Other highlights in the November 1 JNCI

Statins and Fibrates Reviewed for Action Against Melanoma

A review of all randomized trials of statins and fibrates concluded that their impact on melanoma prevention remains uncertain.

Statins and fibrates are often used for prevention of heart disease, and some research has suggested trial participants taking these medications have a lower melanoma incidence. Robert P. Dellavalle, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Denver, Colo., and colleagues reviewed 20 randomized controlled trials in which statins or fibrates were used as a therapy for 6 months or more.

The authors found that 127 melanomas occurred in the 39,426 participants in the trials involving statins compared to 68 in a control group around half the size, and 27 melanomas occurred in the 31,394 participants in the trials using fibrates versus 20 in a control group around half the size. They suggest that data neither proves nor disproves the idea that these medications prevent melanoma.

Contact: Robert Dellavalle, 303-399-8020 ext. 2475, Robert.dellavalle@uchsc.edu


Virus Used to Kill Brain Tumors in Mice

An engineered form of the vesicular stomatitis virus can infect and kill a certain type of brain cancer, according to a new study.

Peter A. Forsyth, M.D., of the Clark Smith Integrative Brain Tumor Center in Calgary, Canada, and colleagues assessed the ability of the virus to kill 14 malignant glioma cell types in mice and test tubes. Invasive tumor cells, the most common causes of glioma recurrence, are a major clinical challenge.

When given intravenously, the virus infected and killed all 14 cell types. Mice who were given the virus also survived longer than those who were not. The scientists did not observe any toxicity from the virus treatment.

The authors suggest that the virus could be used for multiple treatments because it can be given intravenously rather than through surgery.

Contact: Peter Forsyth, pfadmin@ucalgary.ca


Antibody Plus Chemotherapy Shows Efficacy in Mouse Ovarian Tumor Model

EA5, an antibody to a protein expressed by ovarian cancer cells, in combination with paclitaxel decreased the growth of ovarian cancer in a mouse model, according to a new study.

Anil K. Sood, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined the effect of the EA5 monoclonal antibody, alone or in combination with the chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel, on the growth of ovarian cancer cells in mice. Specifically, they were interested in assessing the effects of an oncoprotein called EphA2, the molecule EA5 targets, on cancer cell growth.

They found that ovarian cancer cells treated with EA5 had a 90% reduction in EphA2 expression. When used with paclitaxel, EA5 substantially reduced tumor weight and helped mice survive for longer periods of time.

Contacts: Scott Merville, 713-792-0661, sdmervil@mdanderson.org


Immunohistochemical Assay Predicts Clinical Trial Results for Breast Cancer Patients Better than Older Assays

A recent study suggests that measurements of hormone receptors in breast tumors with newer immunohistochemical assays predict patients' response to treatment as well as or better than measurements using older extraction assays.

Hormone receptors are used to select the type of treatment patients receive for early-stage breast cancer. In the past, extraction assays were the primary test for these receptors, but now immunohistochemical assays are used because they are less labor intensive and less expensive. However, researchers did not know whether using the newer assay to determine hormone receptor status could change trial results that had relied on older assays.

Meredith M. Regan, Sc.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues used an immunohistochemical assay to re-measure the hormone receptor levels in the tumor tissue of 571 premenopausal and 976 postmenopausal breast cancer patients whose levels had been measured in previous trials using the older assay. For estrogen receptor measurements, they found that the immunohistochemical assays predicted disease-free survival times similar to traditional extraction assays. However, for progesterone receptor measurements, the immunohistochemical assay more accurately predicted patient response to treatment.

Contact: Bill Schaller, Director of Media Relations, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 617-632-4090, william_schaller@dfci.harvard.edu

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Also in the November 1 JNCI:

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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