Other highlights in the September 6 JNCI

Gene Expression Profile Identifies High-Risk Neuroblastoma

A 55-gene expression profile identifies children at high risk of progressive metastatic neuroblastoma, which lacks multiple copies of the MYCN gene.

Neuroblastoma, a tumor of the sympathetic nervous system, is the most common solid tumor in children outside the brain. When metastatic neuroblastomas have multiple copies of a gene called MYCN, they are classified as high-risk and aggressive. Metastatic neuroblastomas without multiple copies of the MYCN gene can be classified as aggressive based on the age at which a patient is diagnosed. Generally, patients diagnosed after 12 months have favorable survival rates, but patients diagnosed after 18 months have a survival rate of 40-50%. Doctors have no way of identifying which patients will survive and which won't.

Shahab Asgharzadeh, M.D., and Robert Seeger, M.D., of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and colleagues examined gene expression in 102 untreated metastatic neuroblastomas that did not have multiple copies of the MYCN gene. They created a gene expression profile for patients diagnosed from 12 to 18 and after 18 months of age.

The authors found 55 genes whose expression can be used to estimate progression-free survival times and classify patients as having poor or excellent chances of long-term survival. “The new opportunities offered by gene expression profiling should contribute to improving the care of children with neuroblastoma,” they write.

Contact: Robert Seeger, rseeger@chla.usc.edu


Community Health Advisors Improve Women's Use of Mammography

A new study shows that the use of lay health advisors, individuals in a community trained to inform other community members about good health practices, can increase the number of low-income women who get a mammogram.

Electra D. Paskett, Ph.D., at the Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues randomly assigned 851 low-income women in Robeson County, NC, who hadnTMt received a mammogram in the past year to speak with a lay health advisor or receive no intervention. They assessed the rates of mammography use 12-14 months later.

The authors found that 42.5% of the women who had spoken with a lay health advisor received a mammogram versus 27.3% of controls.

Contact: Michelle Gailiun, 614-293-6054, michelle.gailiun@osumc.edu


Cyclin D1 Inhibits STAT3 and Slows Breast Cancer Tumor Growth

An enzyme called cyclin D1 causes breast tumors to grow more slowly by repressing the activity of a transcription factor called STAT3, a new study reports.

Cyclin D1 promotes cell division and proliferation. However, research surprisingly has suggested that high expression of cyclin D1 is associated with improved survival times of breast cancer patients. Yuki Ishii, Ph.D., and Doris Germain, Ph.D., in collaboration with Samuel Waxman, M.D., at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and colleagues examined cyclin D1 and STAT3 expression in human breast tumors.

They found that tumors with high cyclin D1 expression had low STAT3 expression, and that there was an inverse association between the two. The authors suggest that cyclin D1's repression of STAT3 may be the reason that when cyclin D1 is overexpressed breast cancer patients fare better. In addition, they found that a drug called bortezomib can amplify cyclin D1's repression of STAT3, suggesting that cyclin D1 may be a marker to predict response to this new drug.

Contact: Doris Germain, doris.germain@mssm.edu


New Therapeutic Target Identified for Patients Who Develop Radiation-Induced Pneumonitis

A new study shows that a molecular system called CD95/CD95L is involved in the mechanism that produces lung inflammation in some patients who receive radiation therapy.

Claus Belka, M.D., of the University of Tuebingen in Germany, and colleagues examined pneumonitis, a condition in which lung tissue becomes inflamed in mice with and without the CD95/CD95L system. They found that mice with a working CD95/CD95L system who were exposed to radiation developed signs similar to the human condition called pneumonitis, whereas mice who lacked the system did not develop such signs.

Contact: Claus Belka, claus.belka@uni-tuebingen.de


Also in the September 6 JNCI:

Breast Density Helps Predict Breast Cancer Risk: http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2006-09/jotn-bdh083106.php
Gene Signature Assesses Breast Cancer Outcomes: http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2006-09/jotn-gsa083106.php

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Note: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Attribution to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is requested in all news coverage. Visit the Journal online at http://jncicancerspectrum.oxfordjournals.org/.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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