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New Easier BLOD Test to Help Evaluate Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumors

One of the standard tests to try to diagnose carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumors has been the 5-HIAA test – which required a 24-hour sample of urine.  This was often messy, inconvenient, embarrassing, and consequently sometimes inaccurate.

The term 5-HIAA stands for 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic acid which is a main metabolite of serotonin – and which is typically found in large quantities in those with tumors such as carcinoid.

Researchers from University of Iowa, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Louisiana State University have developed a blood test that can establish 5-HIAA plasma levels.  Further, they found that this fasting 5-HIAA blood level is proportionate to the 24-hour urinary levels – giving similar useful clinical information without the hassles of the urine test.

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Dale O’Brien, MD

Other Reasons Not to Smoke

It’s thought that about 30-40% of cases of pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) may be attributable to smoking tobacco.   Now comes more research about additional possible bad effects of smoking.

Brand and colleagues from the University of Michigan recently published a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology that showed that alcohol and tobacco use ~ in a dose related manner (more: makes it worse) ~ are each associated with an earlier age of the onset of pancreatic cancer.  This unfortunate effect appears to go away after about ten years of abstinence.

In a separate recent study in the European Journal of Cancer, Schuller and his colleagues at the University of Tennessee vet school found (in cells and in live mice) that tobacco smoke AND nicotine replacement therapy reduce the treatment effect of gemcitabine (one of the mainstays of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer).  They suggest clinical studies in patients to further explore these research findings.

More here


Dale O’Brien, MD

RIP Bonnie Franklin – succumbs to pancreatic cancer


Bonnie Gail Franklin passed on today at age 69 due to pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas).  To those of a certain age (this author included) Ms. Franklin will always be associated with Ann Romano, her role as the divorced mother of two in the sitcom “One Day at a Time” on CBS from December 1995 until 1984.  This was one of Norman Lear’s series that attempted to portray a more real America to TV viewers, and Bonnie Franklin admirably filled that role.

She played the Ann Romano role as complex with the uncertainties as well as compensations of a single mom raising her girls in a changing world. The daughters were played by Mackenzie Phillips (daughter of founders of the Mammas and Pappas pop singing group) and by Valerie Bertinelli (who later married rock star Eddie Van Halen – and has continued on as a star in her own right).  Pat Harrington played with humor the character of the building supervisor, Dwayne Schneider.

Bonnie Franklin was a California gorl.  She was born in Santa Monica and attended Beverly Hill High School. Later she went to Smith College and eventually back to UCLA.  Her first role as an actor was at age nine in the Colgate Comedy Hour. . She acted in television, movies and theatre including Broadway productions. She was nominated for Emmy awards, a Tony, and for the Golden Globes.

In September of 3012 Bonnie Franklin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She died at her home in Los Angles earlier today.

May Bonnie Gail Franklin rest in peace.  And may her friends and family accept our deepest condolences. She was a lovely and talented actress.


Dale O’Brien, MD



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