Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, MRI, Yale / 02.12.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shiyi Wang, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) Yale School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Wang: As magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast has become part of medical care, there is increasing concern that this highly sensitive test might identify health problems that otherwise would not have had an impact on the patient – so called “overdiagnosis”. However, even if MRI use leads to overdiagnosis, the main “theoretical” benefit of early detection by MRI is to prevent future advanced diseases, the prognosis of which is deleterious. A systematic literature review found that, compared to mammography and/or ultrasound, MRI had a 4.1% incremental contralateral breast cancer (breast cancer in the opposite breast) detection rate. At this point, the impact of MRI on long-term contralateral breast cancer outcomes remains unclear.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: Analyzing the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare dataset, we compared two groups of women who had breast cancer (one group receiving an MRI, and the other not) in terms of stage-specific contralateral breast cancer occurrences. We found that after five years, the MRI group had a higher detection rate of cancer in the opposite breast than the non-MRI group (7.2 % vs. 4.0%). Specifically, MRI use approximately doubles the detection rate of early stage contralateral breast cancer, but does not decrease the incidence of advanced stage contralateral breast cancer occurrences after a 5-year follow-up. Our results indicate that nearly half of additional breast cancers detected by the preoperative MRI were overdiagnosed, which means that many of these occult cancers not detected by MRI would not have become clinically evident over the subsequent 5 years. There was no evidence that MRI use was benefiting women because the rate of advanced cancer was similar in the MRI and the non-MRI groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katharine Yao, MD Director, Breast Surgical Program NorthShore University HealthSystem Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yao: A survey of breast surgeons was conducted to determine their knowledge level with contralateral breast cancer and how contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) affects survival.  Of five knowledge questions, only 60% scored with high knowledge (4 or 5 questions correct) scores.   Surgeons mostly scored low on contralateral cancer risks.  Most surgeons correctly stated that contralateral prophylactic mastectomy  does not provide a survival benefit.  Nonetheless, our knowledge questions did not address other important issues about CPM such as operative complications, or contralateral breast cancer risks for other high risk subgroups.  Higher knowledge was associated with fellowship training and duration of practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Nature / 23.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paul K Newton PhD Professor of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, and Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center USC Viterbi University of Southern California University Park Campus Los Angeles, CA  90089-4012  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Newton: We obtained a longitudinal data set of 446 breast cancer patients from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, tracked from 1975 to 2009. All of the patients had primary breast cancer at the time they entered, with no metastatic tumors. All subsequently developed metastatic breast cancer. From this time-resolved data set, we first developed what we called tree-ring diagrams showing the full spatiotemporal patterns of progression. We then used this information to develop a Markov chain dynamical model of metastatic breast cancer. This is a model based on the concept that where the disease currently is located strongly influences where it will spread next. The systemic nature of metastatic breast cancer is clearly shown in these kinds of network based models. The main findings are that survival depends very strongly on where the first metastatic tumor develops. For example, if the first metastatic tumor appears in the bone, as happens in roughly 35% of the patients, survival is much better than if it appears in the brain (less than 5% of the patients). Furthermore, for those patients with a first met to the bone, survival is far better for those who develop their next met in the lung area, as compared with those that develop it in the liver. Metastatic sites are categorized as `spreader’ sites, or `sponge’ sites. Bone and chest wall are generally the primary spreader sites of metastatic breast cancer, dynamically involved in spreading the disease throughout the metastatic process. On the other hand, liver seems to be a key sponge site, where circulating tumor cells most likely accumulate. If one were to focus on an active therapeutic program targeting metastatic sites, most likely the spreader sites would give the most bang-for-buck in terms of survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, MRI / 14.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Franca Podo, Dr Sci Former Director of the Molecular and Cellular Imaging Unit Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences Istituto Superiore di Sanità Rome, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Podo: Population-based studies showed that triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs), i.e. those which are negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors without HER-2/neu overexpression, have a more aggressive clinical course and a 2-to-3 fold higher likelihood of distant recurrence and death from breast cancer within 5 years from diagnosis, compared with non-TNBCs. In a study published in Clinical Cancer Research (Online First 26 October 2015) Dr. F. Podo and Dr. F. Santoro (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome) and Prof. F. Sardanelli (Università degli Studi di Milano, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato) in collaboration with other Italian co-authors, compared phenotype features and survival rates of invasive TNBCs versus non-TNBCs detected during the HIBCRIT-1 screening study of 501 asymptomatic women at high genetic-familial risk for breast cancer. The screening included BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, as well as women with a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, enrolled between 2000 and 2008 in 18 centers. Data analysis from a median 9.7-year follow-up until June 2015 showed that, combining an annual screening including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with adequate treatment options, the mean 5-year overall survival of triple negative breast cancers was not significantly different from that of non-TNBCs (86% vs 93%), in spite of a 3-fold higher rate of cases of grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma in the former subgroup (71% in TNBCs vs 23% in non-TNBCs). The mean disease-free survival rates were also very similar (77% vs 76%, respectively). (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia MD, MPH Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bardia: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents breast cancers that are negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors, as well as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2. This type of breast cancer comprises about 15-20% of all invasive breast cancers and is more prevalent in young and African-American women.Triple negative breast cancer characteristically has a high recurrence rate and is perhaps the most difficult type of breast cancer to treat successfully with current cytotoxic agents. Trop-2 is a protein present in limited amounts in normal human tissues but widely found in many human cancers. It is expressed in more than 80 percent of Triple negative breast cancer, making it an attractive therapeutic target. Sacituzumab govitecan (IMMU-132) is a first-in-class ADC developed by Immunomedics, Inc. by linking moderately-toxic drug, SN-38, to an antibody that binds to the Trop-2 target found in many solid cancers. We conducted a clinical trial with this drug for patients with advanced tumors, including patients with TNBC who either had failed their previous treatments for Triple negative breast cancer or their cancer had returned. We have found that even though patients who participated in this trial had very advanced stages of the disease, approximately 30% of these patients responded with 30% or more tumor shrinkage. The response rate to standard agents is usually 10 to 20 percent, while the response rate with IMMU-132 was approximately 30 percent. If you include patients with stable disease, the clinical disease control rate, which is complete response [CR] + partial response [PR] + stable disease, was about 75 percent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Education, NYU, Radiology / 06.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jiyon Lee, M.D. Assistant Professor of Radiology, NYU School of Medicine NYU Cancer Institute, Breast Imaging Center New York, New York 10016 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lee:   Even before the USPSTF changed their breast screening guidelines in 2009, I conducted community outreach to help educate others on my area of expertise, breast imaging and breast screening. I presented lay friendly, illustrated, and practical explanations in a structured talk, about the big picture and the salient details, in a way that I would want if I were not a breast radiologist. As is customary for such community outreach, we solicited feedback from attendees. It was gratifying to hear the positive responses. That they wished for such education for others served as a clarion call that is understandable. Education should be objective and noncoercive.  “Knowledge is power,” but only if complete and accurate. Breast cancer is still a common disease, we are all at least at average risk, and screening is still standard of care.  Much of the debate surrounding screening mammography centers on the age of onset of screening and the optimal screening interval. The USPSTF states that shared-decision making between women and their providers may occur, especially for women in 40-49 year group.  But the TF does not stipulate when or how or by whom this talk will ensue, and notice that their guidelines refer to film mammography, and “biennial” mammography. Since the time of this manuscript, the American Cancer Society issued new guidelines on 10/20/2015 that among its bullet points emphasized annual mammography for women 45-54 years and deemphasized clinical breast exam, while supporting option to start annually at age 40 with shared decision making to weigh what are referred to as “risks” and benefits. Although the fine print does reaffirm that annually starting at age 40 is the screening model that saves the most lives, the ACS is encouraging deliberate value judgment regarding “risks” and “harms.” Their fine print is also intimating that women 55 and over have nondense tissue and that their cancers are indolent. The ensued publicity and mixed messaging have caused another cycle of confusion regarding breast cancer screening. As the experts in this field of image-based screening, radiologists have opportunity to clarify and contextualize the issues and details of the screening discussion, and can do so with objectivity, respect for all sides of the debate, and compassion. All responsible ways to continually educate both women and all providers will enable both sides to engage in the discussion fairly. Because as we discourage paternalistic medicine and promote shared decision making, it’s not fair play if all responsible sides do not get fair say. Do realize that not all women see providers regularly, and depending on the medical subspeciality, not all providers are mentioning screening til women reach a certain age and may not relay importance of the physical exam components that complement imaging. This article specifically highlights how such direct and interactive public education can effect potential benefit in two ways.
  • First, directly reduce one of the core criticisms about screening: the “anxiety” that women may experience, which is heavily weighed as a “harm” of screening.  Most women do not experience high anxiety, and are glad to have a test that may help them. And education can help demystify much of the process and protocol, and explain up to what may be that patient’s next test results if she engages in screening at all. No one can tell that.
  • Two, education can directly increase one of the necessary components of shared decision making that is presumed in implementing breast screening: informing women. The pre- and post-lecture questionnaire, along with fact-based quiz questions, provided insight and enabled learning opportunity for the audience that are not usual for community outreach.  Education that keeps on going—and is shareable!-- after the lecture is done.
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Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 05.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shirley Mertz President of the US Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (Ms. Mertz has been living with metastatic breast cancer since 2003) Medical Research: What do you mean by the term, "Long Term Responders"? How is this different than "Survivor"? Shirley Mertz: For many years, especially in the month of October in the U.S., the media and breast cancer organizations have written stories and celebrated women who have received an early stage breast cancer diagnosis, gone through treatment and now see breast cancer in their "rear view mirror." For these women (Stage I, II or III disease), treatment has an end and they can get on with their lives. In contrast, for patients diagnosed with Stage IV disease, also called metastatic breast cancer, treatment never ends and they will ultimately succumb to the disease. Long term responders are those metastatic breast cancer patients who have responded well to a treatment--experiencing perhaps a complete remission (not a cure) or stable disease. While that treatment may continue to keep their disease under control for 5 or more years, such patients must continue with treatment. Ultimately, their disease will progress and they will die of the disease. This can be immensely traumatic for the patient and the family if they were failed to be diagnosed by a doctor. If the cancer was found sooner then there would be a better chance of survival. If this has ever happened to you then you may want to contact a failure to diagnose attorney. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Diabetes / 05.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Nicoletta Provinciali, MD Oncologist from the E.O. Ospedali Galliera Genoa, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Provinciali: We know that higher insulin levels have been associated with a worse prognosis in early breast cancer patients. In this study we wanted to evaluate the impact of insulin resistance on metastatic breast cancer patients receiving first line chemotherapy. We found that insulin resistance status together with the endocrine status had an adverse prognostic effect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Cognitive Issues / 03.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kelly N. H. Nudelman, Ph.D. Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Indianapolis, IN 46202 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Nudelman: Varying levels of cognitive problems and related changes in brain structure and function have been reported in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Pain has also been associated with altered brain structure and function. However, the association of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a side-effect of chemotherapy treatment characterized by nerve damage primarily in the extremities, has not been specifically investigated for association with cognitive symptoms in breast cancer. We used data from a prospective, longitudinal breast cancer cohort to investigate the relationship of CIPN and neuroimaging measures of cognitive dysfunction.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Nudelman: We found that increased chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms were associated with resting brain blood flow increase in regions known to be involved in pain processing. We also found that decreased frontal lobe gray matter density was correlated with these changes, suggesting a link between chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and cognitive dysfunction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Technology / 31.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anuradha Godavarty PhD and Dr. Sarah J Erickson-Bhatt PhD Dept of Biomedical Engineering, Florida International University Miami, FL Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is well known that early detection and staging of breast cancer is crucial in order to save lives. While the current gold standard for breast cancer screening is x-ray mammography, this method still misses many cancers especially in younger women with denser tissue. Our group and others have explored diffuse optical tomography using near-infrared light to image breast tumors. We have developed a unique optical imager with a hand-held probe that can contour to breast curvature in order to image the tissue without painful compression and without ionizing radiation (like x-rays). This study demonstrated the ability of the device to detect lesions in breast cancer patients due to elevated levels of total hemoglobin concentration in tumor vasculature. The hand-held has a potential to not only image the breast contours, but the probe was flexible to image the surrounding chest wall regions, thus expanding its application to image lymphatic spread as well. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 28.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Paolo Boffetta, MD, MPH Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Oncological Services, Preventive Medicine, Associate Director, Population Sciences Tish Cancer Institute, Chief, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Boffetta: Evidence of a protective effect of breastfeeding on breast cancer risk is becoming stronger; hence the need for a systematic review and meta-analysis. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Boffetta: Breastfeeding appears to be protective against breast cancer, in particular the most aggressive forms (hormone receptor negative and in particular ‘triple negative’). (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NYU, Surgical Research / 26.10.2015

Mihye Choi, M.D., F.A.C.S. Associate Professor of Surgery NYU Plastic Surgery NYU Langone Medical CenteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mihye Choi, M.D., F.A.C.S. Associate Professor of Surgery NYU Plastic Surgery NYU Langone Medical Center Medical Research: Would you tell us a little about yourself and your interests in plastic surgery? Dr. Choi: I wanted to be a surgeon first, then I fell in love with plastic surgery after seeing a cleft lip repair as a medical student.  It was amazing to watch the ingenuity of the design and the skills needed to repair a baby's face.  I felt that it was the highest gift a doctor can bestow, so that a child can go forward with life in confidence and all the promise that life holds.  After finishing plastic surgery training, I developed expertise in breast reconstruction over the years.  I feel breast reconstruction combines the science and art of surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mammograms, UC Davis / 21.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD Dean's Professor in Biostatistics Department of Public Health Sciences UC Davis School of Medicine Davis, CA  95616 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Miglioretti: Screening mammography intervals remain under debate in the United States. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends biennial (every other year) screening, whereas other organizations recommend annual screening. To help inform their updated screening guidelines, the American Cancer Society guideline development group requested that the US Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium conduct a study comparing cancer outcomes among women screened annually vs. biennially. Prior studies conducted by the consortium used wide intervals for defining annual and biennial mammograms. We wanted to evaluate cancer outcomes for women who more closely adhere to screening intervals. Our goal was to determine if women diagnosed with cancer following biennial screening have tumors with less favorable prognostic characteristics compared to women diagnosed after annual screening. We evaluated outcomes separately by age and by menopausal status because evidence suggests that younger women and premenopausal women may have more aggressive tumors and thus may benefit from more frequent screening. We found from this study that premenopausal women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer following biennial versus annual screening mammography were more likely to have tumors with less-favorable prognostic characteristics (e.g., later stage, larger size). For example, women with an invasive breast cancer diagnosed after a biennial screen had a 28% increased risk of a stage IIB or higher tumor, a 21% increased risk of being diagnosed with a tumor >15 mm, and an 11% higher risk of being diagnosed with a tumor with any less-favorable prognostic characteristic compared women diagnosed with breast cancer following an annual mammogram. In contrast, we found postmenopausal women not using hormone therapy and women 50 years of age or older had similar proportions of tumors with less-favorable prognostic characteristics regardless of screening interval. Relative risk estimates were close to one with no significant differences between biennial and annual screeners. Among postmenopausal women using hormone therapy at the time of the mammogram and women age 40-49, results were less clear. Relative risk estimates for biennial versus annual screeners were consistently above one, but were not as large as for premenopausal women and were not statistically significant. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 17.10.2015

Dr. Will Brackenbury MRC Research Fellow University of York York, UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Will Brackenbury MRC Research Fellow University of York York,  UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Brackenbury: Although survival rates from breast cancer are improving, metastasis, the spread of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary sites, is still the main cause of death. Unfortunately, there are no effective treatments available to slow or cure metastasis. We and others have found that sodium channels, normally found in neurons and muscle cells, are also present in metastatic cancer cells. Sodium channels are important drug targets for treating epilepsy. We previously found that the antiepileptic drug phenytoin, which is a sodium channel blocker, reduced tumor growth and metastasis in a preclinical model of breast cancer. This suggests that sodium channels might be useful new therapeutic targets for drugs that could slow metastasis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Lancet, Surgical Research / 14.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. R. A. Badwe, MS Director, Tata Memorial Centre E. Borges Marg, Parel Mumbai -India  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:   The available retrospective clinical data suggested an overall survival benefit for metastatic breast cancer patients treated with surgery, with or without radiation, for the primary breast tumor. These studies were fraught with biases and at the same time, studies showed  removal of the primary tumor improved survival in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Additionally data from animal experiments suggested that surgical removal of the primary tumor could potentially increase metastatic spread. Our study was thus planned to address the uncertainty on role of surgery of the primary in women presenting with metastatic breast cancer. The main findings of this study suggest that there is no evidence to suggest that loco-regional treatment of the primary tumor confers an overall survival advantage in patients with de-novo metastatic breast cancer and this procedure should not be routinely done. Additionally, we noted though there was significant local control in the loco regional treatment arm, there was a detriment in distant progression-free survival and no difference in overall survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research / 07.10.2015

Dr. Madeleine M A Tilanus-Linthorst PhD Department of Surgery Erasmus University Medical Centre - Cancer Institute Rotterdam, NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Madeleine M A Tilanus-Linthorst PhD Department of Surgery Erasmus University Medical Centre - Cancer Institute Rotterdam, Netherlands  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Medical Research: Why is this study important? Response: This prospective nationwide study  investigates whether  tumor stage (size and axillary nodal involvement)  still has impact on survival of breast cancer in modern times with more effective end more widely used additional systemic therapy . We  take tumour biology, age and the different therapies into account and compare results with our nationwide results from 1999-2005.   
  1. Mortality increased with increasing tumour size and independently with nodal involvement, correcting for age, tumour biology and therapy.
  2. Five year relative survival (this is compared with women without breast cancer of the same ages) was 96% for all 93.569 Dutch breast cancer patients between 2006-2012 and 100% in cancers ≤ 1cm.3.     In 2006-2012 in the Dutch population 65% of the breast cancers were detected ≤2cm.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
  1. First, the general prospect of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer currently in the Western world is very good.
  2. Catching breast cancer early is still highly important.
  3. Surgery is the cornerstone of therapy and maybe breast conserving therapy is even a bit better for survival than mastectomy and certainly not worse. Breast cancer in the other breast did not impact on survival and preventive contralateral mastectomy seems only well advised in high risk gene mutation carriers.
  4. Both additional hormonal therapy and targeted therapy (usual against epidermal growth factor her2neu) are, if indicated by tumour stage and receptor status, beneficial for survival.
  5. Further also patients diagnosed late with large tumors of 5cm and above experienced an improvement in outcome. In the earlier group such patients had a 70% five-year relative survival, while in the recent cohort this increased to 81%. This may be a comforting result for some patients.
  6. Finally our results are informative when considering breast  screening.
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Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Surgical Research / 04.10.2015

Kimberly J. Van Zee, MD, FACS Surgical oncologist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kimberly J. Van Zee, MD, FACS Surgical oncologist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Medical Research: Why is this study important? Dr. Van Zee: It is very important because the 4 large studies that randomized women with DCIS to radiation or not after they had breast-conserving surgery all began between 1985 and 1990.  Those studies are generally used to help women and clinicians estimate risk of subsequent recurrence in the same breast over time.  This study shows that recurrence rates have significantly fallen over the decades, suggesting that the recurrence rates observed in those studies are higher than what would be expected in the current era.  This is good news for women that want to have breast conservation for DCIS! Medical Research: What are the key findings? Dr. Van Zee:
  1. a)       Recurrence rates have fallen over the years, by about 40% between the early period (1978-1998) and the later period (1999-2010).
  2. b)      The decrease in recurrence rates is only partly explained by factors such as increased screening, wider margins, more frequent use of endocrine therapy (ie, tamoxifen).
  3. c)       The improvement in recurrence rates is mostly due to a decrease in recurrence rates for women NOT undergoing radiation (even though women having radiation continue to have a lower recurrence rate than those not having radiation)
  4. d)      This last point is important because since radiation is given only to reduce local recurrence rates and has never been shown to improve survival (survival is excellent with all treatments).  So a woman treated currently with breast conservation without radiation can expect about a  40% lower recurrence rate than in the earlier decades.
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Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Genetic Research, NEJM / 29.09.2015

Dr. Kathy D. Miller, MD Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kathy D. Miller, MD Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Miller: Previous studies had found a small but real benefit with the addition of chemotherapy to anti-estrogen treatment in patients with hormone sensitive disease. The challenge for patients and clinicians has always been that the benefit of chemotherapy is quite small and the toxicity can be substantial. The Oncotype Dx recurrence score assay was developed to identify patients who could safely be treated with anti-estrogen therapy alone (and conversely those who truly need and would derive a much larger benefit from chemotherapy). When the Oncotype Dx RS was applied to samples stored from a previous randomized trial, patients with low risk scores didn't seem to benefit from chemotherapy. While those initial results had some impact on treatment, many were concerned about eliminating chemotherapy on the basis of one small retrospective trial. The overall trial enrolled 10,253 women. 1626 (15.9%) had a Recurrence Score of 0-10 and were assigned to receive antiestrogen therapy alone without chemotherapy. After five years 99.3% (98.7, 99.6%) for were free of distant relapse (that is to say, 99.3% of women had NOT had recurrence of breast cancer at distant sites in the body). Overall survival was 98%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JNCI / 21.09.2015

Philip S. Rosenberg, PhD Biostatistics Branch, Senior Investigator Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive Bethesda, MD 20892MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip S. Rosenberg, PhD Biostatistics Branch, Senior Investigator Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute, 9609 Medical Center Drive Bethesda, MD 20892  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rosenberg: It has been previously reported that breast cancer burden (number of new cases diagnosed in a year) is expected to rise in the future, mostly due to the aging of the female population in the US. Also, it has been established that the age-adjusted breast cancer incidence rates (cases per 100,000 women per year) are increasing for invasive ER-positive cancers overall and decreasing for ER-negative cancers overall. When taken together, these two trends tend balance each other out, resulting in a somewhat flat breast cancer incidence rate overall.  Though the overall trends for invasive breast cancer have been previously reported, this study uses a more refined forecasting method by including recent birth cohort patterns to forecast breast cancer to 2030 by age group, estrogen receptor-status, and invasive vs. in situ tumors. New in this report are the findings for in situ tumors and the more granular break down by age, ER status, and invasive vs. in situ tumors both for rate and burden (number of cases). (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Genetic Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.09.2015

Aditya Bardia MBBS, MPH Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia MBBS, MPH Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Multiple studies have consistently shown that African American women with cancer, including breast cancer, have worse outcomes than Caucasian counterparts. While socioeconomic issues, including access to care plays an important role, the contribution of tumor biology has been less clear. In this study, utilizing exome sequencing data, we linked the racial distribution of primary breast cancer with tumor genotypic traits, including somatic mutations, gene-expression profiles and intra-tumor heterogeneity. We observed that in addition to having a higher prevalence of triple negative breast cancer than Caucasian women (something that has been documented in the literature), African American women had a significantly higher prevalence of TP53 mutations, TNBC basal-like 1 and mesenchymal stem-like tumors, and intratumor genetic heterogeneity, and all of which suggest more aggressive tumor biology, suggesting that differences in tumor genomic profile contribute, at least partly, to the known racial disparity in survival between African Americans and Caucasians breast cancer patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mediterranean Diet / 14.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Miguel Ángel Martínez González MD Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid IdiSNA, Navarra Institute for Health Research, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Several observational studies and mechanistic experiments in animal models and cell lines suggested that the Mediterranean diet and minor components of extra-virgin olive oil may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The PREDIMED study was a randomized primary prevention trial for cardiovascular disease among high risk patients initially free of cardiovascular disease. The participants were 7,447 men and women (60-80 years old). We have used the data from women in this trial to assess the effect of the randomized diets on the occurrence of new cases of breast cancer. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Among 4,152 women randomized to 3 different diets (1.- Mediterranean diet with free provision of extra-virgin​ olive oil; 2.- Mediterranean diet with free provision of tree nuts; and 3.- Advice to follow a low-fat diet, i.e. control group) We confirmed 35 new cases of invasive breast cancer during 4.8 of follow-up. A statistically significant 68% relative reduction in the risk of breast cancer in the Mediterranean diet with free provision of extra-virgin​ olive oil versus the control group was found. There was a significant trend of risk reduction associated with progressive increments in the intake of extra-virgin olive oil during the trial (with repeated yearly measurements of diet) when the 3 groups were assessed together. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, UCSF / 04.09.2015

Dr. Elisa Long PhD Assistant professor UCLA Anderson School of ManagementMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Elisa Long PhD Assistant professor UCLA Anderson School of Management Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Long: The study was motivated by my own diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer last year, at the age of 33. I also learned that I carried a BRCA1 mutation, despite no family history. As a patient, I would have benefitted tremendously from a universal BRCA screening program, but as a health services researcher, I had to ask if indiscriminate screening of all women in the U.S.—where only 1 in 400 carry a mutation—is a good use of resources. Using a previously published decision analytic model, we calculated the cost-effectiveness of universal BRCA screening. We find that compared to screening based on family history, it is not cost-effective, assuming a test price of $2,000 to $4,000. However, as the price of genetic testing continues to fall, as indicated by the $249 test now offered by Color Genomics, universal BRCA screening becomes much more affordable. Additionally, population screening of Ashkenazi Jewish women—among whom 1 in 50 carry a BRCA mutation—is very cost-effective, because the chances of finding a carrier are much higher. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Surgical Research / 01.09.2015

Dr. Rachel A Freedman MD MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical SchoolMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rachel A Freedman MD MPH Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Freedman: Despite a lack of medical benefit for most patients, the rates for bilateral mastectomy (double mastectomy) are on the rise in the U.S. Many factors have been cited as potential reasons for this increase, such as one’s race/ethnicity, education level, family history, and use of MRI. Cancer stage has not consistently been a factor in past studies. In this study, we surveyed 487 women who were treated for breast cancer in Northern California within the California Cancer Registry, we examined factors associated with the type of surgery a woman received. In our study, we found strong associations for stage III cancer with receipt of unilateral and bilateral mastectomy. In addition, higher (vs. lower) income and older age were associated with lower odds of having bilateral surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NIH, Weight Research / 31.08.2015

Dr. Alexandra White PhD in Epidemiology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Postdoctoral fellow National Institute of Environmental Health ScienceMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alexandra White PhD in Epidemiology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Postdoctoral fellow National Institute of Environmental Health Science MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. White: Many studies have shown that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer. We know less about how obesity impacts breast cancer risk in premenopausal women. About a third of U.S. adults are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. Similarly, the prevalence of abdominal obesity, measured by a person’s waist circumference, has increased by 10% in the last decade. In 2012, more than two-thirds of U.S. women had a waist circumference that indicated abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity may be a better predictor than BMI for breast cancer risk and other chronic diseases, because it is related to insulin resistance and can reflect metabolically active fat stores. In order to understand how different types of obesity (overall vs. abdominal) influence breast cancer risk, we used information from >50,000 participants in the Sister Study. The Sister Study, led by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health investigates environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Duke, Genetic Research, JAMA / 27.08.2015

Michaela Ann Dinan Ph.D. Assistant Professor in Medicine Member of Duke Cancer Institute Duke University School of MedicinMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michaela Ann Dinan Ph.D. Assistant Professor in Medicine Member of Duke Cancer Institute Duke University School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dinan: For many years we have known that overall, women with early stage, hormone receptor positive breast cancer show an overall survival benefit from the receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy.  However, depending on the age of the patient, we have also known that between 3 to 10% of patients appear to be truly experiencing this survival benefit and that we are treating a lot of women unnecessarily.  The use of the Oncotype DX assay has provided additional information for patients to assess who at low risk of disease progression and can forgo chemotherapy. In this study we looked to see whether the adoption of this assay was associated with reduce rates of chemotherapy in women over the age of 65.  We found that somewhat surprisingly, there was no overall association with receipt of the assay and use of chemotherapy.  However, in women who had high risk disease, receipt of the assay was associated with reduced rates of chemotherapy use.  In patients with low risk disease, receipt of the assay was associated with increased chemotherapy use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 26.08.2015

Tuya Pal MD Division of Population Sciences Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, Florida MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tuya Pal MD Division of Population Sciences Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, Florida   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pal:  Young Black women bear a disproportionate burden associated with breast cancer incidence and mortality compared to their White counterparts. Given that inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are more common among young breast cancer survivors, we questioned to what extent mutations in these genes might contribute to the racial disparity in breast cancer incidence among young women. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Pal:  Through conducting the largest U.S. based study of BRCA mutation frequency in young black women diagnosed with breast cancer at or below age 50, we discovered they have a much higher BRCA mutation frequency than that previously reported among young white women with breast cancer.  Specifically, of the 396 Black women with breast cancer diagnosed at or below age 50, 12.4% had mutations in either BRCA1 or BRCA2.  Furthermore, over 40 percent of those with a mutation had no close relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, which suggests that family history alone may not identify those at risk for carrying a BRCA mutation.  (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Surgical Research / 19.08.2015

Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC University Hospitals Of Cleveland Cleveland, OHMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC University Hospitals Of Cleveland Cleveland, OH  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients awaiting breast cancer surgery may be understandably anxious. While pharmacologic intervention may reduce anxiety, higher doses of preoperative drugs can depress circulation and respiration, making alternative measures a particular interest. Music therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a board-certified music therapist. While music in surgery has been researched under the label of "music therapy", many of the studied investigations illicit recorded music provided by non-music therapy staff, making it truly "music medicine" practices instead. In this investigation, the effect of both live and recorded music therapy on anxiety, anesthesia requirements, recovery time and patient satisfaction were studied perioperatively. Breast cancer surgery patients were engaged in a brief music therapy session which consisted of one live or recorded preferred song choice, followed by discussion and processing of emotions. Compared to usual care, both live and recorded music therapy groups experienced significantly greater reductions in anxiety (p<.001) with point reductions of 27.5 (42.5%) and 26.7 (41.2%), respectively. During surgery, both music groups listened to music-therapist selected recorded, instrumental harp music, chosen for it's evidence-based therapeutic value of smooth lines, consistent volumes and stable melodies. In measuring the amount of interoperative drug (propofol) needed to reach moderate sedation, the intraoperative music was not found to have an effect in this trial. Patient satisfaction was universally high in all three study groups. Those who received live music preoperatively were discharged an average of 12.5 minutes sooner than those who received recorded music preoperatively, although neither music group was dischanged significantly sooner than the control group. Subjective reactions to the music interventions relayed that music therapy in surgery was an enjoyable addition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NEJM, Radiation Therapy / 14.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD Head of Department, Radiation Oncology ESTRO President Radboud university medical center The Netherlands  Medical Research: What is the background for this study?   Dr. Poortmans:  Based on the former hypothesis that breast cancer sequentially spreads from breast to lymph nodes and from there to distant organs, up to the eighties it was very custom to perform extended radical surgery and to irradiate extensively locoregional for most patients. With the growing interest in systemic treatments to prevent development (= from already present undetectable cancer cells to really visible and threatening metastases) of distant metastases, new information about possible late side effects and our increasing knowledge about the biological behaviour of breast cancer in the eighties and the nineties, the extend of especially locoregional treatment was gradually reduced. For radiation therapy, often the irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes was left aside, as this was linked to the delivery of radiation dose to the heart, possibly or probably leading to late side effects. At the start of the study, about half of the radiation oncology departments did include irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes in patients with risk factors, while the other half did not. Hereby we had an ideal base for the investigation of the value of treating the non-operated part of the regional lymph nodes.  Medical Research: What are the main findings?  Dr. Poortmans:  We found a decreased risk for development of distant metastases of 3% at 10 years, translated in a 3% overall improved overall disease free survival. Up to now, It leads to an improvement of 1.6% in overall survival at 10 years, which is, in contrast to the earlier 2 findings, just not statistically significant (borderline at p = 0.06). On the other hand, breast cancer related mortality is significantly improved and we did not see an increase in non breast cancer related causes of death. Overall toxicity was limited with only a significant increase in pulmonary toxicity, however to a low grade in the big majority of those patients. The benefit in overall survival is in a similar order of magnitude than adding for example taxanes to anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy for a similar patient population as ours.  Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Poortmans:     First, we should appreciated that the regional (lymph node) recurrence rate is a poor endpoint for evaluation of also locoregional treatment. This can be explained by the fact that once distant metastases are found, no further search for local (breast) or regional (lymph nodes) recurrences is performed any more, as this is not relevant anymore for treatment or prognosis. However, the spread of distant metastases might occur from cancer involvement of the lymph nodes, explaining why we saw the effect of the lymph node irradiation basically only on the rate of development of distant metastases.     As a second message, we can appreciate that the 3% decreased distant metastases rate did not yet fully translate into a survival benefit, which can be explained by the need for even longer follow-up than 10 years. The explanation lies simply in the fact that even after development of distant metastases, patients can live for quite some more years with, however, only very little chance for definitive cure.     Thirdly, we demonstrated with the quality assurance programme linked to this trial that radiation treatment as used those days (the accrual phase was from 1996 until January 2004) radiation therapy techniques should be nowadays considered as suboptimal with a lack of full coverage of the target volumes and delivery of a too high dose to the organs at risk. With modern techniques, we expect that the results will even be quite better.     And finally, that the overall outcome of breast cancer improved a lot: at the start of the trial, we estimated overall survival at 10 years being 50%, which we revised in 2000 to 75% and we ended up with more than 80%. Thereby, it becomes more of a challenge to demonstrate benefits of further improving treatment as the same relative improvement will be translated into a lower absolute improvement. Nevertheless, by more effectively preventing the development of distant metastases by improved systemic therapy (or even better by earlier detection with a lower basal rate of distant metastases) the importance of optimizing locoregional control becomes even higher.   Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?  Dr. Poortmans:   o	First of all we have to improve our ability to define which patients will gain most from this treatment.  o	Secondly, we have to further investigate how to optimize the technical aspects of this loco regional treatment and … o	Thirdly how to optimally integrate all treatment aspects including locoregional ones and systemic ones.  o	Based on all this, we can develop and then provide the patients with shared decision making tools.    Citation: Internal Mammary and Medial Supraclavicular Irradiation in Breast Cancer Philip M. Poortmans, Ph.D., Sandra Collette, M.Sc., Carine Kirkove, Ph.D., Erik Van Limbergen, Ph.D., Volker Budach, Ph.D., Henk Struikmans, Ph.D., Laurence Collette, Ph.D., Alain Fourquet, Ph.D., Philippe Maingon, M.D., Mariacarla Valli, M.D., Karin De Winter, M.D., Simone Marnitz, M.D., Isabelle Barillot, Ph.D., Luciano Scandolaro, M.D., Ernest Vonk, M.D., Carla Rodenhuis, Ph.D., Hugo Marsiglia, Ph.D., Nicola Weidner, Ph.D., Geertjan van Tienhoven, Ph.D., Christoph Glanzmann, Ph.D., Abraham Kuten, M.D., Rodrigo Arriagada, M.D., Harry Bartelink, Ph.D., and Walter Van den Bogaert, Ph.D. for the EORTC Radiation Oncology and Breast Cancer Groups N Engl J Med 2015; 373:317-327 July 23, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1415369       MedicalResearch.com is not a forum for the exchange of personal medical information, advice or the promotion of self-destructive behavior (e.g., eating disorders, suicide). While you may freely discuss your troubles, you should not look to the Website for information or advice on such topics. Instead, we recommend that you talk in person with a trusted medical professional. The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website. Philip.Poortmans@radboudumc.nl MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD Head of Department, Radiation Oncology ESTRO President Radboud university medical center The Netherlands   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Poortmans: Based on the former hypothesis that breast cancer sequentially spreads from breast to lymph nodes and from there to distant organs, up to the eighties it was very custom to perform extended radical surgery and to irradiate extensively locoregional for most patients. With the growing interest in systemic treatments to prevent development (= from already present undetectable cancer cells to really visible and threatening metastases) of distant metastases, new information about possible late side effects and our increasing knowledge about the biological behaviour of breast cancer in the eighties and the nineties, the extend of especially locoregional treatment was gradually reduced. For radiation therapy, often the irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes was left aside, as this was linked to the delivery of radiation dose to the heart, possibly or probably leading to late side effects. At the start of the study, about half of the radiation oncology departments did include irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes in patients with risk factors, while the other half did not. Hereby we had an ideal base for the investigation of the value of treating the non-operated part of the regional lymph nodes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, JAMA, Ovarian Cancer / 13.08.2015

Leif W. Ellisen, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Program Director, Breast Medical Oncology Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Program MGH Research Scholar MGH Cancer Center  Boston, MA 02114MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leif W. Ellisen, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Program Director, Breast Medical Oncology Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Program MGH Research Scholar MGH Cancer Center Boston, MA 02114 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ellisen: The traditional approach to genetic testing for women with suspected hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer risk is to test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone. Recent studies have shown that testing with a multi-gene panel finds relevant risk gene mutations in substantially more women than does testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone. However, one of the concerns about broader multi-gene testing has been that the results really wouldn’t change what you told women about their risk and management – either because the risk associated with the other genes may not be as high as for BRCA1/2, or because the clinical practice guidelines associated with some of the other genes are less specific. Our study sought to determine how often testing such women using a multi-gene panel would find mutations in genes other than BRCA1/2, and more importantly to ask whether finding those mutations would change how you would manage the patient and their family. We found that multi-gene panel testing finds relevant risk gene mutations in substantially more women (approximately 40% more) than does testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone. Furthermore, in a case-by-case analysis we showed that finding mutations in these other genes is likely to change the clinical management that is considered or recommended for the majority of the mutation-positive women and their families.  Notably, our analysis of the predicted management change is based not just on the gene mutation alone, but on how the gene appears to be behaving in that particular family. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer / 11.08.2015

Dr Stephen Chan DM, FRCR, FRCP Consultant Oncologist Breast and Gynaecological Cancers Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham Visiting Professor of Cancer Medicine at Nottingham Trent UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Stephen Chan DM, FRCR, FRCP Consultant Oncologist Breast and Gynaecological Cancers Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham Visiting Professor of Cancer Medicine at Nottingham Trent University MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chan: Worldwide each year 1.68 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than half a million die from the disease. Of these new cases around 12% will be classified as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), meaning that tumour cells from these patients do not show any of the three established clinical markers that can be treated with targeted therapies. These drugs are used in addition to standard chemotherapy to improve the chance of a good treatment response, leading to prolonged disease free survival. Without these additional treatment options triple negative patients are forced to depend entirely on chemotherapy to treat their cancer. Traditionally the sensitivity of a cancer to different types of chemotherapy has been categorised is based on a tumours tissue of origin and stage. There is currently no predictive marker of response that would allow chemotherapy treatment to be tailored to individual patients. With this information a clinician can predict which patients would benefit most from a particular chemotherapy and switch any who would do poorly to an alternative. The result would be a shift to increased treatment efficacy, while avoiding toxicity from ineffective treatment, which would in turn also reduce the cost to the health service. This need is particularly acute in triple negative breast cancer cases where chemotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment. In collaboration with researchers based at Nottingham Trent University our group has been successful in finding new markers, which can predict how a patient will respond to chemotherapy treatment. One of these is HAGE (DDX43), a DEAD box RNA helicase. We have found that high HAGE expression predicts good respond to one of the main first line chemotherapy drugs, called anthracycline (Tarek MA Abdel-Fatah et al, April 2014). Our recent work (Tarek MA Abdel-Fatah, 2015) has shown that the predictive value is strong in triple negative breast cancer cases. (more…)