Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eating lots of fiber lowers breast cancer risk

Consuming high amounts of high-fiber
foods, such as legumes, may reduce
breast cancer risk. (Photo courtesy
U.S. Department of Agriculture) 
Women who participated in previous studies of diet and breast cancer and ate the most fiber had a 11 percent lower chance of developing breast cancer. That's the conclusion of a re-analysis of the data pooled from the studies, according to a Reuters report.
Chinese researchers led by Jia-Yi Dong of Soochow University in Suzhou, conducted the meta-analysis, which is a study that combines the data from previously conducted studies. In this case they combined data from 10 nutrition studies that individually had produced mixed results in terms of finding a link between fiber consumption and breast cancer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Computer-aided mammograms no better for detecting cancer

CAD software serves as a "second read" for
screening mammography, marking image pat-
terns for the radiologist to review. (Image
courtesy, of Hologic, Inc.)

Adding computerized detection to screening mammography adds to the cost, but not the effectiveness in terms of catching potentially dangerous lesions, a new study finds.

In what may be the largest study yet to look at the real-world value of the widely used add-on for mammography, Dr. Joshua Fenton, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine, and colleagues with the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium analyzed screening results of 1.6 million mammograms from 684,956 women in seven states.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zytiga gets European nod for advanced prostate cancer

A European panel recommended approval of Zytiga an oral drug that has been shown to extend survival in men with advanced prostate cancer. The European Committee for Medicinal Products is expected to approve the drug for sale in the next three months.

The drug approved by the U.S. FDA last April works by blocking the production of an enzyme required for the production of androgen hormones in the adrenal glands, the testes and by prostate tumors themselves. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taller people have a higher cancer risk

An Oxford study of nearly 1.3 million women
found a 16 percent increase in cancer risk for
every four inches above five feet.
Apparently being tall isn’t all good, a new study has found that taller women have an increased chance of 10 common cancers.

Led by Dr. Jane Green, the Oxford University study followed nearly 1.3 million middle-aged women for five years between 1996 and 2001. They gathered information about about height and other factors relevant to cancer. They published their findings today in The Lancet Oncology.

"Many previous studies have looked at height and cancer risk- most of  them were not large enough to compare risk across different types of cancer," the 5'7" Green told Cancer Digest in an e-mail interview,  "or to look in detail at other factors such as smoking. We were able to do this in our study of 1.3 million women."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Breast cancer drug to seek FDA and European approval

ZURICH – JULY 15, 2011 – Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Hoffman-La Roche announced that it will seek FDA and European approval for its breast cancer drug pertuzumab, according to the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and others.

The drug works by slowing the growth of the cancer-causing protein HER2, and has been shown in early trials to prolong progression-free survival, or lengthen the time that the cancer does not get worse, when used in combination with Roche’s Herceptin®.

Seeking approval for a cancer drug based only on progression-free survival is controversial. The company previously won approval for Avastin as a breast cancer drug based only on progression-free survival. The FDA approved it with a requirement that additional studies be done to establish its effectiveness in terms of prolonging overall survival. The FDA removed that approval last December after additional studies showed the drug prolonged progression free survival by only a short time, and did not prolong overall survival.

Whether the FDA and European regulators will approve another breast cancer drug based only on progression-free survival remains to be seen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cancer deaths higher in men than women

Malignant mesothelioma, indicated by yellow
 arrows, is one of the cancers in which men are more
likely to die than women. (courtesy Wikipedia, by

It may not surprise many that men diagnosed with cancer are more likely to die of the disease than women. A new study, however, quantifies the differences in mortality between men and women for a variety of cancers.

The study’s lead author Michael Cook, a researcher in the division of epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute and colleagues published their findings today in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The study reported widely by Reuters, Medical News Today and the Seattle Times analyzed 36 types of cancer by gender over the 30-year period between 1977 and 2006. They found that five men die of lip cancer, for example, for every woman with the disease. Similarly 2.3 males with lung cancer die of the disease compared to women with lung cancer.

Overall, women were more likely than men to die of only a few cancers including breast, thyroid and gall-bladder cancer.

The researchers attributed the difference in mortality between men and women with cancer to a variety of factors. Women tend to be more health conscious and seek medical attention more often than men. Consequently cancer in women tends to be caught earlier at a more treatable stage. Other factors include work environments and genetic differences.

•    Reuters

Monday, July 11, 2011

First synthetic windpipe made from stem cells transplanted into man

The trachea or windpipe is the primary airway serving
the lungs. (Diagram from Wikipedia)

The day when you go in for a periodic checkup and have a few body parts replaced with new ones grown from your own cells is much closer than you might think.

A 36-year-old African man with advanced cancer of the windpipe (trachea) received an artificial trachea implant that was grown in the laboratory using the patient’s own stem cells. NPR and others reported the first-of-its-kind transplant Monday, a month after the transplant took place. The researchers say the man  had recovered fully and would return home later this week.

Researchers at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm led by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini said that while previous windpipe transplants have been performed using donor tracheas treated with the patient’s own stem cells, this is the first to use an entirely man-made organ.