Monday, September 6, 2010

Variety of vegetables is key to reducing lung cancer risk

A new European study shows that not just
quantity of vegetables, but variety matter
in reducing non-small call lung cancer risk.
(Photo courtesy UN Development Programme

PHILADELPHIA – (Cancer Digest) – Eating vegetables may help reduce the chance of getting lung cancer. And adding a variety of fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of a particular type of non-small cell lung cancer called squamous cell lung cancer, especially among smokers, say researchers.

Led by Dr. H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, senior scientist and project director of cancer epidemiology at The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands, the researchers published their results in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

“Although quitting smoking is the most important preventive action in reducing lung cancer risk, consuming a mix of different types of fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk, independent of the amount, especially among smokers,” Bueno-de-Mesquita said in a prepared statement.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Alcohol linked to less common breast cancer

A new study shows alcohol increases risk of hormone-positive
lobular cancer.
Illustration courtesy of the National Cancer Institute.
SEATTLE – Cancer Digest – Women who drink alcohol more than once a day have twice the risk of a less common form of breast cancer called lobular carcinoma, a new study shows.

Led by Dr. Christopher Li, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center analyzed a subset of women who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and answered a questionnaire that included questions about alcohol consumption. Their study was published today online in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lung cancer patients live longer with hospice care than aggressive treatment

A new study shows advanced lung cancer patients lived nearly
a year compared to less than 9 months for those given aggres-
sive therapy. (Photo courtesy of UNAIDS)
BOSTON – Cancer Digest – Patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who received palliative care lived, on average, almost two months longer than those who received standard care, researchers say.

Led by Dr. Jennifer S. Temel, of the Massachusetts General Hospital, the researchers also found that the patients receiving palliative care reported a higher quality of life through the final course of their illness.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Changing thinking about preventing cancer with drugs will take time

Finasteride has been shown to reduce the risk of
prostate cancer, but few doctors prescribe it for
that purpose.
PHILADELPHIA – (Cancer Digest) A new survey shows that doctors have not increased their use of finasteride for prostate cancer prevention despite the 25 percent reduction in prostate cancer among those taking the drug shown in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) seven years ago.

Led by Dr. Ian Thompson, chairman of the department of urology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, this new study shows that physicians have not changed their practice patterns, with 64 percent of urologists and 80 percent of primary care physicians never prescribing finasteride for chemoprevention. Finasteride is approved and commonly prescribed for the treatment of enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Surgery increases survival for high-risk prostate cancer

A new study by researchers at the University of California
San Francisco show that men with high-risk prostate cancer
survive longer with prostate surgery.
SAN FRANCISCO – Cancer Digest – Men treated with surgery for localized prostate cancer with a high risk of recurrence or spread had significantly higher survival rate than men treated with either external-beam radiation or hormonal therapies, a new study shows.

Led by Dr. Matthew Cooperberg, lead investigator of the study and a prostate cancer specialist in the UCSF Department of Urology, the researchers found that the differences among therapies were greater at higher levels of cancer risk, and suggest, the researchers say, that in many cases surgery should play a greater role in treatment strategies for patients with prostate cancer that is likely to recur or spread. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is treatment too aggressive for men with low-risk prostate cancer?

The prostate specific antigen test measures levels of particular
protein in the blood that is a biomarker for prostate cancer.
(Photo courtesy of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy) 
CHICAGO – Most men with low-risk prostate cancer are undergoing aggressive surgeries and radiation therapies despite the significant risk of impotence, and loss of bladder and bowel control, that such treatments carry, a new study shows.

Led by Dr. Yu-Hsuan Shao, Ph.D., of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results System. They found that 44 percent of men with prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels of less than 4.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) and 38 percent of those with a PSA between 4.1 ng/ml and 10.0 ng/ml underwent radical prostatectomy, which removes the prostate and nearby lymph nodes.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Avastin for breast cancer now in doubt

An advisory panel of the FDA voted unanimously to
withdraw approval of Avastin for advanced breast cancer.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 20, 2010 – An FDA advisory panel recommended today that the approval of Genentech’s Avastin® (bevacizumab) be withdrawn for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. The recommendation came following results of a pair of studies that failed to confirm earlier results.

The recommendation does not affect the status of Avastin for the treatment of lung, colon and brain cancers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fish oil linked to lower breast cancer risk

SEATTLE – Cancer Digest – The evidence that fish oil may prevent chronic diseases was given a boost this week with the first study showing that women who took the supplement had a 32 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to similar women who didn’t.

But don’t go out and start taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements just yet, say the study's authors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Led by Dr. Emily White of the center’s public health sciences division, the researchers caution that this study needs to be confirmed before people start taking such supplements.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New vaccine technology might treat cancer

CLEVELAND -- VOANews -- Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have found a way of making a vaccine that could both treat and prevent breast cancer without triggering an unwanted immune response.

Led by Dr. Vincent Tuohy, at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Institute,  the researchers say the experimental vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to protect the body against the development of breast cancer.  Until now, the major hurdle for researchers working on cancer vaccines has been finding ways to avoid setting off auto-immune responses in cancer patients.  Autoimmunity occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue or organ systems. Continue reading

Reseachers are working to develop cancer vaccines.
(photo courtesy of the National Institutes
of Health)

New vaccine technology might treat cancer

CLEVELAND -- VOANews -- Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have found a way of making a vaccine that targets cancerous breast tumors without triggering an unwanted immune response, that could both treat and prevent breast cancer.

Led by Dr. Vincent Tuohy, at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Institute,  the researchers say the experimental vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to protect the body against the development of breast cancer.  Until now, the major hurdle for researchers working on cancer vaccines has been finding ways to avoid setting off auto-immune responses in cancer patients.  Autoimmunity occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue or organ systems. Continue reading

Monday, June 7, 2010

New data shows promising results for enhanced chemo

CHICAGO – (CancerDigest) – Cell Therapeutics, Inc (CTI) announced updated clinical trial data for its lead enhanced chemotherapy drug OPAXIO(TM) showing  15 of 40 patients (38%) with advanced esophageal cancer achieved a  complete response when treated with the drug in combination with cisplatin and radiation. A complete response is usually defined as no sign of the cancer in tissues examined under a microscope for 4 weeks or more.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bone drug may prevent breast cancer spread

ST. LOUIS – Cancer Digest – The osteoporosis drug, zoledronic acid may prevent metastatic breast cancer when given before surgery, say researchers.

Led by Dr Rebecca Aft, of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, the research team found that fewer women in their study who were given the drug in addition to chemotherapy had breast cancer cells in their marrow at the time of surgery to treat the breast cancer, compared to women who only underwent chemotherapy prior to surgery. Such cells are called disseminated tumor cells, or DTCs. Their findings appear in the May issue of The Lancet Oncology.These are breast cancer cells taken from a patient's bone marrow. The cancer cells are stained to make them easy to spot among the normal cells of the bone marrow.
These are breast cancer cells taken from a patient's bone marrow. The cancer cells are stained to make them easy to spot among the normal cells of the bone marrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Indoor tanning beds increase risk of melanoma

PHILADELPHIA – May 27, 2010 – In case there remained any doubts about the risks of tanning beds, the largest study of its kind on this issue has found that use of indoor tanning beds increases risk of melanoma between twofold and fourfold depending on the device and length of time indoor tanning is used.

Lead author Dr. DeAnn Lazovich, associate professor of epidemiology and community health in the School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota, reported the study findings of more than 2,200 participants.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

GTx disappointed by drug for prevention of prostate cancer

MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Cancer Digest – GTx, Inc. today announced disappointing initial results of 
a key clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of its drug, toremifene, to prevent prostate cancer in men at high risk for the disease. Prostate cancer is a hormonally driven disease, and both testosterone and estrogen are required for its development and progression. GTx believes that by selectively blocking estrogen receptors needed for prostate cell proliferation, toremifene 20 mg may be an ideal anti-estrogen for prevention of prostate cancer. (Image courtesy of GTx, Inc.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Change in blood protein over time may detect ovarian cancer

HOUSTON – May 20, 2010 (Cancer Digest) – Measuring the change in blood levels of a protein long used as an indicator of ovarian cancer recurrence may be useful for initial detection of the otherwise silent cancer, say researchers.

Led by Dr. Karen Lu, professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the research
     M.D Anderson's Dr. Karen Lu, and Dr. Robert Bast

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cell phone study shows no increased risk, but ...

GENEVA – Cancer Digest – Researchers conducting the largest international study to date of the risks of brain cancers from cell phone use have found no elevated risk for glioma or meningioma, the two most common forms of the disease.

The INTERPHONE study is a set of international population studies begun in 2000. It involved more than 10,000 people interviewed at 16 cancer centers in 13 countries and focused on tumors in younger people, 30–59 years of age – the population group expected to have had the highest prevalence of mobile phone use over the past decade.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Free skin cancer screenings this weekend

SCHAUMBURG, IL– This year marks the 25th anniversary of the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) National Skin Cancer Screening Program and this Saturday, May 15, many dermatologists are offering free screenings. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing one person every hour. Melanoma is often successfully treated - if it's detected in time.
   Click here What to Expect at a Screening

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Study raises hopes among advocates of generic drug

EDMONTON – Cancer Digest – It is rare that a substance that kills cancer cells in a test tube produces the same effect in a human patient, but that appears to be the case in a tiny new study of a deadly form of brain cancer.

Researchers at the University of Alberta, have reported evidence that the orphan generic drug dichloroacetate (DCA) may hold promise as potential therapy for a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stomach cancer rising among certain young white americans

CHICAGO – VOA News – Stomach cancer is one of the deadliest diseases, and ranks second among cancers worldwide with at least 800,000 deaths yearly. But in the United States, the number of cases has been declining, except for among one group of Americans.

Glenda Reimer, her sister Sandy Wilken and Wilken's daughter Mallorie have come to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland to help scientists better understand the disease that has devastated their family. Continue reading

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cancer care costs double? So have all healthcare costs

ATLANTA – Cancer Digest – Researchers looking at how cancer care costs have changed over the past 20 years have found that the cost of treating cancer has doubled over that time, but as a percentage of total healthcare costs cancer's share hasn't changed much.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Orphan status granted for ovarian cancer drug

QUEBEC CITY(Cancer Digest) – Canadian drug maker Aeterna Zentaris Inc. has been granted orphan drug status for its late-stage ovarian cancer drug AEZS-10. The drug is a hybrid that combines a molecule that naturally binds to a particular protein receptor displayed on a cell surface  with a cell-killing agent. In this case the molecule, which prefers to binds to the protein receptor called, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, or LHRH, is combined with the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin.

Monday, May 3, 2010

FDA to review safety of prostate cancer drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Cancer Digest) – The FDA announced today that it will review the safety of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) blockers. These are a common hormone blockade therapy drugs used to treat men with prostate cancer. Recent studies have linked them with a small increased risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and sudden death in men treated with one of the medications.

Studies show frequent dose radiotherapy boosts survival

GENEVA – (Cancer Digest) – A new analysis of data pooled from multiple studies reported at the second European Lung Cancer Conference shows that patients with both non-small-cell lung cancer and small-cell lung cancer benefit in terms of overall survival when treated with hyperfractionated or accelerated radiotherapy.
Click on video. When page
opens choose "Novel and
modified radiotherapy tech-
niques," to view video.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Small progress in treating lung cancers reported at European conference

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – In a pair of studies presented at the Second European Lung Cancer Conference, held this week in Geneva, researchers confirm that specific molecular features of lung tumors are  key to identifying patients most likely to benefit from new targeted therapies such as erlotinib (Tarceva®) and gefitinib (Iressa®).

In a presentation by Dr. Robert Pirker of the Medical University of Vienna, Pirker noted that while such "personalized" therapies promise to improve survival, they will require a change in the way patients are diagnosed and assessed before treatment. It will require closer coordination between pulmonologists, pathologists, biologists and oncologists.

In the second presentation, Dr. David Carbone, of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and Canadian colleagues demonstrate a method of identifying patients who will benefit from such drugs when other methods of doing so are hampered by insufficient tissue samples available for testing.

FDA approves PROVENGE, now the hard part

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – The FDA today approved Dendreon's PROVENGE® for treating men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, but produces no symptoms and does not respond to hormone blockade therapy.

Now the hard part comes for these men. Questions of who gets the treatment will surely spark further intense debate about healthcare in the U.S. The individualized treatment depends on Dendreon's laboratory ability to grow each patient's immune cells, and until greater capacity is built, Dendreon can accommodate only 2,000 patients per year. Only 50 hospitals, initially, will be able to offer the treatment, and if you are one of the lucky ones, the cost is estimated at about $93,000 for one course of the treatment that has been shown to extend survival of advanced cancer by a few months at best. How it all plays out will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Use and costs of imaging rising faster than cost of cancer care

DURHAM, N.C. –  (Cancer Digest) – The cost of imaging cancer is rising at double the rate of increase for overall costs of cancer care, a new study of Medicare patients shows.

Led by Michaela Dinan, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, researchers analyzed usage and costs for all types of imaging associated with cancer care over a five-year period.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Prostate vaccine expected to open new cancer treatment

SEATTLE – (Cancer Digest) – If the FDA approves Dendreon's PROVENGE® therapy for advanced prostate cancer as is expected at it's May 1 meeting, it will mark a the first new class of cancer therapy in decades. In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, doctors will be able to add vaccines to their anti-cancer arsenal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heavy alcohol consumption speeds aging

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cancer Digest – Aglets are those plastic sheaths wrapped around the ends of your shoelaces that make it easy to thread them through the eyelets and protects them from becoming frayed.

Nature provides a similar protective tip to chromosomes, called telomeres. As we age, with each successive division of our cells the telomeres are progressively shortened, thus forming a built in biological clock. Cancer researchers have long studied telomeres because of the tendency of cells to develop cancerous mutations as the telomeres become frayed with age.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Zeroing in on density and breast cancer risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cancer Digest – Breast density and cancer risk have been the topic of intense research efforts in recent years. At this week's 101st meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) scientists presented a trio of studies aimed at quantifying the risk of cancer linked to breast density and, just as importantly, finding a safer way to measure breast  density.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Volume isn't only factor to consider for colon surgery

CHICAGO - April 19, 2010 (Cancer Digest) - Patients undergoing colon surgery of all kinds appear to have increased odds of death if their procedure is performed at a teaching hospital, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Surgery.

Led by Dr. Awori J. Hayanga of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School the large population study showed a slight increase in the number of deaths among patients undergoing intestinal surgeries of all types at teaching hospitals.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vitamin and calcium supplements may cut breast cancer risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 18, 2010 (Cancer Digest) -Women who took vitamin and calcium supplements appeared to have a 30 percent to 40 percent reduced the risk of breast cancer, a new study shows.

Dr. Jaime Matta, professor in the Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico, presented the findings today at the American Association for Cancer Research 101st Annual Meeting 2010.