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March 17, 2008, 10:05 PM CT

Breast cancer in black women

Breast cancer in black women
Sarah Gehlert (left), the Helen Ross Professor in the School of Social Service Administration, and Olufunmilayo Olopade, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine and Human Genetics. (Photo: University of Chicago Medical Center)
Scientists at the University of Chicago are studying possible connections between living in disadvantaged neighborhoods and the development of early onset breast cancer in a path-breaking project led by Sarah Gehlert, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research at the University.

The initiative is funded with a $9.7 million grant from National Institutes of Health and is the first to use animal models to help determine what the biological factors might be behind the development of certain forms of breast cancer.

Gehlert is lead author of the paper discussing the findings, titled "Targeting Health Disparities: Linking Upstream Determinants to Downstream Interventions" reported in the current issue of Health Affairs.

Joining Gehlert, who is the Helen Ross Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University, as an author in the paper is Olufunmilayo Olopade, the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine and Human Genetics at the University. As part of the work of the CIHDR, Olopade and other scholars studied early onset breast cases in Nigerian women, whose genetic heritage is similar to African-Americans' because the ancestors of African-Americans largely came from West Africa.

African-American, like Nigerian, women, develop breast cancer earlier than white women, and it is often much deadlier. While white women commonly develop the disease after menopause, it develops previous to menopause among women of African heritage.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 7, 2008, 5:30 AM CT

Drugs like aspirin could reduce breast cancer

Drugs like aspirin could reduce breast cancer
Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin may reduce breast cancer by up to 20 per cent, as per an extensive review carried out by experts at Londons Guys Hospital and reported in the recent issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

But they stress that further research is needed to determine the best type, dose and duration and whether the benefits of regularly using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) outweigh the side effects, particularly for high-risk groups.

Our review of research published over the last 27 years suggests that, in addition to possible prevention, there may also be a role for NSAIDs in the therapy of women with established breast cancer says Professor Ian Fentiman from the Hedley Atkins Breast Unit at the hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

NSAID use could be combined with hormone treatment or used to relieve symptoms in the commonest cause of cancer-related deaths in women.

Professor Fentiman and Mr Avi Agrawal evaluated 21 studies covering more than 37,000 women published between 1980 and 2007.

Their review included 11 studies of women with breast cancer and ten studies that compared women who did and did not have the disease.

The purpose of a review like this is to look at a wide range of published studies and see if it is possible to pull together all the findings and come to any overarching conclusions explains Professor Fentiman. This includes looking at any conflicting results and exploring how the studies were carried out.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 28, 2008, 10:39 PM CT

Breast cancer death rates among black women

Breast cancer death rates among black women
A new study from the American Cancer Society finds that while breast cancer death rates are decreasing for white women in every U.S. state, for African American women, death rates are either flat or rising in at least half the states. The study, published early online in the journal Cancer Causes and Control, finds breast cancer death rates among African American women are decreasing in only 11 of 37 states with sufficient numbers for analysis and in the District of Columbia. In the rest, death rates are either flat (24 states) or actually increasing (two states: Arkansas and Mississippi).

American Cancer Society scientists led by Carol DeSantis, MPH, analyzed mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for the years 1975 through 2004 by state and race. At the national level, death rates began to decline in 1990 for white women and in 1991 for African American women. But they decreased far slower in African American women. As a result, the gap in death rates from breast cancer between African American and white women has increased substantially. In 1991, death rates among African American women were 18 percent higher in comparison to white women; by 2004, they were 36 percent higher. Eventhough breast cancer death rates have decreased in both African American and white women in the U.S. as a whole, the study found death rates have increased or remained level for African American women in 26 states.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 28, 2008, 10:23 PM CT

Targets Against Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer

Targets Against Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer
The identification of two cellular receptors that likely contribute to the genesis of hormone-dependent breast cancer points the way to new, highly targeted therapies against the disease, says a team led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

The finding also helps explain how daily use of medicines such as aspirin might help keep these breast tumors at bay.

"These two receptors, called EP2 and EP4, form key links in a biochemical pathway that boosts estrogen production in fat and breast cancer cells - this, in turn, may increase a woman's risk for developing hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Finding ways to interrupt this pathway in a manner that causes few side effects is the ultimate goal of this research," explains the study's senior author Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, director of the newly established Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and the Henry R. Erle, M.D.-Roberts Family Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The new findings were published recently in the online edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

About 75 percent of all breast malignancies are "estrogen receptor-positive," meaning that their cells carry receptors attuned to estrogen. In the presence of the hormone, these cancer cells will divide and grow. For this reason, anti-estrogen drugs such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors have come to the forefront in the fight against hormone-dependent breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 25, 2008, 9:13 PM CT

Test can reduce recurrence of breast cancer

Test can reduce recurrence of breast cancer
A new test that examines large sections of the sentinel lymph node for genes expressed by breast cancer could reduce the risk of recurrence and multiple surgeries, doctors say.

The GeneSearch Breast Lymph Node Assay, manufactured by Veridex, L.L.C., a Johnson & Johnson company, is being used at the Medical College of Georgia to examine half of the tissue in the sentinel lymph node, the first place breast cancer typically spreads. The sample represents more than 10 times the amount of tissue examined in traditional biopsies.

And because the test examines the tissue with molecular tools, it is more sensitive, says Dr. Zixuan (Zoe) Wang, molecular biologist and scientific director of MCG's Georgia Esoteric and Molecular Diagnostic Labs, L.L.C.

"When we look at the tissue with the GeneSearch test, we are looking for excessive amounts of mamoglobin and cytokeratin 19, both genes that are expressed more in breast cancer tissue," Dr. Wang says. "If those genes are present in excessive amounts, we know the cancer has metastasized."

MCG is the first place in Georgia to offer the test, which Time Magazine named one of the top-10 medical breakthroughs of 2007.

Done during a lumpectomy, the GeneSearch test uses molecular diagnostic methods to examine more tissue than traditional sentinel node biopsies, reducing the chance of false negative results, says Dr. Stephen Peiper, chair of the MCG Department of Pathology and Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Physician and Scientist.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 14, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Single reader with CAD more efficient

Single reader with CAD more efficient
Single reading of screening mammograms with computer-aided detection (CAD) is more efficient than double reading and yields a higher sensitivity than the first reader in a double reading program, as per a research studyconducted by scientists at Charlotte Radiology in Charlotte, NC. In addition, the readings with CAD had a significantly lower recall rate than double reading.

The double reading method consisted of the mammogram being first read by sub-specialized mammographers, with the second reading performed by either a specialist or a general radiologist who is certified in mammography. Single reading with CAD waccording toformed by sub-specialized mammographers.

The study compared the recall rate, sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and cancer detection rate of single reading with CAD to double reading and to the first reader in the double reading program in 231,221 mammograms from 2001-2005. The study shows that single reading with CAD was as effective at finding cancers as double reading and had a lower recall rate.

Because double reading is time consuming and not generally reimbursed, CAD has become increasingly popular in the United States as an alternative way to increase sensitivity, said Matthew Gromet, JD, MD, author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 31, 2008, 10:56 PM CT

BRCA1 mutation linked to breast cancer stem cells

BRCA1 mutation linked to breast cancer stem cells
Breast tissue from a woman with breast cancer who had the BRCA1 mutation, with the stem cells represented in red and estrogen receptors in brown. A cluster of expanded stem cells on the left displays decreased estrogen receptor expression compared to the normal lobules on the right.
A new study may explain why women with a mutation in the BRCA1 gene face up to an 85 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer.

Scientists from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center observed that BRCA1 plays a role in regulating breast stem cells, the small number of cells that might develop into cancers.

The study, in mice and in human breast cancer cells, observed that BRCA1 is involved in the stem cells differentiating into other breast tissue cells. When BRCA1 is missing, the stem cells accumulate unregulated and develop into cancer.

"Our data suggest that an important reason women with BRCA1 mutations get breast cancer is that BRCA1 is directly involved in the regulation of normal breast stem cells. In these women, loss of BRCA1 function results in the proliferation of breast stem cells. Since we think that breast cancer may originate in these cells, this explains why these women have such a high occurence rate of breast cancer," said senior study author Max S. Wicha, M.D., Distinguished Professor of Oncology and director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides strong support for the hypothesis that a small number of cells, called cancer stem cells, are responsible for fueling a tumor's growth. Wicha's lab was part of the team that first identified stem cells in human breast cancer in 2003.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 29, 2008, 9:24 PM CT

Digital mammography superior to film mammography

Digital mammography superior to film mammography
For some women, digital mammography may be a better screening option than film mammography, as per newly published results from a national study led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher.

The results, from the Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST), appear in the recent issue of Radiology. UNCs Dr. Etta D. Pisano is principal investigator and lead author of the study, which observed that digital mammography performed better than film mammography for pre- and perimenopausal women under age 50 with dense breasts.

We looked at a cross-section of characteristics, Pisano said. This paper confirms that if you are under 50, pre- or perimenopausal, and have dense breasts, you should definitely be screened with digital rather than film.

Pisano is Kenan professor of radiology and biomedical engineering and vice dean for academic affairs and in the UNC School of Medicine. She is also director of the Biomedical Research Imaging Center and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

DMIST enrolled 49,528 women at 33 centers in the U.S. and Canada. The women underwent both digital and film mammography. Breast cancer status was determined for 42,760 women.

The original DMIST results showed that digital was statistically similar to film in the overall screening population but performed better than film in pre- and perimenopausal women under 50, Pisano said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 28, 2008, 10:26 PM CT

Device Zeroes in on Small Breast Tumors

Device Zeroes in on Small Breast Tumors
A new medical imager for detecting and guiding the biopsy of suspicious breast cancer lesions is capable of spotting tumors that are half the size of the smallest ones detected by standard imaging systems, as per a new study.

The results of initial testing of the PEM/PET system, designed and constructed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, West Virginia University School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine would be reported in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology on Feb. 7.

"This is the most-important and most-difficult imager we've developed so far," Stan Majewski, Jefferson Lab Radiation Detector and Medical Imaging Group leader said. "It is another example of nuclear physics detector technology that we have put a lot of time and effort into adapting for the common good".

Testing of the new imager was led by Ray Raylman, a professor of radiology and vice chair of Radiology Research at WVU and lead author on the study. Raylman's team imaged various radioactive sources to test the resolution of the system.

"We had good performance characteristics, with image resolution below two millimeters. In regular PET, the image resolution is over five millimeters, so we're quite a bit better than that," Raylman said. In addition, the initial tests revealed that the PEM/PET system can complete an image and biopsy in about the same amount of time as a traditional biopsy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 21, 2008, 8:15 PM CT

Infections rates of breast surgery

Infections rates of  breast surgery
Infections at the incision site occurred in more than 5 percent of patients following breast surgery and cost them more than $4,000 each in hospital-related expenses, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Reported surgical site infection rates following mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) and other breast procedures range from 1 percent to 28 percent, as per background information in the article. Given the state of fiscal constraints within the U.S. health care system, it is important to calculate the cost-effectiveness of infection control interventions to justify their use from an economic perspective, the authors write. Cost-effectiveness analyses require accurate estimates for the attributable costs of hospital-acquired infections, which are lacking for surgical site infections.

Margaret A. Olsen, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and his colleagues studied 949 hospital admissions for mastectomy or breast reconstruction procedures at a university-affiliated hospital between 1999 and 2002. Surgical site infections were identified in an electronic hospital database and verified by review of medical records. Costs were taken from the hospital accounting database and included those from the original admission to the hospital for surgery as well as any readmissions within one year of surgery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Breast cancer
Every year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Breast cancer ranks second as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. Until recently breast cancer topped the list of leading causes of cancer deaths in women, but lately lung cancer has claimed the top position. If skin cancer is excluded, breast cancer is the commonest cancer among American women.

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