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American Association for Cancer Research, Nov. 16-19, 2008

American Association for Cancer Research Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research

The American Association for Cancer Research Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research took place Nov. 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C., and attracted more than 1,000 scientists and other professionals from around the world. Highlights included recent advances in basic, clinical, epidemiologic and behavioral science.

"There were several key themes," said meeting chair Steven M. Dubinett, M.D., of the University of California Los Angeles. "We had major plenary sessions on molecular targets in cancer prevention, inflammation and cancer initiation, and cancer-prevention awareness. We also had a plenary session on integrative prevention, which examines cancer prevention in the context of other types of prevention for conditions such as cardiovascular disease. In addition, we had a number of sessions that focused on the prevention of specific types of cancer and other sessions related to lifestyle issues such as diet and physical activity."

Dubinett noted, "One of the most interesting studies addressed the issue of cancer surveillance and screening of men at high risk for prostate cancer. Although it's a preliminary study, it demonstrated that there are genetic risk markers that may be eventually useful in tailoring screening approaches, particularly for African-American men."

Veda Giri, M.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues studied more than 700 cancer-free men aged 35 to 69 -- 60 percent of them black -- who had either one first-degree relative with prostate cancer or two second-degree relatives with prostate cancer on the same side of the family. They assessed the men for the presence of five single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with prostate cancer.

"African-American men tended to carry more of these genetic risk markers compared to the Caucasian men," Giri said in a statement. "Since African-American men carry more of these particular genetic markers, they may be more informative for prostate cancer risks assessment in African-American men."

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"Another interesting study offered a possible reason why some former smokers develop lung cancer and others do not," Dubinett said. "It's a serious issue. We have over 50 million former smokers in the United States, and former smokers account for more than 50 percent of lung cancer cases. If we could predict which former smokers are most likely to develop lung cancer, it would constitute a major advance. This study not only shows that there could be a marker for lung cancer, but also suggests there could be ways to prevent the disease in some former smokers."

Emily Vucic, a graduate student at the British Columbia Cancer Researcher Centre in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues analyzed bronchial epithelial cells from 16 former smokers who had quit at least 10 years earlier. Eight of the subjects had non-small-cell lung cancer and eight were cancer-free. The researchers found that the cancer patients and controls had significantly different DNA methylation levels.

"Alteration to DNA methylation might potentially explain why some former smokers sustain additional genetic damage resulting in lung cancer," Vucic said in a statement. "As methylation is a reversible DNA modification, this knowledge could prompt the development and application of chemopreventive agents and unique therapeutic strategies that target DNA methylation in these patients."

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The meeting also featured advances in the understanding of how lifestyle factors affect cancer risk. James McClain, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues studied 5,968 women aged 18 and older who were cancer-free at baseline. During a follow-up of almost 10 years, 604 women developed cancer, including 186 who developed breast cancer.

The researchers found that women who ranked in the upper 50 percent for physical activity had a significantly reduced cancer risk. But women with a high level of physical activity who slept less than seven hours per day had an overall increased cancer risk, suggesting that the benefits of exercise are dramatically reduced by insufficient sleep.

"Greater participation in physical activity has consistently been associated with reduced risk of cancer incidence at several sites, including breast and colon cancers," McClain said in a statement. "Short duration sleep appears to have opposing effects of physical activity on several key hormonal and metabolic parameters, which is why we looked at how it affected the exercise/cancer risk relationship."

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AACR: Maternal Canola Oil Consumption Helps Offspring

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who consume canola oil during pregnancy may have daughters with a lower risk of breast cancer, according to the results of an animal study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research held Nov. 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: Cruciferous Vegetables Lower Smokers' Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Among smokers and former smokers, a high intake of cruciferous vegetables may help reduce the risk of lung cancer, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research held Nov. 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: Vitamins E and C Not Cancer-Protective in Men

MONDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- In older men, vitamin E supplementation has no beneficial effect on either prostate or total cancer, and vitamin C supplementation has no effect on total cancer, according to preliminary research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research conference held Nov. 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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AACR: Breast Cancer Risk High in Selected Patients

MONDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Women who test negative for BRCA gene mutations but have a significant family history of breast cancer still have a fourfold risk of developing breast cancer, according to research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research conference held Nov. 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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