Other highlights in the Dec. 6 JNCI

December 05, 2006

Italian Model Accurately Predicts the Absolute Risk of Breast Cancer

An Italian risk model was just as accurate as a commonly used U.S. model at predicting a future breast cancer diagnosis, according to a new study. The new data may eventually be used to improve both models by adding other risk factors, such as diet.

Adriano Decarli, Ph.D., of the University of Milan in Italy, and colleagues used data from a multicenter case control study in Italy and Italian cancer registries to develop an Italian version of the Gail model, a common model to predict the absolute risk of breast cancer. They assessed the model's ability to predict the observed number of cancers in subsets of the population.

The authors found that the Italian model was equivalent to the Gail model as a predictor of breast cancer. They suggest that the Italian data used to create the model may be useful in revising the Gail model to include additional risk factors for breast cancer.

In an accompanying editorial, Joann Elmore, M.D., of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle writes that risk models still cannot accurately predict an individual's risk of developing breast cancer. "Because we still cannot predict accurately enough which individual woman will or will not develop breast cancer, there is much work yet to do in the field of cancer risk prediction."

Contact:
Article: Adriano Decarli, 39-347-8447457, Adriano.decarli@unimi.it
Editorial: Susan Gregg-Hanson, 206-731-4097, sghanson@u.washington.edu


Some Breast Chemotherapies Can Cause Cognitive Decline

Some types of breast cancer chemotherapy can negatively affect patients' cognitive ability, a new study reports.

Sanne B. Schagen, Ph.D., of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues examined cognition in breast cancer patients treated with two chemotherapy regimens, the high-dose CTC (cyclophosphamide, thiotepa, and carboplatin) regimen and the conventional FEC (5-fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide) regimen, as well as patients who hadn't received chemotherapy and healthy women without cancer. The patients were given neuropsychological testing before and 6 months after treatment, control subjects underwent repeated testing with a 6-month interval.

The authors found that patients taking the CTC regimen exhibited a deterioration in cognitive performance over time. They suggest that some chemotherapy regimens for breast cancer affect cognition in a subset of women.

Contact: Ramona Pauwels, 31-20-512-2850, r.pauwels@nki.nl


Genetic Variant Linked to Drug-Induced Diarrhea

Patients with a common genetic variant have an increased risk of diarrhea when treated with a common cancer drug, a new study shows.

Gefitinib, which is commonly used to treat non-small-cell lung cancer, has common side-effects that include diarrhea and skin toxicity. Sharyn D. Baker, Pharm.D., Ph.D., of the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and colleagues examined the association between variant forms of ABCG2, a protein that acts on gefitinib, and diarrhea.

They found that a common variant of the ABCG2 gene was associated with diarrhea. Seven of 16 patients with the variant had diarrhea when taking gefitinib compared with 13 of 108 patients without the variant.

Contact: Bonnie Kourvelas, 901-495-4815, media@stjude.org


Protein Linked to Poor Prognosis in Some Breast Cancer Patients

Low expression of a protein called p27kip1 was associated with low breast cancer survival and higher relapse rates, according to a new study.

Peggy L. Porter, M.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues assessed the expression of p27kip1 and cyclin E in tumor tissue from 2,123 patients with primary breast cancer enrolled in the Southwest Oncology Group/Intergroup Trial S9313. They found that low expression of p27kip1 was associated with worse overall and disease-free survival in women treated with the chemotherapy drugs adriamycin and cyclophosphamide. Patients with low p27kip1 expression and steroid receptor-positive tumors had poor survival, but patients with steroid receptor-negative tumors did not. No association was found between cyclin E expression and disease-free or overall survival.

Contact: Kristen Woodward, 206-667-5095, kwoorwar@fhcrc.org


BRAF and CIMP Linked to Colon Cancer In Smokers

Some colon tumors in smokers are linked to mutations in a specific gene and abnormal chemical modification of DNA, and smoking may activate these molecular changes, according to a new study.

Wade S. Samowitz, M.D., of the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City, and colleagues examined a mutation in a gene called BRAF and an increase in the methylation of DNA at specific sites identified as a phenotype, called CIMP, in 1,315 colon cancer patients and 2,392 controls. All of the participants were interviewed about their smoking history and background, and tumors were assessed for CIMP levels and BRAF mutations.

The authors found that heavy smoking was associated with an increased risk of colon cancer that was classified as having high CIMP levels and BRAF mutations. "Relatively weak previously identified associations between smoking and colon cancer may be attributed to the relatively strong association of smoking with the small subset of colon cancers that have a CIMP high or BRAF-mutated status," the authors write.

Contact: Christopher Nelson, 801-581-7387, Christopher.Nelson@hsc.utah.edu

Also in the December 6 issue of JNCI:
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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/.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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