ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 14.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35303" align="alignleft" width="114"]Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP Professor of Medicine, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, UTMDACC, Nellie B. Connally Chair in Breast Cancer, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine Program Director, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Susan G. Komen Interdisciplinary Breast Fellowship Program The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX Dr. Hortobagyi[/caption] Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP Professor of Medicine, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, UTMDACC, Nellie B. Connally Chair in Breast Cancer, Department of Breast Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine Program Director, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Susan G. Komen Interdisciplinary Breast Fellowship Program The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The MONALEESA-2 trial is a double-blind, randomized, Phase III trial that evaluated efficacy and safety of Kisqali plus letrozole compared to letrozole alone in postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer who had not previously been treated for their advanced disease. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? o Updated findings from the Phase III MONALEESA-2 trial confirm the efficacy and safety of Kisqali® (ribociclib) plus letrozole as a treatment option for HR+/HER2- advanced or metastatic breast cancer: • After nearly one year of additional follow-up, Kisqali plus letrozole demonstrated median progression-free survival (PFS) of 25.3 months (95% CI: 23.0-30.3) compared to 16.0 months (95% CI: 13.4-18.2) for letrozole alone. • The progression-free survival rate at two years was 54.7% in the Kisqali plus letrozole arm compared to 35.9% in patients treated with letrozole alone. • In women with measurable disease, 55% of patients saw their tumor size shrink by at least 30% (overall response rate (ORR)) compared to 39% of patients with letrozole plus placebo. • Treatment benefit remained consistent across all patient subgroups regardless of demographics or disease characteristics, including women with visceral disease and those diagnosed de novo. o The safety profile of Kisqali plus letrozole remained consistent and the incidence of laboratory and electrocardiogram (ECG) irregularities were similar to that observed at the first interim analysis. • The most common grade 3/4 laboratory abnormalities for Kisqali plus letrozole compared to letrozole alone were decreased neutrophils (62.6% vs 1.5%), decreased leukocytes (36.8% vs 1.5%), decreased lymphocytes (16.2% vs 3.9%) and elevated alanine aminotransferase (11.4% vs 1.2%).
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 12.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35257" align="alignleft" width="107"]Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD Department of Radiology Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA  Dr. Huesch[/caption] Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD Department of Radiology Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Public health depends on coordinated actions between patients, payors and providers. Important preventative care and evidence-based screenings need to be understood and sought out by patients, need to be reimbursed by or subsidized by insurance plans, and offered and recommended by physicians and care team members. Women’s breast health is a good example of how – in theory – all these come together and allow women to obtain regular screenings for breast cancer through mammograms. Yet it is commonly accepted that perhaps as many as 1 in 3 women are not adequately screened or are not screened at all. In this study we hypothesized that a prominent global celebrity, Ms Angelina Jolie’s, highly public announcement of her own risk-reducing surgery to prevent breast cancer and her recommendation to women to understand whether they were at high risk might spur uptake of breast screenings at our institution.
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Merck, NYU / 10.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35191" align="alignleft" width="148"]Sylvia Adams, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Breast Cancer and Cancer Immunotherapy Programs NYU Langone Medical Center Cancer Institute/Clinical Cancer Center New York, NY 10016 Dr. Adams[/caption] Sylvia Adams, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Breast Cancer and Cancer Immunotherapy Programs NYU Langone Medical Center Cancer Institute/Clinical Cancer Center New York, NY 10016   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the Keynote-086 trial ? What are the main findings? Response: This study is the largest immunotherapy study to date presented in metastatic triple negative breast cancer. This phase 2 trial studied the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab (P) as single agent in a very aggressive disease and had two cohorts, a cohort of previously untreated patients (Cohort B) and a cohort with patients who had received prior chemotherapy lines in the metastatic setting (Cohort A). The study showed that single agent pembrolizumab can elicit durable responses in a subset of patients. This was found regardless of tumoral PD-L1 expression but appeared to be much more frequent in women without prior chemotherapy treatments in the metastatic setting. Survival is especially promising for patients responding to therapy.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 10.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_35180" align="alignleft" width="200"]Monica Morrow, MD, FACS Chief, Breast Service Department of Surgery Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology Memorial Sloan Kettering Dr. Morrow[/caption] Monica Morrow, MD, FACS Chief, Breast Service Department of Surgery Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology Memorial Sloan Kettering MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although we know that bigger surgery does not result in better patient outcomes in breast cancer, since 2005 rates of lumpectomy have been decreasing accompanied by an increase in bilateral mastectomy for unilateral cancer. High rates of second surgery after initial lumpectomy are one deterrent for patients. In 2013 the SSO and ASTRO developed an evidence based consensus guideline endorsing no ink on tumor as the standard negative margin width for women with stage 1 and 2 cancer having breast conserving surgery with whole breast irradiation. The purpose of our study was to examine time trends in the use of additional surgery after lumpectomy before and after guideline dissemination and to determine the impact of these trends on final rates of breast conservation.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 01.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34988" align="alignleft" width="133"]Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, MS Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, Michigan Dr. Mahmoudi[/caption] Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, MS Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: About one-third of all women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo mastectomy. In recent years, owing to advancements in screening and treatment, life expectancy after being diagnosed with breast cancer has increased. Research has shown that for patients who undergo mastectomy, breast reconstruction offers many psychological benefits such as improved self-esteem, reduced sexual dysfunction, decreased anxiety, and overall improvement in quality of life. After the passage of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act in 1998, the coverage of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction (PBR) by any type of health insurance became mandatory. However, there are large and widening racial and ethnic disparities in PBR, with White women having a higher rate of PBR than women from other racial and ethnic groups. In 2011, the State of New York enacted a law mandating that surgeons advise their patients undergoing mastectomy about available breast reconstruction options, insurance coverage, and referral to a plastic surgeon. We evaluated the effect of this law on racial/ethnic disparities in immediate PBR. Our results did not show any effect on the overall rate of immediate  post-mastectomy breast reconstruction or on disparities between white and African-American women; however, we found that White-Hispanic and White-other racial/ethnic group disparities in immediate PBR were reduced by 9 and 13 percentage points, respectively. This is a substantial reduction in disparity within only a year after the passage of the law, which demonstrates the importance of physician-patient communication.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34358" align="alignleft" width="133"]Bruce G. Haffty, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Dr. Haffty[/caption] Bruce G. Haffty, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Shorter courses of radiation for patients treated by lumpectomy are now commonly employed. For patients receiving radiation to the chest wall and lymph nodes after mastectomy, the standard 5 to 6 week course is used and shorter courses have not been adopted. We initiated this trial of a shorter course of radiation to the chest wall and lymph nodes after mastectomy to test its feasibility, safety and outcome.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CDC, Cost of Health Care / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34341" align="alignleft" width="105"]Benjamin Allaire MS RTI International Research Triangle Park Durham, NC, 27709 Benjamin Allaire[/caption] Benjamin Allaire MS RTI International Research Triangle Park Durham, NC, 27709 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: More than 22,000 women younger than 45 years of age were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Although less than 10 percent of all breast cancers are diagnosed among women younger than age 45, the types of breast cancer these younger women face are typically more aggressive, are diagnosed at more advanced stages, and result in poorer survival compared to breast cancer in older women. Younger women may also require more intense treatment, exhibit cancers that are less responsive to treatment, and have distinct and more prevalent side effects from treatment than older women. These side effects can include poorer quality of life, fertility problems, and depression. As a result, breast cancer treatment for younger women is expensive, making them vulnerable to financial hardship. Recent research has shown that 31.8 percent of cancer survivors are likely to have cancer treatment-induced financial troubles, with higher rates among younger cancer patients. These financial difficulties cause some survivors to forego or delay necessary medical treatments.
Aging, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mammograms, NYU / 21.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cindy S. Lee, MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco Now with Department of Radiology NYU Langone Medical Center, Garden City, New York MedicalResearch.com: What led you and colleagues to conduct this study? Response: I am a breast imager. I see patients who come in for their screening mammograms and I get asked, a lot, if patients aged 75 years and older should continue screening, because of their age. There is not enough evidence out there to determine how breast cancer screening benefits women older than 75. In fact, all previously randomized trials of screening mammography excluded people older than 75 years. Unfortunately, age is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer, so as patients get older, they have higher risks of developing breast cancer. It is therefore important to know how well screening mammography works in these patients.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, MD Anderson, Surgical Research / 20.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33987" align="alignleft" width="136"]Audree Tadros, MD, MPH Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Department of Breast Surgical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Tadros[/caption] Audree Tadros, MD, MPH Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Department of Breast Surgical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center and [caption id="attachment_33988" align="alignleft" width="120"]Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS Executive Director, Breast Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research Department of Breast Surgical Oncology Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Dr. Kuerer[/caption] Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS Executive Director, Breast Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research Dept of Breast Surgical Oncology Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) has the ability to confer a pCR (pathologic complete response-when no residual cancer is found) in both the breast and axillary lymph nodes. We know that this is most likely to occur in women with HER2 positive and triple negative disease. The high rate of pCR among these patients raises the question of whether surgery is still required, particularly among those who will receive adjuvant radiation therapy. Until recently, we lacked the ability to pre-operatively predict patients who achieved a breast pCR. Recently, we completed a clinical feasibility trial examining the ability of image-guided biopsy to predict a pCR after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Our biopsy technique was able to accurately predict a pCR in 98% of patients with only a 5% false negative rate. Based upon these findings, we believe we can accurately determine which patients achieve a breast pCR. This led us to develop a clinical trial to see if breast surgery is redundant in patients who achieve a pCR. An important question that remained was if we are going to omit breast surgery in these exceptional responders, can we also omit axillary surgery?
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Sleep Disorders / 15.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33905" align="alignleft" width="132"]Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald Ph.D. FRQS Postdoctoral research fellow & Clinical psychologist (OPQ) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 Dr. Trudel-Fitzgerald[/caption] Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald Ph.D.  FRQS Postdoctoral research fellow & Clinical psychologist (OPQ) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is very limited research on the association between sleep characteristics and survival among individuals with cancer. However, this is an important question, especially among breast cancer patients because sleep disturbances are frequently reported by these women. Preliminary studies have suggested that sleep duration is related to mortality. The novel findings of our research indicate that not only sleep duration, but also changes in sleep duration before versus after diagnosis, as well as regular difficulties to fall or stay asleep, may also be associated with mortality among women with breast cancer over a period of up to 30 years.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 13.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33870" align="alignleft" width="191"]Molly MacDonald Molly MacDonald[/caption] Molly MacDonald Founder/President/CEO SurThrivor™ MedicalResearch.com: Would you tell us a little about yourself, especially your life before/outside of your cancer diagnosis?  Response: My life before cancer was a struggle of a different sort.  In 1997 I drove up the driveway to our lovely home with five children ages 4-13 safely strapped into the back of my gus guzzling suburban.  As I approached the front of the house, I noticed a small paper, about the 4X10 inches tacked to our front door, and where we lived no one tacked notes to the front door and all service providers went around to the side. Pulling it off I read that the house was to auctioned off in 30 days.  That night I had a very unpleasant conversation with my husband during which I learned the deal he was pursuing, among other things, had not come to fruition and he was fronting it with our assets. Within a monthI liquidated what I could, rented a house for cash and began the process of transitioning our lives from a life of luxury to living paycheck to paycheck. Trying to find work, while navigating a nasty divorce and helping my children adjust was a huge challenge.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Environmental Risks, Toxin Research / 05.04.2017

[caption id="attachment_33686" align="alignleft" width="124"]Sumi Dinda Dr. Sumi Dinda[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sumi Dinda, PhD, NRP, IC. Associate Professor Biomedical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Sciences, School of Health Sciences and Adjunct Associate Professor Department of Biological Sciences School of Health Sciences Oakland University Rochester, MI 48309. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Bisphenol-S (BPS), a substitute for bisphenol-A (BPA), has been suggested to be an endocrine disrupting compound interfering with normal hormonal activity. This bisphenol analogue is found in plastic substitutes, paper currency, and most products marked “BPA free.” Endocrine disrupting compounds interfere with the normal hormonal activity in the body. Bisphenols, specifically, disrupt the proper functioning of estrogen receptors, such as ERα causing interference with the normal activity of the hormone estrogen. Studies suggest BPS induces ERα pathways via its estrogen-mimicking properties in the body causing increased cell proliferation resulting in increased breast cancer risk. Despite the hope of a safer substitute, studies have shown that BPS exhibits similar estrogenic activity compared to its analogue BPA, due to their structural commonalities. BRCA1 is a commonly mutated gene in breast cancer; therefore, it is also important to study the effects of BPS on the expression of this protein. The potency of the endocrine disrupting abilities of BPS compared to BPA could show whether BPS is a suitable alternative to BPA in many everyday products. The results of this study may contribute to the understanding of the relationship between ERα, BRCA1 expression and Bisphenol-S in breast cancer treatment and prevention.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33622" align="alignleft" width="134"]Amanda Leiter, MD MSCR Medical Resident, Internal Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Dr. Leiter[/caption] Amanda Leiter, MD MSCR Medical Resident, Internal Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Black women are more likely than White women to have breast cancer with poor prognostic features, which cannot be completely explained by differences in screening, treatment and established risk factors for breast cancer mortality. Black women have higher rates of obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia when compared to White women. Prior studies have shown a decreased risk of breast cancer recurrence and improved survival with statin use. As statins have an association with decreased breast cancer recurrence and potentially improved survival, disparities in statin use between Black and White women with breast cancer are important to investigate. We aimed to elucidate whether or not statin use differs between Black and White women with breast cancer and if racial disparities in breast cancer can be partially explained by differences in statin use.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Surgical Research / 02.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PHD Vice President, Surveillance and Health Services Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies reported that Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy (CPM) increased in the United States among women diagnosed with unilateral early-stage breast cancer with surgery without evidence for survival benefit. Previous studies also reported that receipt of this procedure is more common in younger than older patients, in white than in black patients, and in privately insured than uninsured patients. However, the extent of variation in receipt of CPM by state of residence was unknown.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, Surgical Research / 31.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca Nash, MPH Rollins School of Public Health Emory University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) in women with invasive early-stage unilateral breast cancer has significantly increased in the U.S. over the past decade, despite the lack of evidence for a survival benefit. This procedure is particularly common among patients younger than 45 years old. It is also more common in whites compared to blacks, and in privately insured patients compared to uninsured or Medicaid insured patients. However, the extent of regional variation across the United States was unknown.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Yale / 29.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33526" align="alignleft" width="133"]Tara Sanft, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) Medical Director of Adult Survivorship Yale Cancer Center Survivorship Clinic Dr. Tara Sanft[/caption] Tara Sanft, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) Medical Director of Adult Survivorship Yale Cancer Center Survivorship Clinic  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have demonstrated the benefit of extended endocrine therapy (EET) for hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer in preventing late relapse, however that benefit is limited to 3-5% of women where late recurrence was prevented or staved off. However, EET has become common practice and as a result we are exposing many patients to risks of side effects and toxicities associated with anti-estrogen therapies when they may not be benefitting, and, conversely may not be treating the patients that might actually benefit. There is a real need to better identify the patients who are both at most risk of late distant recurrence, and most likely to benefit from EET. This prospective study included 141 patients with a mean age of 62. In the study, 83% of patients were postmenopausal, 73% were stage I. Breast Cancer Index (BCI) is a gene expression-based test and is the only currently available validated biomarker that is both prognostic for late distant recurrence and predictive for likelihood of benefit from EET. The purpose of this prospective study was to assess the impact of BCI on: physician EET recommendations; physician confidence; patient satisfaction, anxiety, and decision-conflict; and the cost impact of BCI.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, University Texas / 24.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33272" align="alignleft" width="133"]Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston TX Dr. Fangjian Guo[/caption] Fangjian Guo, MD, PhD Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: BRCA testing in patients diagnosed with early-onset breast or ovarian cancer can identify women with high-risk mutations, which can guide treatment. Women who learn they have a high-risk mutation may also want to inform family members that they may also carry a high-risk mutation. Additionally, BRCA testing can be used to identify high-risk mutation carriers before they develop breast or ovarian cancer. Carriers can then manage their cancer risks with screening (MRI/mammogram), chemoprevention, or prophylactic surgery. Current guidelines recommend BRCA testing for individuals who are considered high-risk for breast or ovarian cancer based on personal or family history.  However, this practice fails to identify most BRCA mutation carriers. It is estimated that more than 90% of mutation carriers have not been identified. One of the issues is that many women who do get tested are actually low-risk and do not have any personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer. This study assessed how BRCA testing was used in the US health care system during the past decade. We found that in 2004 most of the tests (75.7%) were performed in patients who had been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. Only 24.3% of tests were performed in unaffected women. However, since 2006, the proportion of BRCA tests performed in unaffected women has increased sharply, with over 60% of the tests performed in unaffected women in 2014.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Journal Clinical Oncology / 21.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Kuijer, MD Departments of Surgery and Radiology University Medical Center Utrecht and Thijs van Dalen, PhD Department of Surgery Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years it has become evident that clinicopathological factors fail to accurately determine prognosis in hormone receptor positive early stage breast cancer patients at intermediate risk of developing metastases. Gene-expression profiles, such as the 70-gene signature (MammaPrint) are therefore increasingly used for chemotherapy decision-making. In the current multicentre study we assessed the impact of 70-gene signature use on chemotherapy decisions in these patients. We demonstrated that, without the use of the 70-gene signature, half of patients was advised chemotherapy, which reflects the current controversy regarding chemotherapy benefit. Use of the 70-gene signature changed the chemotherapy advice in half of all patients and adherence to the 70-gene signature result was high.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Yale / 16.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_33012" align="alignleft" width="200"]Cary P. Gross, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT Dr. Cary Gross[/caption] Cary P. Gross, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior work has demonstrated racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.  As the oncology field has progressed over the past decade, the use of genetic testing to guide treatment decisions is one of the most exciting new developments. Our team was concerned that these new gene tests, which can offer important benefits, may have the potential to exacerbate disparities further.  That is, if there is unequal access to gene testing among patients for whom it is recommended, then our progress against cancer will not be equitably shared among people of all races and ethnicities.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Science / 09.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chenfang Dong Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Disease Proteomics Zhejiang University School of Medicine Hangzhou China  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Basal-like breast cancer (BLBC), which generally falls into the triple-negative breast cancer subtype, is associated with an aggressive clinical history, early recurrence, distant metastasis and shorter survival. The treatment of BLBC is an unmet medical need due to the absence of effective targeted therapies and poor response to standard chemotherapy. Therefore, elucidating the determinants of aggressiveness and identifying the relevant targets in BLBC are urgently needed. In this study, we report that aldo-keto reductase 1 member B1 (AKR1B1) overexpression occurs specifically in BLBC and predicts poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. Our data reveal that AKR1B1 as a key modulator of tumor aggressiveness provides tumorigenic and metastatic advantage in basal-like breast cancer through a positive regulatory feedback loop that activates the EMT program and enhances CSC-like properties. Interestingly, epalrestat, the only AKR1B1 inhibitor that has been approved in Japan for the targeted treatment of diabetic complications, significantly inhibited cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro, suppressed tumorigenicity and metastasis of BLBC cells in mice models, displaying potent efficacy against BLBC.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Wistar / 28.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32490" align="alignleft" width="200"]Maureen E. Murphy, Ph.D. Professor and Program Leader, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Associate Director for Education and Career Development The Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 19104 Dr. Murphy[/caption] Maureen E. Murphy, Ph.D. Professor and Program Leader, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Associate Director for Education and Career Development The Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Murphy group discovered a coding-region variant of the p53 tumor suppressor gene, called Pro47Ser, that exists in individuals of African descent. In previous studies this group reported that this amino acid change reduces the ability of p53 to function as a tumor suppressor. In this study, African American women from two different large cohorts were assessed for the incidence of the Pro47Ser variant in pre-menopausal breast cancer. A modest but statistically significant association was found between Pro47Ser and pre-menopausal breast cancer.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Personalized Medicine / 24.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eran Andrechek, PhD Eran Andrechek, PhD Associate Professor Department of Physiology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI Associate Professor Department of Physiology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Of the various types of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer (lacking estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER2) has the worst outcome and is largely limited to chemotherapy for treatment.  Other types can be treated with personalized medicine, resulting in better outcome.  For instance, a HER2+ve breast cancer can be treated with Herceptin, which targets HER2 itself.  The fact that triple negative breast cancer lacks these sort of targeted treatments presents a clear need in breast cancer therapy. The goal of this study was to bring together our computational work using large databases from breast cancer with research into therapeutic options.  Essentially we wanted to ask if we could use patterns in what genes were being expressed to predict optimal therapy for triple negative breast cancer. 
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CMAJ, Lifestyle & Health / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc. Affiliate scientist Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, ON MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this review? Response: As a medical oncologist who has treated breast cancer patients for over 30 years, I have found that most of the women in my practice are desperately looking for things they can do beyond standard surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc. to increase their chance of cure.  Unfortunately, many fall prey to false claims they read over the Internet or hear from well-meaning friends and relatives.  As a result they turn to absurdly restrictive diets (eg. No meat, dairy or sugar) or to ‘supplements’ with unproven effectiveness or even safety. So I thought it would be helpful to review the literature to determine what evidence-based lifestyle changes these women could make that would at least improve their overall health and, ideally, reduce their risk of dying of recurrent breast cancer.  For this review I thought it would be great to team up with Julia Hamer, a pre-med student with a degree in nutrition who just happens to also be an Olympic level athlete!
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 17.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32122" align="alignleft" width="114"]Carlos H. Barcenas M.D., M.Sc. Assistant Professor Department of Breast Medical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center Dr. Carlos Barcenas[/caption] Carlos H. Barcenas M.D., M.Sc. Assistant Professor Department of Breast Medical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the last decade we have realized that we were over-treating many early stage breast cancer patients. In addition to the chemotherapy’s obvious side effects, there are also long term complications for breast cancer survivors. Since 2005, we are using a 21-gene-expression assay that predicts the risk of distant recurrence among early stage breast cancer patients. In 2015, initial results from the international clinical trial, TAILORx, found that women with hormone receptor positive, HER2 and lymph node negative early stage disease that had a low recurrence score (RS) of 0-10 from this assay could have chemotherapy omitted altogether. While these findings changed care for women with a low RS, questions remain regarding the management of women with an intermediate RS, defined by this trial as a RS of 11-25. For our retrospective, single-institution study we identified 1,424 stage I and II breast cancer patients with hormone receptor positive, HER2 and lymph node negative treated between 2005 and 2011 who underwent the 21-gene expression assay. The RS distribution was: 297 (21 percent) scored 0–10; 894 (63 percent) scored 11-25; and 233 (16 percent) scored >25. Of those groups, 1.7, 15 and 73.4 percent received chemotherapy, respectively. With a median follow up of 58 months, those with a RS of 11-25 had an invasive disease-free survival (IDFS) rate at five years of 92.6 percent, regardless if patients received chemotherapy or not. Among those patients who did not receive chemotherapy, the estimated rates of IDFS and overall survival was 93 percent and 98 percent, respectively, which was comparable to those who did receive chemotherapy.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 16.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:: [caption id="attachment_32079" align="alignleft" width="160"]Margaret Q. Rosenzweig PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN Acute and Tertiary Care Department University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Margaret Rosenzweig[/caption] Margaret Q. Rosenzweig PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN Acute and Tertiary Care Department University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A significant survival disparity still exists between African American and non-Hispanic white women diagnosed with breast cancer. There is evidence that symptom incidence, associated distress, and overall cancer-related distress may be unexplored, important contributing factors. The current study was a secondary, exploratory aim from the Attitudes, Communication, Treatment, and Support (ACTS) Intervention to Reduce Breast Cancer Treatment Disparity study, which is a randomized controlled trial of a psychoeducational intervention to encourage acceptance and adherence to chemotherapy compared with usual care for  African American women with breast cancer. The purpose of the current study was to: 1) describe and compare the number of chemotherapy-related symptoms and associated distress among AA women with breast cancer over the course of chemotherapy at 3 time points (at baseline before initiating chemotherapy, midpoint, and at the completion of chemotherapy); and 2) to describe the relationship between the number of chemotherapy-related symptoms and overall cancer distress compared with the ability to receive at least 85% of the prescribed chemotherapy within the prescribed timeframe.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 16.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32075" align="alignleft" width="130"]Dr. med. Rachel Würstlein</strong> Senior Specialist Clinic and Polyclinic for Obstetrics and Gynecology Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München • Campus Innenstadt Munich Dr. Rachel Wuerstlein[/caption] Dr. med. Rachel Würstlein Senior Specialist Clinic and Polyclinic for Obstetrics and Gynecology Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München • Campus Innenstadt Munich MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Gene expression profiles provide important information on the risk of recurrence, and subtyping in HR+ HER2- early breast cancer, in addition to conventional clinicopathological factors. The PRIMe study was performed by the West German Study Group (WSG) and prospectively investigated the impact of the gene expression tests MammaPrint, a 70-Gene Breast Cancer Recurrence Assay, and the corresponding 80-Gene Molecular Subtyping Assay, BluePrint, on adjuvant chemotherapy decisions for early-stage breast cancer patients. To do this, a risk assessment (chemotherapy followed by endocrine therapy, versus endocrine therapy alone) for distant metastasis was performed in 452 patients from 27 study centers using conventional clinicopathological factors such as tumour size and grade first, then compared to the results of the gene expression tests MammaPrint and BluePrint. Doctors and patients then reviewed the results and made a decision on the optimal treatment plan, namely in deciding whether or not patients would benefit from, and should therefore be treated with adjuvant chemotherapy.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Breast Cancer, Dermatology, JAMA / 15.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31983" align="alignleft" width="225"]Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US Dr. Julie Nangia[/caption] Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was fueled by the feedback from women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. One of the most distressing side effects of their treatment is hair loss. It robs them of their anonymity and, for many, their femininity. Scalp cooling therapy has been available for a few years in the UK, but has faced obstacles in FDA clearance in the states. The makers of the scalp cooling device used in this study, Paxman Coolers Ltd., have a personal connection to breast cancer, as the company founder’s wife passed away from the disease. This was the first randomized scalp cooling study, and it shows that the Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System is an effective therapy for reducing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. The results show a 50% increase in hair preservation of grade 0 or 1, meaning use of a scarf or wig is not necessary, in patients who received the scalp cooling therapy as opposed to those who did not.
AACR, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Mammograms / 10.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31912" align="alignleft" width="174"]Mammogram showing small lesion - Wikipedia Mammogram showing small lesion
- Wikipedia[/caption] Firas Dabbous, PhD Manager, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Russell Institute for Research & Innovation Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Park Ridge, IL  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: When women are told that there is something abnormal on their screening mammogram that can cause stress and worry while undergoing additional testing, even when they are later told that there is nothing wrong. We wanted to know if receiving a false positive screening mammogram would cause women to think twice before getting their next screening mammogram, and maybe delay coming back for their next screen. This is important because patients who have a false positive experience may have higher chance to develop breast cancer at a later point in time. Therefore, it is important to understand their screening patterns to better educate and inform them about the importance of adhering to mammography guidelines and emphasize the importance of returning on schedule for their next screens.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 07.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xiyuan Zhang PhD and Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD Professor of Oncology Georgetown University Research Building, Room E407 Washington, DC 20057 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Breast cancer is the most common cancer type in women and it also is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the United States. Every year, over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the US and this number reached over 1.5 million worldwide in 2012. Asian women exhibit much lower risk of breast cancer than Caucasian women, accounting for about one fifth of the breast cancer incidence in Western women. Therefore, researchers have been intensively studying and aiming to decipher the difference between these two populations. Results of previous research from our laboratory and by others, in animal models and humans, indicate that higher intake of soy foods or soy isoflavone genistein during childhood is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. However, findings done using human breast cancer cells indicate that soy isoflavones stimulate growth of breast cancer cells. Thus, there is an apparent controversy regarding soy isoflavones and breast cancer. 70% of all breast cancer cases are estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and are therefore treated with endocrine therapy, including with tamoxifen. Although these treatments effectively prevent recurrence in half of the ER+ breast cancer patients, the other half are resistant or develop resistance to the endocrine therapy and recur. Intriguingly, several studies done using human breast cancer cells in culture or in mice found that soy isoflavone genistein negates tamoxifen’s effects. However, observational studies in women suggest that those patients who consume most soy foods have the lowest risk of breast cancer recurrence. The present study was designed to address these conflicting findings using a preclinical animal model and to determine if lifetime isoflavone intake has different effect on tamoxifen’s ability to treat breast cancer than intake that starts when cancer is detected.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, UCSF / 06.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31761" align="alignleft" width="133"]Natalie Engmann, MSc PhD Candidate, Epidemiology and Translational Science Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics University of California, San Francisco Natalie Engmann[/caption] Natalie Engmann, MSc PhD Candidate, Epidemiology and Translational Science Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast density is well-established as a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Our study looked at what proportion of breast cancer cases in the entire population can be attributed to risk factors routinely collected in clinical practice, including breast density, measured using the clinical Breast Imaging and Reporting Scale (BI-RADS) categories.