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Colon and Rectal Cancer Research Briefs: January 20

Briefly This Week

Research News

Acupuncture doesn’t help prevent prolonged ileus after surgery

A collaboration between M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Fudan University Cancer Hospital found that daily acupuncture did not reduce the number of patients who didn’t have bowel function return by the fourth day after their operation, a condition known as prolonged post-operative ileus (PPOI).  Bowel function included passing gas (flatus) or a bowel movement.

Patients were randomly assigned to a daily acupuncture treatment by an experienced physician acupuncturist.  By the fourth day, there was no difference in patients who had acupuncture and those who didn’t in either return of bowel function or quality of life.

In the January 7, 2010 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, the study team concluded,

Acupuncture did not prevent prolonged post-operative ileus (PPOI) and was not useful for treating PPOI once it had developed in this population.

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Many retrieved lymph nodes are strongly connected with microsatellite instability (MSI) in stage I and II colon cancer

Among 82 patients with stage I or II cancer, the average number of negative nodes found was 13.7 in a group of 71 with microsatellite stable tumors.  However, the average number for MSI tumors was 23.6.

The average number of examined nodes for all stage I and II cancers in the hospital where the study was completed was 15, and 9 of the 11 MSI tumors (82 percent) had more than this number of nodes retrieved and tested.

Writing in the January 2010 issue of Archives of Surgery, Clarisse Eveno, MD and her team said,

Good prognosis that is usually associated with tumors having a high number of uninvolved lymph nodes might reflect the high prevalence of MSI among these tumors. The number of examined lymph nodes as a quality criterion should be used with caution. For stage I or stage II colorectal carcinomas, restricting MSI phenotyping to tumors with more than the mean number of lymph nodes identifies almost all MSI tumors.

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Sarcomas may be part of the Lynch syndrome

Although not usually considered part of the Lynch syndrome associated cancers, sarcomas have been identified in some families with the mutations.  Fourteen sarcomas were found among Lynch families with mutations in the MSH2, MSH6, and MLH1 genes in the Danish HNPCC registry. While most were in soft tissue, there were also uterine sarcomas.  The median age at diagnosis was 43, but cancers were diagnosed as young as 15 and as old as 74.

Reporting their analysis in Familial Cancer, September 2009, Mef Nilbert and the Danish team wrote,

This suggests that sarcomas may be part of the HNPCC tumor spectrum and that colorectal cancer should be considered in the family history of sarcoma patients.

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What’s with the changes?

We’re experimenting with a little different format for the weekly briefs. You’ll find two different blogs — one with research news and another with upcoming events and consumer information. In this way, we hope to include a bit more detail while still keeping the individuals items brief and easy to read.

Your comments are welcome!

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Watch for Kate Murphy on Twitter this weekend.  She’ll be sending Tweets from the ASCO GI Symposium in Orlando.  Follow C3 news and research updates @FIGHTCRC.   Here’s more information on joining Twitter to follow C3.

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