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June 2008 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for June 2008. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Guanylyl Cyclase C May Offer Therapeutic Cancer Target

FRIDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Guanylyl cyclase C (GCC), which is expressed in intestinal epithelial cells and colorectal tumors, may represent a therapeutic target for metastatic colon cancer, according to the results of a study in mice published in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Doctors Urged to Take Action on Climate Change

FRIDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Just as doctors helped change public attitudes about smoking, they should lead the way in changing attitudes about climate change, according to a Views & Reviews article published June 28 in BMJ.

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Cisplatin Analogue Shows Anti-Cancer Potential

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- cDPCP, an analogue of cisplatin, may have more tumor-targeting potential than oxaliplatin due to its high cellular accumulation and cell sensitization, according to research published online June 25 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Non-Steroidal Drugs Don't Protect Against Melanoma

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) doesn't appear to be associated with a lower risk of melanoma, contrary to data supporting their chemopreventive effects for other site-specific cancers, according to research published in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Bisphosphonates Linked to Osteonecrosis of the Jaws

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because breast cancer patients receiving intravenous bisphosphonates may be at higher risk of developing osteonecrosis of the jaws (ONJ), they should receive early referral by oncologists for baseline dental evaluation, according to a report published online June 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Hospital Volume Linked to Deaths After Cancer Surgery

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Low-volume hospitals have higher perioperative and long-term mortality than high-volume hospitals for cancer surgery, although more deaths could be avoided by initiatives to improve long-term survival, according to a report published online June 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Socioeconomic Status Linked to Post-Cancer Mortality

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Low socioeconomic status appears to influence mortality after cancer diagnosis, but community health advocates and patient assistants may help improve the stage of breast cancer diagnosis among a largely underinsured or uninsured population, according to two studies published online June 25 in Cancer.

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Screening Tool May Aid Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer

THURSDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- A composite tool consisting of a symptom index and the CA-125 blood test identified more than 80 percent of women with early-stage ovarian cancer and may be useful as part of a multi-step screening process for the disease, which is extremely difficult to detect in its early stages, according to study findings published online June 25 in Cancer.

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Common Risk Alleles Could Help in Breast Cancer Screening

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Assessing a small number of susceptibility alleles could be helpful in identifying women who are genetically at higher risk of breast cancer and make screening programs more efficient, according to the authors of an article in the June 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Discovery Points to Factors in Imatinib Resistance

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- LYN kinase may play a role in imatinib resistance in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia who don't have BCR-ABL mutations, according to research published in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Imaging Identifies Risk of Recurrent Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- A high-resolution imaging method can accurately predict the risk of tumor recurrence in women with invasive breast cancer, researchers report in the July issue of Radiology.

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Haplotype Blocks in 8q24 Gene Desert Linked to Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Five specific loci within the 8q24 gene desert are associated with an increased risk of various cancers, according to research published in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Nurses' Health Study Meets Many Criteria for Success

WEDNESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- The long-running Nurses' Health Study (NHS) has been successful in terms of three purposes of epidemiology -- discovery of information, development of control and prevention strategies, and delivery of findings -- according to a commentary in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Greater Adherence to Healthy Diet Cuts Women's Death Risk

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who eat a prudent diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, poultry and whole grains may have a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular and total mortality compared to women who eat a typical Western diet, according to a report published in the July 15 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Racial Disparities Exist in Colorectal Cancer Screening

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- There are racial disparities in the rate of colorectal cancer screening between different ethnic groups, and interventions are required to mitigate these inequalities, researchers report in the June 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Anti-Cancer Drugs Dampen Immune System

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory inhibitors known as histone deacetylase inhibitors can dampen the immune system and reduce the incidence of graft-versus-host disease in mice after a bone marrow transplant, according to study findings published online June 20 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Protein Mediates Damage from Tobacco Pollutants

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Compounds present in cigarette smoke responsible for inflammation of lung nerve endings and respiratory hypersensitivity mediate their effects via an excitatory ion channel, according to a report published online June 20 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation Seen As Healthful

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic whole-body exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation -- principally gamma radiation -- could reduce the incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, according to an article published in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

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Combined Therapy May Overcome Cancer Drug Resistance

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- A network of signaling is disrupted in cancer cells resistant to gefitinib, and combination treatment with gefitinib and another inhibitor may be able to overcome this resistance, researchers report in the June 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Myelomas Lacking Master Regulator Gene Die

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Myelomas lacking a protein that acts as a master regulator of gene expression die, regardless of the underlying genetic abnormalities, according to research published online June 22 in Nature.

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Article Examines Use of 'Key Opinion Leaders' in Drug Sales

FRIDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Influential doctors known as "key opinion leaders" are paid generous fees to influence their peers to prescribe a company's drugs and may in fact be considered salespeople by the industry, according to an article in the June 21 issue of BMJ.

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Vitamin D May Reduce Mortality in Colorectal Cancer

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Having high blood levels of vitamin D reduces the risk of death in patients subsequently diagnosed with colorectal cancer, according to a report in the June 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Anemia Treatment Benefits Myelodysplastic Syndrome

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow malignancy, treatment with erythropoietin plus granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) for anemia can improve survival without affecting the risk of leukemia, according to a report published online June 16 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Radiofrequency Ablation Benefits Lung Cancer Patients

THURSDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Radiofrequency ablation, an accepted treatment for non-surgical liver cancers, can yield sustained complete responses in patients with primary and metastatic lung tumors, according to an article published online June 18 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Patient's Immune System Eradicates Melanoma

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's own T cells primed against a melanoma antigen can eradicate metastatic melanoma with no evidence of toxicity, according to a case report published in the June 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Lifestyle Changes Lead to Benefits in Prostate Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Men with low-risk prostate cancer who undertake an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention have beneficial changes at the molecular level in the prostate, according to the results of a study in the June 17 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Salvage Radiation Improves Prostate Cancer Survival Time

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- In men with a recurrence of prostate cancer and a prostate-specific antigen doubling time of less than six months, salvage radiation can increase disease-specific survival, according to a report published in the June 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Heavy Coffee Consumption May Lower Risk of Death

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking large amounts of coffee lowers the risk of death, mostly due to fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a study published in the June 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Similar Risk of Lung Cancer in Male and Female Smokers

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Female smokers are no more likely than male smokers to develop lung cancer, although among never-smokers, women may be at modestly higher risk compared with men, according to the results of a study published online June 14 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Surgical Technique More Effective for Low Rectal Cancer

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Abdominoperineal excision of low rectal cancer removes more tissue around the tumor if a cylindrical technique performed in the prone position is used rather than the standard approach, according to a report published online June 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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U.S. Death Rates Declined Sharply in 2006

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Death rates in the United States dropped significantly in 2006, and life expectancy reached a record high, according to a report released this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Sorafenib Effective for Advanced Thyroid Cancer

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- In advanced thyroid cancer, sorafenib improves or maintains disease control in about three-quarters of patients, with acceptable toxicity, according to research published online June 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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SPINK1 Implicated in Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- The oncogene SPINK1 is a biomarker detectable in urine that's associated with prostate cancer aggressiveness, with outlier expression identified only in a subset of ETS-negative cancers, researchers report in the June issue of Cancer Cell.

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Melanoma Should Trigger Regular Eye Checks

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of melanoma is increasing more quickly than any other cancer in the United States, and patients with metastatic cutaneous melanoma should be periodically given an ophthalmic examination to screen for metastasis to the eye, lids and orbit, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Survey of Ophthalmology.

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CT Lung Cancer Screenings Show Mixed Results

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- In patients at high risk for lung cancer, regular helical computed tomographic screening may reduce long-term lung cancer-specific mortality. Because of other mortality risks associated with smoking, however, it may have a less significant effect on reducing overall mortality, according to research published in the July issue of Radiology.

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Smoking Needs Recognition as a Chronic Disorder

FRIDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Tobacco addiction must be recognized as a chronic disorder that may require long-term treatment, which will have more success when treatments are better matched with patients, according to an article published in the June 14 issue of The Lancet.

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Death Risk Charts Put Disease Risk in Context

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Simple charts that give the 10-year risk of death based on age, sex and smoking status could help put disease risk in context and help patients decide where to focus on reducing risk, researchers report in the June 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Study of Cancer Stem Cells Marks Paradigm Shift

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- The field of cancer stem cell research represents a paradigm shift in cancer diagnosis and treatment, according to a series of articles on the role of stem cells in various malignancies published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Blood Proteins Upregulated in Pancreatic Cancer Identified

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Proteins present at high levels in the blood of a mouse model of pancreatic cancer at various stages are also upregulated in human patients with pancreatic cancer and could be useful for early detection, researchers report in the June issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Once Daily Leukemia Drug Dose Effective, Less Toxic

THURSDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Dasatinib, a BCR-ABL inhibitor considerably more potent than imatinib, has similar efficacy but less toxicity at a dose of 100 mg once a day compared with the approved 70 mg twice a day in patients with chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia who have failed imatinib treatment, according to study findings published online June 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Drug May Cut Risk of Invasive Breast Cancer in Some Women

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulator, lowers the risk of invasive ER-positive breast cancers but not other types of breast cancers in women who have or are at high risk of coronary heart disease, researchers report in the June 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Colorectal Cancer Screening Lacking Among At-Risk Blacks

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients with a family history of colorectal cancer have lower rates of risk-appropriate colorectal cancer screening than either blacks at average risk or whites at increased risk, according to the results of a study published in the July 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

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Cancer Costs Increasing Due to More Treatment

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The costs associated with treating cancer in the elderly have largely increased due to more patients receiving surgery and adjuvant treatment, and rising prices for these therapies, researchers report in the June 18 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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FDA Adds Cancer Warning to Regranex Label

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have added a boxed warning to the label of Regranex (becaplermin) -- a cream that is used to treat diabetic foot ulcers that fail to heal -- due to an increased risk of cancer mortality in patients who use three or more tubes of the drug.

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New PET Probe Images Immune System

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new probe for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging targeting the immune system allows imaging of lymphoid organs and can be used to monitor treatments involving the immune system, according to research published online June 8 in Nature Medicine.

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Needle Guide Type Affects Prostate Biopsy Complications

MONDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- In men undergoing transrectal prostate biopsy, the use of a disposable ultrasound needle guide may significantly reduce the rate of infectious complications, according to research published in the June issue of Urology.

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Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with methotrexate have a higher risk of developing cancer than the general population, particularly melanoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and lung cancer, researchers report in the June 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Experts' Evaluation of Cervical Images Often Differ

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Experienced colposcopists' evaluations of cervical lesion grades based on static digital images have fair to poor reproducibility, according to a report published in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Metals in Canadian Farmed and Wild Salmon at Safe Levels

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of mercury and other metals are low enough to account for only 2 percent of dietary intake and the fish continue to be a safe source of omega-3 fatty acids, according to the results of a study published in the June issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

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Excision Rates Useful Measure of Rectal Cancer Treatment

THURSDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Although the overall rates of abdominoperineal excision for rectal cancer have declined in the United Kingdom, there are significant variations in its application that cause unequal quality of care, according to a report published online June 5 in Gut.

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FDA Performing Safety Review of TNF Blockers

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is performing a safety review of drugs that block tumor necrosis factor (TNF), used to treat diseases such as arthritis and psoriasis, due to reports of cancers in young patients prescribed the drugs.

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Dietary Flavonoids Linked to Lower Lung Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- A diet that supplies greater amounts of flavonoid compounds such as epicatechin, catechin, quercetin and kaempferol may help lower the risk of lung cancer in smokers, according to research published in the May 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

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Family History of Colon Cancer Portends Better Prognosis

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with stage III colon cancer who receive adjuvant chemotherapy and who have a family history of colorectal cancer have an improved prognosis compared to those without a family history, according to an article published in the June 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Mechanism Proposed

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Metastatic prostate cancers may adapt to low systemic testosterone levels and maintain intratumoral androgens by modulating enzymes involved in intracrine steroidogenesis and androgen catabolism. This mechanism may explain why nearly all patients eventually develop castration-resistant disease despite anorchid serum androgen levels, researchers report in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Melanoma Treatment May Lead to Ocular Autoimmunity

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- An effective immunotherapy against melanomas in mice targeting a melanocyte antigen is associated with autoimmunity in the eye, according to a report published online June 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Northeast Has Highest Rates of Childhood Cancer in U.S.

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Young people living in the Northeast region of the United States have a significantly higher incidence of childhood cancer than those in other parts of the country, according to a report published in the June issue of Pediatrics. The study is the first to document regional differences in childhood cancer rates.

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Tomato Ingredient May Offer Prostate Protection

MONDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The ketosamine FruHis, found in tomato powder, may interact with lycopene to offer protection against prostate cancer, according to research from rat studies published in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research.

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Physician's Briefing
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