Vitamin D and Fish Oils Are Ineffective for Preventing Cancer and Heart Disease

Excerpt:

“In recent years, many Americans have embraced vitamin D and fish oil pills, their enthusiasm fueled by a steady trickle of suggestive research studies linking higher levels of vitamin D with lower rates of cancer and other ills, and fish consumption with reduced heart disease.

“Now a large and rigorous government-funded randomized trial — the only such study of omega-3 fish oils ever carried out in healthy adults, and the largest trial ever done of high-dose vitamin D — has found the supplements do not lower cancer rates in healthy adults. Nor do they reduce the rate of major cardiovascular events, a composite of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from cardiovascular disease. The trial is of the kind considered the gold standard in medicine.”

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Using the Principles of Evolution to Treat and Prevent Cancer

Excerpt:

“Cancer has been called malevolent. Devious. Even ingenious. It’s actually none of these. Cancer has no purpose or direction. As these wayward cells arise, they simply adapt to the environmental conditions of the tissues in which they exist. That concept, which springs from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, is guiding new approaches to fighting this common and deadly disease.

“In Darwinian evolution, organisms that are well-adapted to their environments flourish and crowd out those that aren’t. My colleagues and I believe that much the same thing happens with cancer in a process we call adaptive oncogenesis.”

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VIDEO: Uptake of Chemoprevention for Breast Cancer Remains Poor

“Patricia Ganz, MD, medical oncologist at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA, discusses an education session at the ASCO Annual Meeting that examined reasons why chemoprevention is underutilized in patients with breast cancer.

“ ‘In spite of high-level evidence from multiple randomized clinical trials that show substantial reduction in the risk of getting breast cancer — especially ER-positive breast cancer — very few women are identified as being at high risk,’ Ganz told HemOnc Today. ‘And even of those who are identified, the recommendation and the use of … tamoxifen and raloxifene is very infrequent.’ ”

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Widely Used Osteoporosis Drugs May Prevent Breast, Lung and Colon Cancers

“The most commonly used medications for osteoporosis worldwide, bisphosphonates, may also prevent certain kinds of lung, breast and colon cancers, according to two studies led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“Bisphosphonates had been associated by past studies with slowed tumor growth in some patients but not others, and the mechanism behind these patterns was unknown. In the studies published today, an international research team showed that bisphosphonates block the abnormal growth signals passed through the human EGF receptors (HER), including the forms of this protein family that make some tumors resistant to leading treatments. The connection between bisphosphonates and HER receptors was detected first in a genetic database analysis and confirmed in studies of human cancer cells and in mice.

“ ‘Our study reveals a newfound mechanism that may enable the use of bisphosphonates in the future treatment and prevention of the many lung, breast and colon cancers driven by the HER family of receptors,’ said lead study author Mone Zaidi, MD, Professor of Medicine and of Structural and Chemical Biology within the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Mount Sinai Bone Program and a member of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. ‘Having already been approved by the FDA as effective at preventing bone loss, and having a long track record of safety, these drugs could be quickly applied to cancer if we can confirm in clinical trials that this drug class also reduces cancer growth in people. It would be much more efficient than starting drug design from scratch.’ “


Melanoma-Prone Families with CDKN2A Mutations Have Higher Rates of Additional Cancers

The gist: Some people whose families have high rates of melanoma may also have an increased risk of developing lung, pancreatic, and breast cancer. Specifically, people whose families have a mutation in the CDKN2A gene are more prone to developing other types of cancer. Oncologists can perform molecular testing to see whether a person has a CDKN2A mutation.

“Researchers discovered an increased prevalence of lung, pancreatic and breast cancer in families prone to melanoma who also carry CDKN2A germline mutations.

“In a cross-sectional study, researchers analyzed the effect of CDKN2A in 702 Spanish patients at high risk of developing melanoma and associations with clinical and family history features.

“Patients with sporadic multiple primary melanoma had a CDKN2A mutation prevalence of 8.5%, and those with familial melanoma had a CDKN2A mutation prevalence of 14.1%.

“The researchers found that the number of cases in the family, the number of primary melanomas and the age of onset were each associated with the presence of CDKN2A mutation.”


Researchers Discover Protein to Better Forecast Prognosis of Prostate Cancer Patients

“Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston have identified a biomarker that will aid in more accurately determining the prognosis for prostate cancer patients, a finding that could have further implications for anti-cancer drug discovery and ultimately, cancer prevention.”


Taking Steps to Reduce Rates of Silica-Related Lung Cancer

Silica is a chemical found in sand and quartz and used in a multitude of industrial applications. Inhalation of silica dust can occur in a number of occupations and increases the risk of lung cancer. A recent review highlights new developments in understanding the health effects of silica exposure and recommends steps to reduce silica-related illness and death. Studies documenting the health risks associated with different levels of silica exposure have enabled evidence-driven regulations. Federal regulators are considering lowering the permissible occupational exposure to silica for workers, a measure that could cut the number of silica-related deaths in half. The review authors also recommend that workers exposed to silica who also smoke undergo computed tomography (CT) scans to screen for lung cancer starting at age 50 years.


No Convincing Evidence That Supplements Help Prevent Cancer

A review by a panel of independent U.S. experts concludes there is not enough evidence to recommend either for or against the use of most vitamin or mineral supplements to reduce the risk of cancer. However, the panel’s guidelines advise against the use of beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) and vitamin E for cancer prevention, because there is relatively clear evidence that neither is effective. Indeed, beta-carotene supplements appear to increase lung cancer risk in people already at high risk of the disease. Instead, the panel recommends that healthy adults without nutritional deficiencies get their nutrients by eating a varied diet to minimize the risk of chronic disease, including cancer.


No Convincing Evidence That Supplements Help Prevent Cancer

A review by a panel of independent U.S. experts concludes there is not enough evidence to recommend either for or against the use of most vitamin or mineral supplements to reduce the risk of cancer. However, the panel’s guidelines advise against the use of beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A) and vitamin E for cancer prevention, because there is relatively clear evidence that neither is effective. Indeed, beta-carotene supplements appear to increase lung cancer risk in people already at high risk of the disease. Instead, the panel recommends that healthy adults without nutritional deficiencies get their nutrients by eating a varied diet to minimize the risk of chronic disease, including cancer.