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Other highlights in the August 16 JNCI

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Carbonated Soft Drinks Are Not Linked to Esophageal Cancer

A new study finds that drinking carbonated soft drinks is not linked to esophageal cancer or cancer of the cardia, the place where the stomach and esophagus meet.

Jesper Lagergren, M.D., of Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues examined data from 189 patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma, 262 patients with cardia adenocarcinoma, and 820 controls. The patients were interviewed about their previous carbonated drink consumption.

The authors found that drinking carbonated soft drinks or low-alcohol beer was not associated with increased risk of esophageal or cardia adenocarcinoma. "This study gives no support for the hypothesis that the use of carbonated soft drinks contributes to the increasing incidence of this cancer," they write.

Jesper Lagergren

New Model Measures Drug's Ability To Penetrate Colon Tumor Cell Layers

Scientists have developed a model of a tumor's vascular system to determine how cancer drugs distribute in tumors. The ability of drugs to penetrate tumors is one factor that determines their actual anticancer activity.

Kevin O. Hicks, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues measured the ability of tirapazamine, a drug activated in oxygen deficient cells, to penetrate cell layers of a type of colon cancer. With this information, they were able to create a three-dimensional model of drug distribution in a tumor. They then compared the predictions of cell death from this model with actual results in mouse tumors. Their model accurately predicted the ability of tirapazamine and closely related drugs to penetrate the colon tumor and kill tumor cells.

In an accompanying editorial, Edward A. Sausville, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Maryland in Baltimore, discusses the implications of Hicks et al.'s approach on the development of small-molecule anti-cancer compounds. He writes, "Unless the diffusion and drug transport properties of an agent are optimized, what looks good in tissue culture experiments will likely look less promising when applied to the human milieu."

Kevin Hicks

Karen Warmkessel

Bortezomib Halts Neuroblastoma Growth

The cancer drug ortezomib inhibits the growth of neuroblastoma cells, a new study reports. Bortezomib is known to work against several adult cancers, but it has never been tried against the childhood tumor neuroblastoma. Mirco Ponzoni, Ph.D., of the G. Gaslini Children's Hospital in Genoa, Italy, and colleagues exposed ten neuroblastoma cell lines and cells from three pediatric patients to bortezomib and watched the drug's effect on cell growth, proliferation, and apoptosis. They found that bortezomib caused tumor cell death and inhibited blood vessel formation, or angiogenesis. Moreover, bortezomib extended the survival of mice in two animal models of human neuroblastoma.

Contact: Mirco Ponzoni,


Also in the August 16 JNCI:

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