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December 2007 Briefing - Oncology

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

Psychoeducation Does Not Improve Melanoma Outcome

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Psychoeducation has no impact on the recurrence-free interval or survival rates of patients with primary malignant melanoma, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Cancer Deaths Worldwide Will Exceed Seven Million in 2007

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 7.6 million people worldwide are expected to die of cancer in 2007, with wide regional and economic disparities in types of malignancy and in access to treatment, according to a Global Cancer Facts and Figures 2007 report by the American Cancer Society.

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Growth Hormone Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A mutation leading to lack of growth hormone reduced incidence of cancer and resulted in less invasive tumors in an animal model of aggressive prostate cancer, according to a report published online Dec. 13 in Endocrinology.

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Toremifene May Protect Bones During Cancer Treatment

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Toremifene, a second-generation selective estrogen receptor modulator, increased bone mineral density in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, suggesting that the drug may decrease fracture risk in this population, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Wnt Pathway Implicated in Pituitary Tumorigenesis

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Inhibitors of the Wnt signaling pathway may be tumor suppressors important in the pathogenesis of pituitary tumors, according to study findings published online Dec. 13 in Endocrinology.

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Percent Free PSA Questioned for Cancer Diagnosis

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Using percent free prostate specific antigen (PSA) added no benefit in diagnosing prostate cancer compared to using total PSA, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Protein Expression Affects Odds of Lymphoma Survival

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, those who express the LMO2 protein respond better to treatment with anthracycline-based regimens with or without rituximab, according to a report published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Oophorectomy, Chemo Ups Breast Cancer Survival Odds

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In premenopausal women with operable breast cancer, adjuvant oophorectomy and tamoxifen improves the odds of survival, according to a report published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Cuts Lung Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women who've taken hormone replacement therapy have a lower risk of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and particularly estrogen receptor-positive tumors, according to a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Study Questions Epirubicin After Tumor Resection

THURSDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The use of a single instillation of epirubicin after transurethral bladder tumor resection may only prevent small recurrences that could easily be fulgurated with local anesthesia, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Urology.

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PSA, Alkaline Phosphatase Predict Prostate Cancer Survival

THURSDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- For men with metastatic prostate cancer undergoing hormone treatment, measurements of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) at the start of treatment and measurement of ALP and prostate specific antigen (PSA) after 6 months, are better predictors of survival than baseline PSA, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Combination Breast Cancer Treatment May Improve Survival

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Paclitaxel plus bevacizumab increases progression-free survival but not overall survival compared with paclitaxel alone in patients with metastatic breast cancer, researchers report in the Dec. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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ASCO Report Documents Cancer Advances in 2007

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer researchers made significant strides in 2007, according to "Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention, and Screening," the third annual report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Study Ranks Prevalence of BRCA1 in Racial, Ethnic Groups

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- A survey of BRCA1 mutation carriers among ethnic populations found the highest prevalence among Ashkenazi Jews followed by Hispanics and the lowest prevalence in Asian Americans, researchers report in the Dec. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Most General Surgeons Don't Discuss Breast Reconstruction

TUESDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Only one-third of women about to undergo surgery for breast cancer have discussions with their general surgeons about breast reconstruction, but women who do have such discussions are four times as likely to have mastectomies as those who do not, according to a report published online Dec. 21 in the journal Cancer.

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Combo Therapy Beneficial in Metastatic Kidney Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, first-line treatment with a combination of the humanized anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody bevacizumab and interferon α-2a leads to a significant improvement in progression-free survival compared to treatment with interferon α-2a alone, according to study findings published in the Dec. 22/29 issue of The Lancet.

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FDA Issues New Warning on Fentanyl Skin Patch

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Ongoing concerns about the fentanyl transdermal system, which is marketed under the brand name Duragesic and is also available in generic versions, have prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue its second safety warning in two years. The FDA's Dec. 21 warning emphasizes the need to exactly follow directions on the product label and patient package insert in order to avoid accidental overdoses.

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Sentinel Lymph Node Sites Identified for Cervical Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with invasive cervical cancer, the most common sentinel node locations are external iliac, obturator and parametrium, according to a study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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H. Pylori May Protect Against Esophageal Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Despite Helicobacter pylori's well-established link with gastric cancer, a meta-analysis suggests that H. pylori infection may confer protection against Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma, according to an article published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Early Stem Cell Transplant Improves Lymphoma Survival

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation improve survival, particularly if patients are in remission at the time of treatment, according to the results of a study published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Gleason Grade Linked to Signal Intensity Ratio on MRI

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- MRI may offer a non-invasive method for helping evaluate the aggressiveness of prostate cancer, according to research published in the January issue of Radiology.

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Total Thyroidectomy for Cancer Gets Economic Nod

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with low-risk papillary thyroid cancer, treatment with total thyroidectomy is probably a more cost-effective initial surgical treatment than hemithyroidectomy, though some caveats apply, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

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Review Article Addresses Nevi, Melanoma During Pregnancy

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although confusion persists among practitioners about the impact of pregnancy and female hormones on melanocytic nevi and melanoma, recent studies offer guidance for effective management, according to a continuing medical education article published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Role of Tumor Suppressor Gene in Cancer Studied

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in the tumor-suppressor protein p53 (TP53) gene are associated with reduced survival in squamous-cell head and neck cancer, and TP53 mutations in the stroma of non-hereditary invasive breast tumors may lead to metastatic spread to lymph nodes, according to two studies published in the Dec. 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Radiofrequency Ablation Type Affects Liver Tumors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with small hepatocellular carcinoma, percutaneous radiofrequency ablation may be preferable to surgical radiofrequency ablation, while the opposite may apply to patients with medium hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Oncologists Missing Chances to Show Empathy to Patients

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Oncologists seldom respond with empathy when their patients express emotional concerns, according to research published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This could cause physicians to miss opportunities to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and improve patient adherence.

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Older Women More Likely to Discontinue Tamoxifen

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among elderly women with breast cancer, factors such as age, comorbidities, and having breast-conserving surgery without radiotherapy affect the likelihood that they will discontinue tamoxifen treatment before the recommended five years, according to a report published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Higher Rates of Lung Cancer in Lower UVB Light Areas

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In a survey of 111 countries, places with lower levels of ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiance have higher incidence of lung cancer, according to research published in the January issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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Transantral, Transoral Robotic Surgery Shows Promise

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The first minimally invasive endoscopic surgical procedures in the skull base show promise for treating skull base neoplasms, according to two studies published in the December issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery. A third study in the same issue details successful utilization of this technique in radical tonsillectomies.

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Abstract - O'Malley
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Surgery Offers Best Chance in Laryngeal Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with stage IV laryngeal cancer, total laryngectomy is associated with better chance of survival than radiation therapy alone or combined chemotherapy and radiation, according to research published in the December Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

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Prostate-Specific Antigen Testing Dramatically Increases

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Since 1995, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing rates have significantly increased -- especially among black men and younger men -- despite a lack of evidence showing that such tests lead to reductions in prostate cancer-related mortality, according to a study published in the Dec.10/24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Cancer Drug Linked to Cardiac Toxicity

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Sunitinib can lead to cardiac toxicity, such as heart failure, hypertension and reductions in left ventricular ejection fraction, when used to treat cancer patients, researchers report in the Dec. 15 issue of The Lancet.

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Chemo After Surgery for Colon Cancer Improves Survival

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Chemotherapy with fluorouracil and folinic acid reduces the risk of mortality and recurrence in patients with stage II colorectal cancer after apparently curative surgery, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of The Lancet.

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Cancer Risk Studied in Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome

FRIDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Carriers of a genetic mutation associated with Nijmegen breakage syndrome, which in homozygotes is associated with an increased risk of cancer, also have an increased cancer risk, according to study findings published in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Genetic Variant Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A genetic variant of a putative prostate tumor suppressor gene is associated with aggressive prostate cancer, according to research published in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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High Colon Cancer Risk for Schizophrenic Patients

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with schizophrenia are at a higher risk of colon cancer but have a lower risk of respiratory cancer compared to the general population, according to the results of a study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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FDA: Deaths Related to Radio Frequency Ablation

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Use of radio frequency (RF) ablation devices in the treatment of lung tumors has resulted in some patient deaths, according to a public health notification released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week.

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Virtual Colonography Inferior to Colonoscopy

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with a positive fecal occult blood test, computerized tomography colonography (CTC) is less accurate and effective, and potentially more expensive than standard colonoscopy in detecting colorectal neoplasia, according to a report published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Medicare Beneficiaries Miss Colon Cancer Screenings

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Only one-quarter of elderly patients receive recommended screenings for colon cancer despite being covered by Medicare, according to a report released online Dec. 10 in advance of publication in the Jan. 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

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Technique Stabilizes Vertebra in Patients with C2 Tumors

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Transoral kyphoplasty, a technique involving injection of bone cement into a balloon-created space within a vertebral body, is safe and effective in restoring mobility and reducing pain in patients with tumors affecting the second cervical vertebra (C2), according to an article published in the November-December issue of the Spine Journal.

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Increased Cancer Risk Shortly After Blood Transfusion

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of cancer increases shortly after a blood transfusion, with the risk of alcohol- and tobacco-related cancers persisting much longer, researchers report in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Red Meat Intake Linked to Various Cancers

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- People who eat diets rich in red meat may be at an increased risk of developing cancers of the esophagus, liver, colorectum and lung, while those with a high processed meat intake may have a greater risk of colorectal and lung cancer, according to research published in PLOS Medicine in December.

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Wide Variation in Mammography Interpretation

TUESDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The interpretive performance of radiologists reading diagnostic mammograms varies widely due to factors not associated with patient characteristics, according to study findings published in the Dec. 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Immigrants Report Less Family History of Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Immigrants are much less likely than individuals born in the United States to report a family history of cancer, which may lead to health care providers underestimating immigrants' true cancer risk and ordering fewer cancer screening tests, according to a report published online Dec. 10 in Cancer.

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Mediterranean Diet Linked to Reduced Risk of Death

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Following a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a lower risk of mortality, including risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a large study published in the Dec. 10/24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Key BRCA1-Related Tumor Suppressor Identified

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Mutations in the BRCA1 gene, which have a known link to the basal-like breast cancer subtype with poor prognosis, can lead to breast cancer by causing inactivating mutations in the PTEN tumor suppressor gene, according to study findings published online Dec. 9 in Nature Genetics.

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More Depression Screening Needed for Veterans with Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for depression in veterans with cancer at a midwestern veterans' facility has improved, but rates of depression screening among these patients are still lower than in the general veteran population both nationwide and at the facility, according to a report in the November-December issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.

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CDC Reports Decline in Childhood Cancer Death Rates

FRIDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Mortality due to childhood cancers declined overall from 1990 to 2004 in the United States, but there were significant variations across regions and between ethnic/racial groups, according to a report in the Dec. 7 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA Advisory Committee Votes Against Avastin

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Oncology Drug Advisory Committee voted 5-4 on Wednesday against recommending that the drug Avastin (bevacizumab) be approved as a treatment for breast cancer. The non-binding vote will be considered when FDA regulators meet Feb. 23 to make their final decision.

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Drug Shows Promise for Skin Cancer Prevention, Treatment

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A drug that targets a mutant cancer protein can prevent and treat ultraviolet light-induced skin tumors in a non-immunodeficient mouse model and in human skin carcinoma cells, according to a study in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Serum CRP Is Prognostic Factor in Endometrial Cancer

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with surgically treated endometrial cancer, elevated serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are associated with a less favorable prognosis, according to an article published in Obstetrics & Gynecology in December.

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