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This Week in Cancer Research: May 4, 2012

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In Cancer Research this week, a team of US researchers report their study of epigenetic resensitization to platinum in ovarian cancer patients. The team administered low-dose decitabine before administering carboplatin in 17 platinum-resistant ovarian cancer patients and found that the regimen induced an average progression-free survival of 10.2 months, with nine of the patients being progression-free at six months. "Global and gene-specific DNA demethylation was achieved in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tumors," the authors write. "The number of demethylated genes was greater in tumor biopsies from patients with progression-free survival more than six versus less than six months." This suggests that the decitabine altered the methylation of genes and cancer pathways enough to restore the platinum sensitivity of these patients, they add.

Also in Cancer Research this week, researchers in Australia and Canada report that CD73-deficient mice are resistant to carcinogenesis. Using a mouse model, the team found that CD73-deficiency suppressed the development of 3-methylcholanthrene-induced fibrosarcomas and prostate tumorigenesis. "Importantly, treatment with an anti-CD73 monoclonal antibody effectively suppressed growth of established MCA-induced tumors or TRAMP-C1 prostate tumors and inhibited the development of TRAMP-C1 lung metastases," the authors write. "Taken together, our findings indicate that CD73 is a critical factor in tumorigenesis and that anti-CD73 antibodies may offer a novel generalized strategy to blunt immune escape and treat cancer."

Finally in Cancer Research this week, an international team of researchers examines the effects of a calorie-restricted diet on inflammatory biomarkers in obese or overweight post-menopausal women. The team randomly assigned 439 women to be on a calorie-restricted diet, to be the diet and do aerobic exercise, or to be in the control group, and found that women in both the diet and the diet and exercise groups that had 5 percent or more weight loss reduced inflammatory biomarkers compared with controls. "Our findings indicate that a caloric restriction weight loss diet with or without exercise reduces biomarkers of inflammation in postmenopausal women, with potential clinical significance for cancer risk reduction," the authors write.