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September 2007 Briefing - Oncology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Oncology for September 2007. 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.

Factors Within Tumor Impair Cancer Drugs' Efficacy

FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The ability of anti-cancer drugs to exert a lethal effect on tumor cells is limited by a number of often-overlooked factors in the microenvironment of the tumor, according to the authors of a review published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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New Design for Phase II Cancer Trials Proposed

FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Phase II cancer trials, which measure a drug's anti-tumor activity by categorizing patients as responders or non-responders, require large sample sizes to detect clinically meaningful differences. By treating tumor size as a continuous variable, a newly proposed trial design minimizes the number of required subjects, making future phase II trials more feasible, according to a report published in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Location More Important Than Number in Prostate Biopsies

FRIDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Post-mortem prostate biopsies reveal that biopsy site is more important in the successful detection of tumors than the number of biopsy cores taken, researchers report in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Role of Post-Prostatectomy Radiation Clarified

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Immediate postoperative radiotherapy following prostatectomy appears beneficial in improving disease-free survival in patients with positive, but not negative, surgical margins, according to study findings published in the Sept. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Breast Cancer Mortality Continues to Drop

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer death rates continue to drop in the United States, likely due to advances in early detection and treatment. Yet significant racial disparity persists, with black patients 36 percent more likely to die of the disease than whites, according to a report released from the American Cancer Society on Sept. 25.

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Simple Interventions Increase Colorectal Cancer Screenings

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Targeted and tailored interventions can significantly increase colorectal cancer screening rates, according to a report published online Sept. 24 in the journal Cancer.

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Prognosis of Bilateral Breast Cancer Varies with Timing

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Younger women diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer within five years after first cancer diagnosis have more than triple the risk of death than unilateral breast cancer patients, whereas women developing a second cancer after 10 years have a similar prognosis to unilateral breast cancer patients, researchers report in the Sept. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Familiar Doctor Linked to More Satisfaction for Urgent Care

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who receive urgent medical care from family physicians or after-hours clinics affiliated with their physicians are more likely to be satisfied with the encounter than patients who use other sources of urgent care, according to research published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Hospitalist Care Linked to Shorter Hospital Stays

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized patients who are under the care of a hospital-based general physician -- or hospitalist -- may have shorter stays than those under conventional hospital care, according to the results of a study in the Sept. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Medications, Diet May Help Prevent Prostate Cancer

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- During the past 15 years, prostate cancer prevention has become a major area of scientific and clinical investigation, and ongoing studies may soon identify effective chemoprevention strategies, according to a report published online Sept. 24 in the journal Cancer.

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Many Women Unfamiliar with 'Women's Health' Findings

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the widespread publicity of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trial published in 2002 -- which found that the risk-benefit ratio of estrogen plus progestin made it an unwise choice for preventing disease -- only a minority of women were aware of these results two years later, researchers report in the September/October issue of Menopause.

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Resection Eradicates Genetic Abnormalities in Barrett's

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Stepwise radical endoscopic resection of the Barrett's segment with early neoplasia eliminates pre-existing genetic abnormalities, according to a report published in the September issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Gene Predicts Worse Outcome Post-Transplant in Leukemia

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with acute leukemia treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) from an unrelated donor may be more likely to have a relapse and die if they have certain variants of the NOD2/CARD15 gene, which is involved in inflammation, according to a report in the Sept. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Prostatectomy Helps Survival If Lymph Nodes Positive

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Radical prostatectomies performed during the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening era on men with lymph node-positive prostate cancer are associated with good long-term survival rates, according to a report in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

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Chemotherapy Switch Extends Survival in Advanced Cancer

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Current chemotherapy regimens are effective at prolonging survival in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, for example, by adding irinotecan and bevacizumab to a fluorouracil and leucovorin regimen, according to a meta-analysis published online Sept. 20 in The Lancet Oncology.

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Surgery Beats Photodynamic Therapy for Basal Carcinoma

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although excision surgery for primary nodular basal cell carcinoma is associated with a lower recurrence than treatment with topical methyl aminolevulinate photodynamic therapy (PDT), the latter method offers benefits that make it more suitable in certain cases, according to the results of a randomized, prospective trial published in the September issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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FDA Approves Rapid Test for Platelet Contamination

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a disposable test strip that can be used in hospitals to detect bacterial contamination of blood platelets prior to transfusions. The Platelet Pan Genera Detection Test System is made by Verax Biomedica Inc. of Worcester, Mass., and can be used to retest platelets shortly before use.

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Poor Outcomes for Spina Bifida Patients with Bladder Cancer

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with spina bifida who develop bladder cancer do so at a relatively young age with an advanced-stage disease at diagnosis, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

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New Lung Cancer Guidelines Do Not Support Screening

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- New lung cancer guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), published as a supplement in the September issue of CHEST, recommend against screening for lung cancer, even in high-risk populations, due to lack of evidence that screening reduces mortality.

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Medical Schools Vary in Approach to Case Reports

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Most medical school institutional review boards (IRBs) don't treat individual case reports as "research," as it's defined by the United States Government Code of Federal Regulations, according to a research letter published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Protein Predicts Skeletal Events in Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Men with metastatic prostate cancer are at greater risk of skeletal complications when they have elevated levels of serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), researchers report in the August issue of Urology.

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Anxiety Influences Treatment Decision in Prostate Cancer

TUESDAY, Sept. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Feelings of anxiety can spur prostate cancer patients to decide to move from surveillance to treatment as much as changes in prostate specific antigen values, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

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FDA Approves Evista to Prevent Invasive Breast Cancer

MONDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved raloxifene (Evista) for the prevention of invasive breast cancer in high-risk, postmenopausal women as well as those postmenopausal women taking the drug to prevent osteoporosis.

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Finasteride May Not Induce High-Grade Prostate Cancer

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The increased rate of high-grade prostate cancer associated with finasteride reported in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) is likely due to detection bias rather than finasteride-induced stimulation of high-grade tumors, according to two studies published online Sept. 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract - Cohen
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Abstract - Lucia
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Editorial

Racial Gap Persists in Maryland Colorectal Screening

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Maryland has the thirteenth highest rate of colorectal cancer mortality in the United States, and while screening rates have improved, there are still significant racial disparities, researchers report in the Sept. 14 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Dabigatran Etexilate Reduces Hip Surgery Blood Clot Risk

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Oral dabigatran etexilate reduces the risk of venous thromboembolism after hip replacement surgery just as effectively as subcutaneous enoxaparin, according to a report published in the Sept. 15 issue of The Lancet.

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Micronutrients Do Not Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that low blood concentrations of micronutrients such as carotenoids, retinol and tocopherols have been associated with increased risk of prostate cancer, there is no evidence that they protect against the disease, according to a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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One in Three Needle Biopsies Detect Prostate Cancer

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Prostate cancer is detected in one-third of men undergoing a needle biopsy of the prostate, and those with negative biopsies often undergo repeat biopsies, leading to a higher likelihood of finding cancer, according to research published online Sept. 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Isolated Polymyoclonus Often Mistaken for Tremor

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Isolated generalized polymyoclonus is easily mistaken for tremor, and distinguishing the two is important because polymyoclonus may be due to malignancy, autoimmunity or use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other drugs, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

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Stem Cell Rescue Not Beneficial in AL Amyloidosis

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with systemic immunoglobulin-light-chain amyloidosis, treatment with high-dose melphalan plus autologous stem cell rescue is not superior to treatment with standard chemotherapy, according to a report in the Sept. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Early Macular Degeneration Linked to Cancer Death

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- In black patients but not whites, early age-related macular degeneration may be associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer mortality, according to a report published in the September issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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Higher Education Linked to Lower Cancer Mortality

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Higher levels of education are strongly associated with decreased mortality from cancers of the lung, breast, prostate and colon/rectum in black men, white men and white women, according to study findings published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Birth Control Pills Associated with Lower Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Taking oral contraceptive pills may reduce the overall risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 11 in BMJ.

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Cytokines May Play Role in Gleevec Resistant Leukemia

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Chemicals produced by the immune system, known as cytokines, may play a role in cases of B cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (B-ALL) resistance to Gleevec, according to a report published online Sept. 7 in Genes and Development.

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Knee Monoarthritis Signals Lung Cancer in Some Patients

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In some patients, monoarthritis of the knee may be a warning sign of non-small cell lung cancer, according to research published online Sept. 3 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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Gene Variant Linked to Increased Human Stature

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A common variant in the HMGA2 oncogene is associated with increased height in children and adults, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 2 in Nature Genetics.

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UGT1A1 Gene Affects Risk of Irinotecan-Induced Toxicity

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients with a UGT1A1*28/*28 genotype who receive medium to high doses of irinotecan may have a significantly increased risk of neutropenia, according to a report published in the Sept. 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Exercise Improves Health in Women with Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise and yoga improve health and quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer, according to two studies published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Abstract - Courneya
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Abstract - Moadel
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HIV Protease Inhibitors Can Also Kill Cancer Cells

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Clinically approved HIV protease inhibitors such as nelfinavir are effective in killing many types of cancer cells, including drug-resistant cancers, according to a report in the Sept. 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

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