Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Mammograms / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen W. Duffy Professor of Cancer Screening Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The phenomenon of length bias, whereby screening has more chance of detecting slow growing tumours, has been known about for some years. This has led some colleagues to speculate that breast cancer screening only benefits those with slow-growing, less aggressive cancers, and does not reduce deaths from more aggressive, rapidly progressing cancers. In this study, we addressed this question directly using data from a randomised trial of mammographic screening. We calculated the reduction in mortality from grade 1 (less aggressive), grade 2 (intermediate) and grade 3 (most aggressive) cancers, as a result of screening. We found that the greatest reduction in breast cancer mortality was from the aggressive, fast-growing grade 3 cancers, contrary to what had been suspected.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research / 19.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amanda Toland, PhD, Cancer biology and genetics researcher of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Breast Information Core (or BIC) is a database that catalogs BRCA1 and BRCA2 sequenced variants.  The BIC is hosted by the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH and has a steering committee that oversees the BIC and has members from Europe, the middle East, Australia and the US.  In BIC SC discussions, we learned that there are differences in how BRCA1/2 clinical is testing between countries. To characterize this variation, we performed an international survey of 86 genetic testing labs from around the world. Our main findings are that there were many variations between testing laboratories.  These include: technologies differed for finding “large” genetic sequence variants, what parts of the genes were assessed, how genetic variants were classified as disease associated or not being associated with diseases, if genetic sequencing information was shared in public databases and testing volume. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 08.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Clara Nan-hi Lee, MD Comprehensive Cancer Center The Ohio State UniversityDr. Clara Nan-hi Lee, MD Comprehensive Cancer Center The Ohio State University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The decision about breast reconstruction is very challenging because it’s unfamiliar, involves complex risk information, affects very personal concerns, and happens at a stressful time. One of the challenges is to predict how one will feel after the surgery. We know from psychology research that people often mis-predict their future emotions. So we were interested to see how well women predict their future well being after surgery. The main findings are that patients having mastectomy without reconstruction believed they would be less satisfied than they turned out to be. And patients having mastectomy with reconstruction believed they would be more satisfied than they turned out to be. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Yale / 28.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lajos Pusztai, M.D, D.Phil. Professor of Medicine Director of Breast Cancer Translational Research Co-Director of the Yale Cancer Center Genetics, Genomics and Epigenetics Program Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT  06511 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Overall, about 85% of newly diagnosed stage I-III breast cancer patients will not die of their disease, and this roughly equates to an 85% cure rate. Of course cure rates are higher for stage I cancers and lower for stage III cancers. An 85% overall cure rate is good but not good enough, we continuously try to develop new therapies hoping to push these rates to 90%...,95%...etc. However, it is not possible to cure a patient twice over. For example, if surgery plus endocrine therapy cures all patients, the addition of chemotherapy cannot improve on it no matter how effective it is. If surgery plus endocrine therapy cures 95%, adding the perfect chemo to this treatment can only bring about a 5% improvement, and very good chemo that would push cure from 95% to 97%, would require a very large trial including many thousands of patients. This is an increasingly common scenario in modern breast cancer adjuvant trials (where the goal is to improve survival and cure); the control arm that receives the current standard of care invariably does better than expected and the experimental arm only improves outcome by 1-3% that does not reach statistical significance.  The painful conclusion from these trials is that we do not know if the new drug actually works or not because there were not enough events to demonstrate an effect. Of course, a lot of patients in the study were also exposed to a new drug with all of its associated toxicities who could not possibly benefit from it. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Lymphoma / 23.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mintsje de Boer, MD Resident plastic surgery Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand-Surgery Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht the Netherland On behalf of the Netherlands BIA-ALCL Consortium: Daphne de Jong (Hematopathologist, VU university medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Hinne Rakhorst (Plastic Surgeon, MST/ZGT, Enschede, the Netherlands) René van der Hulst (Plastic surgeon, MUMC+ Maastricht, the Netherlands) Flora van Leeuwen (Epidemiologist, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Jan Paul de Boer (Hemato-oncologist, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) Lucy Overbeek (Database expert PALGA, Houten, the Netherlands),  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Breast implants are one of the most commonly used medical devices worldwide. Associations with breast cancer, connective tissue diseases and auto-immune diseases have never been unequivocally supported. For lymphoma risk, this is different and several reports have suggested an association between breast implants and risk of anaplastic large cell lymphoma in the breast (breast-ALCL). Over the past few years, the number of women with breast implants reported with breast-ALCL has strongly increased. This has resulted in significant attention amongst medical professionals and women alike with publications in medical journals and lay press. In part due to the rarity of the disease and due to the lack of breast implant prevalence data in the population, the absolute risks of breast-ALCL are largely unknown, precluding evidence-based counseling about implants. In the Netherlands, we are in the unique position to be able to retrieve all diagnosed breastALCL since 1990 as well as appropriate population-based control groups from the Nationwide Network and Registry of Histo- and Cytopathology in the Netherlands (PALGA). This has allowed a formal epidemiological risk assessment study based on sufficient numbers. Moreover, using combined and complementary sources of information, we have been able to determine age- and calendar year-specific implant prevalence rates to determine reliable absolute risks. This study could be successfully performed thanks to a multidisciplinary taskforce consisting of plastic surgeons, hematopathologists, epidemiologists, hemato-oncologists and radiologists from the several large institutions in the Netherlands  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, Technology / 13.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Babak Ehteshami Bejnordi Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Radboud University medical center, NijmegenBabak Ehteshami Bejnordi Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Radboud University medical center, Nijmegen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a crucial role in health care. Advances in a family of AI popularly known as deep learning have ignited a new wave of algorithms and tools that read medical images for diagnosis. Analysis of digital pathology images is an important application of deep learning but requires evaluation for diagnostic performance. Accurate breast cancer staging is an essential task performed by the pathologists worldwide to inform clinical management. Assessing the extent of cancer spread by histopathological analysis of sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) is an important part of breast cancer staging. Traditionally, pathologists endure time and labor-intensive processes to assess tissues by reviewing thousands to millions of cells under a microscope. Using computer algorithms to analyze digital pathology images could potentially improve the accuracy and efficiency of pathologists. In our study, we evaluated the performance of deep learning algorithms at detecting metastases in lymph nodes of patients with breast cancer and compared it to pathologist’s diagnoses in a diagnostic setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer, CDC, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 07.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Family Weekend 2014-Breast Cancer Walk” by Nazareth College is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jacqueline Miller, MD Division of Cancer Prevention and Control CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What efforts have proven successful in reducing racial disparities like these? Response: While some racial disparities will exist due to differences in tumor types, improving early diagnosis and providing specific treatment based on tumor characteristics in a timely fashion would result in reducing breast cancer disparities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NEJM, OBGYNE / 06.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Birth control pills” by lookcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0Lina Mørch PhD, MSc Senior Researcher Rigshospitalet MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There was a lack of evidence on contemporary hormonal contraception and risk of breast cancer. In particular the knowledge of risk with newer progestins was sparse. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 20.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hanna Irie MD PhD, senior author Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Oncological Sciences at The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study identified PTK6 as a critical gene regulating survival of ER+ breast cancer cells. PTK6 inhibition also suppresses growth and survival of ER+ breast cancer cells that are resistant to the effects of therapies commonly used to treat patient ER+ breast cancers, making PTK6 an attractive candidate therapeutic target for these resistant cancers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 08.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Hongchao Pan PhD Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We’ve known for a long time that recurrences can occur late in women with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancers. Our study aimed to assess how big the risk was for women who had taken endocrine treatment (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor) for 5 years, which greatly reduces the risk of recurrence (by about a half during treatment and one third for the 5 years after stopping). We also wanted to find out what factors influenced the risk of recurrence, and whether some women had such a low risk that they could safely stop hormonal treatment after 5 years or, conversely, whether other women had a particularly high risk so it would make sense for them to keep on taking hormonal treatment. What we found by following the progress of over 60,000 women who had stopped hormonal treatment at 5 years is that the risk of the cancer spreading stays about the same for the next 15 years. This risk is much higher for women whose breast cancer had spread to the nodes when first diagnosed but even for those with the best outlook (no spread to the lymph nodes and small tumours), there was a 10% chance of cancer spread over 15 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, OBGYNE / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hatem A. Azim Jr, MD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, American University of Beirut (AUB) Beirut, Lebanon  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study aimed at evaluating the safety of pregnancy after breast cancer particularly in patient with history of ER+ breast cancer; a subset in which safety of future pregnancy is always put into question by oncologists and obstetricians. This study included more than 300 pregnant women and 800 non-pregnant breast cancer patients who acted as a comparator group The results show that after more than 7 years after pregnancy, women who became pregnant did not have an increased risk of recurrence compared to those who did not become pregnant irrespective of ER status. There was no impact of breastfeeding, abortion or time of pregnancy on patient outcome. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judith A. Malmgren, PhD President, HealthStat Consulting, Inc Epidemiology Department University of Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has two types, de novo stage IV MBC discovered to be metastatic at initial diagnosis as advanced disease and recurrent MBC found on follow up after diagnosis and treatment for initial invasive breast cancer. Our institutional breast cancer registry tracks both de novo metastatic breast cancer and invasive breast cancer for distant metastases. With this information we were able to compare the presentation, treatment and outcomes of both types, something that is not possible in national SEER data as recurrent MBC is not tracked. We found a remarkable improvement in 5-year survival from 28% to 55% over time among the de novo metastatic breast cancer patients.  Recurrent MBC 5-year survival did not improve in the same time period (23% to 13%) although incidence of recurrent MBC fell from 18% to 7% from 1990 to 2010. Incidence of recurrent metastatic breast cancer hormone receptor and HER2 positive breast cancer declined the most, leaving a large number of triple-negative recurrent metastatic breast cancer cases in the most recent time period. Worse metastatic breast cancer survival was associated with recurrent vs. de novo MBC, hormone receptor negative disease, older age (70+) and visceral dominant disease. HER2 positive disease was associated with better outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Mammograms, Technology / 20.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manisha Bahl, MD, MPH Director, Breast Imaging Fellowship Program, Massachusetts General Hospital Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Image-guided biopsies that we perform based on suspicious findings on mammography can yield one of three pathology results: cancer, high-risk, or benign. Most high-risk breast lesions are noncancerous, but surgical excision is typically recommended because some high-risk lesions can be upgraded to cancer at surgery. Currently, there are no imaging or other features that reliably allow us to distinguish between high-risk lesions that warrant surgery from those that can be safely followed, which has led to unnecessary surgery of high-risk lesions that are not associated with cancer. We decided to apply machine learning algorithms to help us with this challenging clinical scenario: to distinguish between high-risk lesions that warrant surgery from those that can be safely followed. Machine learning allows us to incorporate the full spectrum of diverse and complex data that we have available, such as patient risk factors and imaging features, in order to predict which high-risk lesions are likely to be upgraded to cancer and, ultimately, to help our patients make more informed decisions about surgery versus surveillance. We developed the machine learning model with almost 700 high-risk lesions, then tested it with more than 300 high-risk lesions. Instead of surgical excision of all high-risk lesions, if those categorized with the model to be at low risk for upgrade were surveilled and the remainder were excised, then 97.4% malignancies would have been diagnosed at surgery, and 30.6% of surgeries of benign lesions could have been avoided. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 23.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebekah Nagler PhD Assistant professor Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication University of Minnesota  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Both the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) have stated that women in their 40s--or, in the case of ACS, women ages 40-44--should have the choice to decide when they want to start screening for breast cancer. These organizations recommend that women in this age group weigh the benefits and risks of mammography screening, with the goal of making an informed decision about when to start screening. Yet recent research has shown that women are more aware of the benefits of mammography screening than the harms, including overdiagnosis and overtreatment (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2247). We therefore wondered whether women actually have the information they need to make informed screening decisions. In a population-based sample of 429 U.S. women ages 35-55, we found that awareness of breast cancer overdiagnosis (16.5%) and overtreatment (18.0%) was low. Moreover, we found that most women did not find statements about these harms to be believable and persuasive. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 08.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wolfgang Janni, MD, PhD University of Ulm MONALEESA-2 investigator MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the MONALEESA-2 trial? What are the main findings? Response: The Phase III MONALEESA-2 trial was the primary study that supported the recent European approval of Kisqali (ribociclib). Findings from the study showed superior efficacy and demonstrated safety of Kisqali plus letrozole compared to letrozole alone in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer who received no prior therapy for their advanced breast cancer. The trial showed Kisqali plus letrozole reduced the risk of progression or death by 43% versus letrozole alone. At a pre-planned analysis, Kisqali plus letrozole demonstrated a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 25.3 months compared to 16.0 months for letrozole alone (HR=0.568 (95% CI: 0.457-0.704; p<0.0001)). More than half of patients (55%) with measurable disease taking Kisqali plus letrozole experienced a tumor reduction of at least 30%. Finally, Kisqali plus letrozole demonstrated rapid clinical improvement in patients with measurable disease, with 76% seeing a reduction in tumor size after only eight weeks versus 67% with letrozole alone. Most side effects in the MONALEESA-2 trial were mild to moderate in severity, identified early through routine monitoring, and generally managed through dose interruption and/or reduction. The most common grade 3/4 adverse events (reported at a frequency ≥5%) for Kisqali plus letrozole compared to letrozole alone were neutropenia (60% vs 1%, respectively), leukopenia (21% vs 1%), hypertension (10% vs. 11%), increased alanine aminotransferase level (9% vs. 1%), lymphopenia (7% vs. 1%) and increased aspartate aminotransferase level (6% vs. 1%). (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Breast Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 02.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Heiko Enderling, Ph.D. Associate Member & Director for Education and Outreach Dept. of Integrated Mathematical Oncology Dept. of Radiation Oncology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Tampa, FL 33612 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer has significantly improved patient prognosis, many patients will face a second cancer diagnosis within 20 years of primary treatment. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that local radiation therapy can activate an immune response that can propagate systemically to attack distant untreated metastases. However, current radiotherapy practice has not specifically focused on enhancing immune responses. We asked the question if pre-operative irradiation, when applied to the bulk of disease, could have potentially higher immune stimulatory effects. To study this, we analyzed historic outcomes of breast cancer patients treated with either adjuvant (radiation after surgery) or neoadjuvant (radiation before surgery) radiotherapies. Our analysis showed that the risk of developing a second tumor after neoadjuvant compared with adjuvant RT was significantly lower, especially for estrogen receptor-positive women who underwent breast conserving surgery or mastectomy. Historic data revealed an increase in disease-free survival of 12% over 20 years after treatment of the original tumor. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 02.08.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Lisa K. Jacobs MD Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Breast preservation is the preferred treatment for many women diagnosed with breast cancer.  The most common question that a patient will ask after the surgery is, “Did you get it all?” In the ideal case, this is accomplished in a single outpatient surgery with very good cosmetic results.  In our study, Beyond the Margins-Economic Costs and Complications Associated with Repeated Breast-Conserving Surgeries we evaluated the detrimental effects of an unsuccessful initial surgery due to positive surgical margins. Using private insurance claims data, we found that 16% of patients planning breast preservation required a second breast-conserving surgery and an additional 7% converted to mastectomy.  Of those patients that required additional surgery there was a 56% ($16,072) increase in cost and a 48% increase in complications.  Those complications include infection, hematoma, seroma, and fat necrosis.  This study demonstrates that repeated surgery has not only cosmetic consequences, but also has financial implications and increased risk. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 14.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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%). (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 12.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Merck, NYU / 10.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 10.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 01.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CDC, Cost of Health Care / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, MD Anderson, Surgical Research / 20.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Audree Tadros, MD, MPH Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Department of Breast Surgical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center and 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? (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Sleep Disorders / 15.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 13.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Environmental Risks, Toxin Research / 05.04.2017

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)