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Preview: Cancer: Overview, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment

Cancer: Overview, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment



Cancer: Overview, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment



Published: 2016-06-08T06:59:03+00:00

 



Saturated fatty acids linked to breast cancer in postmenopausal women

2016-06-08T07:59:03+00:00

Fatty acids in the breast may be useful indicators of cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The results may help researchers determine the underlying mechanisms behind breast cancer development in some patients. The role of fat in breast cancer development and growth has been studied extensively using body mass index (BMI) and dietary fat intake. “BMI is an important risk factor for breast cancer development,” said Sungheon G. Kim, Ph.D., from the NYU Langone Medical Center. “While increased BMI may provide a protective effect for premenopausal women, postmenopausal women have an increased risk of developing breast cancer with increasing BMI.”



Study may help reassure women taking tamoxifen for breast cancer

2016-06-07T07:41:43+00:00

A study led by Loyola Medicine researchers may help reassure patients who worry the breast cancer drug tamoxifen could increase their risk of uterine cancer. The multi-center study was presented during the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology at McCormick Place in Chicago. First author of the study is Kathy S. Albain, MD, FACP, FASCO. The study’s co-principal investigator is Ronald K. Potkul, MD, FACS, FACOG. Dr. Albain is a professor in the department of medicine, division of hematology/oncology, and Dr. Potkul is chair of the department of obstetrics and oncology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The study enrolled 296 eligible postmenopausal breast patients with a type of early-stage breast cancer called estrogen receptor-positive. Patients were randomly assigned to take tamoxifen alone or tamoxifen plus the hormone progestin. They were followed and assessed at years two and five. Researchers predicted that taking progestin would decrease the risk of abnormalities that can develop into uterine cancer. Such abnormalities occur in the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus).



High fruit intake during adolescence linked with lower breast cancer risk

2016-05-13T07:42:31+00:00

Two linked papers in The BMJ this week shed new light on the relation of alcohol and diet with breast cancer and heart disease. The first study reports that high fruit consumption during adolescence may be associated with lower breast cancer risk, while the second study finds that increasing alcohol intake in later life is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Fruit and vegetables are thought to protect against breast cancer, but the evidence is conflicting. Most studies have assessed intakes during midlife and later, which may be after the period when breast tissue is most vulnerable to carcinogenic influences.



Andrei Goga’s UCSF team finds new approaches to eradicate aggressive breast cancers

2016-05-12T07:27:14+00:00

Conventional chemotherapy generally fails to eradicate aggressive breast cancers due to the early distant metastasis that can occur in these diseases. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a particularly aggressive subtype which has no targeted treatment. It has recently been discovered that the oncogene MYC is elevated in TNBC, opening up promising opportunities for the development of new targeted therapeutic strategies that will allow selective killing of MYC-overexpressing TNBC cells. With support from a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Era of Hope Scholar Award, Dr. Andrei Goga has taken a multi-faceted approach to identifying new therapeutic targets in MYC-driven TNBCs. In the first part of the study, Dr. Goga’s team used a fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) assay to isolate disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) from patient-derived xenograft models (PDX) of breast cancer. DTCs are the cancer cells that no longer reside with a primary tumor but occupy a peripheral tissue and may develop metastatic tumors. FACS was used to sort cells based on the expression of human cell marker CD298, allowing for detection of early DTCs as well as DTCs from late stage metastatic tumor-burdened tissues. Gene signatures of isolated cells could then be determined by qPCR. The Goga team found that metastatic cells from low tumor-burdened tissues had enhanced stem cell-like gene signatures, while those from high-burdened tissues displayed signatures closer to that of the primary tumor.



Study suggests testosterone therapy does not raise risk of aggressive prostate cancer

2016-05-08T00:20:11+00:00

Men with low levels of the male sex hormone testosterone need not fear that testosterone replacement therapy will increase their risk of prostate cancer. This is the finding of an analysis of more than a quarter-million medical records of mostly white men in Sweden, research led by investigators at NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center. The international team of study authors will present these results on May 9 at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Diego, Calif. In the study, researchers found that, as a group, men prescribed testosterone for longer than a year had no overall increase in risk of prostate cancer and, in fact, had their risk of aggressive disease reduced by 50 percent.



Certain types of polyps may warrant keeping closer tabs on the colon

2016-04-14T09:29:45+00:00

Being on the lookout for certain features of polyps may help physicians keep a closer eye on patients at risk for colorectal cancer. Starting at age 50, or earlier with certain risk factors, patients are advised to be screened for colon cancer at regular intervals. Colonoscopy is an effective screening test because it allows doctors to find and view individual polyps (growths), and to remove them before they become cancerous. Adenomas are polyps (small growths in the lining of the colon) that can vary in their size and shape, but are potentially precursors to colon cancer. Removal of these polyps reduces the risk of colon cancer. Flat adenomas are precancerous polyps that do not have a typical polyp- like appearance during endoscopy.



Smartphones could improve skin cancer detection in developing countries

2016-03-16T08:30:36+00:00

Everyone knows smartphones can be used as calendars, calculators, radios and cameras. But, did you know they can also be used as microscopes that have the potential to save lives? They are called smartphone microscopes and dermatologists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) think these devices could improve the detection of skin cancer in developing countries. “Doctors in some remote areas don’t have access to the high-powered microscopes we use to evaluate skin samples,” said Richard Jahan-Tigh, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Doctors there could conceivable use their smartphones to photograph growths and forward them for examination.”



Study shows broccoli may offer protection against liver cancer

2016-03-03T21:04:18+00:00

Consumption of broccoli has increased in the United States over the last few decades as scientists have reported that eating the vegetable three to five times per week can lower the risk of many types of cancer including breast, prostate, and colon cancers. A new study from the University of Illinois reports that including broccoli in the diet may also protect against liver cancer, as well as aid in countering the development of fatty liver or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which can cause malfunction of the liver and lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a liver cancer with a high mortality rate. “The normal story about broccoli and health is that it can protect against a number of different cancers. But nobody had looked at liver cancer,” says Elizabeth Jeffery, a U of I emeritus professor of nutrition. “We decided that liver cancer needed to be studied particularly because of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. It is already in the literature that obesity enhances the risk for liver cancer and this is particularly true for men. They have almost a 5-fold greater risk for liver cancer if they are obese.”



Novel gene variants identified in male breast cancer

2016-03-02T21:04:06+00:00

Male breast cancer (MBC) is a very rare tumor type, occurring in just 1% of all breast cancer cases, and the underlying genetic causes and treatment of MBC is not well understood. In a paper published in the March issue of Cold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies, researchers from Italy and the U.S. describe novel genetic variants found in a hormone receptor positive (HR+) MBC patient, that are distinct from previously identified genetic variants found in ten MBC cases. The authors present the treatment history of a HR+ male breast cancer patient. His disease stabilized from targeting of the PI3K/mTOR pathway using the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor BEZ235 in combination with everolimus as 3rd line treatment for his metastatic ductal carcinoma and experienced a prolonged stable disease. After 18 months he subsequently became resistant to the treatment and his disease progressed. The authors then investigated why the patient benefited and subsequently developed resistance to this combination treatment using genomic and immunohistochemical analysis. Whole-exome sequencing was performed on pre-treatment and post-progression samples of the MBC patient, as compared to a whole blood normal control. The researchers found that a region of Chromosome 12p was deleted in the resistant tumor and that HR protein expression was increased in the resistant tumor.



Early MRI screening reduces risk of breast cancer death for survivors of childhood HL

2016-03-02T09:00:00+00:00

Researchers at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre have confirmed in a screening effectiveness study that early screening with MRIs can reduce breast cancer mortality for female survivors of childhood Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) who received chest radiation. The findings published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (doi:10.1093/jnci/djw010), build on previous clinical work that demonstrated MRI detects breast cancer at early stages in young survivors who are not old enough to start standard breast cancer screening, says principal investigator Dr. David Hodgson, a radiation oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. Dr. Hodgson is also a Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. “If you are a young woman who was treated with radiation therapy to your chest as a teenager or child for HL, or for that matter chest radiation therapy for any reason, you should be having a conversation with your family doctor or your oncologist about whether to start breast cancer screening earlier than most women would,” says Dr. Hodgson.



Two forms of radiosurgery for brain metastases are equally effective

2016-02-24T10:11:46+00:00

While two advanced radiosurgery approaches - Gamma Knife and RapidArc® - offer different strengths, they are equally effective at eradicating cancer in the brain, say researchers at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Their study, published online Jan. 25, 2016 in Frontiers in Oncology, compared the two different devices in brain radiosurgery. Six patients, each with three or four brain metastases, were studied. The Gamma Knife was slightly more effective than RapidArc® at focusing the beam of radiation, thus limiting spread to normal tissue, and RapidArc® offered much quicker treatment compared to the Gamma Knife, researchers say. Gamma Knife treatment usually take 60-100 minutes, about 3-5 times longer than RapidArc®, they say.



Cancer treatment: Therapeutic approach gives hope for the treatment of multiple myeloma

2016-02-05T10:36:28+00:00

A new therapeutic approach tested by a team from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS-EST, Montreal) and the University of Montreal gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow currently considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy and for which the average life expectancy is about 6 or 7 years. The study was lead be Dr. Jean Roy, a haematologist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and professor at the University of Montreal, between 2001 and 2010 with 92 newly diagnosed patients. Using an approach developed at Maisonneuve-Rosemont, consisting of an autograft to reduce tumour mass followed by a family allograft three to four months later to clean the bone marrow of myeloma cells with immune cells from a family donor (immunotherapy), the study resulted in a total cure rate of 41%, a record level using this strategy. Moreover, patients in complete remission six months after the allograft had a relapse-free survival rate of 60%. Overall, the autograft strategy followed by allograft resulted in relapse-free survival rates of 20-25% in the long term. “In many hospitals, doctors have abandoned the use of allografts for multiple myeloma due to the risk of toxicity and relapse. Our results, on the other hand, have led us to offer the treatment to more patients, especially younger patients and those with poorer prognoses,” said Dr. Roy.



Toward a better understanding of the mechanisms blocking cancer cell growth

2016-01-28T10:51:11+00:00

DNA damage can lead to gene inactivation or deregulation and cause various diseases such as cancer; however, many DNA repair mechanisms allow cells to survive against such damage. A study lead by Antoine Simoneau of the laboratory of Dr. Hugo Wurtele, a researcher in immunology-oncology at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal) and professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, and recently published in the prestigious journal Nucleic Acids Research, provides valuable information about certain mechanisms governing DNA repair. The study is a collaboration between several institutions and opens the way to better understand the mechanisms of action of drugs that prevent cancer cell growth. The study To adapt to the small size of cell nuclei, DNA wraps around proteins called histones to form chromatin. Cells can chemically modify histones so as to change chromatin structure and thereby control the various functions of DNA. Recent research has shown that new drugs that inhibit histone deacetylases (HDACs), which affect chromatin, are promising for cancer treatment. The study by Dr. Wurtele’s research team and collaborators used yeast as a model system to understand, at a molecular level, the mechanisms that influence cell growth in the presence of a particular class of HDACs.



Nonrecommended screenings for prostate, breast cancer in older individuals

2016-01-21T20:42:11+00:00

An estimated 15.7 percent of individuals 65 or older may have received nonrecommended screenings for prostate and breast cancers because they had limited life expectancies of less than 10 years, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology. Existing guidelines recommend against screening for these tumors in individuals with limited life expectancy. Overdiagnosis may cost the U.S. health care system as much as $1.2 billion annually. Firas Abdollah M.D., of the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, and coauthors assessed the prevalence of nonrecommended screenings for prostate and breast cancers. They analyzed data from individuals who were 65 or older and lived in the United States and who responded to the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System survey in 2012. Of those 149,514 individuals (weighted to represent nearly 43.6 million people), there were 76,419 (51.1 percent) who had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or mammography in the last year; 23,532 (30.8 percent) of those individuals had a life expectancy of less than 10 years. Those figures correspond to an overall rate of nonrecommended screening of 15.7 percent (23,532 of 149,514 individuals).



Biomarker predicts which stage II colon cancer patients may benefit from chemotherapy

2016-01-21T20:34:45+00:00

A multicenter research team has identified a biomarker that predicts which stage II colon cancer patients may benefit from chemotherapy after surgery to prevent a recurrence of their disease. The study was published today in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The majority of patients with stage II colon cancer - cancer that has grown into or through the outer layer of the colon but has not spread to lymph nodes or distant organs - are cured by surgery alone. However, about 15 to 20 percent of these patients eventually relapse and die of metastatic disease. “The problem is that we don’t have an easy way to single out these patients before they relapse and accurately predict who could benefit from postsurgical, or adjuvant, chemotherapy,” said Piero Dalerba, MD, assistant professor of medicine, pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), and first author of the paper.