Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Radiation Therapy / 23.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William I. Roth MD Dermatology and Dermatological Surgery Boynton Beach, FL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • This retrospective study reviewed medical records of patients with biopsy-proven, primary cutaneous basal and squamous cell carcinoma (BCC and SCC) lesions on the lower extremities. These patients were treated with the Sensus Healthcare’s Superficial Radiation Therapy SRT-100 Unit between 2011 and 2014. The SRT-100 is most amenable for treating non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in patients aged 65 and older although many younger patients are treated as well when a non-scarring method is desired.
  • The types of skin cancers treated included superficial, well differentiated and moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinoma in situ and basal cell carcinomas including infiltrative basal cell carcinomas. Higher energy linear accelerator radiation units have been reported to have a high incidence of healing problems. With the SRT-100 the radiation is concentrated primarily in the higher layers of the skin where the skin cancer is located and thus the treatments are well tolerated.
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ASCO, Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kim Nguyen Chi, MD FRCPC Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia Regional Medical Director, BC Cancer - Vancouver MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over 70 years, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) has been the main treatment therapy for metastatic prostate cancer patients. This Phase 3 final analysis study looked at adding abiraterone acetate and prednisone to ADT for patients with metastatic prostate cancer, with the primary objectives being to assess improvements in overall survival and radiographic progression-free survival. At the first interim analysis reported in 2017, both primary endpoints were met, and the study was unblinded and patients on the ADT and placebos arm crossed over to receive ADT with abiraterone and prednisone. This study is the final analysis reporting on overall survival. The study findings found abiraterone acetate and prednisone plus ADT continued to demonstrate an improvement in overall survival, hazard ratio (HR) = 0.66, meaning a 34% decrease in the risk of death associated with the use of ADT with abiraterone and prednisone. The median overall survival, which had not been reached before in the ADT with abiraterone and prednisone arm, was 53.3 months compared to 36.5 months for ADT plus placebo, prolonging median overall survival by 16.8 months. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xuehong Zhang, MD, ScD Assistant Professor in Medicine Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the United States., liver cancer incidence is rapidly increasing and over 42,200 new cases were projected to be diagnosed in 2018. The majority of individuals with liver cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, are not eligible for curative therapy, and die within 1 year of diagnosis. Established risk factors for liver cancer are limited to hepatitis B and C virus (HBV/HCV) infections, metabolic disorders, and smoking. Clearly, identification of novel risk factors, particularly those that are modifiable, is urgently needed. Dietary factors have been suspected as important, but only excessive alcohol use and aflatoxin-contaminated foods are considered to be established dietary risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Consumption of whole grains and dietary fiber, especially cereal fiber, have been associated with lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are known predisposing factors for HCC. We thus hypothesized that long-term intake of whole grains and dietary fiber may lower the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and tested this hypothesis using data from two large prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 15.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Deborah Watkins Bruner RN, PhD, FAAN Senior Vice President of Research Emory University Professor and Robert W. Woodruff Chair in Nursing Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology Emory University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In a randomized clinical trial entitled, “Quality of Life in Patients With Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Treated With Hypofractionated vs Conventional Radiotherapy” the NRG Oncology Group previously demonstrated that men with low risk prostate cancer had  similar 5-year disease- free survival of about 85%  when treated with either conventional radiotherapy  (C-RT) of 73.8 Gy in 41 fractions over 8.2 weeks, or with  hypofractionated radiotherapy (H-RT) of 70 Gy in 28 fractions over 5.6  weeks. However, late physician reported side effects of mild bowel and bladder symptoms were increased in patients treated  with H-RT and raised questions if the H-RT arm is acceptable to patients. The current study asked the patient’s directly about their bowel, bladder, sexual function, anxiety, depression and general quality of life using valid patient reported questionnaires. These questionnaires have been found to be more accurate for reporting patient symptoms than physician report alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, HPV, OBGYNE / 13.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matejka Rebolj, PhD King’s College London, London, UK   Professor Henry Kitchener, MD FRCOG FRCS University of Manchester, Manchester, UK   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We now have reliable and affordable technologies to detect human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus which is universally accepted as the cause of cervical cancer. Various large trials confirmed that cervical screening could be improved by replacing the smear (cytology) test that has been in use for decades, with HPV testing. Many countries are now making the switch. In England, this is planned for the end of 2019. To test how to run HPV testing within the English National Health Service, a pilot was initiated in 2013 in six screening laboratories. We also wanted to determine whether the encouraging findings from the trials could be translated to everyday practice. This is important not only because we will be using different HPV tests, but also because women undergoing screening in trials are much more selected than those who are invited to population-based screening.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 12.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amar U. Kishan, MD Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Typical external beam radiation courses range up to 8-9 weeks in length (39-45 treatments). There are data that shorter courses, delivering a higher dose per day, may be just as effective. Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) really pushes this concept by condensing the treatment to just four to five treatments, with a high dose per day. Here, we present the pooled results of the outcomes of 2142 men with low and intermediate risk prostate cancer and a median of 6.9 years of followup. We demonstrate a very favorable efficacy and safety profile. Specifically, the rates of recurrences were 4.5% and 10.2% for low and intermediate risk disease at 7 years, and rates of late severe toxicity were 2.4% for urinary toxicity and 0.4% for gastrointestinal toxicity. (more…)
Author Interviews, MRI, Prostate Cancer, Technology / 12.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gaurav Pandey, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences Icahn Institute of Data Science and Genomic Technology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) has become increasingly important for the clinical assessment of prostate cancer (PCa), most routinely through PI-RADS v2, but its interpretation is generally variable due to its relatively subjective nature. Radiomics, a methodology that can analyze a large number of features of images that are difficult to study solely by visual assessment, combined with machine learning methods have shown potential for improving the accuracy and objectivity of mpMRI-based prostate cancer assessment. However, previous studies in this direction are generally limited to a small number of classification methods, evaluation using the AUC score only, and a non-rigorous assessment of all possible combinations of radiomics and machine learning methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 12.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Graham Kelly, BSc (Vet) (Hons, BVSc (Hons), PhD Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Noxopharm  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? What are the main findings? Response: Veyonda is an experimental drug being developed as a means of enhancing the anti-cancer effect of radiotherapy. The Phase 1b DARRT-1 study is assessing the ability of Veyonda to boost a palliative dose of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) applied to a single lesion, to result in a systemic response in non-irradiated lesions (known as an abscopal response) in men with metastatic, end-stage prostate cancer. The aim is to provide at the least better palliation, and at best a survival advantage. The reported data concerns the study’s initial dose-finding arm involving three different dosages of Veyonda. This arm involves 12 subjects and the report concerns their clinical status at 12-weeks post-irradiation. The data provide clinical evidence of an abscopal effect in at least half of the eight subjects receiving the two highest Veyonda dosages and demonstrate that the combination of Veyonda and palliative radiotherapy was well-tolerated. The 1200 mg dosage was confirmed as the therapeutic dose. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Melanoma, Transplantation / 11.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with "Kidney Model 9" by GreenFlames09 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Donal JSextonMD, PhD Department of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation Beaumont Hospital Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Dublin, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Patients who receive a kidney transplant as treatment for end stage kidney disease are at risk of malignancy due to immunosuppression. In contrast to other solid organ transplant types, when kidney transplants fail it is possible for recipients to return to dialysis. Immunosuppression is usually reduced or completely stopped when  the allograft fails due to the risk of infection on dialysis. We decided to investigate what the trajectory of risk for non-melanoma skin cancer and invasive cancers overall (composite group) looked like for patients who have received multiple consecutive kidney transplants with intervening periods of graft failure. We compared cancer risk during periods of allograft failure and periods of functioning kidney transplants.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Global Health, Melanoma / 08.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Catherine M. Olsen Associate Professor Cancer Control Group QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Melanoma incidence and mortality rates are increasing globally. Public health campaigns aiming to reduce sun exposure and use of sunbed have been implemented in many parts of the world, but there is significant variability in terms of the history and reach of these campaigns across countries. We examined melanoma incidence rates in eight different countries with different patterns of sun exposure and varying approaches to melanoma control. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Electronic Records, Lung Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 07.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samuel Cykert, MD Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program on Health and Clinical Informatics UNC School of Medicine, and Associate Director for Medical Education, NC AHEC Program Chapel Hill, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reports going as far back as the early 1990’s through reports published very recently show that Black patients with early stage, curable lung cancer are not treated with aggressive, curative treatments as often as White patients. These type of results have been shown in other cancers also. It’s particularly important for lung cancer because over 90% of these patients are  dead within 4 years if left untreated. In 2010, our group published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed that Black patients who had poor perceptions of communication (with their provider), who did not understand their prognosis with vs. without treatment, and who did not have a regular source of care ( a primary care doctor) were much less likely to get curative surgery. Also our results suggested that physicians who treated lung cancer seemed less willing to take the risk of aggressive treatments in treating Black patients (who they did not identify with as well) who had other significant illnesses. Because of the persisting disparities and our 2010 findings, we worked with a community group, the Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative to consider potential solutions.  As these omissions were not overt or intentional because of race on the part of the patients or doctors, we came up with the idea that we needed transparency to shine light on treatment that wasn’t progressing and better communication to ensure that patients were deciding on good information and not acting on mistrust or false beliefs.  We also felt the need for accountability – the care teams needed to know how things were going with patients and they needed to know this according to race. To meet these specifications, we designed a system that received data from electronic health records about patients’ scheduled appointments and procedures. If a patient missed an appointment this umbrella system triggered a warning. When a warning was triggered, a nurse navigator trained specially on communication issues, re-engaged the patient to bring him/her back into care. In the system, we also programmed the timing of expected milestones in care, and if these treatment milestones were not reached in the designated time frame, a physician leader would re-engage the clinical team to consider the care options. Using this system that combined transparency through technology, essentially our real time warning registry, and humans who were accountable for the triggered warnings, care improved for both Black and White patients and the treatment disparity for Black patients was dramatically reduced. In terms of the numbers, at baseline, before the intervention, 79% of White patients completed treatment compared to 69% of Black patients. For the group who received the intervention, the rate of completed treatment for White patients was 95% and for Black patients 96.5%.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Thyroid, Thyroid Disease / 04.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanna Klubo-Gwiezdzinska, M.D., Ph.D., M.H.Sc. Assistant Clinical Investigator/Assistant Professor Metabolic Disease Branch/NIDDK/NIH Bethesda, MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: People with intermediate- and high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) are treated with surgical removal of the thyroid gland and radioactive iodine therapy.  After surgery and initial treatment, the thyroid hormone levothyroxine is used for long-term management not only to replace appropriate physiologic thyroid hormones post-surgery, but also to suppress thyrotropin (TSH) release from the pituitary gland at supraphysiologic doses. The current recommended American Thyroid Association TSH suppression goal in patients with a high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer presenting with distant metastases is less than 0.1mIU/ml, and between 0.1-0.5 mIU/ml for patients with intermediate-risk DTC presenting with local metastases to the neck lymph nodes. This TSH goal is much lower than physiologic TSH level, which ranges between 0.4-4.1 mIU/ml, depending on the measurement method and person’s age. TSH suppression is used because some preclinical evidence suggests that TSH can stimulate growth of cancer cells.  However, several preclinical studies show that thyroid hormones may also stimulate cancer growth. In addition, too much levothyroxine, leading to TSH suppression, may cause side effects such as abnormal heart rhythms and decreased bone mass. In this study, based on a large multicenter database analysis, we found that continuous TSH suppression with levothyroxine was not associated with better progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with either intermediate- and high-risk differentiated thyroid cancer. The patients were followed for an average of 7 years after surgical thyroid cancer removal and radioactive iodine therapy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Global Health, Lancet, Weight Research / 04.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hyuna Sung, PHD Principal Scientist, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This project was motivated by our previous finding on the rise of colorectal cancer among young adults before age 55. Changes in cancer trends among young age group have significant implications because the newly introduced carcinogenic agents are likely to affect trends among young people before they affect those among older people. Owing to this relationship, cancer trends among young people can be often considered as a bellwether for future disease burden. Given the dramatic increase of the obesity prevalence during 3-4 decades in the US, we wanted to expand the colorectal cancer finding to the more comprehensive list of cancers and explain them in the context of obesity epidemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Supplements / 30.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Scott Litofsky, MD Division of Neurological Surgery University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine Columbia, MO 65212  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many patients take over-the-counter medications to held their cancers. Some of these remedies may be helpful; others are potentially harmful. Anti-oxidant medications are frequently selected by patients as they are inexpensive and available. We were approached by a high school student, Macy Williams (one of the authors) to do some research in our laboratory when she won a research scholarship (the 2016 Emperor Science Award) from Stand Up to Cancer. She worked with us several times per week doing experiments during her senior year of high school. When she graduated, we continued the work that she started. We studied effects of Vitamin D3, Melatonin, and alpha-Lipoic Acid on glioblastoma cells, a highly malignant brain tumor. We included experiments of these agents alone and in combination with Temozolomide, a chemotherapy agent used as standard of care in glioblastoma. The work was done in cultured cells, measuring growth and survival of cells. We used concentrations that could be achieved by oral intake of the drugs. We found that antioxidant medications, particularly alpha Lipoic Acid, had synergistic effects with Temozolomide – that is Temozolomide impair glioblastoma cell growth and survival better when combined with an antioxidant. The mechanism of action may be through reactive oxygen species.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, JAMA, UCLA / 25.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, Infections / 25.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. J. (Hans) Berkhof PhD Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In most countries, the Pap test is used for cervical cancer screening but recently several countries have switched from Pap testing to HPV testing. Like the Pap test, the HPV test requires a cervical sample to be taken by a clinician. Vaginal self-sampling is also used, but only in underscreened women. We know that self-sampling increases screening participation in underscreened women and it is likely that many women that attend screening also prefer self-sampling if it had been offered to them. We studied whether an HPV self-sampling test is an accurate alternative to a regular HPV test in women invited for routine screening. We randomized about 14,000 women, invited for screening, to self-sampling or clinician-sampling. Women with a positive HPV test result also received the other HPV test. We found that the HPV self-sampling test yielded similar performance as the regular HPV test for detection of cervical pre-cancerous lesions (CIN3 and CIN2).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Weight Research / 24.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian R. Lane MD PhD Division of Urology Spectrum Health Grand Rapids, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: Can you explain how you conducted your study, and what the main findings were? Response:  We used large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genetic variants associated with obesity measures, blood pressure, lipids, type 2 diabetes, insulin, and glucose. these genetic variants were used as proxies for the above-mentioned risk factors and evaluated in relation to renal cell carcinoma risk (kidney cancer) using GWAS data from 10,000 RCC patients and 20,000 control participants. -          Based on these genetic data, we found that multiple measures of obesity, as well as diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and fasting insulin, are associated with renal cell carcinoma risk. In contrast, we found little evidence for an association with RCC risk for systolic blood pressure (SBP), circulating lipids, overall diabetes, or fasting glucose.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, Leukemia / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: medicalresearch.comDr. Marie Joelle Jabagi, PharmD, MPH University of Paris Sud, Paris-Saclay University, Paris Health Product Epidemiology Department French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety Saint-Denis, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Secondary hematologic malignant neoplasms that develop months or years after the diagnosis of breast cancer may be a consequence of genetic predisposition, environmental factors, previous cancer treatments or a combination of all those factors. These secondary malignant neoplasms are increasingly becoming a concern given that the population of breast cancer survivors is growing substantially. However, their frequency in real life has been poorly investigated to date. The aims of our research were to estimate the frequency of various types of hematologic malignant neoplasm following a diagnosis of primary breast cancer among women aged 20 to 85 years in France during the past decade, and to compare it to the corresponding frequency in women of the French general population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zhiyuan "Jason" Zheng PhD Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Historically, the cost of healthcare can be a substantial burden for cancer survivors and their families in the US. Even with health insurance, a cancer diagnosis can impose significant out-of-pocket costs for medical care.  These are partially due to the rising costs of cancer treatments in recent years, moreover, the increasing levels of coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles also shift a significant portion of the burden to cancer patients. We found that younger cancer survivors, those aged 18-49 years, bear a higher burden than their older counterparts. We also found that two-thirds of cancer survivors enrolled in high-deductible health plans did not have health savings accounts, and they are more vulnerable to financial hardship than those in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts and those covered by low-deductible plans. These findings are important to patients because although cancer patents have benefited from newer and more advanced treatments, financial hardship may lead to emotional distress, cause changes in health behaviors, and jeopardize treatment adherence and health outcomes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy, Colon Cancer / 12.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com interview with: Anders Rabbe CEO of Isofol Medical MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How common is colorectal cancer?  Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common forms of cancer with more than 1.8 million new cases identified globally every year. Due to a lack of new therapeutic options and a high mortality rate, colorectal cancer is a disease with a significant unmet need for effective new treatments. Isofol is developing arfolitixorin (Modufolin®) to improve the efficacy of standard of care chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancer. Arfolitixorin is the company’s proprietary drug candidate currently being studied in a global Phase 3 AGENT study (ISO-CC-007) as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), which just enrolled its first patient in December of 2018. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Esophageal, NEJM, Surgical Research / 11.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Guillaume Piessen, MD, PhD University Hospital Centre Lille, Franc MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients requiring surgery for esophageal cancer fare better after undergoing a hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) with a combined laparoscopy+thoracotomy procedure compared to an open esophagectomy (OE), according to results of the MIRO trial published in the last issue of the New England Journal Of Medicine (link article). This French prospective multi-center randomized controlled study was funded by the French National Cancer Institute (Grant n° 1907). The study was conducted by Pr Mariette who sadely passed away in 2017 and Pr Piessen (Department of Digestive and Oncological Surgery, CHU Lille), under the hauspice of FRENCH (Fédération de Recherche EN Chirurgie) and FREGAT (French Eso-Gastric Tumors) working group (https://www.fregat-database.org/fr/). Postoperative morbidity, especially pulmonary complications, affects more than half of patients after open esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. Hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) combines a laparoscopic abdominal phase with an open thoracotomy, which may have specific advantages including lower rate of pulmonary complications, without laparoscopic tumor dissection limiting potential tumor spillage and easier reproducibility of the technique [12]. Postoperative morbidity, especially pulmonary complications, affects more than half of patients after open esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. Hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) combines a laparoscopic abdominal phase with an open thoracotomy, which may have specific advantages including lower rate of pulmonary complications, without laparoscopic tumor dissection limiting potential tumor spillage and easier reproducibility of the technique [12]. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 08.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: High costs and high risks of R&D for drugs have been presented to justify high drug prices, especially for cancer drugs. However, it is unclear whether prices are in fact justifiable compared to the overall return on R&D investment. In this paper, we systematically compared incomes from the sales of cancer drugs with the R&D costs. We quantified the incomes generated from the sales of 99 cancer drugs approved by FDA from 1989–2017. This was based on sales figures reported in the originator companies’ annual financial reports, and where necessary, estimates deduced from the reported figures. The sales incomes were net of rebates and discounts, but without accounting for expenses and taxes. For the R&D costs of bringing one new cancer drug to the market, the literature reported a typical costs of between $219 million and $2.9 billion, after accounting for the costs of failed products that were investigated but not marketed and the opportunity costs. For the main analysis, we used a median cost of $794 million, as reported in the literature. To be clear, this analysis did not estimate profit return because we do not have information about the costs and year-to-year variations in costs (i.e. expenses and taxes) specific to cancer drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Menopause, Mental Health Research / 02.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicole J. Gervais, Ph.D. Postdoctoral fellow | Einstein lab University of Toronto, Department of Psychology Toronto, ON  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) including letrozole are given as an adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Women taking this drug have reported a number of symptoms including hot flashes, memory complaints and mood changes. However, not all studies report memory issues. This might be due to the fact that studies in this population are hampered by confounds, such as chemotherapy/radiotherapy, stress and disease stage, all of which can also adversely impact memory. These confounds make it challenging to observe the independent effects of AIs on memory. By using a non-human primate model, we were able to examine the effects of aromatase inhibition on these symptoms as well as brain function without these confounding effects. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Weight Research / 28.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Despite variations in excess body weight (EBW) prevalence among states in the United States, there was little information on the proportion of incident cancers attributable to EBW (or population attributable fraction, PAF) by state. This information would be useful to help states set priorities for cancer control initiatives. In this paper, we estimated the PAF and number of incident cancer cases attributable to EBW by sex in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using representative exposure and cancer occurrence data. To provide more accurate estimates, we adjusted state-level data on body mass index (BMI) based on self-reported weight and height from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, and education level (162 strata) using BMI values from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative survey with objectively-measured height and weight.
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Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NIH, OBGYNE / 27.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D. Chief, Epidemiology Branch National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences NIH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Not having children is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer, but most of this evidence comes from studies of postmenopausal women since breast cancer before menopause is relatively uncommon. There is growing evidence that some risk factors differ for premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer – for example obesity which increases risk for breast cancer after menopause but appears to be protective before menopause. There was some evidence that breast cancer risk increased shortly after pregnancy. It was thought that this risk lasted for 5 to ten years. Studies were unable to fully characterize the duration of this increase in risk or evaluate factors such as breast feeding, age at birth, or family history of breast cancer that could modify the relationship between recent pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer before menopause or age 55 is relatively rare, and few individual studies are large enough to answer these questions. To answer these questions, we formed the Breast Cancer Collaborative Group, a pooling project involving 20 prospective cohort studies. We included 890,000 women from 15 of these long-term studies across three continents, including over 18,000 incident breast cancer cases.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, NEJM, Pancreatic / 21.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Thierry Conroy MD, Director Department of Medical Oncology Institut de Cancérologie de Lorraine Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy CEDEX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  Surgery of pancreatic cancer offers the only chance of cure. Despite the low response rate (5% - 9%) of gemcitabine in metastatic disease, a 6-month regimen of adjuvant therapy with gemcitabine increases 5-year survival from 10% to 20% and is recognized as standard of care. However, recurrence rate remain high despite adjuvant treatment with 69-75% of patients relapsing within 2 years. -       The combination of bolus and continuous infusion Fluorouracil, Folinic Acid, Irinotecan and Oxaliplatin (Folfirinox) was shown to increase response rate (31.6% versus 9.4%) in metastatic disease as compared to Gemcitabine and increase survival (11.1 versus 6.8 months). -       Deletion of bolus Fluorouracil in the Folfirinox regimen (mFOLFIRINOX) decreased toxicity and do not reduce efficacy in advanced disease. -       We performed a randomized trial in patients with good performance status, ECOG 0-1 CA 19.9 ≤ 180 U/L and no cardiac contraindication to fluorouracil. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Herpes Viruses / 18.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jiahui Qian, MPH School of Public Health and Community Medicine University of New South Wales Sydney Australia     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Herpes zoster is a neurocutaneous disease caused by the reactivation of latent varicella zoster virus and its risk is related to the cell-mediated immunity. Previous studies have reported a higher zoster risk among patients with haematological cancer and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. However, the role of the cancer itself and the receipt of cancer treatment is not clearly separated, we therefore started this study and tried to separate the risk of zoster associated with the cancer itself from cancer treatment.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology / 15.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kristine A. Romine MD CEO and Founder of Camelback Dermatology & Skin Surgery Phoenix, AZ MedicalResearch.com: Would you give a brief overview of the different types of skin cancer? Response: There are multiple types of skin cancer, including: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and actinic keratosis. Known as the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma develops when irreparable DNA damage results in malignant transformation of melanocytes. This type of skin cancer is most commonly caused by intense UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds, which activate mutations that lead skin cells to rapidly multiply and form malignant tumors. Melanoma can range in color from dark brown to black and are rarely red or even skin colored. They are usually irregular and asymmetrical. In 2018, there were an estimated 91,270 new cases of melanoma (American Cancer Society, 2018). Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and cancer diagnosed. BCCs arise in the skins’ outermost layers. BCCs resemble open sores, red or pink plaques, pearly nodules with telangiectasia, or scars. It is estimated that 4.3 million BCCs are diagnosed in the U.S. every year (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2018). Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common type of skin cancer, arises from the squamous cells in the skin that have been exposed to UV over long periods of time. SCCs appear as scaly red or pink macules, papules, or plaques. They can be crusted and appear eroded and can commonly arise within a solar keratosis. More than 1 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. every year (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2018). Lastly, actinic keratoses (AKs) are the most common pre-cancerous skin growth that can develop into a SCC if left untreated. Similar to all other types, AKs are caused by exposure to UV light and, in rare cases, high exposures to x-rays. AKs can appear on sun-exposed areas, including the face, scalp, ears, shoulders, and legs. They resemble pink, scaly rough patches on the skin. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 12.12.2018

MedicalResearch.comInterview with:
Alexandra Avgustinova PhD
Postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRBBarcelona)

Dr. Avgustinova
Dr. Avgustinova

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

Response: The basis of this study was the strong association between closed chromatin and high mutation rate reported several years ago. We were surprised to see this observation being widely interpreted as a causal association, as it was largely based on correlative studies without experimental backing. Therefore we decided to experimentally test for the first time whether indeed altering chromatin opening would affect mutation rate or distribution within tumours.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that, despite significantly increasing chromatin opening, loss of the histone methyltransferase G9a did not have any major influence on the mutation rate or distribution within cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas. These results demonstrate that chromatin opening does not play a major role in determining the mutation rate within tumours, and we speculate that other, confounded factors (e.g. replication timing or H3K36me3 levels) are likely causal for the observed association. This, however, remains to be proven experimentally.

Another major conclusion of our study was that although tumour initiation was delayed and tumour burden decreased in the absence of G9a, the tumours that did develop were highly aggressive due to selection for more aggressive tumour clones. This finding was contrary to many published reports suggesting G9a as a good candidate for clinical targeting, highlighting the need for long-term follow-up in pre-clinical studies.

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