There are Still Uncertainties about the Benefits of Proton-Beam Radiotherapy (PRT) over Conventional Radiotherapy

February 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Radiotherapy is a treatment procedure in which high intense ultra violet ray is administered on a patient with cancer to destroy the affected cells.

It is one of the common known treatments for prostate cancer while others include surgery and chemotherapy, etc. Radiotherapy has its demerits of which a notable case is when non-cancerous cells are destroyed by the high intensive radiation light.

Many types of radiation treatments have been developed and Proton-Beam Radiotherapy (PRT) is one of them. This procedure helps to treat cancer cells better without damage to the unaffected cells.

However, PRT has been criticized as been expensive without being a better treatment than the conventional treatment. The extract below reveals more details on why the uncertainly about proton-beam Radiotherapy still lingers:

Proton-beam radiotherapy (PRT) is much more expensive than conventional radiotherapy, but is it any better? The question is unanswered because few studies have compared the 2 directly.

The main claim is that PRT is safer than conventional radiotherapy.

“Proton therapy gives us a better dose distribution, so there is less harm to healthy tissue,” William Hartsell, MD, medical director of ProCure’s Proton Therapy Center in Chicago, Illinois, told Medscape Medical News. “This therapy is particularly valuable in children,” he explained, because radiotherapy can be quite damaging and have long-term effects in this population.

Because proton treatment is so much less damaging to normal tissue, the course of treatment can be compressed, he added.

It is being used in a variety of adult malignancies, including tumors of the brain, central nervous system, head and neck, lung, and prostate. “The precision of proton therapy has made it possible to reach tumors at the base of skull and along the spinal cord, which are very difficult to treat,” said Dr. Hartsell. “We are able to effectively treat more of these patients now.”

Increasing Use of Proton Therapy

The first proton accelerator for medicinal use was located at Loma Linda University in California in 1990. There are currently 10 centers in operation in the United States and 9 in various stages of development, according to the National Association for Proton Therapy. By mid-2008, almost 20,000 patients had been treated with PRT in the United States, and more than 30,000 had been treated globally.

There are centers in China, Japan, and in several European countries, although there are still only about 40 worldwide, Dr. Hartsell noted. “But there has been substantial growth over the past decade, and we may be looking at 50 or even 70 centers in the next 10 years.”

However, the increasing interest in PRT has been criticized. In an opinion piece published in New York Times last year, Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, an oncologist and former adviser to President Barack Obama, criticized the Mayo Clinic for building 2 proton-beam facilities, at a cost of more than $180 million each. He referred to it as being part of a “medical arms race,” and noted that PRT, which costs taxpayers billions of dollars, has not been proven to be better than less expensive options for many patients.

It is “crazy medicine and unsustainable public policy,” he wrote.

The higher price would be worth it if PRT cured more people or significantly reduced adverse effects. But to date, the evidence is not there, save for a “handful of rare pediatric cancers,” such as brain and spinal cord cancer, he explained.

“For children, the treatment does a better job of limiting damage to normal brain cells and reducing the risk of cognitive impairment and hearing loss,” Dr. Emanuel wrote. However, fewer than 3500 children are diagnosed with these cancers each year. It is impossible to keep the “existing proton-beam centers in full use, much less the approximately 20 others in planning or construction, with so few patients.”

This is why patients with other types of cancer, most notably that of the prostate, have been targeted, he noted. Click here to read the full extract.

Finally, from the facts presented in the extract above, the importance of administering the Proton-Beam Radiotherapy (PRT) cannot be overemphasized. However, we are still reminded of the fact that the benefits this treatment have over conventional radiotherapy are yet to be clearly proven.

These facts still remains and issue of concern that still lingers.PRT is an expensive procedure compared to conventional radiotherapy and it requires huge investment to establish its facilities. Perhaps, from the above article we can readily make decisions on which of the radiation types to go for.

Study Suggests Regular Consumption of Deep-Fried Food Increase the Risk of Prostate Cancer – It also has Strong effect on the more Aggressive Form

February 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

It is no news that consumption of certain diet is linked with cancer of the prostate. A new study is now suggesting that another dimension of diet can lead to aggressive form of prostate cancer.

The regular intake of deep-fried food has been associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. The findings of this study have been posted online in The Prostate.

Researchers with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center carried out the study and below are more details on the study:

Regular consumption of deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, and the effect appears to be slightly stronger with regard to more aggressive forms of the disease, according to a study by investigators at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Corresponding author Janet L. Stanford, Ph.D., and colleagues Marni Stott-Miller, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow and Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D., all of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, have published their findings online in The Prostate.

While previous studies have suggested that eating foods made with high-heat cooking methods, such as grilled meats, may increase the risk of prostate cancer, this is the first study to examine the addition of deep frying to the equation.

From French fries to doughnuts: Eating more than once a week may raise risk

Specifically, Stanford, co-director of the Hutchinson Center’s Program in Prostate Cancer Research, and colleagues found that men who reported eating French fries, fried chicken, fried fish and/or doughnuts at least once a week were at an increased risk of prostate cancer as compared to men who said they ate such foods less than once a month.

In particular, men who ate one or more of these foods at least weekly had an increased risk of prostate cancer that ranged from 30 to 37 percent. Weekly consumption of these foods was associated also with a slightly greater risk of more aggressive prostate cancer. The researchers controlled for factors such as age, race, family history of prostate cancer, body-mass index and PSA screening history when calculating the association between eating deep-fried foods and prostate cancer risk.

“The link between prostate cancer and select deep-fried foods appeared to be limited to the highest level of consumption – defined in our study as more than once a week – which suggests that regular consumption of deep-fried foods confers particular risk for developing prostate cancer,” Stanford said.

Deep frying may trigger formation of carcinogens in food

Possible mechanisms behind the increased cancer risk, Stanford hypothesizes, include the fact that when oil is heated to temperatures suitable for deep frying, potentially carcinogenic compounds can form in the fried food. They include acrylamide (found in carbohydrate-rich foods such as French fries), heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (chemicals formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures), aldehyde (an organic compound found in perfume) and acrolein (a chemical found in herbicides). These toxic compounds are increased with re-use of oil and increased length of frying time.

Foods cooked with high heat also contain high levels of advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs, which have been associated with chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Deep-fried foods are among the highest in AGE content. A chicken breast deep fried for 20 minutes contains more than nine times the amount of AGEs as a chicken breast boiled for an hour, for example.

For the study, Stanford and colleagues analyzed data from two prior population-based case-control studies involving a total of 1,549 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,492 age-matched healthy controls. The men were Caucasian and African-American Seattle-area residents and ranged in age from 35 to 74 years. Participants were asked to fill out a dietary questionnaire about their usual food intake, including specific deep-fried foods.

The first study of its kind

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to look at the association between intake of deep-fried food and risk of prostate cancer,” Stanford said. However, deep-fried foods have previously been linked to cancers of the breast, lung, pancreas, head and neck, and esophagus.

Because deep-fried foods are primarily eaten outside the home, it is possible that the link between these foods and prostate cancer risk may be a sign of high consumption of fast foods in general, the authors wrote, citing the dramatic increase in fast-food restaurants and fast-food consumption in the U.S. in the past several decades.

The project was supported by the National Cancer Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Click here to read more.

To conclude, this is another study that lends to the effects of fried foods to the body. Deep-fried foods can form carcinogens on the body cells increase the risk of disease like prostate cancer. We should learn from this research and monitor what we eat.

Previous research findings have linked deep-fried Foods with other similar cancerous diseases in the past. For more details on the report of the study, checkout the link for the Online Library provided above.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis – Scientists Analyze Genetic Information in Exosomes to Diagnose and Monitor Cancer Progressions

February 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

An effective noninvasive approach to diagnose cancer easily has been discovered by scientists. This method makes possible the analyzing of strands of genetic information contained in the RNA of fragments of cancer cells.

The proteins shed by these fragments are studied to determine certain forms of cancer and the possible progression. The good news about this approach is that it non-invasive and less painful or life-threatening like the biopsies.

An online report about this study provides the following facts:

Strands of genetic information preserved inside microvesicles, called exosomes, may help scientists diagnose certain forms of cancer and monitor tumor progression. Image: everystockphoto

Fragments of RNA that cells eject in fatty droplets may point the way to a new era of cancer diagnosis, potentially eliminating the need for invasive tests in certain cases.

Cancer tumor cells shed microvesicles containing proteins and RNA fragments, called exosomes, into cerebral spinal fluid, blood, and urine. Within these exosomes is genetic information that can be analyzed to determine the cancer’s molecular composition and state of progression. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that exosomes preserve the genetic information of their parent cells in 2008, however exosomes have not seen widespread clinical testing as a means of cancer diagnosis until now.

“We have never really been able to detect the genetic components of a tumor by blood or spinal fluid,” says Harvard University neurologist Fred Hochberg. “This is really a new strategy.” He says exosome diagnostic tests could potentially detect and monitor the progression of a wide variety of cancers. He is one of the lead researchers in a multicenter clinical study using new exosomal diagnostic tests developed by New York City-based Exosome Diagnostics to identify a genetic mutation found exclusively in glioma, the most common form of brain cancer.

When treating other forms of cancer, surgeons are able to biopsy tumors to diagnose and monitor the state of the disease. For brain cancers like glioma, however, multiple biopsies can be life threatening. Bob Carter, head of neurosurgery at the University of California, San Diego, says well-preserved RNA in blood and spinal fluid enables researchers to test and monitor for these genetic changes noninvasively.

He says study researchers separate exosomes from bio-fluids with a diagnostic kit and then extract the relevant genomic information. Once the specific cancer mutation is identified, clinicians will periodically draw additional bio-fluids to monitor the mutation levels to determine whether a patient is responding to therapy.

Whereas Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a useful tool, tumors only show up on imaging scans once they are at least one millimeter in diameter and comprise about 100,000 tumor cells. By that time, it may be too late for an early intervention. On the flip side, MRIs can also yield false positives. Hochberg says individuals who have been treated with conventional radiation therapy often have benign residual tissue from dying tumor cells that have been killed by the treatment but which the body has not yet eliminated. This tissue is often mistaken for tumor growth on a MRI scan. “You would identify to the patient that the drug is not working when in reality it is doing well,” Hochberg says. “On the other hand, having an easily accessible biomarker for glioma would give you a clear response.”

There are 18 U.S. hospitals participating in the clinical trial, sponsored by the Accelerated Brain Cancer Cure Foundation. Hochberg says study researchers have recruited 41 of 120 patients so far. Preliminary results will be presented in April at the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles Symposium in Boston.

From a technical standpoint I don’t believe there is a barrier,” Carter says. “This test can certainly be used now, what we are trying to finalize is the sensitivity and specificity of the test.”

Exosomes may be a reliable method of screening for prostate cancer as well. A PSA test is currently the most common, noninvasive means to screen for prostate cancer in the U.S. PSA testing measures for elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland that is used to liquefy semen in men.

The higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer, says James McKiernan, director of urologic oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. There are additional reasons, however, for high PSA levels-and some men with prostate cancer do not always have elevated PSA, he added. In addition, for many cases of prostate cancer, new research published in May 2012 in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that treatment does not actually extend the life of the patient. Click here for more details.

In conclusion, if the above diagnostic method for cancer is validated, then it becomes really clear that diagnosing cases like prostate cancer would become less painful and non-life threatening.

Already, many patients are overwhelmed with the rigors and frustrations of having to go for biopsies.

The application Exosomes could be dependable and replace the now controversial Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

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