US Pharm. 2007;32(3):HS-50.

Circumcision Reduces HIV Transmission
Two studies in the Lancet bring the number of studies establishing a strong link between circumcision and a reduction in the risk of HIV transmission to three. According to researchers, circumcision cut the risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV in half, and male circumcision appears to be equal to a vaccine in preventing HIV infection.

Both studies were conducted in Africa; in the Kenyan trial, the risk reduction was 53%, whereas in the Ugandan trial, the risk reduction was 51%. Of the 2,784 Kenyan men ages 18 to 24, the two-year HIV infection incidence was 2.1% among circumcised men, compared with 4.2% among controls. Of the 4,996 Ugandan men ages 15 to 49, the two-year HIV infection incidence was 0.66 cases per 100 person-years among circumcised men and 1.33 cases per 100 person-years among controls. By comparison, the first study showing a relationship between circumcision and HIV transmission found a risk reduction of 60% in South African men.

Lung Cancer Risk Among Nonsmokers Higher For Women
Among nonsmokers, women who have never smoked are more likely to develop lung cancer than men, according to an article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Data from several cohorts show that the rate of lung cancer among women who have never smoked ranged from 14.4 to 20.8 cases per 100,000 people; the rate among men who have never smoked was 4.8 to 13.7 cases per 100,000 people. If these figures are representative of the U.S. population, it is likely that about 8% and 20% of men and women with lung cancer, respectively, have never smoked.

Ellen Chang, ScD, an epidemiologist at the Northern California Cancer Center in Stamford, said that secondhand smoke might explain part of the difference, while other possibilities include occupational exposures, domestic radon, indoor pollution, genetic factors, and dietary factors.

Test Approved for Prediction of Breast Cancer Recurrence
The FDA has approved the first microarray genetic analysis designed to aid in predicting the risk of Stage I or II breast cancer recurrence or metastasis. The in vitro multivariate index assay, known as MammaPrint, measures 70 gene markers in tumors. These signals are then used to calculate an index that predicts the likelihood of recurrence or metastasis.

According to Steven Gutman, MD, director of FDA's Office of In Vitro Diagnostic Device Evaluation, a woman identified as high risk on the basis of this index "is about twice as likely to see recurrent breast cancer as a woman identified as low risk."

Percentage of Women Receiving Mammograms on the Decline
A study released by the CDC revealed that while the rate of women who get mammograms has risen substantially over the past twenty years, it has has dropped slightly over the past few years.

According to the CDC, some possible explanations may include the shortage of mammography screening centers and specialists, and a lack of health insurance among patients. According to Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the American Cancer Society, while the decline of less than two percentage points may seem insignificant, it should not be overlooked. "If you consider that about 80 million U.S. women should be getting a mammogram every year, it means more than one million fewer women are getting the screening test," said Dr. Lichtenfeld.

Young African-American Adults at High Risk for HIV, STDs
A study supported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse suggests that young African-American adults--but not young white adults--are at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) even when their relative level of risky behaviors is low.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Public Health, implies that the marked racial disparities in the prevalence of these diseases are not exclusively affected by individual risk behaviors. Other factors include social and dating patterns and the environment.

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