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Other highlights in the August 21 issue of JNCI

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Study Examines Incidence Patterns of AIDS-Related Cancers
The incidence of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is going down, according to a study of U.S. cancer incidence patterns between 1973 and 1998. The findings appear in the August 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Cases of KS and NHL rose dramatically in the United States in the 1980s, mainly because of the onset of the AIDS epidemic. However, during the 1990s, the dynamics of the AIDS epidemic changed. Analyzing surveillance data from nine population-based cancer registries, Mohamed A. Eltom, M.D., and Robert J. Biggar, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and their colleagues found that the incidence of KS declined sharply in the mid-1990s, with the change most evident in San Francisco, an AIDS epicenter.

In the late 1980s, incidence rate (the number of cases per 100,000 people) of KS in San Francisco reached a high of 33.3, but then declined to 2.8 by 1998. The incidence of NHL dropped from a high of 31.4 in 1995 to 21.6 by 1998, with the steepest declines in the most highly AIDS-associated types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The researchers say the decline in incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since the mid-1990s may reflect a drop in the number of individuals with AIDS and the introduction of more effective antiretroviral therapies. They note, however, that non-AIDS-associated non-Hodgkin's lymphoma incidence has continued to increase.

Pre-Puberty Growth May Influence Breast Cancer Risk
A study of breast cancer risk in twins suggests that factors such as height and weight before puberty may influence a woman's risk of breast cancer. The findings appear in the August 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Anthony J. Swerdlow, D.M., of the Institute of Cancer Research in the United Kingdom, and his colleagues examined breast cancer risk factors such as height, weight, breast size, and hip-to-waist ratio among pairs of identical and fraternal twins in which one twin had developed breast cancer and the other had not.

They found that a woman's risk of breast cancer was increased by 44% if she was less obese than her twin sister and by 27% if she was the taller of the two. Moreover, her risk increased by 53% if she had developed breasts earlier and by 79% if she had a smaller waist-to-hip ratio at age 20 than her twin. The researchers note, however, that these associations were greater in fraternal twins compared with identical twins, and in twins without a family history of breast cancer compared with twins with a genetic predisposition.

Overexpression of Adrenomedullin May Be Involved in Breast Tumor Cell Survival
A new study suggests that overexpression of the peptide hormone adrenomedullin may contribute to the survival of breast cancer cells. Alfredo Martínez, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and his colleagues report in the August 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that human breast cancer cells that overexpress adrenomedullin have increased angiogenic potential, are less prone to cell death, and have elevated levels of proteins involved in cancer signaling pathways than cells that do not overexpress the protein. The researchers conclude that "adrenomedullin may make an excellent biologic target for developing intervention strategies against human malignancies."

HPV Variant May Be Associated with Increased Cervical Cancer Risk
Patients infected with a specific variety of the human papillomavirus 58 (HPV58) are at an increased risk of cervical cancer, according to researchers from China. Paul K. S. Chan, MRC Path, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and his colleagues examined 1,924 women for the presence of HPV58 variants. They found that women infected with the T20I/G63S HPV58 variant who had invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed with cancer at a younger age than those infected with other variants, suggesting the variant is associated with the severity of cervical cancer. The findings appear in the August 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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