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July 18, 2011, 8:21 AM CT

Trastuzumab and chemotherapy improves survival

Trastuzumab and chemotherapy improves survival
The use of trastuzumab, chemotherapy and surgery among women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer significantly improved survival from the time central nervous system metastases were diagnosed.

Based on these study results, lead researcher Adam Brufsky, M.D., Ph.D., said, "We clearly now know that these women should get trastuzumab and potentially chemotherapy, even if cancer spreads to the brain."

"Women with HER2-positive breast cancer have a reasonable chance of living a long time with their disease, and they should be given aggressive treatment where appropriate," added Brufsky, professor of medicine and associate director of clinical investigation at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Ten to 16 percent of women with advanced breast cancer develop central nervous system metastases, the scientists wrote in their study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Brufsky and his colleagues used data from the registHER study to evaluate the incidence, potential risk factors and outcomes for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. They reviewed how patients with HER2-positive breast cancer develop brain metastases, and followed them to examine what happens thereafter.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 18, 2011, 8:19 AM CT

Genetic mutations that lead to colon cancer

Genetic mutations that lead to colon cancer
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center say there are at least 70 genetic mutations involved in the formation of colon cancer, far more than researchers previously thought.

Based on the study, reported in the July 2011 Cancer Research (Priority Reports), scientists are suggesting a new approach to colon cancer therapys targeting multiple genes and pathways simultaneously. Current cancer therapys target just one or two known cancer-driver genes believing this would be beneficial to patients. While patients may get transient tumor burden reduction, almost universally tumor growth returns.

The UT Southwestern research contradicts prior thinking that only a few mutated genes are important in the development of malignant tumors.

"The ways we've been treating patients up to now is to just go after one target when we should be going after three to four different pathways simultaneously," said Dr. Jerry W. Shay, vice chairman and professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern.

Under the old model, researchers believed there were 151 candidate genes and that mutations in just eight to 15 of them would lead to cancer. There were 700 other genes classified as passenger genes whose mutations were incidental to cancer growth.

"Those numbers are dead wrong," Dr. Shay said. As per UT Southwestern's research, there are 65 candidate genes and at least five passenger genes whose mutations play significant roles in cancer development. Inactivating the function of any of these tumor-suppressing genes led to a key step in cancer development called anchorage-independent growth, meaning cells piled up on top of each other rather than aligning neatly.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 5, 2011, 8:38 PM CT

Folate intake may reduce colorectal cancer risk

Folate intake may reduce colorectal cancer risk
A newly released study finds high folate intake is linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, a finding consistent with the findings of most prior epidemiologic studies. The study is reassuring, as prior recent evidence has suggested that consumption of very high levels of folate through supplements and from folate-fortified diet may increase risk of some cancers. Nonetheless, the potential importance of folate in colorectal cancer prevention remains in question because at least one other study found folate supplementation had no effect on recurrence of colorectal adenomas, precursors to colorectal cancer.

The study appears in Gastroenterology, and is the first to look at the association of folate with colorectal cancer risk with follow-up entirely after the required fortification of the U.S. diet with folate. It also is the first to distinguish between the forms of folate found naturally in forms and folic acid, the form used for fortification and in supplements.

A research team led by Victoria Stevens, Ph.D., strategic director of laboratory services at the American Cancer Society, investigated the association between folate intake and colorectal cancer among 99,523 participants in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. A total of 1,023 participants were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1999 and 2007, a period entirely after folate fortification began. Neither higher nor lower risk was observed during the first two years of follow-up (1999 to 2001), but during 2002 to 2007, high folate intake was linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


June 21, 2011, 11:45 PM CT

Marriage improves odds of surviving colon cancer

Marriage improves odds of surviving colon cancer
A newly released study shows that being married boosts survival odds for both men and women with colon cancer at every stage of the disease.

Married patients had a 14 percent lower risk of death as per scientists at Penn State's College of Medicine and Brigham Young University. That estimate is based on analysis of 127,753 patient records.

Similar to studies of other types of cancers, the scientists did find that married people were diagnosed at earlier stages of colon cancer and sought more aggressive therapy. The scientists took those and other factors into account before calculating the benefit of marriage on survival odds.

"Controlling for the stage that the cancer was detected is key," said Sven Wilson, a study coauthor and professor at Brigham Young University. "Without that, it's hard to know whether the analysis is just picking up a diagnosis effect".

Colon cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States for both men and women. Curiously, the marriage benefit seen in the newly released study was nearly identical for both men and women.

So what's driving the different survival rates? Marriage is a self-selected group, and Wilson is careful to note that the selection process makes it difficult to sort out the root cause. One intuitive idea is that spouses serve as an important informal caregiver during a critical time, and that extra support may translate into better disease management and, hence, better outcomes.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


June 13, 2011, 7:51 AM CT

Finding genetic mistakes that fuel cancer

Finding genetic mistakes that fuel cancer
A dramatically better computer tool for finding the genetic missteps that fuel cancer has been developed by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital � Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project investigators. Scientists are using the new algorithm to help identify the chromosomal rearrangements and DNA insertions or deletions unique to cancer.

The new computational method is known as CREST, short for Clipping Reveals Structure. Using CREST, scientists identified 89 new structural differences in the cancer genomes of five St. Jude patients with a subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) known as T-lineage ALL. CREST revealed complex chromosomal rearrangements, including one that involved four chromosomes. Investigators also used the tool to find 50 new variations in melanoma cells. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. The study appears in the June 12 advance online edition of the scientific journal Nature Methods.

"CREST is significantly more accurate and sensitive than existing methods of finding structural variations in next-generation sequencing data. It finds differences between a patient's normal and cancer genomes other tools cannot find," said Jinghui Zhang, Ph.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Computational Biology. She is the study's senior author. "Similar tools miss up to 60 to 70 percent of these structural rearrangements in tumors. CREST ensures that researchers will be able to find important structural variations that play critical roles in tumor formation".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 13, 2011, 7:47 AM CT

Head and neck cancer and second round of treatment

Head and neck cancer and second round of treatment
A newly released study has determined predictors that can better identify patients who will benefit from a potentially toxic second course of therapy, which offers a small but real chance of cure in select patients with head and neck cancer. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings could help guide therapy decisions for head and neck cancer patients.

Radiation is often used to treat patients with head and neck cancer. If their cancer reappears, they have limited therapy choices: chemotherapy is not curative, and surgery can be curative but is often not possible. Chemotherapy and a second course of radiation have previously been shown to be another option. Joseph Salama, MD, formerly of the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted an analysis of previous studies to determine how patients tolerate this second round of therapy and which patients benefit the most from it.

The researchers analyzed data from 166 patients with head and neck cancer who received a first round of radiation followed by a second round plus chemotherapy because their cancer recurred or they developed a new tumor. The second course of therapy could cure approximately 25 percent of patients at two years, but it was quite toxic. (Some patients lost the ability to speak or swallow. In addition, approximately 20 percent of patients died from therapy-related complications.)........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 5, 2011, 8:48 PM CT

Flaxseed no benefit for hot flashes

Flaxseed no benefit for hot flashes
Flaxseed provides no benefit in easing hot flashes among patients with breast cancer and postmenopausal women, as per a Mayo Clinic and North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) study. The randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 188 women between October and December 2009 and found no statistically significant difference in mean hot flash scores between women taking flaxseed and those taking a placebo. Preliminary data published in 2007 by Mayo Clinic researchers suggested consuming 40 grams of crushed flaxseed daily might help manage hot flashes.

VIDEO ALERT: Additional audio and video resources are available at the Mayo Clinic News Blog. Password: Pruthi.

The scientists presented their new findings during the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

"Hot flashes are a common symptom during the menopause transition or following breast cancer therapy," says Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., of Mayo Clinic's Breast Diagnostic Clinic and a researcher with NCCTG. "While our preliminary data from our 2007 pilot study showed a reduction in hot flashes linked to the consumption of ground flaxseed, our newly released study did not result in a significant decrease in hot flashes with eating flaxseed in comparison to placebo".

Dr. Pruthi says patients shouldn't give up flaxseed if they enjoy it. Flaxseed appears to be beneficial for people who want to add fiber and bulk to their diet to manage constipation, she says. Dr. Pruthi says more studies are needed to identify whether flaxseed has any other health benefits.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 19, 2011, 8:54 AM CT

Recurring breast cancer

Recurring breast cancer
When women with a history of breast cancer learn they have breast cancer again, one of the first questions they and their doctors ask is: Has my cancer come back, or is this a new case? Now, new data from Fox Chase Cancer Center suggest that both new and recurring cancers will differ significantly from the original tumors, regardless of how a number of months or years women spent cancer-free, and doctors should tailor therapy to the specific qualities of the second tumor, regardless of whether it's old or new.

Anita Patt, MD, surgical oncology fellow at Fox Chase and main author on the study, will be presenting the findings at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Monday, June 6.

"There tends to be a stigma and a lot of anxiety about the word 'recurrence,'" says Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, attending surgeon at Fox Chase and senior author on the study. "Sometimes women will worry more if they believe their original cancer is back, meaning they didn't 'beat it' the first time around. These findings suggest they should not get hung up on that idea, because any subsequent diagnosis � whether it's a recurrence or a new tumor � will look significantly different from their first cancer".

In women with a history of breast cancer, doctors often approach new tumors differently depending on whether they believe it's a recurrence of the first tumor, or a totally new one, Bleicher explains. But there are no official ways to distinguish between the two types, so doctors typically rely on a few criteria, then form their own opinion based on an "overall gestalt," he says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 4, 2011, 4:30 PM CT

Protein that could help prevent the spread of cancer

Protein that could help prevent the spread of cancer
Dr. Andrew Craig with an image that shows the "invadopodia" of a breast cancer cell protruding into surrounding tissue and degrading the tissue barriers. It is this process of metastasis or cancer spread that Dr. Craig's team hope to be able to lessen or prevent with future therapies

Credit: Queen's University

A protein capable of halting the spread of breast cancer cells could lead to a treatment for preventing or limiting the spread of the disease.

"Cancer scientists want to design new therapeutic strategies in which the metastasis or spreading stage of cancer can be blocked," explains Andrew Craig, lead researcher and a professor in Queen's Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Research Institute. "Patients stand a much better chance of survival if the primary tumor is the only tumor that needs to be treated".

The regulatory protein identified by Dr Craig's team inhibits the spread of cancer cells by removing and breaking down an invasive enzyme on the surface of cancer cells. If it remains unchecked, this enzyme degrades and modifies surrounding tissues, facilitating the spread of cancer through the body.

Dr. Craig hopes that his team's findings may help develop more targeted therapies that have a specific inhibitory function on this enzyme that is implicated in certain metastatic cancers.

Traditional therapies that have been used to counteract the invasive nature of this particular enzyme also destroy other enzymes that are important for the body's normal physiological function.

The scientists examined a network of proteins that are responsible for controlling the shape of cancer cells. They focused specifically on parts of the cell that protrude into surrounding body tissues, allowing the cancer cell to degrade surrounding tissue barriers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 4, 2011, 4:25 PM CT

To help end dry mouth in cancer patients

To help end dry mouth in cancer patients
(Edmonton) For patients suffering from cancer in the mouth or throat, a recent study shows that a therapy called submandibular gland transfer will assist in preventing a radiation-induced condition called xerostomia.

Also known as dry mouth, xerostomia occurs when salivary glands stop working. University of Alberta researcher Jana Rieger likens the feeling of xerostomia to the experience of the after-effects of having surgery and anesthetic�but the feeling is permanent.

While the importance of healthy saliva glands appears to be an afterthought for some patients when battling cancer, the long-lasting effects create many problems for them when they are in remission.

"We need saliva to keep our mouths healthy," said Rieger. "Without saliva, people can lose their teeth, dentures don't fit properly and the ability to swallow and speak is severely altered".

The study conducted by Rieger, a speech language pathologist in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, looked at functional outcomes�speech changes, swallowing habits and the quality of life of patients with mouth and throat cancers�as they received two different types of therapys previous to and during radiation.

The first group of patients underwent the submandibular gland transfer. This method was pioneered by Hadi Seikaly and Naresh Jha at the University of Alberta in 1999. The transfer involves moving the saliva gland from under the angle of the jaw to under to the chin. Previous to this procedure, the saliva gland was in line for the radiation. Seikaly says, "Most patients, when they are cured from cancer, complain of one major thing: dry mouth".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 4, 2011, 4:09 PM CT

Hitting target in cancer fight

Hitting target in cancer fight
The ability to use nanoparticles to deliver payloads of cancer-fighting drugs to tumors in the body could herald a fundamental change in chemotherapy therapy. But researchers are still at a relatively early stage in the implementation of this technology.

Eventhough developing nanoparticles that work as "magic bullets" � selectively targeting tumors while sparing normal, healthy tissues � is still the goal, the reality is that most of these nanocarriers are removed through the liver and spleen before ever reaching their intended target. And a number of of the encapsulated drugs can be lost while the carriers circulate in the blood or degraded on the way to tumors.

In a study recently reported in the journal ACS Nano, UCLA researchers report that by using engineered mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs) as delivery vehicles, they were able to achieve significant increases in the percentage of drug-carrying nanoparticles that reach and are retained at tumor sites.

The MSNP platform allows for the introduction of multiple and customized design features that can help optimize the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs to a variety of cancer types, said the researchers, led by Dr. Andre Nel, a professor of medicine, pediatrics and public health and chief of the nanomedicine division in the UCLA Department of Medicine, and Jeffrey Zink, a professor in the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Nel and Zink are also members of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 29, 2011, 8:36 AM CT

MRI locates prostate cancer recurrence

MRI locates prostate cancer recurrence
A pelvic MRI scan with IV contrast and rectal balloon is highly effective in identifying local recurrence even at low PSA values in patients with prostate cancer with a rising or persistently elevated PSA after prostatectomy, as per a research studypresented April 29, 2011, at the Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium in Atlanta. The symposium is co-sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Scientists at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston reviewed 389 postprostatectomy patients treated between January 2004 and October 2010, with 143 receiving a pelvic MRI to determine if cancer cells were still present in the area of the surgical bed. Thirty-five of those patients had suspicious MRI findings suggesting local recurrence. Twenty-six patients were then biopsied, with 23 showing cancer.

The study showed that about one-third of patients with a biopsy-proven recurrence after suspicious MRI finding had a PSA of less than 1, with several having a PSA as low as 0.3.

A scan of the surgical bed is typically performed after a prostatectomy and before salvage radiation treatment therapy in patients with prostate cancer with a rising PSA to determine a potential recurrence and location of recurrence. An MRI is able to differentiate between soft tissues better than a traditional Computerized axial tomography scan, so the high rates of cancer recurrence picked up by the MRI were not surprising to researchers. What was surprising was the low PSA levels at which the MRI could determine recurrent disease.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 29, 2011, 8:34 AM CT

Interval post-treatment mammogram not needed

Interval post-treatment mammogram not needed
An annual mammogram is sufficient follow-up after breast conserving treatment (BCT) for patients with breast cancer, as per a research studypresented today, at the Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium in Atlanta. This symposium is co-sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

In this study, scientists wanted to determine the clinical relevance and utility of an interval mammogram (IM) after BCT. BCT is when a patient is treated with a lumpectomy and radiation rather than a mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer.

As per the study, annual mammograms are frequently conducted after BCT; however, some radiologists recommend an IM to take place at six months after the first post-treatment mammogram (five months after the completion of radiation therapy on average) to ensure stability, to check for recurrence or to check for any new cancers.

For this trial, 88 out of 467 BCT patients from Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, Pa., received an IM. The IM led to four biopsies that yielded no recurring or new breast cancers. Patients returned to receiving their annual mammograms after receiving the IM.

Scientists determined that eliminating the IM would result in lower health care costs without a significant impact on the outcome of the patient.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 7, 2011, 8:43 AM CT

Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer

Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer
University of Utah School of Medicine scientists have found compelling evidence that Parkinson's disease is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer and melanoma, and that this increased cancer risk also extends to close and distant relatives of individuals with Parkinson's disease. Eventhough a link between Parkinson's disease and melanoma has been suspected before, this is the first time that an increased risk of prostate cancer has been reported in Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurologic condition that leads to tremors and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. Most studies demonstrate that individuals with PD have an overall decreased rate of cancer, with the notable exception of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Prior research has suggested a possible genetic link between PD and melanoma, but these studies have been limited to first-degree relatives who often share a similar environment, making it difficult to distinguish between genetic and environmental risk factors.

"Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease may share common disease-causing mechanisms with some cancers," says Stefan-M. Pulst, MD, professor and chair of the department of neurology, at the University of Utah, and co-author on this study. "Using the Utah Population Database, we were able to explore the association of PD with different types of cancer by studying cancer risk in individuals with PD, as well as their close and distant relatives".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 7, 2011, 8:38 AM CT

For Breast Cancer Patients Fatigue is Real

For Breast Cancer Patients Fatigue is Real
The persistent fatigue that plagues one out of every three breast cancer survivors appears to be caused by one part of the autonomic nervous system running in overdrive, while the other part fails to slow it down.

That imbalance of a natural system in the body appears associated with the tiredness and exhaustion that can burden cancer patients as much as a decade after their successful therapy.

The effect is so great, scientists say, that it appears to be a sign of accelerated aging in fatigued patients, causing them to seem as much as 20 years older compared with patients who aren't fatigued.

Those new research findings, just published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, are the latest from a three-decade-long study of the impact that stress can have on the human body.

Christopher Fagundes, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University's Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR), and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology and a member of the IBMR, drew early data from a larger ongoing study testing whether yoga can combat continuing fatigue in patients with breast cancer.

They were looking for a new biomarker, a signal that could point to the initial cause of this fatigue. Their target was the autonomic nervous system, that part of the body that controls unconscious activities like breathing, heartbeat, digestion and such, which earlier research had indicated might play a role.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 4, 2011, 7:02 AM CT

Utilization of virtual colonoscopy triples

Utilization of virtual colonoscopy triples
Medicare coverage and nationwide utilization of computed tomographic colonography (CTC), usually referred to as virtual colonoscopy, has tripled in recent years, as per a research studyin the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org). CTC employs virtual reality technology to produce a three-dimensional visualization that permits a thorough and minimally invasive assessment of the entire colon and rectum. CT colonography is an alternative to conventional optical colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Yet, only 50 percent of the eligible population participates in colorectal cancer screening programs. Since most colon cancers develop from polyps, and screening to find and remove these polyps can prevent colon cancer, an opportunity exists to save lives with early detection. CTC, which is an American Cancer Society recommended screening exam, can attract more people to be screened and save more lives through early detection of disease.

"Several well-designed multicenter trials now corroborate the results of an earlier landmark trial demonstrating equivalent performance of conventional optical colonoscopy and CTC in screening for cancer and premalignant polyps. The rapid expansion of the use of diagnostic CTC, even in the absence of Medicare coverage for screening CTC, speaks volumes to the need of an alternative exam for those who choose not to undergo colonoscopy. As more insurers provide coverage for CTC, access to CTC is likely to expand," said Richard Duszak Jr., MD, main author of the study.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:49 AM CT

Target for lung cancer chemoprevention

Target for lung cancer chemoprevention
Researchers have identified a biomarker for measuring the success of lung cancer chemoprevention, an emerging frontier in the fight against this disease that has long been stymied by a lack of measureable outcomes. These study results were presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held April 2-6.

Paul Bunn, M.D., executive director of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and the James Dudley endowed professor of lung cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said measurements of endobronchial dysplasia, abnormal cell development that can lead to lung cancer, could predict how well a chemoprevention agent is working.

Bunn presented updated results of a study that tested the effect of oral iloprost on the improvement on endobronchial dysplasia in 152 former smokers. As smoking cessation messages take hold and quit rates increase, former smokers are still at greater risk for lung cancer than the general population.

"We told people to quit smoking and they did, but half of our lung cancer cases in the United States are coming from people who are former smokers," he said. "We need to work on ways to repair their lungs through chemoprevention".

Bunn analyzed the effect of iloprost among those who had endobronchial dysplasia at enrollment, and found a significant difference in prevalence of endobronchial dysplasia. Moreover, when they analyzed the effect of iloprost on Ki-67, a measure of cell proliferation, the difference was not significant.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:47 AM CT

DNA of 50 breast cancer patients decoded

DNA of 50 breast cancer patients decoded
In the single largest cancer genomics investigation reported to date, researchers have sequenced the whole genomes of tumors from 50 patients with breast cancer and compared them to the matched DNA of the same patients' healthy cells. This comparison allowed scientists to find mutations that only occurred in the cancer cells.

They uncovered incredible complexity in the cancer genomes, but also got a glimpse of new routes toward personalized medicine. The work was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 102nd Annual Meeting 2011.

In all, the tumors had more than 1,700 mutations, most of which were unique to the individual, says Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a lead investigator on the project.

"Cancer genomes are extraordinarily complicated," Ellis says. "This explains our difficulty in predicting outcomes and finding new therapys".

To undertake the massive task, Washington University oncologists and pathologists at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine collaborated with the university's Genome Institute to sequence more than 10 trillion chemical bases of DNA � repeating the sequencing of each patient's tumor and healthy DNA about 30 times to ensure accurate data.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:32 AM CT

Genetic variation cuts bladder cancer risk

Genetic variation cuts bladder cancer risk
Normal bladder
A common genetic variation links to both bladder cancer risk and to the length of protective caps found on the ends of chromosomes, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported today at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting.

These endings or tips, called telomeres, guard against chromosomal damage and genomic instability that can lead to cancer and other diseases.

"We found a single point of variation in the genome strongly linked to a 19 percent decrease in bladder cancer risk. The same variant also is associated with longer telomeres, which accounts for part of the overall reduction in risk," said first author Jian Gu, Ph.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Epidemiology.

Telomere length diminishes with age, Gu said, and short telomeres are linked to age-related diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Prior studies separately tied telomere length either to cancer risk or to genetic variation. The paper by Gu and his colleagues is the first to make both connections.

"Understanding the complex genetic regulation of telomere length and its relation to the causes of bladder and other types of cancer will help develop therapies or changes in lifestyle to reduce cancer risk," said senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of MD Anderson's Department of Epidemiology.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:27 AM CT

New target identified for squamous cell lung cancer

New target identified for squamous cell lung cancer
Researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute have identified a mutation in the DDR2 gene that may indicate which patients with squamous cell lung cancer will respond to dasatinib.

The findings appear in Cancer Discovery, the newest journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, debuting here at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, from April 2-6.

As per lead researcher Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, there are currently no targeted therapies for squamous cell lung cancer, which affects approximately 50,000 people annually in the United States. Meyerson estimates that DDR2 mutations would be present in lung cancers from about one to two thousand people a year in the United States.

"As a percentage of the millions of people who get cancer each year it is small, but cancer treatment is going more in the direction of personalized medicine as we learn more and more about the complicated biology of each tumor," he said.

Using standard genetic sequencing techniques, Meyerson and his colleagues identified mutations in the DDR2 kinase gene in about 3 percent of squamous cell lung cancers and cell lines. Furthermore, they observed that tumor cells with these DDR2 mutations responded to therapy with dasatinib. A patient whose cancer carried a DDR2 mutation also showed a clinical response to dasatinib.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:23 AM CT

Immune system may guide chemotherapy

Immune system may guide chemotherapy
ORLANDO, Fla. � A study published in Cancer Discovery, the newest journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, debuting here at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held April 2-6, showed how evaluating the immune response in the tumor microenvironment may help scientists better target treatment in breast cancer.

Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, demonstrated that the level of macrophages and CD8+ T-cells, two key components of the human immune system, can help predict recurrence and overall survival. New biologic-targeted therapies impairing macrophage recruitment into tumors show promising results in preclinical studies.

"Phase I clinical trials are blunt instruments because their goal is often limited to determining a safe dose for a new drug," said Lisa Coussens, Ph.D., professor in the department of pathology at the University of California, San Francisco. "Using preclinical transgenic mouse models of cancer development, researchers cannot only help determine a safe dose for a new drug, but also identify biomarkers indicative of the biological response of the new drug. Identification of relevant biomarkers can then be translated to clinical studies and help to determine which patients are or are not responding to the drug".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 3, 2011, 9:03 AM CT

Heart drug cuts prostate cancer risk

Heart drug cuts prostate cancer risk
Johns Hopkins researchers and their colleagues paired laboratory and epidemiologic data to find that men using the cardiac drug, digoxin, had a 24 percent lower risk for prostate cancer. The researchers say further research about the discovery may lead to use of the drug, or new ones that work the same way, to treat the cancer.

Digoxin, made from the foxglove plant, has been used for centuries in folk medicine and for decades to treat congestive heart failure and heart rhythm abnormalities. It also emerged as a leading candidate among 3,000 drugs screened by the Johns Hopkins team for the drugs' ability to curb prostate cancer cell growth, as per the investigators, who published their findings in the April 3 issue of Cancer Discovery

Additional research, by the team, in a cohort of more than 47,000 men revealed that those who took digoxin for heart disease had a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer. The researchers cautioned, however, that their work does not prove digoxin prevents prostate cancer nor are they suggesting the drug be used to prevent the disease. "This is not a drug you'd give to healthy people," says Elizabeth Platz, Sc.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology, oncology, and urology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Serious side effects include male breast enlargement and heart rhythm irregularities, and the drug usually causes nausea, vomiting and headache.........

Posted by: Mark      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.

Medicineworld.org: Cancer blog

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