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May 2009 Briefing - Oncology

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

Cancer Physicians Often Do Not Take Part in Bereavement

FRIDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Many cancer physicians do not routinely participate in the bereavement process after patients die, and terminally ill lung cancer patients often have not discussed hospice with their health care providers, according to a pair of studies in the May 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract - Chau
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Abstract - Huskamp
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Cervical Testing Rates Too Low in Women With Bowel Disease

THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- who may be at higher risk of cervical abnormalities due to immunosuppressant use -- may have suboptimal screening rates for cervical dysplasia and cancer, according to research published in the May issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Abstract
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Computerized Prescription Order Errors a Risk for Patients

THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Computerized provider order entry systems are prone to input errors that may put patients at risk, according to a study published in the May 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

Focus on Meaningful Work Protects Doctors From Burnout

THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Academic faculty physicians who focus on what they find most meaningful are less likely to experience burnout, according to a study published in the May 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Cancer Deaths Reported Down Between 1990 and 2005

THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- A 19.2 percent drop in cancer deaths in men and an 11.4 percent drop in women avoided about 650,000 cancer deaths between 1990 and 2005, according to the American Cancer Society's annual report of cancer statistics in CA, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Abstract
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Ablation Eradicates Disease in Barrett's Esophagus

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Radiofrequency ablation is effective in completely eradicating intestinal metaplasia and dysplasia in patients with Barrett's esophagus, according to a study in the May 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Gene Mutation Identified in Various Myeloid Cancers

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- The TET2 gene is mutated in about 15 percent of patients with various myeloid cancers, and the mutations appear to precede mutations in a gene previously associated with these diseases, according to a study in the May 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Tamoxifen Recommended to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Tamoxifen and raloxifene can reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women, according to updated guidelines published online May 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a related study in the same issue, weekly treatment of metastatic breast cancer with an albumin-bound form of paclitaxel improves survival compared with docetaxel.

Abstract - Visvanathan
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Abstract - Gradishar
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Colorectal Cancer Outcomes Improve at Two Cancer Centers

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Outcomes for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer have markedly improved at two leading cancer centers since 1997 because of increased use of liver resection and the introduction of new cancer drugs, according to a study published online May 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Lower-Insurance Mortality Unaffected by Comorbidities

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Comorbidity levels do not explain why patients with colorectal cancer who have private insurance have lower death rates than patients who are uninsured or have government insurance, according to a study published online May 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a related study in the same issue, hospital factors such as quality can help explain some of the higher mortality in black patients with breast or colon cancer.

Abstract - Robbins
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Abstract - Breslin
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Adjuvant Treatment for Breast Cancer Low in Poor Women

TUESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Only 64 percent of poor insured women with breast cancer fill prescriptions for adjuvant hormonal treatment, even though this is known to reduce cancer mortality, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Bevacizumab May Increase Risk of Gastrointestinal Perforation

TUESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- The use of bevacizumab in cancer treatment increases the risk of gastrointestinal perforation in comparison with other medications, according to a medical literature review published online May 25 in The Lancet Oncology.

Abstract
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Age at Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer Decreased Since 1980s

TUESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- The age at which prostate cancer is diagnosed has declined in recent decades, according to research published online May 22 in Cancer.

Abstract
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Many Black Women Forgo Late Stage Breast Cancer Treatment

MONDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- There are distinct clinical characteristics associated with black women who have stage III breast cancer, and understanding the reasons why many of them refuse treatment is key to improving compliance rates, according to a study published online on May 22 in Cancer.

Abstract
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Study May Explain Fewer Cancers in Down Syndrome

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Increased expression of at least one gene on the extra copy of chromosome 21 in patients with Down syndrome reduces angiogenesis and may explain why these patients have a lower incidence of cancer and other diseases, according to a study published online May 20 in Nature.

Abstract
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Age Linked to Positive Lymph Nodes in Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women with early breast cancer are less likely to have positive lymph nodes with increasing age up to the age of 70 years, but are more likely to have positive lymph nodes with increasing age above 70, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Vitamin D Linked to Outcomes in Early Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Women with early breast cancer who are deficient in vitamin D have a higher risk of distant recurrences and death, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Breast Tumors Linked to Depression and Anxiety

THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- The mere presence of breast tumors in rats is associated with depression and anxiety, according to a study published online May 18 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Abstract
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Democrats Set Ambitious Goal for Health Care Reform

THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Congressional Democrats face formidable challenges in their efforts to pass health care reform legislation by July 31, but physicians can take the lead to ensure changes are enacted, according to two perspectives published online May 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Full Text - Iglehart
Full Text - Fisher

Statins May Cut Liver Cancer and Cholecystectomy Risks

THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Statin use is associated with reduced risk for cholecystectomy and for liver cancer, according to two studies published in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

Abstract - Tsai
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Abstract - El-Serag
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Westernization May Affect Asian Americans' Sun Habits

THURSDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among Asian Americans, greater adoption of Western culture may be associated with practices that promote sun exposure, according to research published in the May Archives of Dermatology.

Abstract
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Sticking to Work Hours Limits Very Costly

WEDNESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adherence to the 2003 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) limits on work hours, and other measures aimed at reducing fatigue among residents, would be costly with no proven benefits, according to an article published in the May 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Editorial

Prognosis Remains Poor in Gallbladder Cancer

WEDNESDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Median survival time for patients with gallbladder cancer has increased for more than four decades, but many patients still present with advanced disease and prognosis remains poor, according to a paper in the May Archives of Surgery.

Abstract
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Low-Income Breast Cancer Patients Often Forgo Therapy

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- In low-income, insured women with breast cancer, the use of adjuvant hormonal therapy is low, according to a study published online May 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Added Taxane Has No Survival Benefit in Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- The sequential addition of a taxane to adjuvant anthracycline-based chemotherapy does not improve survival compared with standard chemotherapy in women with invasive operable breast cancer, according to a study in the May 16 issue of The Lancet.

Abstract
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Medicare Denies Coverage for 'Virtual Colonoscopy'

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced May 12 that it would not cover the cost of so-called "virtual colonoscopies," colon screenings using computed tomography scanning devices. The decision was immediately blasted by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Radiology (ACR).

CMS Coverage Decision
American Cancer Society Statement
American College of Radiology Statement

Hypothyroidism Linked to Liver Cancer in Women

THURSDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Hypothyroidism is associated with a three-fold higher risk of developing liver cancer in women, even among those without major risk factors, according to a study in the May issue of Hepatology.

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Standard Chemo Found Superior to Capecitabine

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Standard adjuvant chemotherapy was superior to capecitabine for treating older women with early breast cancer, though with substantial toxicity, according to research published in the May 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Big-City Residents May Have Later Cancer Presentation

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Residents of densely populated cities may have a higher risk of cancer diagnosis at a late stage than those in nonurban areas, according to research published online May 11 in the journal Cancer.

Abstract
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Cancer Caregivers Show Excessive Inflammation

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Caregivers of patients with brain cancer show increased inflammation in the year after diagnosis that could put them at risk of developing conditions involving excessive inflammation, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Interferon Reduces Quality of Life for Advanced Melanoma

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced melanoma who are treated with pegylated interferon-alfa-2b have an improvement in recurrence-free survival but a reduction in quality of life compared with observation alone, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Early Breast Cancer Often Not Monitored After Surgery

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo breast-conserving surgery for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) often do not receive long-term surveillance mammography, according to a study published online May 11 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract
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Three-Drug Regimen Helps Combat Chemotherapy Nausea

WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of casopitant mesylate to dexamethasone and ondansetron causes a better reduction in chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting than the latter two drugs alone, according to a study published online on May 11 in The Lancet Oncology.

Abstract
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Exercise and Diet Support Slows Cancer Survivor Decline

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise, diet and weight loss support can slow the functional decline of long-term cancer survivors, according to a study in the May 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Colorectal Cancer Death Risk Down in Bowel Disease

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has not significantly changed in recent decades, but the risk of CRC death has dropped substantially, according to a study published in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

Abstract
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More Cancer Screening Raises Odds of False Positives

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have 14 or more cancer screening tests have at least a 50 percent chance of a false-positive result, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, while another study in the same issue classifies the ways in which patients may contribute to errors in their medical care.

Abstract - Croswell
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Abstract - Buetow
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Conflicts of Interest Common in Published Cancer Research

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- A sizeable portion of cancer-related studies in major journals are marked by conflicts of interest, which may be associated with the types of research and outcomes presented in the studies, according to research published online May 11 in Cancer.

Abstract
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Three Genes Linked to Breast Cancer Metastases

FRIDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Three different genes may mediate the spread of breast cancer to the brain, according to a study published online May 6 in Nature.

Abstract
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Medical Center Press Releases Often Lacking Key Details

TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Press releases from academic medical centers may often overstate the importance of research findings while failing to acknowledge relevant limitations of the studies, according to research published in the May 5 Annals of Internal Medicine.

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TGF-β Signal Disruption Linked to Faster Cancer Growth

TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- In mice, disruption of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling may encourage the growth of diffuse-type gastric carcinoma, according to research published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Molecular Markers Linked to Death From Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Several molecular factors measured in prostate cancer biopsy specimens at diagnosis may point to a higher long-term risk of death, according to research published in the May 5 Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Evidence Supports Heritability of Breast-Tissue Composition

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Breast water -- which is correlated with mammographic density -- is higher in young women, which may point to a factor related to susceptibility to breast carcinogens at younger ages, according to research published online April 30 in The Lancet Oncology.

Abstract
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Income, Education Associated With Diet Cost and Quality

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- People with higher socioeconomic status and educational levels are more likely to consume a costly but high-quality diet of lower-energy-density foods, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Abstract
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Chronic Kidney Disease Linked to Higher Risk of Cancer

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate chronic kidney disease may raise older men's risk of cancer by nearly 40 percent, according to research published online April 30 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Abstract
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Cetuximab May Improve Survival in Advanced Lung Cancer

FRIDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer treated with chemotherapy and cetuximab (Erbitux) survived significantly longer than patients treated with chemotherapy alone, according to a multinational study reported in the May 2 issue of The Lancet.

Abstract
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Erythropoietin May Worsen Mortality in Cancer Patients

FRIDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- The use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents to treat anemia in cancer patients worsens mortality, according to two separate reviews of past clinical studies.

Abstract - Bohlius (The Lancet)
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Full Text - Tonelli (CMAJ)

Inhibitor May Have Use Against Head, Neck Cancers

FRIDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- The histone deacetylase inhibitor LBH589, which has been shown to be useful against some hematologic cancers, may hold potential for treating head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), according to research published online ahead of print March 16 in the Journal of Pathology.

Abstract
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More Americans Reporting Disability

FRIDAY, May 1 (HealthDay News) -- The number of Americans reporting disabilities rose by 7.7 percent from 44.1 million in 1999 to 47.5 million in 2005, according to a report in the May 1 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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