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October 28, 2007, 3:04 PM CT

A possible biomarker for colon cancer

A possible biomarker for colon cancer
An abnormality of chromosomes long linked to diseases of aging has, for the first time, been associated with colon cancer in people 50 years old and younger, an age group commonly considered young for this disease.

The finding may provide an early alert for younger colon cancer patients and could prompt new research into colon cancer prevention and therapy strategies, say Mayo Clinic researchers.

The study results will be presented at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, during the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in San Diego.

The Mayo Clinic team led by Lisa Boardman, M.D., a specialist in gastrointestinal malignancies, investigated the structures inside of cells known as telomeres, which are the caps on the ends of chromosomes that keep chromosomes from unraveling. Telomeres naturally shorten with aging and are linked to a number of diseases of aging, including cancer. Shortened telomeres have been found in colon cancer tumor cells, but this study links these telomeres to colon cancer.

Dr. Boardman and an interdisciplinary group of scientists examined the DNA in blood samples of 114 patients with colon cancer 50 years old and younger and 98 people with no history of cancer. They observed that the patients with colon cancer had abnormal telomeres that were uncommonly short, especially for a group of patients considered young for colon cancer: patients in the study were about 15 years younger than the average age of colon cancer patients. In addition, colon cancer in this younger group affected men more often than women.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 28, 2007, 2:15 PM CT

Smoking breast cancer link

Smoking  breast cancer link
Smoking cigarettes is linked to an increased risk of cancers of the lung, head and neck, esophagus, bladder and a number of others and also affects response to anti-cancer therapys. But smoking does not result in more advanced stage diagnoses or aggressive breast cancers at the time of diagnosis. That is the result of an analysis of 35 years of data for more than 6,000 patients presented today at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncologys 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

We hypothesized that tobacco use could result in more advanced stage or more aggressive breast cancer presentation, but that doesnt appear to be the case, said Matthew Abramowitz, M.D.,a resident in the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center. There is no good news about smoking, but since about 10 percent of our patients are smokers, this research provides us with some relief. The question that remains is will smoking affect their survival?

Abramowitz and colleagues examined the medical records of 6,162 patients with breast cancer at the time of initial diagnosis from 1970 to 2006 at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Patient characteristics were prospectively collected by doctor interview and questionnaire. Nine percent of the patients were current smokers when they were first seen for consultation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 28, 2007, 2:07 PM CT

Cancer Patients not getting live-saving flu and pneumonia shots

Cancer Patients not getting live-saving flu and pneumonia shots
Eventhough flu and pneumonia can be lethal for cancer patients, more than one quarter of patients undergoing radiation treatment are not complying with national guidelines to be vaccinated against these potentially life-threatening yet preventable illnesses, as per a research studypresented October 28, 2007, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncologys 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

While Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and the Joint Commission recommend an annual flu (influenza) vaccine for cancer patients aged 50 years or older, 25 percent of patients 50 years or older reported never having received the flu vaccine. Similarly, the pneumonia (pneumococcus) vaccine is recommended to all cancer patients 65 year or older; however, over one-third (36 percent) of cancer patients in this age range reported never having received the vaccine. Cancer patients are at a higher risk of acquiring and dying from these illnesses due to a weaker immune system, among other factors.

Three reasons accounted for almost 80 percent of why patients didnt receive either vaccine: Patients either believed they didnt need the vaccines, they didnt know about the recommended vaccination guidelines or their physicians didnt recommend the vaccines.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 28, 2007, 2:01 PM CT

Walking prevents bone loss caused from prostate cancer treatment

Walking prevents bone loss caused from prostate cancer treatment
Exercise may reduce, and even reverse, bone loss caused by hormone and radiation therapies used in the therapy of localized prostate cancer, thereby decreasing the potential risk of bone fractures and improving quality of life for these men, as per a research studypresented on October 28, 2007, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncologys 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Patients with prostate cancer are not routinely advised to exercise. Walking is one tool that patients with prostate cancer can use to improve their health and minimize the side effects of cancer and cancer therapys, said Paula Chiplis, PhD., RN, the lead author of the study and a clinical instructor and senior research assistant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Walking has no harmful side effects, if done moderately, but it can dramatically improve life for men suffering from side effects from some prostate cancer therapys.

Men with localized prostate cancer frequently receive radiation treatment followed by months of hormone treatment to treat their cancer. Radiation is used to kill the cancer cells, while hormone treatment decreases testosterone and estrogen that feed the cancer cells, thereby keeping the tumor from growing. Men undergoing hormone treatment lose between 4 to 13 percent of their bone density on an annual basis, in comparison to healthy men who lose between.5 to 1 percent per year, beginning in middle age. Men are typically not believed to be at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures; however, their rate of bone loss is greater than that of post-menopausal women.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 28, 2007, 1:57 PM CT

Image Guided radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Image Guided radiation therapy for prostate cancer
Image courtesy of elekta.com
Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute scientists have observed that highly targeted radiation treatment for prostate cancer can ensure that the majority of persons with this tumor will not have any long-term rectal damage.

A group of 231 study participants received a combination of intensity-modulated radiation and seed marker-based image-guided radiation therapies (IM-IGRT) for prostate cancer then were tracked for 1.4 years. Nearly 98 percent of these participants had no rectal damage, as per Todd Scarbrough, M.D., principal investigator, associate professor, radiation medicine, OHSU School of Medicine; and an OHSU Cancer Institute member. This combination allows for millimeter targeting accuracy of the tumor.

If these outcomes hold over time and the results can be reproduced by others, then this combination of radiation therapies for prostate cancer will yield some of the lowest toxicity rates of any definitive therapys for prostate cancer. This would be the therapy for prostate cancer. A patient could cruise through therapy with no side effects, explained Scarbrough who also serves as director of the MIMA Cancer Center, Melbourne, Fla.

A poster of this study will be presented Monday, Oct. 28, at the 2007 annual American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Los Angeles.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 22, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

Clinical trial evaluating brain cancer vaccine

Clinical trial evaluating brain cancer vaccine
A clinical trial evaluating a brain cancer vaccine in patients with newly diagnosed brain cancer has begun at NYU Medical Center. The study will evaluate the addition of the vaccine following standard treatment with surgery and chemotherapy in patients with glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly form of brain cancer.

The vaccine, called DCVax-Brain, incorporates proteins found in patients tumors and is designed to attack cancer cells containing these proteins. The study underway at NYU Medical Center is an expansion of an earlier phase I trial of the vaccine. The vaccine is made by the Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc., based in Bothell, Washington.

We are really excited about the promise of this vaccine, said Patrick J. Kelly, M.D., the chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Joseph Ransohoff Professor of Neurosurgery at NYU School of Medicine. Everything now depends on something in addition to surgery so that these tumors do not recur. A cancer vaccine like this may make a difference in extending life and maintaining a good quality of life.

This is a form of individualized treatment, adds NYU neuro-oncologist Michael Gruber, M.D. There is a lot of promise with this approach, he says. He and Dr. Kelly will be the lead researchers conducting the trial at NYU.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Sidestepping cancer's chaperone

Sidestepping cancer's chaperone
Malignant tumors are wildly unfavorable environments. Struggling for oxygen and nutrients while being bombarded by the bodys defense systems, tumor cells in fact require sophisticated adaptations to survive and grow. For decades, researchers have sought ways to circumvent these adaptations to destroy cancer. Now, scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), have defined a method to target and kill cancers chaperonea protein that promotes tumor cell stability and survivalwithout damaging healthy cells nearby.

In Regulation of Tumor Cell Mitochondrial Homeostasis by an Organelle-Specific Hsp90 Chaperone Network, reported in the October 19 issue of Cell, Dario C. Altieri, MD, the Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research and professor and chair of cancer biology, and his colleagues at UMMS, identify a new pathway by which cancer cells grow and surviveand provide a clear blueprint for the design and production of a novel class of anticancer agents aimed squarely at that pathway.

While prior research has demonstrated that a class of proteins known as molecular chaperones promote tumor cell survival, the specific way in which the proteins achieve this has not been well understood. And eventhough inhibitors of a specific chaperone known as heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) have been studied for the therapy of cancer, progress has been questionable. In this current research, Dr. Altieri and his colleagues sought to both define the mechanism by which Hsp90 leads to tumor cell stability and survival, and understand why general suppression of Hsp90 has not been as successful in clinical trials.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

The specific cell that causes eye cancer

The specific cell that causes eye cancer
Retinoblastoma
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have identified the cell that gives rise to the eye cancer retinoblastoma, disproving a long-standing principle of nerve growth and development. The finding suggests for the first time that it may one day be possible for researchers to induce fully developed neurons to multiply and coax the injured brain to repair itself.

A report of this work appears in the Oct. 19 issue of the journal Cell. Michael Dyer, Ph.D., an associate member in the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology, is the reports senior author.

Retinoblastoma arises in the retinathe multi-layered, membrane lining the back of the eye that responds to light by generating nerve impulses that are carried into the brain by the optic nerve.

The immediate importance of the St. Jude finding is that it unexpectedly showed that retinoblastoma can arise from fully matured nerves in the retina called horizontal interneurons. This disproves the scientific principle that fully formed, mature nerves cannot multiply like young, immature cells, Dyer said. Human neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers disease can occur when differentiated nerves in the brain try to multiply, and in the process, trigger a self-destruct program called apoptosis. Differentiation is the process by which cells lose their primitive, stem-cell-like properties that include the ability to grow and multiply, and instead develop specialized shapes and functions.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


October 19, 2007, 4:55 AM CT

Exposure to sunlight may decrease breast cancer risk

Exposure to sunlight may decrease breast cancer risk
A research team from the Northern California Cancer Center, the University of Southern California, and Wake Forest University School of Medicine has observed that increased exposure to sunlight which increases levels of vitamin D in the body.

-- may decrease the risk of advanced breast cancer.

In a study reported online this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the scientists observed that women with high sun exposure had half the risk of developing advanced breast cancer, which is cancer that has spread beyond the breast, in comparison to women with low sun exposure. These findings were observed only for women with naturally light skin color. The study defined high sun exposure as having dark skin on the forehead, an area that is commonly exposed to sunlight.

The researchers used a portable reflectometer to measure skin color on the underarm, an area that is commonly not directly exposed to sunlight. Based on these measurements, they classified the women as having light, medium or dark natural skin color. Scientists then compared sun exposure between women with breast cancer and those without breast cancer. Sun exposure was measured as the difference in skin color between the underarm and the forehead.

In women with naturally light skin pigmentation, the group without breast cancer had significantly more sun exposure than the group with breast cancer. The fact that this difference occurred only in one group suggests that the effect was due to differences in vitamin D production and wasnt just because the women were sick and unable to go outdoors. In addition, the effect held true regardless of whether the cancer was diagnosed in the summer or in the winter. The difference was seen only in women with advanced disease, suggesting that vitamin D may be important in slowing the growth of breast cancer cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 17, 2007, 8:21 PM CT

HPV test beats Pap in detecting cervical cancer

HPV test beats Pap in detecting cervical cancer
A new study led by McGill University scientists shows that the human papillomavirus (HPV) screening test is far more accurate than the traditional Pap test in detecting cervical cancer. The first round of the Canadian Cervical Cancer Screening Trial (CCCaST), led by Dr. Eduardo Franco, Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at McGill's Faculty of Medicine, concluded that the HPV test's ability to accurately detect pre-malignant lesions without generating false negatives was 94.6%, as opposed to 55.4% for the Pap test.

The results of the study, first-authored by Dr. Francos former McGill PhD student Dr. Marie-Hlne Mayrand of the Centre hospitalier de l'Universit de Montral (CHUM), with colleagues from McGill, Universit de Montral, the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Laboratory and McMaster University, are reported in the October 18 issue of The New England Journal (NEJM).

CCCaST is the first randomized controlled trial in North America of HPV testing as a stand-alone screening test for cervical cancer. The first round followed 10,154 women aged 30 to 69 in Montreal, Quebec and St. John's, Newfoundland who were enrolled in the study from 2002 to 2005. The study was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The study concluded that while the HPV test's sensitivity was nearly 40% greater than the Pap tests, the Pap did, however, slightly edge out HPV for accuracy on the specificity scale -- its ability to accurately detect pre-malignant lesions without generating false positives -- at 96.8% versus 94.1%.........

Posted by: Emily      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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