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July 2009 Briefing - Oncology

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

UV Tanning Beds Classified as Human Carcinogen

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Ultraviolet (UV) tanning beds should be considered carcinogenic, according to a World Health Organization working group writing in the August issue of The Lancet Oncology.

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Laboratory Worker Infected With Vaccinia Virus

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- A laboratory worker in Virginia became infected with the vaccinia virus, leading to severe eye and ear infection, and the tracing of 102 potential contacts, according to a study published in the July 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Electronic Disease Surveillance Systems Vary Widely

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic disease surveillance systems vary widely from state to state and the lack of homogeneity will raise the cost of data sharing, according to a study published in the July 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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U.S. Health Data Network a Powerful Tool for Quality

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. health care system is on the verge of a new era in which distributed health data networks will assure local control of sensitive individual patient data, while providing medical researchers and policy makers access to powerful aggregate data on millions of patients, according to a pair of articles in the September 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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End-of-Life Decisions in Multidisciplinary Care Studied

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- End-of-life decisions in Belgium often involve multidisciplinary palliative care, and patients who receive spiritual care are more likely to choose euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, according to a study published online July 30 in BMJ.

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Antifungal Properties of Breast Cancer Drug Defined

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- The breast cancer drug tamoxifen may have activities against pathogenic yeast and may interfere with the function of calmodulin in its role as an antifungal agent, according to a study in the August issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

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Oropharyngeal Cancer Survival Linked to Virus Infection

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- African-Americans with oropharyngeal cancer have worse survival than Caucasians, and worse survival is associated with a lower prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, according to a study published online July 29 in Cancer Prevention Research.

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Gene Nanoparticles May Slow Ovarian Tumor Growth

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Injection of nanoparticles encoding the gene for a diphtheria toxin suicide protein (DT-A) into mice with ovarian tumors reduced tumor burden, slowed the growth of the tumors and increased the lifespan of the mice, pointing to a potential therapy for advanced ovarian cancer, according to a study in the August 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Long-Term Risk of Death After Radical Prostatectomy Low

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- A model developed to predict the 15-year risk of dying of prostate cancer after radical prostatectomy shows that the risk is very low, particularly in more recent patients treated in the era of widespread prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Pregnant Women, Children Among H1N1 Vaccine Priorities

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women, health care workers, and children who are aged 6 months and older should be the first to receive this fall's H1N1 swine flu vaccine, according to recommendations made July 29 by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel.

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Mismatched Stem Cell Transplantation May Backfire

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with hematologic cancers who undergo transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells from partially matched family donors, leukemic cells can escape immunological pressure from the alloreactive donor T cells and cause a relapse, according to a study published in the July 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Physical Activity Intensity Linked to Cancer Mortality Risk

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Leisure-time physical activity at a moderately intense level or greater appears to offer more benefit in preventing cancer-related death in men than low-intensity physical activity, according to research published online July 28 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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Aggressive Approach to Cervix Abnormalities Questioned

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- The benefits of referring women for immediate colposcopy or aggressive treatment instead of cytological surveillance following detection of low-grade cervical abnormalities may not outweigh the risks of overtreatment, according to three related studies from the Trial Of Management of Borderline and Other Low-grade Abnormal smears (TOMBOLA) published online on July 28 in BMJ.

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Mathematical Modeling Can Predict Herceptin Response

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- A new mathematical modeling technique may help identify breast cancer patients who are most likely to respond to Herceptin, according to a study published online July 28 in Cancer Research.

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Screening Under-25s May Not Cut Cervical Cancer Rates

WEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Screening women aged 20 to 24 for cervical cancer has little impact on rates of invasive cancer up to age 30, according to a study published online July 28 in BMJ, while another study concludes that women with persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are at increased risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.

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Older Cancer Survivors Report Good Quality of Life

TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Older long-term cancer survivors rate their quality of life better than the norms for their age despite a tendency to poor health behaviors, according to a study published online July 27 in Cancer.

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Prostate Cancer Vaccine Elicits Immune Response

TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- A vaccine against a prostate tumor antigen is safe, elicits an immune response, and may increase prostate-specific antigen doubling time in patients with recurrent prostate cancer, according to an early-stage study published online July 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Stress Levels With Prostate Active Surveillance Measured

TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Most men with early prostate cancer who are following the active surveillance protocol are generally able to manage the mental stress of their situation very well; factors such as a neurotic personality score, high prostate-specific antigen, and poor health are associated with increased anxiety, according to a study published online July 27 in Cancer.

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Depression Rate Studied in Cancer Survivors

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term cancer survivors have similar rates of depression as adults without a cancer history, though they may experience greater impairment from depression in their daily life, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Thalidomide Not Linked to Better Lung Cancer Survival

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with thalidomide in combination with chemotherapy in patients with small cell lung cancer was not associated with improved survival, but was associated with a higher risk of thrombotic events, according to research published online July 16 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Resection for Lung Cancer May Improve Survival Odds

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with stage IIIA(N2) non-small cell lung cancer, lung resection, preferably by lobectomy, should be considered in addition to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, according to a study published online July 27 in The Lancet.

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Stem-Like Cells Identified in Benign Tumors

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- Benign tumors contain stem-like cells that can be serially transplanted to generate new tumors, suggesting that such cells in benign as well as malignant tumors may be targets for anti-tumor therapies, according to a study published in the July issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

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Magnetic Nanoparticles May Aid in Rapid Cancer Detection

MONDAY, July 27 (HealthDay News) -- A biosensor using nanoparticles that offers rapid detection of cancer cells may prove to be useful for the early detection of the disease, according to research published online July 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Methods to Determine Health Care Priorities Questioned

FRIDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Evaluating health care priorities based on the attitudes of patients (direct method) or the attitudes of the general public (indirect method) can produce different results, complicating decisions on the allocation of health care resources, according to two papers published July 22 in BMJ.

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Camera Phones Can Help Doctors Make Rare Diagnoses

FRIDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- A pregnant patient with an uncommon nipple condition captured images of the transient changes to her nipples and gave them to her doctor, enabling an accurate diagnosis, according to an article published online July 22 in BMJ.

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Flu Vaccine Effects Uncertain in Immunocompromised

THURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Though roughly 1 percent of the U.S. population is immunocompromised for a variety of reasons, data on the efficacy of influenza vaccines in these individuals are scarce, according to research published in the August issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Researchers, Officials Disagree on Privacy Rule

THURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer researchers and compliance officers often disagree on how to comply with the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule in regards to cancer research, and additional training and best practice standards are needed, according to a study published online July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Treatment Can Reduce Bone Turnover in Prostate Cancer

THURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of bone metastases in prostate cancer patients with denosumab, which blocks bone resorption, reduces bone turnover compared with bisphosphonates, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

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More Lymph Node Checks May Not Help Cancer Diagnosis

WEDNESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Retrieving a high number of lymph nodes in colorectal cancer patients does not help to identify more patients with stage III cases of the disease, a finding which undermines the case for retrieval of at least 12 lymph nodes as a benchmark quality measure of surgical treatment, according to a study in the July issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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High-Risk Individuals Often Underestimate Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Many individuals with Lynch syndrome underestimate their cancer risk if the results of their genetic test are unclear, according to a study published online July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Colonoscopy Series Assesses Adenoma Recurrence Risk

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with prior adenoma, looking back at findings from the last two colonoscopies, rather than just the most recent colonoscopy, can help identify patients at low risk for adenoma recurrence who require less frequent surveillance, according to a study in the July 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Breast Cancer Risk From Childhood Radiation Quantified

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- Female survivors of childhood cancer have an increased risk of breast cancer that has a linear relationship with radiation dose, according to a study published online July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Baseline Function Can Affect Change After Prostate Therapy

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- The long-term effect of prostate cancer treatments on men's sexual, bowel, and urinary function depends on patients' baseline levels of function, according to research published online July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Obesity Not an Obstacle for Prostate Specific Antigen Test

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's weight does not significantly affect the usefulness of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing to determine prostate cancer, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Multidisciplinary Approach Recommended for Pelvic Pain

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- In a commentary on three diverse studies in the August Journal of Urology, a leading urologist advocates a multidisciplinary approach to unravel the complex pathologies of pelvic pain, prostatitis, painful bladder syndrome, and interstitial cystitis.

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Depression, Insomnia Affect Many Prostate Cancer Patients

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many men with prostate cancer suffer from insomnia, depression and distress, and younger men as well as those receiving radiation therapy are most at risk, according to a study published the August issue of Applied Nursing Research.

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Teen Exposure to Tobacco-Related Content on Web Analyzed

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who surf the Internet are exposed to a very small volume of tobacco-related content, and not all of the exposure is pro-tobacco, according to a study published online July 20 in Pediatrics.

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Repressor Linked to Improved Survival in Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Expression of a repressor of estrogen receptors reduces the growth of breast cancer cells and is associated with improved prognosis, according to a study in the July 15 issue of Cancer Research.

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Obesity Rates Highest Among African-American Population

FRIDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of obesity is far higher among African-Americans than Caucasians in America, and Hispanics also have significantly higher obesity rates, according to a study published in the July 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Sunitinib Found Effective, Safe in Advanced Kidney Cancer

FRIDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma with poor prognosis who are not usually entered into clinical trials, sunitinib significantly prolongs progression-free and overall survival and is well-tolerated, according to a study published online July 16 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Low Ovarian Cancer Detection Rate by Symptoms Alone

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Using symptoms alone only identifies 20 percent of women with malignant tumors, but a negative result on the symptoms index combined with a negative ultrasound result is highly indicative of a benign mass, according to a study published online July 14 in Cancer.

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Endothelial Cells in Blood May Help Spread Childhood Cancer

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Endothelial cells and progenitor cells circulating in the blood of pediatric cancer patients may play a role in the inception and progression of metastatic disease, according to a study in the July 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Peripheral and Marrow Grafts in Leukemia Compared

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- For patients in remission with acute myelocytic leukemia, the risk of relapse is higher and the prospect of leukemia-free survival is lower for patients who undergo autologous stem cell transplantation from peripheral blood versus bone marrow, according to a study published online July 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Combination Therapy Can Cut Prostate Cancer Death Risk

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of death from prostate cancer is lower for patients treated with brachytherapy supplemented by external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and androgen suppression therapy (AST) than it is for those treated with brachytherapy alone, according to a study published online July 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Cervical Procedure May Double Risk of Preterm Birth

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo loop electrosurgical excision of the cervix, a procedure widely used for the treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, face a doubled risk of spontaneous singleton preterm delivery, according to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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New Staging System Developed for Lung Cancer

THURSDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have developed a new staging system for non-small cell lung cancer based solely on the anatomic extent of disease, an update from the previous edition published in 2002, according to a special feature in the July issue of Chest.

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Capsule Endoscopy Found Inferior to Colonoscopy

WEDNESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- In the detection of colorectal polyps and cancer, capsule endoscopy has low rates of sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional colonoscopy, according to a study published in the July 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Genetic Alterations Linked to Malignant Gliomas

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- The development and progression of malignant gliomas may be related to the interactions between a network of altered genes, and the responsible mechanism may be a deregulation of the annexin A7 (ANXA7) gene, according to two related studies published in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Economic Factors at Play in Cancer Survival Among Races

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- After controlling for factors including socioeconomic status, survival differences between African-American and Caucasian patients with colorectal cancer ceased to become statistically significant, according to research published online July 13 in Cancer.

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Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Ovarian Cancer

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Women on hormone replacement therapy may have a significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Radiation Risk Estimates for Artery Screening Developed

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- The cancer risk attributable to radiation doses as a result of using multi-detector computed tomography (CT) to screen for coronary artery calcification has been calculated, and can be compared against screening benefits estimates, once that information becomes available, to devise strategies for screening and prevention of coronary artery disease, according to a study published in the July 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Heavy Drinking Linked to Higher Prostate Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Heavy alcohol consumption may interfere with finasteride's effectiveness for reducing the risk of prostate cancer, according to research published online July 13 in Cancer.

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Thyroid Cancer Incidence on Rise Since Late 1980s

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer increased in recent decades, with patterns indicating the rise was not merely due to increased detection, according to research published online July 13 in Cancer.

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Diet May Influence Liver Disease Progression

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary nutrient composition may be associated with an increased or decreased long-term risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer, according to a study published in the July issue of Hepatology.

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Caloric Restriction Linked to Slowed Aging in Monkeys

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Caloric restriction is associated with a delayed onset of age-related disease and less age-related death in rhesus monkeys, according to research published in the July 10 issue of Science.

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Study Finds a Third of Breast Cancers May Be Overdiagnosed

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- One in three breast cancers diagnosed in public mammography screenings is an overdiagnosed cancer that will never produce symptoms or lead to death, according to a meta-analysis by Danish researchers published July 9 in BMJ.

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Ovulatory Cycles Linked to Survival in Ovarian Cancer

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- A high number of lifetime ovulatory cycles may predict poorer survival among ovarian cancer patients, according to research published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Endoscopy Feasible for Dyspepsia Patients 50 and Up

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Endoscopy of dyspepsia patients 50 and older who do not have severe symptoms is reasonable and worth the high cost, according to a study in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Barrett's Esophagus Surveillance Needs Improvement

FRIDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Endoscopist adherence to surveillance guidelines calling for extensive biopsies for people with Barrett's esophagus is poor, which results in reduced detection of dysplasia, according to a study in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Migraine Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- In both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, a history of migraine may be independently associated with a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Five Genes Implicated in Brain Tumor Risk

THURSDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified five genes that may contribute to the risk of developing a glioma, the most common type of brain tumor, according to a study published July 5 in Nature Genetics.

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c-Src Activity Linked to Late-Onset Bone Metastasis

THURSDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- After patients undergo breast cancer treatment, a gene-expression signature of c-Src activation may support the survival of disseminated cancer cells, and is associated with late-onset bone metastasis, according to a study published in the July 7 issue of Cancer Cell.

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Obesity Rates for American Adults Still Going Up

THURSDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- At least 25 percent of the adult population in 32 states is now obese, and national prevalence of obesity has risen from 25.6 percent in 2007 to 26.1 percent in 2008, according to a July 8 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Sex-Specific Cancer Death Risk Higher in African-Americans

WEDNESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- African-American patients with sex-specific cancers had worse mortality than patients of other races despite similar therapies and follow-up, according to a study published online July 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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HPV Vaccine Linked to High Efficacy in Neoplasia Reduction

WEDNESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- The human papillomavirus (HPV)-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine shows high efficacy in the prevention of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2+ (CIN2+) associated with HPV-16/18, and may also provide cross-protection of non-vaccine oncogenic HPV types, according to the final analysis of the PATRICIA study published online July 7 in The Lancet.

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FDA Requires Stronger Label Warnings About Propoxyphene

TUESDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken steps to help prevent overdose in patients taking pain medications that contain the opioid propoxyphene, including Darvon and Darvocet, according to a July 7 release issued by the agency.

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Protein in Non-Metastatic Tumors May Inhibit Metastasis

TUESDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Prosaposin, a protein secreted by non-metastatic tumors, inhibits metastasis by producing factors that inhibit angiogenesis, and may be a potential cancer treatment, according to a study published online July 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Mechanism May Explain Quick Metastases of Lung Cancer

MONDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with lung cancer, the WNT/TCF cell-signaling pathway appears to play a major role in the spread of the disease to the brain and bone, according to a study published online July 2 in Cell.

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Fat Intake Linked to Higher Pancreatic Cancer Risk

FRIDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Consumption of saturated fats, especially from animal foods, may be associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to research published online June 26 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Mayo Clinic Streamlines Protocol Development

THURSDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- At the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, a project using focused process engineering has significantly accelerated the development and approval of clinical trials, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Novel Gene Therapy for Brain Tumor Nears Clinical Trial

THURSDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- A novel gene therapy for glioblastoma multiforme utilizing a combination of adenoviral vectors and the drug ganciclovir (GCV) is nearing clinical trial with the discovery of a biomarker to gauge tumor response to the treatment, according to a study reported in the July 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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Metabolic Syndrome May Raise Breast Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- There is no strong association between metabolic syndrome and increased risk of breast cancer, but there is an association between some of the components of the syndrome and increased risk of the disease, according to a study published online June 30 in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Preoperative Staging May Reduce Lung Cancer Surgeries

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with non-small cell lung cancer, preoperative staging with combined positron-emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) is associated with reductions in total and futile thoracotomies and has no effect on overall mortality, according to a study published in the July 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA Calls for Chantix, Zyban to Feature Boxed Warning

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Prescribing information for the smoking cessation drugs varenicline (Chantix) and buproprion (Zyban) must feature a boxed warning that discusses potentially serious mental health changes linked to the drugs, according to an announcement July 1 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

FDA News Release

Overweight Patients Require Increased Radiation Dose

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- During diagnostic radiologic procedures, overweight and obese patients require radiation doses that are several times greater than those needed by lean patients. With careful management, however, the effective doses may be reduced, according to a study published in the July issue of Radiology.

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Online Genetic Test Results Can Help Smokers Quit

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Whether genetic test results indicate relatives of lung cancer patients are at high or low risk for the disease, smokers' subsequent uptake of smoking cessation services is high, according to a study published online June 30 in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Priorities Set for Comparative Effectiveness Research

WEDNESDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- The extent to which large-scale public investment in comparative effectiveness research can achieve its goals of better decision making and improved uptake of new knowledge depends on engaging the medical profession and patients, according to recommendations by the Institute of Medicine published online June 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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