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September 25, 2007, 9:21 PM CT

Breast cancer death rate continues to drop

Breast cancer death rate continues to drop
A report from the American Cancer Society finds the breast cancer death rate in the United States continues to drop more than two percent per year, a trend that began in 1990 and is credited to progress in early detection and therapy. But the report says African American women and women of other racial and ethnic groups have benefited less than white women from the advances that have led to those gains, and that a recent drop in cancer incidence (the rate at which news cancers are diagnosed) is due in part to fewer women getting mammograms.

The findings appear in Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008 (available online September 25 at http://www.cancer.org/statistics). The report, published every two years since 1996, provides detailed analyses of breast cancer trends and presents information on known risk factors for the disease, factors that influence survival, the latest data on prevention, early detection, therapy, and ongoing and future research.

While a number of women live in fear of breast cancer, this report shows a woman today has a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than shes had in decades, said Harmon J. Eyre, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, not all women are benefiting at the same level. Perhaps most troubling is the striking divergence in long-term mortality trends seen between African American and white females that began in the early part of 1980s and that by 2004 had led to death rates being 36 percent higher in African American women.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 5:12 AM CT

Molecular fingerprint of breast-cancer drug resistance

Molecular fingerprint of breast-cancer drug resistance
A way of predicting which patients will respond well to therapy with a common chemotherapy drug used in breast cancer was unveiled at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) today (Monday 24 September). Dr Iain Brown, from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, told the conference that he and his colleague, Dr Andrew Schofield, had identified two genes that could identify which cells would be resistant and which would respond to docetaxel.

Docetaxel is one of the most effective chemotherapy therapys in advanced breast cancer. It works by binding to cell components called microtubules, and stabilising them so that they do not disassemble. They then accumulate within the cell and bring about apoptosis, or cell death. However, up to half of all patients treated with this drug will develop resistance, and hence the therapy will fail, said Dr Brown.

The researchers decided to look for a specific genetic make-up in patients where docetaxel therapy had failed, in the hope that this might explain why they became resistant to the drug. They used micro-array analysis, a technique that allowed them to look at every known gene in our cells at once, to identify genes that were significantly linked to such resistance.

By going back to the laboratory, using breast cancer cell lines, we can eliminate much of the variation in gene expression found in different patients, and thus remove a lot of background noise, said Dr Brown. We developed a unique model of docetaxel resistance in breast cancer from two different cell lines made resistant to the drug by exposing them to increasing concentrations of the drug. This model has also allowed us to test cells which are resistant to low levels of the drug and cells which are resistant to high levels.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 18, 2007, 10:23 PM CT

Osteoporosis drug for breast cancer patients

Osteoporosis drug for breast cancer patients
Breast cancer survivors who took a weekly dose of risedronate, sold as Actonel, lost significantly less bone than those who did not take the drug, as per a two-year study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine presented this week at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Scientific sessions continue through Wednesday at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Susan Greenspan, M.D., director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center and Bone Health program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and his colleagues reviewed 87 women, mean age 50, enrolled in the Prevention of Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer Following Chemotherapy study. All participants in the randomized, double-blind trial received calcium and vitamin D supplements. However, half took 35 milligrams of risedronate once a week while others took a placebo.

Chemotherapy drugs and other medical therapys for breast cancer are known to induce menopause, which can kick-start bone loss, putting survivors at risk for osteoporotic fractures, said Dr. Greenspan, an internationally respected osteoporosis researcher and professor of medicine at Pitt. This study also looked at changes in spine and hip bone mineral density, as well as evidence of bone breakdown.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 17, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Linchpin gene and breast cancer therapies

Linchpin gene and breast cancer therapies
University of Iowa scientists have discovered a gene that plays a linchpin role in the ability of breast cancer cells to respond to estrogen. The finding may lead to improved therapies for hormone-responsive breast cancers and may explain differences in the effectiveness of current therapys.

Estrogen causes hormone-responsive breast cancer cells to grow and divide by interacting with estrogen receptors made by cancer cells. Interfering with estrogen signaling is the basis of two common breast cancer therapies -- tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen's interaction with a primary estrogen receptor called ER-alpha, and aromatase inhibitors that reduce the amount of estrogen the body makes and therefore affect any pathway that uses estrogen.

The study, led by Ronald Weigel, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of surgery at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, reveals a central role for transcription factor AP2C (TFAP2C) in controlling multiple pathways of estrogen signaling. The findings appear in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer Research.

"Estrogen binds to estrogen receptors and triggers a cascade of events including gene regulation," said Weigel, who also is a member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI. "We observed that elimination of the TFAP2C from the cell causes all of those cascades that we associate with estrogen to go away. The treated cancer cells were not able to respond to estrogen by any normal pathway".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:34 PM CT

New Clues to Breast Cancer Development

New Clues to Breast Cancer Development
Physicians who treat women with the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 often remove their patients' ovaries to eliminate the source of estrogen they believe fuels cancer growth. Yet they also know that anti-estrogen therapies don't work to treat breast or ovary cancer that might develop. That paradox has led researchers to question exactly how, or if, estrogen is involved in cancer development and whether removal of ovaries makes sense.

Now, a team of scientists from Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center have shed light on the mechanism that makes ovary removal protective against tumor development in this unique population. They discovered that estrogen is needed to start the cancer process, but then the BRCA1 mutations somehow render the new tumors unresponsive to estrogen, producing cancer that is more aggressive and difficult to treat.

As per a research findings published electronically on July 23 in the journal Oncogene, Georgetown scientists observed that mutations of the BRCA1 gene can cause the estrogen-signaling pathway to go awry after cancer starts to grow. The mutated gene somehow causes the tumor cells to stop expressing the estrogen receptor, a protein that sits on the surface of the cell and recognizes the presence of the hormone. This means that these cancers lose sensitivity to estrogen (and potent anti-estrogen therapies like Tamoxifen) after tumors begin to form.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:21 PM CT

Breast Cancer Medication For Bipolar Disorder

Breast Cancer Medication For Bipolar Disorder
Tamoxifen
The medicine tamoxifen, best known as a therapy for breast cancer, dramatically reduces symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder more quickly than a number of standard medications for the mental illness, a new study shows. Scientists at the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) who conducted the study also explained how: Tamoxifen blocks an enzyme called protein kinase C (PKC) that regulates activities in brain cells. The enzyme is believed to be over-active during the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

By pointing to PKC as a target for new medications, the study raises the possibility of developing faster-acting therapys for the manic phase of the illness. Current medications for the manic phase generally take more than a week to begin working, and not everyone responds to them. Tamoxifen itself might not become a therapy of choice, though, because it also blocks estrogen the property that makes it useful as a therapy for breast cancer and because it may cause endometrial cancer if taken over long periods of time. Currently, tamoxifen is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for therapy of some kinds of cancer and infertility, for example. It was used experimentally in this study because it both blocks PKC and is able to enter the brain.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Molecular Clues to Breast Cancer

Molecular Clues to Breast Cancer
New insights into the role of estrogen receptor in mammary gland development may help researchers better understand the molecular origin of breast cancer, as per new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC).

About a decade ago, U.S. researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a standard estrogen receptor (ER) gene knock-out mouse model to study the estrogen receptor's role in human diseases.

"Unfortunately, because these mice lacked mammary glands as a consequence of genetic manipulation, using this model to study the relationship between the estrogen receptor and breast cancer proved ineffective," explains Sohaib Khan, PhD, professor of cell and cancer biology at UC.

"Knocking out the estrogen receptor gene for the entire genome, as the NIH researchers did, doesn't just affect the function of the receptor in all estrogen-responsive organs. It also creates an imbalance in the body's circulating sex hormone levels, which could affect other physiological functions," Khan adds. "An alternative model was clearly needed to study the intricacies of estrogen receptors involvement in this disease".

Estrogen receptor is a cellular protein that binds with the hormone estrogen and facilitates action in different parts of the body, including the mammary gland. Research has shown that about 70 percent of patients with breast cancer have estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, meaning their tumors will have some beneficial response to anti-estrogen drugs like tamoxifen (ta-MOX'-ee-fen, marketed as Nolvodex).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 4:51 AM CT

Breast Cancer and Aromatase Inhibitor Side Effects

Breast Cancer and Aromatase Inhibitor Side Effects
More than 10 percent of women with breast cancer stopped taking a usually prescribed drug because of joint and muscle pain, as per a new study from scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The women in the study were taking aromatase inhibitors, a type of drug designed to block the production of estrogen, which fuels some breast cancers. The therapy is generally given after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment to prevent the cancer from returning. Its typically prescribed as one pill each day for five years. Use of these drugs has increased because they have been shown to be more effective than tamoxifen, the prior standard of care.

We know 25 percent to 30 percent of women taking aromatase inhibitors have aches and pains. What was surprising here was the number of people who actually discontinued the drugs because of the side effects. Up to 15 percent of patients in previously reported studies stopped taking aromatase inhibitors for a variety of reasons, but in our study, we had 13 percent drop out just because of musculoskeletal problems, says N. Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D., lecturer in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Henry will present the findings Sept. 8 in San Francisco at the 2007 Breast Cancer Symposium, a scientific meeting sponsored by five leading cancer care societies.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:24 PM CT

Exercise, yoga and breast cancer

Exercise, yoga and  breast cancer
Two studies report that exercise and yoga can help maintain and in some cases improve quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer. The first study observed that resistance and aerobic exercise improved physical fitness, self-esteem and body composition, and that resistance exercise improved chemotherapy completion rates. The second study demonstrated that yoga was especially beneficial for women who were not receiving chemotherapy during the study period. Both studies will be published online September 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

Resistance and Aerobic Exercise.

In the first study, Canadian researchers explored the effects of exercise on quality of life, physical fitness and body composition in women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. This study, the Supervised Trial of Aerobic versus Resistance Training (START) trial, is the largest to date to explore the effects of exercise during chemotherapy and one of the first to evaluate a regimen of resistance exercise.

Scientists divided women into three groups: supervised resistance exercise three times weekly (82 women), supervised aerobic exercise three times weekly (78), and no aerobic or resistance exercise, also known as the usual care group (82). The median duration of chemotherapy and exercise was 17 weeks. Participants were surveyed at the beginning and middle of chemotherapy and up to four weeks after completing therapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 28, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Hypnosis reduces pain in breast cancer surgery

Hypnosis reduces pain in breast cancer surgery
The use of hypnosis previous to breast cancer surgery reduced the amount of anesthesia administered during the operation, the level of pain reported afterwards, and the time and cost of the procedure, as per a research studypublished online August 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Breast cancer surgery patients often suffer side effects such as pain, nausea, and fatigue during and after their operation. These complications can lengthen their hospital stay, lead to hospital readmission, or require additional medicationsall of which increase medical costs. Several prior studies have suggested that hypnosis may reduce pain, recovery time, and the need for medications after surgery.

Guy Montgomery, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and his colleagues conducted a clinical trial to examine the effects of hypnosis when it is given within one hour before surgery. Two hundred women were randomly assigned to either 15 minutes of hypnosis by a psychology expert or a control session in which they spoke with a psychology expert. The scientists then compared the use of pain medications and sedatives during surgery, as well as the levels of pain and other side effects reported afterwards.

The hypnosis session began with suggestions for relaxation and pleasant visual imagery. The patients were also given suggestions on how to reduce pain, nausea, and fatigue, and instructions on how to use hypnosis on their own.........

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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