April 4, 2006, 0:26 AM CT
Gene Rearrangement Involved In Prostate Cancer
Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have identified a third gene involved in prostate cancer, expanding their groundbreaking announcement, published last October in Science, that the majority of prostate cancers carry a malignancy-inducing fusion of genes never before seen in solid tumors.
The new findings are reported in the April 1 issue of Cancer Research. Since prostate cancer is a cancer of the epithelial cells lining organs, lead researcher Arul Chinnaiyan and colleagues believe it likely that other gene re-arrangements may be responsible for other cancers of epithelial tissue, including breast, colon and lung.
Scott Tomlins, a MD/PhD graduate student in Dr. Chinnaiyan's laboratory and the lead author of the Science paper, presented the study Tuesday, April 4, at Experimental Biology 2006 in San Francisco. The presentation was part of the scientific program of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) held at Experimental Biology, and Mr. Tomlins is the winner of the 2006 ASIP Experimental Pathologist-in-Training Award.
The ETV4 gene is a member of the same family as the two other genes, ETV1 and ERG, reported earlier. All three are ETS genes, a group of approximately 30 genes that encode related transcription factors. Like other family members, ETV4 has a role in normal cell division but is uncommonly active, or overly expressive, only when it becomes fused with other genes on different chromosomes. Using the same technology as the earlier study, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the ETV4 gene had become fused with another prostate cancer gene on another chromosome.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
April 2, 2006, 10:59 PM CT
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 29, 2006, 11:10 PM CT
New Gene Responsible For Spread Of Cancer Discovered
The new mestastagene - S100P
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have identified a new gene that causes the spread of cancer.
Professor Philip Rudland, Dr Guozheng Wang and Dr Roger Barraclough from the University's Cancer and Polio Research Fund Laboratories have discovered an additional member of the S100 family of protein genes - S100P - that causes the spread of malignant cells from an original tumour to other parts of the body.
If present in the primary tumour, metastagenes such as S100P trigger the rapid spread of malignant secondary tumours to other tissues in the body via the bloodstream - a process known as metastasis. Eventhough primary tumours can be removed surgically, secondary tumours are more difficult to control. This research has been funded by the Cancer and Polio Research Fund.
The new discovery builds on several years' work carried out at the University to investigate the genes that cause malignant tumours to travel to other tissues in the body. To date, three other metastasis-inducing genes have been discovered - S100A4, osteopontin, and more recently, AGR2.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are often the only options available to treat secondary tumours but these procedures can be problematic to the patient as they can damage other healthy tissue and do not always succeed in eradicating the cancer.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
March 27, 2006, 11:44 PM CT
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 27, 2006, 7:03 AM CT
New Trojan Horse Strategy For Fighting Cancer
Another seemingly impenetrable wall has succumbed to the Trojan horse strategy. This time, instead of the ramparts of Troy and a wooden steed filled with soldiers, it's the wall of the blood vessel that is breached by an immune cell carrying tumor-killing viral particles.
This combination of two proven anti-tumor therapies-immune cells and a modified virus-resulted in a highly effective method for eliminating cancers in mice, as per findings from scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine that would be reported in the March 24 issue of Science. While each strategy is somewhat successful on its own, merging the two had even more powerful results.
"We thought that the strengths of each approach would be complementary, but it works even better than we anticipated," said Christopher Contag, PhD, the senior author of the article and associate professor of microbiology and immunology and of pediatrics. In one set of results, the scientists found that the method resulted in complete recovery for an entire group of mice with ovarian tumors. In a second group of mice with breast tumors, there was a 75 percent rate of complete recovery.
The paper's first author, Steve Thorne, PhD, is a research associate in Contag's lab. He has a background in virology and was interested in how to make tumor-killing viruses, called oncolytic viruses, more effective. Thorne was looking for some kind of coating that would escort the virus to the tumor.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
March 27, 2006, 6:45 AM CT
Exercise And Weight Training Programs Benefit Breast Cancer Patients
Exercise and weight training programs significantly improves the quality of life of women who were recently treated for breast cancer, as per a new study. This study was published in the May 1, 2006 issue of CANCER, a journal of the American Cancer Society.
The study indicates six months of twice weekly exercise that improved strength and body composition was enough to result in improvements in the overall physical and emotional condition of the patients. This is the first randomized trial to study the effects of weight training on quality of life in breast cancer patients.
Newly diagnosed and treated breast cancer patients often suffer from a multitude of quality of life limiting complaints, including insomnia, weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression, and anxiety. While efficacious treatments for breast cancer have progressed rapidly in recent years, developing new management strategies for these secondary complaints, often related to the treatment itself, is only a recent area of study.
Exercise has been identified as a possible treatment for quality of life-limiting symptoms. A recent review of the effect of aerobic exercise on quality of life among recently treated breast cancer survivors indicated an effect only half as large as the effect noted from six months of strength training. This study represents the first exploration of the effect of strength training on quality of life among breast cancer survivors. ........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
March 25, 2006, 11:02 AM CT
Laparoscopic Surgery For Uterine Cancer
In a pair of studies presented today at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists 37th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, scientists have found in a large randomized trial of laparoscopy versus laparotomy for surgical therapy of uterine (endometrial) cancer that laparoscopy is safe, and when successfully completed reduces hospital stay by 50 percent, and contributes to a better quality of life from the patient's perspective. Additionally, the study provided the best guidelines to date for predicting the likelihood of successful laparoscopic surgery, based on weight and Body Mass Index (BMI).
"Prospective Randomized Trial of Laparoscopy vs. Laparotomy for Comprehensive Surgical Staging of Uterine Cancer" and "Quality of Life of Patients with Endometrial Cancer Undergoing Laparoscopic FIGO Staging Compared to Laparotomy" are Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) supported studies, and are led by Joan L. Walker, M.D. of the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and Alice B. Kornblith, Ph.D. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, respectively.
"We've found that a less invasive surgery like laparoscopy is as safe as the more traditional approach of laparotomy and also lessens the risk of serious complications," explained Dr. Walker. "While the operative time increased using laparoscopy, the significant reduction in hospital stay and the reduced risk of serious complications makes utilizing this procedure when feasible worthwhile."........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
March 24, 2006, 7:49 AM CT
Age is an independent predictor for breast cancer survival
Scientists and physicians are aware of the fact that young woman with breast cancer have a rather poor outcome. It was thought that this is because young woman are commonly diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer with more advanced disease compared to older women. But now a study shows that youth on its own was a factor for poor prognosis.
Scientists reached this conclusion by analyzing data from 45,000 women with breast cancer. All women with early stage breast cancer (stage 1) were included in the study and the various age groups were compared. The results were surprising and indicated that being young was an independent indicator of poor survival - regardless of other factors known to be predictive of outcomes in older women such as tumor size, location, hormone receptor status, race, or therapy.
In fact the odds of dying from breast cancer rather than any other disease increased by 5% for every year of a women's age fewer than 45 when diagnosed. For example, a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 was 50% more likely to die of the disease. The 10-year overall survival probability of a 30-year old patient (85%) was equal to that of a 60-year old, indicating a considerably reduced life expectancy in young patients.........
Posted by: Sherin Permalink
March 24, 2006, 0:30 AM CT
No Treatment Is The Right Option
When Houston restaurateur Tony Masraff was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, his life was packed with dancing, running marathons, playing tennis, gardening, leading a successful business and spending time with his family.
But it wasn't until his doctor at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center advised "watchful waiting" as an option to invasive surgery and radiation that he realized he could continue his active life - free of therapy side effects, but with the cancer.
Masraff is one of about 200 men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer at M. D. Anderson on active surveillance for their disease, having changes monitored through regular Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests, biopsies and check-ups. He also is one of hundreds of thousands of men nationwide who have had their prostate cancer detected by regular PSA tests at such an early stage that managing low-risk disease through surveillance outweighs the risks and possible side effects of therapys.
Now, a new study at M. D. Anderson will follow low-risk patients eligible for watchful waiting to determine if they can avoid or postpone treatment and related side effects, and still live as long as patients who immediately receive invasive treatment. The study will provide key information for the future development of clinical guidelines for watchful waiting.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
March 23, 2006, 7:24 AM CT
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