Posts tagged ‘cancer prevention’

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have suggested that high-fat diet and cholesterol-rich food plays a crucial role in breast cancer growth. As per the study published in The American Journal of Pathology, there is a clear link between breast cancer and diet.

Using a mouse model the researchers conducted an experiment. The mice who fed on the American-style diet showed development of larger mammary tumors as compared to the mice who consumed controlled diet.

Dr. Philippe G. Frank remarks that the incident rate of this cancer is 5 times higher in Western countries than in other developed countries. Plus, an increase in breast cancer cases has also been reported in immigrant population thereby hinting at the role of environmental influence on breast cancer development.

The researchers resorted to PyMT mouse model that is supposed to be similar to the pathogenesis of human breast cancer. PyMT mice were provided a typical Western diet with 21.2 percent fat and 0.2 percent cholesterol while another control group of PyMT mice was fed on a diet with barely 4.5 percent fat and negligible cholesterol.

Results showed that the mice who were fed fat and cholesterol rich diet reported quick development of tumors and the size of the tumors were also 50 percent larger. Results also suggested that the growth of tumors reduced the level of blood cholesterol.

These findings may help the medical experts in prevention, screening and treatment of breast cancers. Since growth of tumors has been linked to a significant drop in blood cholesterol, hence measuring cholesterol levels may also be a reliable screening method.

Incidentally, the same research team had earlier found a link between cholesterol and prostate cancer. Thus, it can be concluded that cholesterol, indeed, is a vital factor in the formation and growth of cancerous tumors.


In a recent study at the annual meeting of The Radiological society of North America (RSNA), researchers have revealed that the risk of mastectomy in women between the ages of 40 and 50 is greatly diminished with yearly mammogram.

The number of persistent breast cancer cases that will be treated in American women in 2010 is 207,090. At present, annual mammography screening for women is recommended in U.S. for women starting at age 40.

According to Dr. Nicholas M.Perry, leading author, F.R.C.S., M.B.B.S, director of the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace Hospital in London, ‘The results of this study support the importance of regular screening in the 40 and 50 age group. Women in this age group who had undergone mammography the previous year had a mastectomy rate of less than half that of the others’.

Dr Pelly and his fellow researchers had a review of the clinical data available from the diagnosis of women between 40 and 50 at the London Breast Institute. 971 women were diagnosed with breast cancer between the years 2003 and 2009. Among 156 of the women who completed the diagnosis, 114 had no previous mammograms.29 women of the forty-two, who had previously underwent mammography, had at least one mammogram in the last two years, amongst whom 16 had a mammogram one year prior.

The results from the data revealed that 3 (19%) of the 16 women who had a mammogram the previous year required mastectomy in contrary to the other 64 (46%) who were not screened the year before.

Dr. Perry sounds optimistic as she further concludes, ‘The results of our study support the importance of regular screening in the under 50 age group and confirm that annual mammography improves the chances of breast conservation should breast cancer develop’.


The medical researchers of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University have made a startling discovery. They found that a non toxic chemical substance present within soy can, in fact, stop the spread of cancer cells from the prostate to the other parts of the body.

The study results are expected to be published at the Cancer Prevention Research Conference at the Ninth American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers this year.

The chemical found in soy is known as Genistein and it is now being used to prevent the metastasis of cancerous prostate cells to the various parts of the body. The study is on at the laboratory of Raymond Bergan who is also the director of the Lurie Cancer Center. The drug has worked well during the preclinical stage and is now expected to show similar benefits for humans diagnosed with carcinoma of the prostate.

The researchers also studied the cancerous cells from the prostate obtained after a surgical procedure. They found that Genistein had a twofold effect as it increases the expression of those genes that are responsible for suppression of the invasive procedure while decreasing the expression for genes that are responsible for enhancing the invasion.

The Phase II of the study will involve the examination of the drug to see if it can actually stop the cancer cells from moving out of the prostate thereby spreading all throughout the body revealed Bergan, a professor of hematology and oncology.

All the therapies that had been destined to stop the spread of cancer cells have been found to be either toxic or infective so far. Genistein can be the only non toxic drug which has the capability of inhibiting the movement of cancer cells if the studies get to be proved conclusively.

Bergan also indicated that the drug might have the same effect on the cancer cells elsewhere in the body.


The health benefits of Vitamin D seem to be varied. A number of studies in the past have also linked the vitamin to a decreased risk of cancer. An analysis of the vitamin carried out in ‘Genome Research’ last month inferred that vitamin D usually interacts with a number of genes associated with cancer risks thereby decreasing the chances of developing carcinoma. The risk of developing cancers of the ovary, breast, prostate, bladder, lung, skin, colon as well as the rectum can be minimized greatly by the intake of  vitamin D.

However, the various experiments carried out in this field seemed to have been limited in nature. The study size and the experimental designs involved kept the researchers from establishing the protective nature of vitamin D with certainty until now.

A report published in the ‘Cancer Prevention Research’ on the 21st of September states that focusing on the various subgroups would be beneficial in case of endometrial cancer.

The study led by Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, an oncologist associated with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, D.C.  included observing the development of endometrial cancer in both obese as well as non-obese mice.

The mice used in the study had been genetically altered and were predisposed towards developing endometrial cancer. They were then given vitamin D supplements. Hilakivi-Clarke said that she was surprised to find almost 75% of the obese mice remain cancer free while it was 33% of the non- obese ones.

She added that a few of the earlier studies had shown that the vitamin had no apparent effect on this specific type of cancer. However, the present study was conducted to see the effects on women of all sizes and the results suggest that vitamin D could indeed negate the risks of endometrial cancer due to obesity.

The exact mechanism of diminishing the risk factor remains undecided as of now but Hilakivi-Clarke believes that the vitamin could counteract some of the associated harmful factors linked to obesity like insulin resistance which in turn increases cancer risk.


Cancer Prevention Research Journal: Study published 21st September, 2010.

A special issue of the European Journal of Cancer commented on the increased incidence of cancer despite the mortality rate from cancer being reduced considerably. The figures show an increase from 2.1 million cases in 2002 to a staggering 2.8 million in 2008. The economic recession will also affect the amount of money going into cancer research, feels Dr. José M. Martin-Moreno and his colleagues of the University of Valencia, Spain. The donations from public organizations have gone down, along with substantial cut backs in cancer research projects by various pharmaceutical companies.

The researchers also point to the fact that the safety guards against exposure to deadly carcinogens are likely to be reduced as well, especially for those who work in smaller companies and in developing countries. A Korean study, conducted back in the 90s, hints that incurring a recurring expenditure for health safeguards are not considered to be mandatory, especially when it can help to avoid bankruptcy. The effect thus gets compounded in industries where the contamination by carcinogens tends to be high, like the mining industry.

Dr. Martin-Moreno further elaborates that the prevention of cancer is also dependent on a number of other factors. Life style habits, occupation, environment, and genetics, all play a part in proper prevention of cancer. Being exposed to infections as well as access to the preventive measures are also influencing factors.

The editors of the publication go on to emphasize the importance of four of the most important risk factors; smoking, alcohol, obesity, and an inactive life, physically.  A paper by Dr. Esther de Vries and fellow researchers also describes the impact that weight gain and physical inactivity have on colon cancer. The data was retrieved from the cancer registries of seven European countries, namely, The Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Czech Republic, UK, France, and Denmark.

Colon cancer is the second most common incidence of cancer in Europe, as well as the second most common cause of cancer related deaths. Dr. Renehan states that adopting weight reduction measures would prove to be more effective for men while increased levels of physical activity works better for women in preventing colon cancer.

The ECCO President, Professor Michael Baumann, hopes that this special issue will help the policy makers to reflect on the dangers of the rising incidence of cancer and take effective preventive measures, instead of being concerned with short term cost cutting strategies.

Source: European Journal of Cancer, volume 46, issue 14 (September 2010), “Implementing Cancer Prevention in Europe”.

Kim J, Paek D. Safety and health in small-scale enterprises and bankruptcy during economic depression in Korea. J Occupational Health 2000; 42(5): 270-5.