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July 26, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer

U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer
Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a gene associated with the development of an aggressive form of breast cancer.

The scientists observed that the gene, FOXP3, suppresses tumor growth. FOXP3 is located on the X chromosome, which means a single mutation can effectively silence the gene. This is unusual, as only one other gene associated with cancer has been found on the X chromosome.

When one copy of the FOXP3 gene is silenced, the scientists found in studying mice, 90 percent of the mice spontaneously developed malignant tumors. The scientists also looked at FOXP3 in human breast tissue cells, comparing malignant and non-malignant cells. FOXP3 was found to be either deleted or mutated in a substantial portion of the cancer sample: about 80 percent of the cancer tissues studied did not express the gene at all.

In addition, the scientists found FOXP3 to be a repressor of HER-2, a protein that typically marks a more aggressive form of breast cancer. The scientists believe FOXP3 suppresses the HER-2 gene. HER-2 can be activated by a number of different factors, but the scientists observed that when FOXP3 is normal, it keeps HER-2 levels low; when FOXP3 is missing or mutated, HER-2 levels are likely to rise.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 25, 2007, 5:21 AM CT

Additional mammogram readers improve breast cancer detection

Additional mammogram readers improve breast cancer detection
Mammogram readings by both radiologists and non-doctor technologists improve breast cancer detection rates, as per a research studyin the July 24 Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Studies have shown that breast cancer detection may increase when mammograms are evaluated by both a radiologist and a mammographic technologist. In The Netherlands, a breast cancer screening program was implemented in the 1990s that mandatory all mammograms be read by two radiologists. Mammographic technologists were also trained to look for abnormalities.

Lucien Duijm, M.D., Ph.D., of Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and his colleagues examined whether adding readings by two technologists to the standard examination by two radiologists would improve cancer detection rates and the accuracy of the readings.

The breast cancer detection rate increased 6.8% (from 5.27 to 5.63 cancers per 1,000 women screened) when the mammograms were read by two technologists and two radiologists. And adding two technologists only slightly increased the number of false positives, compared with readings by a pair of radiologists alone.

Our results indicate that all technologist-positive readings should be considered for [further] examination because this subset of screening mammograms shows a high prevalence of breast cancer, the authors write.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 23, 2007, 6:37 PM CT

Latest drugs improve survival for metastatic breast cancer

Latest drugs improve survival for metastatic breast cancer
Newer drug therapies available since the 1990s, in particular aromatase inhibitors, improve the survival of women with metastatic breast cancer in the general population, as per a new study. Reported in the September 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study is the first to demonstrate that drugs made available to the general public in the 1990s have had a significant impact on population-based metastatic breast cancer survival rates, confirming findings from earlier clinical trials. Survival improved by approximately 30 percent as systemic treatment, in particular aromatase inhibitors, became more widely used.

Currently, women with metastatic breast cancer survive an average of approximately 24 months. That marks a significant improvement from the estimated 18 month survival noted in the early part of 1980s. While popular opinion suggests that this improved survival rate is due to newly developed drugs, a direct link has not been clearly shown. A few studies suggest overall survival improvements are linked to the new therapies, but their conclusions are not necessarily generalizable to the general population or to specific new systemic therapies.

Dr. Stephen Chia of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and co-researchers compared outcomes of 2150 women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the Canadian province of British Columbia between 1991 and 2001. In analyzing temporal trends in outcome, the researchers primary goal was to evaluate whether new hormonal and chemotherapeutic drugs approved for public use actually had an impact on survival outside the clinical trial setting. In addition, because not all patients in the general population received any palliative systemic treatment, they were also able to make inferences about drug efficacy versus no therapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 12, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

The '2-week wait rule' is failing breast cancer patients

The '2-week wait rule' is failing breast cancer patients
The two week wait rule is failing patients with breast cancer and needs to be evaluated urgently say the authors of a seven year study examining the impact of the target, published recently on

At the end of the last century death rates from breast cancer in the UK were among the highest in Europe. Long waiting lists, resulting in delayed diagnosis and therapy, were believed to be partly responsible. In 1998 the Department of Health brought in the 2 week wait rule which stipulated that by April 1999 all patients with suspected breast cancer should be seen by a specialist within two weeks of referral by a GP.

A number of studies have questioned the validity of the 2 week wait rule, but this is the first to assess the long term impact. Dr Shelley Potter and her colleagues gathered data on the number, route and outcome of Primary Care referrals to the Frenchay Brest Care Centre in Bristol between 1999 and 2005.

There were 24,999 referrals to the centre during this period, with GPs classifying each patient as being either urgent as per 2 week wait criteria or routine. Between 1999 and 2005 the number of annual referrals to the centre increased by 9%.

Routine referrals decreased by 24% but 2-week wait referrals increased by 42%. Despite the changes in referral patterns the total number of cancers remained constant over the 7 year period.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 10, 2007, 4:50 AM CT

Western-style 'meat-sweet' Diet Increases Risk Of Breast Cancer

Western-style 'meat-sweet' Diet Increases Risk Of Breast Cancer
A new study finds that the more western the diet -- marked by red meat, starches and sweets -- the greater the risk for breast cancer among postmenopausal Chinese women. As per scientists who conducted the analysis at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Harvard University, Shanghai Cancer Institute, and Vanderbilt University, the findings mark the first time a specific association between a western diet and breast cancer has been identified in Asian women.

The study, reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, is the latest set of findings derived from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study, conducted in the 1990s by Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H, and his colleagues at Vanderbilt University. The Fox Chase scientists identified dietary habits among women in the study based on their reported eating habits, classifying them as either meat-sweet or vegetable-soy eaters.

The Shanghai data gave us a unique look at a population of Chinese women who were beginning to adopt more western-style eating habits, said, Marilyn Tseng, Ph.D. associate member in the population science division at Fox Chase. We found an association between a western-style diet and breast cancer was pronounced in postmenopausal women, particularly heavier women with estrogen receptor-positive tumors.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 25, 2007, 9:23 PM CT

New adjuvant treatments for breast cancer

New adjuvant treatments for breast cancer
New adjuvant therapys for breast cancer are cost-effective at improving survival, as per two new studies. Reported in the August 1, 2007 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the two studies looked at the cost-effectiveness of different drugs for the management of adjuvant therapies for early breast cancer. In a Canadian economic study of estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, switching from tamoxifen to the oral steroidal aromatase inhibitor exemestane (trade name: Aromasin) extended disease free survival at a minimal cost per person. In another of study of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer, the addition of the anti-HER2 receptor monoclonal antibody, trastuzumab (trade name: Herceptin), is projected to improve life expectancy at a relatively low cost.

Breast cancer is a major cause of cancer mortality, second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women. The five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer has increased from 80 percent in the 1950s to 98 percent today. Mammography has led to cancers being detected earlier, when early therapys may be more effective. A greater understanding of the molecular biology of breast cancer has led to new post-surgical therapys, including hormone modulators and monoclonal antibodies. A number of of these agents have led to decreased mortality and disease recurrence. As the therapeutic effectiveness of these drugs has been verified and is included in professional therapy guidelines, their cost-effectiveness is being investigated.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 20, 2007, 10:08 AM CT

1-step breast cancer treatment

1-step breast cancer treatment
Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) breast cancer specialists are using a new way to treat patients by delivering a one-time dose of radiation during surgery. The procedure, called intraoperative radiation therapy, takes less than an hour and eliminates the need for further radiation treatments.

On May 17, the PMH team combined the expertise of surgeons, radiation medicine specialists (radiation oncologists, physicists and therapists) and nurses to perform its first procedure. It marked the first time the portable intrabeam radiotherapy machine that makes this procedure possible has been used in Canada. The PMH team has since treated two more patients.

The potential benefits to patients are huge, says lead surgeon Dr. David McCready, who also heads the PMH Breast Cancer Program. Treating the specific area of cancer with this kind of precision protects the skin, heart and lungs from unnecessary radiation, minimizes side effects, and saves the patient a lot of time.

Heres how it works: Using a probe attached to the portable intrabeam radiotherapy machine, a single, concentrated dose is inserted directly into the affected area inside the breast during surgery. Dr. McCready says the one-time dose is biologically equivalent to conventional radiation treatments for breast cancer that typically require, on average, a minimum of 16 treatments over three weeks.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:43 AM CT

Women well informed about breast cancer

Women well informed about breast cancer
As per a new GfK Roper Public Affairs survey sponsored by CancerCare, a national nonprofit cancer support organization, while the majority (76 percent) of women surveyed said they know at least a fair amount about breast cancer, a number of remain unaware of the important recent progress made in therapy. Fewer than one out of four (23 percent) women ages 50-65 have heard of new therapies for breast cancer, revealing a gap between awareness and information that women can use toward better therapy.

"These survey results suggest that a number of women still lack essential disease therapy information, which reinforces the need for women to educate themselves to help get the best therapy," said Diane Blum, MSW, executive director of CancerCare. "While great progress has been made in breast cancer awareness through public education and increased media coverage, women with breast cancer would benefit from more information about advances in therapys after surgery".

As per the survey, nearly all respondents were aware of chemotherapy and radiation. However, fewer than one out of four had heard of newer therapies such as aromatase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies, nor were they informed about their benefits.

Doctor-patient dialogue is vital

If diagnosed, the majority of respondents said they would actively work with their doctor to identify the proper therapy. The survey also observed that 71 percent of women would research the condition on their own in addition to discussing therapy options with their doctor. However, 86 percent were not certain they would know what questions to ask.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:32 AM CT

Simple steps make breast cancer survivors eager to exercise

Simple steps make breast cancer survivors eager to exercise
Simple steps, like giving breast cancer survivors an exercise workbook or step pedometer, can improve their quality of life and fatigue levels.

In research published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, University of Alberta scientists observed that those simple steps, along with a recommendation to exercise, helped breast cancer survivors exercise more than survivors who were only given a recommendation to exercise. More activity led to improvements in quality of life and energy levels.

Finding ways to help cancer patients and survivors be more physically active is important because the evidence is growing that exercise can improve quality of life both during and after therapy and may reduce the risk of the disease coming back. Translating these findings into action is the challenge.

"People want to help themselves, but we need to find practical ways to support them beyond telling them what to do. In this study, offering these women simple, low cost tools helped them get active and led to important benefits," said Jeffrey Vallance, Ph.D., a researcher with the Alberta Cancer Board, and lead author of the paper. The work was conducted while Vallance was a doctoral student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

The study followed 377 breast cancer survivors for 12 weeks. All study participants received a recommendation to perform 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week. In addition, some women received a step pedometer, a printed exercise guidebook designed to promote physical activity in breast cancer survivors, or both the pedometer and the guide.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 11, 2007, 4:05 PM CT

Hot Flashes With Breast Cancer Treatment

Hot Flashes With Breast Cancer Treatment
Women on tamoxifen treatment who reported having hot flashes were less likely to develop recurrent breast cancer than those who did not report hot flashes, as per a research studyfrom the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Moreover, hot flashes were a stronger predictor of outcome than age, hormone receptor status or even how advanced the breast cancer was at diagnosis.

The study results were published online June 1 by the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, and were presented June 4 at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

"Hot flashes are a very common and disruptive problem in breast cancer survivors," said the study's first author Joanne Mortimer, M.D., medical director of the Moores Cancer Center and professor of medicine with the UCSD School of Medicine. "About two-thirds of women with breast cancer say hot flashes compromise their quality of life. The most common request for additional therapy we get is for relief from these symptoms".

The study was based upon data from the comparison group of the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study - a multi-site randomized trial of the impact of a diet high in vegetables, fruits and fiber, and low in fat on the recurrence of breast cancer. The WHEL participating institutions are University of California, San Diego and Davis, Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente in Oakland and Portland, University of Arizona at Tucson, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.........

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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. Archives of breast-cancer-blog

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