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April 18, 2007, 11:07 PM CT

Smoking indicator of alcohol misuse

Smoking indicator of alcohol misuse
Where there is cigarette smoking there is probably misuse of alcohol too, as per a research studyby Yale School of Medicine scientists in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"This means cigarette smoking status can be used as a clinical indicator for alcohol misuse, which presents an opportunity for intervention," said the principal investigator, Sherry McKee, assistant professor of psychiatry.

She said that eventhough brief screening and brief intervention provided in primary care settings are effective, clinicians do not frequently screen for alcohol misuse. This is a matter of concern because 26 percent of the U.S. population is drinking at hazardous levels, which puts them at increased risk for alcohol-related consequences such as injuries from motor vehicle crashes, hypertension, depression, and certain cancers.

"Only an estimated 30 percent of individuals who had a primary care visit reported being screened for an alcohol or drug use problem," McKee said. "Physicians are much more likely to ask patients whether and how often they smoke".

She and her collaborators arrived at their conclusions after analyzing data obtained from 42,374 adults in a national epidemiological survey on alcohol misuse and other related conditions. Following guidelines that physicians use to assess tobacco and alcohol use, they observed that non-daily smokers are five times more likely to have a problem with alcohol in comparison to people who have never smoked. Daily smokers are three times more likely to have an alcohol problem.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 17, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Increased Survival In Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Increased Survival In Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
A phase III trial of 1,298 colorectal cancer patients has observed that a combination of the drugs cetuximab (Erbitux) and irinotecan showed a significant improvement in progression-free survival over just irinotecan alone, as per an international team of researchers.

The Erbitux Plus Irinotecan in Colorectal Cancer (EPIC) study looked at survival in metastatic colorectal cancer patients who had already shown resistance to conventional therapies. The research was presented today at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

By the end of the study, a significantly larger number of patients who received the combination of cetuximab, an antibody against the epidermal growth factor and irinotecan, an enzyme-inhibiting cancer drug, survived without their cancers progressing further. The tumor response rate in this group was also significantly higher. The study was sponsored, in part, by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck KGaA.

"Patients who received both cetuximab and irinotecan experienced longer periods of time spent, on average, without further progression of the disease," said Alberto F. Sobrero, M.D., of the San Martino Hospital's Department of Medical Oncology in Genoa, Italy. "From a patient perspective, any improvement in progression-free survival, as well as tumor shrinkage, is worthwhile. These data confirm that, despite a moderate increase in side effects, cetuximab is a key therapeutic agent in the optimal therapy of advanced colorectal cancer".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


April 15, 2007, 9:05 PM CT

Genetics, society and race

Genetics, society and race
Minority individuals are much more likely to develop and die from cancer than the general U.S. population. Prior research points to lack of health insurance, poverty, language and cultural barriers, and inadequate access to early detection services and good medical care as causes. Research reported today at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) suggests that genetics, in addition to socioeconomic status, are important factors accounting for the disparity of cancer incidence and mortality between African-Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians.

Exploring New Measures of Socio-Demographic Factors Linked to Later Stage of Cancer Diagnosis: Abstract 795

A survey of stomach and kidney cancer patients in Los Angeles revealed that those who were diagnosed in a late stage of disease when cancer is harder to treat successfully were likely to be older, living in an unsafe neighborhood and traveling at least 45 minutes to get to the doctor.

Scientists at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine cite two general types of personal risk factors linked to late cancer diagnosis: socio-economic, or cultural, factors correlation to knowledge about the health care system and difficulties accessing it; and individuals' failure to give priority to medical care, despite having access to it.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 15, 2007, 9:02 PM CT

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge

Eating Well Is The Best Revenge
We all know that eating fruits, vegetables and soy products provides essential nutrition for a healthy lifestyle, while obesity leads to the opposite. Yet proving the effect of nutrition, or obesity, on cancer is an experimental challenge and a focus for scientists. As per emerging evidence being presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, eating well might still be one of the more pleasurable ways to prevent cancer and promote good health.

A novel mechanism for the chemoprotection by 3,3-diindolylmethane (DIM) and genistein for breast and ovary cancer: Abstract 4217

Eating such foods as broccoli and soy are believed to offer some protection against cancer, but how this occurs is not well-understood. Now, in laboratory experiments, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, have discovered a biological mechanism whereby two compounds in these foods might lower the invasive and metastatic potential of breast and ovary cancer cells.

They observed that diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound resulting from digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, a major isoflavone in soy, reduce production of two proteins whose chemotactic attraction to each other is necessary for the spread of breast and ovary cancers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 15, 2007, 8:56 PM CT

New non-invasive diagnostic technologies

New non-invasive diagnostic technologies
Molecular messages and signals circulating in blood or contained in cells lining the airway can identify early stage cancer, as per research reported today at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Researchers looking to apply basic science knowledge to medical practice are in the process of developing tests that diagnose, predict or monitor cancer risks, without invasive tissue sampling. Such tests could benefit all, especially underserved populations, such as the poor, who often wait until symptoms appear before seeing a doctor.

Lung carcinogenesis tracked by DNA methylation mapping from exhaled breath of ambulatory subjects: Abstract 827

A series of quietly exhaled breaths might indicate whether or not a patient is at risk for lung cancer, as per scientists from the New York State Department of Health. Using DNA recovered from exhaled breath, scientists can examine the state of cells that line the lungs, and potentially detect cancer at an early stage, when therapy may be most successful.

"Early detection of lung cancer is vital, yet there is no current non-invasive means of identifying cancer in a clinical setting," said Simon Spivack, M.D., M.P.H, research doctor in the Human Toxicology & Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory at the New York State Department of Healths Wadsworth Center. "We have observed that exhaled breath contains DNA, we believe from the cells lining the lungs, which may then tell us whether that person is at risk for cancer".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 15, 2007, 8:50 PM CT

Targeted Therapy For A Specific Form Of Leukemia

Targeted Therapy For A Specific Form Of Leukemia
Leukemia, or cancer of the bone marrow, strikes some 700 Belgians each year. Researchers are still searching for the cause of a number of forms of leukemia, including T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or T-ALL. Now, VIB scientists connected to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven have identified a new player in the development of some 10% of the T-ALL cases: MYB. The researchers have discovered that patients in this group have a duplication of the MYB gene, which increases MYB concentrations. Further research has indicated that MYB might well be an important target for therapies for this group of T-ALL patients.

T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL)

Our bodies white blood cells combat foreign intruders such as viruses and bacteria. However, in leukemia, the formation of white blood cells is disrupted. The cells in the bone marrow that should develop into white blood cells multiply out of control without fully maturing. These blood cells do not function properly and thus jeopardize the production of normal blood cells. Among other consequences, this makes patients more susceptible to infections. T-ALL is a certain form of leukemia in which immature T-cells (a specific type of blood cells) build up very rapidly. T-ALL is the most prevalent form of cancer in children under 14 years of age, striking children between the ages of 2 and 3 in particular. Today, with optimal therapy using chemotherapy, more than half of the children are cured.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 15, 2007, 8:36 PM CT

DNA Test Can Be Early Predictor Of Liver Cancer

DNA Test Can Be Early Predictor Of Liver Cancer
Scientists at Columbia Universitys Mailman School of Public Health have discovered a means for early detection of liver cancer. Using DNA isolated from serum samples as a baseline biomarker, the researchers examined changes in certain tumor suppressor genes that have been linked to the development of liver carcinomas. This is the first study to prospectively examine potential biomarkers for early detection of liver cancer in high-risk populations, including those with chronic hepatitis B and C virus infections.

Since most hepatocellular or liver carcinomas (HCC) are diagnosed at an advanced and commonly fatal stage, the development of screening methods for early detection is critical. HCC is one of the most common and rapidly fatal human malignancies. Worldwide, the almost 500,000 new cases and nearly equivalent number of fatalities illustrates the lack of effective therapeutic alternatives for this disease.

The Mailman School scientists and his colleagues studied the blood of patients enrolled in a cancer screening program in Taiwan, who provided repeated blood samples previous to diagnosis. A total of 12,000 males and over 11,900 females recruited in 1991-2 are being followed. Screenings performed by the team of Mailman School researchers found changes linked to cancer in serum DNA, presumably released from the tumor, one to nine years before actual clinical diagnosis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 15, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Factors Attributed To Later Stage Cancer Diagnosis

Factors Attributed To Later Stage Cancer Diagnosis
Scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) observed that patients who received a later stage cancer diagnosis were likely to be living in an unsafe neighborhood, using public transportation and traveling at least 45 minutes to get to a doctor's office. The study will be presented at this week's American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) in Los Angeles on April 15.

A survey of more than 350 stomach and kidney cancer patients in Los Angeles revealed patients were more likely to receive a later stage cancer diagnosis because of a combination of personal risk factors and neighborhood conditions.

"In this study, we looked at three types of factors that may cause late detection of cancer, including personal risk factors, neighborhood factors and the combination of both, " says lead author Ann Hamilton, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine of the Keck School of Medicine. "Using census tract, we wanted to see if where someone lived posed any risks for later stage diagnosis in addition to personal risk factors".

The study cites two general types of personal risk factors that correlate to later detection. Socio-ecological and cultural factors, including unsafe neighborhoods, lower level of education, language barriers and lack of transportation, were linked to a higher risk. Also, patients who gave medical care low priority because of busy work or family lives demonstrated a higher risk for late diagnosis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 11, 2007, 11:09 PM CT

Stress may help cancer cells resist treatment

Stress may help cancer cells resist treatment
Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine are the first to report that the stress hormone epinephrine causes changes in prostate and breast cancer cells that may make them resistant to cell death.

"These data imply that emotional stress may contribute to the development of cancer and may also reduce the effectiveness of cancer therapys," said George Kulik, D.V.M., Ph.D., an assistant professor of cancer biology and senior researcher on the project.

The study results are reported on-line in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and will appear in a future print issue.

Levels of epinephrine, which is produced by the adrenal glands, are sharply increased in response to stressful situations and can remain continuously elevated during persistent stress and depression, as per prior research. The goal of the current study was to determine whether there is a direct link between stress hormones and changes in cancer cells.

While a link between stress and cancer has been suggested, studies in large groups of people have been mixed.

"Population studies have had contradictory results," said Kulik. "We asked the question, If stress is associated with cancer, what is the cellular mechanism? There had been no evidence that stress directly changes cancer cells".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 11, 2007, 11:06 PM CT

Genes set scene for metastasis

Genes set scene for metastasis
Biologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) have identified a set of genes expressed in human breast cancer cells that work together to remodel the network of blood vessels at the site of the primary tumor. These genes were also found to promote the spread of breast cancer to the lungs. The study, conducted in mice and reported in this week's Nature, helps to explain how cancer metastasis can occur and highlights targets for therapeutic therapy.

Metastasis the leading cause of mortality in cancer patients entails numerous biological functions that collectively enable malignant cells from a primary site to disseminate and overtake distant organs. Many genes are already known to contribute to the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs.

Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, Joan Massagu, PhD, Chair of MSKCC's Cancer Biology and Genetics Program and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and his colleagues showed how four genes facilitate the formation of new tumor blood vessels, the release of cancer cells into the bloodstream, and the penetration of tumor cells from the bloodstream into the lung. The gene set comprises EREG (an epidermal growth factor receptor ligand), the cyclooxygenase COX2, and MMP1 and MMP2 (matrix enzymes that are expressed in human breast cancer cells).........

Posted by: Janet      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.

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