Other highlights in the Oct. 4 Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Breast Cancer Diagnosis Linked to Higher Suicide Rates

Breast cancer survivors have an increased risk of suicide for up to 30 years after diagnosis, according to a new study.

Catherine Schairer, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues examined the suicide risk for 723,810 breast cancer survivors diagnosed between 1953 and 2001, as reported in numerous cancer registries. They identified 836 breast cancer patients who committed suicide, including 245 women in the U.S.

They found that the cumulative risk of suicide 30 years after breast cancer diagnosis was 0.2%. This rate is 37% higher than expected based on general population rates. Risk increased with a higher stage of breast cancer.

Contact: NCI Press Officers, 301-496-6641, NCIPressOfficers@mail.nih.gov


Hormone Therapies Raise Ovarian Cancer Risk

A new study shows that prolonged use of some hormone therapies, including estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin, increases a woman's risk of ovarian cancer.

James V. Lacey, Jr., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md., and colleagues identified 214 cases of ovarian cancer in 97,638 women enrolled in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study Cohort. They examined whether the women had taken hormone therapy.

The authors found that women with a hysterectomy who used estrogen alone for 10 or more years had a higher risk of ovarian cancer than those who used no hormone therapy. Women who had not had a hysterectomy and used sequential estrogen plus progestin or continuous estrogen and progestin for 4 of more years had a higher risk of ovarian cancer than women who used no hormone therapy.

Contact: NCI Press Officers, 301-496-6641, NCIPressOfficers@mail.nih.gov


Sex Hormones Linked to Premenopausal Breast Cancer

High levels of circulating sex hormones, including estrogens and androgens, may be associated with breast cancer risk for premenopausal women.

Heather Eliassen, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues collected blood samples from 18,521 premenopausal women in the Nurses Health Study II during certain phases of their menstrual cycles. Of these women, 197 developed breast cancer.

The authors observed that women with high levels of estradiol, a type of estrogen, during the pre-ovulatory phase of their menstrual cycle had increased risks of breast cancer. The risks of invasive and estrogen- and progesterone-positive breast were highest. High levels of testosterone and androstenedione in both the pre- and post-ovulatory phases of the menstrual cycle were also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer overall.

Contact: Lori Shanks, (617) 534-1604, ljshanks@partners.org


Gamma-Actin Involved in Resistance to Leukemia Drugs

A new form of drug resistance may involve interactions between different proteins that form the framework of cells, or cytoskeletons, researchers report.

Antimitotic drugs, which target a type of structural protein called microtubules, are often used as therapy for many cancers, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common type of childhood leukemia. However, changes to these proteins or their level of expression can cause them to become resistant to antimitotic drugs.

Maria Kavallaris, Ph.D., of the Children's Cancer Institute Australia in Randwick, and colleagues studied both tubulin, which is the basic unit of microtubules, and types of actin, which forms other structural proteins called microfilaments, in drug-resistant leukemia cells. They identified novel forms of gamma-actin in leukemia cells that were resistant to antimitotic drugs. They suggest that the loss of gamma-actin affects its interaction with tubulin and creates drug resistance.

In an accompanying editorial, Tito Fojo, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., writes, "If the findings reported in this issue of the Journal are confirmed, we will be humbled by the fact that it took us nearly 50 years to uncover the fact that gamma-actin is essential for the activity of microtubule targeting agents. But we will also be encouraged that there is yet much to learn that can hopefully lead us to better therapies for those who fight cancer so vigorously."

Contacts:

Article: Miriam Smith, 61 02 9382 0641, MSmith@ccia.org.au

Editorial: NCI Press Officers, 301-496-6641, NCIPressOfficers@mail.nih.gov


Low AZGP1 Expression in Prostate Cancer

Researchers have been looking for markers to indicate which prostate cancers require aggressive treatment. Susan M. Henshall, Ph.D., of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues examined expression of a protein called AZGP1 in samples of prostate cancer tissue from 228 patients. They found that low expression of AZGP1 was associated with prostate cancer recurrence, bony metastasis, and death. They suggest that assessing AZGP1 expression may help identify patients at high risk for metastatic prostate cancer.

Contact: Branwen Morgan, 61 2 9295 8135, b.morgan@garvan.org.au

Also in the October 4 JNCI:

Pooled Data Examines if SNPs Add to Breast Cancer Risk: http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2006-10/jotn-pde092706.php

Antibiotic Treats Lymphoma of the Eye: http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2006-10/jotn-atl092706.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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