Concerns about cholesterol and triglycerides creating problems for something other than your arteries? Apparently so. A recent study suggests a tie between high blood fats and the recurrence of prostate cancer.
The significance of normal blood fat levels
A study of 843 men whose prostates had been removed revealed an association between high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, so-called “bad cholesterols,” and an increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence. Those with high cholesterol saw a 9 percent increase for every a10 mg/dL increase in cholesterol above 200 mg/dL. Thirty-five percent of those with a triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher experienced recurrence as well. Read more information from the study.
Normalization of blood fats may reduce risk
Lead researchers at Duke University explained normalization – even partial – with the help of statins or dietary changes, was tied to a reduced risk of recurrence.
Increases in HDL, “good cholesterol”, raise the bar
The Duke team also found increases in HDL reduced the risk of recurrence by 39 percent for every 10 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) increase in the blood.
A word of caution
Though a link was shown, this does not indicate high blood fats as a cause for cancer. Statins for protection are not recommended at this time, according to Dr. Anthony D’Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Understanding the role of blood fats is important
Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death, attributable to 45 percent of fatalities worldwide. Further research is warranted to further explore this modifiable risk factor and how to best effect it in order to save lives.
The initials “HIV” are rarely associated with positive health news. In an amazing breakthrough, researchers at Penn Medicine have had success using the HIV virus to treat patients with incurable leukemia.
Dr. Carl June and his team at the University of Pennsylvania Health System have been working on the therapy for 20 years. The key to this treatment is the characteristic of the HIV virus to insert new genes into cells.
The procedure begins with billions of T-cells being removed from a patient’s body. A disabled form of HIV is then used to reprogram the T-cells, rendering them capable of recognizing, targeting and killing the cancer. At this point they are returned to the patient’s body to perform their mission.
According to Dr. June, once the cancer has been treated these “killer cells” become dormant, returning to action only if the cancer recurs. Out of 12 patients who have received the treatment, nine are in full or partial remission.
One of the successful cases is that of Marshall Jensen, a newlywed and young parent from Utah who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. So far, Dr. June’s treatment has accomplished what nearly three years of traveling the country for various surgeries and procedures could not.
What’s next for Dr. June and his team? They hope to be able to adapt this therapy to treat other forms of cancer. Trials on patients with pancreatic cancer are scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015.
Men have another reason to hit the treadmill. A new study has found an intriguing link between physical fitness and cancer risk in middle-aged men. Scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in early June, the study tracked the relationship between physical fitness and the development of the prostate, colorectal and lung cancer (the 3 most common male cancers) in a group of 7,000 healthy, 45-year-old men over a period of 20 years.
At age 65, men who had remained physically fit over the intervening 20 years were less likely to develop cancer. Additionally, among those study participants that did develop cancer, men who were physically fit experienced more positive outcomes.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour, the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Susan Lakoski of the University of Vermont College of Medicine noted:
“This is the first study that really addresses the issue of fitness being a prognostic marker of cancer risk in men, and then a marker of prognosis after a cancer diagnosis. . . . People who had lower fitness, or went less time on the treadmill, were more at risk for developing cancer later in life.”
Asked why fitness has such a noticeable impact on cancer, Dr. Lakoski equated fitness with the body’s ability to maximize efficient oxygen delivery to the organs. As she pointed out, oxygen delivery “is very important in modulating different pathways involved in inflammation, hormone levels, immune surveillance, [and] oxidative damage. All of these things play into reducing cancer risk.”