Other highlights in the June 21 JNCI

June 20, 2006

Study Links High Cadmium Levels with Breast Cancer

High levels of cadmium may be tied to an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a new study. However, whether increased cadmium actually causes breast cancer or whether cadmium levels increase in response to treatment or the disease itself remains unknown.

Cadmium is a long-lasting heavy metal that accumulates in the body. It is found in food and tobacco smoke and is thought to be a carcinogen. Jane A. McElroy, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and colleagues examined cadmium levels in urine samples of 246 breast cancer patients between ages 20 and 69 and 254 matched controls.

The authors found that women with the highest cadmium levels had twice the breast cancer risk of those with the lowest cadmium levels. They write, "Given the ubiquitous exposure of the general population to cadmium, the mode of the association between cadmium exposure and breast cancer risk warrants further study."

Contact: Linda Dietrich, University of Wisconsin, 608-263-6585, lg.dietrich@hosp.wisc.edu

Drug from Milk Thistle Prevents Lung Cancer in a Mouse Model

Silibinin, a compound from the milk thistle, inhibits lung tumor blood vessel formation in mice and may help prevent the growth and development of lung tumors, a study reports.

Rajesh Agarwal, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and colleagues tested the effect of dietary silibinin on mice injected with a chemical that causes lung cancer. Mice given silibinin had lower numbers of lung tumors than mice given a diet lacking silibinin, and their tumors had a lower size and blood vessel count. The authors conclude that dietary silibinin should be investigated as a cancer preventing agent for lung cancer in humans.

Contact:Kenna Bruner, kenna.bruner@uchsc.edu

Tolfenamic Acid Works Against Compounds that Cause Pancreatic Cancer

Tolfenamic acid, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), fights pancreatic cancer by reducing the levels of some cellular proteins that contribute to tumor growth and metastasis. Stephen Safe, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University in College Station, and colleagues at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Tx., used a mouse model of pancreatic cancer to investigate the anticancer activities of tolfenamic acid and related compounds.

Contact: Stephen Safe, 979-845-5988, ssafe@cvm.tamu.edu

KGF and FGFR2b Are Players in Cancer and Cancer Therapy

Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) is used to limit epithelial tissue damage from radiation and chemotherapy in patients with blood cancers. However, concerns arise over whether KGF's use in patients with epithelial tumors could lead to tumor growth or protect the tumor cells from the killing effect of radiation and chemotherapy.

A review by Paul W. Finch, Ph.D., of Croton-on-Hudson in New York and Jeffrey S. Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., suggests KGF and its receptor (FGFR2b) typically do not stimulate the formation and growth of tumors. Rather, research suggests that in some situations expression of FGFR2b may induce cell death. The authors review KGF and FGFR2b's involvement in various cancers.

Contact: NCI Press Officers, 301-496-6641, NCIPressOfficers@mail.nih.gov
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Also in the June 21 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/.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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