August 2006 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for August 2006. 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.

Genome Mapping Links Region to Prostate Cancer in Blacks

THURSDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a region on chromosome 8q24 that is significantly associated with prostate cancer risk in African American men, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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No Increased Cancer Risk for Biologic Arthritis Drugs

THURSDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis patients taking tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) blockers, such as etanercept, do not have an increased risk of cancer compared with those taking methotrexate, according to a study in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Incidence Declines in Two AIDS-Related Cancers

THURSDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, has resulted in a dramatic decline in incidence of two major AIDS-related cancers: Kaposi sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a study published in the August issue of AIDS.

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Shorter Survival for Obese Ovarian Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight or obesity in women with advanced ovarian tumors is associated with a shorter time to recurrence and shorter overall survival, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in Cancer.

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Bone Metastases Infrequent in New Prostate Cancer Cases

TUESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients, bone metastases are uncommon, according to a study published in the August issue of Urology.

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Pneumoconiosis Found in Virginia Coal Miners

TUESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified 11 cases of severe pneumoconiosis among coal miners in Lee and Wise counties in Virginia, twice the number of cases that would be expected based on permissible levels of exposure to coal mine dust, according to a report published Aug. 25 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Estrogenic Chemical Retains Carcinogenic Properties

MONDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The estrogen-like chemical bisphenol A, a plasticizer that may be found in food packaging and dental sealants, may retain its carcinogenic properties even after being modified by body processes, according to a study in the August issue of Chemistry & Biology.

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Racial Disparity Seen in Kidney Cancer Survival

MONDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Even in clinical trials where patients have similar characteristics and receive the same treatments, blacks with metastatic renal cell carcinoma have a significantly shorter survival time than their white counterparts, according to the results of a study published in the August issue of Urology.

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Home Health, Hospice Usage Assessed in Older Patients

MONDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Older cancer patients are significantly more likely to use home health services or hospice services than older non-cancer patients, according to a study published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Acral Melanoma Masquerades As Warts

FRIDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Dermoscopic examinations help make the correct diagnosis of acral melanomas that masquerade as atypical acral lesions, according to a study published in the August issue of Dermatologic Surgery.

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Skin-Sparing Mastectomy, Implants Have Low Relapse Rate

FRIDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The contemporary approach for treating breast cancer, which includes skin-sparing mastectomy and use of implants, appears oncologically safe, according to a report published in the August issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. However, the authors warn that there is a risk of postoperative complications.

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CT Scans May Overestimate Renal Tumor Size

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Preoperative computed tomography (CT) scans may slightly overestimate the pathologic size of certain renal tumors, according to a study published in the August issue of Urology.

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Three Signs Suggest Rare Renal Tumor in Young Adults

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians should consider renal peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) in young adults who present with the classic triad of renal cancer, hematuria, and pain and palpable tumor, according to three case studies and a corresponding literature review in the August issue of Urology.

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Large Numbers of Nevi May Increase Melanoma Risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Large numbers of nevi appear to increase the risk of developing cutaneous malignant melanoma, although the risk is not site-specific, except for the posterior trunk, according to a study in the September issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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Radiation for Childhood Leukemia Can Affect Cognition

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- High dose methotrexate is better than cranial radiation therapy for treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with respect to long-term neurocognitive outcomes, according to a report in the Aug. 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology. Radiation may be detrimental to brain development, the authors say.

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PSA Can Predict Benefit From Radical Prostatectomy

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- In men with high-grade prostate cancer, prostate specific antigen (PSA) values and percent positive biopsy cores may predict who is most likely to benefit from radical prostatectomy, according to a study in the August issue of Urology.

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No Better Survival With Early Lung Cancer Radiotherapy

THURSDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to some previous findings, the timing of thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) does not seem to impart a survival advantage among patients with limited disease small-cell lung cancer, according to findings in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Mortality Linked to BMI in Two National Cohort Studies

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Two trials, one involving more than 500,000 Americans and the other over one million Koreans, suggest that even modest amounts of excess weight in middle age is associated with a higher risk of mortality. Results of both studies are published in the Aug. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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PET May Predict Breast Cancer Spread Before Surgery

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Whole body fludeoxyglucose F 18 (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) may help predict whether breast cancer has spread to the axillary nodes before surgery, according to a new study in the August issue of Archives of Surgery.

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Clinical Trial Reports Can Stray From Sponsors Data

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Discrepancies between published adverse event data and original data in the clinical trial sponsor's database can arise because of variations in data collecting methods and from investigators redefining what an adverse event is, according to a screen of the National Cancer Institute Clinical Data Update System (CDUS) presented in the Aug. 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Treatments Similarly Effective in Reducing Actinic Keratoses

TUESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Laser resurfacing, a trichloroacetic acid peel, or a fluorouracil cream are similarly effective in reducing the number of actinic keratoses (AKs) and the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in patients with a history of these conditions, according to a study in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology.

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Study Reveals Anti-Angiogenic Role for p53

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The p53 tumor suppressor protein, already known to have multiple roles in cancer suppression, has now been shown to inhibit new blood vessel formation through transcriptional upregulation of anti-angiogenic factors, according to a report in the Aug. 18 edition of Science.

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Primary Sjogren's Syndrome Linked to Lymphoma Risk

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome have a higher lymphoma risk than patients who do not have the syndrome, researchers report in the August issue of Rheumatology.

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Childhood Cancer Survivors at Risk for Suicide Ideation

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Suicidal ideation and attempts occur in a significant minority of adult childhood cancer survivors, and are related to both treatment type and post-treatment mental and physical health, according to a report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Bortezomib Can Inhibit Neuroblastoma Cell Growth

MONDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Bortezomib (Velcade), a proteasome inhibitor used to treat several adult cancers, inhibits pediatric neuroblastoma cell growth and proliferation in animal models and in human cells studied in vitro, according to a report published in the Aug. 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Soft Drinks Not Linked to Esophageal Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking carbonated soft drinks is not associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma, according to the results of a population-based study published in the Aug. 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Chinese Women At Risk from Husbands' Smoking

FRIDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Chinese women are often exposed to secondhand smoke, primarily from their husbands, which increases their risk of death from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a study published in the Aug. 19 issue of BMJ.

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Finasteride May Improve Sensitivity of PSA Test

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Results from the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test are more accurate among men who are being treated with the drug finasteride, according to a study published in the Aug. 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Infusion Reduces Alcoholics' Postoperative Pneumonia Risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In long-term alcoholics, an infusion of low-dose ethanol, morphine or ketoconazole begun prior to cancer surgery of the aerodigestive tract may significantly reduce the risk of postoperative pneumonia, according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Socioeconomic Status Linked to Late-Life Disability

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- While the link between extreme poverty and poor health has long been recognized, a new report in the Aug. 17 New England Journal of Medicine extends the socioeconomic disparity to functional limitation and disability later in life.

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Light-at-Night Study Produces Inconsistent Results

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence is mixed in support of the light-at-night hypothesis, which proposes that exposure to artificial lighting at night could increase women's breast cancer risk by suppressing the normal nocturnal rise in melatonin, according to a study in the Aug. 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Smoking Cessation Drug Has Gone Unnoticed in West

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Nicotine receptor agonist cytisine, a drug that has been used for the past 40 years in Eastern Europe as an aid to smoking cessation, has been largely ignored by the English-language journals, according to a review and meta-analysis in the Aug. 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Varenicline Tartrate Helps Smokers Kick the Habit

THURSDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Varenicline tartrate (Chantix) can help smokers kick the habit, according to two studies in the Aug. 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved varenicline in May 2006.

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Early Prostate Cancer Detection Linked to Overtreatment

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Men in the United States with early-stage prostate cancer are often subjected to unnecessary prostatectomy and radiation therapy in place of more appropriate care such as expectant management, according to a study published Aug. 16 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Mutation Linked to Therapy Response in Leukemia Patients

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) who have activating NOTCH1 mutations are likely to respond well to prednisone treatment, according to a report in the Aug. 15 issue of Blood.

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Trastuzumab May Cause Cardiac Toxicity

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, trastuzumab can cause cardiac toxicity, which can be reversed with beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors. Additional trastuzumab treatment can be considered after recovery of cardiac function, according to a study published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Chemo Effects Under-Reported in Breast Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy-related adverse events among younger breast cancer patients may be more common than previously reported in clinical trials and may lead to more health care expenses, according to a study in the Aug. 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtype Linked to Pesticides

TUESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Farmers who use insecticides, fungicides and fumigants may be at greater risk of developing a defined subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) involving a chromosome 14 to 18 translocation than farmers who don't use such products, according to a report in the Aug. 15 issue of Blood.

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Irradiation to Left Breast Ups Risk of Heart Disease

TUESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients who receive irradiation to their left side are more likely to develop heart disease in the ensuing two decades than their counterparts who receive right-side irradiation, according to a study published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Drug Errors Not Uncommon in Pediatric Leukemia Therapy

MONDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Medication errors may affect the course of chemotherapy treatment in nearly one in five children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to a study published online Aug. 14 in Cancer.

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Women Under-Report Breast Cancer on Their Paternal Side

MONDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women may be more likely to report a family history of breast cancer on their maternal side than on their paternal side, suggesting that self-reported family history of the disease may be suboptimal, according to a report published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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CPR Knowledge is Lacking in Seriously Ill Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Seriously ill hospitalized patients lack information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and more than one-third of them do not wish to discuss end-of-life preferences with their physician, according to study results published in the August issue of Chest.

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Cytokines May Be Linked to Cancer-Associated Cachexia

THURSDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- The cytokines TNF-α and interleukin-6 (IL-6) may be linked to weight loss associated with anorexia-cachexia syndrome in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, according to a report in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Metagene Model Predicts Recurrence in Lung Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The lung metagene profiling model demonstrates up to 79 percent accuracy in predicting recurrence in early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a report in the Aug. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The test might be used to assess a patient's risk and to tailor the adjuvant chemotherapy regimen.

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Gene Models Agree in Predicting Breast Cancer Phenotype

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Even though many prognostic gene-profiling tools for primary breast cancer use different sets of genes to make predictions, they seem to have good concordance and may be measuring similar biological phenotypes, according to a report in the Aug. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Chemotherapy Beneficial for Less Advanced Thymoma

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy is most beneficial as an adjuvant for treating patients with less advanced malignant thymoma rather than as palliative treatment for more advanced cases, according to a retrospective review in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Anastrozole Benefits Elderly ER+ Breast Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Aromatase inhibitors are an effective treatment for breast cancer in elderly women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+), invasive tumors, according to the results of a study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Female Life Scientists Less Likely to Hold Patents

FRIDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Female life-science faculty members patent their work at about 40 percent of the rate of their male counterparts, but the gender gap is improving, according to a study published in the Aug. 4 edition of Science.

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Radioisotope-Treated Patients May Trigger Security Alarms

FRIDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Patients treated with radioisotopes may inadvertently trigger security alarms at airports, banks and other public buildings, a problem that many patients and even professionals in the field are unaware of, according to a study published in the Aug. 5 issue of BMJ.

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High Intake of Processed Meat Linked to Stomach Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- High consumption of processed meat may be associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer, according to a study published in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Colposcopy Sensitivity Depends on Multiple Biopsies

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The sensitivity of colposcopically guided biopsies does not differ significantly by type of medical training, but is greater when two or more biopsies are taken, according to study findings published in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Developmental Factor Key to Melanoma Aggressiveness

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Melanoma cells may use the developmental growth factor, Nodal, to promote tumor growth and metastasis, according to a report published online July 30 in Nature Medicine.

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Anastrozole May Be Best for Early-Stage Breast Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Among postmenopausal women who have undergone surgery for early-stage breast cancer, anastrozole (Arimidex) is more tolerable and has a better risk-benefit profile than tamoxifen, according to a study in the August issue of The Lancet Oncology.

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Wide Variations Seen in Hospice Enrollment Rates

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Among terminally ill cancer patients, hospice enrollment is more significantly influenced by the health centers in which they're treated than by their individual characteristics, according to a study published in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Topotecan Fails to Improve Ovarian Cancer Outcomes

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with advanced ovarian cancer, the addition of topotecan to standard chemotherapy does not improve outcomes, and the drug is not recommended as a standard of care treatment, according to the results of a phase III study in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Antiretrovirals Don't Increase Primary Central Lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In HIV-positive patients, exposure to highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART, is not associated with an increased risk of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCL), according to a report published in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Tumor Suppressor Variant Linked to Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A specific variation in the tumor suppressor and DNA-damage regulating gene, CHEK2, may triple a woman's lifetime risk for breast cancer, according to a report published online July 31 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Race May Determine Persistence of HPV Infection

TUESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- European variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) 16 and 18 persist longer in white women and African variants persist longer in African American women, according to a study in the Aug. 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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