing noise in radiography or a similar system.

"We see a broad spectrum of applications for this technology," says research assistant professor Hao Chen. "If a system's performance is unsatisfactory, we add noise to the system based on a specific algorithm that can significantly improve system performance".

A patent covering the technology has been issued to Chen, Distinguished Professor Pramod K. Varshney and research professor James Michels. All are linked to SU's L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science.

In mammography studies carried out by doctoral candidate Renbin Peng, the challenge was to identify clusters of micro-calcifications in breast tissue. These early signs of premalignant conditions average only 0.3 mm in size and offer only subtle contrast with surrounding tissue. In addition to improving detection of these lesions, the group has reduced false positives by more than a third.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 7, 2009, 9:32 PM CT

Spices halt growth of breast cancer stem cells

Spices halt growth of breast cancer stem cells
A newly released study finds that compounds derived from the spices turmeric and pepper could help prevent breast cancer by limiting the growth of stem cells, the small number of cells that fuel a tumor's growth.

Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have observed that when the dietary compounds curcumin, which is derived from the Indian spice turmeric, and piperine, derived from black peppers, were applied to breast cells in culture, they decreased the number of stem cells while having no effect on normal differentiated cells.

"If we can limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with potential to form tumors," says main author Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., R.D., clinical lecturer in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Cancer stem cells are the small number of cells within a tumor that fuel the tumor's growth. Current chemotherapies do not work against these cells, which is why cancer recurs and spreads. Scientists think that eliminating the cancer stem cells is key to controlling cancer. In addition, decreasing the number of normal stem cells - unspecialized cells that can give rise to any type of cell in that organ - can decrease the risk of cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 2, 2009, 8:18 AM CT

Annual screening with breast ultrasound or MRI

Annual screening with breast ultrasound or MRI
Results of a large-scale clinical trial presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) provide the first good evidence of the benefit of annual screening ultrasound for women with dense breasts who are at elevated risk for breast cancer. In addition, the study confirmed that MRI is highly sensitive in depicting early breast cancer.

"We observed that annual screening with ultrasound in addition to mammography significantly improves the detection of early breast cancer," said lead researcher Wendie A. Berg, M.D., Ph.D., breast imaging specialist at American Radiology Services, Johns Hopkins Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Md., "and that significantly more early breast cancer can be found when MRI is performed, even after combined screening with both ultrasound and mammography. However, both ultrasound and MRI increase the risk of false-positive findings".

Women who are at high risk for breast cancer need to begin screening at a younger age, because they often develop cancer earlier than women at average risk. However, women below age 50 are more likely to have dense breast tissue, which can limit the effectiveness of mammography as a screening tool.

Multicenter trials have shown that MRI enables radiologists to accurately identify tumors missed by mammography and ultrasound. The American Cancer Society recommends that some groups of women with a high risk of developing breast cancer should be screened with MRI in addition to their yearly mammogram beginning at age 30. However, MRI is not for everyone.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 30, 2009, 8:03 AM CT

Elastography reduces breast biopsies

Elastography reduces  breast biopsies
Elastography is an effective, convenient technique that, when added to breast ultrasound, helps distinguish malignant breast lesions from non-malignant results, as per a research study that's ongoing presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

When mammography yields suspicious findings, physicians often use ultrasound to obtain additional information. However, ultrasound has the potential to result in more biopsies because of its relatively low specificity, or inability to accurately distinguish malignant lesions from non-malignant ones. Approximately 80 percent of breast lesions biopsied turn out to be benign, as per the American Cancer Society.

"There's a lot of room to improve specificity with ultrasound, and elastography can help us do that," said the study's main author, Stamatia V. Destounis, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist at Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, a large, community-based breast imaging center in Rochester, N.Y. "It's an easy way to eliminate needle biopsy for something that's probably benign".

Elastography improves ultrasound's specificity by utilizing conventional ultrasound imaging to measure the compressibility and mechanical properties of a lesion. Since malignant tumors tend to be stiffer than surrounding healthy tissue or cysts, a more compressible lesion on elastography is less likely to be cancerous.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 17, 2009, 8:53 AM CT

A powerful combination punch against breast cancer

A powerful combination punch against breast cancer
These are Drs. Kapil Bhalla (right) and Rekha Rao, assistant research scientist and first-author on the autophagy study presented this week.

Credit: Medical College of Georgia
A powerful new breast cancer therapy could result from packaging one of the newer drugs that inhibits cancer's hallmark wild growth with another that blocks a primordial survival technique in which the cancer cell eats part of itself, scientists say.

While they are powerful killers of some breast cancer cells, new drugs called histone deacetylase inhibitors, or HDAC inhibitors, also increase self-digestion, or autophagy, in surviving, mega-stressed cells, Medical College of Georgia Cancer Center scientists reported during the Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics International Conference this week in Boston. The conference is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer.

"To meet the energy demands of growth and survival, cancer cells start eating up their own organelles, so that surviving cells become dependent on this autophagy," says Dr. Kapil Bhalla, director of the MCG Cancer Center.

"By also using autophagy inhibitors, we pull the rug out from under them. The only way out is death," he says.

Scientists showed the potent HDAC inhibitor panobinostat's impact on autophagy in human breast cancer cells in culture as well as those growing in the mammary fat pads of mice. When they added the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, which inhibits autophagy, breast cancer kill rates increased dramatically.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 9, 2009, 8:10 AM CT

Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer

Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer
Karla Kerlikowske, M.D., is a professor of medicine and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

The use of postmenopausal hormone treatment has decreased over time in the United States, which scientists suggest may play a key role in the declining rate of atypical ductal hyperplasia, a known risk factor for breast cancer.

"Postmenopausal hormone therapy is linked to increased rates of non-malignant breast biopsies, and early and late stages of cancer. Atypical ductal hyperplasia is linked to the use of postmenopausal hormone therapy and its rates have decreased with the decline in use of this therapy," said researcher Tehillah Menes, M.D., who was the chief of breast service in the Department of Surgery at Elmhurst Hospital Center, New York, when this study was conducted.

Details of the findings appear in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, which is a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Atypical ductal hyperplasia is abnormal cells that grow in the milk ducts of the breast. Prior research has shown that women who are diagnosed with atypical ductal hyperplasia are at a three- to five-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Using data from the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium, Menes and his colleagues examined the rates of atypical ductal hyperplasia to determine risk factors and rates for more than 2.4 million mammography studies with and without breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 9, 2009, 7:56 AM CT

Women with denser breasts have higher cancer recurrence

Women with denser breasts have higher cancer recurrence
A newly released study finds that women treated for breast cancer are at higher risk of cancer recurrence if they have dense breasts. Reported in the December 15, 2009 issue of Cancer, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study's results indicate that patients with breast cancer with dense breasts appears to benefit from additional therapies following surgery, such as radiation.

Prior studies indicate that women with dense breast tissue are at increased risk of breast cancer. Scientists have suspected that high breast density may also increase the risk of cancer recurrence after lumpectomy, but this theory has not been thoroughly studied.

Scientists led by Steven A. Narod, MD, of the Women's College Research Institute in Toronto, evaluated the medical records of 335 patients who had undergone lumpectomy for breast cancer. Investigators monitored the patients for cancer recurrence and compared recurrence with breast density as seen on mammogram, categorized as low density (<25 percent dense tissue), intermediate density (25 percent to 50 percent dense tissue) or high density (>50 percent dense tissue).

The scientists observed that patients with the highest breast density had a much greater risk of cancer recurrence than did women with the lowest breast density. Over ten years, women in the highest breast density category had a 21 percent chance of cancer recurrence, compared with a 5 percent chance among women in the lowest category. The difference in the recurrence rates at ten years was even more pronounced for women who did not receive radiation. In those women, 40 percent with high-density breast tissue had a recurrence compared with none of the patients with low density.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 4, 2009, 8:22 AM CT

Weight training for breast cancer survivors

Weight training for breast cancer survivors
In addition to building muscle, weightlifting is also a prescription for self-esteem among breast cancer survivors, as per new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research. Breast cancer survivors who lift weights regularly feel better about bodies and their appearance and are more satisfied with their intimate relationships compared with survivors who do not lift weights, as per a newly released study reported in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Survivors' self-perceptions improved with weight lifting regardless of how much strength they gained during the year-long study, or whether they suffered from lymphedema, an incurable and sometimes debilitating side effect of breast surgery.

"It looks like weight training is not only safe and may make lymphedema flare ups less frequent, but it also seems help women feel better about their bodies," says senior author Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a member of Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. "The results suggest that the act of spending time with your body was the thing that was important -- not the physical results of strength."

The new insights come from a randomized controlled trial that tested the impact of twice-weekly weight lifting for 12 months on survivors' health and emotional status. In the first report from the trial, reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) in August, Schmitz and his colleagues observed that lymphedema sufferers who lifted weights were less likely to experience a worsening of their arm-swelling condition.........

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.

Medicineworld.org: Archives of breast-cancer-blog

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