More Young Women Than Men Now Get Lung Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Woman smoking” by Pedro Ribeiro Simões is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PHD
Scientific Vice President, Surveillance & Health Services Rsch
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Historically, lung cancer rates have been higher in men than women at all ages because of the substantially higher cigarette smoking prevalence in men.

However, cigarette smoking prevalences over the past few decades have become similar between young men and women. Consistent with this pattern, we previously reported the convergence of lung cancer rates between young men and young women. In this paper, we examined the lung cancer incidence rates in young women versus young men in the contemporary cohorts.

We found that the historically higher lung cancer incidence rates in young men than in young women have reversed in whites and Hispanics born since the mid-1960s. However, this emerging incidence patterns were not fully explained by sex difference in smoking prevalence as cigarette smoking prevalences among whites and Hispanics were not higher in young women than young men.

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New Guidelines Improve Melanoma Diagnosis, But Still Room For Improvement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program
Affiliate Professor of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: In a recent study published in 2017 in the British Medical Journal, our team found that pathologists disagreed on their diagnoses of some melanocytic skin biopsy lesions and early stage invasive melanoma more than 50% of the time. This concerning level of disagreement was particularly true for diagnoses in the middle of the disease spectrum, such as atypical lesions and melanoma in situ.  For example, Figure 1 from this paper shows the diagnoses of 36 pathologists who interpreted the same glass slide of a skin biopsy using their own microscopes; the diagnoses ranged from a benign lesion to invasive melanoma.

Since that study, the American Joint Committee on Cancer has released new guidelines for melanoma staging. Given this change, we wanted to examine whether the updated guidelines improved the reliability of melanoma diagnosis.

We found that using the new guidelines improved the accuracy of pathologists’ diagnoses for invasive melanoma (Elmore J, et al, JAMA Network Open 2018).  Continue reading

EWG Urges Sunscreen Companies and Consumers To Go Oxybenzone-Free By 2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Sunscreen” by Tom Newby is licensed under CC BY 2.0Carla Burns, M.S.

Environmental Working Group
She is one of the coauthors of the 2018 Guide to Sunscreens. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the EWG report? 

Response: Environmental Working Group (EWG) published its first Sunscreen Guide in 2007.

When we first started the guide, many sun protection products sold in the U.S. were not as safe and used misleading marketing claims.

Throughout the years, EWG has continued to find that a common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, poses a hazard to human health and the environment. Despite EWG’s efforts to draw attention to the health hazards associated with this ingredient over the last 12, oxybenzone remains widely used in chemical-based sunscreens. So, this year, we are ramping up our efforts to rid the market of this ingredient by launching a campaign to urge companies and consumers to go oxybenzone-free by 2020.

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Multiple Myeloma Cases and Deaths Increase Worldwide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew J. Cowan, MD Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Division of Medical Oncology University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Cowan

Andrew J. Cowan, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington, Seattle

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

 

Response: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell neoplasm with substantial morbidity and mortality. A comprehensive description of the global burden of multiple myeloma is needed to help direct health policy, resource allocation, research, and patient care.

Myeloma cases and deaths increased from 1990 to 2016, with middle-income countries contributing the most to this increase. Treatment availability is very limited in countries with low socioeconomic development.

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Pre-Emptive Therapy of CMV in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

 Dr-Roy F. Chemaly

Dr. Chemaly

Roy F. Chemaly, MD, MPH F.A.C.P., F.I.D.S.A.
Department of Infectious Diseases
Infection Control and Employee Health
Division of Internal Medicine
MD Anderson Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: CytomegalovirusCMV infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in allo-HCT recipients. Evidence suggests that CMV infection has not only an enormous clinical burden, but a substantial economic burden as well.

We conducted this study at MD Anderson to determine the economic and clinical burden of preemptive therapy (PET) for CMV infection. Between 2012 and 2015, 100 consecutive patients hospitalized at our institution for allo-HCT who experienced reactivation of CMV and were treated pre-emptively, were enrolled.

The majority of patients were men (55%), who had underlying leukemia (73%), and underwent matched unrelated donor transplant (59%). At the time of hospitalization, most patients had acute GvHD (62%), and were on steroids (58%) within 30 days of CMV reactivation which occurred at a median of 32 days post-HCT (2 -174). A total of 192 episodes of PET occurred in the 100 allo-HCT recipients within 1 year post-HCT. PET consisted of ganciclovir (41%), foscarnet (40%), and valganciclovir (38%). IVIG was also used as adjunct therapy in 20% of episodes.

Progression to Cytomegalovirus disease occurred in 4 patients (4%) and mainly affected the GI tract. Mean length of stay for patients treated with ganciclovir or foscarnet was 32 days (2-141) and 41 days (1-177), respectively. The average direct cost per patient admitted for PET was $126,038 ($7,866-$641,841) and the mean cost of CMV antiviral drug per hospitalization was $6,096 for IVIG, $2,410 for foscarnet, $836 for ganciclovir, and $780 for valganciclovir.

Serious side effects from PET were observed in 35% of patients on ganciclovir and 12% of patients on foscarnet. Total direct cost per encounter was significantly higher in patients who had serious side effects from foscarnet. All-cause mortality was 59% at 1 year post-transplant.

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Automated Bone Scan Index Correlates with Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew J. Armstrong, MD ScM FACP Associate Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology Associate Director for Clinical Research in Genitourinary Oncology Duke Cancer Institute Divisions of Medical Oncology and Urology Duke University

Dr. Armstrong

Andrew J. Armstrong, MD ScM FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Associate Director for Clinical Research in Genitourinary Oncology
Duke Cancer Institute
Divisions of Medical Oncology and Urology
Duke University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Men with prostate cancer commonly develop bone metastases and undergo nuclear medicine bone scans. However, these scans are non-quantitative, and disease burden has been challenging to assess over time and to relate to clinical outcomes.

We developed a software program and measurement called the automated bone scan index that essentially reads a standard of care nuclear bone scan, provides a quantitative metric, and demonstrate in a phase 3 trial that this aBSI is highly associated with clinical outcomes including survival, time to symptomatic progression, and prostate cancer specific survival.

We accomplished this within a prospective phase 3 international trial of men with metastatic hormone resistant prostate cancer who were followed over a long period of time.  All bone scans were read and measured using the aBSI at baseline, and we found that the aBSI was highly prognostic.  This work validates prior smaller phase 2 BSI studies, and demonstrates both the feasibility and clinical utility for incorporating the aBSI into clinical practice to provide this important prognostic information to patients and providers.

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DARZALEX® (daratumumab) Approved for Newly Diagnosed Patients with Multiple Myeloma who are Transplant Ineligible

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrzej Jakubowiak, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine Director, Myeloma Program University of Chicago

Dr. Jakubowiak


Andrzej Jakubowiak, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Director, Myeloma Program
University of Chicago

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? Would you briefly explain what is meant by multiple myeloma?

 

Response: DARZALEX (daratumumab) in combination with VELCADE (bortezomib), melphalan and prednisone – VMP – received U.S. FDA approval for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who are ineligible for autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT). With this most recent approval, DARZALEX is now the first monoclonal antibody approved for newly diagnosed patients with this disease.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that occurs when malignant plasma cells grow uncontrollably in the bone marrow. Despite the introduction of new medicines over the last decade, which has led to significant improvements in outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma, multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease. In 2018, it is estimated that 30,700 people will be diagnosed and 12,770 will die from the disease in the United States.

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SKINDER App Teaches Intuitive Visual Diagnosis of Melanoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

SKINDER APP

Image from SKINDER APP

Michael SKolodneyMD, PhD
Section of Dermatology, Department of Medicine
West Virginia University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Melanoma is easily curable if recognized early.   Dermatologists are good at spotting melanomas because they develop an innate sense of how melanomas appear after examining thousands of malignant and benign lesions.  In contrast, most medical students are relatively disadvantaged by their limited dermatology exposure. We felt that too little experience, rather than lack of knowledge of the rules, is the primary barrier to development of pattern-recognition and intuition as a reliable tool for melanoma diagnosis in non-experts.  To remedy this problem, we developed a novel web-based application to mimic the training of a dermatologist by teaching medical students intuitive melanoma diagnosis in a highly condensed period of time.

Our application, which we call Skinder, teaches intuitive visual diagnosis of melanoma by quickly presenting the learner with thousands of benign and malignant skin lesions.  The user makes rapid binary decisions, by swiping right for benign or left for malignant, and receives instant feedback on accuracy. With this application, the learner can amass a mental repository of diagnostic experience in a short amount of time. To determine if intuitive visual diagnosis training is superior to a traditional rule-based approach, we compared our web-based application to a rules based approach, the publicly available INFORMED Skin Education Series.

Medical students were tested on the ability top differentiate melanomas from benign pigmented lesions before and after training with either Skinder of the Informed Skin Education Series. The pre-test mean for the Skinder group was 75% correct, compared to 74.7% correct for the INFORMED group. The post-test mean for the skinder application group was 86.3% correct, compared to 77.5% correct for the INFORMED group which was highly signifcant.

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Can a Pill Plus Infrared Light Replace Mammograms?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Greg Thurber, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Chemical Engineering Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering University of Michigan 

Dr. Thurber

Greg Thurber, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical Engineering
Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Michigan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Most current disease screening strategies rely on either blood tests, where the physician can obtain information on specific disease molecules but has no idea where they originated in the body, or anatomical imaging, where the physician can see changes in the structure of tissues but doesn’t have any molecular information. We wanted to develop a method that could provide both molecular information and an image of where these molecules were located. We know from decades of research in cancer that this is a molecular disease, so providing molecular information to the physician will help improve detection and diagnosis. Breast cancer screening provides an excellent opportunity to apply this approach to improve detection. Currently, estimates indicate that we are overspending $4 billion per year on the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer because we cannot accurately determine which patients need treatment and which can be safely monitored with no intervention. Despite this problem with overdiagnosis, however, screening saves lives…we simply need a better way.

Molecular imaging has the capability of providing both molecular information and the location within the body. However, most of these techniques are expensive and use ionizing radiation, meaning there is a small risk of actually causing cancer. This is not acceptable for screening large numbers of otherwise healthy patients. To avoid this risk and provide a safe, inexpensive, and relatively easy method for patients to undergo screening, we decided to develop near-infrared fluorescent imaging agents that can be taken as a pill. The goal is for the patient to simply take a pill a day or two before their visit, and then the physician shines near-infrared light on the breast tissue to detect tumors where they ‘light up’ by giving off a different color of light.

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Checkpoint Inhibitors Rapidly Being Incorporated Into Routine Cancer Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeremy O'Connor, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Postdoctoral Fellow, National Clinician Scholars Program Yale University

Dr. O’Connor

Jeremy O’Connor, MD
Section of General Internal Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellow, National Clinician Scholars Program
Yale University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: There has been a lot of enthusiasm for the use of novel therapies in cancer care, and in particular for novel anticancer agents known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. But very little is known about how quickly providers have adopted immune checkpoint inhibitors into clinical practice. Existing studies suggest, in fact, that the process of clinical adoption is slow, with conventional wisdom holding that it takes an average of 17 years for new evidence to change practice.

Our study evaluated whether the adoption of novel therapies might be much faster in certain contexts with the early use of immune checkpoint inhibitors as a notable example.

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