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This Week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Jul 12, 2012

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In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers in Germany describe the role of interleukin 16 in multiple myeloma. Using qRT-PCR, immunoblot analysis, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, flow cytometry, and immunohistochemistry, the team analyzed IL-16 expression in 10 myeloma cell lines, in the bone marrow of 62 myeloma patients, and in 12 healthy bone-marrow donors. They found that IL-16 was significantly over-expressed in the bone marrow of myeloma patients as compared to the marrow of healthy donors and that myeloma cells lines as well as primary tumor cells from patients constitutively expressed IL-16 and its receptors CD4 and CD9. "Silencing of IL-16 reduced the proliferative activity of myeloma cells by approximately 80 percent compared with untreated cells, and addition of a recombinant carboxyl-terminal IL-16 peptide reversed that effect," the team writes. "A monoclonal antibody directed against IL-16 or its receptors had a comparably strong growth-inhibiting effect on the tumor cells."

Also in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, a team of US researchers describe a novel automated mammographic density measure and its association with breast cancer risk. While mammographic breast density is a risk factor for breast cancer, it is not used in the clinic because of a lack of standardization and automation, the researchers write. They developed an "automated and objective measurement of the grayscale value variation within a mammogram" and compared its performance with that percent density in determining a person's risk for developing breast cancer in three different studies comparing breast cancer patients to healthy controls. They found that the variation measure was statistically significantly associated with the risk of breast cancer in all three studies and that it surpassed percent density as a risk factor in two of the studies. "A meta-analysis of the three studies demonstrated a stronger association between variation and breast cancer than between percent density and breast cancer," the team says. "Efforts to further evaluate and translate the variation measure to the clinical setting are warranted."

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