Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, OBGYNE / 02.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Weimin Ye, MD MSC, PhD Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institue MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine    disorder affecting 5-10% of women of reproductive age. Characterized by hyperandrogenism and metabolic abnormalities, PCOS is known to be related to various long-term health consequences, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer. Besides, inconsistent results have been reported for the associations between PCOS and the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Studies addressing the risks of other cancers are scarce. Thus, we conducted a large, population-based cohort study with a long follow-up and rather sufficient confounding adjustment to explore the full picture of associations between PCOS and the risks of various cancer types. We found that PCOS is a risk factor for certain types of cancer, including cancers of the endometrium, ovary, endocrine gland, pancreas, kidney and skeletal & hematopoietic system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Hematology, J&J-Janssen / 02.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peter Voorhees, MD Plasma Cell Disorders Program Department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders Levine Cancer Institute Atrium Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: All multiple myeloma arises from its precursor conditions, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM). Although the rate of progression to multiple myeloma for patients with MGUS is low (~5% over 5 years), patients with SMM have a ~50% likelihood of requiring therapy for their multiple myeloma within the first 5 years of diagnosis. For those at intermediate to high risk of disease progression, early intervention to delay progression of disease, thereby averting disease-related morbidities related and potentially changing the natural course of the disease, is highly desirable. On the other hand, given the fact that these patients are by definition asymptomatic and would otherwise be monitored off treatment, it is critical that any intervention applied in this group of patients is well tolerated. Daratumumab is a highly attractive candidate in this particular space, because it has single agent activity in heavily-pretreated relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and a favorable side effect profile relative to many other myeloma therapeutics. Additionally, given the importance of impaired immune surveillance in multiple myeloma, the immuno-stimulatory effects of daratumumab in the bone marrow microenvironment could potentially reawaken robust T cell responses to the disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research / 28.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ricardo Alvarez MD MSc Medical Director of the Breast Cancer Center Director of Cancer Research Cancer Treatment Centers of America, CTCA Atlanta MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: “The background of this study comes from five years of experience in one of our precision medicine programs that was launched in 2013 and this is the experience of a group of personnel from a hospital that helps physicians in five different hospitals that are a part of the CTCA network and for physicians who order a next generation sequencing test. In this particular report, we have only one vendor, and that is Foundation Medicine and we analyze three different genomic platforms, Foundation One test, Foundation Act and Foundation One Hem. In total, approximately 8,800 tests have been analyzed and that was the presentation at ESMO 2018. It’s important that the Precision Medicine Program (PMed) helps physicians to identify actionable and potentially actionable targets for the result of this test so patients can be treated with targeted therapy, and this can be done by selecting clinical trials or recommending patients to be treated off-label agents. When we say off label, meaning that they are not specifically FDA-approved drugs for this indication that we are treating.” (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pharmacology / 26.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abiy Agiro, PHD HealthCore Inc Wilmington, Delaware  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Biosimilar approval pathway, authorized in 2010 by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act as part of the Affordable Care Act, aims to increase adoption of biosimilar products and generate significant cost savings to payers and patients alike. Biosimilar filgrastim, used to prevent febrile neutropenia, is one of the first biosimilars to be approved in the United States. A large scale, post-approval real-world analysis was needed that compares biosimilar filgrastim to the original drug for safety and efficacy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 26.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ola Landgren, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine Chief, Myeloma Service Department of Medicine Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY 10065 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Meta-analysis show that minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity is a strong predictor of longer progression-free survival (PFS). Emerging data show that an increasing proportion of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients obtain MRD negativity after modern combination therapy, even in the absence of bone marrow transplant. The first generation of 3-drug combination therapy (RVd) was associated with quite high rates of peripheral neuropathy which may be life-long. The current study was designed to define the rates of peripheral neuropathy in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma treated with the second generation of 3-drug combination therapy (KRd), and per default delayed transplant (i.e. collection of stem cells which were stored for potential future use). This single arm, phase 2 study found no cases of grade 3 peripheral neuropathy. The rates of MRD negativity wereunprecedented; 28 of 45 patients achieved MRD-negative CR (62%). The durability of MRD-negative CR has been observed up to 70 months (median duration 52.4 months). Patients who achieved MRD negativity by the end of cycle 8 had a 78% reduced risk of progression. The results were regardless of age or cytogenetic risk category. The results from this second generation of 3-drug combination therapy (KRd) without transplant,  compare favorably to first generation of 3-drug combination therapy (RVd) followed by stem cell transplant. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JNCI / 09.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Angela Mariotto PhD Chief of the Data Analytics Branch Surveillance Research Program (SRP) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences National Cancer Institute (NCI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Progressing to metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is one of the major concerns for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Before our study there were no reliable numbers on risk of metastatic breast cancer recurrence after a (non-metastatic) breast cancer diagnosis, as registries do not routinely collect this data. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ENT, JAMA, Surgical Research / 06.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Evan M. Graboyes MD Otolaryngologist: Head and Neck Surgeon Medical University of South Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Unfortunately, there is no screening test for head and neck cancer like there is for colorectal, prostate, breast, lung, or cervical cancers. As a result, two-thirds of patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) present with loco-regionally advanced disease, making other aspects of timely treatment that much more critically important. We therefore sought to understand the association between treatment delay at different points along the cancer care continuum and oncologic outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer / 28.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Davide Pellacani Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow, Eaves' Lab Terry Fox Laboratory, BC Cancer Research Centre Vancouver, BC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer is characterized by frequent DNA methylation changes compared to normal tissue. Nevertheless, understanding which of those changes lead to the acquisition of malignant proprieties is complicated by the predominance of cells with luminal features in prostate cancers. In this study we generated DNA methylation maps of two distinct cell populations found within prostate cancer samples (called basal and luminal) and their normal counterparts. These datasets clearly showed that many of the common DNA methylation changes found in prostate cancer are present in luminal cells from both cancer and normal tissues. These changes are not necessarily cancer-specific, and are likely due to the bias associated with analyzing tissues in bulk, where most cancer cells have luminal-like features. We used these datasets to derive two cancer-specific and phenotype-independent DNA methylation signatures: one specific to prostate cancer luminal cells, and one composed of changes measured in both luminal and basal cancer cells. We then validated the potential clinical utility of these signatures by testing their ability to distinguish prostate cancer from normal samples, and tumours that have already escaped the prostate from those that have not, using the publicly available dataset from The Cancer Genome Atlas. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Nutrition / 23.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Sunday market in Paris: all organic food" by Richard Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0Julia Baudry & Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot PhD Centre de Recherche Epidémiologie et Statistique Sorbonne Paris Cité, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U1153, Institut National de la Recherche MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Among the environmental risk factors for cancer, there are concerns about exposure to different classes of pesticides, notably through occupational exposure. Organic foods are less likely to contain pesticide residues than conventional foods, and studies have showed that an organic diet reduces exposure to certain pesticides (Baudry et al 2018, Oates et al 2014, Curl et al 2015). In the general population, the primary route of exposure is diet, especially intake of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. However, few studies have examined the association of organic food consumption with cancer risk. In a population of 68 946 French adults from the NutriNet-Santé study, we found a reduction of 25% of cancer risk among consumers with a high frequency of organic foods compared to consumers with a low frequency, after accounting for many factors (such as lifestyle, diet and sociodemographic factors). Specifically a 34% and 76% decrease in risk was observed for post-menopausal breast cancer and all lymphomas, respectively, among frequent organic food consumers compared to consumers with a low organic food consumption frequency. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, FASEB / 21.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Diana Anderson Established Chair in Biomedical Sciences The University of Bradford Richmond Road Bradford West Yorkshire MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: I have worked in this field for over 40 years both as a research scientist in industry and as a university-based researcher. It has always been my ambition to develop a relatively simple and affordable test to predict if a person is sensitive to cancer. In fact, in 1974, I was appointed as Head of Mutagenesis Studies at ICI’s Central Toxicology Laboratory in Manchester, UK, and I was looking at developing a short-term test to predict cancer even back then. Our ‘universal’ cancer test is different from other ‘universal’ tests being developed, because ours is not looking for a specific biomarker or mutation. Ours is a generic test for cancer in an individual, regardless of any underlying mechanism that’s causing their cancer. It is known that levels of damage to the DNA in the cellular genome can correlate with cancer and this is what we set out to investigate with the Comet assay. Of the available tests to detect damage to the genome the Comet assay is very straightforward. This assay was primarily developed as a method to measure DNA damage. Briefly, cells are embedded in agarose on a microscope slide and lysed to remove membranes leaving supercoiled DNA loops, breaks in which after alkaline treatment and alkaline electrophoresis move towards a positive charge. The DNA is stained with a fluorescent dye and visualised by fluorescent microscopy. The image is like Haley‘s comet and the greater number of breaks the greater is the migration to the anode and the greater the damage.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, JAMA, Weight Research / 15.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stuart Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although there were global decreases in overall colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence, CRC rates have increased dramatically in those aged 20 to 49 years in the United States, parts of Europe, and Asia. The etiology and early detection of young-onset becomes an emerging research and clinical priority. Another important fact that is that this emerging public health concern has resulted in updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society advising average-risk screening begin at age 45, rather than 50. However, up to this point, the etiology of young onset CRC remains largely unknown. Elucidating the role of traditional CRC risk factors in the etiopathogenesis of young-onset CRC is one of the first research agenda. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE / 13.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Megan Clarke, PhD, MHS Cancer Prevention Fellow Clinical Genetics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics National Cancer Institute Rockville, MD 20892  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
  • Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer. While hrHPV infection is common, most infections are benign and clear on their own without causing cervical cancer. However, some women develop persistent hrHPV infections and are at risk for cervical cancer and its precursors (i.e., precancer).
  • The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening every 3 years with cervical cytology (i.e. Pap) alone, every 5 years with hrHPV testing alone, or with a combination of hrHPV testing and cytology (co-testing) for women aged 30 to 65 years.
  • Screening with hrHPV testing is highly sensitive for detecting cervical precancer but requires additional triage tests to identify HPV-positive women at high-risk of developing cancer who should undergo colposcopy (visualization of the cervix) and biopsy from those at low-risk who can be safely monitored.
  • Currently, Pap cytology is recommended as a triage test for women testing HPV-positive, but this approach requires frequent re-testing at short intervals because the risk of cervical precancer is not low enough in HPV-positive women who test cytology negative to provide long-term reassurance against future risk. In most settings, women who test HPV-positive, cytology-negative are referred to repeat screening within one year.
  • The p16/Ki-67 dual stain assay is a molecular test that measures two specific proteins, p16 that is strongly linked with hrHPV infection, and Ki-67, a marker of cell proliferation that is common in precancers and cancers.
  • Studies have shown that the dual stain test has greater accuracy for detecting cervical precancers in HPV-positive women compared with cytology.
  • In order to determine the optimal screening intervals for the dual stain test, long-term prospective studies are needed to determine how long HPV-positive women who test dual stain negative can be safely reassured of a low precancer risk.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, University Texas / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mohammad Bilal, MD University of Texas Medical Branch MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer related deaths. Recent studies have shown an increasing incidence of CRC in younger patients. This has led to increasing interests in identifying patient populations who might be at increased risk of developing CRC. The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force of Colorectal Cancer (MSTF) recommends that CRC screening should begin at age 50 in average-risk persons. However, recently the American Cancer Society (ACS) have published recommendations to begin CRC screening at age 45 years in average risk patient population. These recommendations were primarily based of modeling studies since there is little outcomes data in younger age groups in regards to prevention and detection of CRC. Despite these new recommendations from the ACS, there is limited direct evidence to support CRC screening at a younger age. In our study, we have evaluated the predictors of increased prevalence of adenomas in the 40 to 49-year-old individuals undergoing colonoscopy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Exercise - Fitness / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laurien Buffart, PhD Chair Amsterdam eXercise in Oncology (AXiON) research Departments of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Medical Oncology VUmc  Amsterdam | The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: There is evidence from randomized controlled trials that exercise has beneficial effects on physical fitness, fatigue, quality of life and self-reported physical function during and following cancer treatment. The magnitude of the effects, however, often appear modest, possibly because interventions rarely target patients with worse symptoms and quality of life. Based on individual patient data from 34 randomized controlled trials, we found that exercise interventions during cancer treatment are effective in maintaining muscle strength and quality of life, regardless of their baseline values. Offering exercise interventions post cancer treatment to patients with a relatively high muscle strength and quality of life does not appear to further improve these outcomes. For aerobic fitness, exercise interventions during treatment had larger effects in patients with higher baseline aerobic fitness, whereas all patients were able to improve aerobic fitness post treatment. Greater effects on fatigue and self-reported physical function were found for patients with worse baseline fatigue and physical function, both during and post-treatment.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Red Meat / 05.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "bacon&eggs" by ilaria is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Maryam Farvid, Ph.D., Research Scientist   Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior prospective studies on red and processed meat consumption with risk of breast cancer have produced inconsistent results. Current meta-analysis of 15 prospective studies shows that women who eat a high amount of processed meat each day may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don't eat or have a low intake in their diet.  (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MD Anderson, University Texas / 01.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Filip Janku, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Clinical Trials Program) Center Medical Director, Clinical and Translational Research Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clostridium novyi-NT is an attenuated strain of bacteria Clostridium, which induced a microscopically precise, tumor-localized response in a rat brain tumor model and in companion dogs bearing spontaneous cancers. Clostridium novyi-NT can only grow in hypoxic (low-oxygen) tumor environment and destroys cancer cells by secreting lipases, proteases, and other hydrolytic enzymes; recruiting inflammatory cells to tumors eliciting anti-tumor immune responses in animals. Furthermore, intratumoral injection can plausibly induce an immune mediated abscopal effect in non-injected tumor sites. Therefore, we designed a phase I dose-finding study to test for safety and tolerability of the single intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT in 24 patients with advanced cancers with no available standard therapies. We also designed experiments to study activation of antitumor immune response in blood and tumor samples from patients undergoing the therapy. We demonstrated that single dose of intratumoral injection of Clostridium novyi-NT is feasible and has led to significant destruction of injected tumor masses. Adverse events, which were often related to the tumor destruction at the infected site, could have been significant but mostly manageable. Correlative studies of pre-treatment and post-treatment tumor and blood samples suggested immune response to therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, UCLA / 28.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manon Eckhardt, PhD Gladstone Institutes The Quantitative Biosciences Institute University of California San Francisco  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes 5% of all cancers worldwide, including cervical cancer and an increasing number of head and neck cancers. Most cancers are caused by mutations in genes, leading to the production of malfunctioning proteins that result in unconstrained cell division. However, certain viruses like HPV can cause cancer without introducing mutations. In this study, we compared cancers of the same type (i.e. head and neck) that are caused by either mutation or virus infection to identify important processes that are dysregulated in both subsets. We hypothesized that identifying which proteins the virus binds can lead the way to prioritize which of the proteins and cellular processes (pathways) that are affected in cancer cells are most important. To do this, we identified the complete set of human proteins that interact with HPV. We next determined genes that were more frequently mutated in non-viral cancers, and combined both data sets. The proteins we find to be both binding to HPV and mutated in non-viral cancers will be potential targets for new, more specific drug development, and help better understand the development of head and neck cancer. From the many pathways we identified in this study, we highlighted two pathways with further mechanistic studies: the oxidative stress response, which helps cancer cells survive, as well as a pathway that allows the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Microbiome, Science / 27.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joao Xavier PhD Associate Faculty Member | Computational & Systems Biology Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY 10065  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our team at Memorial Sloan Kettering has been investigating the intestinal microbiota of patients receiving bone marrow transplantations for more than eight years now. We have found through several studies that these patients lose important healthy bacteria from their microbiota, and that these losses are mostly caused by the antibiotics given as prophylaxis or to treat infections. We also found that the drastic changes in the microbiota composition, especially the intestinal dominations by bacteria such as Enterococcus, increase the risk of transplant-related complications and lowered patient survival. We aimed to determine the feasibility of autologous microbiota transplant (auto-FMT) as a way to reconstitute lost bacteria. This randomized study found that indeed auto-FMT could reconstitute important microbial groups to patients.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA, Yale / 22.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael F. Murray, MD, FACMG, FACP Director for Clinical Operations in the Center for Genomic Health Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Population screening for the cancer risk associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has been suggested by some.  We screened a cohort of about 50,000 adult patient volunteers at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania for this risk.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, Dermatology, Emory, JAMA, Medicare / 21.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Actinic Keratosis” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Howa Yeung, MD Assistant Professor of Dermatology Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by actinic keratoses? Response: Actinic keratoses are common precancerous skin lesions caused by sun exposure. Because actinic keratoses may develop into skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, they are often treated by various destructive methods. We used Medicare Part B billing claims to estimate the number and cost of treated actinic keratoses from 2007 to 2015. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: While the number of Medicare Part B beneficiaries increased only moderately, the number of actinic keratoses treated by destruction rose from 29.7 million in 2007 to 35.6 million in 2015. Medicare paid an average annual amount of $413.1 million for actinic keratosis destruction from 2007 to 2015. Independently billing non-physician clinicians, including advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, are treating an increasing proportion of actinic keratosis, peaking at 13.5% in 2015. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Readers should understand that the burden of actinic keratosis treatment is increasing in the Medicare population. There is also an increasing proportion of actinic keratoses being treated by advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, ENT, HPV, JAMA, Surgical Research / 18.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard B. Cannon, MD Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery School of Medicine University of Utah, Salt Lake City  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a nationwide effort to reduce the number of uninsured individuals in the United States and increase access to health care. This legislation is commonly debated and objective data is needed to evaluate its impact.  As a head and neck cancer surgeon, I sought to evaluate how the ACA had specifically influenced my patients.  Main findings below:     MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: This population-based study found an increase in the percentage of patients enrolled in Medicaid and private insurance and a large decrease in the rates of uninsured patients after implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This change was only seen in states that adopted the Medicaid expansion in 2014. The decrease in the rate of uninsured patients was significant, 6.2% before versus 3.0% after. Patients who were uninsured prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had poorer survival outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, JAMA, MD Anderson / 15.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kelly K. Hunt, MD Department of Breast Surgical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We completed a neoadjuvant trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center and published the results in 2005 demonstrating that trastuzumab delivered in combination with anthracycline and taxane based chemotherapy resulted in pathologic complete response rates of up to 60% in patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer. This was a single institutions study and there was concern about cardiac toxicity when using anthracyclines and trastuzumab concurrently. We therefore worked with the NCI cooperative groups, the American College of surgeons oncology group (ACOSOG), to design the ACOSOG Z1041 trial. This trial compared to different regimens in the neoadjuvant setting, one regimen utilizing concurrent anthracycline and taxanes based chemotherapy with trastuzumab and the other regimen utilizing concurrent taxanes with trastuzumab but the anthracycline was delivered in a sequential fashion. The primary end point of the trial was pathologic complete response rates in the breast. The results from this primary end point were published in the Lancet Oncology in 2013 and showed that the pathologic complete response rates were the same with the 2 different regimens. This was important since patients could be assured of similar efficacy without the potential added toxicity of delivering anthracyclines and trastuzumab together. The current publication is a report of the disease-free and overall survival rates from the Z1041 trial. Several studies have shown an association between pathologic complete response rates and survival. The current study shows that there is no difference in survival rates between the 2 different regimens. So once again there is an association between pathologic complete response and survival and it is not important that the anthracycline and trastuzumab are given concurrently in order to achieve these high pathologic complete response rates and improve survival rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections / 14.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nina R. Salama. PhD Member Human Biology Division Member Public Health Sciences Division Affiliate Member Basic Sciences Division Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We wanted to better understand why certain patients infected with H. pylori developed stomach cancer and how we could better identify them. H. pylori is one of the strongest risk factors for stomach cancer, but how much it predisposes individuals to gastric cancer varies around the world. Working closely with colleagues from Zhengzhou University, we ran tests on 49 samples from China and found that 91 percent of patients infected with the EPIYA D gene variant of H. pylori also had stomach cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, JAMA, Vanderbilt / 13.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Douglas B. Johnson, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Clinical Director, Melanoma Research Program Melanoma, clinical and translational studies Vanderbilt University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Immune checkpoint inhibitors produce long-lasting responses in patients with many different types of cancer. However, they may cause serious autoimmune-like side effects that may affect any organ. We used several large databases to determine how often these side effects were fatal, when they occurred, and which types of side effects were responsible. We found that overall, fatal side effects were uncommon, ranging from 0.3 – 1.3%. However, they tended to occur early on treatment (on average within the first 6 weeks), and affected a variety of organs, including the heart, lungs, colon, liver, and brain. There was a dramatic increase in reporting of fatal toxicities since 2017, likely reflecting the increased use of immune checkpoint inhibitors.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, Melanoma, Nature / 11.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Noam Auslander PhD National Cancer institute and the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology University of Maryland, College Park MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Immunotherapy – specifically immune checkpoint blockage (ICB) therapy – has been shown to be very effective in treating melanoma. However, only some patients with advanced tumors currently benefit from ICB therapies, while others are completely resistant and hence can be spared from the associated side effects and costs. Hence, predicting which patients are most likely to respond is an important challenge that can have great clinical benefits.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Heart Disease, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 10.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport MD, PA Emeritus head of Dermatology Teaneck's Holy Name Hospital. Dr. Rapaport discusess a case recently reported in JAMA: In 2016: A 97-year-old female patient was suffering from multiple squamous cell carcinomas varying from small to incredibly large in size on both of her legs. She was injected with the HPV vaccine commonly known as Gardasil, which is also used to treat warts and oral papilloma. She was first injected in her arm, and then after a period of six weeks, the vaccine was directly injected into her tumors. It was observed that this treatment eventually killed off almost all the tumors on her legs. According to recent press coverage, she is now looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday in fall 2018. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?Is HPV thought be a trigger for some cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas? Response: The link between skin cancers and HPV vaccinations has normally been investigated in patients who have received organ transplants. Due to the immune-suppressant drugs these patients must take, it is incredibly common to find cases of skin cancer in patients who have undergone transplants. The relaxed immune system, which would normally eliminate cancers caused by the HPV virus, would open the floodgates for multiple skin tumors to emerge. In this case of the 97 year old, I would assume her immune system was healthy. There is, however, growing evidence that receiving multiple vaccines for the HPV virus is necessary even in patients with healthy immune systems. So, regardless of immune health, I believe we need to expand the frequency of the HPV vaccine, even beyond the current three-tiered system for women below 26 and men below 21. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Science / 01.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Andrew South, PhD, Associate Professor in the department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by Butterfly Syndrome or recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa? Response: Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB, is a group of genetic diseases caused by mutations in genes which play a role in maintaining skin integrity. An EB patients’ skin can be very fragile which has been likened to butterfly wings, which are also very fragile. Skin blisters are common in EB patients and in some cases large wounds can result from the slightest mechanical trauma, hence the term Butterfly Syndrome. Skin cancer is a major complication of patients with the recessive dystrophic subtype of EB, known as recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa or RDEB, and these cancers, called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are very aggressive. SCC is the leading cause of death in patients with RDEB. SCC also arise very early, affecting RDEB patients in their 20’s and 30’s. Our study used genetic analysis of cancers collected from patients to try and determine what causes the cancer at such an early age and what causes these cancers to be so fatal. Skin SCC arising in the general population as a result of sun exposure are generally benign and occur much later in life, regular skin SCC patients are predominantly over the age of 60, therefore something must be different about RDEB SCC.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, OBGYNE, UCLA / 29.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P. Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Professor of Medicine Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD, endowed chair in Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Screening for cervical cancer saves lives by identifying cervical cancer early when it is treatable. Most cases of cervical cancer occur in women who have not been regularly screened or treated, which is why it’s important for women to get screened regularly throughout their lifetime with one of several effective options. Women ages 21 to 29 should get a Pap test every three years. Women ages 30-65 can choose between three approaches, depending on their preferences: a Pap test every three years, an HPV test every five years, or a combination of a Pap test and an HPV test every five years. There are some women who don’t need to be screened for cervical cancer including women younger than 21, women older than 65 who have been adequately screened in the past and are not at high risk, and women who have had a hysterectomy.  (more…)