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August 20, 2006, 9:59 PM CT

Cancer survivors may have suicidal thoughts

Cancer survivors may have suicidal thoughts
A survey of adult survivors of childhood cancers observed that more than one out of eight reported having suicidal thoughts or prior attempts to take their lives a number of years after they were treated, say researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The suicidal symptoms were reported by more than 12 percent -- a greater proportion than had been expected -- of patients seen at a clinic providing care for adult cancer survivors, the scientists write in the August 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings should prompt providers at survivor clinics to consider the interaction of physical and emotional factors in their follow-up evaluations of patients, they said.

"Most people are doing fine, but there is a serious concern about the minority of survivors who have thoughts of ending their lives," said Christopher Recklitis, PhD, MPH, a psychology expert and director of research in the Perini Family Survivors' Center at Dana-Farber. He is lead author of the paper.

The senior author is Lisa Diller, MD, chief medical officer of Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Care and clinical director of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston.

Prior studies have noted a temporary rise in suicidal thoughts among patients in the months after a cancer diagnosis. The new study is the first to substantiate a significant level of suicidality a number of years or even decades after therapy for childhood cancers, and to suggest a link with physical functioning in the survivorship period.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 18, 2006, 6:52 AM CT

How Acid Reflux Leads To Esophageal Cancer

How Acid Reflux Leads To Esophageal Cancer
A particular enzyme is significantly higher in cancer cells that have been exposed to acid, leading to the overproduction of hydrogen peroxide, and offering a possible explanation for how acid reflux may lead to cancer of the esophagus, as per a recent study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The study observed that the enzyme NOX5-S is affected by exposure to acid and that it produces stress on cells, activating genes that lead to DNA damage. For the first time, scientists have outlined the signaling pathway from cells damaged by acid, to the progression of esophageal cancer. They believe the same process may happen in the body when cells are exposed to acid reflux.

"The role of acid is controversial. But we show that by exposing cells to acid for short periods of time, that affects a particular enzyme, triggering a chain of events that possibly leads to cancer of the esophagus. Now that we have a better understanding of the signaling pathway, we can possibly identify who is at risk of developing cancer by determining the levels of this enzyme," says senior author Weibiao Cao, a researcher at Rhode Island Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine and surgery at Brown Medical School.

The study looked at human cancer cells and biopsies from patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE), a condition where cells in the esophagus have been altered by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux. Acid reflux is thought to bea major risk factor for cancer in people with Barrett's esophagus.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


August 18, 2006, 6:37 AM CT

Core Needle Biopsy Gives An Accurate Picture

Core Needle Biopsy Gives An Accurate Picture
The gene expression profile detected in the core needle biopsy of a breast tumour is representative of gene expression in the whole tumour. A study published recently in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research confirms the reliability of core needle biopsy as a tool in breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis. The study also shows that the gene expression profile of a core needle biopsy might be more accurate than the profile of a surgical sample taken from the same tumour, after the biopsy was carried out. As per the study results, the biopsy procedure seems to trigger the expression of genes involved in wound healing as well as tumour invasion and metastasis, thus modifying the gene expression profile of subsequent surgical samples.

Rosanna Zanetti-Dällenbach from the Women's University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland and his colleagues from Stiftung Tumorbank, OncoScore AG and University Hospital in Basel, analysed the gene expression profile of core needle biopsies taken from 22 women diagnosed with breast cancer. For each woman, they compared the biopsy expression profile with the expression profile of a surgical sample taken from the tumour subsequently to the core needle biopsy. Zanetti-Dällenbach et al. quantified the expression of 60 genes known to be involved in breast tumour development using a technique called reverse polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Zanetti-Dällenbach et al. also analysed the gene expression profiles of surgical samples taken from the breast tumours of 317 patients who did not undergo a core needle biopsy.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 13, 2006, 9:39 AM CT

Adult Cells To Embryonic Stem Cells

Adult Cells To Embryonic Stem Cells
With the introduction of just four factors, scientists have successfully induced differentiated cells taken from mouse embryos or adult mice to behave like embryonic stem cells. The scientists reported their findings in an immediate early publication of the journal Cell.

The cells--which the scientists designate "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPS)--exhibit the physical, growth, and genetic characteristics typical of embryonic stem cells, they reported. "Pluripotent" refers to the ability to differentiate into most other cell types.

"Human embryonic stem cells might be used to treat a host of diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and diabetes," said Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan. "However, there are ethical difficulties regarding the use of human embryos, as well as the problem of tissue rejection following transplantation into patients".

Those problems could be circumvented if pluripotent cells could be obtained directly from the patients' own cells.

"We have demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells can be directly generated from fibroblast cultures by the addition of only a few defined factors," Yamanaka said. Fibroblasts make up structural fibers found in connective tissue.

Embryonic stem cells are derived from inner cells of the mammalian blastocyst, a ball of cells that develops after fertilization and goes on to form a developing embryo. Cells from other parts of the body can also be "reprogrammed" by transferring their nuclear contents into egg cell precursors called oocytes or by fusion with embryonic stem cells, earlier studies showed.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


August 13, 2006, 9:31 AM CT

RNA-Based Drug Kills Prostate Cancer Cells

RNA-Based Drug Kills Prostate Cancer Cells
Acting as a genetic Trojan horse, an experimental RNA-based drug -- the first of its kind -- tricks its way into prostate cancer cells and then springs into action to destroy them, while leaving normal cells unharmed.

The drug, developed at Duke University Medical Center, uses one type of genetic material, called targeting RNA, to enter cancer cells, and another type, called silencing RNA, to stop the expression of a protein that keeps the cells alive.

In tests in mice with prostate cancer, the drug shrank the size of their tumors by half, while the tumors in control mice that did not receive the drug continued to grow, said study co-author Bruce Sullenger, Ph.D., director of Duke's Translational Research Institute and chief of the Division of Experimental Surgery.

The mice showed no side effects from the treatment, Sullenger said.

"This study represents the first step in creating an RNA-based drug for cancer," said lead author James McNamara, Ph.D. a postdoctoral fellow in experimental surgery. "It provides a 'proof of principle' that an entirely RNA-based drug can work with minimal side effects, and it shows it is possible to overcome many of the obstacles that have hampered the development of RNA-based drugs".

The study is reported in the August 2006 issue of Nature Biotechnology, which is now available online. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


August 13, 2006, 8:52 AM CT

Nurses Have A Larger Role In Smoking Cessation

Nurses Have A Larger Role In Smoking Cessation
Some good advice from nurses to patients who smoke significantly increases the likelihood of those smokers quitting, as per several articles in a special issue of the July-August 2006 Nursing Research journal.

"These reports are evidence that nurses are widely recognized as central to global efforts to reduce the detrimental health effects of tobacco use," said Dr. Molly C. Dougherty, Nursing Research editor and professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Nursing Research articles contain tobacco cessation information including original research evaluating methods for treating tobacco dependence. For example, one study observed that smokers who received tobacco cessation information from their nurses were nearly 50 percent more likely to quit than smokers with no nursing intervention. The report also notes that nurses often care for underserved people, who are disproportionately affected by tobacco use.

Summaries in the journal highlight innovative methods for treating tobacco dependence and practical approaches for clinical use, including recommendations from 42 researchers, clinicians, educators and representatives from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Cancer Institute.

"This information represents a call to action for nurses, health care providers and policy-makers. Health care professionals, and especially nurses, have tremendous access to patients and families affected by tobacco use. Nurses are in the unique position to act as agents of change when it comes to preventing and treating tobacco dependence," Dougherty said.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:34 AM CT

Success Of MRI-guided Breast Biopsy

Success Of MRI-guided Breast Biopsy
Radiologists can help confirm that an MRI-guided breast biopsy has successfully removed the lesion by taking an x-ray of the lesion and slices of the lesion, a new study shows.

"Contrast-enhanced MRI of the breast is becoming increasingly useful in patients with lesions that cannot be detected with other techniques," said Basak Erguvan-Dogan, MD, radiologist in Breast Imaging at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "However, it is hard to confirm removal of the targeted lesion because the abnormality does not enhance after being removed from the breast," she said.

Currently, patients who have MRI-guided needle localization and excision of abnormalities may be asked to have follow-up breast MRI; if the lesion has not been successfully removed, another biopsy procedure will need to be done. "By taking x-rays of the lesion specimen, then slicing it up and taking additional x-rays, we can determine if the lesion has been removed or if additional tissue needs to be excised while the patient is still in the operating room," Dr. Erguvan-Dogan said.

Whole specimen and sliced specimen radiography waccording toformed in 10 patients, and X-raying the lesion as a whole and in slices proved to be valuable, said Dr. Erguvan-Dogan. "In all five cancerous cases, sliced specimen radiographs showed the lesion in question, helped the pathologist correctly identify the lesion while the patient was still in the operating room and helped the surgeon obtain negative surgical margins," said Dr. Erguvan-Dogan. In addition, "whole specimen radiography is able to correctly locate fractured biopsy needle localization wires, which may be removed before the patient left the operating room," she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:27 AM CT

Herceptin Effective Even With Low HER-2 Levels

Herceptin Effective Even With  Low HER-2 Levels
Northwestern University and Evanston Northwestern Healthcare researchers have discovered that the monoclonal antibody Herceptin (trastuzumab) used in combination with certain cancer chemotherapies effectively treats breast cancer tumors that produce low or undetectable amounts of the HER-2 oncogene but overexpress the growth factor heregulin (HRG), an activator of the HER-2 cancer oncoprotein. Increased levels of HER-2 are associated with poor patient prognosis, enhanced metastasis (cancer spread) and resistance to chemotherapy.

Until now it was believed that trastuzumab combined with cytotoxic drug therapy was effective only in HER-2--positive, or HER-2--overexpressing, breast cancer - which represents about 25 percent of all breast cancers, said Dr. Ruth Lupu, director of translational breast cancer research at the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, who led the study, published in the August 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Lupu is also professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a researcher at The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The study was conducted as part of the Cancer Center's breast cancer SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grant.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:16 AM CT

Breast Cancer Survivors Change Lifestyle

Breast Cancer Survivors Change Lifestyle
Breast cancer survivors' beliefs about what may have caused their cancer are connected to whether they make healthy lifestyle changes after a cancer diagnosis. This is the finding of a research study appearing in the August 2006 issue of Psycho-Oncology by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.

"We found that breast cancer survivors who believed that an unhealthy behavior - such as consuming an unhealthy diet, contributed to their cancer - were more likely to say that they had changed that behavior since their diagnosis," says lead author Carolyn Rabin, PhD, a psychologist at The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. "Likewise, breast cancer survivors who believed that a healthy behavior- such as consuming a healthy diet, could ward off a cancer recurrence - were more likely to say that they had adopted that behavior since their diagnosis".

Due to advances in detection and treatment, there are now more than 10 million Americans who are cancer survivors, according to the American Cancer Society. However, researchers have not yet determined why some cancer survivors are motivated by a cancer diagnosis to make healthy lifestyle changes, while others are not. This question prompted the study by researchers at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Medical School.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 12, 2006, 6:11 AM CT

"DES Daughters" And Risk Of Breast Cancer

So-called "DES daughters," born to mothers who used the anti-miscarriage drug diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy, are at a substantially greater risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who were not exposed to the drug in utero.

Reporting in the recent issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a nationwide team of researchers found that DES daughters over age 40 had 1.9 times the risk of developing breast cancer, compared to unexposed women of the same age. They also found that the relative risk of developing the cancer was even greater in DES daughters over age 50, but say the number of older women in their study group is, as yet, too small for a firm statistical comparison.

"This is really unwelcome news because so many women worldwide were prenatally exposed to DES, and these women are just now approaching the age at which breast cancer becomes more common," said the study's lead author, Julie Palmer, Sc.D., professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.

She said an estimated one to two million women in the U.S. were exposed to DES, which was frequently prescribed to women from the 1940s through 1960s to prevent miscarriages.

The ongoing study suggests that DES-exposed women are developing the typical range of breast cancers after age 40 at a faster rate than non-exposed women of the same ages. The researchers also found that the highest relative risk of developing breast cancer was observed in study participants from the cohorts with the highest cumulative doses of DES exposure.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         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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