Photodynamic therapy treatment of early oral and laryngeal cancers

9/30/2007 Minneapolis, MN MA Biel Photochem Photobiol, September 1, 2007; 83(5): 1063-8 Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a nonsurgical, minimally invasive treatment that uses a light source to activate light-sensitive drugs or photosensitizers in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. PDT has been successfully employed to treat early carcinomas of the oral cavity and larynx preserving normal tissue and vital functions of speech and swallowing. Two hundred seventy-six patients with early carcinomas of the oral cavity and larynx were treated from 1990 to 2006. Cure rates with a single treatment for early laryngeal and oral cancers were 91% and 94%, respectively. PDT is an effective primary and alternative treatment modality for early oral cavity and laryngeal cancers. Author's affiliation: Ear, Nose and Throat Specialty Care of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, and Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute, Abbott Northwestern Hosptial, Minneapolis, MN, USA

2009-04-16T08:50:52-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Alcohol drinking raises risk of head and neck cancers

9/30/2007 Lisle, IL David Liu Drinking alcohol increases risk of head and neck cancer, but stopping use of alcoholic drinks reduces the risk, according to a new study published in the September 2007 issue of the International Journal of Cancer. The study led by researchers at the Centre for Addition and mental Health (CAMH), Ontario, Canada, showed a relationship between alcohol consumption and an increased risk for cancer of the esophagus, larynx and oral cavity. In the epidemiologic study, CAMH Principal Investigator Dr. Jürgen Rehm and colleagues analyzed literature from 1966 to 2006 and found that the risk of esophageal cancer almost doubled in the first two years following cessation of alcohol drinking. The researchers explained that many people stopped drinking at a time they might have developed a condition, which might manifest two years after the cessation of alcohol drinking. But the risk decreased rapidly and significantly later. They found after ten years of cessation, risk of head and neck cancer decreased significantly. After 20 years, the risks for both cancers were similar to those for people who had never been drinking alcoholic beverages. Dr. Rehm said "Alcohol cessation has very similar effects on risk for head and neck cancers as smoking cessation has on lung cancer. It takes about two decades before the risk is back to the risk of those who were never drinkers or never smokers." Drinking alcohol has been associated with a number of other cancers including breast, liver and colorectal cancers. But further [...]

2009-04-16T08:50:30-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Rising Cost of Health Care is Causing Finance Fears

9/29/2007 web-based article staff Medical care is something we all need. Health care costs continue to rise and employment is no longer a guarantee that you'll be covered. Millions of Americans work just to have health insurance - and still find themselves sick and broke. Lisa Cristia is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with tongue and throat cancer four years ago. Her medical bills continue to pile up, even though she has health insurance. Lisa says, "I did have insurance. I thought it was enough and it would cover me and that the only battle that I would have to fight was the battle against cancer". After going through $5,000 in savings and $14,000 in her 401-K, Lisa was still $65,000 in debt because of what her insurance didn't cover. Eventually, she was forced to file for bankruptcy. Lisa still needs follow up visits and medications, and that means more medical bills. She says, “It’s a lost future. I’m 38 years old, I am never gonna be able to buy a house. I'm never gonna be able to buy a brand new car, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much money I make. My credit is completely ruined”. According to Ron Pollack, executive director of the consumer heath advocacy group Families USA -- Lisa's story is not unusual. He says health care cost is the #1 cause for people declaring bankruptcy in the United States today. In fact, nearly 47 million Americans or 16% of [...]

2009-04-16T08:50:03-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Targeted Therapies Driving the European Head and Neck Cancer Therapeutics Markets

9/27/2007 London, England staff Despite improvements in surgical techniques and the development of novel chemoradiotherapy strategies, survival rates in patients with head and neck cancer has remained relatively unchanged over the last 30 years. While this could be due to the absence of any significant advancements in treatment techniques, newer targeted therapies now hold out great promise for the future. Pharmaceutical companies that succeed in increasing efficacy, lowering toxicity and improving survival rates can expect to gain position in the emerging European head and neck cancer therapeutics markets. "Unlike traditional chemotherapy drugs, which not only attack tumours but harm healthy tissues as well, newer agents work by specifically targeting cancer cells," notes Frost & Sullivan Programme Leader Paljit Mudhar. "A growing number of targeted therapies that predominantly attack cancer cells, leaving most healthy cells intact, are proving to be effective against a range of cancers including breast, colon, lung, kidney and head and neck cancers and lymphoma." Therefore, targeted therapies are expected to be a major growth driver for the head and neck cancer therapeutics market in Europe. A number of these are undergoing clinical trials and in future, many more molecules could be identified as potential therapeutic targets for cancer. A good example of targeted therapy is Erbitux (cetuximab). This is a first in class IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb), specifically targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). mAbs are highly specific therapeutics and have improved side effect profiles. This apart, there is considerable scope for newer treatment options [...]

2009-04-16T08:49:36-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Halting Heavy Drinking Cuts Esophageal and Head-and-Neck Cancer Risks

9/27/2007 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Michael Smith, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today Stopping heavy drinking can significantly reduce the risk of esophageal and head-and-neck cancers, primarily squamous-cell carcinomas, researchers here said. In a pooled analysis of 13 studies, those who quit heavy drinking saw their risk of esophageal cancer and head and neck cancer return to normal after 20 years, according to Jürgen Rehm, Ph.D., of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and colleagues. But the first few years after stopping saw a significant rise in development of both types of cancer, he and colleagues reported in the September issue of the International Journal of Cancer. The researchers postulated that the increase immediately after quitting was the result of what they called the "sick quitter" effect, in which patients stop drinking because they are already suffering symptoms of cancer, although it had not yet been diagnosed. But after five years in the case of esophageal cancer and 10 years for head and neck cancers, the risk begins to drop, Dr. Rehm and colleagues said. "Alcohol cessation has very similar effects on risk for head and neck cancers as smoking cessation has on lung cancer. Dr. Rehm said. "It - takes about two decades before the risk is back to the risk of those who were never drinkers or never smokers." The finding comes from 13 case-control studies - five in esophageal cancer and eight in head and neck cancer - that included more than 5,000 cases, the researchers said. [...]

2009-04-16T08:49:09-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Introgen presents biomarker data demonstrating abnormal p53 predicts Advexin efficacy in head and neck, lung, prostate and Li-Fraumeni cancers

9/27/2007 web-based article staff Introgen reports the results of new data analysis from multiple Phase 2 clinical studies showing a statistically significant correlation between the abnormal p53 biomarker and tumor response after treatment with Advexin in patients with head and neck, lung, prostate and Li-Fraumeni Syndrome cancers. In 54 late-stage cancer patient samples evaluated from the Company's Phase 2 studies, tumor response after Advexin monotherapy was observed in 35% of patients with the abnormal p53 biomarker and all tumor responses occurred in the abnormal p53 biomarker group (p = 0.0013). The majority of these patients had recurrent disease after receiving standard therapies. The company has previously reported study results demonstrating a statistically significant correlation between the abnormal p53 biomarker and increased survival after Advexin therapy in head and neck cancer patients. "The results presented today confirm and extend previous biomarker data correlating the abnormal p53 biomarker with increased tumor responses following Advexin treatment and support its use as a biomarker to predict Advexin efficacy," said John Nemunaitis, M.D., a principal investigator of the studies and executive director of the Mary Crowley Medical Research Center. "Importantly, the data from multiple tumor types indicate an absolute correlation of tumor response and abnormal p53 as 100 percent of the responding tumors had the abnormal p53 biomarker."

2009-04-16T08:48:31-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Cancer Patients, Spouses Report Similar Emotional Distress

9/25/2007 Ann Arbor, MI staff A cancer diagnosis affects more than just the patient. A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds spouses report similar physical and emotional quality of life as the patient. The study found that what really impacted emotional distress among both patients and their spouses was whether the patient was newly diagnosed, facing a recurrence or living with advanced disease. Researchers looked at 263 men with prostate cancer and their spouses. Participants were recruited from three large cancer centers. Both the men and their wives completed questionnaires that assessed quality of life, including physical, social, family, emotional and functional issues. Patients and spouses each reported on their own quality of life. The researchers found little difference in quality of life between patients and spouses, but found significant differences based on the phase of their illness. Couples coping with advanced disease had significantly poorer overall quality of life. "The spouses of advanced cancer patients are really carrying the load. Cancer is a devastating illness, and a patient's primary resource is the partner, who often doesn't have the information she needs to deal with these complex problems. This isn't just a common cold - this is the person you love and care about dealing with a life-threatening illness," says lead study author Laurel Northouse, Ph.D., R.N., co-director of the Socio-Behavioral Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and Mary Lou Willard French Professor of Nursing at the U-M School of Nursing. [...]

2009-04-16T08:47:51-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

HPV Now Linked to Many Head and Neck Cancers

9/24/2007 Chicago, IL Caroline Helwick International Medicine World Report ( Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is emerging as a significant factor in head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma—with medical and perhaps social implications. "HPV-related oropharynx carcinoma is beginning to constitute a significant portion of the oncologist's practice in head and neck cancer," said Marshall Posner, MD, medical director, Head and Neck Oncology Program, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, who presented new study results at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). "HPV-related cancers are seen in as many as 25% of patients in community practice. At Dana-Farber, a referral cancer center, almost 50% of the oropharynx cancers we see are HPV-positive." HPV Infection Improves Prognosis But the presence of HPV infection actually heralds a better prognosis in patients with these types of cancer, according to data from a new phase 2 prospective study conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG 2399). This multicenter study confirmed retrospective, single-institution reports showing improved survival for patients with HPV-positive head and neck squamous-cell cancer compared with their HPV-negative counterparts. At ASCO, Carole Fakhry, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, reported that a positive HPV infection status conferred a 79% lower risk of death in this population. HPV status should now be considered a biomarker for prognosis in head and neck cancer, Dr Fakhry maintained. Moreover, these findings have implications for current treatment practices, as they may necessitate a reinterpretation of survival rates found in previous phase 2 trials to [...]

2009-04-16T08:47:24-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

Treatments may increase cancer cells

9/23/2007 Bethesda, MD staff A U.S. pathologist says some anti-cancer treatments may shrink tumors but increase the cancer stem cells that drive the disease. Dr. Vasyl Vasko of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences said his research suggests that some treatments could be producing more cancer stem cells, which then metastasize as a way to survive the therapy. "This may help explain why the expression of stem-cell markers has been associated with resistance to chemotherapy and radiation treatments and poor outcome for patients with cancers including prostate, breast and lung cancers," Vasko said Friday in a release. The research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development. The report said the cancer stem-cell markers include Nanog and BMI1, both of which contribute to stem cells' defining ability to renew themselves and differentiate into different cell types. Vasko said these same molecules are found in embryonic stem cells.

2009-04-16T08:46:57-07:00September, 2007|Archive|

The answer is to vaccinate everyone and do it early

9/21/2007 United Kingdom Dr Thomas Stuttaford: Times Online ( The Health Protection Agency’s study confirms that a significant proportion of young women are having sex between the ages of 14 and 16. The finding of positive antibodies to HPV, the human papillomavirus, which can infect anyone, man or woman, who has sexual intercourse, is a good marker for sexual activity. Although 80 per cent of women become HPV positive during their lives, in only a small minority of cases does it give rise to either premalignant or malignant changes in the cervix. Most people are unaware when they are infected with HPV because the obvious genital wart is not of the type that turns malignant. It takes between ten and twenty years for cervical cancer to develop after infection. Well over 99 per cent of cases of cervical cancer can be shown to have been caused by infection with HPV. Different strains of HPV from those that cause cervical cancer result in the unsightly and troublesome genital warts. HPV is also certainly responsible for many cases of anal and penile cancer and it is thought by many doctors to account for the marked upsurge in cases of oral cancer over the past 30 years that has coincided with an increase in oral sex. It has been known for many years that far more young girls, from all walks of life, are having sex when still under age than their mentors liked to assume. For this reason it is important that [...]

2009-04-16T08:46:27-07:00September, 2007|Archive|
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