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May 21, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

Hormonal drugs minimize surgery in breast cancer

Hormonal drugs minimize surgery in breast cancer
Breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, M.D., looks at a mammogram. Margenthaler was one of the lead investigators in a nationwide trial that tested how estrogen-lowering drugs before breast cancer surgery affected surgical outcomes.

Credit: Robert Boston

A nationwide study has confirmed the benefit of giving estrogen-lowering drugs before surgery to patients with breast cancer. The therapy increased the likelihood that women could undergo breast-conservation surgery, also called lumpectomy, instead of mastectomy.

The study's chair, Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair in Medical Oncology and a breast cancer specialist with the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will present the findings June 7 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, the study took place at 118 hospitals across the country and involved 352 postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) breast tumors. The participants received aromatase inhibitors for 16 weeks before surgery for breast cancer, and the extent of their tumors was monitored before and after the drug therapy.

The lead investigator at the Washington University site was Julie A. Margenthaler, MD, assistant professor of surgery and a breast surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center.

Aromatase inhibitors are also referred to as estrogen-lowering agents because they interfere with the body's production of estrogen, a hormone that stimulates the growth of ER+ breast tumors. ER+ is the most common breast cancer, accounting for three-quarters of cases.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 21, 2010, 7:20 AM CT

Gene may be Key to Kidney Cancer

Gene may be Key to Kidney Cancer
Normal kidney
Scientists at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida have discovered a key gene that, when turned off, promotes the development of common kidney cancer. Their findings suggest that a combination of agents now being tested in other cancers may turn the gene back on, providing a much-needed treatment for the difficult-to-treat cancer.

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common kind of kidney cancer, accounts for just 3 percent of all cancers in the United States, but is the sixth leading cause of cancer death. No current therapy has had a measurable effect on the spread of the cancer, oncologists say.

In the May 20, 2010 issue of Oncogene, scientists describe a gene called GATA3 that has been silenced in ccRCC and is a key gene also lost in breast cancer. GATA3 controls a number of genes and proteins that regulate cell growth, and one of them, a receptor known as the type III transforming growth factor-ß receptor (TßRIII), is absent in many cancers.

As per the study's senior investigator, John Copland, Ph.D., a cancer biologist at the Mayo Clinic campus at Florida, these findings will surprise a number of in the cancer field. "Cancer scientists know that GATA3 is essential for immune T cell development and function," he says. "As well, very recent studies show that GATA3 is also critical to breast cancer development, where GATA3 expression is limited to mammary luminal epithelial cells. GATA3 is lost during breast cancer progression and its loss is a strong predictor of poor clinical outcome in luminal breast cancer. GATA3 also plays an important role in renal development and differentiation during embryogenesis, but little is known about the role of GATA3 in the adult human kidney."........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 21, 2010, 6:51 AM CT

Caregivers of brain cancer patients

Caregivers of brain cancer patients
Caring patients
Despite grim prognoses and aggressive therapys, cancer patients suffering from cancerous gliomas -- primary brain tumors -- often rate their quality of life more optimistically than their caregivers do, as per a new Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine study.

The research suggests how important it is for caregivers to speak up if there is something more to be said, said Daniel Jacobs, a clinical researcher at Feinberg and main author of the paper. "A caregiver may help to give a more complete clinical picture," he said.

Jeffrey Raizer, M.D., senior author of the paper, has seen a number of brain cancer patients for years. He says patients often rise to the occasion when they see their doctor and may minimize their symptoms. "You may ask a patient if he is tired and he says, 'No,'" Raizer said. "Then the caregiver will say, 'But you are sleeping 20 hours a day.' So, there is a disconnect. The patient tells you one thing and the caregiver says another." It was this observation that led to the design of the trial.

Raizer is co-director of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute, associate professor of neurology at Feinberg and director of medical neuro-oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The study will be presented June 6 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 10, 2010, 11:11 PM CT

Levitra may may be useful to treat brain tumors

Levitra may may be useful to treat brain tumors
New research at Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute showed that vardenafil (Levitra), a drug currently FDA approved to treat erectile dysfunction may find useful to treat brain tumors. Erectile dysfunction drugs works by increasing blood supply to the male reproductive organs. Researches used the same principle and used this drug in studies in combination with Herceptin in the therapy of metastatic brain cancer. The combination resulted in two fold increase in the delivery of Herceptin to brain. These findings are published on in the journal PLoS ONE. This finding could lead to better therapy options for breast cancer patients and lung cancer who had cancer spread to their brain.

While cancers that originate in the brain are relatively rare -- approximately 22,000 patients are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor every year -- nearly 10 times that a number of people develop brain tumors from cancers that began elsewhere in the body. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and about 20 percent of lung cancers metastasize to the brain. Breast cancer and melanoma may also spread to the brain, and once this happens, the cancer becomes extremely difficult to treat and the prognosis turns poor.

Even if a cancer is susceptible to drugs, these drugs must penetrate the "blood-brain barrier" if they're to treat cancer that's metastasized to the brain. "Mother Nature created this barrier to protect our brains from dangerous substances, but here we need to get through the barrier to deliver the drugs, and that's a problem," says study author Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D., a research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute in Los Angeles.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:37 AM CT

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Eventhough acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is relatively rare in children, drinking alcohol during pregnancy could increase the risk, as per a recent paper published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Julie Ross, Ph.D., director of the division of pediatric epidemiology and clinical research at the University of Minnesota, said there are about 700 cases of AML in the United States in children each year.

"It's quite rare, so we want to be careful about worrying parents too much," said Ross, who was not involved in the study, but is an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Ross and the lead researcher of this study, Paule Latino-Martel, Ph.D., research director at the Research Center for Human Nutrition in France, agreed that these findings should strengthen the public health recommendation against alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

"Despite the current recommendation that pregnant women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is 12 percent in the United States, 30 percent in Sweden, 52 percent in France, 59 percent in Australia and 60 percent in Russia," said Latino-Martel.

Latino-Martel and his colleagues analyzed 21 case control studies. Alcohol intake during pregnancy, defined as a response to a yes or no question, was linked to a 56 percent increased risk of AML in children. The risk of AML was higher in children aged 0 to 4 years old at diagnosis. There was no significant association with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:35 AM CT

Whole body MRI ifor breast cancer spread

Whole body MRI ifor breast cancer spread
Whole body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) should be the imaging modality of choice for the detection of breast cancer metastases (when the cancer has spread beyond the breast) as it is highly accurate and can detect bone metastases while a patient is still asymptomatic (shows no symptoms), as per a research studyto be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Whole body MRI is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat breast cancer. Breast cancer cells usually spread to the bones, lungs, liver, or brain. Metastatic breast cancer tumors appears to be found before or at the same time as the primary tumor, or months and even years later.

"It is important that we detect metastases early in order to ensure the patient is getting the appropriate therapy. This study shows that whole body MRI can accomplish this task and is ready to be used for this indication," said Joshita Singh, MD, main author of the study.

Besides MRI, other imaging modalities usually used to detect breast cancer metastases include positron emission tomography computed tomography (PET/CT), chest X-rays, bone scans, and ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis.

The study, performed at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Center in Pune, India, included 99 patients with known breast cancer who were reviewed for metastases using whole body MRI. "Of the 99 patients, MRI accurately revealed that 47 patients were positive for metastases while 52 were negative. Of those patients who were positive for metastases, whole body MRI frequently detected bone metastases earlier when the patient was still asymptomatic," said Singh.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:34 AM CT

Milk and renal cell cancer

Milk and renal cell cancer
While prior research had suggested that drinking milk was correlation to factors that may increase the risk of renal cell cancer, results of a recent study exploiting the genetic contribution to variation in milk consumption suggest that this may not be the case.

"The data in this study provide no concrete evidence of a need to alter milk drinking in any way," said lead researcher Nicholas Timpson, Ph.D., lecturer in genetic epidemiology at the MRC CAiTE Center in the department of social medicine at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. "If anything, the failure of genetic findings to replicate the association between milk and renal cell cancer suggests that fears that milk consumption might elevate cancer risk are likely to be unfounded."

These study results are reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Previously reported studies suggested a correlation between milk intake and renal cell carcinoma risk, and whether this represents a causal association or is the result of bias is currently unclear. Timpson and his colleagues used a genetic marker to try to help untangle this observation.

From 1999 through 2003 the scientists conducted a large, hospital-based, case-control study from four central and eastern European countries.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:19 AM CT

Best care for the oldest lung cancer patients

Best care for the oldest lung cancer patients
Eventhough more than two fifths of lung cancers are diagnosed in patients over 70, data from clinical trials on the safest and most effective therapys for this age group are scarce. Now Italian oncologists are conducting many trials targeting elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and offer a review of the latest findings - and their recommendations - in the current issue of Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, published by SAGE.

As per Paolo Maione, Antonio Rossi, Cesare Gridelli and his colleagues from S.G. Moscati Hospital in Avellino, Italy, elderly patients have more co-morbidity and don't tend to tolerate toxic medical therapys as well as younger patients. This means that clinical findings from studies on younger populations don't necessarily apply to the majority of elderly patients with NSCLC.

More than half of all cases of advanced NSCLC are diagnosed in patients over 65, and recent Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program data from the United States show that patients aged 70 years or older account for 47 percent of all lung cancers. Most prospective clinical data on chemotherapy and molecularly targeted treatment for elderly NSCLC patients come from studies in advanced disease. Unfortunately, by the time most patients from any age group receive a lung cancer diagnosis, the majority already have metastatic disease and a systemic, palliative therapy is their primary therapeutic option.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 19, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Vitamin and calcium supplements may reduce breast cancer risk

Vitamin and calcium supplements may reduce breast cancer risk
Vitamins and calcium supplements appear to reduce the risk of breast cancer, as per findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.

"It is not an immediate effect. You don't take a vitamin today and your breast cancer risk is reduced tomorrow," said Jaime Matta, Ph.D., professor in the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. "However, we did see a long-term effect in terms of breast cancer reduction".

Matta said the findings suggest that the calcium supplements are acting to enhance DNA repair capacity, a complex biological process involving more than 200 proteins that, if disrupted, can lead to cancer.

"This process involves at least five separate pathways and is critical for maintaining genomic stability," said Matta. "When the DNA is not repaired, it leads to mutation that leads to cancer".

The study included 268 women with breast cancer and 457 healthy controls. Women were more likely to have breast cancer if they were older, had a family history of breast cancer, had no history of breastfeeding and had lower DNA repair capacity.

Vitamin supplements appeared to reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 30 percent. Calcium supplements reduced the risk of breast cancer by 40 percent. After controlling for the level of DNA repair capacity, calcium supplements were no longer as protective, but the link between vitamin supplements and breast cancer reduction remained.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 14, 2010, 11:04 PM CT

Childhood body size affects future breast cancer

Childhood body size affects future breast cancer
Thinner girls appears to be at higher risk of breast cancer. Scientists writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research observed that girls who were leaner at age seven were at higher risk of cancer during the later part of life.

Jingmei Li worked with a team of scientists from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, to study the relationships between childhood body size and tumour characteristics in a group of 2,818 Swedish patients with breast cancer and 3,111 controls. She said, "Our main finding was that a large body type at age seven years was linked to a decreased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Eventhough strongly linked to other known risk factors such as age of menarche, adult BMI and breast density, size at age seven years remained a significant protective factor after adjustment for these other issues".

Size at age seven was also found to determine tumour characteristics, in particular, estrogen receptor status. A large body size at age seven was particularly protective against estrogen receptor negative tumours, which generally fare worse in terms of prognosis. The researchers' classification of childhood body size was derived from nine numbered pictograms ranging from very skinny (S1) to very fat (S9). Subjects assessed their own body type at present and how they remembered themselves at seven years old. These selections were then used to group them as lean (S1 to S2), medium (S3 to S4) and large (S5 to S9). Li said, "It appears counterintuitive that a large body size during childhood can reduce breast cancer risk, because a large birth weight and a high adult BMI have been shown to otherwise elevate breast cancer risk. There remain unanswered questions on mechanisms driving this protective effect".........

Posted by: Janet      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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