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November 2, 2009, 11:12 PM CT

Early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer

Early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer
Ana M. Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., is an associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Departments of Breast Medical Oncology and Systems Biology.

Early-stage patients with breast cancer with HER2 positive tumors one centimeter or smaller are at significant risk of recurrence of their disease, in comparison to those with early-stage disease who do not express the aggressive protein, as per a research studyled by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings, published recently online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is the first large study to analyze this cohort and represents a shift in the way women with early-stage HER2 positive breast cancer should be assessed for risk of recurrence and considered for therapy, said the study's senior author, Ana M. Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D, associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Departments of Breast Medical Oncology and Systems Biology.

The research was first presented at the CRTC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December, 2008.

Herceptin, also known as trastuzumab, was approved for use in 1998 for women whose advanced breast cancer expresses Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2, or HER2. Approximately 15-20 percent of breast cancer cells produce an excess amount of the HER2 growth protein on their surface, which makes the cancer more aggressive. Herceptin is a monoclonal antibody that latches on to these proteins and inhibits tumor growth.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 2, 2009, 11:01 PM CT

Space-Industry Technology to Treat Breast Cancer

Space-Industry Technology to Treat Breast Cancer
Scientists at Rush University Medical Center and Argonne National Laboratory are collaborating on a study to determine if an imaging technique used by NASA to inspect the space shuttle can be used to predict tissue damage often experienced by patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment. The study is examining the utility of three-dimensional thermal tomography in radiation oncology.

Preliminary results from the study are being displayed during the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, being held from November 1 - 5, 2009.

Approximately 80 percent of patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy develop acute skin reactions that range in severity. The more severe reactions cause discomfort and distress to the patient, and sometimes result in therapy interruptions. The severity is quite variable among patients and difficult to predict.

"Because reactions commonly occur from 10 to 14 days after the beginning of treatment, if we could predict skin reactions sooner we appears to be able to offer preventative therapy to maximize effectiveness and minimize interruption of radiation therapy," said Dr. Katherine Griem, professor of radiation oncology at Rush.

Scientists at Rush and Argonne are studying if three-dimensional thermal tomography (3DTT) can detect the earliest changes that may trigger a skin reaction. 3DTT is a relatively new thermal imaging process that is currently being used as a noninvasive away to detect defects in composite materials. The basic idea of thermal imaging is to apply heat or cold to a material and observing the resulting temperature change with an infrared camera to learn about its composition.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:01 PM CT

Call to reconsider screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer

Call to reconsider screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer
Laura Esserman, MD, MBA
Twenty years of screening for breast and prostate cancer - the most diagnosed cancer for women and men - have not brought the anticipated decline in deaths from these diseases, argue experts from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in an opinion piece reported in the "Journal of the American Medical Association".

Instead, overall cancer rates are higher, a number of more patients are being treated, and the occurence rate of aggressive or later-stage disease has not been significantly decreased, the authors conclude. Current screening programs are leading to "potential tumor over-detection and over-treatment," they write in the Oct. 21, 2009 issue of JAMA.

"Screening does provide some benefit, but the problem is that the benefit is not nearly as much as we hoped and comes at the cost of over-diagnosis and over-treatment," said Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, professor of surgery and radiology, director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and co-leader of the breast oncology program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"We need to focus on developing new tools to identify men and women at risk for the most aggressive cancers, to identify at the time of diagnosis those who have indolent or 'idle' tumors that are not life-threatening," she added. "If we can identify groups of patients that don't need much therapy, or don't need to be screened, wouldn't that be great? Screening is by no means perfect. We should want to make it better. For both breast and prostate cancer we need to invest in changing our focus from the cancers that won't kill people to the ones that do".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 14, 2009, 7:16 AM CT

Transcendental meditation reduces stress

Transcendental meditation reduces stress
Women with breast cancer reduced stress and improved their mental health and emotional well being through the Transcendental Meditation technique, as per a newly released study reported in the current issue of the peer-evaluated Integrative Cancer Therapies (Vol. 8, No. 3: September 2009).

"A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Quality of Life in Older Breast Cancer Patients" was a collaboration between the Center for Healthy Aging at Saint Joseph Hospital; the Institute for Health Services, Research and Policy Studies at Northwestern University; the Department of Psychology at Indiana State University; and the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.

"It is wonderful that physicians now have a range of interventions to use, including Transcendental Meditation, to benefit their patients with cancer," said Rhoda Pomerantz, M.D., co-author of study and chief of gerontology, Saint Joseph Hospital. "I believe this approach should be appreciated and utilized more widely".

One hundred thirty women with breast cancer, 55 years and older, participated in the two-year study at Saint Joseph Hospital. The women were randomly assigned to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or to a usual care control group. Patients were administered quality of life measures, including the Functional Evaluation of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B), every six months for two years. The average intervention period was 18 months.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 7:56 AM CT

Tenderness in the breast during HRT

Tenderness in the breast during HRT
Women who developed new-onset breast tenderness after starting estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement treatment were at significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer than women on the combination treatment who didn't experience such tenderness, as per a new UCLA study.

The research, reported in the Oct. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, is based on data from more than 16,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative estrogen-plus- progestin clinical trial. This trial was abruptly halted in July 2002 when scientists observed that healthy menopausal women on the combination treatment had an elevated risk for invasive breast cancer.

Scientists do not know why breast tenderness indicates increased cancer risk among women on the combination treatment, said the newly released study's lead researcher, Dr. Carolyn J. Crandall, a clinical professor of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"Is it because the hormone treatment is causing breast-tissue cells to multiply more rapidly, which causes breast tenderness and at the same time indicates increased cancer risk? We need to figure out what makes certain women more susceptible to developing breast tenderness during hormone treatment than other women," Crandall said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 7, 2009, 7:10 AM CT

Diffuse Optical Tomography for breast cancer screening

Diffuse Optical Tomography for breast cancer screening
As light travels from the source, once it hits the black circle where the tumor is located, the lightwaves become distorted.
image by: Clemson University
Clemson University scientists in collaboration with scientists at the University of Bremen, Gera number of, are working to make the physical pain and discomfort of mammograms a thing of the past, while allowing for diagnostic imaging eventually to be done in a home setting.

The group is fine-tuning Diffuse Optical Tomography (DOT) to create high-resolution images from a scattering of infrared and visible light for the early detection of breast cancer. While the method is less expensive, safer and more comfortable than X-rays used in mammograms, the problem has been generating a strong enough resolution to detect smaller breast cancers.

Mathematical sciences professors Taufiquar "T.K." Khan of Clemson and Peter Maass of the University of Bremen are in the process of developing mathematical models to improve resolution.

"The problem with DOT is that it is a 3-D method where photon density waves launched from a source travel in a banana-shaped path due to multiple scattering, whereas X-rays follow straight lines which make the mathematical problem more manageable and the resolution of the image sharper." said Khan. "With DOT, near-infrared or near-visible photons make the process safer for the body than with the radiation of X-rays, but they are difficult to track because of the scattering and absorption. So we are coming up with equations that will help get us from capturing cancers that are 4 millimeters in size, down to capturing those as small as 1 millimeter".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 28, 2009, 6:57 AM CT

More breast cancer patients electing to remove other breast

More breast cancer patients electing to remove other breast
A newly released study of New York State data finds that the number of women opting for surgery to remove the healthy breast after a cancer diagnosis in one breast is rising, despite a lack of evidence that the surgery can improve survival. The study also finds that despite extensive press coverage of women who choose to have both breasts removed because of a strong family history of cancer, the rate of this surgery is relatively low and has changed little in the last decade. The study appears in Cancer, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society.

Prophylactic mastectomy, the removal of a nonmalignant breast, is one method for reducing a woman's risk of developing breast cancer; however, there is little information available on the prevalence of prophylactic mastectomies for preventing breast cancer among high-risk women or on the prevalence of the surgery to prevent tumors in the healthy breast among women whose cancer is limited to one breast.

Scientists led by Stephen B. Edge, M.D., FACS, of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, examined the frequency of prophylactic mastectomies in New York State between 1995 and 2005 using mandated statewide hospital discharge data combined with data from the state cancer registry. They identified 6,275 female New York residents who underwent prophylactic mastectomies. Eighty-one percent of the women had been diagnosed with cancer in one breast, while 19 percent had no personal history of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:02 AM CT

Sorafenib for breast cancer

Sorafenib for breast cancer
One of the first of a series of trials to investigate the use of sorafenib a targeted anti-cancer drug for the therapy of advanced breast cancer has observed that if it is combined with the chemotherapy drug, capecitabine, it makes a significant difference to the time women live without their disease worsening.

Principal investigator of the study, Professor Jos Baselga told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Wednesday 23 September): "This is the first, large, randomised study that demonstrates significant clinical activity of sorafenib in breast cancer when given in combination with chemotherapy. Our results showed that patients who received sorafenib plus capecitabine had a 74% percent improvement in the time they lived without their disease worsening in comparison to those who received the chemotherapy alone. This is a very positive study and the magnitude of the benefit is such that it suggests that this agent will be an important addition to our therapeutic armoury in breast cancer."

Sorafenib (Nexavar) is a potent multi-kinase inhibitor, which works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells and slowing the growth of new blood vessels within the tumour. Until now, it has only been used in the therapy of kidney and liver cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 18, 2009, 6:37 PM CT

Tamoxifen Can Also Cause Serious Side Effects

Tamoxifen Can Also Cause Serious Side Effects
Three drugs that reduce a woman's chance of getting breast cancer also have been shown to cause adverse effects, as per a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The report is based on a study led by Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., research professor in the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University and medical director of the Women and Children's Program and Research Center at Providence Health & Services. It is published online in the Sept. 15 issue of theAnnals of Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to make a direct, comprehensive comparison of drugs that reduce the risk of breast cancer so that women and their health care providers can assess their potential effectiveness and adverse effects. It compares the use of tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone to reduce the risks of getting breast cancer in women without pre-existing cancer.

Tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone can be prescribed to women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, but prescribing practices vary widely. As per the study, all three drugs significantly reduce invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women, but benefits and adverse effects can vary depending on the drug and the patient.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:36 AM CT

Treating bone loss in breast cancer survivors

Treating bone loss in breast cancer survivors
A key statistic that consumer groups and the media often use when compiling hospital report cards and national rankings can be misleading, scientists report in a newly released study.

The statistic is called the mortality index. A number above 1.0 indicates a hospital had more deaths than expected within a given specialty. Lower than 1.0 means there were fewer than the expected number of deaths.

The study by Loyola University Health System scientists in the Journal of Neurosurgery illustrates how the mortality index can be misleading in at least two major specialties -- neurology and neurosurgery. The index fails to take into account such factors as whether a hospital treats complex cases transferred from other hospitals or whether a hospital treats lower-risk elective cases or higher-risk non-elective cases.

"A hospital with a lower mortality index may not be a better hospital for patient care, but rather a place where the patient mix has been refined or limited," said senior author Dr. Thomas Origitano, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

There is no "definitive or reliable source for rating the quality of overall neurosurgical care," Origitano and his colleagues wrote in the Journal of Neurosurgery, published by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.........

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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