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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jul 5, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Germany present findings from a study of the expression and prognostic value of circulating angiogenic cytokines in pancreatic cancer. The researchers collected serum samples from patients undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer and from healthy controls. They found that VEGF, PDGF-AA, Ang-1, and EGF were differentially expressed in patients with pancreatic cancer, compared to controls, and the presence of lymph node metastases was associated with increased levels of all circulating angiogenic cytokines, except for PIGF. High levels of circulating PDGF-AA seemed to be a predictor of poor cancer-specific survival, the authors write, "whereas high levels of PDGF-BB, Ang-1, and VEGF were associated with a favorable prognosis."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in France analyze trends in colorectal cancer incidence in a French population. The team aimed to provide temporal trends in colorectal cancer incidence over a 30-year period by studying 17,028 new cases of the disease registered by the Burgundy digestive cancer registry from 1976 to 2005. Incidence rates increased for colon cancers more rapidly in males than in females, and decreased for rectal cancers both in males and in females, the authors found. "For right colon cancers, the cumulative risk increased strikingly in successive birth cohorts from 0.53 percent to 1.2 percent in males and 0.55 percent to 0.77 percent in females. The corresponding cumulative risks for the left colon were 0.24 percent and 0.42 percent in males and 0.14 percent and 0.29 percent in females," they add.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands explore the use of erlotinib in daily practice. In their prospective observational cohort study of 65 non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with erlotinib, the team proposes to study adherence to treatment regimen and the various aspects that govern how and why patients adhere to therapy. "We hypothesize that side-effects play an important role in the way patients use erlotinib. We expect that the present study will provide valuable knowledge which will be useful for health care professionals to develop interventions to support patients," the authors write. "This approach will improve the adherence and persistence with the use of erlotinib in order to derive optimal benefit from the medication."

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.