Dec. 2005 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for December 2005. 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.

Femara Approved as First-Line Therapy After Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that is has approved letrozole (Femara) as a first-line therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer who have undergone surgery.

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Letrozole More Effective Than Tamoxifen In Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Letrozole is better than tamoxifen for reducing recurrent cancer in postmenopausal women with early stage, hormone receptor positive breast cancer, according to a study in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Coma Outcomes on Soap Operas Too Good to Be True

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Coma patients in soap operas experience significantly rosier outcomes than their real-life counterparts, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Thromboembolism Syndrome After Surgery on the Rise

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical patients are becoming more vulnerable to perioperative acute thromboembolism syndrome because of the increasing incidence of comorbid conditions, including cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases, metabolic diseases and cancer, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Potential Prostate Cancer Biomarker in Healthy Tissue

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A particular DNA phenotype found in prostate tumors, healthy tissue near tumors and in the prostate glands of some healthy older men -- but not healthy younger men -- could serve as an early biomarker for men at risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published Dec. 16 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Obesity, Inactivity Reduce Colorectal Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) who carry excess fat around the midriff and who do not engage in regular physical activity are less likely than other patients to survive the disease, according to a study in the January issue of Gut.

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Sorry, Celebrants: Hangover Cures Don't Work

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that there is no conventional or complementary intervention that will prevent or treat a hangover, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Short Drinks May Have More Kick Than Tall Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because of human perceptual bias, alcoholic beverages mixed in short, wide tumblers may be more potent than those mixed in taller and more slender highball glasses, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Gene Linked to Tumor-Like Properties of Brain Stem Cells

FRIDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Genetically engineered mice that lack a key tumor suppressor gene have neural stem cells that self-renew and act like tumor cells when grown in culture, according to a study published online Dec. 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. The findings suggest that loss of the tumor suppressor PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10) allows cells to take an important first step in the path to tumorigenesis.

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Lymphatic Growth Associated with Laryngeal Cancer Spread

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with laryngeal cancer, the development of intratumoral lymphatics is associated with metastasis to the regional lymph nodes, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Link Between New Vaginal, Prior Cervical Dysplasias

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In rare cases, cells from human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive cervical lesions may spread and cause lesions in the vagina and vulva despite treatment of the original cervical dysplasia, according to the results of a small study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In six of seven women treated for cervical cancer or cervical dysplasia, HPV16 or HPV18 integration sites in lower genital tract lesions were identical to those seen in the cervix.

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Immune Cells in Tumor Good Sign in Colorectal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Colorectal cancer patients who have immune cells infiltrating their tumors have fewer signs of metastasis and longer survival than patients who do not, according to a study in the Dec. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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CXCR4 Sign of Poor Prognosis in Esophageal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Expression of the chemokine and bone marrow-homing receptor CXCR4 is associated with lymph node and bone marrow micrometastasis and thus carries a poor prognosis in esophageal cancer, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Chest X-Ray Screening Finds Early-Stage Lung Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- About 44% of lung cancers detected by chest X-rays are early-stage tumors, according to the findings of a large screening study reported in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The overall detection rate was 1.9 per 1,000 screens, although the rate was 6.3 per 1,000 screens in current smokers and 4.9 per 1,000 screens in former smokers who had smoked in the past 15 years.

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Ultraviolet Light Breaks Cell DNA in Skin Cancer Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Sensitivity to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation is associated with non-melanoma skin cancers but not with malignant melanoma, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The cells of sensitive patients display a higher number of chromosomal breaks after UVB exposure than controls.

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Long-Term Storage of Plasma Causes DNA Degradation

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- DNA levels in whole plasma and purified plasma drop substantially in frozen storage, up to 30% annually, Italian scientists report in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The finding could have an impact on clinical trials that assess levels of plasma DNA, they say.

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Hospital 'Handoffs' Common Source of Medical Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Poor communication during hospital "handoffs," when patient care transitions from one physician or team of physicians to the next, may be responsible for many of the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths that occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, according to a study published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.

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Short-Term Complications Common with Breast Implants

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have breast implants after mastectomy often develop short-term complications requiring surgery, according to a study in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Radiotherapy After Breast Surgery Improves Outcomes

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer patients who undergo radiotherapy after lumpectomy and mastectomy have significantly improved long-term survival, according to a study published in the Dec. 17 issue of The Lancet.

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More Hospitals Offer Palliative Care Programs

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Palliative care programs are a rapidly growing trend in U.S. hospitals, and widely regarded as an improvement in the care of advanced, chronic illness, according to a study published Dec. 12 in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

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FDA Announces Recall of One Lot of Methotrexate

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday the recall of one lot of injectable methotrexate because the active drug substance used to make it contained small amounts of ethylene glycol. Bedford Laboratories, a division of Ben Venue Laboratories, Inc. of Bedford, Ohio, voluntarily recalled Lot #859142.

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Risk of Other Cancer 25% Higher After Breast Tumor

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women with a history of breast cancer have a 25% increased risk of a new primary cancer, which may be related to breast cancer treatment, such as malignancies developing in the connective tissue of the thorax and arms, researchers report in the Dec. 8 online issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

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High Insulin Levels Increase Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Men with higher insulin concentrations and insulin resistance may have a twofold increased risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Adopting Safety Recommendations

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements in hospital patient safety systems, many hospitals have made slow progress in adopting 1998 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine National Roundtable on Health Care Quality or from subsequent reports, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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No Link Found Between Fiber and Colorectal Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The combined data from 13 prospective studies aimed at measuring dietary cancer risks suggests there is no link between fiber intake and reduced incidence of colon cancer. The results are published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Infiltrating T Cells Linked to Better Ovarian Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Ovarian cancer patients have a better survival rate if their tumor biopsies show high infiltration of CD8+ T cells, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Drinking Tea Associated with Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking tea daily is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the Dec. 12/26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The association was dose-dependent, with greater tea consumption linked to more protection, but the link may also be due to a healthy lifestyle effect, the authors say.

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Race and Gender Disparities in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women and blacks are less likely to enroll in treatment trials for lung cancer, according to a study in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer.

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Demographics, Lifestyle May Affect Prostate Cancer Test

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Age, race, weight change, energy intake and the use of calcium supplements are all associated with significant differences in the rate of change in prostate specific antigen (PSA) over time, or PSA velocity, and may bias the clinical interpretation of this prostate cancer test, according to a study in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer.

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Chronic Stress Hastens Induced Skin Cancer in Mice

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic stress accelerates the emergence and development of squamous cell carcinomas in mice, according to a study published in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Testicular Torsion Increases Risk of Orchiectomy

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Because testicular torsion is more common than testicular cancer in males aged 1 to 25 years and increases the risk of orchiectomy, boys should be educated from an early age about testicular torsion, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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High Dairy Intake Associated With Prostate Cancer Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A high intake of dairy products and calcium is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a report in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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FDA Warns Eyedrops Contaminated with Bacteria

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers this week not to use Miracle II Neutralizer and Miracle II Neutralizer Gel products because they are bacterially contaminated and could cause severe infections.

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Iron Absorption Controlled by Liver Gene

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Mice with a liver-specific deletion of the tumor suppressor gene SMAD4 develop symptoms of iron-overload similar to the human disease hemochromatosis, according to a report in the December issue of Cell Metabolism.

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Plasma Exchange Role Uncertain in Multiple Myeloma

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Numerous plasma exchanges do not substantially change the outcome for patients with acute renal failure at the onset of multiple myeloma, according to a study published in the Dec. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Dose-Dense Chemo Effective for Early Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with early breast cancer who receive six cycles of standard chemotherapy every two weeks have similar 10-year outcomes to patients who have standard therapy every three weeks, according to the results of a large Italian study published in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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FDA Approves First Human Recombinant Hyaluronidase

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first recombinant version of human hyaluronidase, Hylenex, for use as an adjuvant to increase the absorption and dispersion of other injected drugs.

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High-Dose Chemo Improves Breast Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A rapidly cycled tandem high-dose chemotherapy regimen following conventional chemotherapy may improve the four-year survival of breast cancer patients, according to a report in the Dec. 3 issue of The Lancet.

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Adjuvant Chemo Improves Colon Cancer Treatment

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The use of adjuvant chemotherapy for colon cancer and subsequent survival rates have increased since the treatment was recommended in a 1990 National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference, according to a report in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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