NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
June 29, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 26 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Cancer Research HighlightsCancer Research Highlights

Most Women Do Not Have Recommended Annual Mammograms

Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, income, language, insurance, previous screening use, medical history, or zip code - only 6 percent of women get regular annual mammograms, according to a study in the June 21 online issue of Cancer.

The study included data on 72,417 women who received a total of 254,818 screening mammograms. Dr. James Michaelson and his team at the Massachusetts General Hospital's Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Evaluation Center found that only 6 percent of women who received a mammogram in 1992 received all recommended annual screenings for the next 10 years. Researchers noted that this shows "a screening level that was disappointingly low, with potentially negative health-related consequences."

Women aged 55-64 and women with previous breast cancer had higher screening rates than other women. All groups fell within the low screening range, but women without insurance, women who did not speak English, and women from traditionally underserved groups had lower screening rates than other women.

The authors note that in their screening population approximately 20 percent of all invasive breast malignancies detected in women who had been screened previously were found by non-mammographic methods more than a year after the previous negative mammography. "Most of these tumors probably emerged as larger, palpable masses not because a previous mammogram failed to detect them but because too much time had been allowed to pass since the last screening mammogram," the authors conclude.

Blood Vessel Membrane Proteins Help Target Imaging Agents and Drugs

Proteomic research holds great promise for cancer diagnosis and treatment, but a vast number of proteins must be catalogued. With that in mind, Dr. Phil Oh led researchers from the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego in identifying proteins in the inner surface of blood vessels in the rat lung. They found that two membrane proteins, aminopeptidase-P and annexin A1, can be targeted with antibodies to image and destroy lung tumors. Their results are published in the June 10 issue of Nature.

Scientists have previously seen that blood cells slow, roll along, and stop at specific points in the circulatory system. Dr. Oh and his team proposed that this process is triggered by something on the surface of blood vessel cells. The research team infused the blood of rats with colloidal silica to "paint" the inner surface of blood vessel cell membranes. They then separated these portions of the membrane by centrifuge and used radiolabeled antibodies to distill the pool of proteins from hundreds of thousands to 11 that were most likely in the lumen.

Researchers identified the proteins with the highest expression in blood vessels feeding the tumors of the lung, including aminopeptidase-P and annexin A1. They tested the reliability of these two targets by infusing the rats with radiolabeled antibodies. This showed rapid and specific targeting of blood vessels feeding the tumors, as well as remission in rats that received the radiolabeled annexin A1.

Smoking Cessation Can Add 10 Years to Life Expectancy

Men in the United Kingdom who smoke cigarettes throughout their life die an average of 10 years earlier than lifelong nonsmokers, according to the results of a 50-year study published in the June 22 issue of the British Medical Journal. Those who quit at age 60, 50, 40, or 30 gained about 3, 6, 9, or 10 years of life expectancy, respectively. This research began in 1951 as a prospective study of smoking mortality in 31,496 British doctors.

The study also found that physicians born between 1910 and 1920 had a much higher smoking mortality in middle age than those who were born in the first decade of the 20th century - likely because their generation was affected by military service during World War II, when cigarette provisions provided more intense early exposure.

In a 1994 article, published at the study's 40-year mark, the authors stated that approximately one-half of lifelong cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their habit. This article now adds that the risk can be as great as two-thirds, stating that "[based] on current worldwide smoking patterns…there will be about one billion tobacco deaths in this century, unless there is widespread cessation."

Teen Smoking Reaches Record Low, CDC Reports

The number of American teenagers who smoke cigarettes has reached an all-time low, according to recent results from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey by CDC. The analysis appeared in the June 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The current analysis assessed three behaviors: 1) lifetime cigarette use (ever tried cigarette smoking); 2) current use (smoked on 1 or more of the 30 days preceding the survey); and 3) current frequent use (smoked on 20 or more of the 30 days preceding the survey).

Study results showed that prevalence of current use declined from 36.4 percent in 1997 to 21.9 percent in 2003. The prevalence of current frequent use also declined from 16.8 percent in 1999 to 9.7 percent in 2003. Prevalence of current use among males and females was similar, with males' use at 21.8 percent and females' use at 21.9 percent in 2003. Prevalence of current use by grade level in 2003 was: grade 9 - 17.4 percent; grade 10 - 21.8 percent; grade 11 - 23.6 percent; grade 12 - 26.2 percent.

CDC cited three factors that might have contributed to the decline in cigarette use: 1) a 90 percent increase in the retail price of cigarettes during December 1997-May 2003; 2) increases in school-based efforts to prevent tobacco use; and 3) increased exposure of young people through the mass media to smoking prevention campaigns funded by states or the American Legacy Foundation.

CDC also noted that while this decline is encouraging, prevention efforts must be sustained if the nation is to reach its 2010 national health objective of reducing the prevalence of current cigarette use among high school students to 16 percent or less.