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January 2009 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for January 2009. 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.

Data Point Out Why Certain Mutation in GI Tumor Occurs

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- New evidence may explain why just isoleucine is naturally selected as a resistance mutant at position 670 of the tyrosine kinase KIT in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) treated with imatinib, according to research published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Human Papillomavirus Load Linked to Cervical Cytology

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of human papillomavirus-18 (HPV-18) DNA in cervical tissue are only associated with the severity of cervical cytology in women who do not go on to develop a precursor to cervical cancer, according to a report published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Treatment Regimens Equally Effective for Larynx Cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Sequential and alternating chemotherapy and radiation are equally effective for survival and larynx preservation in patients with larynx cancer, according to an article published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Mammography Benefits High-Risk Women in Late 30s

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- For women carrying mutations in the BRCA gene, who are advised to begin mammography screening at as early as 25 to 30 years of age, the reduction in breast cancer mortality outweighs the risk of radiation-induced cancer mortality in women screened annually at 35 to 39 years of age but maybe not younger age groups, according to the results of a study published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Cruciferous Compound Has Effect on Pancreatic Cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), found in broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables, can induce apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells, according to research published in the Feb. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Measles Virus May Lead to New Prostate Cancer Treatment

THURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- A measles virus strain engineered to express the human carcinoembryonic antigen shows promise in the treatment of prostate cancer, according to research published in the January issue of The Prostate.

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Poor Survival Continues in High-Risk Neuroblastoma

THURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Improvements in treatment strategies are needed for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, according to the results of two studies published online Jan. 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Bisphenol A Levels Do Not Decrease with Fasting

THURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, epoxy resins and polyvinyl chloride plastic, may accumulate in body tissue or be ingested via substantial non-food sources, according to study findings published online Jan. 28 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

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Keeping Ovaries Safe in Some Endometrial Cancer Patients

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Premenopausal women with early-stage endometrial cancer do not have higher odds of five-year survival if they undergo oophorectomy in addition to hysterectomy, according to study findings published online Jan. 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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British Breast Screening Leaflet Lacks Information

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The U.K. breast cancer screening information leaflet, "Breast Screening: the Facts," downplays the risks of screening to the extent that it cannot be relied upon to help a patient make a genuinely informed decision, according to an article published online Jan. 27 in BMJ.

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Laws Limit Medicare's Ability to Control Cancer Drug Costs

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A unique regulatory and legislative framework prevents Medicare from controlling the quickly escalating costs of cancer drugs, as it does with other drugs and medical goods, according to a report published online Jan. 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Genetics Linked to Variations in Treatment Response

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Genetic variations among patients may explain differences in treatment responses for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to research published Jan. 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Low Mammogram Rates Among Pediatric Cancer Survivors

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Despite recommended guidelines, a number of women who received chest radiation for a childhood cancer have not had mammography screening for breast cancer in the previous two years, according to the results of a study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Gene Variation Linked to Glioblastoma in Young

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Functional variation in the TP53 gene appears to play a crucial role in the development of glioblastoma in younger individuals, according to research published in the Jan. 27 issue of Neurology.

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Clinical Information Technology Leads to Safer Hospitals

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals that make use of clinical information technology to automate notes, records, order entry and clinical decision support have lower mortality rates, fewer complications and also save money, according to a report published in the Jan. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Predictors of Contralateral Breast Cancer Identified

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In unilateral breast cancer patients, evaluating five-year Gail risk and histologic findings in the ipsilateral breast may predict the risk of developing cancer in the other breast and help clinicians decide whether or not to perform a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy, according to an article published online Jan. 26 in Cancer.

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Meditation Practice Linked to Less Pain Sensitivity

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Experience in Zen meditation is associated with reduced pain sensitivity, a finding supporting the value of mindfulness-based meditation, according to research published in the January issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

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Prostate Cancer May Be Underdiagnosed in Poor Men

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Although the detection of low-risk prostate cancers has been increasing in the United States due to screening, this is not the case among low-income, disadvantaged men, researchers report in the February issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Smoking Causes Over 440,000 US Deaths Each Year

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- There were an estimated 443,000 deaths a year from 2000 to 2004 attributable to smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in the United States, according to a report published in the Jan. 23 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Thalidomide May Be Helpful in Recurrent Prostate Cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Thalidomide may help delay prostate specific antigen (PSA) progression in some men with prostate cancer, according to research released online Jan. 23 in advance of publication in the March issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Adjuvant Radiation Shows Benefit After Prostate Surgery

FRIDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Adjuvant radiotherapy shortly after radical prostatectomy in men with extraprostatic prostate cancer is associated with improved survival, according to research released online Jan. 22 in advance of publication in the March issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Supplements Can Contain Excess Iodine

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Some over-the-counter supplements contain high levels of iodine that may interfere with radioiodine treatment in patients with thyroid cancer, according to a case study published in the Jan. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Neuroblastoma May Be a Stem Cell Disease

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Human neuroblastoma cell lines appear to harbor subpopulations of cells that have similarities to normal neural stem cells, according to research published online Jan. 21 in PLOS One.

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Industrial Chemical May Be Human Carcinogen

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The chemical 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) -- a vulcanizing agent in the rubber manufacturing industry, corrosion inhibitor in auto radiator and metalworking fluids, and stabilizer in the manufacture of plastics -- may be carcinogenic, according to an article published online Jan. 21 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Novel Light Imaging Technique Detects Melanoma

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Multimodal polarized light imaging using tetracycline or methylene blue is an effective strategy to image dysplastic and benign nevi in melanoma, researchers report in the January issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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CO2 Laser Effective for Oral Precancerous Lesions

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser surgery is an effective treatment strategy for oral precancerous lesions, resulting in up to a 64 percent disease-free clinical outcome, according to research published in the January issue of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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Blacks Less Likely Than Whites to Have Lung Cancer Surgery

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with lung cancer, black patients are less likely than white patients to undergo recommended lung resection, but the disparity in treatment does not appear to have an impact on outcomes, according to research published in the January issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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US Cancer Screening Uptake Still Suboptimal

FRIDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Use of colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening nearly doubled between 2000 to 2005, but screening rates for breast and cervical cancer have remained flat, according to a report from the American Cancer Society published in the January/February issue of CA, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

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Gene Variants Linked to Pancreatic Cancer Risk

FRIDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Variants of two DNA repair proteins affect the risk of pancreatic cancer, while other DNA repair protein variants are associated with diabetes and the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to study findings published in the Jan. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Combined Screening More Effective for Cervical Cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Screening for cervical cancer by first testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA followed by triaging with cytology and further HPV tests is more effective than performing a Pap smear alone, according to research published online Jan. 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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No Link Between Cellphone Use and Uveal Melanoma

FRIDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Regular mobile phone use does not increase the risk of developing uveal melanoma, according to the results of a study published online Jan. 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Surgery Lowers Cancer Risk Linked to Gene Mutations

THURSDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO), the removal of an ovary together with the fallopian tube, is strongly linked to reducing the risk of breast and gynecologic cancers, according to a report published online Jan. 13 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Telephone Follow-Up Effective in Breast Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Among women treated for breast cancer who have a low-to-moderate risk of recurrence, telephone follow-up is a well-received and convenient intervention with no associated physical or psychological drawbacks, according to research published online Jan. 14 in BMJ.

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Improvements Needed for Colorectal Cancer Screening

THURSDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Improvements to colon cancer screening implementation, including better and broader delivery of the service as well as offering guidance to physicians for better adherence to established guidelines, are important strategies to allow patients to achieve the best screening results, according to several studies published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Supplement May Play Different Roles in Prostate Scenarios

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In the healthy prostate, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may be benign, but in the presence of reactive stroma and transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1), it may promote more androgenic effects, according to research published online Jan. 13 in Cancer Prevention Research.

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Genes Predict Adrenocortical Malignancy and Survival

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A two-gene signature can predict malignancy and survival in patients with adrenocortical tumors independently of pathology and tumor staging, according to research published online Jan. 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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High-Risk Lymphoblastic Leukemia Subtype Studied

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients who have the early T-cell precursor subtype of the disease are more likely to have a relapse than those with typical T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), according to research published online Jan. 14 in The Lancet.

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Survival Similar for Interferon Regimens for Melanoma

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Four weeks of intense immunotherapy with interferon-alfa (IFN-α) or a year of lower-dose maintenance treatment with IFN-α produce similar survival in patients with high-risk melanoma, according to a report published online Jan. 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Link Between Hepatitis C Virus, Liver Cancers Explored

TUESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is associated with over a twofold increased risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), suggesting the risk of HCV-associated cancer is not limited to hepatocellular carcinoma, according to research published in the January issue of Hepatology.

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New UK Guidelines on Cancer Drugs May Not Improve Access

TUESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has changed its criteria for approval of end-of-life drugs, but the changes will not improve the availability of drugs previously rejected on the grounds of poor cost-effectiveness, according to an article published online Jan. 13 in BMJ.

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Melanoma an Increasing Burden in United States

MONDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Improved access to screening for malignant melanoma does not explain the increased incidence of the disease in the United States, according to a study published online Jan. 8 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

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Black Raspberry Anthocyanins May Have Anti-Cancer Effect

FRIDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Black raspberry anthocyanins -- and other constituents in the berries -- may help prevent esophageal cancer, according to research published in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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Family History Doesn't Affect Prostate Cancer Outcomes

FRIDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In men with clinically localized prostate cancer, treatment outcomes are similar between those with a family history of the disease and those with sporadic disease, according to study findings published in the January issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology - Biology - Physics.

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High-Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Subtype Identified

FRIDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Identification of the major subtypes of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), including a newly identified high-risk subtype (BCR-ABL1), may be improved with the use of a classification system based on gene expression, according to research published online Jan. 9 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Menopausal Hormone Therapy Tied to Less Colorectal Cancer

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Hormone therapy during menopause was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, particularly estrogen plus progestin use, according to research published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Adjuvant Chemotherapy Benefits Colon Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery for colon cancer improves survival, largely by reducing the recurrence rate in the first two years, with low recurrence rates after five years, according to a report published online Jan. 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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New Drug Prevents Chemo-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Prevention of delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is significantly improved with the second-generation 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (5-HT3)-receptor antagonist palonosetron compared with granisetron, according to the results of a study published online Jan. 8 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Garlic Has Minimal Cancer-Prevention Effects

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence suggests that garlic consumption has little or no effect in reducing the risk of many common cancers, according to a report published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Gene Linked to Worse Childhood Leukemia Prognosis

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Deletions in a gene regulating B-cell development are associated with a worse prognosis in children with high-risk B-cell-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to a report published online Jan. 7 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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HIF-1 Offers Target for Digoxin in Cancer Therapy

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac glycosides -- used in treating congestive heart failure and arrhythmias -- appear to be strong inhibitors of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) synthesis, providing evidence that supports the use of drugs like digoxin for cancer treatment, according to research published Dec. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Genetic Abnormalities in Renal Cancer Predict Survival

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of cytogenetic abnormalities in tumors from patients with renal cancer, particularly loss of chromosome 9p, can predict survival, according to a report published online Jan. 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Ovarian Cancer Risk Higher in Obese Women

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Obese women are at modestly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, particularly if they never used menopausal hormone therapy, according to a report published online Jan. 6 in Cancer.

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Selenium Decreases Bladder Cancer Risk in Some Patients

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Although selenium has no overall association with bladder cancer, high concentrations may decrease the risk in women and moderate smokers and increase the risk in heavy smokers, according to a report in the January issue of Cancer Prevention Research.

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Controls on Indoor Radon Could Cut Lung Cancer Deaths

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- By concentrating on the minority of homes with high radon levels, the British government is missing out on a chance to reduce radon-related deaths in homes with lower levels of exposure to the natural air pollutant, according to research published online Jan. 6 in BMJ.

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Most Links Between Gene Variants and Cancer Weak

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A comprehensive analysis of reported associations between variants of DNA repair genes and cancer has shown that most do not have strong epidemiological credibility, researchers report in the Jan. 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Breast Cancer Test Unable to Detect Aggressive Subtype

TUESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- An automated diagnostic test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to detect circulating breast cancer cells is unable to detect a particularly aggressive subtype of these cells, researchers report in the Jan. 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Celiac Disease in Sibling Ups Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Celiac disease patients have a significantly increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and the risk has steadily declined in the last 40 years, but siblings of celiac disease patients also have an increased risk of NHL, according to study findings published in the January issue of Gastroenterology.

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Grape Seed Extract Triggers Apoptosis in Leukemia Cells

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Grape seed extract could play a useful role in the prevention or treatment of leukemia, according to research published in the Jan. 1 Clinical Cancer Research.

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Cervical Cancer Cofactors Linked to Secondary Cancers

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Among survivors of cervical cancer, the risk of a second smoking-related cancer is significantly higher in cervical squamous cell carcinoma patients than in adenocarcinoma patients, according to study findings published online Dec. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Gene Hypermethylation Seen in Lung Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Promoter methylation in certain genes may point to an increased risk of lung cancer in individuals, according to research published in the Jan. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Medication Error Rates High for Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Among cancer patients, about 8 percent of outpatient visits are associated with a medication error, most often administration errors due to a lack of communication, according to a report published online Dec. 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Antioxidants Not Seen to Reduce Women's Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The use of supplemental vitamins C and E and beta-carotene -- all antioxidants -- does not appear to reduce the incidence of total cancer or cancer mortality in middle-aged and older women, according to research published in the Jan. 7 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Physician's Briefing