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Counties in Need of Colorectal Cancer Screening Identified
Colorectal cancer death rates have decreased overall in the U.S., but disparities remain. Using county-level data on colorectal cancer deaths from 1970 to 2011, researchers identified three “hot spots” where death rates remain well above average. In the largest hot spot, which covered 94 counties in the Lower Mississippi Delta, death rates were 40 percent higher than in non-hot spot counties. The two other hot spots, west central Appalachia and eastern Virginia/North Carolina, had death rates 18 percent and 9 percent higher, respectively. Developing targeted screening programs for all three hot spots would be beneficial, the researchers conclude.

Learn more in the August 2015 Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

E-Cigarette Vapor Damages Lung Cells
Little evidence exists about potential health dangers related to e-cigarettes. A new study found that both cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor that contained nicotine damaged human and mice lung endothelial cells (the cells that make up the lining of the lungs). The laboratory study found that nicotine-free e-cigarette vapor also contains acrolein, which can damage the molecules that hold the endothelial cells together. The researchers say this suggests e-cigarette vapor contains substances other than nicotine that can harm the lungs.
Learn more in the July 15, 2015, American Journal of Physiology–Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

No Link Between Genetic Variants, Vitamin D Intake and Colorectal Cancer
Some epidemiology studies show an association between vitamin D intake and colorectal cancer risk and others do not. Researchers investigated whether variations in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene may help explain these mixed results. Their study did not find an association with either VDR variations or vitamin D dietary intake and colorectal cancer risk in 1,012 colorectal cancer patients and 1,080 healthy individuals. The investigators conclude that increasing vitamin D dietary intake may not decrease colorectal cancer risk.

Learn more in the online first July 29, 2015, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Some Children with Wilms' Tumor Can Receive Less Chemotherapy
Children with stage II or III Wilms’ tumor—a rare kidney cancer—receive chemotherapy before and after surgery. Postoperative chemotherapy routinely includes Adriamycin (doxorubicin), which can cause heart damage. To see if children could be successfully treated without being put at risk for this side effect, researchers randomly assigned 583 children to receive treatment either with or without Adriamycin. The study found five-year overall survival was nearly the same in both groups, suggesting Adriamycin can be removed from the post-operative treatment regimen for children with intermediate risk stage II or III Wilms’ tumor.

Learn more in the online first July 8, 2015, Lancet.

HIV Status Can Affect Cancer Outcomes
A study that compared 24,768 HIV-positive members of the Kaiser Permanente health care system with 257,600 HIV-negative members found that among patients with prostate and lung cancer, five-year survival rates were lower in the HIV-positive group. In addition, HIV-positive members were more likely to be diagnosed at an earlier age for anal, colorectal and lung cancers and at a more advanced stage of Hodgkin lymphoma. The researchers conclude more attention should be focused on cancer prevention, detection and treatment in HIV-positive individuals.

Learn more in the August 2015 Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

In Prostate Cancer Patients, Link Seen Between CD4 T Cells Expressing PD-1 and Response to Yervoy
The immunotherapy drug Yervoy (ipilimumab) is approved for treating metastatic melanoma. It is now being studied in a number of other cancers, including castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer. Using blood samples, researchers investigated the relationship between T-cell levels and overall survival in 42 men with metastatic prostate cancer receiving Yervoy. The study found that men who had low pretreatment levels of CD4 T cells that express PD-1 lived longer than men who had high pretreatment levels. The researchers say this suggests it may be possible to use PD-1 as a biomarker to determine which prostate cancer patients are most likely to benefit from Yervoy.

Learn more in the September 2015 Cancer Immunology Research.



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