April 7, 2006

VU research on display at national cancer meet

VU research on display at national cancer meet

When the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) convened in Washington, D.C. this week, Vanderbilt University Medical Center had a strong presence, with investigators presenting dozens of research abstracts.

Two of these abstracts narrowly missed being chosen by a panel of scientists at AACR for extensive highlighting at the national meeting, yet still garnered attention. The first is a study of Chinese women in the Shanghai Women's Health Study, a cohort of 73,311 women followed for nearly six years.

The study found that soy consumption may reduce the risk of breast cancer. In addition, researchers said high soy intake in adolescence and adulthood was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

The work was led by Vanderbilt researchers Xiao-Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D., Wei Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., and Sang-Ah Lee, post-doctoral fellow.

Yu-Tang Gao, Honglan Li, and Qi Li, from the Shanghai Cancer Institute, collaborated.

The second study looked at the benefits of dietary folate and vitamins B12 and B6 to lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

The researchers examined patients between the ages of 40 and 75 who were part of the ongoing Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study. A lower intake of folate was found to be associated with an increased adenoma risk. The study also found that risk for adenoma was associated with alcohol intake.

Researchers said participants who consumed five or more alcoholic beverages a week may be particularly susceptible to the effects of low folate consumption.

This study involved the work of Martha Shrubsole, Ph.D., Reid Ness, M.D., M.P.H., Walter Smalley, M.D., Robert Coffey, M.D., Huiyun Wu, Ph.D., and Yu Shyr.

Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and an internationally recognized researcher in colorectal cancer, participated in a panel discussion about results from two large studies of Celebrex in colon cancer patients.

Investigators from the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib Study enrolled 2,035 patients in the randomized, double-blind trial. Researchers said the Cox-2 inhibitor could find a new role in cancer prevention if known side effects like strokes and heart attacks can first be addressed.

The researchers said study participants with larger polyps and invasive colon cancer who took Celebrex had 66 percent fewer tumors.

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., past president of AACR from 2004-2005, spoke at the national meeting's opening public forum. The professor and chair of Cancer Biology and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research addressed the basic biology of cancer and how it develops and spreads through the body.

The forum is held free of charge for cancer patients, caregivers, family members and others concerned about cancer who want to hear about the latest in cancer research and meet the experts in person.

AACR is known as the world's largest and oldest cancer research society.