Monthly Archives: May 2011
TUESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) — Osteoporosis is often undiagnosed and untreated in elderly heart failure patients, a new study finds.
Canadian researchers looked at 623 heart failure patients, average age 69, and found that 12 percent of them had moderate to severe compression fractures in the spine, and 55 percent of those patients had multiple spinal fractures.
Spinal fractures are a sign of osteoporosis, but only 15 percent of the heart failure patients with spinal fractures were being treated for osteoporosis, the investigators found.
After accounting for a number of other risk factors for osteoporosis, the researchers concluded that heart failure patients who also had a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation were twice as likely to have spinal fractures as those with normal heart rhythms.
The study is published May 10 in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
“Osteoporosis is an infrequently recognized and undertreated comorbidity of heart failure,” lead author Dr. Kristin J. Lyons, chief medical resident in the department of medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, said in a journal news release.
Osteoporosis, a disease common in older women, weakens bones, making them more likely to break. Spinal fractures in heart failure patients are easily detected through chest X-rays.
“While reviewing chest X-rays to look at the heart and lungs, physicians also need to look carefully at the bones,” study senior author Dr. Justin E. Ezekowitz, an assistant professor at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, said in the news release.
“If fractures are found, patients need to be treated with dietary modification, exercise and, if indicated, osteoporosis medications. Treatment can reduce future fractures by as much as 50 percent,” he added.
It’s possible that high levels of the hormone aldosterone might explain the relationship between chronic heart failure, osteoporosis and atrial fibrillation, the authors stated, noting future research could confirm or refute that theory.
They also acknowledge that their study has limitations. The chest X-rays weren’t specifically intended to diagnose spinal fractures, and the researchers didn’t perform bone mineral density tests, a common method of detecting osteoporosis.
SOURCE: Circulation: Heart Failure, news release, May 10, 2011
TUESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) — Scientists have developed a new, albeit preliminary, genetic test that seems to predict which breast cancer patients can benefit from specific types of chemotherapy.
That, in turn, could greatly help guide treatment, according to a study in the May 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The findings are exciting but need to be replicated, said one expert, Dr. Iuliana Shapira, director of cancer genetics at Monter Cancer Center and assistant professor of medicine at Hofstra University North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in Lake Success, NY. She was not involved in the study.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. W. Fraser Symmans, gene-based tests such as the Oncotype DX are already in wide used to help guide breast cancer care. That test can help predict a patient’s chance for breast cancer recurrence, but only if they have estrogen-receptor-positive breast tumor and are treated with hormone therapy, said Symmans, who is professor of pathology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Based on the results of Oncotype DX, “patients with low risk might [be able to] avoid chemotherapy,” he said.
The new study looked at a newer “genomic predictor” of breast cancer treatment response and survival for women with newly diagnosed, invasive breast cancer. The study was based on tumor samples taken from 310 patients with HER2/neu-negative breast cancer who were treated sequentially with two chemotherapy drugs, taxane and anthracyline, both common components of breast cancer chemotherapy.
If the tumors were estrogen-receptor (ER)-positive (meaning their tumors responded to estrogen), the women were also treated with hormonal (endocrine) therapy.
The new test appeared to be effective in predicting outcomes: 92 percent of the women that the test predicted would respond to this chemotherapy did, in fact, survive three years without a relapse, giving them an 18 percent lower risk of dying compared to those identified as “non-responders” to the treatment.
And, Symmans said, “at three years, breast cancer had not returned in 97 percent of women with ER-positive and 83 percent of women with triple-(ER) negative breast cancer if they were predicted to be treatment-sensitive. If they were predicted to be treatment-insensitive, the rates were 86 percent and 57 percent, respectively.”
The study was funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the U.S. National Cancer Institute, among others. Several of the authors also hold patents with Nuvera Biosciences, Inc., which was involved in the test.
“This study is not the definitive final word on the subject, but it offers a totally new way of looking at the question of how do we predict whose tumor is really sensitive to chemotherapy, whose tumor is probably resistant to chemo or neither of the above,” said Symmans.
One expert called the study just one “baby step” on the path towards more individualized treatments for patients. “I don’t know if this is enough to propel people to use this,” said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
The test, while promising, is “not ready for patients,” agreed Dr. Massimo Cristofanilli, professor and chairman of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Nor does it predict which therapy will be best, he added.
But depending on further research, the test may one day be valuable in helping women and their doctors make difficult decisions regarding treatment, as opposed to today, when so much is guesswork. “It’s important to me to not give to have to give 100 women chemotherapy to save 10 or 15 lives,” Shapira explained. “It’s important to me to be able to identify the 10 or 15 patients who are going to benefit from chemotherapy.”
SOURCES: W. Fraser Symmans, M.D., professor, pathology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., professor and chairman, department of medical oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief of surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Iuliana Shapira, M.D., director of cancer genetics, Monter Cancer Center and assistant professor of medicine, Hofstra University North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System; May 11, 2011 Journal of the American Medical Association
TUESDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) — Women who drink a substantial amount of coffee each day may lower their risk for developing a particular type of breast cancer, Swedish researchers say.
Their study linked consumption of five or more cups of coffee a day to a relatively marked reduction in the non-hormone-responsive disease known as ER-negative breast cancer. However, coffee consumption did not appear to lower the risk for developing ER-positive breast cancer, a hormone-responsive estrogen receptor form of the disease.
Daily consumption of coffee may protect against the most aggressive type of breast cancer, ER-negative, said study co-author Dr. Per Hal, a professor in the medical epidemiology and biostatistics department at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
“Now, we don’t have all the details,” he cautioned. “We don’t know, for example, what specific type of coffee we’re talking about here. But what we do know is that the protective effect is quite striking and remains even after adjusting for a lot of other factors that have the potential to play a protective role. And we know that we’re talking about what we could call a relatively normal amount of coffee drinking. Certainly we’re not talking about consuming gigantic amounts of coffee. So, this is a very intriguing finding.”
The study, reported online May 11 in Breast Cancer Research, involved 5,929 Swedish women, aged 50 to 74. About half of the women had breast cancer.
Questionnaires were used to assess behavioral and health characteristics, including smoking and drinking patterns, physical activity routines, family history of breast cancer, hormone therapy protocols, nutritional intake, body mass index, education level and coffee consumption habits. Both tumor status and breast cancer type were also noted.
The principle finding: Drinking coffee appeared to spur a “strong reduction” in risk for ER-negative breast cancer, the researchers wrote. Women who drank five cups of coffee a day had a 33 percent to 57 percent lower risk for ER-negative cancer than did those who drank less than one cup a day.
The study revealed an apparent association between coffee consumption and a reduction in breast cancer risk, but not a cause-and-effect relationship.
And Hal was not eager for consumers to jump to conclusions.
“There are one or two other studies that have pointed in the same direction as ours — but not many, just a few,” he cautioned. “So before I would go to tell my neighbors to start drinking more coffee than they already do, I would like to know what is the biological mechanism at work here. And that’s not yet clear.”
Hal noted that he and his colleagues are now working on a new study to tease out that information.
Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, described the findings as both “interesting” and “provocative,” given that the kind of cancer coffee appears to protect against is one for which there are relatively few effective treatments.
“It is this kind of study that opens the door to improving treatment, as scientists try to uncover what biologic factors in a substance are beneficial, and then attempt to extract these factors and use them to defend against cancers,” Bernik noted. “The goal would be to try and discover what it is in coffee that may be beneficial.”
“The next step is to find out what chemical factors in coffee cause the decreased rate of cancer and then attempt to see if these same chemicals can be used to treat a patient once they are already diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
SOURCES: Per Hall, M.D, Ph.D., professor, department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Stephanie Bernik, M.D., chief, surgical oncology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; May 10, 2011, Breast Cancer Research
Since this school has teached us that we must speak engish, we decided to post the upcoming news in that language, to improve our skills, but more importantly, to improve the skills of the students who read these news!
Greetings from 12-Naturales