Friday, October 2, 2015

Risk of MGUS, multiple myeloma greater in Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange

Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange appear to have an increased risk for developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, a precursor to multiple myeloma, according to results of a prospective study.

Researchers evaluated stored blood samples from U.S. Air Force personnel and found those who conducted Vietnam War missions that involved ‘Agent Orange’ herbicide had a more than twofold greater risk for developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

“Multiple myeloma has been classified as exhibiting ‘limited or suggestive evidence’ of an association with herbicides in Vietnam War veterans,” Ola Landgren, MD, PhD, chief of myeloma service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and colleagues wrote. “Occupational studies have shown that other pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides) are associated with excess risk of multiple myeloma and its precursor state MGUS; however, to our knowledge, no [previous] studies have uncovered such an association in Vietnam War veterans.”

Landgren and colleagues conducted this prospective cohort study to determine the prevalence of MGUS among Operation Ranch Hand veterans compared to a control population and to assess the risk of MGUS in relation to the Agent Orange contaminant and human carcinogen 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).

Operation Ranch Hand was part of a U.S. military strategy from 1962 to 1971 that involved spraying approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides over rural areas of South Vietnam in an attempt to deprive the Viet Cong of food and vegetation cover.

Researchers evaluated data from the Air Force Health Study, which collected and stored serum samples and relevant exposure data. A follow-up examination of the Air Force Health Study was performed in 2002.

Landgren and colleagues tested all of the specimens in 2013 without knowledge of the exposure status. Their analysis included data from 958 male veterans, 479 of whom were part of Operation Ranch Hand and 479 comparison veterans who did not fly on those missions. All cases and controls had similar demographics, medical histories and lifestyle characteristics.

The prevalence of MGUS was 7.1% in Ranch Hand veterans compared with 3.1% in the control group. This equated to a 2.4-fold increased risk for MGUS in the Ranch Hand veterans after adjusting for age, race, BMI and the time of blood draw for TCDD measurement in 2002 compared to the control cohort (adjusted OR = 2.37; 95% CI, 1.27-4.44).

Further, the risk for MGUS was significantly greater among veterans aged younger than 70 years (OR = 3.4; 95% CI, 1.46-8.13).

The researchers acknowledged several study limitations. There were no objective measurements of exposure to phenoxy herbicides, so researchers used cohort status as a surrogate. Also, the first TCDD measures weren’t taken until 1987 and — with 25 years between exposure and measurement — the researchers could not account for individual variations in the whole-body elimination of TCDD.

A bias may also have been introduced because a greater proportion of Ranch Hand veterans had a TCDD level measured in 1987 than controls (86.6% vs. 74.1%).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Numbers.....74 Months of Complete Remission!

WBC:   7.0

HTC:   40.2


ANC:   65

Light Chains:

Kappa:  19.55

Lambda:  21.56

Ratio:   0.91


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monsanto hid Roundup’s Cancer Risk According to California Lawsuit

Not that it is a stranger to product liability considering it was the primary maker of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, but St. Louis-based chemical giant Monsanto may be facing a plethora of class-action lawsuits over one of its flagship products, Roundup weed killer. In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the herbicide in Roundup, glyphosate, a “probable human carcinogen.” The declaration was followed-up by several countries banning or severely restricting the use of glyphosate, including the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka, with France banning it for use in gardens in June. Glyphosate is the world’s most common herbicide, with the most recent data from the U.S. Geological Survey estimating that 280 million pounds of it was used in the U.S. in 2012. Out of the 130 countries that still permit the product; the U.S. is by far the Monsanto’s largest consumer with over 20 percent of global sales.  That may change, however, as California has followed the WHO’s lead earlier in the month. The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued a “notice of intent” that it will also list glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, which is required by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 for any product that the WHO’s cancer division lists as a carcinogen. The OEHHA classification requires companies with 10 or more employees in the state to provide a “clear and reasonable warning” of any product on the list of its dangers.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Labor Day in PCB..... Summer's Last Blast

Cajun pal Vickie flew in for Labor Day.  We had a lovely time. Hung out on the beach every day, did our Happy Hour at The Liq, Had dinners at Montego Bay, Los Rancheros, Saltwater Grill (my new favorite!) and of course, Dee's Hangout for the best food on the beach!

One night, Judy and Ray had us over to their place for a pizza/buffalo wing party.  Great folks!
Dee's Hangout
Saltwater Grill
Montego Bay
Jim, Judy, Vickie, Ray

Montego Bay

Dee's Hangout

Our Kevin

Oysters Four Ways at Dee's Hangout


Thursday, September 3, 2015

More Evidence Agent Orange Causes Cancer

Researchers have found more evidence that Agent Orange causes cancer in Vietnam-era veterans who worked with it.

The study of 479 veterans who were involved in Agent Orange defoliation missions during the war shows they have more than twice the risk of developing a blood condition that can lead to cancer as similar veterans who didn't work with the chemical.

The condition is called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or MGUS for short. It's a precursor for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

Agent Orange was used to strip Vietnamese and Cambodian jungles and fields by U.S. forces during the Vietnam war. It refers to several herbicides, nicknamed for the orange stripe on the barrels in which they were stored. They include 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid.

The worst effects are seen among the people living in the areas sprayed.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes that Agent Orange causes multiple myeloma as wells as several types of leukemia, other cancers, diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson's disease. Veterans who can show they were exposed to it are supposed to get medical care for such conditions and they can get disability compensation.

Dr. Ola Landgren of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and colleagues compared 479 Americans involved in Operation Ranch Hand spraying missions to 479 veterans who were not.

They found 7 percent of the Operation Ranch Hand vets had MGUS, compared to 3 percent of other veterans.

"Our findings of increased MGUS risk among Ranch Hand veterans supports an association between Agent Orange exposure and multiple myeloma," they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Oncology.

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