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This Week in BMC Cancer: Aug 15, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America present a method that uses quality-of-life assessment as a predictor of survival in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. The team studied 1,194 lung cancer patients, and found that global quality of life as well as physical function predicted patient survival in the entire study population. "Every 10-point increase in physical function was associated with a 10 percent increase in survival," the authors write. "Similarly, every 10-point increase in global quality of life was associated with a 9 percent increase in survival."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Finland present findings from a study of Twist and Snai1 expression in pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma stroma, which they say is related to cancer progression. The team studied Twist and Snai1 expression in 109 pharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas, and found that people whose tumors had intense stromal staining of Twist relapsed more frequently than those that didn't. "Tumors with both positive Twist and Snai1 immunoreactivity in the stroma were at least Stage II and located more often in hypopharynx," the authors write. "Tumors with negative immunostaining of Twist and Snai1 in the stromal compartment were smaller, less advanced, and located more often in the oropharynx." In addition, the study found that patients with negative Twist and Snai1 expression had a better 5-year disease-specific and overall survival.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, another team of Finnish researchers say MMP-1 expression has an independent prognostic value in breast cancer patients. Previous studies have shown MMP-1 expression to be inversely correlated with breast cancer survival, and is often upregulated in basal-type breast tumors. The team analyzed 125 breast cancers, and found positive correlations between tumor grade and MMP-1 expression in both tumor and stromal cells. "P53 positivity significantly correlated with MMP-1 expression in tumor cells, whereas HER2 expression correlated with MMP-1 both in tumor cells and stromal cells," the team writes. "Our study showed also that both tumoral and stromal MMP-1 expression is associated with breast tumor progression and poor prognosis."

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