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August 2008 Briefing - Oncology

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

Growth Factor Linked to Poor Breast Cancer Outcome

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Stimulating breast cancer cells with insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) caused gene expression changes associated with cell proliferation, metabolism and DNA repair, according to research published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Normal Mammary Cells Can Form Metastases in Mice

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Normal, non-cancerous mammary cells can travel to the lungs and form metastases after activation of tumor-promoting genes in mice, according to a report published online Aug. 28 in Science.

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Molecular Signature Gives Prognosis for Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A 21-gene assay can be used to predict the likelihood of recurrence in patients with operable hormone receptor-positive breast cancer more accurately than standard clinical variables, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Lancet Supports WHO Report on Health Inequality

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The final report by the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health contains a strong mandate for reducing global inequalities in health care, according to an editorial published in the Aug. 30 issue of The Lancet.

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Obesity Linked to Worse Outcomes After Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Obese and overweight women receiving chemotherapy before surgery for breast cancer are less likely to survive and respond to treatment than normal weight women, researchers report in the Sept. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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New Pain Guidelines Released

THURSDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has released new medical treatment guidelines for the care of workers with chronic pain syndromes, representing the latest chapter in Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelines, available online. A print version of the guidelines will be available in September.

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Bortezomib May Add Benefit in Multiple Myeloma Regimen

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Bortezomib may be a useful addition to melphalan and prednisone in treating a certain subset of patients with multiple myeloma, according to research published in the Aug. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Genetic Link Found in Familial Neuroblastoma

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Heritable mutations of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene appear to be the main cause of familial neuroblastoma, a finding that may offer a therapeutic target for the disease, according to research published online Aug. 24 in Nature.

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Hypertension Drugs Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with anti-hypertensive drugs that block angiotensin II reduces the risk of skin cancer in high-risk individuals, according to a report published in the Sept. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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New Trial Design Can Speed Drug Development

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A clinical trial design that allows testing of multiple agents simultaneously using intermediate outcomes can speed drug development and require fewer patients, according to a commentary in the Sept. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Skin Cancer History Increases Risk of Other Cancers

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a personal history of non-melanoma skin cancer are at higher risk of developing cancers other than this type later in life, according to the results of a study published in the Sept. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Different Risks Linked to Different Breast Cancers

MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Reproductive and hormonal factors may pose more risk for some types of breast cancer than others, according to research published online Aug. 25 in Cancer.

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Burning Incense Linked to Respiratory Tract Carcinoma

MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term incense use may raise the risk of respiratory tract squamous cell carcinoma, according to research published online Aug. 25 in Cancer.

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Esophageal Cancer Incidence Rising Rapidly in US Whites

MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus have risen rapidly among white men and women in the United States between 1975 and 2004, researchers report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Novel Treatment for Platelet Deficiency Approved

MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new treatment for patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Nplate (romiplostim) is the first bone marrow stimulator to gain FDA approval for the condition, which leaves patients at risk of life-threatening bleeding and easy bruising.

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Review Analyzes Drugs Used for Cancer-Related Fatigue

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Several medications may offer some beneficial effects for cancer-related fatigue, according to the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Damage to Unirradiated Parts of Body Can Cause Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Radiation damage can spread to unirradiated parts of the body and cause cancer in mice via a bystander effect that induces cellular damage and death, according to a report published online Aug. 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Doxorubicin, Zoledronic Acid Show Anti-Tumor Benefit

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Administration of doxorubicin followed by zoledronic acid inhibited tumors in a mouse model of breast cancer more than either treatment alone, researchers report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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A-Type Lamins Linked to Colorectal Cancer Death

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Expression of A-type lamins -- which are found in the nuclear lamina that lines inner nuclear membranes -- in colorectal cancer tissue is correlated with mortality from the cancer, and may provide a prognostic biomarker, according to research findings published Aug. 20 in PLoS One.

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Hepatitis B Mutations Linked to Cancer Risk

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Viral genotype and common variants in specific regions of the virus are associated with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma in people infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), according to a report published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Biomarker Predicts Response in Barrett's Esophagus

FRIDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Biomarkers may help in the choice of appropriate therapy for Barrett's esophagus and improve treatment outcomes, according to a report in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

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Physical Activity May Boost Survival After Breast Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- While physical activity may decrease mortality, inactivity may increase mortality following breast cancer diagnosis, according to a report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Media Send Mixed Messages to Teens About Smoking

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The media play a crucial role in either encouraging or discouraging young people to start smoking, according to a monograph presented by the National Cancer Institute.

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Statin Therapy Not Associated with Incident Cancer

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Although there is an inverse association between low levels of on-treatment low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and incident cancer, it is not driven by statin therapy, but the issue needs further study with a longer duration of follow-up, according to a report published online Aug. 20 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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New Definition of Prostate Cancer Therapy Failure Examined

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new definition of biochemical failure after radiotherapy for prostate cancer overestimates recurrence-free survival and time to biochemical progression when applied after prostatectomy, according to a report in the August issue of Urology.

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Outlook Mixed on US Presidential Candidates' Health Plans

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The health care plans proposed by John McCain and Barack Obama would have uncertain effects on health care coverage in America, but potential problems with each plan are evident, according to a perspective piece in the Aug. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Zoledronic Acid May Protect Bones During Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Zoledronic acid is associated with preserved bone health in premenopausal women treated for breast cancer, according to the results of two studies, one published online Aug. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and another published online Aug. 20 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Conformal Radiation Therapy Improves Cognitive Outcomes

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Among children with ependymoma, conformal radiation therapy leads to better long-term academic results compared to conventional radiation therapy approaches, according to a report in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Seniors Likely to Find Medicare Health Web Site Unusable

TUESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Even older adults with computer skills may have difficulty using the Medicare.gov Web site to determine eligibility for services and enroll in a drug plan, according to a research letter published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Melanoma Outcomes Studied in Organ Transplant Patients

MONDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In solid-organ transplant recipients with malignant melanoma, outcomes of melanoma may be similar in those who are immunosuppressed and non-immunosuppressed, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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T Cell-Engaging Antibody Promising for Lymphoma

MONDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Blinatumomab, a bispecific T cell-engaging antibody, led to tumor regression in some individuals with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to research published in the Aug. 15 issue of Science.

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Moisturizers May Increase Skin Cancers in High-Risk Mice

FRIDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Regular use of certain commercially available moisturizers can increase the size and formation of skin tumors in a mouse model of sunlight-induced skin cancer, according to study findings published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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Chemotherapy Regimen for Lung Cancer Effective in Study

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A combination treatment for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer can help control the disease with acceptable toxicity and is a possible alternative to platinum-based chemotherapy, according to the results of a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Recurrence Risk High for Some Breast Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients treated with systemic therapy who survive disease-free for five years have a substantial risk of cancer recurring up to 10 years after treatment, and late recurrence is associated with certain tumor characteristics, according to a report published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Agent Orange Exposure Increases Prostate Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Agent Orange exposure among Vietnam veterans not only increases their risk of developing prostate cancer and development of more aggressive disease, but veterans are also diagnosed at a younger age, according to an article published in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer.

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One-Fifth of Men Undergo Prostate Screening in Their 40s

THURSDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- One-fifth of men aged 40 to 49 in the United States report having a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test within the last year, according to an article published online Aug. 11 in the journal Cancer.

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Joint Pain Factors Identified in Postmenopausal Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- In addition to aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole, joint pain in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer is associated with factors such as previous hormone replacement therapy, obesity, hormone receptor positivity and previous chemotherapy, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 13 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Alcohol Problems More Common in Combat-Exposed Soldiers

TUESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Among U.S. military service members, Reserve and National Guard personnel who were exposed to combat while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan face higher risks of alcohol-related problems compared to their non-deployed counterparts, according to research published in the Aug. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Russians Would Like More Tobacco Control

TUESDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Many Russians would like to see more tobacco control and think that tobacco companies probably unduly influence politicians, but many also underestimate the dangers of smoking, according to the results of a study published in the August issue of Tobacco Control.

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Intrabone Transplant of Cord Blood in Leukemia Beneficial

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Intrabone transplantation of cord blood cells from an unrelated donor into patients with acute leukemia leads to good engraftment of donor cells and beneficial outcomes, according to study findings published online Aug. 9 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Perceived Discrimination Affects Cancer Screening

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- People who felt they'd been discriminated against in a medical setting due to their racial or ethnic background were less likely to be screened for certain cancers, according to an article published online Aug. 6 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Epirubicin Has Mixed Results in Metastatic Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In women with metastatic breast cancer, the risk of cardiotoxicity from epirubicin treatment is higher than previously expected, but an increasing dose is also associated with improved overall survival, according to a report published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Lapatinib Inhibits Brain Metastases in Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer, lapatinib reduces the number of large brain metastases, according to research published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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VA Survey of Relatives Measures End-of-Life Quality

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Palliative care consultations and hospice referral were associated with higher family satisfaction following the death of a loved one, according to research published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Spirituality Common Practice in Cancer Survivors

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of survivors of common cancers report using prayer or spiritual practices, and only a small percentage use hypnosis or acupuncture, according to research examining the prevalence of complementary medicine methods in cancer survivors, published online Aug. 4 in Cancer.

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Over 1 Billion U.S. Doctor, Hospital Visits Logged in 2006

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In 2006, patients made an estimated 1.1 billion visits to physician offices and hospital emergency and outpatient departments in the United States, which was an average of four visits per person, according to health care statistics released Aug. 6 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Lymphocytosis Patients at Risk of Leukemia

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia-phenotype cells are found in patients with lymphocytosis and in the general population, and a clinically significant number of them will go on to develop lymphocytic leukemia, according to a report published in the Aug. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Methadone Inhibits Hard-to-Kill Leukemia Cells

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In addition to its use in treating opioid dependence, methadone kills leukemia cells, including types resistant to doxorubicin and other common anti-cancer drugs, researchers report in the Aug. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Intravenous Ascorbate Shrinks Tumors in Mice

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In mice, intravenous ascorbate significantly decreases the growth of aggressive tumors, according to the results of a study published online Aug. 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Video Game Boosts Treatment Adherence in Kids with Cancer

TUESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A video-game intervention targeting adolescents and young adults with cancer improved treatment adherence, self-efficacy and knowledge, but did not impact self-reported measures of adherence, stress, control or quality of life, according to an article in the August issue of Pediatrics.

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Immunotherapy Holds Promise for Sarcomas

TUESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Consolidative immunotherapy appears to be a low-toxicity treatment associated with favorable survival in patients with the Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, according to research published in the Aug. 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Prostate Cancer Screening Not Recommended Over Age 75

TUESDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Men older than 75 years of age should not be screened for prostate cancer, and the benefits of screening are uncertain even in younger men, according to updated clinical guidelines published in the Aug. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Region and Hospital Type Affect Prostate Cancer Care

MONDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- While there are significant differences in quality indicators related to prostate cancer care based on hospital type and U.S. region, there are no apparent racial differences, researchers report in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Estrogen Receptor β1 Linked to Breast Cancer Survival

MONDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Estrogen receptor (ER)-β1 status was found to be an independent predictor of breast cancer recurrence and mortality, according to research published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Cannabinoid Receptor Suppresses Colorectal Cancer Growth

MONDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), which binds compounds related to marijuana, is important in suppressing the growth of colorectal cancer and may be an important therapeutic target, according to a report in the Aug. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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International Issue of Torture Complicity Analyzed

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than 100 countries condone the use of torture and have often recruited the medical community as participants without consequence, according to an editorial published online July 31 in BMJ.

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Oncologists May Avoid Frank Discussions with Patients

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- During treatment-related consultations with oncologists, most patients with advanced cancer are not given clear information about the survival gain of palliative chemotherapy, according to research published online July 31 in BMJ.

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H. pylori Key to Gastric Cancer Recurrence

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Eradication of Helicobacter pylori after endoscopic resection to treat early gastric cancer can prevent the development of metachronous gastric carcinoma, according to a study published in the Aug. 2 issue of The Lancet.

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