A group from Texas is reporting a possible predictive test for lung cancer from oral swabs. The test looks at p16 and FHIT, two genes with known cancer links. These genes are deactivated in a large percentage of smokers with a 95% correlation between mouth and lung samples. The authors hope cheek swabs can be used as a less invasive monitor of pre-cancerous genetic changes in tobacco related cancers.
Other researchers at the conference are reporting data from cancer vaccine trials. The vaccine, E75, was shown to reduce mortality among patients with HER2/neu-positive breast cancer. In a small clinical trial, breast cancer patients receiving the vaccine had lower recurrence and up to 100% decrease in mortality compared to controls after 30 months (depending on the HER2 levels of the tumour). The vaccine is about to start phase III trials.
Finally, a group from Duke presented data that showed that, in mice, prostate cancer was worsened by exercise. In this study, prostate cancer implants grew faster on mice provided an exercise wheel compared to mice without a wheel. The authors believe it may be because of increased blood flow to the tumour and hope to apply this knowledge to improve drug delivery and treatment. They also stress that the risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity far outweigh those of prostate cancer, so don't trade in your treadmill just yet.
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