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August 23, 2006, 5:10 AM CT

Targeting Protein S14 In Breast Cancer Treatment

Targeting Protein S14 In Breast Cancer Treatment Dartmouth researchers Wendy Wells and William Kinlaw are looking into a protein called S14. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
William Kinlaw, an associate professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, has been working on a protein called S14 since 1990. Over the past few months, however, the news about S14 has picked up. Through a series of recently published academic studies, Kinlaw and colleagues are ready to pronounce S14 a potential drug target in treating breast cancer.

"Over the past three years, we've learned about S14 and its role in communicating information about the nutrient and energy supply to genes mandatory for fat metabolism in breast cancer cells," says Kinlaw, who is also affiliated with the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "With this knowledge has also come the understanding that most breast cancers have found a mechanism to turn on the S14 gene".

He explains that these tumors are 'addicted' to S14, because it is mandatory for the activation of a group of genes that allow the cancer cells to make fat. Kinlaw and his team have observed that breast cancer cells die if S14 is removed, and their analysis of human breast tumors indicates that S14 is critical for metastasis.

"This makes sense, as fat is a crucial fuel for breast cancers," he says. "We believe this is particularly so during a tumor cell's attempt to journey from the breast to other parts of the body, because the normal breast tissue supplies machinery that allows tumor cells to acquire fat from the bloodstream. Our data support the hypothesis that once the cells leave this metabolically friendly breast environment, the ability to manufacture their own fat becomes a make-or-break issue".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 9:48 PM CT

Is Tykerb better than Herceptin?

Is Tykerb better than Herceptin?
In reference to: Lapatinib In The Treatment Of Breast Cancer (April 4, 2006) Is Tykerb better than Herceptin? Maybe, for these reasons. Cells are the most basic structure of the body. Cells make up tissues, and tissues make up organs, such as the lungs or liver. Each cell is surrounded by a membrane, a thin layer that separates the outside of the cell from the inside. For a cell to perform necessary functions for the body and respond to its surroundings, it needs to communicate with other cells in the body. Communication occurs through chemical messages in a process called signal transduction. The purpose of these signals is to tell the cell what to do, such as when to grow, divide into two new cells, and die.

Targeted cancer therapies use drugs that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in carcinogenesis (the process by which normal cells become cancer cells) and tumor growth. By focusing on molecular and cellular changes that are specific to cancer, targeted cancer therapies may be more effective than current therapys and less harmful to normal cells. However, the monoclonal antibodies like Herceptin and Erbitux are \"large\" molecules. These very large molecules don\'t have a convenient way of getting access to the large majority of cells. Plus, there is multicellular resistance, the drugs affecting only the cells on the outside may not kill these cells if they are in contact with cells on the inside, which are protected from the drug. The cells may pass small molecules back and forth. Exciting results have come from studies of multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors, \"small\" molecules that act on multiple receptors in the malignant cells, like Tyberb and Sutent. Targeted \"small-molecule\" therapies ruled at the recent annual ASCO meeting of oncologists. The trend is away from the monoclonals to the small molecules, a trend in which a new predictive test may be able to hasten. The EGRFx (TM) assay is able to test molecularly-targeted anti-cancer drug therapies like Iressa, Tarceva, Tykerb, Sutent and possibly Nexavar, because of being small molecules.........

Posted by: Gregory D. Pawelski       Permalink         Source


August 22, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Challenging Privately Funded Breast Cancer Research

Challenging Privately Funded Breast Cancer Research
New research by a Queen's University researcher questions the effectiveness of privately funded efforts to stop the epidemic of breast cancer among North American women.

"Breast cancer has been transformed into a market-driven industry," says Kinesiology and Health Studies researcher Samantha King. "It has become more about making money for corporate sponsors than funding innovative ways to treat breast cancer".

Dr. King's research, just published by University of Minnesota Press in a controversial new book, Pink Ribbons Inc., traces breast cancer's transformation from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to what she describes as "a market-driven industry that feeds off breast cancer survivors".

As per her research, only 64% of the money raised from one high-profile corporation's walk for breast cancer actually went to breast cancer organizations.

Dr. King documents how the event and its logo have become products brought and sold by North American corporate sponsors and "the extent to which fundraising for breast cancer has become a highly valued commodity in itself".

"Fundraising for breast cancer has developed into a highly competitive market in which large foundations and corporations compete with one another to attract the loyalty of consumers - in this case, well-intentioned members of the public wanting to do their part in the fight against the disease," she says.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 21, 2006, 10:06 PM CT

Protein That Protect Breast Cancer Tumors

Protein That Protect Breast Cancer Tumors
About half of women whose breast cancer is treated with standard chemotherapy have their cancer return within five years. Most chemotherapeutic drugs have undesirable side effects, but there has been no way to predict who would benefit and who wouldn't. Fortunately, new research findings at the University of Southern California could change that.

Scientists at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a new biological marker in tumors that can help indicate whether a woman's breast cancer will respond to the most usually prescribed chemotherapy drugs.

Amy S. Lee, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, isolated the gene for the GRP78 protein (78-kDA glucose-regulated protein) in 1980. It normally helps protect cells from dying, especially when they are under stress from a lack of glucose. In her current research, Lee finds that breast cancer tumors with high levels of GRP78 are protected from a common chemotherapy regimen based on Adriamycin, a topoisomerase inhibitor. Her findings are published as a "Priority Report" in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research.

"The importance of this study is in its potential to help clinicians who treat cancer," Lee says. "It will help sort out the patients who won't respond to particular therapy regimens and will have a higher chance of cancer recurrence."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 18, 2006, 6:37 AM CT

Core Needle Biopsy Gives An Accurate Picture

Core Needle Biopsy Gives An Accurate Picture
The gene expression profile detected in the core needle biopsy of a breast tumour is representative of gene expression in the whole tumour. A study published recently in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research confirms the reliability of core needle biopsy as a tool in breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis. The study also shows that the gene expression profile of a core needle biopsy might be more accurate than the profile of a surgical sample taken from the same tumour, after the biopsy was carried out. As per the study results, the biopsy procedure seems to trigger the expression of genes involved in wound healing as well as tumour invasion and metastasis, thus modifying the gene expression profile of subsequent surgical samples.

Rosanna Zanetti-Dällenbach from the Women's University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland and his colleagues from Stiftung Tumorbank, OncoScore AG and University Hospital in Basel, analysed the gene expression profile of core needle biopsies taken from 22 women diagnosed with breast cancer. For each woman, they compared the biopsy expression profile with the expression profile of a surgical sample taken from the tumour subsequently to the core needle biopsy. Zanetti-Dällenbach et al. quantified the expression of 60 genes known to be involved in breast tumour development using a technique called reverse polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Zanetti-Dällenbach et al. also analysed the gene expression profiles of surgical samples taken from the breast tumours of 317 patients who did not undergo a core needle biopsy.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:33 AM CT

Success Of MRI-guided Breast Biopsy

Success Of MRI-guided Breast Biopsy
Radiologists can help confirm that an MRI-guided breast biopsy has successfully removed the lesion by taking an x-ray of the lesion and slices of the lesion, a new study shows.

"Contrast-enhanced MRI of the breast is becoming increasingly useful in patients with lesions that cannot be detected with other techniques," said Basak Erguvan-Dogan, MD, radiologist in Breast Imaging at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "However, it is hard to confirm removal of the targeted lesion because the abnormality does not enhance after being removed from the breast," she said.

Currently, patients who have MRI-guided needle localization and excision of abnormalities may be asked to have follow-up breast MRI; if the lesion has not been successfully removed, another biopsy procedure will need to be done. "By taking x-rays of the lesion specimen, then slicing it up and taking additional x-rays, we can determine if the lesion has been removed or if additional tissue needs to be excised while the patient is still in the operating room," Dr. Erguvan-Dogan said.

Whole specimen and sliced specimen radiography waccording toformed in 10 patients, and X-raying the lesion as a whole and in slices proved to be valuable, said Dr. Erguvan-Dogan. "In all five cancerous cases, sliced specimen radiographs showed the lesion in question, helped the pathologist correctly identify the lesion while the patient was still in the operating room and helped the surgeon obtain negative surgical margins," said Dr. Erguvan-Dogan. In addition, "whole specimen radiography is able to correctly locate fractured biopsy needle localization wires, which may be removed before the patient left the operating room," she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:27 AM CT

Herceptin Effective Even With Low HER-2 Levels

Herceptin Effective Even With  Low HER-2 Levels
Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare researchers have discovered that the monoclonal antibody Herceptin (trastuzumab) used in combination with certain cancer chemotherapies effectively treats breast cancer tumors that produce low or undetectable amounts of the HER-2 oncogene but overexpress the growth factor heregulin (HRG), an activator of the HER-2 cancer oncoprotein. Increased levels of HER-2 are associated with poor patient prognosis, enhanced metastasis (cancer spread) and resistance to chemotherapy.

Until now it was believed that trastuzumab combined with cytotoxic drug therapy was effective only in HER-2--positive, or HER-2--overexpressing, breast cancer - which represents about 25 percent of all breast cancers, said Dr. Ruth Lupu, director of translational breast cancer research at the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, who led the study, published in the August 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Lupu is also professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a researcher at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The study was conducted as part of the Cancer Center's breast cancer SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grant.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:16 AM CT

Breast Cancer Survivors Change Lifestyle

Breast Cancer Survivors Change Lifestyle
Breast cancer survivors' beliefs about what may have caused their cancer are connected to whether they make healthy lifestyle changes after a cancer diagnosis. This is the finding of a research study appearing in the August 2006 issue of Psycho-Oncology by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.

"We found that breast cancer survivors who believed that an unhealthy behavior - such as consuming an unhealthy diet, contributed to their cancer - were more likely to say that they had changed that behavior since their diagnosis," says lead author Carolyn Rabin, PhD, a psychologist at The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. "Likewise, breast cancer survivors who believed that a healthy behavior- such as consuming a healthy diet, could ward off a cancer recurrence - were more likely to say that they had adopted that behavior since their diagnosis".

Due to advances in detection and treatment, there are now more than 10 million Americans who are cancer survivors, according to the American Cancer Society. However, researchers have not yet determined why some cancer survivors are motivated by a cancer diagnosis to make healthy lifestyle changes, while others are not. This question prompted the study by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 7:06 AM CT

Predictors Of Breast Cancer

Predictors Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified many activity patterns in the genes of individual tumors that make them biologically different from others. These findings could provide valuable clinical information such as how likely the tumors are to be invasive, how well they might respond to different therapys and how likely they are to recur or spread.

Currently, doctors treating patients with breast cancer make therapy decisions and predictions based largely on the location and size of the tumor and if the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to lymph nodes and distant sites of the body.

But not all patients who are similar in terms of these clinical indicators get the same benefits from therapy.

These new findings could remedy that situation. Such differences in gene activity may be used as biomarkers to identify which therapys can be individually matched.

Over the past five years, gene expression profiles have been identified that appear to be predictive for cancer patients, particularly for breast cancer patients. But these tests show very little overlap in their gene lists, and thus it is not known just how distinct these different assays might be.

As per Dr. Charles M. Perou, assistant professor of genetics and pathology at the UNC School of Medicine and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, some of the predictive assays are available commercially and others are under study in clinical trials in which therapy decisions, including whether or not to use chemotherapy, are being made based on them.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 4, 2006, 0:05 AM CT

Links between DNA damage and breast cancer

Links between DNA damage and breast cancer
Scientists from the Pacific Northwest Research Institute (PNRI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have uncovered a pattern of DNA damage in connective tissues in the human breast that could shed light on the early stages of breast cancer and possibly serve as an early warning of a heightened risk of cancer.

In the United States, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Breast cancer detection and treatment generally target epithelial cells, the primary locus of breast cancers, but in recent years evidence has accumulated that genetic mutations that develop into cancer may occur initially in a deeper layer of breast tissue, called the stroma. Genetic changes in this connective tissue that supports the breast's network of glands and ducts have been reported to precede the cancerous conversion of tumor cells, but the actual role of stromal cells in the early stages of breast cancer initiation and progression is not well understood.

In two recent papers*, the PNRI/NIST team explored the occurrence of damage to stromal DNA caused by free radicals and other oxidants. NIST scientists used a high-precision chemical analysis technique (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry with isotope dilution) to identify specific DNA lesions, while the PNRI team used a spectroscopic technique (Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy) to reveal subtle conformational changes to DNA base and backbone structures. Such alterations to the molecular structure can change or disrupt gene expression.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         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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