Cancer in the headlines, May 28



No Evidence Linking Cell Phone Use to Risk of Brain Tumors, according to FDA, WHO
A consumer health information advisory from the US FDA says that mobile phone use does not increase risk for brain cancer. The advisory is based on the latest data from the Interphone study published June 2010 issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology. The World Health Organization (WHO) also issued a similar statement. Does this settle the issue once and for all? We’ll bring you more on this next week.

Novartis: Ovarian cancer drug disappoints in trial
A big disappointment for pharmaceutical giant Novartis. The anti-cancer drug patupilone may be effective against ovarian cancer but it is not better than any drugs currently in the market. Under these circumstances, the likelihood of approval for this indication is unlikely. According to the company:
“Novartis does not plan to proceed with regulatory filings based on these data.”

Research Shows Surgical Procedure Offers New Option for Pediatric Patients with Rare Cancer in Abdomen
A surgical intervention meant for adults but was adapted for pediatric patients is reported to improve survival of children with rare tumors in the abdomen. The procedure called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) or “heated chemotherapy” was used in 24 pediatric patients which resulted in an overall 3-year survival rate of 71%. This is significantly higher than the 26% survival among those who received standard treatment.

Hospital wins suit after man got uterine cancer
The NYU Langone Medical Center won the malpractice suit filed by the widow of a man who contracted cancer after undergoing kidney transplant at the hospital. The donor kidney was taken from a deceased stroke victim whose uterine cancer was only discovered 6 weeks later. Although the hospital advised the patient of the risks of keeping the organ, he decided to keep it for 6 months. The jury decided in favor of the hospital. This is probably the only case of uterine cancer to be transmitted through an organ transplant.

Effect of reduced immunosuppression after kidney transplant failure on risk of cancer
Patients have to undergo immunosuppression after organ transplants to lower the chances of rejection. However, due to suppressed immunity, these patients have a higher risk for developing cancer. Australian researchers report that incidence of certain cancers increase during immunosuppression after kidney transplant. However, the incidence decreases when immunosuppression (e.g. in cases of transplant failure) is stopped, e.g. the effect of immunosuppression seems to be reversible. These cancers are non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lip cancer, and melanoma.

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