US Pharm. 2007:32(7):HS-39-HS-40.
Childhood Cancer Survivors
Have Higher Health Risks as Adults
effective treatments for childhood cancers have dramatically improved survival
rates, children who had been treated for cancer could to be at a higher risk
of health problems as adults.
According to a study published
in the June 27 issue of JAMA, the treatments used on children with
cancer have shown their effects later in life, with complications such as
second cancers, organ dysfunction, and psychosocial and cognitive problems.
Researchers conducted the study by following childhood cancer patients and
evaluating treatment-related risk factors. Huib N. Caron, MD, PhD, of Emma
Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, and colleagues found
that of the 1,362 survivors they followed, 19.8% had no adverse events, 74.5%
had one or more events, and 24.6% had five or more events. Additionally, 36.8%
of the childhood cancer survivors had at least one severe or life-threatening
or disabling disorder, and 3.2% died due to an adverse event.
More than half of the patients
who were treated with only radiotherapy as a child had a high or severe burden
of events (at least two severe events or one or more life-threatening or
disabling events), compared with 15% of patients treated with only
chemotherapy and 25% of patients who had surgery alone. Survivors of bone
tumors most often had a high or severe burden of events (64%), while survivors
of leukemia or a tumor of the kidney were least likely to have a high or
severe burden of events (12%).
Hormone May Reduce Visceral
Fat in HIV Patients
A report presented
at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections
disclosed that a growth hormone–releasing analog TH9507 reduced visceral
fat by about 20% compared to placebo.
According to Steven Grinspoon,
MD, of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues, the net change of 20% in just
six months, which represents about a 3-cm (about 1.2 inches) change in waist
size, is "a very potent effect." The compound was safe and "generally well
tolerated," with little effect on subcutaneous fat or glucose transport, and
lipid metabolism was improved. Major adverse effects include headache and
Flaxseed Beneficial in
Slowing Prostate Cancer Growth
report by researchers at Duke University, which was based on a multicenter
study, revealed that flaxseed supplementation significantly reduced cancer
cell proliferation rates in men with prostate cancer.
According to Wendy
Denmark-Wahnefried, PhD, of Duke University, flaxseed (alone or combined with
a low-fat diet) slowed cell growth rates compared with diet alone or a control
group. Addressing attendees at the American Society of Clinical Oncology
meeting, she cautioned that other biomarkers of prostate cancer activity were
unaffected by the supplement. She said flaxseed is one of the richest known
sources of ligans, which affect androgen metabolism and have antimitotic,
antiangiogenic, antioxidant, and estrogenic effects. It is also the richest
source of plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids, which influence cell membrane
synthesis, circulating levels of protein kinase C and tyrosine kinases, and
levels of natural killer cells.
Lung Cancer Risk in COPD
May Be Lowered with Inhaled Corticosteroids
A study published
in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
indicates that high doses of inhaled corticosteroids may reduce the risk of
lung cancer in men with chronic pulmonary disease (COPD).
According to David Au, MD, of
the Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System, and colleagues, a
cohort study of 517 mostly male patients who used inhaled corticosteroids with
a dose of more than 1,200 mcg a day led to an impressive 61% drop in the risk
of lung cancer compared to nonusers. Men with COPD who used less than 1,200
mcg a day had a slightly elevated risk of lung cancer.
The researchers agreed that
this relatively small study cannot come to any conclusion about cause and
effect, and while they admit that the data are "certainly not definitive," the
researchers maintain that the findings have "potentially important
implications for lung cancer pathogenesis and chemoprevention" and warrant
Breast Radiation Raises
Risk of Heart Disease
Researchers at the
Netherlands Cancer Institute reported that irradiation of the breast and
internal lymph of cancer patients puts them at an increased risk for
According to researcher Flora
E. van Leeuwen, PhD, and colleagues, among more than 4,400 women who were
10-year survivors of breast cancer, those in the 1980s who had radiation
treatments to the internal mammary chain had an increased risk for congestive
heart failure. The researchers said that the combination of radiotherapy and
chemotherapy nearly doubled the risk for congestive heart failure. The
researchers said that the combination of smoking and radiotherapy was a
particularly unhealthy mix, with smokers having a threefold risk for
Statins May Protect Against
It has been well
documented that statins have proven very effective for lowering cholesterol
and thus reducing the risk of heart disease over time. Now an analysis of data
on lipid use for coronary prevention and prostate cancer occurrence has
revealed a connection between the two. According to Teemu Murtola, MD, and
researchers at the University of Tampere School of Public Health in Finland,
there is a dose-dependent reduction in prostate cancer risk among statin users
compared with nonusers.
During a presentation at the
American Urological Association meeting, Dr. Murtola said that the cancer risk
reduction was not seen in men with a history of treatment with other types of
cholesterol-lowering drugs, suggesting a possible nonlipid effect of statins
on prostate cancer biology and etiology. It was shown that the overall
occurrence rate of prostate cancer was 4% in statin users, a 50% reduction
compared with 8% among nonusers. Patients in the lowest statin-dose quartile
had a 6.2% occurrence rate of prostate cancer, which translated into a
relative risk of 0.76 compared with nonusers. Those in the highest quartile
had a prostate cancer rate of 1.8 or a relative risk of 0.21 compared with
Get Serious About Cancer--It
May Save Your Life
A report in
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention reveals that Americans
who do not take cancer seriously are significantly more likely to become a
statistic. According to Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, from the University of
Wisconsin, and Andrea Gurmankin Levy, PhD, from the Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute and Harvard School of Public Health, people who believe there is not
much they can do to prevent cancer may be raising their risk of a malignancy
by not even trying. "Many Americans seem to feel afraid and helpless in
regards to cancer, which may be exacerbated by conflicting news reports and a
general lack of education on the causes and prevention of cancer," said Dr.
Niederdeppe. "They say, ‘well, there is nothing much you can do about,' and,
as our survey shows, they indeed do nothing about it."
Testosterone and PSA
Related in Risk of Prostate Cancer
A new study
confirms that there is a relationship between testosterone levels and PSA
According to Al Barqawi, MD,
of theUniversity of Colorado in Denver, higher PSA values had a near-linear
association with rising testosterone levels. "PSA value by itself is not
perfect," said Dr. Barqawi. "The correlation between PSA and testosterone is
very much indicative of a testosterone level that may actually improve our
protection against prostate cancer. It may improve the meaning and
intepretation of the PSAvalue."
Dr. Barqawi cautions that the
impact of testosterone levels in the setting of PSA screenings still remains
controversial. More research needs to be done before a decision is made to
measure testosterone levels along with PSA screening.
Signs of Ovarian Cancer
Should Not Be Ignored
Women who observe a
specific set of symptoms should be checked by a physician for ovarian cancer.
Often, ovarian cancer is not
diagnosed until it is in its last stages, because no disease-specific signs or
symptoms had been previously identified. It is believed that some warning
signs may become evident earlier in the cancer's development.
These signs include bloating,
pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and
urinary symptoms such as frequency or urgency.
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