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Other highlights in the August 2 issue of JNCI

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Health Centers' Hospice Enrollment Rates Vary Widely

Terminally ill patients' enrollment in hospice services varies more by where they are treated than by individual patient characteristics, a study concludes.

Nancy L. Keating, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues identified 3,805 Kaiser Permanente of Northern California health plan enrollees who died of lung, breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer between 1996 and June 2001. They assessed hospice enrollment rates among these patients.

The authors found that 65.4% of the patients enrolled in hospice care. Enrollment was similar across all racial and ethnic groups, and it did not vary by marital status. However, different health centers had substantially different enrollment rates.

They write, "Focused efforts to understand how patients, physicians, and hospices interact at the local level are important to ensure equal access to hospice care for all terminally ill cancer patients."

Leah Gourley

High Processed Meat Consumption Linked With Stomach Cancer

Eating processed meat is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer, a new study suggests.

Susanna C. Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of 15 epidemiology studies of processed meat consumption and stomach cancer published between January 1966 and March 2006.

They found that the risk of stomach cancer increased the more often a person consumed processed meat. "Future studies should control for more potential confounders and examine whether the association between processed meat consumption and stomach cancer risk is modified by other dietary factors, H. pylori infection status, or genetic polymorphisms."

Susanna Larsson

Nervous System Cancers Not Related to Specific "Highly Active" Anti-HIV Therapies

Highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART), used to treat HIV/AIDS decrease the risk of a cancer in a person's nervous system. Justin Stebbing, Ph.D., of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, and colleagues assessed the incidence of primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCL), a rare cancer common in people with impaired immune systems, including those with HIV and AIDS. They compared patients treated with HAART and those treated before HAART became widely used. They found that PCL incidence was higher in the pre-HAART era than in the HAART era, but exposure to specific antiretroviral agents was not linked to PCL incidence.

Justin Stebbing

New Targeted Therapy May Fight Leukemia

Scientists have identified a new drug that targets a cancer-promoting protein and may work against acute myeloid leukemia in a mouse model.

Hsp90 is a protein involved in a molecular pathway for cell proliferation and survival and may be involved in the development of certain types of cancer, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Dario C. Altieri, M.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and colleagues investigated the use of an Hsp90 inhibitor, shepherdin, in AML tumors in mice. Shepherdin stopped the growth of AML tumors and inhibited Hsp90 function.

Mark Shelton

Molecular Target for Angiogenesis Inhibitors Identified

A molecule involved in blood vessel formation may be a future target of angiogenesis inhibitors, cancer drugs that block blood vessel growth and formation. A study by Peter Koopman, Ph.D., at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues showed that tumors in mice lacking the molecule SOX18 grew more slowly and had a smaller number of blood vessels than those with SOX18.


Also in the August 2 JNCI:

Addition of Topotecan to Standard Treatment is Not Recommended for Ovarian Cancer Patients:

Persistence of HPV Infection Depends on a Patient's Race:

Note: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Attribution to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute is requested in all news coverage. Visit the Journal online at

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