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August 28, 2007, 9:26 PM CT

More prostate cancer screening has little effect

More prostate cancer screening has little effect
More prostate cancers were detected among men who were screened every two years than men screened every four years, as per a research studypublished online August 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute But the shorter time between screenings did not reduce the number of aggressive cancers found between the scheduled screening tests.

Since the introduction of PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing in the late 1980s, the occurence rate of prostate cancer has risen dramatically. The rise is mainly due to widespread screening of asymptomatic men. Screening for prostate cancer is a controversial issue because evidence is lacking that PSA screening prevents prostate cancer deaths. Looking at the rate of interval cancerscancers diagnosed based on symptoms during the years between screening testsmay give an indication of how well a screening program is working.

Monique Roobol, Ph.D., of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and his colleagues conducted a study to determine whether the time between PSA screenings influenced the occurence rate of prostate cancer. They analyzed data collected at two European medical centers that participated in the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer. At a center in Gothenburg, Sweden, 4,202 men were screened every two years, and in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 13,301 men were screened every four years. The scientists compared both the number and characteristics of the interval prostate cancers diagnosed in these men. Serious, potentially life threatening interval cancers were analyzed separately.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 28, 2007, 9:10 PM CT

A gene for metastasis

A gene for metastasis
Colorectal cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the Western world. The tumor starts off as a polyp but then turns into an invasive and violent cancer, which often spreads to the liver. In an article recently reported in the journal Cancer Research, Prof. Avri Ben-Zeev and Dr. Nancy Gavert of the Weizmann Institutes Molecular Cell Biology Department reveal mechanisms that help this cancer metastasize.

In a majority of cases, colorectal cancer is initiated by changes in a key protein beta-catenin. One of the roles of this protein is to enter the cell nucleus and activate gene expression. But in colorectal and other cancers, beta-catenin over-accumulates in the cell and inappropriately activates genes, leading to cancer.

Surprisingly, one of the genes activated by beta-catenin, which had been previously detected in colorectal cancer cells by Ben-Zeevs group, codes for a receptor called L1-CAM. This receptor is a protein commonly found on nerve cells, where it plays a role in nerve cell recognition and motility. What is this receptor doing in cancer cells" Ben-Zeevs prior research had shown that L1-CAM is only expressed on certain cells located at the invasive front of the tumor tissue, hinting that it could be an important player in metastasis.

In this study, the researchers observed that colorectal cancer cells engineered to express the L1-CAM gene indeed spread to the liver, while those cells lacking L1-CAM did not.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 21, 2007, 6:33 PM CT

Cranberries may improve chemotherapy for ovarian cancer

Cranberries may improve chemotherapy for ovarian cancer
Drinking cranberry juice may help improve the effectiveness of platinum drugs that are used in chemotherapy to fight ovarian cancer, researchers report.

Credit: Courtesy of The Cranberry Institute.
Compounds in cranberries may help improve the effectiveness of platinum drugs that are used in chemotherapy to fight ovary cancer, scientists have found in a laboratory study that will be reported today at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society. The researchers demonstrated in cell culture studies that human ovary cancer cells resistant to platinum drugs became up to 6 times more sensitized to the drugs after exposure to the cranberry compounds compared to cells that were not exposed to the compounds, which were obtained from juice extracts.

Eventhough preliminary, the findings have the potential to save lives and reduce the harmful side effects linked to using high doses of platinum drugs for the therapy of ovary cancer, the scientists say, adding that human studies are still needed. The new study adds to a growing number of potential health benefits associated with cranberries.

For the first time, we have shown in our in vitro studies that cranberry extracts can sensitize resistant human ovary cancer cell lines, say study co-presenters Ajay P. Singh, Ph.D., and Nicholi Vorsa, Ph.D., natural products chemists at Rutgers University. This has opened up exciting possibilities for therapeutic intervention linked to platinum treatment, add Singh and Vorsa, who collaborated with colleagues Laurent Brard, M.D., Ph.D, Rakesh K. Singh, and K.S.Satyan, Ph.D., of Brown University.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 21, 2007, 5:03 PM CT

Vitamin D In Fighting Cancer

Vitamin D In Fighting Cancer
A new study looking at the relationship between vitamin D serum levels and the risk of colon and breast cancer across the globe has estimated the number of cases of cancer that could be prevented each year if vitamin D3 levels met the target proposed by researchers.

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., cancer prevention specialist at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and his colleagues estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, especially in countries north of the equator. Vitamin D3 is available through diet, supplements and exposure of the skin to sunlight.

For the first time, we are saying that 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancer could be prevented each year worldwide, including nearly 150,000 in the United States alone, said co-author of study Garland. The paper, which looks at the dose-response relationship between vitamin D and cancer, would be reported in the August edition of the journal Nutrition Reviews.

The study combined data from surveys of serum vitamin D levels during winter from 15 countries. It is the first such study to look at satellite measurements of sunshine and cloud cover in countries where actual blood serum levels of vitamin D3 had also been determined. The data were then applied to 177 countries to estimate the average serum level of a vitamin D metabolite of people living there.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 15, 2007, 8:36 PM CT

Obesity, lack of exercise and pancreatic cancer

Obesity, lack of exercise and pancreatic cancer
Obesity and aversion to exercise have become hallmarks of modern society and a new study suggests that a blood protein associated with these lifestyle factors may be an indicator for an increased risk of developing pancreas cancer. Scientists from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute report their findings in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In a study of 144 patients with pancreas cancer and 429 people without the disease, a subset of patients with low blood levels of a protein called IGFBP-1 were at approximately twice the risk of developing pancreas cancer. Low blood levels of this protein have previously been associated with excess weight and lack of physical activity. Their data originated from tens of thousands of men and women enrolled in four large-scale cohort studies the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the Nurses Health Study, the Physicians Health Study and the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study all of which followed the health of participants over numerous years.

The prognosis for a number of patients with pancreas cancer remains poor, so it is vitally important that we indentify and better understand risk factors for the disease, especially risk factors that are modifiable said lead study author, Brian M. Wolpin, M.D., attending doctor at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In addition to cigarette smoking, exercise and weight control appear to be important modifiable risk factors for this difficult disease.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 15, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Protein May Indicate Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Protein May Indicate Pancreatic Cancer Risk
A protein that dwindles in response to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle may one day help doctors predict which people are at increased risk for pancreas cancer, new research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborating researchers indicates.

In a report in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research, the researchers observed that, in a large study group, people with the lowest blood levels of a protein called IGFBP-1 were twice as likely to develop pancreas cancer as those with higher levels. Though much work remains to determine if the protein -- whose acronym stands for insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 -- is a reliable indicator of pancreas cancer risk, the finding adds to the scientific understanding of how the disease develops.

"The levels of insulin and another circulating hormone, insulin-like growth factor or IGF, are modified by obesity and sedentary lifestyle, and there is evidence that these hormones may stimulate the growth of pancreas cancer cells," said the study's lead author, Brian Wolpin, MD, of Dana-Farber. "When IGF binds to proteins like IGFBP-1, there may be less IGF available to bind to pancreas cancer cells and promote their growth. We wanted to determine whether IGFBP-1 levels in the blood were linked to pancreas cancer risk".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 15, 2007, 6:08 AM CT

First biomarker for prostate cancer outcome

First biomarker for prostate cancer outcome
Mayo Clinic scientists have identified the first immune molecule that appears to play a role in prostate cancer development and in predicting cancer recurrence and progression after surgery. The report on the B7-H3 molecule by Mayo Clinic Cancer Center appears today in Cancer Research.

This discovery will allow physicians to individualize therapy and observation plans for patients with prostate cancer, says Timothy Roth, M.D., a Mayo Clinic urology resident and lead author of the study. Being able to tell a patient his specific risk after surgery, and perhaps even previous to surgery, will be a huge step forward.

Until now there were no strongly-predictive molecules for prostate cancer. The most notable other prostate biomarkers, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) are useful to diagnose prostate cancer. However, PSA tends to leave prostate cancer cells and migrate throughout the body, making it a poor target for treatment.



Todays Research


In this study, Mayo scientists demonstrate that nearly all normal, pre-cancerous and malignant prostate cells have B7-H3 on their surface. Unlike PSA, B7-H3 stays attached to the surface of prostate cancer cells and does not appear to migrate, thus making B7-H3 a especially attractive target for treatment. The scientists think that B7-H3 kills or paralyzes immune cells that are trying to attack the cancer. Their findings indicate that B7-H3 may prove useful as a diagnostic, prognostic and even therapeutic tool because it is stably or increasingly displayed by tumor cells as prostate cancers develop -- even after initiation of anti-hormone treatment, which is the most common therapy for advanced prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 10, 2007, 7:22 AM CT

stop cancer cells reading their own DNA

stop cancer cells reading their own DNA
A promising new line in anti-cancer treatment by blocking the molecular motors involved in copying genetic information during cell division is being pursued by young Dutch researcher Dr. Nynke Dekker in one of this years EURYI award winning projects sponsored by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the European Heads of Research Councils (EuroHORCS). Dekker and her team are trying to stop tumor development by interfering with the molecular motors that copy DNA during cell division. This will cut off the genetic information flow that tumours need to grow, and could complement existing cancer therapies, while in the longer term bringing the promise of improved outcomes with greatly reduced side effects.

There are three primary ways of treating cancer at present, and these have fundamentally changed little in 30 years. In the case of solid tumours, surgery can be used to cut out the malignant tissue, while radiation treatment can kill the cancerous cells, and chemotherapy stops them dividing. Dekkers work is aiming towards a new generation of drugs that target cancer cells much more specifically than traditional chemotherapy, avoiding side effects such as temporary hair loss.

Dekker is focusing on an enzyme called Topoisomerase IB that plays a key role in some of the molecular motors involved in the processes of DNA and RNA copying during cell division. These are responsible for reading the genetic code and making sure it is encoded correctly in the daughter cell. In healthy cells it is important that this process works normally, but in cancer cells it is a natural target for disruptive treatment. Specifically targeting these molecular motors in cancer cells would then prevent the cancer cells from growing into a larger tumor, said Dekker.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 10, 2007, 7:20 AM CT

A New Door To Understanding Cancer

A New Door To Understanding Cancer
An in-depth understanding of the mechanisms that trigger cancer cell growth is vital to the development of more targeted therapys for the disease. An article reported in the August 3 issue of Molecular Cell provides a key to these mechanisms that may prove crucial in the future. The paper is co-authored by Dr Morag Park, Director of the MUHC Molecular Oncology Group, and Dr Kalle Gehring, Head of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonnance Laboratory of the McGill University Biochemistry Department.

To understand cancer, it is necessary to first understand how the molecules interact, explains Dr. Park, who is also a Professor of oncology and biochemistry at McGill University. In that study we have clarified the structure of some of the proteins involved and their connections, which allows us to understand the consequences of these interactions. This is, in fact, a feat that merits close attention, because it means that scientists can now see elements smaller than a millionth of a millimetre!

In a cells interior, the function of the ubiquitin molecule is to clean house. It attaches itself to proteins that must disappear and triggers their degradation; in doing so, it allows many mechanisms to be minutely controlled. This new study reveals that ubiquitin also promotes interactions between proteins known as Cb-b. In a healthy patient, Cb-b is activated when a growth factor attaches itself to the surface of a cell, its role being to mitigate the cell proliferation and growth mechanisms induced by the factor. However, in some cancer patients this mitigation mechanism does not appear to function, partly because the ubiquitin does not attach itself correctly to the cell surface and to Cb-b. As a result, the effects of the growth factor become much more pronounced, which results in an unrestrained proliferation of cells that can become a cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 10, 2007, 7:13 AM CT

Why Persistent Acid Reflux Sometimes Turns Into Cancer?

Why Persistent Acid Reflux Sometimes Turns Into Cancer?
Image courtesy of Medical college of georgia
New research from researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center underscores the importance of preventing recurring acid reflux while also uncovering tantalizing clues on how typical acid reflux can turn potentially malignant.

In research published in July and August, researchers discovered that people with acid reflux disease, especially those with a complication of acid reflux called Barretts esophagus, have altered cells in their esophagus containing shortened telomeres, the ending sequences in DNA strands. Combined with related research would be published this month, the findings indicate that the shortened sequences might allow other cells more prone to cancer to take over.

The research supports why it is important to prevent reflux, because the more reflux you have and the longer you have it, the more it might predispose you to getting Barretts esophagus. So you want to suppress that reflux, said Dr. Rhonda Souza, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the paper which appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology

Heartburn occurs when acid splashes back up from the stomach into the esophagus, the long feeding tube that connects the stomach and throat, causing a burning sensation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Cancer
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

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