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This Week in BMC Cancer: May 3, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, a group of researchers in France presents results from a study assessing the growth of breast cancer recurrence using consecutive MRI. Women with a personal history of breast cancer have a high risk of developing an ipsi- or contralateral recurrence, the authors write. Using MRI, they examined 37 women — 20 of whom had no history of breast cancer and 17 of whom had recurrences — and found that the tumor growth rate was higher in contralateral recurrences than in ipsilateral recurrences. "These findings suggest that contralateral breast cancer presents accelerated growth compared to ipsilateral recurrences or primary breast events," the researchers add.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, another team of researchers in France presents findings from a retrospective study of 76 advanced lung cancer patients admitted to an intensive care unit. Of the 76 patients, 60 were admitted to ICU as a direct consequence of their disease, and mechanical ventilation was required for 57 of them. Thirty-six of them died from one of three factors, the authors write — use of vasoactive agents, mechanical ventilation, and thrombocytopenia. In contrast, the researchers add, ICU mortality was lower in patients admitted for complication of cancer management. "Patients with acute complications of treatment for advanced lung cancer may benefit from MCIU admission," the team writes. "Further studies are necessary to assess outcomes such as quality of life after MICU discharge."

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, a team of researchers in Europe says luminal and basal-like breast cancer cells show increased migration induced by hypoxia, and are mediated by an autocrine mechanism. Some breast cancer patients receiving anti-angiogenic treatments show increased metastases, the authors write. In order to pinpoint the cause of this phenomenon, the team assessed tumor cell migration in luminal, post-EMT, and basal-like human breast carcinoma cell lines. "Hypoxia increases migration by the autocrine action of released signal substances in selected luminal and basal-like breast carcinoma cell lines," the authors write, "which might explain why anti-angiogenic treatment can worsen clinical outcome in some patients."

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