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Lung Cancer

Experts identify gene variants linked to lung cancer

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • GeneticsDec 23 08

Researchers in China and the United States have identified mutations of two genes which appear to make ethnic Chinese more susceptible to lung cancer, they wrote in the journal Cancer.

Their finding involves two genes, ABCB1 and ABCC1, which were previously thought to be linked to eliminating carcinogens from the lungs and protecting them against inhaled toxins.

In their study, the researchers analyzed the genes of 500 patients with lung cancer and 517 cancer-free participants in southeastern China.

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Iressa Proves Just as Effective as Chemotherapy for Lung Cancer

Cancer • • Lung CancerNov 21 08

Gefitinib, also known as Iressa, the once-promising targeted therapy for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, has proven as effective as chemotherapy as a second-line therapy for the disease with far fewer side effects, according to an international Phase III clinical trial, led by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

However, in contrast to earlier Iressa findings, the study showed that there was no additional survival benefit for patients who expressed an elevated level of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation.

The Iressa in Non-small cell lung cancer Trial Evaluating REsponse and Survival versus Taxotere (INTERST) study, published today in The Lancet, represents a paradigm shift for the treatment of the disease, according to lead author Edward S. Kim, M.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson’s Department of Thoracic Head and Neck Medical Oncology. It marks the first time in lung cancer that an oral pill has proven as effective as chemotherapy in a head-to-head trial.

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Genetic region linked to a 5 times higher lung cancer risk

Cancer • • Lung CancerSep 09 08

A narrow region on chromosome 15 contains genetic variations strongly associated with familial lung cancer, says a study conducted by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and other institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The researchers found a more than five times higher risk of lung cancer for people who have both a family history of the disease and these genetic variations. The risk was not affected by whether the study participants smoked or didn’t smoke.

Published in the Sept. 13 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, this study is the fourth since April 2008 to implicate this genetic region in the development of lung cancer, and it strengthens the possibility that testing for variations in this region could become a valuable way to warn individuals of their higher risk.

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Chest Surgeons Propose Measures for Indicating Quality of Lung Surgery

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • SurgerySep 09 08

Even though 30,000 patients in the United States undergo lung surgery each year, no standard criteria exist to measure the quality of their care. In the current issue of The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Mayo Clinic surgeons have proposed a system of lung surgery quality indicators for surgeons and the public as a method to demonstrate best practices for obtaining positive patient outcomes.

Death rates following surgery are frequently reported. However, because they aren’t adjusted for factors such as patient age and disease severity, they don’t tell the whole story. To overcome this lack of risk adjustment in death rate data, the Mayo Clinic team proposed patient-centered processes that should occur prior to, during and after surgery to assure the likelihood of best surgical outcomes.

“There are certain processes that we can measure and report that clearly indicate whether patients have received high-quality care around the time of their lung operation,” explains Stephen Cassivi, M.D., Mayo Clinic thoracic surgeon and lead study author.

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Study examines lung cancer among lifelong nonsmokers

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • Tobacco & MarijuanaSep 09 08

A new American Cancer Society study sheds light on the ten to fifteen percent of lung cancers that are caused by factors other than tobacco smoking. The study analyzed data on lung cancer occurrence among lifelong nonsmokers in North America, Europe, and Asia and found that lung cancer death rates among never-smokers are highest among men, African Americans, and Asians residing in Asia. The review, the largest to date of lifelong nonsmokers, also suggests that the death rates among never-smokers have remained stable over the past several decades. It appears in the September issue of PLoS Medicine, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science.

While the great majority of lung cancers are related to smoking, approximately 16,000 to 24,000 lung cancer deaths each year are due to other factors. For comparison, if lung cancers not caused by smoking were considered a separate category, it would rank among the seven to nine most common fatal cancers in the U.S. The researchers say as the number of never-smokers in the U.S. and other developed countries is increasing, this is a subject of particular interest and importance.

To examine the issue, researchers led by Michael J. Thun, M.D. pooled data on lung cancer incidence and death rates among self-reported never-smokers from 13 large cohort studies based in North America, Europe, and Asia that spanned the time period from 1960 to 2004. The pooled data represented hundreds of thousands of individuals (over 630,000 for the incidence data and 1.8 million for the mortality data). The researchers also abstracted data for women from 22 cancer registries in 10 countries in time periods and regions where the smoking prevalence among women was known to be low.

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Lung cancer no more common in women smokers: study

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • Tobacco & MarijuanaJun 16 08

Women who smoke are no more likely than men to get lung cancer but, among non-smokers, women appear to have a higher risk than men, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

Women who had never smoked were 1.3 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men who had never smoked, Dr. Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues found.

“We noted slightly higher age-standardized incidence rates of lung cancer in women who had never smoked than in men who had never smoked,” Freedman and colleagues wrote in the journal Lancet Oncology.

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Blood test may detect lung cancer in early stages

Cancer • • Lung CancerJun 02 08

A simple blood test may be able to detect lung cancer in its early stages, which would represent a promising strategy to improve survival rates, researchers said on Sunday.

Lung cancer survival rates are poor, mainly because the disease, which kills 1.3 million people globally a year, is often diagnosed in advanced stages.

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OHSU Cancer Institute researchers pinpoint how smoking causes cancer

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • Tobacco & MarijuanaMay 13 08

Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers have pinpointed the protein that can lead to genetic changes that cause lung cancer.

The research will be published Tuesday, May 12, in the British Journal of Cancer.

Researchers discovered that the production of a protein called FANCD2 is slowed when lung cells are exposed to cigarette smoke. Low levels of FANCD2 leads to DNA damage, triggering cancer. Cigarette smoke curbs the production of ‘caretaker’ proteins, like FANCD2, which normally prevent cancer by fixing damages in DNA and causing faulty cells to commit suicide.

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CT Screening for Lung Cancer: Update 2007

Cancer • • Lung CancerMay 06 08

Screening is the pursuit of the early diagnosis of cancer before symptoms occur. The purpose of early diagnosis is to provide early treatment, which potentially prevents death from the cancer. The usefulness of screening depends on how early the cancer can be diagnosed and how many deaths can be prevented by early treatment as compared with later symptom-prompted diagnosis and treatment.

The goal of the Early Lung Cancer Action Project investigators was to develop an efficient methodology that would provide an ever-accumulating, continually updated body of evidence for evaluation of emerging new technologies for screening for cancer. This methodology recognizes that screening is a sequential process that starts with the pursuit of the early diagnosis of cancer followed by early treatment. It also recognizes that diagnostic research is fundamentally different from treatment research. To fully understand the current discussions on the evidence for lung cancer screening, key definitions are provided, including the differentiation between the first, baseline round of screening and all subsequent rounds of repeat screening and baseline and repeat cancers and their distribution by cell type. These definitions are critical in analyzing the results of various screening reports as they are not used by all.

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Smoke, then Fire: Lung Cancer Screening Studies Under Further Scrutiny

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • Tobacco & MarijuanaMay 06 08

In the January 2008 issue of The Oncologist, we reported that the authors of a controversial article on CT screening for early detection of lung cancer had not revealed their financial interests in screening software and biopsy instruments [1]. We considered these interests relevant to the message of the article, and hence decided not to make the article available as a Continuing Medical Education (CME) course [2]. It was further revealed by Paul Goldberg, editor of The Cancer Letter, that the same authors, Claudia Henschke and David Yankelevitz of Weill Cornell Medical College, had not disclosed these interests in their many previous articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the Journal of the American Medical Association, and elsewhere [3].

Goldberg [4] and, independently, Gardiner Harris of The New York Times [5] reported on March 25 and March 26, 2008, respectively, that Henschke and Yankelevitz financed some of their lung cancer screening work with a $3.6 million grant from Vector, the parent company of the Liggett Group, a major cigarette manufacturer. The tobacco money was filtered through a nonprofit foundation, the Foundation for Lung Cancer Early Detection, Prevention & Treatment, that was hastily established in late 2000. Henschke, Yankelevitz, Antonio Gotto (dean of Weill Cornell Medical College and a noted cardiology researcher), and Arthur Mahon (chair of the Weill Cornell Board of Overseers) are the foundation’s officers and directors. The foundation’s support was acknowledged in a few articles published by these authors, but the origin of the money was not obvious to the journals, as recently observed by Jeffrey Drazen, the editor-in-chief of the NEJM [6]. Goldberg further documents that the authors subsequently accepted grant support from the American Cancer Society and other sources that specifically prohibit projects that receive funding from tobacco companies. In fact, the authors neither acknowledged this funding from Vector nor their foundation in the paper published by The Oncologist [7].


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Viruses may play a role in lung cancer development

Cancer • • Lung CancerApr 25 08

Papers presented at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference, jointly organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in Geneva, Switzerland highlight emerging evidence that common viruses may contribute to the development of lung cancer.

Experts agree that smoking is by far the most important factor that contributes to lung cancer development. But other factors can play a role in some cases.

In one report at the conference (Abstract No. 124PD; Friday 25th April, 09:50) Dr. Arash Rezazadeh and colleagues from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, describe the results of a study on 23 lung cancer samples from patients in Kentucky.

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Inhaled insulin linked to lung cancer: Pfizer

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • Diabetes • • Drug AbuseApr 10 08

Clinical trials of the inhaled insulin product Exubera revealed an increase in the number of lung cancer patient, leading Nektar Therapeutics to end talks with potential partners to market the product, Pfizer Inc and Nektar said on Wednesday

Over the course of the clinical trials, Pfizer said 6 of the 4,740 Exubera-treated patients versus 1 of the 4,292 patients not treated with Exubera developed lung cancer. One lung cancer case was also found after Exubera reached the market.

Pfizer updated the Exubera labeling to include a warning with safety information about lung cancer cases found in patients who used Exubera, which U.S. regulators approved in January 2006.

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Scientists smoke out genes behind lung cancer

Cancer • • Lung Cancer • • Tobacco & MarijuanaApr 03 08

Scientists have found important genetic differences between people that may help explain why some smokers get lung cancer and others do not.

Three teams from France, Iceland and the United States said on Wednesday they had pinpointed a region of the genome containing genes that can put smokers at even greater risk of contracting the killer disease.

In all three studies, nicotine appears a major culprit.

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Treatment Gives Lung Cancer Patients With Inoperable Tumors Two Years or More

Cancer • • Lung CancerMar 17 08

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)—an interventional treatment that “cooks” and kills lung cancer tumors with heat—greatly improves survival time from primary or metastatic inoperable lung tumors, according to a study released today at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting. Of the 244 patients suffering from lung metastases (195 patients) or primary non-small cell lung cancer (49 patients), 70 percent were still alive at two years, including 72 percent for lung metastases and 64 percent for primary lung cancer. These survival results are similar to surgical results from other studies, but the interventional treatment is less invasive and has far fewer side effects and less recovery time. The researchers found that RFA often can completely destroy the primary tumor and, therefore, extend a patient’s survival and greatly improve his or her quality of life. Survival thus becomes dependent on the extent of disease elsewhere in the body.

Of the 49 patients (ages 27–85) with non-small cell primary lung cancer who were treated with RFA, 85 percent had no viable lung tumors after one year on imaging, and 77 percent had no viable lung tumors after two years, which indicates a cure. This study was conducted in tumors four centimeters in diameter or smaller, and even better results were obtained for tumors smaller than two centimeters.

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Vitamin pills don’t cut lung cancer risk: study

Lung CancerFeb 29 08

People who take vitamin supplements are just as likely as those who don’t to develop lung cancer, and vitamin E supplements may actually slightly raise the risk, researchers said on Friday.

Their study involved 77,721 people in Washington state ages 50 to 76, tracking their use over the prior decade of supplemental multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and folate to see if this would offer protection from lung cancer.

None of the vitamins looked at in the study was tied to a reduced risk of lung cancer. In fact, people who took high doses of vitamin E, especially smokers, had a small but statistically significant elevated risk, the researchers said.

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