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September 2, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts

MRI is better than MDCT for determining if and how far breast cancer has spread into the breast ducts and should be used before patients receive breast conserving treatment, a new study shows.

"Patients have a lower survival rate if their surgical margins are positive for tumor cells. A positive surgical margin is commonly the result of inadequate resection of the cancer's intraductal component," said Akiko Shimauchi, MD, at Tohoku University in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. "Accurate preoperative diagnosis of the intraductal component allows the surgeon to achieve a cancer-free surgical margin," she said.

The study included 69 patients with proven invasive cancer, 44 of which had an intraductal component, said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI correctly identified 33 of the 44 cases, while MDCT correctly identified 27. "MRI revealed the presence of the intraductal component with significantly higher sensitivity (75%) in comparison to MDCT (61%), Dr. Shimauchi said.

"The lesions that were missed by both examinations were the ductal extension type, i.e. the tumor included a dominant mass with an outward extension of cancer cells, with a relatively small ductal component," said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI was better able to detect the smaller ductal components than MDCT, she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 6:21 AM CT

Family history of breast cancer may be missed

Family history of breast cancer may be missed
Using survey data from April 2003 to March 2005 for Women's Health Clinic patients without breast cancer, scientists observed that while 16% of the participants reported a maternal relative with breast cancer, only 10% reported a paternal relative. Because mothers are much more likely to develop breast cancer than fathers, participants who reported a mother with breast cancer were excluded from the study.

There may be multiple explanations for this unexpected discrepancy. For this particular study, the family histories might be accurate. This would lead to a conflict with current thinking about the inheritance of breast cancer risk. Alternatively, excessive reporting of maternal cancers could have affected the data, but earlier studies of family history indicate that breast cancer reporting tends to be accurate. Finally, men may not be aware of familial breast cancer risk and may not communicate this information to their relatives. This factor could be important where fathers are not present in the home or are unknown to the child. This would contribute to inaccuracy of family history, eventhough misinformation (as opposed to lack of information) about paternity should not affect the maternal paternal ratio.

Writing in the article, John M. Quillin, PhD, suggests, "The most likely explanation for these findings may be under-reporting of breast cancer on the paternal side. Future studies are needed to look for modifiable explanations (e.g., genetics education, family communication specifically for maternal and paternal relatives, or medical documentation) of the discrepancy in the reporting of family history of breast cancer to improve the sensitivity of the family history screen".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink


May 21, 2006, 9:18 AM CT

Vitamin E Offshoot A Potent Cancer Killer

Vitamin E Offshoot A Potent Cancer Killer
Scientists here have learned how a derivative of vitamin E causes the death of cancer cells. The scientists then used that knowledge to make the agent an even more potent cancer killer.

The compound, called vitamin E succinate, or alpha tocopheryl succinate, is taken by some people as a nutritional supplement, mainly for its antioxidant properties. In addition, it has a weak ability to kill cancer cells, and it has been tested as a cancer chemopreventive agent.

The substance kills cancer cells by causing them to undergo a natural process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis. Until now, no one knew how the agent caused this to happen.

These findings answer that question and also indicate that the molecule's antitumor activity is separate from its antioxidant effect.

The study, led by scientists with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), is reported in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"Our findings could lead to a potent chemopreventive agent that has both strong anticancer and antioxidant properties," says principal investigator Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and of internal medicine and a researcher with the OSUCCC-James.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 14, 2006, 4:50 PM CT

Carcinogens Found In Their Babies' Urine

Carcinogens Found In Their Babies' Urine Image courtesy of Blogs.globalink.org
When mom or dad puffs on a cigarette, their infants may inhale the resulting second-hand smoke. Now, researchers have detected cancer-causing chemicals associated with tobacco smoke in the urine of nearly half the babies of smoking parents.

"The take home message is, 'Don't smoke around your kids,'" said Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D., professor and Wallin Chair of Cancer Prevention at The Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

As per a research studyof 144 infants, reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Hecht and colleagues found detectable levels of NNAL* in urine from 47 percent of babies exposed to environmental tobacco carcinogens from cigarette smoking family members. NNAL is a cancer-causing chemical produced in the human body as it processes NNK**, a carcinogenic chemical specific to tobacco.

"The level of NNAL detected in the urine of these infants was higher than in most other field studies of environmental tobacco smoke in children and adults," Hecht said.

"NNAL is an accepted biomarker for uptake of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK. You don't find NNAL in urine except in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke, whether they are adults, children, or infants."

A prior study by Hecht and colleagues indicated that the first urine from newborns whose mothers smoked during pregnancy contained as much as one-third more NNAL compared to the babies in the current study. The newborn infants, however, took in the carcinogen directly from their mothers through their placentas rather than by breathing second-hand smoke in the air in their family homes and cars.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 10, 2006, 0:06 AM CT

Summer Sun Safety

Summer Sun Safety
Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source


May 3, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

Fenretinide Cuts The Risk Of Second Breast Cancers

Fenretinide Cuts The Risk Of Second Breast Cancers
A 15-year follow-up of women in a breast cancer trial has found that fenretinide[1] - a drug correlation to vitamin A - significantly cuts the risk of a second breast cancer among younger patients.

The Italian research team reporting the findings on-line (Thursday 4 May) in Annals of Oncology[2], are sufficiently convinced of the drug's protective potential to call for a trial to test its use as a preventive in pre-menopausal healthy women at high risk of the disease. They are now seeking international partners and funding for such a trial.

The women in the long-term follow-up comprised a sub-group of 1,700 - 60% of the patients in a 10-centre trial lead by Professor Umberto Veronesi and co-ordinated by Milan's Istituto Nazionale Tumori when he was its director. The study, which began in 1987, randomised more than 2,800 women to receive 200 mg fenretinide daily for five years or no extra therapy after surgery for early-stage breast cancer.

The new analysis, also lead by Professor Veronesi, who is now Director of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, followed the 1,739 patients who had been recruited by the Istituto Nazionale Tumori centre, investigating whether these patients developed a second cancer either in the treated breast or the other breast.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 27, 2006, 11:51 PM CT

Arthritis For Fatigue In Cancer Patients

Arthritis For Fatigue In Cancer Patients
Scientists here have found evidence that combining a drug typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis with chemotherapy might help reduce fatigue and muscle wasting that often afflicts cancer patients.

The findings of the preliminary study with 24 patients are published in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"Even though this was a small study, we found that we could deliver more chemotherapy when combined with the drug etanercept," said lead author Miguel A. Villalona-Calero, an associate professor of hematology and oncology and of pharmacology at Ohio State.

"This shows promise in helping reduce fatigue in cancer patients while increasing their ability to tolerate higher doses of chemotherapy on a more frequent basis," said Villalona-Calero, who is also researcher at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James).

Patients' fatigue - the state of overwhelming and sustained exhaustion that is not relieved by rest - often hinders physicians' ability to deliver chemotherapy to them on schedule because of their weakened state.

The fatigue and muscle wasting that are associated with cancer are largely caused when immune cells release a substance known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Eventhough TNF historically has been studied for its anticancer properties, recent studies indicate that TNF probably promotes tumor growth instead of hindering it.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 16, 2006, 8:21 PM CT

Low Dose Vitamin A Derivative Not Effective In Cancer Prevention

Low Dose Vitamin A Derivative Not Effective In Cancer Prevention
Taking a vitamin A derivative called isotretinoin did not reduce the risk of second primary tumors or improve survival in patients with stage I or II head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCC), as per a research studyin the April 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In addition, current smokers had an increased risk of second primary cancers and death.

HNSCCs are the fifth most common cancers and sixth leading cause of cancer related death today. In 2002, there were 600,000 new cases diagnosed worldwide. Some studies have suggested that vitamin A derivatives called retinoids may halt or even reverse growth of head and neck tumors. A clinical trial of high doses of a retinoid called isotretinoin, widely used to treat cystic acne, in patients with HNSCC found that those receiving isotretinoin developed fewer second primary tumors, especially smoking-related tumors. However, there were substantial side effects among those who received the high-dose isotretinoin, and subsequent studies of the compound have shown mixed results.

To assess the effect of lower, more tolerable doses of isotretinoin on the development of second primary tumors and survival among patients with early-stage HNSCC, Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, associate director of the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, and his colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial of 1,190 patients diagnosed with stage I or II HNSCC. Patients were randomly assigned to receive low-dose isotretinoin (30 mg/day) or a placebo for 3 years. They continued to monitor the patients for 4 or more years after therapy. This clinical trial is the largest chemoprevention study to date to examine the use of retinoids in patients with early-stage HNSCC.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 11:17 PM CT

More Than Half Of Esophageal Cancer Patients Now Survive

More Than Half Of Esophageal Cancer Patients Now Survive
In part because the nature of the disease has changed, nearly 50 percent of patients with esophageal cancer that undergo an advanced surgical procedure now survive for five years, not 20 percent as once thought, as per an article reported in the April edition of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center contend that earlier diagnoses, more widespread screening and individualized care have made surgery by far the best way to combat esophageal cancer as it is most often diagnosed today.

Whether surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or some combination of them should be the standard of care has been debated for years. Until recently, surgery has been considered the gold standard, but its role has been questioned by some medical oncologists based on their assumption that surgery comes with a high risk of complications and small chance of survival. In a number of cases today, oncologists will try chemotherapy and radiation first, completely avoiding surgery. Authors of the current study argue that the information used to make those decisions is dated, and that the surgery is the most effective approach in a number of patients.

"Those who argue against surgery for esophageal cancer cite surgical mortality rates of up to 15 percent and low five-year postoperative survival rates of 20 percent to justify their approach," said Jeffrey H. Peters, M.D., Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and Surgeon-in-chief of Strong Memorial Hospital. "What's worrying is that therapy decisions are being made based on decades-old experiences with a type of esophageal cancer that most patients no longer have, and on fears about problems with surgery that are no longer a concern. Our study found that the five-year survival of patients after surgical resection for esophageal adenocarcinoma is better than that reported for any other form of treatment," said Peters, co-author of the journal article.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:33 PM CT

Detecting Oral Cancer

Detecting Oral Cancer
Scientists supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, report today their initial success using a customized optical device that allows dentists to visualize in a completely new way whether a patient might have a developing oral cancer.

Called a Visually Enhanced Lesion Scope (VELScope), this simple, hand-held device emits a cone of blue light into the mouth that excites various molecules within our cells, causing them to absorb the light energy and re-emit it as visible fluorescence. Remove the light, and the fluorescence of the tissue is no longer visible.

Because changes in the natural fluorescence of healthy tissue generally reflect light-scattering biochemical or structural changes indicative of developing tumor cells, the VELScope allows dentists to shine a light onto a suspicious sore in the mouth, look through an attached eyepiece, and watch directly for changes in color. Normal oral tissue emits a pale green fluorescence, while potentially early tumor, or dysplastic, cells appear dark green to black.

Testing the device in 44 people, the results of which are published online in the Journal of Biomedical Optics, the researchers found they could distinguish correctly in all but one instance between normal and abnormal tissue. Their diagnoses were confirmed to be correct by biopsy and standard pathology.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:08 PM CT

Nano-technology To Kill Cancer Cells

Nano-technology To Kill Cancer Cells
Research studies, based at the University of Pennsylvania, demonstrate that biodegradable nano-particles containing two potent cancer-fighting drugs are effective in killing human breast tumors. The unique properties of the hollow shell nano-particles, known as polymersomes, allow them to deliver two distinct drugs, paclitaxel, the leading cancer drug known by brand names such as Taxol, and doxorubicin directly to tumors implanted in mice. Their findings, presented online in the journal Molecular Pharamaceutics, illustrate the broad clinical potential of polymersomes.

"The system provides many advantages over other Trojan horse-style drug delivery system, and should prove a useful tool in fighting many diseases," said Dennis Discher, a professor in Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science and a member of Penn newly established Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. "Here we show that drug-delivering polymersomes will break down in the acidic environment of the cancer cells, allowing us to target these drugs within tumor cells." .

One key feature of molecular mechanism involves putting pores in the cancer cell membranes and has been simulated with supercomputers by Michael F. Klein and Goundla Srinivas of Penn's Department of Chemistry. While cell membranes and liposomes (vesicles often used for drug-delivery) are created from a double layer of fatty molecules called phospholipids, a polymersome is comprised of two layers of synthetic polymers. The individual polymers are degradable and considerably larger than individual phospholipids but have a number of of the same chemical features. This results in a structure that looks like a very small cell or virus.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 9, 2006, 8:09 PM CT

Timing Of Radiation Treatments For Colon Cancer

Timing Of Radiation Treatments For Colon Cancer
Researchers have unexpectedly discovered that mice with the gene defect that causes colon cancer in humans can differ from normal mice in how they respond to radiation therapys. The large intestine carrying the gene defect in mice that received staggered doses of radiation was three to four times more resistant to the radiation than in control mice.

The researchers, led by Bruce Boman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Genetic and Preventive Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center and Dennis Leeper, Ph.D., professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College, say these results may have implications for treating patients with colon cancer, which is a tumor that frequently has mutations in a gene called APC.

They reported their findings this week at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. (Stem Cell Number and Radiation Resistance During Repair in Colonic Crypts of APC Mice: Abstract no. LB-311).

Researchers have known that patients' colon tumors with APC mutations have an increased amount of survivin, a protein that halts the process of programmed cell death. This increase also appears to be associated with a rise in the number of stem cells that sit at the bottom of colonic crypts, tube-like structures that make up the lining of the intestine. Drs. Leeper and Boman wanted to see if there was a difference in stem cell number between normal mice and mice that carry a mutation in APC. To do this, they exposed both normal and mutant mice to radiation, testing their ability to repair the resulting DNA damage. They speculated that increased survivin in the mutant mice might enable more stem cells to survive and affect the response to radiation. The scientists asked if mice with an APC mutation, making them prone to develop colon cancer, are different from normal mice in radiation sensitivity and their ability to repair the damage. Normal cells can repair DNA damage from radiation, Dr. Leeper explains.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


April 7, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

Pain Medications Prevent Cancer

Pain Medications Prevent Cancer
Results results from a new, five-year study is showing that regular use this popular group of prescription pain relievers may reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 71 percent. In addition, these drugs may also benefit in the prevention of prostate, colon and lung cancers.

These study findings were reported in the recent annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. The researchers have found significant chemopreventive effects against breast cancer with the regular use of Cox-2 inhibitors and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The study was conducted by Dr. Randall Harris, professor and director of the Center for Molecular Epidemiology and Environmental Health in The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Dr. Randall Harris and colleagues conducted a large case-control study of Cox-2 inhibitors and studied their impact upon the four leading types of cancer in the United States: breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer. COX-2 inhibitors are non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs that specifically block the COX-2 enzyme pathway that is often activated in inflammation, cancer, heart disease and other disorders.

Harris and his colleagues studied the use of celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx), regular aspirin, low-dose aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen among 323 women with breast cancer from 1999-2004.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 5, 2006, 9:55 PM CT

Is Cancerm An Inflammatory Disease?

Is Cancerm An Inflammatory Disease?
The biological processes underlying diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer are fundamentally linked, and should be linked in how they are treated with drugs, a series of MIT studies indicates.

Key to the work: The scientists applied an engineering approach to cell biology, using mathematical and numerical tools normally associated with the former discipline.

In a series of three papers, the latest of which appeared in the March 24 issue of Cell, Professors Douglas A. Lauffenburger, Peter K. Sorger and Michael B. Yaffe, all members of MIT's Center for Cancer Research, led a team of researchers and engineers in looking at how cells make life-or-death decisions. Understanding what tips a cell toward survival or death is key to treating diseases and fighting cancer through radiation, drug treatment and chemotherapy.

The scientists looked at tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a substance produced by the immune system that promotes cell death, and two prosurvival hormones, epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin. TNF and EGF induce conflicting prosurvival and prodeath signals, and the "crosstalk" between these signals is not well understood. The MIT studies provide the first big picture of how these two key factors interact in time and space.

The studies uncovered a surprising link between inflammatory diseases and cancer that may change how these diseases are treated in the future.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 4, 2006, 9:25 PM CT

Lapatinib In The Treatment Of Breast Cancer

Lapatinib In The Treatment Of Breast Cancer
Based on the unanimous recommendation of an Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC), GlaxoSmithKline announced that it has halted enrollment in its Phase III clinical trial evaluating the combination of Tykerb (lapatinib ditosylate) and capecitabine (Xeloda(R)) versus capecitabine alone.

The trial evaluated women with refractory advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have documented ErbB2 (HER2) overexpression and whose disease progressed following treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin(R)) as well as other cancer therapies. A pre-planned interim analysis of 321 patients in the study yielded statistically significant results, exceeding the primary endpoint.

According to the study protocol, the pre-planned interim analysis was reviewed by the IDMC, which is comprised of medical oncology experts and a statistician. The IDMC unanimously recommended halting enrollment in the study because it exceeded its primary endpoint of time to disease progression, or TTP, for women receiving the combination of Tykerb and capecitabine. The IDMC made their recommendation based on pre-specified stopping rules outlined in their charter. All women currently enrolled in the trial will continue to be followed and those who are receiving capecitabine alone will be offered the option of switching to the combination therapy of capecitabine and Tykerb in consultation with their physician.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 4, 2006, 8:39 PM CT

People With Allergies Are Less Likely To Develop Brain Tumors

People With Allergies Are Less Likely To Develop Brain Tumors
In their quest to determine whether immune system surveillance guards against brain tumor development, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that allergies and asthma that stimulate inflammation may be protective, but use of antihistamines to control the inflammation could eliminate that protection.

In this study, reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the scientists also associated chicken pox infection with a significantly reduced risk of developing brain tumors.

The scientists say the findings suggest that a small amount of inflammation in the brain may rev up the immune system enough to protect against brain tumor development. But they stress that no one should give up antihistamines or shun use of a chicken pox vaccine because of this study.

"Brain tumors are exceedingly rare, and a number of, a number of people use antihistamines, so we certainly are not suggesting a direct correlation between the two, or between chicken pox and tumors," says the study's lead author, Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Epidemiology. "What this study may do is help us begin to understand if the immune system plays a role in development of different kinds of brain tumors".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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