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October 3, 2008, 5:18 AM CT

Breast cancer cells recycle to escape death

Breast cancer cells recycle to escape death
A number of breast cancer cells facing potentially lethal antiestrogen treatment recycle to survive, scientists say.

About 70 percent of breast cancer cells have receptors for the hormone estrogen, which acts as a nutrient and stimulates their growth. Patients typically get an antiestrogen such as tamoxifen for five years to try to starve them to death, says Dr. Patricia V. Schoenlein, cancer researcher in the Medical College of Georgia Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies.

"About 50 to 60 percent of these women really benefit from hormonal treatment," says Dr. Schoenlein. Why others don't has been asked for at least two decades.

One reason may be breast cancer cells switch into a survival mode that normal cells also use when faced with starvation, as per research reported in the recent issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Dr. Schoenlein also is reporting on the research during the 2nd World Conference on Magic Bullets (Ehrlich II) Oct. 3-5 in N├╝renberg, Gera number of.

It's called macroautophagy - autophagy means "self eating" - and within a week, breast cancer cells can reorganize component parts, degrade non-essentials and live in this state until antiestrogen treatment is stopped or the cells mutate and resume proliferation in the presence of tamoxifen. "It's like taking your foot off of the gas pedal of your car," says Dr. Schoenlein, corresponding author on the study. "The cancer cell is in idle, unable to grow or replicate. But the cell is smart enough to use component parts generated by macroautophagy for the most necessary things mandatory for survival." She notes that macroautophagy can't be maintained indefinitely; cells can actually self-digest. "This is a time-buying strategy".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:37 PM CT

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer
Birth size, and in particular birth length, correlates with subsequent risk of breast cancer in adulthood, as per a new study published in PLoS Medicine by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Associations between birth size, perhaps as a marker of the pre-natal environment, and subsequent breast cancer risk have been identified before, but the findings from epidemiological studies have been inconsistent.

In the new study, led by Isabel dos Santos Silva (Professor of Epidemiology), the scientists re-analysed data from published and unpublished studies to obtain more precise estimates of the extent to which birth size affects the risk of breast cancer during the later part of life and to investigate whether they could be explained by associations with other risk factors.

They examined 32 studies, comprising 22,058 cases of breast cancer among a total of more than 600,000 women, most of whom lived in developed countries. They observed that birth weight was positively linked to breast cancer risk in studies where information on birth size was based on birth records (eventhough not in those based on adult self-reports, which tend to be less accurate). Analyses of women with data from birth records showed that a 0.5 kg increment in birth weight was linked to an estimated 7% increase in the risk of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 24, 2008, 9:43 PM CT

Young women with early form of breast cance

Young women with early form of breast cance
Young women with DCIS, a common form of early breast cancer that arises in and is confined to the mammary ducts, are presumed more likely to have recurrences than older women with the same diagnosis. But a new study from Fox Chase Cancer Center rebuffs this conventional thinking.

"There are discrepancies among past studies that looked at the outcomes of very young women with DCIS treated with radiation, but a number of suggested a less favorable outcome than for older women," explains Aruna Turaka, MD, a fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase. "Because each of these studies reflects diverse factors, including how the cancer was managed by the surgeons and radiation oncologists, we wanted to look at our institution's experience in treating DCIS in this population".

Ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, is generally treated with breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) and radiation. At Fox Chase, surgeons will usually re-excise the tumor site until the pathologists and surgeons have "clear margins," or find no sign of cancer around where the tumor was removed. General radiation guidelines dictate that the entire affected breast be irradiated. At Fox Chase, additional radiation also is delivered to the site where the cancer was removed. This is called a "boost." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:31 PM CT

1-week radiation effective breast cancer treatment

1-week radiation effective breast cancer treatment
Boston Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) using a type of radiation seed implants called balloon brachytherapy, a newer type of radiation therapy that offers more convenience to early-stage patients with breast cancer by shortening radiation treatment from the standard six to seven weeks of therapy to only one week, is as effective in keeping breast cancer from coming back as the standard external beam radiation therapy, as per a research studypresented September 22, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

"Not only does it make radiation therapy much more convenient, it may actually increase the rate of breast conservation, since some women choose mastectomy because they live too far from a radiation center and cannot afford the time and expense of six to seven weeks of living or traveling to the center," Peter Beitsch, M.D., lead author of the study and a surgical oncologist at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, said. "Also, there are a number of women who for a host of reasons don't receive the necessary postoperative radiation and the shortened course should hopefully allow more women to receive the treatment that they need."

A number of women with breast cancer are able to undergo breast conserving treatment to keep their breast after therapy. Typically, this means they first have surgery to remove the cancer (a lumpectomy) followed by a course of radiation treatment to kill any cancer cells that may remain. The standard radiation treatment therapy takes a few minutes, every day, Monday through Friday, for six to seven weeks.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:29 PM CT

Acupuncture reduces side effects of breast cancer treatment

Acupuncture reduces side effects of breast cancer treatment
Boston Acupuncture is as effective and longer-lasting in managing the common debilitating side effects of hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating (vasomotor symptoms) linked to breast cancer therapy and has no therapy side effects in comparison to conventional drug treatment, as per a first-of-its-kind study presented September 24, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

Findings also show there were additional benefits to acupuncture therapy for patients with breast cancer, such as an increased sense of well being, more energy, and in some cases, a higher sex drive, that were not experienced in those patients who underwent drug therapy for their hot flashes.

"Our study shows that physicians and patients have an additional treatment for something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors and actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects. The effect is more durable than a drug usually used to treat these vasomotor symptoms and, ultimately, is more cost-effective for insurance companies," Eleanor Walker, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology in Detroit, said.

The reduction in hot flashes lasted longer for those patients with breast cancer after completing their acupuncture therapy, in comparison to patients after stopping their drug treatment plan.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 23, 2008, 4:55 PM CT

Over-the-counter anesthetic for mammogram pain

Over-the-counter anesthetic for mammogram pain
The simple application of a pain-relieving gel may reduce the breast discomfort some women experience during mammography exams, as per the results of a clinical trial reported in the online edition of Radiology

"We now have something that we know reduces discomfort with screening mammography in women who expect higher discomfortlidocaine gel," said the trial's principal investigator, Colleen Lambertz, F.N.P., a nurse practitioner at St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, Idaho. "With a more positive experience, we hope women will undergo more regular mammography screening".

Breast cancer affects more women than any other non-skin cancer and, as per the American Cancer Society, accounts for more than 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S. Most experts agree that the best way to decrease breast cancer mortality is through early detection using mammography and clinical breast exam.

"Mammography is the only screening tool proven to reduce mortality from breast cancer in women over 40," said co-author of study James R. Maxwell, M.D., medical director of St. Luke's Breast Care Services. "Annual screening is the most important option available to a woman to best ensure early detection and decrease the chance of being diagnosed with an advanced stage breast cancer".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 22, 2008, 8:03 PM CT

No need for gene screens in breast cancer families

No need for gene screens in breast cancer families
Research reported today should provide relief to women who are worried after a relative's breast cancer diagnosis. The study in the open access journal BMC Cancer shows that a family history of breast cancer does not give a useful indication of the likelihood that a woman will develop it herself at an early age.

An increased risk of breast cancer for relatives of patients with breast cancer has been demonstrated in a number of studies. As physicians and the general population have become more aware of this increased risk, the demand for referring healthy women with a family history of breast cancer for intensive screening or genetic testing has risen. Geertruida H. de Bock led a team from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands who investigated whether the increased risk was significant enough to accurately predict breast cancer.

As per de Bock, "Due to the low prevalence of early breast cancer in the population, the predictive value of a family history of breast cancer was 13% before the age of 70, 11% before the age of 50, and 1% before the age of 30." These numbers are much lower than most women would probably expect. As the authors explain, "Applying family history related criteria results in the screening of a number of women who will not develop breast cancer at an early age".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 22, 2008, 7:48 PM CT

New breast cancer test under study

New breast cancer test under study
Whether a painless, portable device that uses electrical current rather than X-ray to look for breast cancer could be an alternative to traditional mammograms is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

MCG is one of 20 centers internationally and the only place in Georgia studying new technology developed by Z-Tech Inc., to compare traditional mammograms with impedence scanning, a technique based on evidence that electrical current passes through malignant tissue differently than through normal tissue.

This phase of the study will focus on women age 40-50. Older women have less dense breast tissue so cancer is easier to find, says Dr. James Craft, MCG radiologist and principal investigator on the study. Mammograms, also performed in the study, are more accurate in this population, so this phase will be a tougher test of the new technology, he says. The first phase of the study, which began in 2005, was open to women of all ages.

"Normal breast tissue is very dense, particularly in younger women, and can hide tumors," Dr. Craft says. "While we've known for a while that water flows more freely through malignant cells, we also know that electrical current flows easier through malignant and tumor tissue".

The Z-Tech scan works by placing a flower-shaped grouping of electrodes over each breast and sending a small, painless amount of electricity through them. Unlike traditional mammography, the scan does not involve breast compression or radiation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 15, 2008, 9:18 PM CT

Vitamin A pushes breast cancer to form blood vessel cells

Vitamin A pushes breast cancer to form blood vessel cells
Scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have discovered that vitamin A, when applied to breast cancer cells, turns on genes that can push stem cells embedded in a tumor to morph into endothelial cells. These cells can then build blood vessels to link up to the body's blood supply, promoting further tumor growth.

They say their findings, reported in the July 16 online issue of PLoS ONE, is a proof of principle of the new and controversial "vasculogenic mimicry" theory, proposing that, as needed, tumors build their own blood pipelines. This is very different from the well-accepted role of tumor angiogenesis, when tumors send signals to blood vessels to grow toward the cancer.

The study's senior author, Stephen W. Byers, Ph.D., a professor of oncology and cell biology at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, also says that this study helps explain why retinoids-- natural or synthetic vitamin A agents--have had mixed results in treating cancer. "Finding that vitamin A may cause some breast cancer cells to form blood vessels brings up the rather disturbing notion that therapy with these drugs may actually stimulate tumor growth," says Byers.

For example, use of beta-carotene, the most important dietary precursor of vitamin A and the chemical that makes carrots orange, has been found to increase lung cancer progression in a large clinical trial. Additionally, fenretinide, a synthetic retinoid, appears to reduce the risk of second breast cancers in premenopausal women, but increase the risk in postmenopausal women, Byers says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 9, 2008, 7:28 PM CT

Herceptin targets breast cancer stem cells

Herceptin targets breast cancer stem cells
Her2
A gene that is overexpressed in 20 percent of breast cancers increases the number of cancer stem cells, the cells that fuel a tumor's growth and spread, as per a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The gene, HER2, causes cancer stem cells to multiply and spread, explaining why HER2 has been associated with a more aggressive type of breast cancer and to metastatic disease, in which the cancer has spread beyond the breast, the scientists say.

Further, the drug Herceptin, which is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer, was found to target and destroy the cancer stem cells. Results of the study appear online in the journal Oncogene.

"This work suggests that the reason drugs that target HER2, such as Herceptin and Lapatanib, are so effective in breast cancer is that they target the cancer stem cell population. This finding provides further evidence for the cancer stem cell hypothesis," says study author Max S. Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology and director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The cancer stem cell hypothesis says that tumors originate in a small number of cells, called cancer stem cells, and that these cells are responsible for fueling a tumor's growth. These cells represent fewer than 5 percent of the cells in a tumor. Wicha's lab was part of the team that first identified stem cells in human breast cancer in 2003.........

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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