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June 2009 Briefing - Oncology

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

Protein May Have a Role Supporting Cancer Cells

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- A protein previously thought only to regulate gene expression in the cell nucleus during an immune response, also exists in the cell mitochondria where it may play a fundamental role converting normal cells to cancer cells, according to a study in the June 26 issue of Science.

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Computer-Aided System Detects Missed Lung Cancer

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In lung cancer patients, a computer-aided detection system may detect nodules in chest radiography that were initially overlooked by a radiologist, according to a study published in the July issue of Radiology.

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Childhood Leukemia May Increase Insulin Resistance

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia are at increased risk of insulin resistance in adulthood compared to their peers, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Oncology Best Supportive Care Studies Faulted

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In oncology, best supportive care studies exhibit ethical and methodological shortcomings, and systematic bias or error that may be due to ad hoc supportive care and lack of standardized delivery, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Intense Surveillance Beneficial in Early-Stage Colon Cancer

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with stage I and IIA colon cancer, intensive postoperative surveillance is as beneficial as it is in late-stage patients, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Tiny Dose of Carbon Monoxide Can Damage Fetal Brain

TUESDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to even minute levels of carbon monoxide can cause oxidative stress in fetal brain tissue, according to a May 27 study published in BMC Neuroscience.

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Colorectal Cancer Risk Elevated in Men and Smokers

MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Male gender and current smoking are significant risk factors for advanced colorectal neoplasia and colorectal cancer, according to two studies published in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Retinoic Acid Shows Promise in Breast Cancer

MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- In breast cancer, estrogen and retinoic acid signaling show genomic antagonism, with estrogen tipping the scales toward cell proliferation and retinoic acid inhibiting cellular growth, suggesting that the vitamin A-derivative could lead to a new set of drug targets, according to a study published in the June 26 issue of Cell.

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Helicobacter Infection Plays Role in Stomach Cancer

MONDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- The effects of Helicobacter felis infection on the expression of the hormone gastrin can lead to the development of cancer in mice, with tumors developing at different sites in the stomach depending on the mouse's native gastrin level, according to a study reported in the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

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Body Mass Index Affects Bowel Preparation for Colonoscopy

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese patients are more likely than normal-weight patients to have inadequate bowel preparation prior to colonoscopy, which could result in missed mucosal lesions and the need for early repeat colonoscopy, according to a study published in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Seattle Protocol No Better Than Less Intensive Method

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- In Barrett's esophagus patients with high-grade dysplasia, the intense Seattle biopsy protocol is no more reliable than a less intensive surveillance protocol at predicting early cancers at the time of esophagectomy, according to a study in the June Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Alcohol Causes Most Deaths in Russian Adults Under 55

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- In many years, alcohol causes more than half of all deaths in the 15 to 54 years age group in Russia, and together with smoking accounts for the large discrepancy in adult mortality between western European countries and Russia, according to a study in the June 27 The Lancet, which has a special focus on alcohol.

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Genetic Variations Affect Response to Celecoxib

THURSDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Variations in the cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) gene may affect patient response to celecoxib in the prevention of colorectal adenomas, according to a study published in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

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Ablative Therapy Cost Effective in Barrett's Esophagus

THURSDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with Barrett's esophagus, endoscopic ablation is a cost-effective strategy for managing those with high-grade dysplasia, and may also be cost effective for those with low-grade dysplasia or no dysplasia, according to a study published in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

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Cranial Irradiation in Pediatric Leukemia Unnecessary

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- In children newly diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, effective risk-adjusted chemotherapy may eliminate the need for prophylactic cranial irradiation, according to a study published in the June 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Olaparib May Benefit BRCA Mutation Carriers

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Olaparib, a new oral drug that inhibits poly(adenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose) polymerase (PARP), may be an effective treatment for patients with cancer associated with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, according to a study published early online June 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Biomarkers May Be Useful in Predicting Cediranib Response

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Biomarkers of vascular normalization may be helpful in predicting the response of glioblastoma patients to cediranib treatment, according to research published online June 23 in Cancer Research.

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Dual Drug Therapy Found Effective in Prostate Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- In a phase II clinical trial, treatment with docetaxel and capecitabine dramatically reduced prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in a cohort of patients with metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), according to a report in the July issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Americans Paying for More of Their Health Care Costs

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Out-of-pocket costs are rising for Americans with health care coverage, including premiums, deductibles and copayments, according to a new June 23 report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

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Bariatric Surgery Trims Cancer Incidence in Obese Women

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Weight loss resulting from bariatric surgery can cut cancer incidence in obese women, but has no significant effect in obese men, according to a study published online June 24 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Elements of Mediterranean Diet Add Up to Lower Mortality

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Different elements of the Mediterranean diet contribute to its beneficial effect on overall mortality, according to a study published online on June 23 in BMJ.

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Body Mass Index Affects Pancreatic Cancer Risks

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Younger adults who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer and at an earlier age, and older adults who are obese and develop pancreatic cancer have reduced overall survival, according to a study published in the June 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Secondary Causes for Low Bone Mineral Density Common

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Many postmenopausal breast cancer survivors may have secondary causes of low bone mineral density that are potentially treatable, according to research published online on June 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Vaginal Brachytherapy After Surgery May Offer Benefits

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Vaginal brachytherapy may provide improved quality-of-life benefits compared with external-beam radiotherapy following endometrial carcinoma surgery, according to research published online June 22 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Strategies May Improve Outcomes for Rare Tumors

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- In women with placental-site trophoblastic tumors, stage-adapted management initiated within 48 months after the antecedent pregnancy is associated with improved overall survival and recurrence-free survival, according to a study published online June 23 in The Lancet.

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Obesity Hikes Young Women's Risk of Endometrial Cancer

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Obese and overweight women younger than 55 have an elevated risk for endometrial cancer, especially if they stop menstruating at an early age, according to a study in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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President Signs Tobacco Law, Acts on Medicare Coverage

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama moved on two health care fronts today, signing new legislation to regulate tobacco industry marketing and announcing an agreement with the nation's pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Americans on Medicare who find themselves in the so-called "doughnut hole" coverage gap.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
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Racial Disparity Seen in Ewing Sarcoma Patients

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Ewing sarcoma disproportionately affects Caucasians, but outcomes are not affected by race, according to a study published online June 22 in Cancer.

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Schizophrenia Linked to Increased Cancer Mortality

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients with schizophrenia, women have an increased risk of death from breast cancer and men have an increased risk of death from lung cancer, according to a study published online June 22 in Cancer.

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Model May Help Point to Lung Cancer Stem Cells

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- A model using malignant pleural effusions appears useful in investigating intratumoral heterogeneity and isolating candidate lung cancer stem cells, according to research published June 12 in PLoS One.

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Study Compares Combined and Single Cervical Tests

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Liquid-based cytology (LBC) plus human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in women led to a small decrease in the detection rate of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or worse (CIN3+) in a second screening round, compared to only LBC; but when the rounds were combined, the use of both methods didn't detect more CIN3+ or CIN2+ than LBC alone, according to research published online June 18 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Reinforced Infection Control Needed to Combat H1N1

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Infection control messages aimed at health care workers should be reinforced in an effort to reduce the spread of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus, according to a study published in the June 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Digital Rectal Exam Remains Key in Men With Low PSA

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Due to the number of men who may have aggressive prostate cancers despite a low prostate specific antigen (PSA), digital rectal exams (DREs) remain important in detecting early cancer, according to research published in the June issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Tea Polyphenols May Inhibit Prostate Cancer Progression

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Taking daily doses of green tea polyphenols in capsule form may someday have a role in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, according to a study published online June 19 in Cancer Prevention Research.

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Lenalidomide Recommended in U.K. for Multiple Myeloma

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- On June 24, the United Kingdom's National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will publish guidance recommending use of the drug lenalidomide for life-extending therapy for multiple myeloma patients who have received two or more previous therapies, according to an early report in the June 18 online edition of the The Lancet Oncology.

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Findings Uncover Genetic Links Involved In Neuroblastoma

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- A common copy number variation at 1q21.1 plays a role in neuroblastoma susceptibility, and common variations in the BARD1 gene are associated with the aggressive form of the disease, according to two studies published in the June 18 Nature and the June Nature Genetics.

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Treatment With MicroRNA Linked to Liver Cancer Benefit

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- The systemic delivery of miR-26a, a microRNA, using adeno-associated virus was associated with protection from hepatocellular carcinoma progression in a mouse model of the disease, according to research published in the June 12 issue of Cell.

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New Protein Panel Proposed for Ovarian Cancer Serum Test

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- A panel of tests for multiple protein biomarkers of ovarian cancer, including CA-125, may be able to reliably detect the disease earlier than testing for CA-125 alone, according to a study reported in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Macrophage Marker Linked to Survival in Melanoma

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of a protein shed from anti-inflammatory macrophages and the level of macrophage infiltration into the tumor are associated with survival in patients with melanoma, according to a study published online June 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Selenium Linked to Prostate Cancer Aggressiveness

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- High selenium levels are associated with more aggressive disease in men with prostate cancer, but only in men with a particular gene variant, according to a study published online June 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Purpose in Life Affects Mortality Rates in Older Adults

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who score highly on purpose-in-life scales have lower risk of mortality than their counterparts with low scores, according to a study published in the June issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

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Individual Mandate for Health Insurance Affordable and Fair

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Reforming the health insurance market so that all individuals are required to obtain at least a minimum amount of health insurance would eliminate the problem of adverse selection that the current system enables insurers to avoid, according to a perspective published online June 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Stem-Cell Transplant Key to Early Multiple Myeloma Therapy

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the emergence of novel agents to treat multiple myeloma, a combination of high-dose therapy and autologous hematopoietic stem-cell therapy continues to be the best initial treatment, according to an article published in the June 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Wealth and Ethnicity Affect Well Woman Screening Rates

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Both wealth and ethnicity affect the likelihood of British women receiving breast and cervical cancer screenings, according to a study published online June 17 in BMJ.

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Single-Agent Bortezomib Effective for Multiple Myeloma

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Single-agent bortezomib is an effective treatment for patients with untreated multiple myeloma, and although peripheral neuropathy often develops, it is reversible in most patients, according to a study published online June 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Colonography May Benefit High-Risk Patients

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with an elevated risk of colorectal cancer, computed tomographic (CT) colonography may be a feasible alternative to colonoscopy, according to a study in the June 17 Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Topical Fluorouracil Helps Treat Photoaging

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Topical fluorouracil can successfully treat actinic keratoses and photodamage by promoting wound healing patterns similar to those caused by laser treatments, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Adverse Events for Colonoscopy Increase With Age in Elderly

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- While the risk of adverse events from colonoscopy in elderly patients is low, it increases with age and comorbid conditions and should be a factor in a physician's decision to recommend the procedure, according to a study in the June 16 Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Racial Clustering Linked With Access to Colon Cancer Care

TUESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- The more African Americans a county has, the less colorectal surgeons, gastroenterologists and radiation oncologists there are in that county, whereas an increasing percentage of Asian Americans is associated with more specialists in that area, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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α-Cobratoxin May Be Treatment for Lung Cancer

MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- In a mouse model of advanced non-small cell lung cancer, treatment with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist α-cobratoxin (α-CbT) was associated with improved survival, according to research published in the June 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Sweeping Medical Reforms Lack Medical Liability Element

MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Three approaches to medical reform currently under discussion in the United States all have pros and cons, and questions remain over whether or not the reform package should include changes to the medical liability system, according to an article published online June 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Bill Giving FDA Authority Over Tobacco on Way to President

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Legislation giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory control over tobacco products is headed to the White House for President Obama's signature, as health organizations continue to applaud the action.

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CDC Releases First Genetic Testing Guidelines

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- With the number of tests for genetic conditions having more than tripled since 2001, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the release of the first federal guidelines for the use of molecular, or DNA-based, genetic testing.

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Aerosol Delivery May Be Useful Against Lung Cancer

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Aerosol delivery of lentivirus-based carboxyl-terminal modulator protein (CTMP) in mice inhibited lung tumor growth at different stages of development, according to research published in the June 15 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Fat Cells in Bone Marrow Block Formation of New Blood Cells

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Fat cells that migrate into the bone marrow with age or after chemotherapy or radiation block the formation of new blood cells rather than acting as space fillers, according to a study published online June 10 in Nature.

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Senate Approves Bill Giving FDA Authority Over Tobacco

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Senate has passed a measure that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broad authority over the advertising, sale, and manufacture of tobacco products, an action that is being applauded by the American Medical Association, among others.

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Colorectal Cancer Rates Increasing in Younger Adults

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Though overall rates of colorectal cancer have been declining in the United States, incidence rates in adults under 50 years of age have been increasing since the early 1990s, according to research published in the June issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

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Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects Explored

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- The treatments for localized prostate cancer -- prostatectomy, brachytherapy, and external radiation -- have varied side effect profiles, and these should be taken into consideration in the selection of a treatment, according to a study published online June 9 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Critical Gene Mutated in Ovarian Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- A mutation in a gene known to be critical for the development of granulosa cells is found in nearly all adult-type granulosa-cell tumors (GCTs), a type of ovarian cancer, but not related tumor types, according to a study published online June 10 in New England Journal of Medicine.

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Androgen Suppression Length Important in Prostate Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- In combination with radiation treatment, androgen suppression is effective in increasing survival in men with prostate cancer, but only when given for several years, according to a study in the June 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Smoking-Related Ills Cost U.K. 5.5 Percent of Health Budget

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking-related illnesses cost Great Britain's National Health Service (NHS) £5.2 billion a year, accounting for 5.5 percent of the NHS's total budget, according to a study published online June 9 in Tobacco Control.

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Androgen Deprivation Linked to Diabetes in Prostate Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is associated with a higher risk of diabetes and fragility fractures in men with prostate cancer, according to a study published online June 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a related study in the same issue, pretreatment prostate specific antigen (PSA) dynamics do not add predictive value for prostate cancer outcomes.

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Chemotherapy's Heart Complications Explored

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Because chemotherapy is often associated with cardiovascular complications, it's important that clinicians understand their incidence, pathogenesis, diagnosis and management, according to a state-of-the-art paper published in the June 16 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Stem Cell Transplant Benefits Leukemia in Remission

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Allogeneic stem cell transplantation can improve outcomes for leukemia patients in remission, but primarily for patients with higher-risk disease, according to a study in the June 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Women Underrepresented in Cancer Trials

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Women are underrepresented as patients in clinical studies of non-sex-specific cancers, though representation is better in government-funded studies, according to a report published online June 8 in Cancer.

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Antioxidant Use Common in Breast Cancer

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Antioxidant use, often at high doses and combined with other treatments, is common among women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, according to a study published online June 8 in Cancer.

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Prognostic Testing Often Desired in Choroidal Melanoma

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with choroidal melanoma may be likely to want to know the results of prognostic testing, but also desire accompanying counseling, according to research published in the June issue of the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

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ICU Pain Management Needs Quality Improvement

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Pain in critically ill patients is often undertreated and may even go unrecognized in intensive care units (ICU), pointing out the need for quality improvement in this important facet of care, according to an article in the June issue of Chest.

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EGCG Treatment May Be Useful for Chronic Leukemia

FRIDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- An oral preparation of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) with Polyphenon E appeared to be well tolerated and provided clinical activity in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), according to research published online May 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Genetic Abnormalities Test Detects Intestinal Cancers

FRIDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- A fluorescent technique to detect chromosomal abnormalities is more sensitive than routine cytology for the detection of suspected gastrointestinal cancer while maintaining a high specificity, according to a study in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

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Many U.K. Trained Doctors Stay in National Health Service

WEDNESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of domestic medical students in Britain work in the National Health Service (NHS) after graduation, as do the majority of doctors from overseas who go to the country for training, with men and women choosing similar career paths, according to a study published online June 3 in BMJ.

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New Breast Cancer Gene Targeted for Therapeutics

WEDNESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- A gene overexpressed in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers may represent a new therapeutic target, according to a study published online June 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Bayesian Network Shows Promise in Mammography

WEDNESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- The use of Bayesian networks could allow radiologists to improve their mammographic interpretation, according to research published in the June issue of Radiology.

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Hormone Therapy Doesn't Affect Mammography Recall

TUESDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Suspending hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for a short time before a mammogram to reduce breast tissue density does not improve the mammogram recall rate, according to a study in the June 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Colon Cancer Screening Program Benefits Unclear

MONDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- There was no reduction in incidence of colon cancer after seven years' follow-up on a screening program in Norway, and it is too early to say whether such programs can produce concrete benefits, according to a study published online on May 31 in BMJ.

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New Surgical Technique for Cervical Cancer Effective

MONDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new surgical technique that removes the Fallopian tubes, uterus, and parts of the vagina is effective in preventing recurrences in women with cervical cancer compared with radical hysterectomy, according to a study published online June 1 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Physician's Briefing