Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Ovarian Cancer / 26.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sibaji Sarkar Ph.D Instructor of medicine Boston University School of Medicine Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sarkar: Although breast and ovarian cancers have different clinical presentations, there are certain molecular events that are conserved between the two types of cancers. For example, mutation in a few genes, such as BRCA1, BRCA2, is an indicator of possible development of both breast and ovarian cancers. ARHI, a pro-apoptotic imprinted gene is epigenetically silenced in both breast and ovarian cancers. A similar pattern was observed in microRNA as well. There are also several genes which are differentially expressed in these two types of cancers but few of these striking resemblances led us to investigate whether they have a common origin. In this paper, we compared genetic and epigenetic events in both breast and ovarian cancers and we hypothesize that they may have similar origin (mechanism of formation of cancer progenitor cells), which should be regulated by epigenetic mechanism. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Leukemia / 22.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Iris Z Uras and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Veronika Sexl Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults. Patients suffering from AML have poor prognosis and high mortality rate despite considerable advances in chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantations. Up to 30% of patients with AML harbor an activating mutation in the FLT3 receptor tyrosine kinase (FLT3-ITD). Such mutations are associated with a high predisposition to relapse after remission. In a simplified way we can say that these tumor cells depend on FLT3: Is FLT3 blocked, cells die. Hence, FLT3 inhibitors are being developed as targeted therapy for FLT3-mutant AML; however, clinical responses are short-lived and their use is complicated by rapid development of resistance. This emphasizes the need for additional therapeutic targets. Our study represents a novel therapeutic window to specifically target and kill AML cells with FLT3-ITD mutations. We found that the tumor-promoting enzyme CDK6 but not its close relative CDK4 directly regulates and initiates the production/transcription of FLT3 and thus lead to disease. The FDA-approved kinase inhibitor Palbociclib not only blocks the activity of CDK6 but in turn impairs FLT3 expression: Mutant AML cells die immediately. The treatment does not affect cells without the mutation. The power of CDK6 inhibition in AML cells goes beyond FLT3: Palbociclib also stops production of the PIM1 kinase and thus overcomes the potential activation of survival pathways counteracting the effects of FLT3 inhibition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Weight Research, Women's Heart Health / 18.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julie M. Kapp, MPH, PhD Associate Professor 2014 Baldrige Executive Fellow University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Informatics Columbia, MO 65212 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kapp: For the past several decades the U.S. has had the highest obesity rate compared to high-income peer countries, and for many years people in the U.S. have had a shorter life expectancy. For female life expectancy at birth, the U.S. ranked second to last. At the same time, the U.S. has the third highest rate of mammography screening among peer countries, and the pink ribbon is one of the most widely recognized symbols in the U.S. While the death rate in females for coronary heart disease is significantly higher than that for breast cancer, at 1 in 7.2 deaths compared to 1 in 30, respectively, women have higher levels of worry for getting breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Nutrition, Pediatrics / 13.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maryam Farvid, Ph.D. Visiting Scientist Department of Global Health and Population Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Farvid: Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. While we know many breast cancer risk factors, few of them are easily modified. Further, evidence suggests that exposure to carcinogens and anti-carcinogens in early life may play an important role. According to this study, what women eat as teens or young adults could affect their breast cancer risk in the future. Teenage girls who eat a lot of fruits may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life. The risk of breast cancer among women who reported the highest amount of dietary fruits during high school, about 2.9 servings of fruit a day, was 25 percent lower, compared with those who had eaten the lowest amount, about 0.5 serving of fruit a day. We also analyzed individual fruit and vegetable intake and risk of breast cancer: greater consumption of apple, banana, and grapes during adolescence, as well as oranges and kale for young adult was significantly associated with a reduced risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Radiation Therapy / 11.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jayant S Vaidya MBBS MS DNB FRCS PhD  Professor of Surgery and Oncology,  Scientific Director, Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London Whittington Health - Clinical Lead for Breast Cancer Royal Free Hospital University College London HospitalJayant S Vaidya MBBS MS DNB FRCS PhD  Professor of Surgery and Oncology, Scientific Director, Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London Whittington Health - Clinical Lead for Breast Cancer Royal Free Hospital University College London Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Vaidya: TARGIT-A randomised clinical trial (ISRCTN34086741) compared giving TARGIT IORT during lumpectomy vs. traditional EBRT given over several weeks after lumpectomy for breast cancer; local-recurrence-free-survival was similar in the two arms of the trial, particularly when TARGIT was given simultaneously with lumpectomy. Also, there were significantly fewer deaths from other causes with TARGIT IORT. This study calculated journeys made by patients with breast cancer to receive their radiotherapy, using the geographic and treatment data from a large randomised trial. The study then assessed the same outcomes (travel distances, travel time and CO2emissions) in two semi-rural breast cancers—the results of this assessment confirm and reinforce the original results: the benefit of the use of TARGIT for patients from two semi=rural breast centres was even larger (753 miles (1212 km), 30 h, 215 kg CO2 per patient). (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Mammograms / 06.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ragnhild Falk PhD Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research Support Services Oslo University Hospital and Solveig Hofvind PhD Department of Screening Cancer Registry of Norway and Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The issue of overdiagnosis has been heavily debated, and a variety of results have been presented. However, the exact proportion of overdiagnosis is unknown as one do not know what would have happen in the absent of screening. We have split the proportion of overdiagnosis into two parts based on the time at which the death occur; scenario 1 as the proportion of women diagnosed with a screen-detected breast cancer and who died within the lead-time period, and scenario 2 as women detected with slow growing tumors that never would have caused any harm during the women’s life if she had not attended screening. In principle, all screening programs will detect breast cancer among women who die of other causes in the near future since there exist competing risk of death among women targeted by screening. Although the all-cause mortality rates are low, it is inevitable. We wanted to focus on the first scenario and estimated the number of women diagnosed with screen detected breast cancer who died within the estimated lead-time period caused by screening. We estimated his proportion to be less than 4 percent of all screen-detected cases in the given England & Wales and the Norwegian setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Heart Disease, Kaiser Permanente / 04.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Reina Haque, PhD MPH Research scientist Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Haque: The study fills an important knowledge gap about the long-term association of aromatase inhibitors on cardiovascular disease risk in breast cancer survivors. This was a retrospective cohort study that included a cohort of 13,273 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who were diagnosed with breast cancer, either estrogen or progesterone receptor positive, from 1991 to 2010. The patients were followed through 2011, or a maximum of 21 years. The study participants were divided into four groups based on the drugs they received: 31.7 percent were treated only with tamoxifen; 28.6 percent only with aromatase inhibitors; 20.2 percent used both; and 19.4 percent did not use any of these drugs. These oral drugs are used to combat breast cancer recurrence, but may have long-term side effects on other organs. The study determined that the risk of cardiac ischemia (which can lead to a heart attack) and stroke were not elevated in patients who only took aromatase inhibitors compared to those who only took tamoxifen. These results provide reassurance that aromatase inhibitors may not increase risk of the potentially fatal cardiovascular outcomes compared to tamoxifen. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Compliance, Genetic Research, Mammograms / 27.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stamatia Destounis, MD, FSBI, FACR Elizabeth Wende Breast Care, LLC, Clinical Professor of Imaging Sciences University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry  Rochester NY 14620  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Destounis: Identification of women who have an increased risk of breast cancer is important, as they are often eligible for additional screening methods, such as breast MRI. One criterion for eligibility for screening breast MRI is >20% lifetime risk of breast cancer, as determined by risk assessment models through genetic counseling. At my facility, we have incorporated a genetics program. Through the program we are flagging and identifying a large volume of patients who are potentially eligible for additional services. This study was conducted to determine the value of screening MRI in the patient subgroup who have undergone genetic counseling at my facility. In this group we found 50% of patients who were referred for counseling were also recommended to have screening MRI. However, only 21.3% of those recommended actually pursued the exam. Of those patients who did have a screening MRI, 4 were diagnosed with breast cancer, all of which were invasive and node negative. We ultimately had a 10% biopsy rate and 50% cancer detection rate in this subgroup. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mammograms / 27.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth A. Rafferty, MD Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Now with L&M Radiology, West Acton, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rafferty: Breast tomosynthesis has been approved for mammographic screening in the United States for just over 5 years, and many single center studies have demonstrated its improved performance for screening outcomes over digital mammography alone. Our previously published multi-center analysis, (JAMA 2014;311(24), the largest study on this topic to date, demonstrated significantly improved cancer detection and reduced recall rates for women undergoing tomosynthesis compared with digital mammography alone.  In the current issue of JAMA we evaluate the differential screening performance after implementation of breast tomosynthesis as a function of breast density. While tomosynthesis continues to be increasingly available, questions remained about which women should be imaged with this technique. In particular, does this technology offer additional benefit for all women, or only for women with dense breasts. The size of the database compiled by the centers participating in this study allowed us to evaluate this important question. The most critical finding of our study was that the use of tomosynthesis for breast cancer screening significantly improved invasive cancer detection rates while simultaneously significantly reducing recall rates both for women with dense and non-dense breast tissue. Having said that, the magnitude of the benefit was largest for women with heterogeneously dense breast tissue; for this population, tomosynthesis increased the detection of invasive cancers by 50% while simultaneously reducing the recall rate by 14%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA / 26.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ahmad Awada, MD, PhD Medical Oncology Clinic Institut Jules Bordet Université Libre de Bruxelles Bruxelles, Belgium MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. AwadaThis Study compared, in a randomized fashion, paclitaxel + trastuzumab to paclitaxel + neratinib in the first line setting of metastatic breast cancer. All outcome endpoints (PFS, OS, ORR) were similar. In addition, paclitaxel + neratinib delayed the appearance and decreased the incidence of central nervous system (CNS) events (secondary end point) MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Awada:  Paclitaxel + neratinib is as effective as paclitaxel + trastuzumab. The data suggested that neratinib could influence the pattern of CNS events in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. These emerging data on CNS events are under validation in the NALA trial. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Pediatrics, Radiation Therapy / 25.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lindsay M. Morton, PhD Senior investigator in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetic National Cancer Institute Bethesda, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Morton: We know that childhood cancer survivors, particularly those who received radiotherapy to the chest, have strongly increased risk of developing breast cancer. We studied about 3,000 female survivors of childhood cancer to identify whether inherited genetic susceptibility may influence which survivors go on to develop breast cancer. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Morton: In this discovery study, we found that specific variants in two regions of the genome were associated with increased risk of breast cancer after childhood cancer among survivors who received 10 or more gray of chest radiotherapy. A variant at position q41 on chromosome 1 was associated with nearly two-fold increased risk and one at position q23 on chromosome 11 was associated with a more than three-fold increased risk for each copy of the risk alleles. However, the variant alleles didn’t appear to have an effect among survivors who did not receive chest radiotherapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA / 25.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sherene Loi, MBBS(Hons), FRACP, PhD Associate Professor, University of Melbourne Consultant Medical Oncologist, Breast Unit Head, Translatonal Breast Cancer Genomics and Therapeutics Lab Cancer Council Victoria John Colebatch Fellow Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne Victoria, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Loi: Even though HER2 amplification/overexpression is such a strong oncogenic driver in breast cancer, clinical and biological heterogeneity is still evident. Our study was performed to investigate the hypothesis that a subgroup of patients with ER-positive, HER2-positive primary breast cancers seem to have lower responses to anti-HER2 therapy, in this case trastuzumab (trade name Herceptin), and we could better identify this group using both ER and HER2 levels. Our study was designed to try to better define this group so we could potentially evaluate the efficacy of future treatment strategies in this group, particularly as combination anti-HER2 therapy (i.e. trastuzumab and pertuzumab) is currently being investigated in the adjuvant setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Fertility, Gender Differences, Karolinski Institute, Mammograms, Radiology / 14.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frida Lundberg | PhD Student Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Fertility treatments involve stimulation with potent hormonal drugs that increase the amount of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones have been linked to breast cancer risk. Further, as these treatments are relatively new, most women who have gone through them are still below the age at which breast cancer is usually diagnosed. Therefore we wanted to investigate if infertility and fertility treatments influences mammographic breast density, a strong marker for breast cancer risk that is also hormone-responsive. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We found that women with a history of infertility had higher absolute dense volume than other women. Among the infertile women, those who had gone through controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) had the highest absolute dense volume. The results from our study indicate that infertile women, especially those who undergo COS, might represent a group with an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the observed difference in dense volume was relatively small and has only been linked to a modest increase in breast cancer risk in previous studies.  As the infertility type could influence what treatment the couples undergo, the association might also be due to the underlying infertility rather than the treatment per se. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Menopause / 14.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giorgia Razzini, PhD Unit of Medical Oncology Civil Hospital Carpi Italy; MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Razzini: Hot flashes experienced by breast cancer patients is a significant clinical problem because there are few reliable treatment that are free of side effects and it sometime reduces compliance with endocrine therapy for prevention of cancer recurrence. Menopausal symtoms overall  heavily impact on quality of life.. Acclimat found that acupuncture combined with self-care for 3 months, is associated with significantly lower hot flash scores, compared to self-care alone ( advices on diet, physical exercise and psycoloigical support if needed). Beneficial effects persisted up to 6 months follow-up. These effects were not associated with significant adverse events. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?  Dr. Razzini:  Research suggests that breast cancer women do not receive adequate care for menopausal symptoms in the clinical practice of most oncology department. Our study showed that oncologists can offer them specific integrative management strategy for menopausal symptoms including acupuncture and enhanced self-care to women with breast cancer, particularly in younger women when treatment with hormonal treatment is recommended, in order to help women to stay on their therapy and improve their quality of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Endocrinology, Journal Clinical Oncology, Menopause / 08.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin Ribi, PhD, MPH Head of Quality of Life Office IBCSG International Breast Cancer Study Group Bern Switzerland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ribi: This study investigated the quality of life (QoL) outcomes for women in the Suppression of Ovarian Function (SOFT) trial. SOFT investigated the value of adding ovarian suppression (OFS) to tamoxifen and to determine the role of the aromatase inhibitor exemestane+OFS as adjuvant (post-surgery) therapies for hormone-sensitive early breast cancer. SOFT was conducted by the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) in over 3000 premenopausal women from more than 500 centers worldwide. The primary analysis of SOFT compared tamoxifen alone with tamoxifen+OFS in over 2000 women, and showed that adding OFS to tamoxifen did not provide a significant benefit in the overall population of premenopausal women. However, for women who were at sufficient risk for recurrence to warrant adjuvant chemotherapy and who remained premenopausal, the addition of OFS improved disease outcomes.[1] With regard to the QoL main findings, patients on tamoxifen+OFS were more affected than patients on tamoxifen alone by hot flushes at 6 and 24 months, by loss of sexual interest and sleep disturbance at 6 months, and by vaginal dryness up to 60 months. Without prior chemotherapy, patients on tamoxifen alone reported more vaginal discharge over the 5 years than patients on tamoxifen+OFS. Symptom-specific treatment differences at 6 months were less pronounced in patients with prior chemotherapy. Changes in global QoL indicators from baseline were small and similar between treatments over the whole treatment period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Nutrition, UCSD / 05.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ruth E. Patterson, PhD Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Associate Director, Population Sciences Program Leader, Cancer Prevention Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego La Jolla, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patterson: Our research team was intrigued with studies in mice showing that even when eating a high-fat diet, mice who were subjected to a 16-hour fasting regimen during the sleep phase were protected against abnormal glucose metabolism, inflammation and weight gain; all of which are associated with poor cancer outcomes. We had access to a study conducted in breast cancer survivors called the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living Study (WHEL).  Participants in this study completed food records, which give the time of eating meals and snacks.  We used the food records to estimate the average nightly fasting interval in 2413 breast cancer survivors.  Overall, we found that women who had a nightly fasting interval of less than 13 hours had a 36% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and a nonsignificant increase in mortality.  We also found that women with a short nightly fast had poorer glucoregulation and worse sleep, both of which might explain the link to breast cancer. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 21.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joann G. Elmore M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Medicine Harborview Medical Center Seattle, WA 98104-2499 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Elmore: Our team began studying diagnostic agreement among pathologists while interpreting breast biopsies in 2009. Early findings from the Breast Pathology Study (B-Path) were published in March 2015 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and indicated strong agreement among pathologists when diagnosing invasive breast cancer or benign breast tissue. Agreement, however, was much lower for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and atypia. Results from this study raised concerns that a high percentage of breast biopsies may be inaccurately diagnosed. These concerns were amplified in the media with statements like “as many as one-in-four biopsies are incorrectly diagnosed.” Statements like this inaccurately depicted the results of our study, which included a test set weighted heavily with DCIS and atypia cases. It is important to consider the percentage that each outcome category contributes to the overall number of biopsies in the U.S. population as we found that the agreement rate of pathologists varies drastically across these diagnostic categories. Atypia in Breast Tissue Elmore Image In the new work published in Annals of Internal Medicine, we have analyzed the B-Path results to reflect variation among diagnoses of women using U.S. population-adjusted estimates, In an effort to help physicians and patients better understand what the B-Path results mean for women, we have analyzed the B-Path results to reflect variation among diagnoses of women using U.S. population-adjusted estimates. When adjusted using population-based predictive value estimates, the B-Path results indicate that pathologists’ overall interpretations of breast biopsies would be confirmed by an expert panel 92 out of 100 biopsies, with more of the initial diagnoses over-interpreted rather than under-interpreted. Of concern, our results noted that among 100 breast biopsies given an initial diagnosis of atypia, less than half of these cases would be given a diagnosis of atypia after review by a panel of three experienced breast pathologists. Over half of the biopsies would be downgraded from atypia to a diagnosis of benign without atypia after review. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer / 20.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lan Ko MD PhD Augusta University Cancer Center Augusta, GA 30912, USA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lan Ko: Cancer development hijacks normal cell differentiation. Understanding the normal is where we could begin to unlock the secret of cancer. In normal breast tissue, stem or progenitor cells produce supporting stromal cells in normal breast development. In breast cancer, the progenitor cells are mutated leaving mutant stromal cell offspring with altered activities to induce tumor. Mutant stem or progenitor cells may have longer lifespan than their mutant descendents so that they can fuel cancer growth for years. Eliminating those mutant progenitors at the source, at least in theory, will efficiently stop cancer. Each subgroup of breast tumor stromal cells has been previously described by other scientists. However, the connections among these cells were unclear in the past. Like blind men feeling elephant, we scientists are often obscured from seeing the entire picture. The finding of mutant breast tumor stromal cells using GT198 as a marker provides a critical puzzle piece that fits the rest of puzzle together. When cancer problems can be viewed in multiple aspects with great simplicity, their connections emerge. We now know why breast cancer stromal cells are important, and how should we target them. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Lancet / 18.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jack Cuzick, PhD, FMedSci, FRCP(hon) Director, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine and Head, Centre for Cancer Prevention Queen Mary University of London. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cuzick: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a very early form of breast cancer, where cancer cells are present in milk ducts, but have not spread to the surrounding breast tissue. It is estimated that approximately a fifth of all screen-detected breast cancers are DCIS, with around 4,800 people diagnosed with DCIS in the UK each year. Our IBIS-II DCIS trial looked at 2,980 postmenopausal women with DCIS in 14 countries, who were either given anastrozole or tamoxifen for five years after surgery. The two groups had a similar number of cases of the disease recurring, whether they took tamoxifen or anastrozole. Those who took anastrozole had an 11 per cent lower rate of recurrence of DCIS or invasive cancer than those who took tamoxifen, but this difference was not significant. The similar NSABP B-35  trial found a 29% reduction with anastrozole and the combined analysis of the two trials indicated a significant 21% reduction. The key difference between the two groups were in the side effects of the medication. Women who took anastrozole experienced fewer womb and ovarian cancers and non melanoma skin cancers, and fewer deep vein thromboses and gynecological issues, compared with those who took tamoxifen. However more fractures and musculoskeletal side effects were seen among those receiving anastrozole. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, PLoS / 18.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chin-Yo Lin, Ph.D. University of Houston Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling Department of Biology and Biochemistry Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) Houston, TX 77204-5056  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lin: Many studies have established that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for breast cancer. Breast cancers associated with drinking tend to be hormone receptor-positive, the type is commonly treated with the drug tamoxifen which blocks the actions of estrogen in driving tumor growth in pre-menopausal women. Alcohol consumption has also been shown to increase the risk of disease recurrence in patients. Our study shows that alcohol can enhance the effects of estrogen by increasing cancer cell division and also reduce the efficacy of tamoxifen. The key mechanistic insight from the study is that alcohol treatment of breast cancer cells increased the expression of BRAF, a cancer-causing gene that is commonly mutated and activated in other types of cancers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 14.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Nigel Bundred MD, FRCS Professor of Surgical Oncology Institute of Cancer Sciences University Hospital of South Manchester MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Bundred: HER-2 is a cancer-causing gene which is expressed in some cells by having more copies of the gene and predicts for early relapse and metastasis from the tumour. Despite this, even in the absence of anything other than local treatment, some 50% of patients still survive for five years without relapse. Herceptin was discovered and licensed for use in 2006 because it improved survival when given with chemotherapy after surgery, from 66% at five years to 90% at five years. The use of Herceptin and chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumour indicates that around 30% of patients have a complete pathological response with this treatment. Combination of dual anti-HER-2 therapies and  Neoadjuvant chemotherapy given for six months before surgery has been shown to increase pCR rate to 50% and a single study utilising the combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab (two anti-HER-2 monoclonal antibodies) given for four months revealed a 16.8% pCR rate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Diabetes / 09.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Zorana Andersen Department of Public Health Center for Epidemiology and Screening University of Copenhagen  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Andersen: Diabetes is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, but exact mechanisms are unknown. The role of insulin has been debated. High mammographic density (MD) is one of the strongest predictors and a biomarker of breast cancer risk. Few studies have linked diabetes to mammographic density, finding none or weak inverse associations, but none had data on diabetes treatment. We examined whether diabetes and diabetes treatment are associated with mammographic density in a prospective cohort study of Danish women above age of 50 years. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Andersen: Women with diabetes, as well as clinicians working with diabetes and breast cancer and breast cancer screening, would have interest to know how different diabetes treatment can affect breast density, and hereby possibly breast cancer risk. For example, diabetic women taking insulin may possibly benefit from informing radiologists at breast cancer screening about their insulin use, due to increased breast density and increased risk of masking bias. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer / 09.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michele Orditura MD, PhD Associate Professor in Medical Oncology Faculty of Medicine, Second University of Naples Naples Italy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Prof. Orditura: In the last few years increasing evidence suggests that cancer-related inflammatory response plays a crucial role in the development and progression of several malignancies. Neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), calculated as the neutrophil count divided by the lymphocyte count , may represent an easily measurable and inexpensive marker of systemic inflammation. Several studies have reported NLR as an unfavourable prognostic indicator for patients with gastrointestinal, lung, renal and gynaecological cancers. In the breast cancer setting, the results of published trials evaluating the relationship between NLR and outcome are controversial, and a recent meta-analysis including eight trials published between 2012 and 2014 has shown that elevated NLR is strongly associated with poor survival. In addition, the available data mainly concern women of Asian race and only three papers have included patients of Europe race. The main aim of this study was to clarify the correlation between pre surgery NLR and distant metastasis-free survival in a series of 300 Italian patients with early breast cancer. The propensity score-matched analysis was chosen for statistical evaluation to avoid risk of confounding bias. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, FASEB / 07.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle L. Halls BBiomedSci(Hons), PhD NHMRC Career Development Fellow Drug Discovery Biology Theme Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Monash University Parkville Australia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Halls: Stress causes an increase in the release of hormones including adrenaline. Previous studies have found a link between stress and metastases in triple negative breast cancer. However, what occurs inside a cancer cell in response to adrenaline to drive cancer progression was not known. We have found that adrenaline can directly act on triple negative breast cancer tumour cells via a cell surface receptor called the beta2-adrenoceptor. We identified changes in signalling within the cell that make the tumour cell highly invasive by mapping the signalling pathways that were activated in these cells in response to stress. We found that different signalling pathways converge to amplify the final signal. This ‘positive signalling loop’ was linked to the increased invasion of these cells in response to stress, and was not identified in less aggressive breast cancer cells. This may allow future research to identify new ways to intervene and slow cancer progression. New therapies are important for triple negative breast cancer, as it is particularly aggressive and currently has limited treatment options. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 06.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rong Li, Ph.D., Professor Holder of the Tom C. & H. Frost Endowment Department of Molecular Medicine Institute of Biotechnology Co-Leader, Cancer Development and Progression Program Cancer Therapy & Research Center University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Li: The breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 is well known for its function in double strand break DNA repair. However, the ubiquitous role of BRCA1 in DNA repair may not be sufficient to explain its tissue-specific tumor suppressor function in vivo. Using the “awesome power” of mouse genetics, we identified a previously unappreciated crosstalk between BRCA1 and a transcription regulator in mammary gland development. Importantly, we provide compelling evidence that this BRCA1 function is independent of its well-established DNA repair activity. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Li: The newly identified DNA repair-independent function of BRCA1 may provide new tools and targets for early prevention of BRCA1-associated breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Lancet / 04.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP Professor of Medicine Associate Director of Translational Research and Precision Medicine Department of Medicine-Hematology and Oncology Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL 60611  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cristofanilli: The majority of breast cancer are estrogen-receptor positive and therefore candidate for treatment with endocrine therapy in the adjuvant and advanced settings. The most significant issue in the management of estrogen-receptor positive metastatic breast cancer is the development of drug resistance. Very few effective options are available for patients that demonstrate progression of disease while on standard endocrine therapy, particularly in premenopausal women and/or women that have even progressed on chemotherapy. The study demonstrated that the combination of fulvestrant with palbociclib, a novel inhibitor of CDK4/6 kinases, significantly improve response to treatment and delays disease progression with minimal toxicity.  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Genetic Research, Journal Clinical Oncology / 03.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Oleg Gluz, MD West German Study Group Breast Center Niederrhein Evangelical Hospital Bethesda Moenchengladbach, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gluz: PlanB trial is a Phase III chemotherapy study performed in patients with clinically high risk HER2 negative breast cancer. After early amendement, Recurrence Score (Oncotype Dx) as a selection criterion for or against chemotherapy together with central pathology review were included into the study. Patients with very low RS of below 12 and up to 3 positive lymph nodes were recommended to omit chemotherapy based on the low genomic recurrence risk. Chemotherapy was omitted in about 15% of all patients. For the first time we present prospective data comparing a genomical tool (Oncotype Dx) and an independent central pathology review for grade, ER, PR, and Ki-67 from a large phase III study combined with an exploratory analysis on early relapse risk. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Gluz: The study has two major findings: We have found a significant discordance in risk assessment between prognostic tools (grade by local and central lab, Oncotype Dx, Ki-67). Patients treated by endocrine therapy alone based on very low Recurrence Score had an excellent disease free survival of 97% after 3 years of follow up. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JNCI, Lymphoma / 03.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Hodgson, MD, MPH, FRCPC Associate Professor University of Toronto Toronto, ON Canada   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Hodgson: We know that treatment for childhood Hodgkin lymphoma can cause some side effects that arise years after treatment is  finished. In particular, radiotherapy given to the chest of adolescent females increases the risk of developing breast cancer in young adult survivors. But there are very little data about whether the early initiation of breast cancer screening will prevent breast cancer deaths in these survivors, and what kinds of screening is optimal. This is important because less than half of these young survivors are undergoing breast cancer screening, and in some jurisdictions early screening is not covered by insurance. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Hodgson: Because there has not been, and likely never will be, a large randomized screening trial for these patients, we used all the available information about their breast cancer risk, other health issues and the effectiveness of screening, and created a mathematical model that allows us to estimate the number of breast cancer deaths prevented by starting screening at age 25 for women who had received chest RT as teenagers. We found that one would have to invite about 260 survivors to early mammographic screening to prevent one breast cancer death, which compares favorably to other accepted reasons for breast cancer screening. Using MRI for screening, approximately 80 women would have to be invited to prevent one breast cancer death, because MRI is so much more sensitive than mammography. One of the problems with MRI, however, is that a substantial number of women will have "false positive" tests - abnormal findings that are not really cancer. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, University of Michigan / 28.02.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah T. Hawley PhD MPH Professor of Medicine University of Michigan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hawley: Research has shown that breast cancer patients do not have a good understanding of their risk of distant recurrence, and and that the fear of cancer spreading is one of the biggest concerns that patients have. The research that has been done shows that most patients over-esimate this risk, and think they have a bigger chance of the cancer coming back than they actually have. There has been relatively little done to investigate the association between patient over-estimation of risk and patient reported outcomes, specifically their quality of life. We therefore conducted our study to understand the extent of overestimation of risk in a population-based sample of breast cancer patients with very favorable prognosis (DCIS, low risk invasive breast cancer) using a numeric (number based) and descriptive (general understanding) measure, and to understand the association between over-estimation and quality of life. The main findings are that almost 40% of our sample of patients over-estimated their risk; 33% using a numeric measure and 15% using a descriptive measure. There was no clear “type” of patient who overestimated her risk of distant recurrence, though women with lower education more over overestimated numerically than those with higher education. Both numeric and descriptive over-estimation was associated with reduced quality of life outcomes, especially with frequency of worry about recurrence, however over estimating descriptively mattered the most. Women who overestimated their risk both numerically and descriptively had a nearly 10 fold odds of frequent worry compared to women who understood their risk. (more…)