Cancer Research

A larger waist circumference is associated with higher risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to a paper by American Cancer Society researchers in Cancer Causes, and Control which disputes previous findings that body shape itself is an independent risk factor for breast cancer. 

A significant body of research has linked abdominal obesity to a number of conditions, including heart disease, type II diabetes, and breast and other cancers. Those studies have led to the belief that having an "apple shaped" body, with weight concentrated in the chest and torso, is riskier than having a "pear-shaped" body, with fat concentrated in the hips, thighs and buttocks. 

Up to 10 percent of women with family history of breast or ovarian cancer have at least one genetic mutation that would prompt their doctors to recommend changes in their care - and it isn't BRCA1 or BRCA2.

The women in the study did not have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2, which are strongly associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, but they did have mutations in other cancer-associated genes and those were found using a multiple-gene panel to quickly and cheaply sequence just a few possible genetic culprits selected by researchers based on what is known about a disease. Although such panels are becoming widely clinically available, it's not been clear whether their use can help patients or affect medical recommendations.

A recent paper found an increased risk for malignant melanoma in men who took sildenafil (Viagra) for erectile dysfunction.

Unlike some observational studies, this is not being exaggerated by attention-whoring researchers. They are cautious about what it means and doesn't mean. The media is making hay, of course, and they may be making it for good reason.

The prospective cohort study was based on participants in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study who were questioned regarding sildenafil use for erectile dysfunction in the year 2000. A total of 25,848 men were used after excluding those who reported cancers at baseline.

High total and saturated fat intake were associated with greater risk of estrogen receptor- and progesterone receptor-positive (ER+PR+) breast cancer, and human epidermal growth factor 2 receptor-negative (HER2-) disease, according to a new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Comprehensive genomic analysis of low-grade brain tumors using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) brain tumor studies sorts them into three categories, one of which has the molecular hallmarks and shortened survival of glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal of brain tumors, researchers reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014.

Brain tumors arise in the glia, or supportive cells, of the brain and now are classified by their histology – characteristics visible via microscopy – and their cell of origin, either astrocytes or oligodendrocytes.

Research that  evaluated whether the drug cetuximab and chemotherapy together worked better than chemotherapy alone as a treatment in addition to surgery for people with bowel cancer that had spread to the liver but could be surgically removed, found it is not effective in some settings, and indeed may result in more rapid cancer progression.

The New EPOC study in The Lancet Oncology details that the trial patients either received chemotherapy on its own or chemotherapy combined with cetuximab. Patients received their specified treatment for 12 weeks. They then had surgery and followed by their specified treatment for another 12 weeks. Patients were then monitored via CT or MRI scans.

Each year prostate tissue samples are taken from over a million men around the world, in most cases using 12 large biopsy needles, to check whether they have prostate cancer.

Surely in 2014 something more modern can be developed, especially when 70 percent of men getting those don't have cancer, it's unnecessarily painful and is also costly to carry out.

A patient-friendly examination, which drastically reduces the need for biopsies, and may even eliminate them altogether, has been developed at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), together with AMC Amsterdam and will be presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Stockholm next week.

Organic food has built a lot of mythology around its process - more ethical, more nutritional, fewer pesticides, a larger penis for the sons of organic shoppers - but one claim was a puzzler only subscribed to by the kind of people who buy homeopathy and healing crystals; that eating organic might reduce the risk of cancer.

Too little or too much of an enzyme called SRPK1 promotes cancer by disrupting a regulatory event critical for many fundamental cellular processes, including proliferation, according to a paper in Molecular Cell.

The Sun newspaper in the UK has a "check 'em Tuesday" campaign - a weekly call for women to examine their breasts. Readers are even asked to send in photos to prove compliance and can even sign up for a text message reminder.

It sounds like concern for readers and it is, except it doesn't help and may even hurt, according to Glasgow general practitioner Margaret McCartney in BMJ.

McCartney argues that teaching women to examine their breasts regularly "has been shown not to reduce deaths from breast cancer and actually increases the chances of a benign biopsy result." She says it is "unfair to tell women that regular self examination will save their lives when it may simply incur anxiety and have the potential to harm."