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May 20, 2008, 9:53 PM CT

Determining genetic signature of lung tumors

Determining genetic signature of lung tumors
The first U.S. clinical trial using genetic screening to identify lung tumors likely to respond to targeted therapies supports the use of those drugs as first-line therapy rather than after standard chemotherapy has failed. While the study led by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center researchers observed that upfront gefitinib (Iressa) therapy considerably improved the outcomes for non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC), additional research is mandatory before such a strategy can be used for routine therapy planning. The report appears in the May 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

This is a pivotal clinical trial that demonstrates the power of personalized medicine in lung cancer therapy, says Lecia Sequist, MD, MPH, of the MGH Cancer Center, who led the study. It is an exciting glimpse into what we hope is the future of cancer care. Instead of a one size fits all treatment, we are moving towards finding the best therapy for each patient.

The most common form of lung cancer, NSCLC is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Until recently, there were no therapy options for NSCLC patients in whom chemotherapy failed. Iressa, which disables the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the surface of lung cancer cells, was approved in 2003 for therapy of NSCLC even though it shrank tumors in less than 15 percent of patients because, in those whom it did help, responses were rapid and dramatic.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 18, 2008, 9:48 PM CT

Which patients should get treatment for colorectal cancer

Which patients should get treatment for colorectal cancer
A new study being presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago (Abstract #4020), may change therapy practice in about 25 percent of colon cancer patients and is the basis for proposed changes to the way colorectal cancers will be staged.

This new study, using National Cancer Institute (NCI) SEER population-based statistic registries from 1992 to 2004, and phase III clinical trial data, shows that outcomes of patients with positive nodes (Stage III) in colorectal cancer interact, to a greater extent than previously thought, with how deeply the cancer penetrates the bowel wall.

Survival outcomes depend on the thickness of the primary cancer within or beyond the bowel wall in addition to whether nodes are positive or negative. A patient with a node positive thin lesion (i.e., confined to the bowel wall) has a stage III cancer with better survival outcomes than a patient with a Stage II node negative thick cancer that penetrates beyond the bowel wall. The current standard of practice for patients with colon cancer is that all or most Stage III patients receive chemotherapy after surgical removal of their cancer, but Stage II patients do not routinely receive chemotherapy. In a separate National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) analysis, patients with Stage III colon cancers confined to the bowel wall who did not receive chemotherapy still had better survival than Stage II patients.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


May 18, 2008, 9:00 PM CT

Finasteride in preventing prostate cancer

Finasteride in preventing prostate cancer
A comprehensive re-evaluation of the largest prostate cancer prevention study ever completed produced new findings suggesting that men and their doctors should consider a more aggressive approach that includes finasteride to prevent the development of prostate cancer.

A pathologic analysis of that same study sheds light on the significance of the cancers found in that study. Additionally, this study highlights the role of prostate specific antigen (PSA) scores in therapy decision-making. Scientists observed that even those men who have a low PSA screening value can have cancer that is difficult to cure.

The two studies will be published online in advanced of the June 2008 issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The original study, the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), had randomized 18,822 men to receive either a placebo or an agent known as finasteride, currently approved to control prostate growth, for seven years. Results showed that while finasteride reduced prostate cancer risk by 25 percent, it appeared to increase development of more aggressive prostate cancer in some men. Because of this finding and concerns that tumors detected had low PSA values and might be of little risk to patients, since the studys original publication in 2003, few doctors have recommended finasteride for prostate cancer prevention.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 15, 2008, 7:23 PM CT

Link between vitamin D status, breast cancer

Link between vitamin D status, breast cancer
Food containing vitamin-D
Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and breast cancer.

UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D also is available through diet and supplements.

Approximately 1,150,000 cases and 410,000 deaths from breast cancer occur annually worldwide, including 215,000 new cases and 41,000 deaths in the United States.

The study is reported in the May-June 2008 issue of The Breast Journal.

This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that higher serum levels of vitamin D are linked to reduced incidence rates of breast cancer worldwide, said Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine, and member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

This paper used worldwide data only recently available through a new tool called GLOBOCAN, developed by the World Health Organizations International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN is a database of cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence for 175 countries.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 13, 2008, 7:46 PM CT

Adding ultrasound screening to mammography

Adding ultrasound screening to mammography
Adding a screening ultrasound examination to routine mammography reveals more breast cancers than mammography alone, as per results of a major new clinical trial. The trial, however, also observed that adding an ultrasound exam also increases the rate of false positive findings and unnecessary biopsies.

Results of the clinical trial, conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) and analyzed by Brown University statisticians, appear in the May 14, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trial uncovered a significant trade-off with ultrasound screening, said Jeffrey Blume, an associate professor in the Department of Community Health and the deputy director of the ACRIN Biostatistics and Data Management Center at Brown. While supplemental ultrasound screening uncovers more breast cancers, it also substantially increases the risk of a false positive cancer finding and unnecessary biopsy.

The medical community may well decide that the screening benefit is offset by the increase in risk to women from a false positive finding, Blume said. However this study also shows that supplemental ultrasound may be beneficial in women at high risk of breast cancer who could not, or would not, otherwise undergo a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Women should consult their doctor for more information.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 12, 2008, 9:43 PM CT

Physical activity prevent breast cancer

Physical activity prevent breast cancer
Physically active women are 25 per cent less likely to get breast cancer, but certain groups are more likely to see these benefits than others, finds a review of research published online ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The type of activity undertaken, at what time in life and the womans body mass index (BMI) will determine how protective the activity is against the disease.

Lean women who play sport or undertake other physically active things in their spare time, particularly if they have been through the menopause, have the lowest risk of breast cancer.

The scientists evaluated the literature and analysed 62 studies looking at the impact of physical activity on breast cancer risk. They then examined the findings to find out how breast cancer risk appeared to be affected by type of activity, intensity of activity, when in life the activity waccording toformed and other factors.

They found the most physically active women were least likely to get breast cancer. All types of activity reduced breast cancer risk but recreational activity reduced the risk more than physical activity undertaken as part of a job or looking after the house. Moderate and vigorous activity had equal benefits.

Women who had undertaken a lot of physical activity throughout their life had the lowest risk of breast cancer, and activity performed after the menopause had a greater effect than that performed earlier in life.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 8, 2008, 8:47 PM CT

New Cancer Gene Discovered

New Cancer Gene Discovered
Scientists at the OU Cancer Institute have identified a new gene that causes cancer. The ground-breaking research appears Monday in Nature's cancer journal Oncogene.

The gene and its protein, both called RBM3, are vital for cell division in normal cells. In cancers, low oxygen levels in the tumors cause the amount of this protein to go up dramatically. This causes cancer cells to divide uncontrollably, leading to increased tumor formation.

Scientists used new powerful technology to genetically "silence" the protein and reduce the level of RBM3 in malignant cells. The approach stopped cancer from growing and led to cell death. The new technique has been tested successfully on several types of cancers - breast, pancreas, colon, lung, ovarian and prostate.

"We are excited about this discovery because most cancers are thought to come from mutations in genes, and our studies, for the first time, have shown that too much of this type of protein actually causes normal cells to turn into cancer cells," said Shrikant Anant, Ph.D., a cancer biologist at the OU Cancer Institute and principal investigator on the project.

Anant said they found RBM3 protein in every stage of a number of cancers, and the amount of protein increased as the cancer grew. The protein helped the cancer grow faster, avoid cell death and was part of the process that formed new blood vessels to feed the tumor.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 8, 2008, 8:43 PM CT

Benign Lesions Needs 6-month Mammogram Follow Up

Benign Lesions Needs 6-month Mammogram Follow Up
Radiologists can, with confidence, recommend a six-month follow-up diagnostic mammogram rather than an immediate biopsy for patients with probably non-malignant breast lesions, a new study emphasizes.

The study observed that six-month short-interval follow-up examinations had an 83% sensitivity, which is similar to the sensitivity of other diagnostic mammograms, said Erin J. Aiello Bowles, MPH, lead author of the study from the Group Health Center for Health Studies. High sensitivity means identifying a high proportion of true positives (actual cancer cases) and a low proportion of false negatives (cases mistakenly deemed benign).

The study included 45,007 initial short-interval follow-up mammograms. Short-interval follow-up mammograms are done to monitor for changes in probably non-malignant breast lesions (findings seen on mammograms that have a very low probability of being cancer). Because the probability of cancer is so low, we dont want to put the patient through an unnecessary biopsy, which is an invasive procedure that increases both patient anxiety and medical costs, said Aiello Bowles. At the same time, we want to closely monitor these patients, because changes in probably non-malignant lesions occasionally mean cancer, and we want to detect the cancers as early as possible, she said. In the study, 360 women with probably non-malignant lesions were diagnosed with breast cancer within six months; and 506 women were diagnosed with cancer within 12 months (altogether about one in 100 of the probably non-malignant lesions), Aiello Bowles said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 7, 2008, 6:40 PM CT

Speedier Precise Cancer Therapy

Speedier Precise Cancer Therapy
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) this month became the first U.S. medical center to offer a speedier cancer radiation treatment. The new technique can turn a 20-minute radiotherapy session into a 90-second session for selected patients.

Additionally, the new treatment saves healthy human tissue from unwanted radiation exposure at rates that are the same or better than other radiotherapy techniques, as per doctors at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The new treatment is called RapidArc, which is the next-generation of intensity-modulated radiation treatment (IMRT). Conventional IMRT was introduced in the 1990s as a way to deliver multiple beams of radiation to a tumor, and minimize damage to nearby healthy tissues. RapidArc is an advancement on the earlier technology with radiation delivery times up to eight times faster than conventional IMRT, said the system's manufacturer Varian Medical Systems, Inc.

"RapidArc is an important advance for us and our patients," said John Fiveash, M.D., an associate professor of radiation oncology at UAB and Cancer Center scientist. "Knowing that we can reduce delivery times to less than two minutes per day is important considering what cancer care involves emotionally and physically".

ALABAMIAN FIRST IN NATION TO BENEFIT........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 6, 2008, 9:41 PM CT

Ways to make tumor cells easier to destroy

Ways to make tumor cells easier to destroy
Tumors have a unique vulnerability that can be exploited to make them more sensitive to heat and radiation, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report.

The Washington University radiation oncology scientists observed that tumors have a built-in mechanism that protects them from heat (hyperthermia) damage and most likely decreases the benefit of hyperthermia and radiation as a combined treatment.

By interfering with that protection, the scientists have shown that tumor cells grown in culture can be made more sensitive to hyperthermia-enhanced radiation treatment. The findings are published in the May 1, 2008 issue of Cancer Research.

Radiation treatment is a mainstay of cancer therapy but doesn't always completely control tumors. For several years, raising tumor temperature has been investigated as a radiation treatment enhancer with few adverse side effects.

"Past research has shown that hyperthermia is one of the most potent ways to increase cell-killing by radiation," says senior author Tej K. Pandita, Ph.D., associate professor of radiation oncology and of genetics and a researcher with the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

"But now we've observed that heat also enhances the activity of an enzyme called telomerase in cancer cells," he says. "Telomerase helps protect the cells from stress-induced damage and allows some of them to survive. We used compounds that inhibit telomerase and showed that cancer cells then become easier to destroy with hyperthermia and radiation used in combination."........

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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