Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Nature / 10.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Mammogram" by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0Prof. Cathrin Brisken MD, PhD ISREC, School of Life Sciences Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale (EPFL) CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Estrogen receptor signaling has been well characterized in various in vitro models, like breast cancer cell lines.  Understanding estrogen receptor action in complex in vivo context is much more challenging. We obtained elegant mouse models in which either all estrogen receptor function or specifically either the hormone dependent (AF-2) or the hormone independent (AF-1) function were ablated. Using the mammary glands from these mice we performed tissue recombination studies to discern the role of the different aspects of estrogen receptor signaling in the mouse mammary epithelium and its different cell populations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JNCI / 09.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Angela Mariotto PhD Chief of the Data Analytics Branch Surveillance Research Program (SRP) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences National Cancer Institute (NCI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Progressing to metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is one of the major concerns for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Before our study there were no reliable numbers on risk of metastatic breast cancer recurrence after a (non-metastatic) breast cancer diagnosis, as registries do not routinely collect this data. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "JFK Plaza/ Breast Cancer Awareness" by nakashi is licensed under CC BY 2.0Univ.- Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schreiner Section Biosimulation and Bioinformatics Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics, and Intelligent Systems Medical University of Vienna General Hospital WIEN / AUSTRIA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The choice of correct individualized therapy for breast cancer depends on correct diagnosis: receptors for estrogen, progesterone and HER2 are determined routinely. However 5-10% of these routine diagnostics are inaccurate and may entail suboptimal therapy. We have paved the way for additional diagnostics from gene expression data so as to increase precision of diagnostics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Red Meat / 05.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "bacon&eggs" by ilaria is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Maryam Farvid, Ph.D., Research Scientist   Department of Nutrition 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: Prior prospective studies on red and processed meat consumption with risk of breast cancer have produced inconsistent results. Current meta-analysis of 15 prospective studies shows that women who eat a high amount of processed meat each day may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don't eat or have a low intake in their diet.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 30.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sage J. Kim, PhD Division of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study examined the rates at which women who received patient navigation in a randomized clinical trial reported barriers to obtaining a screening mammogram. The trial, called the Patient Navigation in Medically Underserved Areas (PNMUA) study, randomly assigned patients to one of two groups: one received a patient navigation support intervention and the other served as a control. Of the 3,754 women who received the patient navigation intervention, only 14 percent identified one or more barriers to care, which led to additional interactions with navigators who helped overcome barriers. Black women, women living in poverty, and women who reported high levels of distrust of the health care system were the least likely to report barriers. Women who reported barriers were more likely to have additional contact with navigators and obtain a subsequent screening mammogram. The extra support could help with early diagnosis and better survival and mortality outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Surgical Research / 17.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients. This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, MD Anderson / 15.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kelly K. Hunt, MD Department of Breast Surgical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We completed a neoadjuvant trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center and published the results in 2005 demonstrating that trastuzumab delivered in combination with anthracycline and taxane based chemotherapy resulted in pathologic complete response rates of up to 60% in patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer. This was a single institutions study and there was concern about cardiac toxicity when using anthracyclines and trastuzumab concurrently. We therefore worked with the NCI cooperative groups, the American College of surgeons oncology group (ACOSOG), to design the ACOSOG Z1041 trial. This trial compared to different regimens in the neoadjuvant setting, one regimen utilizing concurrent anthracycline and taxanes based chemotherapy with trastuzumab and the other regimen utilizing concurrent taxanes with trastuzumab but the anthracycline was delivered in a sequential fashion. The primary end point of the trial was pathologic complete response rates in the breast. The results from this primary end point were published in the Lancet Oncology in 2013 and showed that the pathologic complete response rates were the same with the 2 different regimens. This was important since patients could be assured of similar efficacy without the potential added toxicity of delivering anthracyclines and trastuzumab together. The current publication is a report of the disease-free and overall survival rates from the Z1041 trial. Several studies have shown an association between pathologic complete response rates and survival. The current study shows that there is no difference in survival rates between the 2 different regimens. So once again there is an association between pathologic complete response and survival and it is not important that the anthracycline and trastuzumab are given concurrently in order to achieve these high pathologic complete response rates and improve survival rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, Mammograms / 25.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa A Newman, MD Director of the Breast Oncology Program for the multi-hospital Henry Ford  Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In 2009 the United States Preventive Services Task Force published a guideline recommending that American women at average risk for breast cancer defer undergoing screening mammography until they reach the age of 50 years. Prior to this publication, women were widely-encouraged to initiate annual mammography at age 40 years. Women that have a history of breast cancer are automatically considered to be at increased risk for developing a new breast cancer, and so routine screening mammography guidelines do not apply to them. These women require annual mammography regardless of age, unless they have undergone a bilateral mastectomy. We utilized data from Michigan Blue Cross/Blue Shield to evaluate patterns of mammography utilization among women age 40-49 years, comparing rates before versus after 2009, when the USPSTF guideline was published. We analyzed women that had a prior history of breast cancer separately from those that had no history of breast cancer, and we excluded women that underwent bilateral mastectomy. Disturbingly, we found that mammography utilization rates declined among women with a history of breast cancer as well as among those with no history of breast cancer in the post-2009 timeline. This suggested to us that changes in screening recommendations may have had the unintended consequence of generating confusion and misunderstandings regarding the value of mammography among women that undeniably benefit from this imaging, such as those with a history of breast cancer.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy / 22.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kathleen Horst, MD Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology (Radiation Therapy) Stanford University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We were interested in focusing on young women with breast cancer as this is a high-risk patient population that is not studied on its own in clinical trials. Furthermore, the available data on treating breast cancer with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) does not include detailed outcomes for women under the age of 40 years. Because most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in this age group will have aggressive disease, most of them will be treated with NAC followed by surgery. From prospective randomized trials we know that women with breast cancer who attain a pathologic complete response (PCR) to neoadjuvant chemotherapy fare significantly better than those who do not. In addition, existing data suggest that a complete response in the lymph nodes also portends a better prognosis. This is the foundation for the currently ongoing NSABP B-51/RTOG 1304 trial, which is evaluating the role of nodal irradiation in those women who attain a pathologic complete response in the lymph nodes after NAC. We wanted to know whether differences in pathologic response in the breast versus lymph nodes led to different clinical outcomes in this patient group. We evaluated outcomes following neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer in 155 women age 40 and younger. We focused on pathologic response in the breast and lymph nodes as predictors of disease recurrence and survival. We found that any residual disease in either the breast or lymph nodes lessened the chance of cure significantly. Importantly, women who attained a complete response in the lymph nodes but continued to have residual disease in the breast fared just as poorly as those who remained lymph node positive following neoadjuvant chemotherapy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA, Ovarian Cancer / 21.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ambry GeneticsShuwei Li, PhD Principal Statistical Geneticist Ambry Genetics MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, while ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of death due to cancer, in US women. Since the discovery of BRCA1 and BRCA2, multiple genes have been reported as risk factors; however, it is still unclear whether the known findings represent the complete genetic landscape of breast and ovarian cancers. Our team performed exome sequencing on more than 10,000 breast and/or ovarian cancer patients and nearly 4,000 controls. We observed increased risk of breast cancer associated with PALB2, ATM, CHEK2 and MSH6 genes, and increased risk of ovarian cancer associated with MSH6, RAD51C, TP53 and ATM genes.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Radiation Therapy / 14.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steven Narod, MD, FRCPC, FRSC Senior Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute Director, Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit, Women's College Research Institute Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Professor, Department of Medicine Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In the past we have shown that about 3 percent of women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) will die of breast cancer within 20  years of diagnosis.   In the current study, we took a very close look at how the different treatments impact on the risk of dying of breast cancer. Women with DCIS are at risk for  both a new cancer within the breast and dying of breast cancer from cells that spread beyond the breast (lung, liver, brain and bone).   About 20% of DCIS patients will get a new breast cancer within the breast at 20 years.
  • We show here that it is not necessary to develop a new cancer within the breast to die of breast cancer,  in some cases the DCIS spreads directly in the absence of local recurrence.
  • We show that radiotherapy can prevent 25% of the deaths from breast cancer after DCIS. And this has nothing to do with local recurrence.
  • We show that mastectomy reduces the chance of a getting a new cancer (local recurrence) but  doesn’t reduce the chance of dying of breast cancer.
So, if the goal is to prevent new cancers in the breast -   then mastectomy is the best treatment If the goal is to prevent the woman from dying of breast cancer - then radiotherapy is the best treatment.  (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer / 01.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “smoking” by shira gal is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jose M. Martín-Sánchez IP of this study Grupo de Evaluación de Determinantes de Salud y Políticas Sanitarias Universitat Internacional de Catalunya Sant Cugat del Vallès Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer has been the first cause of death from cancer among women. However, the mortality rates of breast cancer have been decreased in the last years. This downward trend can be attributed to treatment and screening programs. On the other hand, smoking has been increased among women during the last century and the main cause of lung cancer is smoking behavior. Based on this data, we hypothesized that the lung cancer mortality could outweigh the breast cancer mortality in the next years and the main purpose of this study was to project the mortality rates of lung cancer and breast cancer in women worldwide, based in previous data and using Bayesian methods, in order to identify potential strategies of public health to reduce the impact of lung cancer. Moreover, previous works described the lung and breast cancer mortality or projected one of them in a single country. For example, we have published two articles with data of Spain one of them with the description of lung cancer mortality trend in men and women and other with the projection of lung and breast cancer among women. The information of this study provides an overall point view around the word of this problem of public health. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Mammograms, Medical Imaging / 29.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michal Horný PhD Assistant Professor Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences Emory University Rollins School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management Atlanta, GA 30322 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Increased breast tissue density is a common finding at screening mammography. Approximately 30-50% of women have so-called “dense breasts” but many of them are not aware of it. The problem is that the increased tissue density can potentially mask early cancers. In other words, if there is cancer hiding in dense breast tissue, it could be difficult to spot it. To improve the awareness of breast tissue density, a patient group called Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc., started lobbying state and federal policymakers to pass laws mandating health care providers to notify women about their breast density assessments. As a result, 31 states have already enacted some form of legislation regarding dense breast tissue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Nature / 23.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Luca Magnani, Ph.D CRUK Fellow/Senior Research Fellow Department of Surgery and Cancer Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine Room 140 1st floor ICTEM building Imperial College Hammersmith London, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by the Yin Yang1 molecule? Response: This study was designed to investigate the evidence of non-genetic mechanisms that could contribute to breast cancer biology. Specifically, we developed a map of regulatory regions from luminal breast cancer patients. Regulatory regions are pieces of DNA that are not transcribed into protein-coding genes but they provide information about where and how much each gene should be activated. It is worth highlighting that cancer is not only the consequence of gene mutations but also the result of the wrong genes expressed at the wrong time.  To catalogue regulatory regions we looked for specific modifications that are strongly associated with their activity (epigenetic modifications). Doing so we developed the first extensive catalogue  of non-coding DNA regions that might play an essential role in regulating how breast cancer cell behaves. Regulatory regions do their job by interacting with specific molecules called transcription factors. These molecules can read the information stored in these regulatory regions and contribute to regulate gene expression. Yin Yang 1 is one of such molecules and was previously thought as a ambiguous player capable of activating or repressing gene activity.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 06.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Nora Pashayan PhD

Clinical Reader in Applied Health Research

University College London

Dept of Applied Health Research

London 

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

Response: Not all women have the same risk of developing breast cancer and not all women have the same potential to benefit from screening.

 

If the screening programme takes into account the individual variation in risk, then evidence from different studies indicate that this could improve the efficiency of the screening programme. However, questions remain on what is the best risk-stratified screening strategy, does risk-stratified screening add value for money, and what are benefit and harm trade-offs.

(more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, PLoS, Vitamin D / 22.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E. Adjunct Professor Division of Epidemiology Department of Family Medicine and Public Health University of California San Diego La Jolla, California 92093-0620 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Studies mapping death rates from female breast cancer in the US, the former USSR and Canada by Drs. Edward Gorham, and Frank and Cedric Garland revealed for the first time in history that death rates from breast cancer tracked latitude where people lived. The rates were highest in the least sunny northern tier of states, lowest in the sunny southwest. This led these scientists to be the first to theorize that vitamin D prevents breast cancer” said study first author Sharon McDonnell. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, MD Anderson / 08.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Naoto Tada Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P. Executive Director, Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TXNaoto Tada Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P. Executive Director, Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The best outcome of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is dependent on achieving a pathological completed response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for primary inflammatory breast cancer, which is the most aggressive type of breast cancer. We have conducted extensive preclinical work, which showed that EGFR is a potential therapeutic targets of IBC. Based on this preclinical data, we have conducted a phase II study to determine the pathological complete response rate of panitumumab plus neoadjuvant chemotherapy for HER2 negative primary inflammatory breast cancer.  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 06.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Aditya Bardia  MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Medicine Harvard Medical School Attending Physician, Medical Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/ and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer is the most common sub-type of breast cancer. While metastatic HR+/HER2- breast cancer is initially treated with endocrine therapy-based combinations, including CDK 4/6 inhibitors, patients eventually have disease progression, but the response rate to standard chemotherapy is low (~10-15 percent, post-taxane setting). In particular, patients with visceral disease have a poor prognosis. In this trial, we evaluated the efficacy of sacituzumab govitecan in patients with metastatic HR+/HER2- breast cancer, who had measurable disease and had received prior therapies for metastatic breast cancer. We observed an overall response rate of 31 percent in a heavily pre-treated population (prior number of therapies for metastatic breast cancer = 5; number of patients with prior CDK 4/6 inhibitor use = 69 percent). The responses were durable (median duration of response = 7.4 months). Neutropenia was the main adverse event noted (grade 3 neutropenia = 42 percent), and two patients (3.7 percent) discontinued the clinical trial due to adverse events. The response rate in patients with visceral metastaseswas 27 percent.  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research / 05.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore, MD, MPH Chief Medical Officer of Tyme Inc. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Metastatic breast cancer, sometimes also called “stage IV” or “advanced breast cancer,” is the most extensive stage of breast cancer. It is an invasive cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, most often bones, lungs, liver, and brain. The current standard of care for metastatic breast cancer is systemic drug therapies, such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs or a combination of these.  Because they reach every cell in the body, they have side effects that can worsen the patient’s quality of life. Existing treatments cannot cure metastatic breast cancer and are palliative in intent. This presents a great unmet need and challenge in treating patients with metastatic breast cancer. SM-88 is a novel relatively non-toxic combination therapy that harnesses cancer’s unique cell metabolism and oxidative stress to selectively drive cancer cell death. Earlier studies with SM-88 therapy demonstrated its potential efficacy in breast and other metastatic cancers. In this current report, we assessed the efficacy of SM-88 in patients with metastatic breast cancer from the first in human “Phase 1” and compassionate use programs from 2012 to 2017. Data demonstrated the potential efficacy of SM-88 in metastatic breast cancer with favorable safety and quality of life profiles. In addition, there were no indications of cross-resistance based on hormone profile, previous treatments or metastatic site. This is an extremely important finding since most cancer deaths are due to resistance to subsequent therapies.  As predicted by the SM-88 mechanism of action, we could not detect this problem with SM-88 use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA / 05.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Guy Jerusalem, MD, PhD CHU Sart Tilman Liege and Liege University Liege, Belgium MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: BOLERO-6 was conducted to fulfill postapproval regulatory commitments to the FDA and EMA to estimate treatment benefit with EVE + EXE vs EVE alone or CAP for ER+, HER2− ABC that had progressed on an NSAI. Everolimus plus exemestane has not previously been compared with everolimus alone or capecitabine in a randomized setting.Data describing everolimus alone are limited to a single phase 2 study of just 19 patients. Thus, the FDA deemed it important to ascertain the efficacy of everolimus alone for ER+ breast cancer, and to determine the contribution of exemestane to combination therapy with everolimus. Capecitabine is often the first chemotherapeutic agent given for ER+ breast cancer that has progressed on anti-estrogen therapy. It has a reported PFS of 4.1–7.9 months among patients with HER2-negative advanced breast cancer. However, it has a different safety profile to everolimus or exemestane, and a comparison of endocrine-based combination therapy with single-agent chemotherapy was yet to be conducted. The median PFS with EVE + EXE (8.4 months) was consistent with BOLERO-2 (7.8 months), and compared to EVE alone here (6.8 months) corresponded to an estimated 26% reduction of risk of disease progression or death (HR 0.74). A numerical median PFS difference was observed for CAP over EVE + EXE (9.6 vs 8.4 months), which may be attributed to various baseline characteristics favoring CAP and potential informative censoring. The median PFS with capacitabine was longer than expected based on previous trials. Interpretation of the results of BOLERO-6 must consider the limited sample size and open-label design.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Technology, University of Michigan / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis / 05.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chenfang Dong, Ph.D & M.D. Professor Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology Zhejiang University School of Medicine,  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 a poor clinical outcome due to few treatment options and poor therapeutic response; thus there is a pressing need to elucidate the determinants of aggressiveness in BLBC and identify potential therapeutic targets for this challenging disease. By analyzing gene expression profiles of breast cancer in multiple publicly available datasets that contain over 5000 cases, we have identified that UDP-galactose ceramide galactosyltransferase (UGT8), a key enzyme in the sulfatide biosynthetic pathway, promotes BLBC progression by activating sulfatide-αVβ5 axis. Importantly, we identify that zoledronic acid (ZA), a marketed drug for treating osteoporosis and bone metastasis, is a direct inhibitor of UGT8, which has the potential to become a valuable targeted drug for treating Basal-like breast cancer.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Radiation Therapy / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chelain Goodman, MD PhD PGY-3, Radiation Oncology Northwestern University Chicago, IL 60611 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Circulating tumor cells are cancer cells that are shed from the primary tumor into the peripheral blood stream and are hypothesized to be one of the first steps in the initiation of metastatic progression. Prospective studies have demonstrated that approximately 15-25% of patients with early-stage breast cancer can be found to have at least one circulating tumor cell in a small sample of their blood. Currently, all patients with early-stage invasive breast cancer who undergo breast conserving surgery receive adjuvant radiation therapy. In these analyses, we wanted to determine whether presence of circulating tumor cells may be predictive of benefit of radiation therapy following surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Mammograms / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Marie McCarthy, PhD Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mammography is effective in reducing breast cancer mortality. However, it is not perfect, and approximately 15% of breast cancers are diagnosed despite a negative mammogram before the next recommended screening. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: Using data from the NCI funded PROSPR (Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens) Consortium, we determined the rates of cancer diagnosis within one year following a negative or positive screening mammogram. The rate of cancer diagnosis within one year of a negative mammogram was small (5.9 per 10,000 screenings), but those cancers were more likely to have poor prognosis than cancers diagnosed after a positive mammogram (43.8% vs. 26.9%). As expected, women with dense breasts were more likely to have cancer diagnosed within 1 year of a negative mammogram. However, breast density was not a good predictor of poor prognosis among women diagnosed with cancer after a negative mammogram. Younger women were more likely to be diagnosed with poor prognosis breast cancer after a negative screening mammogram. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, Kaiser Permanente, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer / 02.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew P. Banegas, PhD, MPH Center for Health Research Kaiser Permanente MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite a large body of research on cancer care costs, we observed a significant evidence gap. Namely, while about one-half of cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur among people under age 65, it can be difficult to find good data on the costs of care for this population. That’s because most of the current literature on cancer care costs is based on SEER Medicare data, which are limited to Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. At a time of rising costs and an ever-increasing number of new therapies, we felt it was important to improve our understanding of cancer costs for U.S. adults of all ages. We examined medical care costs for the four most common types of cancer in the United States: breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JNCI, UT Southwestern / 16.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yingfei Wang, Ph.D. and Weibo Luo, Ph.D. Department of Pathology UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas TX 75390 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Tumor metastasis is frequently found in breast cancer patients and causes more than 90% of cancer death. There is currently no cure for this deadly disease. We have known that breast tumor is not supplied with sufficient oxygen (a phenomenon known as hypoxia), which makes breast cancer cells more aggressive and may be responsible for tumor recurrence, metastasis, and therapy resistance. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a master regulator frequently detected in the hypoxic regions and switches on many oncogenes needed for breast cancer cells to grow and spread around the body. The role of HIF in gene regulation is precisely controlled and shutting down of HIF’s activity would be a promising strategy for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Novartis / 26.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melanie E. RoyceMDPhD Division of Hematology/Oncology University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center Albuquerque MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: BOLERO-4 is an open label, single-arm, Phase II study that evaluates the combination of everolimus plus letrozole as a first-line treatment for hormone receptor (HR)-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-negative advanced breast cancer patients, as well as the use of everolimus plus exemestane beyond initial progression. Results of the BOLERO-4 trial published in JAMA Oncology showed that everolimus in combination with endocrine therapy is an effective first-line treatment option for postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer. A total of 202 patients received everolimus in combination with letrozole as first-line treatment between March 7, 2013 and December 17, 2014. Median progression-free survival (PFS) in the first-line setting was 22.0 months (95% CI 18.1-25.1) with an overall response rate of 45% (95% CI 38.1-52.2) and clinical benefit rate of 74% (95% CI 67.7-80.1). A total of 152 (75%) discontinued treatment, primarily due to disease progression (51%) or adverse events (16%). Data from a smaller number of patients in BOLERO-4 also show limited efficacy with continued everolimus, combined with exemestane, following disease progression. Second-line treatment was ongoing in 16 (32%) patients, while 34 (68%) had discontinued. The most frequent reason for second-line treatment discontinuation was disease progression (56%). In the second-line setting, median PFS was 3.7 months (95% CI 1.9-7.4) with an overall response of 6% (95% CI 1.3-16.5) and clinical benefit rate of 28% (95% CI 16.2-42.5). Safety findings from BOLERO-4 are consistent with previous studies of Afinitor in advanced breast cancer. The most common (≥ 20% incidence) first-line all-grade adverse events were stomatitis (69%), weight loss (44%), nausea (37%) and anemia (35%). Most were ‘low grade’ in severity (grade 1 or 2) and generally well managed. Safety findings show the most common (≥ 10% incidence) second-line adverse events were stomatitis (20%) and weight loss (20%). Lower rates of stomatitis in second-line were noted.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Science, Weight Research / 22.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dai Fukumura, M.D., Ph.D Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology Harvard Medical School Deputy Director, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory, Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA      Dr. Joao Incio PhD Post-Doc, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory           Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Tumor Biology and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology Rradiation oncology department Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Based on promising data from preclinical studies and subsequent increase in progression-free survival in patients, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy received accelerated approval for metastatic breast cancer. However, this approval was withdrawn in the United States based on the lack of overall survival benefit in several subsequent phase III studies in metastatic and adjuvant settings. Potential mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy include the upregulation of alternative angiogenic and pro-inflammatory factors. Production of some of these factors has been shown to increase in obesity specifically in hypoxic adipose tissues including the breast. Given that up to 70% of breast cancer (BC) patients in the United States are overweight or obese, we addressed one simple but important question in this study: Is obesity contributing to anti-VEGF treatment resistance in breast cancer? (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Schizophrenia / 13.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chuanjun Zhuo, MD, PhD Department of Psychiatric Laboratory Department of Psychiatric Neuroimaging Faculty Tianjin Mental Health Center Tianjin, China  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: According to previous epidemiological studies, women with schizophrenia may be associated with significantly increased risk of breast cancer. However, the results of these studies were not always consistent. In view of the fact that medical care for patients with schizophrenia is becoming multidisciplinary, we aimed to evaluate the risk of breast cancer in women with schizophrenia via a meta-analysis of relevant cohort studies. We included twelve cohorts and adopted the recently proposed prediction interval to evaluate the heterogeneity among the included studies. We found that schizophrenia was associated with about 30% increased risk of breast cancer incidence in women. However, significant heterogeneity existed of the included studies, which indicates that more extensive researches into the potential mechanisms underlying the associations between schizophrenia and breast cancer risk are needed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen E. Murphy, Ph.D. Program Leader and Professor Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis and Subhasree Basu PhD Postdoctoral researcher The Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unlike most other genes that are intimately involved in the cause of cancer, the p53 gene displays considerable genetic variation; in other words, p53 is unusual among cancer genes in that the amino acids in p53 protein can frequently differ amongst different populations and ethnic groups. Additionally, unlike most other tumor suppressor genes, when p53 is mutated in a tumor, as it is in 50% of human cancers, that mutant protein now has a positive function in cancer progression, changing tumor metabolism and promoting tumor metastasis. In this study, the authors analyze for the first time the impact of a common genetic variant in p53 (single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP) in the ability of mutant p53 to promote tumor metabolism and metastasis, and they find significant differences.  (more…)