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Obesity and lack of exercise could enhance the risk of pancreatic cancer
Date:8/15/2007

PHILADELPHIA Obesity and aversion to exercise have become hallmarks of modern society and a new study suggests that a blood protein linked to these lifestyle factors may be an indicator for an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute report their findings in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In a study of 144 patients with pancreatic cancer and 429 people without the disease, a subset of patients with low blood levels of a protein called IGFBP-1 were at approximately twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Low blood levels of this protein have previously been linked to excess weight and lack of physical activity. Their data originated from tens of thousands of men and women enrolled in four large-scale cohort studies the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the Nurses Health Study, the Physicians Health Study and the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study all of which followed the health of participants over numerous years.

The prognosis for many patients with pancreatic cancer remains poor, so it is vitally important that we indentify and better understand risk factors for the disease, particularly risk factors that are modifiable said lead study author, Brian M. Wolpin, M.D., attending physician at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In addition to cigarette smoking, exercise and weight control appear to be important modifiable risk factors for this difficult disease.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in America over 33,000 Americans will likely die from the disease in 2007, according to projections from the American Cancer Society. Studies indicate that smoking is responsible for about 25 percent of pancreatic cancer cases, and obesity and lack of exercise may account for a similar amount, Dr. Wolpin said.

According to Dr. Wolpin, previous research has l
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Contact: Greg Lester
lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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