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June 10, 2008, 10:13 PM CT

Raloxifene reduces risk of invasive estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer

Raloxifene reduces risk of invasive estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer
Women who took raloxifene were less likely to develop invasive estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer compared with women who did not, as per data from a randomized controlled trial published online June 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute The drug did not reduce the risk of non-invasive cancer or invasive ER-negative cancers.

A prior analysis of data from the Raloxifene Use for the Heart (RUTH) trial, which enrolled women with coronary heart disease or those at an increased risk for the disease, showed that the drug did not protect against heart disease, which was one of the primary aims of the trial. But after a median follow up of 5.6 years, it did reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer by 44 percent, compared with women not taking the drug. Raloxifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), which might suggest that the drug would have a preferential effect on hormone-responsive breast cancers. The drug is approved by the FDA for the prevention and therapy of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and for invasive breast cancer risk reduction in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or at high risk for breast cancer.

To investigate the specific types and stages of breast cancer affected by raloxifene, as well as the timing of its action and the types of patients it can help, Deborah Grady, M.D., of the University of California at San Francisco and his colleagues examined the RUTH trial data in more detail.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 10, 2008, 9:51 PM CT

Cost of cancer care on rise

Cost of cancer care on rise
The cost of cancer care incurred during the period two months previous to cancer diagnosis and 12 months following diagnosis increased substantially between 1991 and 2002 for elderly patients in the United States, as per a research studypublished online June 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute The increases in costs for breast, lung, and colorectal cancer were due in large part to increases in the percentage of patients receiving radiation treatment and chemotherapy and the rising costs for those therapies.

There have been general reports of increases in the cost of cancer care, but little research has examined the magnitude of those changes or the type of therapys that are driving them.

To find out, Joan L. Warren, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database. They identified 306,709 individuals aged 65 or older who were diagnosed with breast, lung, colorectal, or prostate cancer between 1991 and 2002. The scientists compared the cost of initial cancer therapy, separating cancer-related surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and other hospitalization.

During the study period, the average cost per lung cancer patient rose by $7,139 to $39,891, after adjusting for inflation. Similarly, the cost per colorectal cancer patient climbed by $5,345 to an average of $41,134, and per-patient breast cancer care rose by $4,189 to an average of $20,964. The cost of per-patient prostate cancer care declined by $196 during the same period to an average of $18,261 in 2002. The decline in the cost of prostate cancer care was due to a reduction in the number of men undergoing surgery as therapy for their prostate cancer. The total cost of initial care for patients with these four cancers was $6.7 billion in 2002.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 9, 2008, 9:25 PM CT

Women worrying about cancer

Women worrying about cancer
A significant number of women worrying about cancer may be experiencing sleep disturbances, even without a breast cancer diagnosis, as per a research abstract that will be presented by Amita Dharawat, MD, on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

This collaborative study, from the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, focused on 1,038 community-based residents, between 50 and 70 years of age; none of whom had a history of a physician-diagnosed cancer. Sleep complaint was defined as a report of either difficulty initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, or early morning awakening.

As per the results, 65 percent of the women reported that they worried about developing breast cancer, and 49 percent reported a sleep complaint. Twenty-seven percent indicated that cancer worry affected their mood, while 25 percent indicated that it affected their daily activity. The odds of reporting sleep complaints for women who worry about cancer were nearly 50 percent greater than odds for women who reported no cancer worry, independent of several confounders.

This is a unique and important finding because sleep-related complaints have never been studied in women who worry about cancer, without a diagnosis, and it provides practitioners with knowledge with regards to identifying and targeting women who report sleep-related complaints with cognitive behavioral treatment, said Dr. Dharawat, who is a second year medical resident, working with Dr. Girardin Jean-Louis on an NIH funded Womens Health Project.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 1, 2008, 10:46 PM CT

Acupuncture reduces pain and dysfunction in head and neck cancer

Acupuncture reduces pain and dysfunction in head and neck cancer
New data from a randomized, controlled trial observed that acupuncture provided significant reductions in pain, dysfunction, and dry mouth in head and neck cancer patients after neck dissection. The study was led by David Pfister, MD, Chief of the Head and Neck Medical Oncology Service, and Barrie Cassileth, PhD, Chief of the Integrative Medicine Service, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Dr. Pfister presented the findings today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

Neck dissection is a common procedure for therapy of head and neck cancer. There are different types of neck dissection, which vary based on which structures are removed and the anticipated side effects. One type the radical neck dissection involves complete removal of lymph nodes from one side of the neck, the muscle that helps turn the head, a major vein, and a nerve that is critical to full range of motion for the arm and shoulder.

"Chronic pain and shoulder mobility problems are common after such surgery, adversely affecting quality of life as well as employability for certain occupations," said Dr. Pfister. Nerve-sparing and other modified radical techniques that preserve certain structures without compromising disease control reduce the occurence rate of these problems but do not eliminate them entirely. Dr. Pfister adds, "Unfortunately, available conventional methods of therapy for pain and dysfunction following neck surgery often have limited benefits, leaving much room for improvement."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 1, 2008, 10:39 PM CT

New combination therapy safe, promising for melanoma

New combination therapy safe, promising for melanoma
The combination of two different biotherapies may be beneficial for patients with inoperable melanoma, as per a University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) study presented at the 44th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

Scientists in the melanoma and skin cancer program at UPCI combined two biotherapies therapys that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer and found the results promising in terms of anti-tumor effects and tolerable in terms of toxicity. High-dose interferon alfa-2b, a standard therapy for metastatic skin cancer, and tremelimumab, an antibody thought to instigate the bodys immune system to attack tumors, were combined for the first time in this phase 2 clinical trial.

With each new study, we learn something important about melanoma, said John M. Kirkwood, M.D., leader of the program and professor and vice chairman for clinical research in the Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. With this study, we learned that adding tremelimumab to traditional therapy is not only safe, but an effective way to induce an anti-tumor response, which is very exciting.

For this study, 16 patients diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, all of whom received and had not benefited from at least one round of prior treatment, were given the combination therapy. The overall response rate was 19 percent, and the study has since moved into the second stage, where it will enroll 21 additional patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 27, 2008, 9:08 PM CT

Estrogen Helps Drive Prostate Cancer

Estrogen Helps Drive Prostate Cancer
Using a breakthrough technology, scientists led by a Weill Cornell Medical College scientist have pinpointed the hormone estrogen as a key player in about half of all prostate cancers.

Estrogen-linked signaling helps drive a discrete and aggressive form of the disease caused by a chromosomal translocation, which in turn results in the fusion of two genes.

"Fifty percent of prostate cancers harbor a common recurrent gene fusion, and we think that this confers a more aggressive nature to these tumors," explains study senior author Dr. Mark A. Rubin, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and vice chair for experimental pathology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Rubin is also attending pathologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"Interfering with this gene fusion - or its downstream molecular pathways - will be crucial in the search for drugs that fight the disease. Based on our new data, we now think that inhibiting estrogen may be one way of doing so," he says.

The findings are published in the May 27 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Rubin conducted the study while at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and in collaboration with Dr. Todd Golub and other members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in Cambridge, Mass. His team is now continuing this line of research at Weill Cornell.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

May 27, 2008, 9:04 PM CT

New Cancer Stem Cell Driving Metastatic Tumors

New Cancer Stem Cell Driving Metastatic Tumors
The molecular profile of cancer stem cells that initiate metastatic colon tumors is significantly different from those responsible for primary tumors, as per new research from a team at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Cancer scientists have long believed that a protein called CD133 identifies a population of cancer stem cells (so-called CD133+ cells), the only subset of cells that are responsible for tumor initiation. But in the experiment, in which immunocompromised mice were injected with human metastatic colon cancer, the Weill Cornell team discovered that cancer cells that do not express CD133 can also spur metastatic disease.

"In fact, metastatic tumors originating with these CD133- cells are more aggressive than those spurred by CD133+ cells," says study senior author Dr. Shahin Rafii, the Arthur B. Belfer Professor in Genetic Medicine and director of the Ansary Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics at Weill Cornell. Dr. Rafii is also a noted investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Our discovery shows that metastatic and primary cancer may not initiate in the same way. This could have significant implications for research going forward - we believe the discovery opens up new avenues of investigation in cancer stem cell biology".

The findings were released as a special "highlighted" article in the May 22 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 26, 2008, 7:54 PM CT

Common gene disorder doubles risk of lung cancer

Common gene disorder doubles risk of lung cancer
Mayo Clinic scientists have observed that carrying a common genetic disorder doubles the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers and nonsmokers.

The study is reported in the May 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal published by the American Medical Association.

Scientists observed that the genetic disorder, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (1ATD), could explain up to about 12 percent of patients with lung cancer in this study and likely represents the same widespread risk in the general population. "This is a seriously underdiagnosed disorder and suggests that people who have lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) in their families should be screened for these gene carriers," says Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and lead investigator on the study.

The current standard diagnostic test measures protein produced by the gene. Because of the cost and limited availability of the test, it's not suitable for general screenings. A less expensive DNA-based gene panel test is being developed.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 10 million Americans and 120 million people worldwide are 1ATD carriers. As per Dr. Yang, this study shows that the disorder "is among the highest for major gene effects on the risk of a common cancer."........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

May 21, 2008, 9:53 PM CT

Virtual biopsy for colon polyp

Virtual biopsy for colon polyp
Colon polyp
A probe so sensitive that it can tell whether or not a cell living within the human body is veering towards cancer development may revolutionize how future colonoscopies are done, say scientists from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

Investigators have observed that technology known as a high resolution confocal endomicroscopy probe system can determine whether a colon polyp is non-malignant (not premalignant) - without having to remove it for examination by a pathologist.

Their study, to be presented at the Digestive Disease Week, a scientific meeting of gastrointestinal specialists and scientists held in San Diego, shows that using the probe system was 89 percent accurate in identifying whether polyps were either premalignant or benign. But more importantly, it was correct 98 percent of the time in flagging polyps that were benign, which would then not need to be removed for biopsy. The Mayo researchers, who are the first in the U.S. to comprehensively test the system in the colon, believe they can push accuracy close to 100 percent with more research.

What this means is that the probe system can be used to during a colonoscopy to rule out removal of polyps that are not harmful, says the study's senior author, Michael Wallace, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source

May 21, 2008, 8:50 PM CT

Deceptive high-risk breast tumors

Deceptive high-risk breast tumors
A unique genetic signature can alert physicians to high-risk breast tumors that are masquerading as low-risk tumors, as per research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and collaborating institutions. Eventhough these tumors are apparently estrogen-receptor positive meaning they should depend on estrogen to grow they don't respond well to anti-estrogen treatment.

Until now, doctors had no way to know these tumors would be unresponsive because their pathology is deceptive the tumors appear to be more easily treatable estrogen-receptor-positive tumors, but they rapidly lose their estrogen receptors. The scientists demonstrated that the chance for cancer recurrence in such patients is significantly higher, and standard post-operative care with long-term anti-estrogen treatment is often not effective. The genetic signature defined by the scientists will permit doctors to identify their high-risk patients and direct them to more effective treatment.

"These tumors are like wolves in sheep's clothing," says Matthew Ellis, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology and a faculty member at the Siteman Cancer Center. "When these patients come in, their tumors test positive for estrogen receptors, so they are started on anti-estrogen therapy with the thought that they will do fine. But these tumors don't depend on estrogen at all for growth and will keep growing during the treatment. Now we have a robust way to identify such tumors soon after diagnosis".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

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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. Archives of cancer-blog

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