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Study: NSAID use cuts breast cancer recurrence in obese and overweight women by half

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — Recurrence of hormone-related breast cancer was cut by half in overweight and obese women who regularly used aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, according to data published last week in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
 
"Our studies suggest that limiting inflammatory signaling may be an effective, less toxic approach to altering the cancer-promoting effects of obesity and improving patient response to hormone therapy," stated Linda deGraffenried, associate professor of nutritional sciences at The University of Texas in Austin.
 
The study found that women whose body mass index was greater than 30 and had estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive breast cancer had a 52% lower rate of recurrence and a 28-month delay in time to recurrence if they were taking aspirin or other NSAIDs.
 
"These results suggest that NSAIDs may improve response to hormone therapy, thereby allowing more women to remain on hormone therapy rather than needing to change to chemotherapy and deal with the associated side effects and complications," deGraffenried said. "However, these results are preliminary and patients should never undertake any treatment without consulting with their physician."
 
Using blood from obese patients, deGraffenried and colleagues conducted experiments in the laboratory to recreate a tumor environment containing cancer cells, fat cells and the immune cells that promote inflammation. They found that the factors associated with obesity initiate a network of signaling within the tumor environment to promote growth and resistance to therapy.
 
"These studies show that the greatest benefit from aspirin [and other NSAIDs] will be in those with a disease driven by inflammation, and not just obesity," deGraffenried noted.
 
Researchers used data from 440 women diagnosed with invasive, ERα-positive breast cancer and treated at The University of Texas Health Science Center and the START Center for Cancer Care clinic, both in San Antonio, between 1987 and 2011.
 
Of the women studied, 58.5% were obese and 25.8% were overweight. About 81% took aspirin, and the rest took another NSAID. About 42% and 25% took statins and omega-3 fatty acid, respectively.
 
There was an indication of protection from aspirin and other NSAIDs even after controlling for statins and omega-3 fatty acid use, which also have anti-inflammatory effects, the researchers reported. 
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Kroger completes tender offer for Vitacost.com

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger and Vitacost.com on Monday announced the successful completion of Kroger's tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Vitacost.com for $8 per share in cash.  
 
The tender offer expired at 5:00 p.m., eastern daylight time, on Aug 15.
  
Kroger expects to complete the acquisition of the remaining eligible Vitacost.com shares not acquired in the tender offer later today through a merger under Section 251(h) of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware.
 
As of the expiration of the tender offer, approximately 29.8 million shares were validly tendered and not withdrawn in the tender offer, representing 86.7% percent of Vitacost.com's outstanding shares, according to the depositary. 
 
The condition to the tender offer that a majority of Vitacost.com's outstanding shares on a fully diluted basis be validly tendered and not withdrawn has been satisfied. As a result, Kroger has accepted for payment and will promptly pay for all validly tendered shares. The depositary has also informed Kroger that Notices of Guaranteed Delivery have been delivered with respect to 836,275 additional shares, representing approximately 2.4% percent of Vitacost.com's currently outstanding shares.
 
As a result of the merger, all remaining eligible Vitacost.com shares will be converted into the right to receive $8 per share in cash, without interest and less any applicable withholding taxes, the same price that was paid in the tender offer.
  
Following completion of the merger, Vitacost.com shares will cease to be traded on the NASDAQ Global Market, which is expected to take effect later today.
 
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Dollar General outbids Dollar Tree for Family Dollar

BY Mike Troy

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General bid $78.50 for Family Dollar in a $9.7 billion deal that exceeds the $74.50 a share Dollar Tree offered for Family Dollar on July 28.

The deal would create a small-format powerhouse with nearly 20,000 stores in 46 states and sales of more than $28 billion.

“For Family Dollar shareholders, our proposal is financially superior to the current transaction agreement with Dollar Tree and would provide Family Dollar shareholders with a substantial premium and immediate liquidity for their shares,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “We look forward to expeditiously entering into constructive discussions with Family Dollar in order to sign a definitive merger agreement that provides enhanced value to Family Dollar shareholders and enables Dollar General to realize the benefits of this combination.”

The $78.50 per share Dollar General offer represents a 29.4% premium over the $60.66 closing price of Family Dollar shares the day before Dollar Tree made its offer. The deal Dollar Tree offered Family Dollar is valued at about $8.5 billion and involves Family Dollar shareholders receiving $59.60 in cash and $14.90 in equivalent Dollar Tree shares. The offer has already been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies.

To get the deal done, Dollar General said it had done significant economic and antitrust analysis and was prepared to commit to divesting as many as 700 stores. The company also committed to paying the $305 million termination fee Family Dollar will owe Dollar Tree if the previously announced deal falls through. In addition, Dollar General CEO Dreiling said he would remain in his current role to oversee integration of the companies after previously indicating he would retire in 2015.

Dollar General and Family Dollar operate complementary business — similar size stores with similar product assortments — which is expected to result in operational synergies and annual savings of between $550 million and $600 million three years after the proposed merger is complete, according to Dollar General.

“Dollar General has developed extensive integration plans across work streams. The expected synergies would be derived from sales growth driven by an improved merchandise offering and store presentation, purchasing and sourcing efficiencies, distribution and transportation optimization and administrative savings,” according to the company.

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