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April 2, 2006, 10:59 PM CT

Lung Cancer May Run In Families

Lung Cancer May Run In Families First-degree relatives of cases had a 25 percent increased risk of developing any type of cancer, compared to controls. Cancers diagnosed in the relatives include melanoma, colorectal, head and neck cancer, lung, prostate and breast cancers. Case relatives were about 10 years younger when they were diagnosed with cancer, compared to control relatives. A 44 percent excess risk of young onset cancers - those diagnosed before age 50 - among case relatives. More than a six-fold risk of developing young onset lung cancer in the case families compared to control families. Relatives of case patients had a 68 percent increased risk of developing lung cancer. Mothers of case patients had more than a two-fold risk of developing breast cancer.
Studying thousands of people, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have documented a 25 percent increased risk of developing one of a number of cancers in first-degree relatives of lung cancer patients who have never smoked compared to families of people who neither smoke nor have lung cancer.

Researchers say their study, one of the largest ever done and the only one to include both men and women, strongly suggests that these lung cancer patients and their affected relatives share an inherited genetic susceptibility to cancer development.

"This study demonstrates the importance of familial factors in the general development of cancer," says the study's first author, Olga Gorlova, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology. "These susceptibility factors can be environmental, but are more likely to be influenced by genetic factors, because genes control pathways common to a number of cancers."

Such marked cancer susceptibility also likely explains why patients in this study, who never smoked but might have been exposed to secondhand smoke, developed lung cancer in the first place, she says. Gorlova will present the study at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). She will discuss the findings in a press briefing on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 11 a.m. ........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease
Children who are exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water are seven to 12 times more likely to die of lung cancer and other lung diseases in young adulthood, a new study by University of California, Berkeley, and Chilean scientists suggests.

The risk of dying due to bronchiectasis, commonly a rare lung disease, is 46 times higher than normal if the child's mother also drank the arsenic-contaminated water while pregnant, as per the study. These findings provide some of the first human evidence that fetal or early childhood exposure to any toxic substance can result in markedly increased disease rates in adults.

"The extraordinary risk we found for in utero and early childhood exposure is a new scientific finding," says the study's lead author, Allan Smith, professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. "I sometimes ponder the improbability that drinking water with concentrations of arsenic less than one-thousandth of a gram per liter could do this, and believe that I've got to be wrong. But our years of working with arsenic exposure in India and Chile tie in with this study perfectly".

The paper will appear in the July print issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and will be posted on its Web site today, Monday, March 27.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


March 24, 2006, 0:18 AM CT

Why Older People Quit Smoking?

Why Older People Quit Smoking?
Research reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women are more likely to quit smoking than elderly men, while results are just the opposite for studies among younger populations.

"Smoking cessation was also observed more frequently among elders who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. In addition, the rate of recidivism (resuming smoking) was only 16 percent among the elderly smokers who quit, whereas prior studies report relapse rates of 35-45 percent, says head researcher Dr. Heather E. Whitson of Duke University Center for Aging." These findings indicate that older smokers may quit smoking for different reasons than younger smokers.

The study did not directly assess the smokers' reasons for quitting, but the authors postulate that factors such as lack of transportation, poor financial situation and dementia might contribute to smoking cessation in older smokers. Regardless of reason, the cessation of smoking may lower the risk of death, even when it occurs at an advanced age. The seven-year death rate among non-quitters in the study was 51.6% compared to only 44% among the quitters (eventhough the difference was not statistically significant).

The Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) conducted a survey of its members to find that only 39 percent of smokers had been advised by their physicians in the past year to stop smoking. Physicians may assume that older smokers are unlikely to give up one their few remaining pleasures. However, the Duke data suggests that further research is needed to understand the unique motivations and potential benefits of smoking cessation in the elderly.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 23, 2006, 7:25 AM CT

Avastin And Taxol For Breast Cancer

Avastin And Taxol For Breast Cancer
Avastin, and anti-angiogenesis drug is now showing promise in the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer. A new research led by Dr Robin Zon, of Michiana Hematology-Oncology, PC in South Bend, Indiana has shown that combining Avastin with Taxol improves outcome in patients with metastatic breast cancer. The study has shown that a combination of Avastin and Taxol is more effective in prevention of progression of breast cancer compared to using Taxol alone.

Avastin is an anti-angiogenesis drug that works by blocking the formation of new blood vessels by the growing cancer cells. Some claim that the combination of chemotherapy and Avastin works better by facilitating chemotherapy delivery to the cancer cells.

This new research studied effectiveness of Avastin in combination with Taxol. The study enrolled in total of 722 patients with advanced breast cancer. The study found that combination of Avastin and Taxol was capable of keeping the cancer stable for a period of 11.4 months in women who received the drug combo compared to 6.11 months in patients who had only been given Taxol.

Researchers say that this presents yet another option for patients with advanced breast cancer. "These results are good news for people with breast cancer," said Zon who presented the results of the trial sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute at the 5th European Breast Cancer Conference in Nice, France.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

March 14, 2006

Radon And Lung Cancer

Radon And Lung Cancer
Researchers and scientists point out that recently there is an increase in the number of lung cancer diagnosis among nonsmokers. This is especially true for women. Recent sad and untimely demise of Dana Reeve has heightened public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked.

While cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, other factors such as passive smoking and exposure to radon gas from the house environment are increasingly coming in to highlight. Lung cancer from smoking and passing exposure to smoke claims an estimated 163,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. every year. It is estimated that radon is the cause of another 21,000 cases of lung cancer deaths annually in the United States, as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

Experts claim that many of these deaths due to exposure to radon gas could be prevented if enough precautions are taken. Nationally, about 1 in 15 homes has high radon levels, and that number is higher in some states.

It is not possible to detect the presence of radon gas in your house environment because it is a colorless, odorless tasteless gas. Radon gas is produced as part of the natural decay process of uranium. Areas, which have high content of mineral such as some mountainous areas, may have a higher risk of increased levels of radon gas.

The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the degree of exposure to radon gas. Your house can be tested for the level of radon gas. Radon gas testing is easy and inexpensive and if the level of radon is found to be high it can be reduced by repaired at the cost of the average home repair. You can purchase a radon gas test kit in the local hardware store for under $35.


Scott      Permalink


March 7, 2006

A Tribute To Dana Reeves

A Tribute To Dana Reeves
When Dana Reeves announced the news of her lung cancer in August nobody expected that she would go away so quickly. The singer-actress Dana Reeves married the super star of the "Superman" movies and soon found herself to be devoted his care and his cause after he was paralyzed. Less than a year after her husband's death she was diagnosed with lung cancer and she died, a year-and-a-half after her husband because of this disease. She was 44 years old.

On 12th of January she belted out Carole King's "Now and Forever" at a packed Madison Square Garden during a ceremony honoring hockey star Mark Messier, a friend. She looked quite healthy at that time and this sad demise was sudden and unexpected.

It is not surprising for many of us who have seen the realities of patients who are suffering from this awful disease.

Dana Reeve, who lived in Pound Ridge, died Monday night at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in Manhattan, said the Christopher Reeve Foundation president Kathy Lewis.

Officials would not discuss Reeve's treatment or say when she entered the hospital. But Lewis said she visited her there on Friday, when Reeve was "tired but with her typical sense of humor and smile, always trying to make other people feel good, her characteristic personality."

"The brightest light has gone out," said comedian Robin Williams. "We will forever celebrate her loving spirit."

Former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton described Reeve as "a model of tenacity and grace."


Scott      Permalink


March 7, 2006

Dana Reeves Dies of Lung Cancer

Dana Reeves Dies of Lung Cancer
Associated press reports that Dana Reeves, widow of late Christopher Reeve has died of lung cancer at the young age of 45. Reeves have been battling with lung cancer in the last few months. She has been diagnosed with lung cancer, just a year after her superman star husband died. Dana Reeves gained enormous praise for her tremendous support for her paralyzed husband over a decade until his tragic death in October last year.

I have written about Reeves previously in this blog. She was fighting lung cancer with courage and determination. This morning the Associated Press reported that Dana Reeves has finally succumbed to this disease.

This sad demise of Dana Reeves again reminds us about the dangers associated with lung cancer and highlights the need for more funding for lung cancer research. It is to be added that Dana Reeves was not a smoker but still develop lung cancer and died from the disease.

Now, more than ever, I feel Chris with me as I face this challenge," Dana Reeve, said in a statement at the time of her diagnosis. "I look to him as the ultimate example of defying the odds with strength, courage and hope in the face of life's adversities."

Dana Reeves sets an example for ultimate courage, determination and sacrifice.

Scott      Permalink


Feb 27, 2006

Nexavar (Sorafenib) Tablets For Lung Cancer

Nexavar (Sorafenib) Tablets For Lung Cancer
Patients with non-small cell lung cancer may soon have an open trial using Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets in combination with chemotherapy. Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc today announced the initiation of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial studying Nexavar (sorafenib) tablets administered in combination with the chemotherapeutic agents carboplatin and paclitaxel in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

This multicenter study will compare the effectiveness of Nexavar in combination with two chemotherapeutic agents namely carboplatin and paclitaxel. The control arm of the study would be just carboplatin and paclitaxel alone. Study co-coordinators are looking forward to enrolling approximately 900 patients. This study will assess overall survival as the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints would include progression-free survival, tumor response and safety. The study participants may not have received prior systemic anticancer treatment. The study is open to all subtypes of NSCLC including those with squamous cell or adeno carcinomas. Patients in the study will be randomized to receive 400 mg of oral Nexavar twice daily or matching placebo, in addition to carboplatin and paclitaxel for six cycles. After completion of the chemotherapy phase patients will continue in a maintenance phase where Nexavar or placebo will be administered as a single agent. The study will be conducted at more than 130 sites in North America, South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

It is to be noted that Nexavar (sorafenib) has been recently shown to be highly effective in the treatment of renal cell cancer and this drug has been FDA approved for the treatment of renal cell cancer.

Scott      Permalink


Feb 23, 2006

New Clues To Iressa And Tarceva Resistance

New Clues To Iressa And Tarceva Resistance
Thanks to research, now there is more information regarding the mechanism of resistance of cancer cells to drugs like Tarceva (erlotinib) and Iressa (gefitinib).

These drugs belonging to the group of EGFR receptor blockers stop the growth of certain cancers by targeting signaling molecules that are essential to the survival of cancer cells. Researchers have recently found that those who harbor a mutation in the EGFR gene may actually benefit patients in terms of response to treatment. These drugs are however effective only in 10 percent of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, for which subtype of lung cancer this drug is indicated. Also patients who receive this drug may develop acquired resistance during the course of the treatment.

To investigate the issue of drug-resistance, researchers followed six NSCLC patients who'd been treated with either Tarceva or Iressa and later developed secondary resistance. They analyzed tumor samples taken from the patients at various points before and during treatment.

The researchers found that in three of the six patients, tumors continued to grow despite continued therapy. These tumors were found to contain a second mutation in the EGFR gene. Further research revealed this second mutation conferred drug resistance to the EGFR mutant genes that would otherwise be sensitive to Tarceva and Iressa.


The study appears in the Feb. 22 issue of PLoS Medicine.


Scott      Permalink


Feb 13, 2006

Minimally Invasive Surgery For Lung Cancer

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), which is a form of minimally invasive surgical procedure for lung cancer has been shown to be as effective as open surgery with a low risk of complications and high survival rates when performed by experienced thoracic surgeons.

They shorter recovery time and hospitalization together with reduced pain and improved quality of life associate with this technique have been documented over the past decade, still it is currently used in only about five percent of the 40,000 lobectomies performed each year in the United States.

In a study published in the February 2006 issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, researchers show that thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) can achieve the same results as open lung surgery. This article a follow-up of an study published in the same journal in 1998 that reported on results of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in 298 patients. Thoracic surgeon Robert McKenna Jr., M.D., surgical director of the Center for Chest Diseases and medical director of Thoracic Surgery and Trauma at Cedars-Sinai, is the principal investigator and senior author.

Instead of making an eight- to 10-inch incision, as is done in a typical thoracotomy, VATS requires only four small incisions through which instruments and a thoracoscope are placed. A camera lens at the tip of the scope feeds high-resolution images to a video monitor, providing the surgeon with a detailed, magnified view of the surgical site. A segment, lobe or entire lung can be removed, depending on the patient's condition and the extent of the cancer.


Scott      Permalink




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Lung cancer
We engage a never-ending daily struggle to understand and defeat the hidden mysteries of cancer. This is a long and laborious fight, but some moments stand out as grim reminders of the severity of the problem and ruthlessness of the enemy. We recently heard about the sad demise of Peter Jennings, who was the news anchor of ABC News for a long time.

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