Author Interviews, Cancer, CDC, Ovarian Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 06.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sherri Stewart, PhD Division of Cancer Prevention and Control CDC MedicalResearch.com: What do women most need to know about ovarian cancer detection and treatment? Response: There is no effective test to detect ovarian cancer at an early stage where treatment is most likely to be effective.  Many women mistakenly believe that the Pap test can detect ovarian cancer, but it does not. The Pap test is recommended only for the detection of cervical cancer.  Recognizing early symptoms of ovarian cancer and seeking timely care may help lead to detection of the cancer at an earlier stage, where treatment is likely to be more effective.  Symptoms – such  as abdominal and back pain, feeling full quickly after eating, and frequent urination – are often present among women with ovarian cancer.  Women should talk with their doctors if they experience any of these symptoms for 2 weeks or longer and the symptoms persist or worsen. If a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she should seek treatment from a gynecologic oncologist, a physician specially trained to treat ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer patients who have been treated by gynecologic oncologists have been shown to survive longer than those treated by other physicians.           (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CDC, Colon Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 06.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Arica White PhD MPH Division of Cancer Prevention and Control CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the likelihood of reaching the 80% CRC screening rate goal by next year? Response: As of 2016, 67% of adults age 50-75 years reported being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. The 80% by 2018 initiative represented an aspirational goal that public health, non-profit, and community-based organizations will continue to strive for regardless of the outcome in 2018. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cancer Research / 21.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anton Wellstein, MD PhD Professor Oncology & Pharmacology Georgetown University Medical School Associate Director for Basic and Translational Science Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Washington DC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Tumor angiogenesis and signaling by growth factors such as Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are targets for the treatment of cancer. Targeting some of these factors will alter blood pressure. We show that FGF activation in an animal model can cause hypertension. We show that the hypertension is driven by sensitization of resistance vessels to the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. We propose that drugs used to target FGF pathway signaling in cancer could be useful to treat hypertension. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 20.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Koustubh Ranade, PhD Vice President of Research & Development Translational Medicine MedImmune MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In a healthy person, abnormal cells including cancer cells are typically detected and destroyed by the immune system in response to danger signals activated by the abnormal cells. However, some solid tumors avoid triggering danger signals, and thus the immune system cannot recognize and destroy cancer cells, permitting tumor growth. To help activate the patient’s immune system to fight these “hidden” cancer cells, MedImmune scientists have developed MEDI9197, a TLR 7/8 agonist, to trigger the needed danger signals. Our latest data from the Phase 1 study of MEDI9197 demonstrated that through intratumor injection, the therapy binds to TLR7 and TLR8 receptors and activates dendritic cells, which call in other immune cells to fight the tumor. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 20.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hanna Irie MD PhD, senior author Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Oncological Sciences at The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study identified PTK6 as a critical gene regulating survival of ER+ breast cancer cells. PTK6 inhibition also suppresses growth and survival of ER+ breast cancer cells that are resistant to the effects of therapies commonly used to treat patient ER+ breast cancers, making PTK6 an attractive candidate therapeutic target for these resistant cancers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Stem Cells / 17.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:   Amy M. Lyndaker, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Biology Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Elmira College This work was completed when I was a Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Robert S. Weiss at: Department of Biomedical Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine Cornell University Ithaca, NY     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been this puzzle in the field of cancer biology that testicular cancers, even after they have spread to the brain or the lungs, are often able to be cured with radiation and chemotherapy (think of Lance Armstrong, for instance), whereas the majority of cancers are not curable with similar treatments. We thought that this could be due to the unique properties of the cells from which the cancers are derived; testicular cancers arise from germ cells (which later go on to make sperm), whereas most cancers arise from somatic cells (body cells). We proposed that maybe the germ cells and somatic cells were hard-wired to respond differently to DNA damage, and that because of this, cancers derived from these two distinct types of cells might then respond differently to chemotherapies (which typically kill cancer cells by creating DNA damage). To test this, we generated a novel genetic mouse model that develops cancers similar to the malignant testicular cancers seen in young men. We then used standard chemotherapies (cisplatin alone, or combined bleomycin/etoposide/cisplatin), and found that treatment with DNA-damaging chemotherapies specifically killed the cancer stem cells within the tumors. Thus, we were able to show that testicular cancers are curable with standard DNA-damaging chemotherapies because their stem cells are highly sensitive to DNA damage. This is in contrast to most cancers, where the cancer stem cells are refractory to treatment and are responsible for tumor recurrence and metastasis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 15.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Helmneh M. Sineshaw, MD, MPH American Cancer Society Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United Sates. Although overall CRC incidence and mortality rates are decreasing in the United States, rates are increasing in the younger population. Notwithstanding these patterns, CRC incidence and mortality rates continue to be higher in blacks than in whites. Although black-white survival disparity among patients with colorectal cancer is well documented in the literature and multiple factors have been proposed as potential contributors, the contributions of differences in demographic characteristics, insurance type, comorbidity, tumor presentation, and treatment receipt to the racial disparity in survival among nonelderly CRC patients are unknown. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Orthopedics, Pharmacology / 13.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charles L.Shapiro MD Professor of Medicine Director of Translational Breast Cancer Research Director of Cancer Survivorship Division of Hematology/Oncology Tisch Cancer Institute New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The new 2017 ASCO guidelines for the use bone-modifying in individuals with bone metastases recently endorsed every 3-month zoledronic, because of high level evidence from three randomized trials, including our trial (published in Jama in Jan 2017, first author Himelstein et al) that giving zoledronic acid every 3-months was non-inferior to the standard of monthly zoledronic. The guidelines also concluded that there was not one preferred bone modifying agent of the other, despite the fact the comparing monthly zoledronic to monthly denosumab in women with bone metastases, denosumab delayed the time to first skeletal-related event (pathological fractures, necessity for radiation or surgery, and spinal cord compression) and subsequent events by 23% (or in absolute terms about 3 months) . Zoledronic acid became generic in 2013, whereas monthly denosumab is still patented until 2022-25. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lung Cancer, Medical Imaging, Surgical Research, Vanderbilt / 10.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amelia W. Maiga, MD MPH Vanderbilt General Surgery Resident VA Quality Scholar, TVHS MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Positron emission tomography (PET) combined with fludeoxyglucose F18 (FDG) is currently recommended for the noninvasive diagnosis of lung nodules suspicious for lung cancer. Our investigation adds to growing evidence that FDG-PET scans should be interpreted with caution in the diagnosis of lung cancer. Misdiagnosis of lung lesions driven by FDG-PET avidity can lead to unnecessary tests and surgeries for patients, along with potentially additional complications and mortality. To estimate FDG-PET diagnostic accuracy, we conducted a multi-center retrospective cohort study. The seven cohorts originating from Tennessee, Arizona, Massachusetts and Virginia together comprised 1188 nodules, 81 percent of which were malignant. Smaller nodules were missed by FDG-PET imaging. Surprisingly, negative PET scans were also not reliable indicators of the absence of disease, especially in patients with smaller nodules or who are known to have a high probability of lung cancer prior to the FDG-PET test. Our study supports a previous meta-analyses that found FDG-PET to be less reliable in regions of the country where fungal lung diseases are endemic. The most common fungal lung diseases in the United States are histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis and blastomycosis. All three fungi reside in soils. Histoplasmosis and blastomycosis are common across much of the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri river valleys and coccidioidomycosis is prevalent in the southwestern U.S. These infections generate inflamed nodules in the lungs (granulomas), which can be mistaken for cancerous lesions by imaging. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ENT, JAMA, Smoking, Social Issues / 10.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, CHES Instructor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Saint Louis University School of Medicine Member, Saint Louis University Cancer Center St Louis, Missouri  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have shown that there is an adverse effect of smoking on head and neck cancer survival; however, there are studies that show no effect between smoking and head and neck cancer. We wanted to investigate this problem using a single institution’s cancer dataset. Additionally, we wanted to understand the role of marital status in the smoking behavior of head and neck cancer patients, and to understand if smoking played any role in head and neck cancer survival. Our study confirmed that head and neck cancer patients who were smokers at the time of diagnosis had lower survival rates than nonsmokers. We also found that married head and neck cancer patients were less likely to be smokers and more likely to survive longer than those unmarried. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 08.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Hongchao Pan PhD Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We’ve known for a long time that recurrences can occur late in women with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancers. Our study aimed to assess how big the risk was for women who had taken endocrine treatment (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor) for 5 years, which greatly reduces the risk of recurrence (by about a half during treatment and one third for the 5 years after stopping). We also wanted to find out what factors influenced the risk of recurrence, and whether some women had such a low risk that they could safely stop hormonal treatment after 5 years or, conversely, whether other women had a particularly high risk so it would make sense for them to keep on taking hormonal treatment. What we found by following the progress of over 60,000 women who had stopped hormonal treatment at 5 years is that the risk of the cancer spreading stays about the same for the next 15 years. This risk is much higher for women whose breast cancer had spread to the nodes when first diagnosed but even for those with the best outlook (no spread to the lymph nodes and small tumours), there was a 10% chance of cancer spread over 15 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, JAMA, Lymphoma / 08.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: ANSMRosemary Dray-Spira, MD, PhD Department of Epidemiology French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) Saint-Denis, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents are increasingly used for the management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), either alone or in combination with thiopurines. Their clinical benefits have been largely assessed, however they may expose to potentially serious adverse effects. While an increased risk of lymphoma has been established with thiopurines, up to now such a risk of lymphoma remained uncertain with anti-TNF agents. In this study based upon a large, nationwide cohort of 189,289 patients with IBD, the use of anti-TNF agents alone was found associated with a 2 to 3 fold increase in the risk of lymphoma, similarly to thiopurines alone. In addition, the combination of these two treatments was associated with a 6 fold increase in the risk of lymphoma, ie a higher risk than with each treatment used alone. Although these differences are statistically significant, the risk of lymphoma among patients exposed to anti-TNF agents is less than 1 case per 1000 person-years. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research / 07.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wai Keung Leung Professor, Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology Department of Medicine Assistant Dean, LKS Faculty of Medicine University of Hong Kong Hong Kong MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It remains controversial whether proton pump inhibitors will increase the risk of gastric cancer. Although previous studies have shown a possible increase in risk in patients taking long-term proton pump inhibitors (PPI), these studies are confounded by the presence of H. pylori infection. In this population-based study from Hong Kong, we have determined the risk of gastric cancer development in more than 63,000 H. pylori-infected subjects who had the bacterium eradicated by a course of  clarithromycin-based triple therapy and continued to take PPI or H2-receptor antagonist (H2RA). After adjusting for various baseline differences among those PPI and non-PPI users, we found that the risk of gastric cancer was increased by 2.4-fold in those who used long-term PPI. The risk was in tandem with the frequency and duration of PPIs treatment. The risk increased from 5-fold to 8-fold for more than 1-year and 3-year use of PPI, respectively. Similar increase in risk was not observed among those who took H2RA, a weaker acid suppressive agent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Weight Research / 06.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel P. Schauer, MD, MSc Associate Professor, Internal Medicine University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine Cincinnati OH 45267-0535 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Obesity is associated with many types of cancer and bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe obesity.  We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2012 with follow-up through 2014 using data from Kaiser Permanente using 5 study sites. The study included 22,198 patients who had bariatric surgery matched to 66,427 nonsurgical patients with severe obesity. We found that bariatric surgery was associated with a reduced risk of cancer.  The risk reduction was greatest for the cancers that are associated with obesity including postmenopausal breast, endometrial, colon, and pancreatic cancers, as well as esophageal adenocarcinoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA / 06.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gry Haaland, MD James Lorens PhD, Professor The Department of Biomedicine University of Bergen  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Antitumor activity of the common blood thinner warfarin has been reported in several experimental cancer model systems. We therefore considered whether warfarin is cancer protective. Using the comprehensive national health registries in Norway, we examined cancer incidence among a large number of people taking warfarin (92,942) and compared to those not taking warfarin (more than 1.1 million). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Opiods, Pain Research / 06.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sebastiano Mercadante, MD Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit La Maddalena Cancer Center Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care & Emergencies University of Palermo Palermo, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many clinical experiences suggesting that methadone, when optimally used by skilled physicians, has invaluable properties in the management of cancer pain. Methadone used as first opioid may provide interesting advantages due to the low tendency to induce tolerance, while providing a clinical profile similar to that of other opioids. Moreover, methadone possesses other extra-opioid effects that can be of interest. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lancet / 30.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Miranda M Fidler, PhD Section of Cancer Surveillance International Agency for Research on Cancer Lyon, France  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The burden of cancer among young adults has been rarely studied in depth. To our knowledge, we describe for the first time the scale and profile of cancer incidence and mortality worldwide among 20-39 year-olds, highlighting major patterns by age, sex, development level, and geographic region. Although cancer is less frequent than that observed at older ages, its impact remains considerable because these individuals have a large proportion of their expected lifespans remaining, contribute substantially to the economy, and play a major role in caring for their families. Worldwide, almost 1 million new cases of cancer and 400 000 cancer-related deaths occurred among young adults aged 20–39 years in 2012. Overall, the most common cancer types in terms of new cases were female breast cancer, cervical cancer, thyroid cancer, leukemia, and colorectal cancer, and the most common types of cancer-related deaths were those due to female breast cancer, liver cancer, leukemia, and cervical cancer. The burden was disproportionately greater among women, with an estimated 633 000 new cancer cases (65% of all new cancer cases in that age group) and 194 000 cancer-related deaths (54% of all cancer-related deaths in that age group) in 2012. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, OBGYNE / 30.10.2017

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

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Judith A. Malmgren, PhD President, HealthStat Consulting, Inc Epidemiology Department University of Washington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) has two types, de novo stage IV MBC discovered to be metastatic at initial diagnosis as advanced disease and recurrent MBC found on follow up after diagnosis and treatment for initial invasive breast cancer. Our institutional breast cancer registry tracks both de novo metastatic breast cancer and invasive breast cancer for distant metastases. With this information we were able to compare the presentation, treatment and outcomes of both types, something that is not possible in national SEER data as recurrent MBC is not tracked. We found a remarkable improvement in 5-year survival from 28% to 55% over time among the de novo metastatic breast cancer patients.  Recurrent MBC 5-year survival did not improve in the same time period (23% to 13%) although incidence of recurrent MBC fell from 18% to 7% from 1990 to 2010. Incidence of recurrent metastatic breast cancer hormone receptor and HER2 positive breast cancer declined the most, leaving a large number of triple-negative recurrent metastatic breast cancer cases in the most recent time period. Worse metastatic breast cancer survival was associated with recurrent vs. de novo MBC, hormone receptor negative disease, older age (70+) and visceral dominant disease. HER2 positive disease was associated with better outcomes. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Electronic Records, University Texas / 29.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ali Haider, MBBS MD Assistant Professor, Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with chronic and serious illnesses such as cancer often experience high physical and psychosocial symptoms. Recent studies have reported association of physicians' examination room computer use with less face to face interactions and eye contact. It's important for the clinicians to look for certain physical cues to better understand the well being of their patients. Therefore we conducted this randomized clinical trial to understand patients perception of physicians compassion, communication skills and professionalism with and without the use of examination room computer. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Thyroid, UCSF / 26.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christine Baumgartner MD Inselspital Universitätsspital Bern Bern, Switzerland Research Fellow, Division of Hospital Medicine UCSF MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Overt and subclinical hyperthyroidism increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, but it is unclear whether subclinical hypothyroidism, which is known to increase cardiovascular events, or thyroid function in the normal range are also associated with incident atrial fibrillation. Given the high prevalence of atrial fibrillation and its associated morbidity and mortality, identifying potentially modifiable risk factors is important. Therefore, we aimed to assess the risk of atrial fibrillation in individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism or variations of thyroid function within the normal range. Our main findings are that higher free thyroxine levels are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation in euthyroid individuals, but thyroid-stimulating hormone levels within the euthyroid or subclinical hypothyroid range was not related to atrial fibrillation risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Prostate Cancer / 24.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zahava Berkowitz, MSPH, MSc Statistician Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The US Preventive Services Task Force 2017 draft prostate cancer screening recommendations  suggest that clinicians inform men aged 55–69 years about the potential benefits and harms of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer. The CDC conducted an analysis using the National Health Interview Surveys in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2015 to describe trends in the receipt of routine PSA testing in the past year by age group (40–54, 55–69, ≥70 years) and by risk group. We compared routine PSA screening among higher risk men (defined as African American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer) with other men. The analysis was conducted because CDC wanted to examine how the guidelines affect men at higher risk. The 2017 guideline did not include specific guidelines for African American men who have a higher incidence of prostate cancer than white men, more likely to develop prostate cancer at a young age, more likely to have a high-risk diagnosis and die from prostate cancer. (more…)
AACR, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cognitive Issues, Colon Cancer, UCSF / 24.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yingjia Chen, M.Sc, MPH, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow University of California, San Francisco  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Both colon cancer and dementia are prevalent among the elderly and have a high risk of co-occurrence. Previous studies found that patients with dementia were treated less aggressively. In this study, we hypothesized that presence of pre-existing dementia was associated with worse survival for stage III colon cancer patients, and that post-operative chemotherapy was on the causal pathway. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Eli Lilly, Lung Cancer / 20.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin Reck, MD, PhD Head of the Department of Thoracic Oncology Head of the Clinical Trial Department Department of Thoracic Oncology at the Lung Clinic Grosshansdorf  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is an urgent medical need to improve outcomes in pretreated patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), in particular those with fast progressing tumors. The Phase 3 REVEL study, which included patients with nonsquamous and squamous forms of NSCLC, demonstrated improved overall survival (OS), progression‐free survival (PFS), and objective response rate (ORR) – independent of histology. This analysis confirmed efficacy - with improvement of ORR, PFS and OS - in poor prognosis patients with fast progressing tumors (after 9, 12 or 18 weeks) without additional toxicity or impact on Quality of Life compared to the intent-to-treat (ITT) population results of REVEL. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Mammograms, Technology / 20.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manisha Bahl, MD, MPH Director, Breast Imaging Fellowship Program, Massachusetts General Hospital Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Image-guided biopsies that we perform based on suspicious findings on mammography can yield one of three pathology results: cancer, high-risk, or benign. Most high-risk breast lesions are noncancerous, but surgical excision is typically recommended because some high-risk lesions can be upgraded to cancer at surgery. Currently, there are no imaging or other features that reliably allow us to distinguish between high-risk lesions that warrant surgery from those that can be safely followed, which has led to unnecessary surgery of high-risk lesions that are not associated with cancer. We decided to apply machine learning algorithms to help us with this challenging clinical scenario: to distinguish between high-risk lesions that warrant surgery from those that can be safely followed. Machine learning allows us to incorporate the full spectrum of diverse and complex data that we have available, such as patient risk factors and imaging features, in order to predict which high-risk lesions are likely to be upgraded to cancer and, ultimately, to help our patients make more informed decisions about surgery versus surveillance. We developed the machine learning model with almost 700 high-risk lesions, then tested it with more than 300 high-risk lesions. Instead of surgical excision of all high-risk lesions, if those categorized with the model to be at low risk for upgrade were surveilled and the remainder were excised, then 97.4% malignancies would have been diagnosed at surgery, and 30.6% of surgeries of benign lesions could have been avoided. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 20.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aparna Soni, MA Department of Business Economics and Public Policy Kelley School of Business Indiana University, Bloomington MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cancer is the leading cause of death among the non-elderly population in the United States. Unfortunately, uninsured people are less likely to get screened for cancer, and treatment is often unaffordable for those who are uninsured. One of the key objectives of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to improve outcomes for cancer patients. Our objective in this study was therefore to assess changes under the ACA in insurance coverage among patients newly diagnosed with cancer. Our main finding is that uninsurance among patients with newly diagnosed cancer fell by one-third in 2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 18.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Craig Tendler, M.D. Vice President, Late-Stage Development and Global Medical Affairs for Oncology, Hematology and Supportive Care Janssen Research & Development, LLC.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Janssen announced the submission of a supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) to the FDA seeking to expand the indication of ZYTIGA in combination with prednisone and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) to include treatment of patients with high-risk metastatic hormone naïve prostate cancer (HNPC) or newly diagnosed, high-risk metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer (HSPC). This submission is based on the pivotal Phase 3 LATITUDE trial results presented earlier this year at the plenary session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, which found that in patients with newly diagnosed high-risk metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (mHNPC), abiraterone acetate with prednisone in combination with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) demonstrated a significant improvement in median overall survival (OS) and in radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS). Additional data, which were presented at the 2017 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Annual Conference, demonstrated clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvements in patient reported outcomes (PRO) in patients with high-risk mHNPC who received ZYTIGA in combination with prednisone and ADT compared to placebo plus ADT alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma, Transplantation, University of Pennsylvania / 17.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thuzar M.Shin MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Dermatology Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN) collects data on cancers that develop after organ transplantation. Previous studies have shown incomplete reporting to the OPTN for many cancers (including melanoma). Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in solid organ transplant recipients and the most common post-transplant skin cancer, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), is not captured in standard cancer registries. We hypothesized that cSCC and melanoma are underreported to the OPTN. When compared to detailed medical record review obtained from the Transplant Skin Cancer Network database (JAMA Dermatol. 2017 Mar 1;153(3):296-303), we found that the sensitivity of reporting to the OPTN was only 41% for cSCC and 22% for melanoma. The specificity (99% for cSCC and 100% for melanoma) and negative predictive values (93% for cSCC and 99% for melanoma) were high. As a result, the OPTN database is unable to robustly and reliably distinguish between organ transplant recipients with and without these two skin malignancies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Weight Research / 09.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. C. Brooke Steele D.O. Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Centers fo Disease Control and Prevention  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This report contains new information about cancer risk and people being overweight and obese. Research shows that being overweight or having obesity is associated with at least 13 types of cancer (adenocarcinoma of the esophagus; cancers of the breast [in postmenopausal women], colon and rectum, endometrium, gallbladder, gastric cardia, kidney, liver, ovaries, pancreas, and thyroid; meningioma; and multiple myeloma). We also know that the number of people who weigh more than recommended has increased over the past few decades. Therefore, we looked at the numbers of new cases of cancers associated with overweight and having obesity in the United States, as well as how the rates have changed over a 10-year period. Because screening for colorectal cancer can reduce colorectal cancer incidence through detection and removal of precancerous polyps before they become cancerous, we analyzed trends with and without colorectal cancer. (more…)