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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:27 am 
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Radiotherapy Can Cause Lasting Vascular Disease: Changes in Gene Expression to Blame, Research Suggests

ScienceDaily (Mar. 22, 2010) — For an as yet unknown reason, cancer radiotherapy can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life, a problem that is growing as more and more people survive their cancer diagnosis. New research from Karolinska Institutet now suggests that sustained inflammation induced by post-radiotherapy changes in the gene expression in the arteries could be the cause.

Epidemiological studies have shown that a course of radiotherapy increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in the same part of the body; for example, myocardial infarction after left-side breast cancer treatment, or stroke after the treatment of head and neck or brain tumours. Scientists know very little, however, about the biological causes of these serious side-effects, which often do not appear until many years following treatment.

"Studies have been hampered by the fact that the disease process is so slow," says Martin Halle, researcher at Karolinska Institutet. "Cell studies and animal studies are best suited to the more immediate effects, and studies on human subjects have been ruled out for ethical reasons."

By studying autografts that have been carried out after cancer, Martin Halle and colleagues have now for the first time managed to study the long-term effects of radiotherapy on human blood vessels. This type of autograft involves the transplantation of skin, muscle or bone tissue from one part of a patient's body to reconstruct defects that arise after the removal of a tumour in another, often irradiated, part. By harvesting biopsies from previously irradiated branches of the carotid arteries and non-irradiated arteries from grafts, the researchers have been able to compare the difference in global gene expression between irradiated and non-irradiated arteries from the same patient at the same time.

They found that the irradiated arteries showed signs of chronic inflammation and an increase in activity of Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), a transcription factor known for playing a key part in the development of atherosclerosis. The greater inflammatory gene expression was visible for several years after irradiation, and might, the researchers believe, explain why cancer patients can suffer cardiovascular disease many years after radiotherapy.

"Hopefully, these findings will one day help medicine to mitigate the side effects by administering radiotherapy in combination with an anti-inflammatory treatment," says Dr Halle.

The importance of the results is underscored by the publication of an explanatory commentary in the journal's editorial.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 101523.htm

[comment - in many cases we cancer survivors could be lucky enough to have such chronic conseqences? I don't see things this way. 30% of brain cancer patients don't die from cancer. There are effective natural anti-inflammation treatments]


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:30 am 
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Fatigue Related To Radiotherapy May Be Caused By Inflammation

ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2009) — Patients who experience fatigue during radiotherapy for breast or prostate cancer may be reacting to activation of the proinflammatory cytokine network, a known inflammatory pathway, according to a report in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Julie Bower, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues, conducted an observational study among 28 patients with breast cancer and 20 patients with prostate cancer, all early stage. Patients completed questionnaires and provided blood samples so researchers could determine the level of proinflammatory markers.

As expected, there was a strong link between radiotherapy treatment and fatigue. In a new finding, the researchers noted that increases in serum markers of cytokine activity, specifically IL-1 receptor antagonist and C-reactive protein, were also linked with fatigue.

"This study suggests that exposure to radiation is releasing these inflammatory cytokines and that may be contributing to fatigue," said Bower.

Scientists have been studying the role of inflammation in several diseases and have recently made breakthroughs about the link between inflammation and diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer's and cancer. There is growing evidence that inflammation may also contribute to depression and other behavioral disturbances, including fatigue and sleep problems.

Stephen Hahn, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said this study is an important step forward in understanding the biological basis for fatigue.

"Fatigue related to radiotherapy is very common but we do not have any good idea about why it occurs. This suggests one possible mechanism and suggests an avenue for treatment," said Hahn, who is also an editorial board member of Clinical Cancer Research.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 150016.htm

[comment - I see inflammation reduction as one of the keys to treatment of cancer as a chronic disease. Natural inflammation reduction reduces fatigue and chance of recurrence]


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