Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stacey Fedewa PhD Strategic Director, Risk Factors & Screening Surveillance American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Screening for colorectal cancer is effective in reducing incidence and mortality by detecting precancerous lesions or cancer at more curable stages. But colorectal cancers can still develop in screened populations, some are missed at the time of screening; others can develop between recommended screenings. Patterns of risk for interval colorectal cancer, defined as cancers that develop after a negative result on colonoscopy, by race/ethnicity are not well known. The risk for blacks was of interest to us because colorectal incidence and mortality rates in blacks are the highest among any race or ethnicity in the United States. We were also interested to see if quality of colonoscopy, measured by physician’s polyp detection rate, could account for differences. (more…)
Author Interviews, JNCI, Lung Cancer, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 22.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peter G. Shields, M.D. Deputy Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center James Cancer Hospital Professor, College of Medicine Julius F. Stone Chair in Cancer Research The Ohio State University Columbus, OH MedicalResearch.com: What do we know about the health effects of cigarette filters?  Response:  The issue is that the design of the filters makes a cigarette even more dangerous, which can be regulated by the FDA. The issue is not about having a filter, but how they are made. And now we are changing the dialogue to the design of virtually all cigarettes. The holes on the filter are likely one reason the cigarettes of today are more dangerous. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, MRI, Prostate, Prostate Cancer / 21.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vikas Gulani, MD, PhD Director, MRI, UH Cleveland Medical Center Associate Professor, Radiology, CWRU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We wanted to learn if performing MR before prostate biopsy, followed by MR guided strategies for biopsy, are cost effective for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men who have not previously undergone a biopsy and who have a suspicion of prostate cancer. The most significant findings are as follows: We found that all three MR guided strategies for lesion targeting (cognitive targeting, MR-ultrasound fusion targeting, and in-gantry targeting) are cost effective, as the increase in net health benefits as measured by addition of quality adjusted life years (QALY), outweigh the additional costs according to commonly accepted willingness to pay thresholds in the United States. Cognitive targeting was the most cost effective. In-gantry biopsy added the most health benefit, and this additional benefit was cost-effective as well. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer / 19.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bela S. Denes, MD, FACS Senior Director Medical Affairs UROLOGY Genomic Health Inc. Redwood City, CA. 94063 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This is a prospective community based non-interventional study designed to provide information on the utility of Oncotype GPS in the management of men presenting with a new diagnosis of clinically localized low risk prostate cancer. We sought to understand the impact of incorporating a molecular marker into the shared treatment decision in practices already well versed in Active Surveillance (AS) as measured by persistence on surveillance at 2 years as well as a number of patient reported outcomes. The current publication reports on the results of a one year pre-specified interim analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, JCEM, Surgical Research, Thyroid, University of Michigan / 18.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Megan Rist Haymart MD Assistant Professor University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Thyroid cancer is typically treated with thyroid surgery. It is common practice for physicians to inform patients that the risk of vocal cord paralysis or hypoparathyroidism with thyroid surgery is 1-3%. However, most of these estimates are based on single institution studies with high volume surgeons. In our study we evaluated surgical risks in a population-based cohort. Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database, we found that 6.5% of thyroid cancer patients developed general post-operative complications (fever, infection, hematoma, cardiopulmonary and thromboembolic events) and 12.3% developed thyroid surgery specific complications (hypoparathyroidism/hypocalcemia, vocal cord/fold paralysis). Older patient age, presence of comorbidities, and advanced stage disease were associated with the greatest risks of surgical complications. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 18.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roy Mano, MD and David Margel, MD, PhD Department of Urology, Rabin Medical Center Petach Tikva, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to previous reports, male BRCA mutation carriers have a higher risk of developing malignancies of the prostate, pancreas, breast, colon and melanoma. While malignancy screening protocols for female BRCA carriers are well established and widely implemented, little is known about the optimal screening protocol for male BRCA carriers, and current screening protocols focus on malignancies of the breast and prostate rather than offer a comprehensive screening protocol for all BRCA associated malignancies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, NYU, Smoking / 17.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Moon-shong Tang, PhD Professor of Environmental Medicine, Pathology and Medicine New York University Langone School of Medicine Tuxedo Park, New York 10987 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: E-cigarettes (E-cigs) are designed to deliver the stimulant nicotine through aerosols, commonly referred as vapors. Nicotine is dissolved in organic solvents such as glycerin and propylene glycol. The nicotine is then aerosolized by controlled electric heating. E-cigs do not use tobacco leaves and E-cig smoke does not involve the burning process. Hence, E-cig smoke (ECS) contains only nicotine and the gas phase of the solvent. Because ECS contains neither carcinogens nor allergens or odors from the tobacco burning process, E-cigs have been promoted as an invention that can deliver a TS ‘high’ without TS negative effects. The population of E-cig users is rapidly rising, particularly in young adults. It has been estimated that 16% of high school students are E-cig smokers. Therefore, the health effects of E-cig smoke, particularly its carcinogenicity, deserve careful scrutiny. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Urology / 17.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keyan Salari, MD, PhD Resident in Urologic Surgery Keyan Salari is currently completing his residency in the Harvard Program in Urologic Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and is conducting post-doctoral research in cancer genomics in the Garraway Lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Active surveillance is an effective strategy addressing the problem of over treatment of clinically indolent prostate cancer, but data on the role of active surveillance in younger men is limited. Younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer are typically counseled to undergo treatment as opposed to surveillance of their prostate cancer. To potentially expand the role of active surveillance to younger patient populations, we undertook this study evaluating the outcomes of younger men under 60 years of age who elected to pursue active surveillance of their prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Prostate Cancer, Urology / 17.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric A. Klein, MD Chairman, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute Cleveland Clinic MedicalResearch.com: Which of these results did you find most interesting or surprising? Response: What’s most interesting is that the IsoPSA assay redefines how PSA is measured, which links it more closely to the underlying biology of cancer. Current assays measure only the concentration of PSA, which can be affected by conditions other than cancer – BPH most commonly, but also infection and inflammation – which limits its diagnostic accuracy for finding cancer. Its been known for several decades that PSA exists in multiple different forms in the bloodstream in patients with prostate cancer. These novel molecules arise because cancer cells have deranged cellular metabolism that result in the generation of new species of PSA, making their measurement more tightly linked to the presence or absence of cancer and even the presence of high grade cancer (where cellular metabolism is even more disordered). The IsoPSA assay is the first assay to measure all of these isoforms and thus has better diagnostic accuracy for cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Thyroid / 15.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. C. Seth Landefeld MD U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and Chairman of the department of Medicine and Spencer Chair in Medical Science Leadership University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Thyroid cancer is rare in the United States, and the evidence shows that screening for it leads to an increase in new diagnoses without affecting the number of people who die from it. This is because screening people without signs or symptoms for thyroid cancer often identifies small or slow-growing tumors that might never affect a person during their lifetime. After reviewing the evidence, the Task Force found little evidence on the benefits of screening for thyroid cancer and considerable evidence that treatment, which is often unnecessary, can cause significant harms. Additionally, in places where universal screening has been implemented, it hasn’t helped people live longer, healthier lives. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Mediterranean Diet, Nutrition / 15.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Antonio Giordano MD PhD Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine and Center for Biotechnology
College of Science and Technology
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest nutrition patterns. Tomatoes, in particular, which are consumed worldwide, and a basic ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, have been postulated to have a cancer preventive role at least for some tumor types, although few studies analyzed the effects of tomatoes in their entirety in different stages of cancer progression. Here, we focused on an in vitro model of gastric cancer because it is still one of the most common and deadly cancers and its development is strongly influenced by certain eating habits. Our results showed a possible role of tomatoes against typical neoplastic features. The treatment with tomato extracts affected the ability of cancer cell growth both in adherence and in semisolid mediums. Moreover, tomato extracts affected key processes within the cell; they hindered migration ability, arrested cell cycle through the modulation of retinoblastoma tumor suppressor family proteins and specific cell cycle inhibitors, and induced cancer cell death through apoptosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, JAMA, Melanoma / 10.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yasuhiro Nakamura, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Skin Oncology/Dermatology Comprehensive Cancer Center Saitama Medical University International Medical Center Hidaka, Saitama MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Regressing nevi, which are frequently associated with halo phenomenon, occur in approximately 1% of the general population. In patients with melanoma, spontaneous or treatment-related depigmentation of the skin (vitiligo) is sometimes observed. Although humoral and cellular immune responses may play a crucial role in their development, immune reactions to benign melanocytic nevi (BMN) without a halo are extremely rare in both the general population and in patients with melanoma. This publication reports a rare case with multiple metastatic melanomas who showed a remarkable clinical response to nivolumab with a simultaneous prominent immune reaction to multiple BMN without halo phenomenon. This rare phenomenon may be associated with dramatic efficacy of nivolumab in melanoma patients. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 08.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Youzhi Li Vice President at Boston Biomedical  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: RNAi (RNA interference) technology has the potential to target any genes causing disease, including conventionally “undruggable” targets in cancer. One particularly interesting RNAi target in oncology is the CTNNBI oncogene, which encodes the β-Catenin protein whose nuclear form acts as a transcription factor promoting tumorigenesis. Aberrant β-Catenin signaling has been demonstrated in 90 percent of colorectal carcinomas, 40 percent of hepatocellular carcinoma, and 90 percent of non-ductal pancreatic carcinomas. Recent research also suggests active β-Catenin contributes to tumor immune evasion and to the recurrence of melanoma in patients post the check-point blockage immunotherapy. However, the direct blockade of β-Catenin activity has proved difficult with conventional approaches. While the application of traditional RNAi technology has the potential to block this pathway, in clinical cancer therapy, this approach has proven challenging due to the difficulty in systemic delivery of RNAi to tumor sites located in various organs. We have recently developed BBI-801, a lipid-based nanoparticle that encapsulates therapeutic aiRNAs targeting CTNNB1 and PD-L1 to simultaneously target immune evasion via both these pathways. Here, we investigate the in vivo delivery and anti-tumor activity of BBI-801. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bruce G. Haffty, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Shorter courses of radiation for patients treated by lumpectomy are now commonly employed. For patients receiving radiation to the chest wall and lymph nodes after mastectomy, the standard 5 to 6 week course is used and shorter courses have not been adopted. We initiated this trial of a shorter course of radiation to the chest wall and lymph nodes after mastectomy to test its feasibility, safety and outcome. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CDC, Cost of Health Care / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Allaire MS RTI International Research Triangle Park Durham, NC, 27709 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: More than 22,000 women younger than 45 years of age were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Although less than 10 percent of all breast cancers are diagnosed among women younger than age 45, the types of breast cancer these younger women face are typically more aggressive, are diagnosed at more advanced stages, and result in poorer survival compared to breast cancer in older women. Younger women may also require more intense treatment, exhibit cancers that are less responsive to treatment, and have distinct and more prevalent side effects from treatment than older women. These side effects can include poorer quality of life, fertility problems, and depression. As a result, breast cancer treatment for younger women is expensive, making them vulnerable to financial hardship. Recent research has shown that 31.8 percent of cancer survivors are likely to have cancer treatment-induced financial troubles, with higher rates among younger cancer patients. These financial difficulties cause some survivors to forego or delay necessary medical treatments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Leukemia / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin J.S. Dyer, D.Phil MA FRCP FRCPath Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute University of Leicester, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study follows on from a world-first clinical trial of a new drug to treat particular blood cancers. Results of that international clinical trial were published in the journal Blood in November 2015 and looked at the efficacy of a new inhibitor, ONO/GS-4059, in the treatment of CLL and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma patients, refractory or resistant to current chemotherapies. ONO/GS-4059 targets BTK, a protein essential for the survival and proliferation of the tumour cells. The study opened in January 2012 and 90 patients were enrolled in different centres in the UK and in France, with 28 coming from Leicester. Patients with CLL showed the best response and most of them were still on the study after 3 years, and remarkably without notable toxicities. In the new paper, we are reporting the long-term follow-up results. This work, published in the journal Blood, was funded by the Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute, ONO Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Pharmaceuticals and the Cancer Research UK Leicester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre. Local charity Hope Against Cancer fund the Clinical Trials Facility based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. This current paper describes the long term follow up and shows that in patients with CLL the remissions are durable and associated with no new toxicities. Furthermore, in collaboration with Sistemas Genomicos, a company in Valencia, we have shown that mutations associated with aggressive disease respond well to treatment with ONO/GS-4059. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CDC, OBGYNE / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary C. White, ScD Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC Atlanta GA 30341 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For women between the ages of 21 to 65, Pap testing every three years, or Pap testing with HPV co-testing every five years, can prevent cervical cancers and deaths. Current recommendations state that women 65 and older and not otherwise at special risk can skip Pap tests, but only if they have had three consecutive negative Pap screening tests or two consecutive negative co-tests over the past 10 years, with the most recent done within the past five years. We used data from two federal cancer registry programs to examine how cervical cancer risk changes with age, after excluding women who have had a hysterectomy. We also examined data from a federal national health survey to examine the proportion of women who either had never been tested or had not been tested in the last 5 years. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy, Neurology, Radiology / 01.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ben Larimer, PhD research fellow in lab of Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized cancer treatment, unfortunately they only work in a minority of patients. This means that most people who are put on a checkpoint inhibitor will not benefit but still have the increased risk of side effects. They also lose time they could have spent on other therapies. The ability to differentiate early in the course of treatment patients who are likely to benefit from immunotherapy from those who will not greatly improves individual patient care and helps accelerate the development of new therapies. The main purpose of our study was to find a way to separate immunotherapy responders from non-responders at the earliest time point possible, and develop an imaging probe that would allow us to distinguish this non-invasively. Granzyme B is a protein that immune cells use to actually kill their target. They keep it locked up in special compartments until they get the right signal to kill, after which they release it along with another protein called perforin that allows it to go inside of tumor cells and kill them. We designed a probe that only binds to granzyme B after it is released from immune cells, so that we could directly measure immune cell killing. We then attached it to a radioactive atom that quickly decays, so we could use PET scanning to noninvasively image the entire body to see where immune cells were actively releasing tumor-killing granzyme B. We took genetically identical mice and gave them identical cancer and then treated every mouse with checkpoint inhibitors, which we knew would result in roughly half of the mice responding, but we wouldn’t know which ones until their tumors began to shrink. A little over a week after giving therapy to the mice, and before any of the tumors started to shrink, we injected our imaging probe and performed PET scans. When we looked at the mice by PET imaging, they fell into two groups. One group had high PET uptake, meaning high levels of granzyme B in the tumors, the other group had low levels of PET signal in the tumors. When we then followed out the two groups, all of the mice with high granzyme B PET uptake ended up responding to the therapy and their tumors subsequently disappeared, whereas those with low uptake had their tumors continue to grow. We were very excited about this and so we expanded our collaboration with co-authors Keith Flaherty and Genevieve Boland to get patient samples from patients who were on checkpoint inhibitor therapy to see if the same pattern held true in humans. When we looked at the human melanoma tumor samples we saw the same pattern, high secreted granzyme levels in responders and much lower levels in non-responders. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma, Technology / 27.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura Korb Ferris, MD, PhD Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute Director of Clinical Trials Department of Dermatology University of Pittsburgh Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We found that a non-invasive adhesive patch applied to the skin over a pigmented skin lesion allowed us to capture enough genetic material from the lesion to analyze and predict if that lesion is likely to be melanoma, meaning a biopsy is warranted, or if it is likely benign, meaning the patient would not need a skin biopsy. In this study, we asked dermatologists to use their clinical judgement to decide if they would recommend biopsying a skin lesion based on photos and information about the lesion and the patients, such as the patient's age, personal and family history of skin cancer, and if the lesion was new or changing. We then provided them the read out of the gene test and asked them how this influence their decision. We found that with this test result, dermatologists were more accurate in their decision making, meaning they were more likely to recommend biopsy of melanomas and less likely to biopsy harmless moles than they were without the test. This is important as it means this test has the potential to reduce the number of unnecessary skin biopsies performed, saving patients from undergoing a procedure and having a scar as a result, without increasing the risk of missing a melanoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, Lung Cancer / 25.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hestia Mellert, PhD Director, Molecular Product Development Biodesix: Making Medicine Personal Boulder, CO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Identifying specific genetic mutations in non-small cell lung cancer patients helps clinicians choose the best treatment options; specific therapies that target mutations can improve patient outcomes, including reducing the risk of death or lessening the severity of the disease. However, nearly 80% of cancer patients do not have genetic mutation results available at initial oncology consultation; up to 25% of patients begin treatment before receiving their results. These factors hinder physicians’ ability to pursue optimal treatment strategies. This study found that a blood-based assay, the GeneStrat test, provides results in 72 hours for 94% of patients, which expands testing options, and supports faster treatment decisions by physicians. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, UCSF / 24.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., M.A.S. Lee Goldman, MD, endowed chair in medicine and professor of medicine and of epidemiology and biostatistics University of California, San Francisco Chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect men, and the Task Force believes all men should be aware of the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer screening with PSA testing can help men reduce their chance of dying of prostate cancer or of having metastatic cancer. These are important benefits but occur in a small number of men. There are risks associated with screening, specifically overdiagnosis and overtreatment with surgery and radiation that can have important side effects like impotence and incontinence. Since the release of our 2012 recommendation, new evidence has emerged that increased the Task Force’s confidence in the benefits of screening, which include reducing the risk of metastatic cancer (a cancer that spreads) and reducing the chance of dying from prostate cancer. This draft recommendation also reflects new evidence on the use of active surveillance in men with low-risk prostate cancers that may help mitigate some of the harms in these men by allowing some men with low risk cancer to delay or avoid surgery or radiation. Therefore, in our new 2017 draft recommendation, the Task Force encourages men ages 55 to 69 to make an individual decision about whether to be screened after a conversation with their clinician about the potential benefits and harms. For men age 70 years and older, the potential benefits do not outweigh the harms, and these men should not be screened for prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research / 24.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thurai Moorthy Ph.D. President, MultiGEN Diagnostics Greensboro, NC 27405 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As more cancer related genetic markers are reported, there is a need for appropriate molecular tests to meet clinical expectations. These expectations include detection at very low amount in a heterogeneous cell population, such as Formalin Fixed Paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor biopsies. Braf p.V600E/K mutations are cancer-specific markers found in a variety of cancers. There are several drugs in use, and more drugs are being developed, which are prescribed only to those patients whose tumor carries either of these (Braf p.V600E/K) mutations. Hence, detection of Braf p. V600E/K is critical in the treatment of cancer patients. In this regard, we developed a new platform technology, Allele Specific Multiplex Sequencing (ASMS, for the detection of cancer markers from biopsy samples. As a demonstration project, we tested the new platform technology for the detection of Braf p.V600E/K using tumor samples (FFPE) previously tested by two presently used methods. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Mammograms, NYU / 21.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cindy S. Lee, MD Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco Now with Department of Radiology NYU Langone Medical Center, Garden City, New York MedicalResearch.com: What led you and colleagues to conduct this study? Response: I am a breast imager. I see patients who come in for their screening mammograms and I get asked, a lot, if patients aged 75 years and older should continue screening, because of their age. There is not enough evidence out there to determine how breast cancer screening benefits women older than 75. In fact, all previously randomized trials of screening mammography excluded people older than 75 years. Unfortunately, age is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer, so as patients get older, they have higher risks of developing breast cancer. It is therefore important to know how well screening mammography works in these patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, JAMA, MD Anderson, Surgical Research / 20.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Audree Tadros, MD, MPH Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Department of Breast Surgical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center and Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS Executive Director, Breast Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research Dept of Breast Surgical Oncology Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) has the ability to confer a pCR (pathologic complete response-when no residual cancer is found) in both the breast and axillary lymph nodes. We know that this is most likely to occur in women with HER2 positive and triple negative disease. The high rate of pCR among these patients raises the question of whether surgery is still required, particularly among those who will receive adjuvant radiation therapy. Until recently, we lacked the ability to pre-operatively predict patients who achieved a breast pCR. Recently, we completed a clinical feasibility trial examining the ability of image-guided biopsy to predict a pCR after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Our biopsy technique was able to accurately predict a pCR in 98% of patients with only a 5% false negative rate. Based upon these findings, we believe we can accurately determine which patients achieve a breast pCR. This led us to develop a clinical trial to see if breast surgery is redundant in patients who achieve a pCR. An important question that remained was if we are going to omit breast surgery in these exceptional responders, can we also omit axillary surgery? (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sara Torrecilla Recio PhD Student Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Program - Division of Liver Diseases Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer, which represents the second-leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. The landscape of molecular alterations in HCC has been thoroughly explored using next-generation sequencing technologies in single biopsies of tumors. However, in the recent years it has been demonstrated that not all the regions of a tumor harbor the same molecular alterations. This intra-tumor heterogeneity may lead to a misinterpretation of the molecular landscape of the malignancy since not all the molecular alterations would be captured by single-biopsies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fergus J. Couch, Ph.D. Zbigniew and Anna M. Scheller Professor  of Medical Research Chair, Division of Experimental Pathology Department of Laboratory Medicine  and Pathology Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The main finding is that RAD51D, BARD1, and MSH6 can now be included in the list of moderate risk breast cancer genes. In contrast, other genes such as MRE11A and RAD50 do not increase risk of breast cancer. In addition, we provide initial estimates of the level of breast cancer risk associated with mutations in the genes that cause breast cancer. The "new" breast cancer genes may now be useful for identifying women who can benefit from enhanced screening. These new data will need to be considered by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) which provides guidelines for clinical management of individuals with mutations in cancer predisposition genes. These results will also be useful for identifying members of families who are at increased risk of breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Sleep Disorders / 15.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald Ph.D.  FRQS Postdoctoral research fellow & Clinical psychologist (OPQ) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences 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: There is very limited research on the association between sleep characteristics and survival among individuals with cancer. However, this is an important question, especially among breast cancer patients because sleep disturbances are frequently reported by these women. Preliminary studies have suggested that sleep duration is related to mortality. The novel findings of our research indicate that not only sleep duration, but also changes in sleep duration before versus after diagnosis, as well as regular difficulties to fall or stay asleep, may also be associated with mortality among women with breast cancer over a period of up to 30 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 13.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Molly MacDonald Founder/President/CEO SurThrivor™ MedicalResearch.com: Would you tell us a little about yourself, especially your life before/outside of your cancer diagnosis?  Response: My life before cancer was a struggle of a different sort.  In 1997 I drove up the driveway to our lovely home with five children ages 4-13 safely strapped into the back of my gus guzzling suburban.  As I approached the front of the house, I noticed a small paper, about the 4X10 inches tacked to our front door, and where we lived no one tacked notes to the front door and all service providers went around to the side. Pulling it off I read that the house was to auctioned off in 30 days.  That night I had a very unpleasant conversation with my husband during which I learned the deal he was pursuing, among other things, had not come to fruition and he was fronting it with our assets. Within a monthI liquidated what I could, rented a house for cash and began the process of transitioning our lives from a life of luxury to living paycheck to paycheck. Trying to find work, while navigating a nasty divorce and helping my children adjust was a huge challenge. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research / 06.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Poulikos I. Poulikakos, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Oncological Sciences Department of Dermatology The Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Mutations in the oncoprotein kinase BRAF are found in about 8% of human tumors, including more than 50% of melanomas. Small molecule RAF inhibitors prolonged survival of melanoma patients with mutant-BRAF tumors, but resistance limits their effectiveness. Further, RAF inhibitors showed only modest efficacy in patients with colorectal and thyroid mutant-BRAF tumors. Previous studies have suggested that the complex biochemical mechanisms of action of RAF inhibitors account for both sensitivity and major mechanisms of resistance to these drugs. Recently, a number of next generation RAF inhibitors have entered preclinical or clinical development, but the most appropriate clinical context for their use remained elusive. (more…)