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August 2007 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for August 2007. 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.

Researchers Find Gene Anomalies in Smokers' Lungs

FRIDAY, Aug. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A new technique -- spectral karyotyping -- revealed that chromosomal abnormalities are common in benign bronchial cells of smokers at high risk of lung cancer, even before they develop carcinoma, according to a report in the Sept. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Women's Breast Density Linked to Height During Youth

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A girl's height in childhood and adolescence is associated with the density of her breasts as a mature woman, according to a report published in the Aug. 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy May Increase Skin Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with rheumatoid arthritis who undergo biologic therapy may have an increased risk of skin cancer but not other tumor types, researchers report in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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FDA Approves First Human Thrombin Since 1954

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Evithrom (human thrombin) -- a blood-clotting protein derived from human plasma -- was approved this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It's the first human thrombin the FDA has approved since 1954, the only such product currently licensed, and is applied to the surface of tissue during surgery to help control oozing and minor bleeding from capillaries and small veins.

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Helicobacter pylori Strain Linked to Gastric Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Infection with strains of Helicobacter pylori expressing the cytotoxin-associated (cagA) gene is strongly associated with precancerous gastric lesions, reports a study published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Less Frequent Screening for Prostate Cancer May Be OK

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for prostate cancer every two years versus every four years does not lead to lower rates of aggressive cancers, according to study findings published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Hypnosis Cuts Pain, Anesthetic Use in Breast Surgery

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A 15-minute hypnosis session prior to breast surgery reduced the amount of anesthesia required during the operation, the level of post-surgical pain and nausea, and the cost of the procedure, according to the results of a randomized controlled trial published online Aug. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Evidence Suggests HPV Link to Oropharyngeal Cancer

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the overall declining incidence of head and neck cancers in the United States, the rate of oropharyngeal cancer has plateaued and even risen in some populations, according to a review published online Aug. 27 in Cancer.

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Smoking Strongly Linked to Head and Neck Cancer

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for head and neck cancer in both men and women, but it appears to disproportionately increase the risk of cancer in women, according to a report published online Aug. 27 in Cancer.

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Breast Cancer Patients More Satisfied with Specialists

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients treated by surgeons who treat a high percentage of breast cancer cases are more satisfied with the decision-making process than those treated at low-volume practices, according to the results of a study published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Bariatric Surgery Increases Longevity for Obese

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In severely obese patients, bariatric surgery leads to sustained weight loss and reduces the risk of death, according to two studies published in the Aug. 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Resident Duty-Hour Cuts Curb Surgeon Job Satisfaction

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Reforms limiting resident duty hours are increasing surgeons' workloads and may be negatively affecting patient care, researchers report in the August issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Insurance Status Liked to Laryngeal Cancer Stage

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients who are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, advanced-stage disease is significantly more common among those who are uninsured or covered by Medicaid, according to a report published in the August issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Many BRCA Carriers Tell Their Children of Cancer Risk

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Half of parents diagnosed as carriers of the BRCA gene mutation have disclosed that diagnosis to their children, years before the children would be old enough to take recommended precautionary measures of their own, researchers report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Esophageal Cancer Surgery Has Low Cure Rate

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Short-term survival rates are poor for patients undergoing surgery or surgery with chemotherapy for esophageal cancer unless all resection tissue margins are disease-free, making the identification of new chemotherapeutic regimens a high priority, according to a report published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Study Sheds Light on Penile Melanoma

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Primary mucosal penile melanoma has a similar prognosis as cutaneous melanoma when the tumors are of comparable thickness, according to a report in the August issue of Urology. Wide local excision and sentinal node biopsy for clinically negative lymph nodes is the recommended treatment.

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Color Doppler Enhances Prostate Cancer Detection

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Contrast-enhanced color Doppler targeted biopsy identifies prostate tumors with higher Gleason scores than does ultrasound-guided systematic biopsy, according to a report published in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

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New Biomarker Helps Predict Prostate Cancer Outcomes

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- B7-H3, a protein that can inhibit T-cell anti-tumor activity, appears to play a role in the development of prostate cancer and is an independent predictor of cancer progression following surgery, according to a report published in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research. The biomarker may have diagnostic and therapeutic potential for the clinical management of prostate cancer and other cancers.

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SOX9 Protein is Key Regulator of Melanin in Skin Cells

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The SOX9 protein, previously known for its role in sexual determinism and skeletal disorders, may play an important role in skin-cell development and melanin production, according to a report published online Aug. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Decline in Gastric Cancer Predicted Over Next Decade

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of gastric cancer should decline in Western countries by at least 24 percent over the next decade due to treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections, according to study findings published online Aug. 14 in Gut.

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Eye Cancer Risk Elevated in Kidney-Transplant Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Kidney-transplant patients have an increased risk of ocular squamous cell carcinoma, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Because HIV patients also have an increased risk, the finding suggests that this malignancy is an immune deficiency-associated cancer.

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Nomogram Addresses Breast Cancer Concerns

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A user-friendly nomogram can help answer the questions of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients about their patient-specific likelihood of developing sentinel lymph node metastasis, according to a report published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Prophylactic Brain Irradiation Helps in Small-Cell Lung Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Prophylactic cranial irradiation in patients with extensive small-cell lung cancer reduces the incidence of symptomatic brain metastases and prolongs overall survival, according to the results of a randomized controlled trial published in the Aug. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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U.S. Asians' Prostate Cancer Survival Similar to Whites

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Asian American men with prostate cancer appear to have survival comparable to white Americans, despite prognostic factors that predict worsened survival, according to study findings published online Aug. 13 in Cancer.

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Drop in Breast Cancer Rates Linked to Less Hormone Use

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Falling invasive breast cancer rates coincide with a sharp drop in postmenopausal hormone use and are probably not connected to a modest decline in routine mammograms, according to a report published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Hormonal Blockade in Prostate Cancer May Lead to Bone Loss

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In men with prostate cancer undergoing their first year of androgen deprivation therapy, longer duration of the therapy is associated with decreased bone mineral density while higher body mass index, calcium/vitamin D supplementation and alcohol use are associated with a greater bone mineral density, according to a study published in the July issue of Urology.

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High-Fat Diet Associated with Colon Cancer Recurrence

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A Western-style diet that is rich in meat, fat, refined grains and desserts is associated with a substantially higher risk of recurrence and mortality among patients being treated for stage III colon cancer, according to a prospective observational study in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Vulvar Melanoma Survival Better in Those Under Age 69

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Vulvar melanoma patients have a better five-year survival if they are younger, have localized disease and do not have lymph node involvement, according to a report in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Nerve-Sparing Surgery Reduces Risk of Penile Shortening

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Men undergoing radical prostatectomy may be less likely to have post-operative shrinkage of penile length if they undergo nerve-sparing surgery and quickly recover erectile function, according to a report in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Conflicts of Interest a Concern for Cancer-Trial Patients

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with advanced cancer who participate in early phase clinical trials are just as concerned about a physician's intrinsic conflict of interest (i.e. "publish or perish") as a financial conflict of interest, according to research published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Breast Cancer Racial Gap Worse for Later Stage Cancer

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Black women have higher mortality rates and shortened survival in breast cancer compared to whites, and these differences are not explained by differences in tumor size and lymph node status, according to study findings published online Aug. 13 in Cancer.

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Few Patients Seek Screening for Colorectal Cancer

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than 15 percent of Canadians with average risk of colorectal cancer are up-to-date with screenings for the disease, despite recent national guidelines recommending screening, according to the results of a population-based random telephone survey published in the August issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Higher BMI May Confer Survival Advantage in Renal Cancer

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is associated with an increased risk of renal cell carcinoma, but survival rates improve for patients who have a higher than average body mass index (BMI), according to the results of a Japanese study published in the July issue of Urology.

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Post-Prostatectomy Erectile Dysfunction Helped by Statin

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Men with prostate cancer who take statins are less likely to have erectile dysfunction after nerve-sparing surgery than those taking sildenafil alone, researchers report in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Useful for Early Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be helpful in diagnosing ductal carcinoma in situ, particularly cancer with a high nuclear grade, according to study findings published in the Aug. 11 issue of The Lancet.

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Statins Do Not Strongly Protect Against Colorectal Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Statins, a common class of cholesterol-lowering medicines, do not appear to strongly protect against colorectal cancer, according to a large meta-analysis published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Vitamins, Minerals Don't Reduce Liver Cancer Mortality

THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Certain combinations of vitamin and mineral supplements do not reduce the overall risk of liver cancer mortality, but may benefit certain subgroups of patients, according to study findings published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Breast Cancer Dropped in Tandem with HRT in California

THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A drop in hormone therapy use in California was mirrored by a drop in breast cancer rates, with counties with the biggest decline in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) having a greater decline in cancer, according to the results of a large population-based study published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. At the same time, mammography rates remained stable, suggesting that the cancer decline may indeed have been due to a drop in HRT use.

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Stem Cell Transplant Patients At Risk for Infertility

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients who undergo myeloablative stem cell transplant have a higher prevalence of infertility and concerns about infertility than their siblings or friends, according to a report published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Dietary Choline Linked to Risk of Colorectal Adenomas

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A higher dietary intake of choline, which is found in organ meats, eggs and wheat germ, is associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenomas in women, contrary to the expectations of researchers, according to a report published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Combination Cancer Therapy May Increase Coronary Risk

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy combined with the anticancer drug bevacizumab is associated with a higher risk of arterial thrombosis, but not blood clots of the veins, when compared with chemotherapy treatment alone, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 8 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Surgical Delay Works for Many with Pancreatic Neoplasms

TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than one in five patients with pancreatic branch-duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (BD-IPMN) should have surgery, according to a report in the August issue of Gut.

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Racial Differences Found in Serum Selenium Levels

TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients have mean serum selenium levels that are lower than whites, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. Low concentrations of selenium have been associated with a greater risk of prostate and other cancers, which may explain some of the racial variation in cancer rates.

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First Successful Ovarian Tissue Transplant Between Sisters

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A woman with premature ovarian failure due to chemotherapy received the first-ever successful ovarian tissue transplantation from her genetically non-identical sister, researchers report in the August issue of Human Reproduction.

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Radiofrequency Ablation Safe, Effective for Renal Tumors

FRIDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation guided by computed tomography is an effective and safe treatment for patients with renal cell carcinomas, according to a report published in the August issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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Ovarian Cancer Vaccine Induces Immune Response

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A phase I trial has shown that an ovarian cancer vaccine is effective in inducing the body's immune response against the tumor, according to a study published online July 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Heavy Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk for Liver Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of liver cancer, according to a study published in the August issue of Hepatology.

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Epstein-Barr Virus Linked to Poor Outcome in Lymphoma

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus have almost a threefold higher risk of death than their counterparts without the virus, according to a study in the Aug. 1 issue of Blood.

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Physician's Briefing