Archive | December, 2011

Surgery Improves Longevity and Quality of Life for cT3 Prostate Cancer Patients

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, a leading nonprofit institution providing medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life based in Rochester, Minnesota, have found that long-term survival rates for patients with advanced prostate cancer suggest that they can be good candidates for surgery.  The research team found a twenty-year survival rate for 80 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer that has potentially spread locally from inside the prostate to immediately outside of it, known as cT3 prostate cancer, and who had been treated with radical prostatectomy, which is surgery to remove the prostate gland.  These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Washington.

Previously, patients who had cT3 prostate cancer were offered radiation or hormone treatment but not radical prostatectomy.

R. Jeffrey Karnes, MD, an Assistant Professor at the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Urology said that the identification and expansion of candidates for surgery that results in improved and longer outcomes for patients has improved. Other study investigators from the Mayo Clinic include Christopher Mitchell, M.D., Eric Umbreit, M.D., Rachel Carlson and Laureano Rangel.

The 80 percent survival rate for cT3 diagnoses at 20 years is compared to 90 percent for cT2, which is cancer confined to the prostate.  The study included patients with cT3 diagnoses and who were operated on between 1987 and 1997.  Ongoing research will continue to examine the current data.  This long-term follow-up is an important advance in understanding the quality outcomes for these cT3 patients.

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Reprogrammed Kidney Cells Could Make Transplants and Dialysis Obsolete

A recently published article in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN) indicates that patients’ own kidney cells can be gathered and reprogrammed, which means that in the future, fewer patients with kidney disease would need complicated, expensive procedures that affect their quality of life.

Sharon Ricardo, PhD, from Monash University in Clayton, Austria and her colleagues took cells from an individual’s kidney and reprogrammed them into progenitor cells, allowing the immature cells to form any type in the kidney.  The team inserted several key programming genes into the renal cells that made them capable of forming other cells.

In another study, Miguel Esteban, MD, PhD, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, China and his colleagues found that kidney cells collected from the patients’ urine can also be reprogrammed in this way.  The use of urine cells is easy to implement in a clinical setting, and the urine cells can be frozen and later thawed before they are reprogrammed.

If researchers are able to expand the reprogrammed cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and return them to the patient, these IPSCs may restore the kidneys’ health and vitality.  The breakthroughs might help investigators to study the causes of kidney disease and to screen new drugs that could be used to treat them.

Ian Rogers, PhD, from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto wrote in an accompanying editorial that the two studies “demonstrate the feasibility of using kidney cells as a source o iPSCs and efficient production of adult iPSCs from urine means that cells can be collected at any time.”

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Rectal Injuries During Treatment for Prostate Cancer Reduced by Tissue Spacers

Recent research has found that injecting a tissue space in the prostate-rectal inter-space is an effective way to reduce the rectal dose for prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.  These results were presented at the Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium in Atlanta, sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Although prostate cancer is cured in over 90 percent of patients, reducing side effects from treatment complications remains an important concern.  A more common side effect is damaging the rectum during treatment.  For this reason, researchers wanted to determine if inserting an injectable tissue space would reduce the risks of radiation burns to the rectum.

Thirty-four prostate carcinoma patients were administered a tissue space compound to increase the separation between the prostate and the rectum in this study in addition to the radiation therapy they were receiving.  They were imaged by MRI pre-injection and every two weeks until the end of treatment to monitor changes.  The research tem found that the spacer produced an additional one centimeter on average separation between the prostate and rectum resulting in a significant reduction in the rectal dose administered, and it caused very little damage to the rectum.

Severe rectal radiation burns, the most serious risk of injury from the radiation were almost eliminated by injecting an absorbable material into the rectum.  This allows the radiation oncologist to increase the dose to the posterior prostate without concern of damaging the rectum.

Kenneth Tokita, MD, senior author of the study and the founder and medical director of Cancer Center of Irvine said that reducing the risk of rectal injury from the treatment makes radiation therapy the treatment of choice for prostate cancer.

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Brisk Walking Slows Down Prostate Cancer Progression

A recent study at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Harvard School of Public Health found that an association between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression in a study of 1,455 men in the U.S. diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer.

The research team found that men who walked briskly at least at three miles per hour for at least three hours each week after diagnosis were about sixty percent less likely to develop biochemical markers of cancer recurrence or less likely to need a second round of prostate cancer treatment.  The study was published in the journal Cancer Research.

This new finding complements an earlier study published by UCSF’s June Chan, ScD, and collaborators at the Harvard School of Public Health showing that physical activity after diagnosis could reduce disease-related mortality in a distinct population of men with prostate cancer.  The recent study by Erin Richman, ScD, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF is the first to focus on the effect of physical activity after diagnosis on early indications of disease progression, such as rise in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood levels.

An advantage of this study is the focus on early recurrence of prostate cancer, which occurs before men may experience painful symptoms of prostate cancer metastases, a frequent cause for men to decrease their usual physical activity. Additionally, the researchers reported that the benefit of physical activity was independent of the participants’ age at diagnosis, type of treatment and clinical features.  This work was funded by the Department of Defense, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Abbott Labs, and through a National Institutes of Health training grant.

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