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April 2008 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for April 2008. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Genetic Variations Predict Outcomes in Acute Leukemia

WEDNESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- While cytogenetic markers have known prognostic value in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), new research shows that among patients with cytogenetically normal AML who lack these traditional markers, genomic disruptions in leukemic cells can be used to predict outcomes and response to treatment, according to two studies published in the May 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract -- Marcucci
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Abstract -- Schlenk
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Editorial

Cancer Disproportionately Affects Polynesians

WEDNESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among the indigenous Polynesian people who live in the Pacific triangle -- a vast area that stretches from New Zealand to Hawaii -- there are significant disparities in cancer incidence, mortality and survival, according to a review article published in the May issue of The Lancet Oncology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Most Meeting Abstracts Eventually Published

WEDNESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- About three-quarters of abstracts presented at the 2000 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting were eventually published, though in some cases there were differences in the primary end point and conclusions, according to a report in the May 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Doctors Overestimate Ability to Make Right Diagnosis

WEDNESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians have a tendency to underappreciate the scope to make wrong diagnoses and are overconfident in their diagnostic decisions, according to an article published in a supplement to the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

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Medicare Cancer Costs Substantial, Vary by Tumor Site

WEDNESDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The burden of elderly cancer care on the Medicare system varies according to tumor site, phase of care and stage at diagnosis, as well as the survival rates of patients, but overall the costs are substantial, according to a report published in the May 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract
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Physicians Lack Feedback on Accuracy of Diagnoses

TUESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Clinical diagnosis is a largely open-loop system in which there is no systematic way for clinicians to obtain feedback on the outcome of their diagnoses, according to an article published in a supplement to the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

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Palliative Care Can Improve Patient Care Most, Poll Finds

MONDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In an international poll conducted by BMJ to determine which area of health care would enable doctors to make the greatest difference to patients, palliative care for non-malignant disease received the most votes, the BMJ Group announced at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Health Care in Paris this week.

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Method Images Oxygenation and Metabolites in Tumors

MONDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- A real-time method combining functional and anatomic imaging can produce a map of oxygenation and metabolite levels in tumors, according to study findings published online April 22 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Protein Implicated in Gastric Inflammation, Tumors

MONDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence from animal studies points to aberrant activation of STAT1 and STAT3 -- mediated by the cytokine IL-11 -- in chronic gastric inflammation and gastric tumors, according to research published in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Abstract
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FDA Approves Drug for Opioid-Induced Constipation

FRIDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it has approved Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide) to help restore bowel function in patients with late-stage, advanced illness requiring chronic opioids for pain control.

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Skin Exams Quick With or Without Dermoscopy

FRIDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to an expectation many physicians may have, a complete skin examination -- even using a dermoscope -- takes less than three minutes, according to research published in the April Archives of Dermatology.

Abstract
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Studies Examine Letrozole in Long-Term Cancer Prevention

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Three articles in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology support the use of the aromatase inhibitor letrozole in women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who had discontinued tamoxifen for a substantial length of time and also in older women.

Abstract - Goss
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Abstract - Muss
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Abstract - Crivellari
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Editorial

Individualized Treatments for Multiple Myeloma Possible

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- New drugs with novel mechanisms of action and a better understanding of the biology of multiple myeloma will lead to more individualized treatments for the disease, according to a study published online April 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Leukemia Drug Toxic at Higher Doses

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Higher doses of lenalidomide can lead to serious adverse outcomes including tumor flare in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, according to a study published online April 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Risedronate Protects Bone Mass in Breast Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Once-weekly risedronate protects against chemotherapy-related bone loss in women with breast cancer, according to an article published online April 21 in The Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Regular Mammography Helpful in Older Women

WEDNESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly women who develop breast cancer may present with the disease at earlier stages and have better breast cancer-specific five-year survival if they've had regular mammograms, according to research published online April 21 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Employee Screening Program Reduced Melanoma Mortality

WEDNESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Workplace educational campaigns that promote self-examination and targeted screening for melanoma may significantly reduce melanoma mortality, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Abstract
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Lab Studies Link Brd4 to Breast Cancer Inhibition

WEDNESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Activation of the bromodomain protein Brd4 inhibits tumor growth and metastasis in mice and helps predict outcome in human breast cancer, according to research published online April 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Abstract
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Cisplatin Therapy Delivers Worse Anal Cancer Outcomes

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with anal canal carcinoma, induction chemotherapy with fluorouracil and cisplatin before concurrent radiation was added failed to improve disease-free survival and resulted in a worse colostomy rate than treatment with fluorouracil, mitomycin and radiation, according to research published in the April 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Abstract
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ACS: Report Details Cancer Prevention Trends in U.S.

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Several favorable trends linked to falling cancer rates in the United States may be in jeopardy, according to a report issued by the American Cancer Society, which points out that the decline in smoking appears to be leveling off and that mammography rates are no longer increasing and may even be decreasing.

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Chemotherapy Drug Damages Mouse Central Nervous System

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- The chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluorouracil causes acute and delayed damage to progenitor cells and myelin in the mouse central nervous system, which may explain the cognitive problems experienced by some cancer patients, according to a study published online April 22 in the Journal of Biology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Obesity, Inactivity Undermine Cancer Survivors' Prognosis

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors in Canada may be at higher risk from disease because they have low levels of physical activity and a high prevalence of obesity, according to a study published online April 21 in Cancer.

Abstract
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Skin Lesion Diameter Criteria Useful Guide for Biopsy

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- The current guidelines for investigation of skin lesions, whereby a lesion larger than 6 millimeters in diameter triggers a decision to do a biopsy, should continue to be observed, as they provide a useful parameter in combination with other criteria, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Abstract
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Scalp and Neck Melanomas Have Lower Survival Odds

TUESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with melanomas on the scalp and neck have a worse prognosis than their counterparts with the cancer on other parts of the body, according to a study published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Abstract
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Hormone Receptors Linked to Breast Cancer Recurrence

MONDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of local recurrence and distant metastases is associated with hormone receptor status in women who underwent breast-conserving therapy for breast cancer, according to a study published online April 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Palliative Care and Legal Euthanasia Can Coexist

MONDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Although palliative care and legal euthanasia are usually perceived as antagonistic camps, this need not be the case, and euthanasia can be linked to the development of palliative care, according to an article published in the April 19 issue of BMJ.

Abstract
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Treatment Regimen Benefits Colorectal Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy combined with bevacizumab significantly improves progression-free survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, according to two studies published in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract - Saltz
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Abstract - Cassidy
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Prostate Cancer Mortality Higher in U.K. Than U.S.

FRIDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- There was a dramatic decline in prostate cancer mortality in the United States from 1994 to 2004, which coincided with a significant increase in uptake of prostate-specific antigen testing and which was not mirrored in the United Kingdom, according to a report published online April 17 in The Lancet Oncology.

Abstract
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Longer Androgen Deprivation Beneficial in Prostate Cancer

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term androgen-deprivation therapy significantly improves many outcomes in locally advanced prostate cancer, except survival, although survival is also improved in patients with more aggressive cancers, according to a report published online April 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Low-Fat Diet Reduces Progression to Prostate Cancer

THURSDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing dietary fat can slow the transition from prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia to invasive prostate cancer in mice genetically prone to developing the disease, according to a report in the April 15 issue of Cancer Research.

Abstract
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Adjuvant Chemo with Taxanes Studied in Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- In the treatment of breast cancer, weekly dosing of paclitaxel after a standard doxorubicin-cyclophosphamide chemotherapy regimen may improve survival, according to an article published in the April 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Road Transport Pollution Linked to Excess Deaths

WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of air pollution caused by road transport are associated with increased rates of death from cancer and other diseases, particularly pneumonia, according to study findings published in the May issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Abstract
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Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Effective in Mice

TUESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- A peptide vaccine targeting human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) protects mice against the virus as well as other HPV subtypes, according to a report published online April 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Method Detects Extracolonic Lesions Over Colonoscopy

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Abdominal computed tomography with colonography (CTC) is more effective and less costly than optical colonoscopy (OC) for the detection of extracolonic findings such as abdominal aortic aneurysms and extracolonic cancers, according to an article in the April 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Editorial

Radiation from Kyphoplasty Hazardous to Surgeon

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Surgeons who perform kyphoplasty frequently may be exposed to radiation doses in unprotected areas, such as the hands and eyes, that exceed occupational safety limits, according to an article published in the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques in April.

Abstract
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Quality Clinical Trials Should Follow GCP Guidelines

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Oncologists wishing to design and conduct quality clinical trials should follow Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines, with sites wishing to exceed these standards incorporating additional attributes, according to a statement published online April 7 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Individualized Health Care Budgets Improve Care

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- The U.K.'s National Health Service should allow patients individual control of their health care budgets, an approach that has been shown in pilot studies to improve outcomes and patient satisfaction in a cost-effective manner, according to an analysis published April 12 in BMJ.

Editorial

Drug Protects Animals Against Radiation Damage

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- A drug that activates a cellular pathway used by cancer cells to avoid death can protect against radiation damage and improve survival when given before or after irradiation of mice and primates, researchers report in the April 11 issue of Science.

Abstract
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New Schema for Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer Proposed

FRIDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new model of ovarian cancer that distinguishes between slow-growing and rapidly growing tumors may allow more targeted screening and a more rational treatment approach, according to a review article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in April.

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Benign Breast Disease Linked to Equine Estrogen

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women taking conjugated equine estrogen have about double the risk of developing benign proliferative breast disease, which is associated with increased breast cancer risk, compared with women taking placebo, researchers report in the April 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract
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No Effect of High-Dose Chemo on Lung Cancer Survival

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Raising the chemotherapy dose intensity in patients with small cell lung cancer does not improve survival and has substantial toxicity, researchers report in the April 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract
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Editorial

Consider Health Literacy Level When Writing for Patients

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Giving patients clearly written educational materials that convey key messages without resorting to jargon is an important part of engaging patient compliance with treatment and can contribute to health literacy, according to an article published in the April issue of Chest.

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Many Cancers Express Embryonic Stem Cell Genes

THURSDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Many cancers express genes normally expressed in embryonic stem cells, and activation of these genes in normal cells can cause them to become cancerous, according to research published in the April 10 issue of Cell Stem Cell.

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Study Shows Advantage of Breast Cancer Staging Method

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- In breast cancer patients who were staged node-negative by conventional single-section pathology, current sentinel lymph node biopsy techniques detect occult axillary node metastases that are prognostically significant, according to an article published in the April 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Little Difference with Further Chemo for Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients who initially respond to chemotherapy have similar outcomes with further cycles of chemotherapy, while patients who do not initially respond and are treated with further chemotherapy or a different chemotherapy regimen also have similar outcomes, according to two studies published in the April 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract
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Abstract
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Doctors Vote on the Ways to Make Biggest Difference

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- The BMJ has begun accepting votes on which areas of health care allow doctors to make the biggest difference to patient care, with a shortlist of six areas each being championed by eminent doctors and researchers. The winning topic will gain special coverage in the BMJ and the BMJ Group's 24 other specialist journals and online education products.

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Switch in Castration Method with Insurance Change

WEDNESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Reductions in U.S. Medicare reimbursement for medical castration, used to treat prostate cancer by androgen deprivation, in 2003 resulted in a switch from medical to surgical castration, according to an article published online Apr. 7 in Cancer.

Abstract
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Combined Therapy Promising in Unresectable Liver Cancer

TUESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with large unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma tumors, treatment with transarterial chemoembolization followed by radiofrequency ablation leads to improved survival compared to treatment with either of the two modalities alone, according to research published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Model Predicts Survival Factors in Gallbladder Cancer

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- A model based on patient and tumor characteristics can predict the value of adjuvant radiotherapy for overall survival in patients with gallbladder cancer, according to a report released online March 31 in advance of publication in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Some Increased Cancer Survival Due to Cure Rate

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment advances have increased the life expectancy of late-stage colorectal and testicular cancer patients mostly by increasing the percentage cured, while the increase in life expectancy for ovarian cancer patients is primarily due to longer survival of uncured patients, according to study findings published online April 7 in Cancer.

Abstract
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Cytokine Facilitates Breast Cancer Metastasis to Lung

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer metastasis to the lung is dependent on the induction of a cytokine that increases the permeability of lung capillaries and facilitates the passage of tumor cells, researchers report in the April 4 issue of Cell.

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Childhood Cancer Survivors Need Risk-Based Follow-Up

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood cancer often experience late effects of their treatment, but not all patients need to be recalled to a cancer clinic for follow-up, according to an editorial published in the April 5 issue of BMJ.

Editorial

Provider Input Affects Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction

FRIDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- Disparities in rates of breast reconstruction following mastectomy for breast cancer may in part depend on whether physicians discussed breast reconstruction with their patients, according to an article published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Abstract
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Cervical Threats May Arrive Without Human Papillomavirus

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Out of any sizeable population, the occasional woman with cervical precancer will test negative for high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) for a variety of possible reasons, according to research published in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Abstract
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Controversy Highlights Need for Funding Disclosure

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- An editorial published April 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine disclosed that a previously published study reporting a favorable prognosis among individuals with stage I lung cancers detected by screening had received a large amount of funding from a foundation with links to the cigarette industry, highlighting the necessity of full disclosure of funding sources of biomedical research.

Editorial

Obesity Reduces Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing body mass is associated with a modest reduction in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations among men without prostate cancer, according to a review published in the April issue of Urology.

Abstract
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Practices Vary Among Cell Transplant Physicians

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Transplant practices vary worldwide among both pediatric and adult hematopoietic cell transplantation physicians, suggesting the need for clinical trials or observational data to guide the best practice, according to the results of a study published online March 31 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Short-Term Starvation May Improve Chemotherapy

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Short-term starvation can protect normal mammalian cells -- but not cancer cells -- against high-dose chemotherapy, according to a study published online March 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Abstract
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Chemotherapy Anemia Linked to Breast Cancer Relapse

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Premenopausal patients with early-stage primary breast cancer who develop anemia after receiving adjuvant cyclophosphamide/methotrexate/5-fluorouracil chemotherapy have a significantly increased risk of local relapse, according to research published in the April 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Abstract
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Phototherapy Seems to Help in Bile-Duct Cancer Survival

WEDNESDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma, photodynamic therapy used with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may improve survival compared with just ERCP, according to research published in the March issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Genetic Data Adds to Breast Cancer Risk Stratification

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Gene expression signatures may offer a valuable source of information to use with clinical risk stratification to enhance prognosis of breast cancer, according to research published in the April 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Human Papillomavirus Widespread Among U.S. Women

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The human papillomavirus (HPV) strains that put women at high risk of cervical cancer are widespread among U.S. women who undergo cervical screening, a finding that could influence whether or not testing for the virus is included in routine screening for cervical cancer, according to a report published in the April 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Editorial

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