Other highlights in the December 15 JNCI

December 14, 2004

The accuracy of mammographic interpretation can vary widely, but the source of the variability has not been explained. To investigate the relationship between radiologists' characteristics and actual performance, William E. Barlow, Ph.D., of Cancer Research and Biostatistics in Seattle, and colleagues surveyed 124 radiologists and tracked cancer outcomes from the more than 460,000 screening mammograms they interpreted between 1996 and 2001.

Greater volume of mammograms interpreted and more years of experience were not associated with greater accuracy. However, greater volume was associated with higher sensitivity (more true positive results in women who had breast cancer) and lower specificity (more false positive results in women who did not have breast cancer) whereas more experience was associated with lower sensitivity and higher specificity. The authors conclude that increasing volume requirements for radiologists is unlikely to improve the interpretation of mammograms.

"Although radiologists differ in performance, accuracy does not appear to be simply attributable to years of experience or number of mammograms interpreted," the authors write. "Direct feedback of performance characteristics couple with training may be more helpful than experience without feedback. The most instructive exercise may be to have an open discussion of misjudged mammograms, but concern about malpractice claims may prevent this opportunity from occurring."

Contact: Joan DeClaire, Communications, Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, 206-287-2653, declaire@ghc.org

Levels of Sex Hormones May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Some Types of Breast Cancer, Study Finds

Circulating levels of several sex steroid hormones may be associated with an increased risk of estrogen receptor (ER)- and progesterone receptor (PR)-positive breast cancers, according to a new study.

Although hormone levels have been associated with the risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women, few studies have examined their relationship with tumor receptor status or invasive versus in situ status. Stacey A. Missmer, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues investigated these relations in a case-control study of nearly 1,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study.

The researchers found a direct association between breast cancer risk and the level of both estrogens and androgens but not the levels of progesterone or sex hormone binding globulin. The hormone levels were most strongly associated with the risk of ER-positive/PR-positive breast tumors. In addition, all hormone levels tended to be most strongly associated with in situ disease.

Contact: Amy Smith, Public Affairs, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 617-534-1603, asmith28@partners.org

Korean Study Examines Interaction of Risk Factors for Liver Cancer Mortality

Cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and hepatitis B infection are all independent risk factors for death from liver cancer, but they do not interact synergistically, according to a new study.

Liver cancer is one of the most widespread cancers in the world, particularly in Asia and Africa where hepatitis and aflatoxin exposures are common. Risk factors include chronic alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, dietary aflatoxin exposure, hepatitis B infection, and hepatic cirrhosis, but there has been limited exploration of the combined effects of these exposures.

Sun Ha Jee, Ph.D., M.H.S., of Yonsei University, in Seoul, Korea, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of more than 1.2 million Korean men and women to assess the independent effects and interactions of three risk factors for liver cancer: cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and hepatitis B infection. All three risk factors were independently associated with an increased risk of death from liver cancer, but there was no interaction between them.

Contacts:
  • Sun Ha Jee, Yonsei University, 017-209-5095 (Korea) or 410-955-3296 (U.S.), jsunha@yumc.yonsei.ac.kr or sjee@jhsph.edu
  • Jae Woong Sull, Yonsei University, 02-361-5110, sulljw@yumc.yonsei.ac.kr
  • Jonathan Samet, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 410-955-3296, jsamet@jhsph.edu

    Also in the December 15 JNCI:
  • Little Evidence Breast Cancer Diagnosis Leads to Employment Discrimination, Study Concludes: http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2004-12/jotn-let120904.php
  • Study Examines Impact of Two-Year Screening Interval for Breast Cancer: http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2004-12/jotn-sei120904.php
  • Association of a Common Variant of the CASP8 Gene With Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer
    -end-
    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.oupjournals.org/.

    Journal of the National Cancer Institute

    Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

    Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
    The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

    Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
    New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

    Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
    Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

    Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
    Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

    More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
    A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

    Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
    A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

    Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
    Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

    Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
    A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

    Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
    Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

    Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
    A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

    Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
  • Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.