Alcohol, Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research / 19.08.2015

Dr. Yin Cao MPH, ScD Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Yin Cao MPH, ScD Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Nutrition Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cao: Light-to-moderate drinking, defined as up to 1 drink (roughly corresponds to a 355ml bottle of beer, or a small [118-148 ml] glass of wine or 44ml of liquor) for women and up to 2 drinks for men, is prevalent in many western countries. It is believed that light-to-moderate drinking may be healthy for the heart. However, the influence of light-to-moderate drinking on risk of overall cancer is less clear, although it is well known that heavy alcohol intake increases risk of several cancers, including cancers of colorectum, female breast, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, liver, and esophagus. Also because drinkers are more likely to be smokers, and smoking is the major risk factor for all of the alcohol-related cancers (mentioned above) except breast cancer, it is thus difficult to tease out the influence of alcohol on cancer in studies among a mixed population of ever and never smokers. In particular, it is important to know how light and moderate drinking would affect cancer risk particularly among never smokers, who now make up the majority of the population in many western countries. Our main findings are that, light-to-moderate drinking minimally increases risk of overall cancer. For men, the association with alcohol related cancers was primarily observed among smokers, and light to moderate drinking did not appreciably increase risk in never smokers. Among women, even consumption of up to one drink per day was associated with increased risk of alcohol-related cancers (mainly breast cancer) for both never and ever smokers. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Surgical Research / 19.08.2015

Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC University Hospitals Of Cleveland Cleveland, OH MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jaclyn Bradley Palmer, MM, MT-BC University Hospitals Of Cleveland Cleveland, OH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients awaiting breast cancer surgery may be understandably anxious. While pharmacologic intervention may reduce anxiety, higher doses of preoperative drugs can depress circulation and respiration, making alternative measures a particular interest. Music therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a board-certified music therapist. While music in surgery has been researched under the label of "music therapy", many of the studied investigations illicit recorded music provided by non-music therapy staff, making it truly "music medicine" practices instead. In this investigation, the effect of both live and recorded music therapy on anxiety, anesthesia requirements, recovery time and patient satisfaction were studied perioperatively. Breast cancer surgery patients were engaged in a brief music therapy session which consisted of one live or recorded preferred song choice, followed by discussion and processing of emotions. Compared to usual care, both live and recorded music therapy groups experienced significantly greater reductions in anxiety (p<.001) with point reductions of 27.5 (42.5%) and 26.7 (41.2%), respectively. During surgery, both music groups listened to music-therapist selected recorded, instrumental harp music, chosen for it's evidence-based therapeutic value of smooth lines, consistent volumes and stable melodies. In measuring the amount of interoperative drug (propofol) needed to reach moderate sedation, the intraoperative music was not found to have an effect in this trial. Patient satisfaction was universally high in all three study groups. Those who received live music preoperatively were discharged an average of 12.5 minutes sooner than those who received recorded music preoperatively, although neither music group was dischanged significantly sooner than the control group. Subjective reactions to the music interventions relayed that music therapy in surgery was an enjoyable addition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Ovarian Cancer / 18.08.2015

Oleh Taratula,PhD Assistant Professor Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Oleh Taratula, PhD Assistant Professor Oregon State University/Oregon Health & Science University College of Pharmacy MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Taratula: The background for the study consists of previous work we had published in the lab using photodynamic therapy (PDT) as the stand alone treatment modality. We were successful in synthesizing and incorporating the photodynamic nanoplatform in the treatment for ovarian cancer, but our current graduate student, Canan Schumann said he could make the therapy more efficient using his current research on gene therapy. The gene therapy he is currently working on is the delivery of siRNA targeted to the multifaceted oncogenic protein DJ-1 which has been implicated in antioxidative stress defense as well as the overall survival of ovarian cancer. Cancer is highly intelligent able to adapt quickly to new insults that it comes across, even ROS formed inside the cell. Cancer cells can even upregulate a whole host of antioxidant stress response proteins to combat the formation of or scavenge already created ROS. The idea was can we combine our currently used PDT, which uses the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as its cytotoxic mechanism of action, coupled with gene therapy targeted to DJ-1, in hope to drastically increase ROS inside the cell leading to a more pronounced cell death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy, Lancet / 17.08.2015

Bernardo L. Rapoport M. D. The Medical Oncology Centre of Rosebank Johannesburg, South Africa MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bernardo L. Rapoport M. D. The Medical Oncology Centre of Rosebank Johannesburg, South Africa Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rapoport: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is one of the most feared side effects of chemotherapy, and can lead to dose reductions or discontinuations of life-extending anti-cancer therapy. In the past, the serotonin (5-HT3) receptor antagonists, such as granisetron, palonosetron , and ondansetron, have shown effectiveness in preventing acute CINV (0-24 hours after chemotherapy administration), but many chemotherapies, such as cisplatin, carboplatin, and anthracycline/cyclophosphamide combinations, can cause delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting that occurs from >24 hours to 5 days or more after chemotherapy. Neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists (NK-1 RAs) work though the substance P signaling pathway and are effective at preventing the delayed phase of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Aprepitant was the first NK-1 RA to come to market in 2003, followed by a fixed dose of netupitant plus palonosetron late last year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Pancreatic / 17.08.2015

Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic MD PhD Reader Centre for Molecular Oncology Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary, University of London London UK MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic MD PhD Reader Centre for Molecular Oncology Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London London UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Crnogorac-Jurcevic: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most difficult cancers to detect. More than 80% of patients usually present at a late stage, with either locally advanced or with already metastatic disease. This is one of the major reasons for a bleak prognosis of this malignancy, which is typically 3-6 months and with <5% five-year survival. However, if patients are diagnosed with stage II disease, the survival rate is 20%, and at stage I, in patients with very small tumours, the five-year survival can increase up to 60%. In order to find biomarkers for early detection of this disease, we have performed in depth GeLC/MS/MS (SDS-PAGE-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry) analysis of 18 proteomes of urine samples collected from healthy controls, chronic pancreatitis, and patients with Pancreatic adenocarcinoma and obtained around 1500 non-redundant proteins. From these, three proteins, LYVE-1, REG1A, and TFF1, were selected for further analysis based on their known biological functions and statistical difference in comparisons of the experimental groups. These biomarkers were subsequently validated using ELISA assays in a multicenter cohort of urine samples: 87 from healthy people, 92 from patients with chronic pancreatitis, and 192 from PDAC patients. Multiple logistic regression was then applied: when comparing Pancreatic adenocarcinoma with healthy urine specimens, the resulting areas under the receiver-operating characteristic curves (AUC) of the three biomarkers combined into a panel were 0.89 (95% confidence interval: 0.84–0.94) in the training dataset (70% of the data) and 0.92 (95% confidence interval: 0.86–0.98) in the validation dataset (30% of the data). When the results from the analysis of PDAC stage I–II (n=71) urine samples were compared with the healthy urine specimens, the panel achieved AUCs of 0.90 (95% confidence interval: 0.84–0.96) and 0.93 (95% confidence interval: 0.84–1.00) in the training and validation datasets, respectively. In comparison to matching plasma CA19.9 values, the only Pancreatic adenocarcinoma biomarker in widespread clinical use (albeit mostly for monitoring of the disease), the panel achieved a higher AUC of 0.97 (95% confidence interval: 0.94–0.99) than CA19.9 (AUC 1/4 0.88; 95% confidence interval: 0.81–0.95, P=0.005). When combined with CA19.9, increased AUC of 0.99 (95% confidence interval: 0.97–1.00, P=0.04) was achieved, but this was not seen in a panel combined with plasma CA19.9 in stage I–IIA PDAC (n =17) vs. healthy sample comparison. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lung Cancer, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 15.08.2015

Tyler Grenda, MD House Officer VI Section of General Surgery Department of Surgery University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tyler Grenda, MD House Officer VI Section of General Surgery Department of Surgery University of Michigan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grenda: The main purpose for this study was to better understand the factors underlying differences in mortality rates for hospitals performing lung cancer resection. The methodology we used included only the highest and lowest mortality hospitals (Commission on Cancer accredited cancer programs) so the sampling frame was specific. There are wide variations in mortality rates across hospitals performing lung cancer resection (overall unadjusted mortality rates were 10.8% vs. 1.6%, respectively. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NEJM, Radiation Therapy / 14.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD Head of Department, Radiation Oncology ESTRO President Radboud university medical center The Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Poortmans: Based on the former hypothesis that breast cancer sequentially spreads from breast to lymph nodes and from there to distant organs, up to the eighties it was very custom to perform extended radical surgery and to irradiate extensively locoregional for most patients. With the growing interest in systemic treatments to prevent development (= from already present undetectable cancer cells to really visible and threatening metastases) of distant metastases, new information about possible late side effects and our increasing knowledge about the biological behaviour of breast cancer in the eighties and the nineties, the extend of especially locoregional treatment was gradually reduced. For radiation therapy, often the irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes was left aside, as this was linked to the delivery of radiation dose to the heart, possibly or probably leading to late side effects. At the start of the study, about half of the radiation oncology departments did include irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes in patients with risk factors, while the other half did not. Hereby we had an ideal base for the investigation of the value of treating the non-operated part of the regional lymph nodes. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Poortmans: We found a decreased risk for development of distant metastases of 3% at 10 years, translated in a 3% overall improved overall disease free survival. Up to now, It leads to an improvement of 1.6% in overall survival at 10 years, which is, in contrast to the earlier 2 findings, just not statistically significant (borderline at p = 0.06). On the other hand, breast cancer related mortality is significantly improved and we did not see an increase in non breast cancer related causes of death. Overall toxicity was limited with only a significant increase in pulmonary toxicity, however to a low grade in the big majority of those patients. The benefit in overall survival is in a similar order of magnitude than adding for example taxanes to anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy for a similar patient population as ours. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Poortmans:  First, we should appreciated that the regional (lymph node) recurrence rate is a poor endpoint for evaluation of also locoregional treatment. This can be explained by the fact that once distant metastases are found, no further search for local (breast) or regional (lymph nodes) recurrences is performed any more, as this is not relevant anymore for treatment or prognosis. However, the spread of distant metastases might occur from cancer involvement of the lymph nodes, explaining why we saw the effect of the lymph node irradiation basically only on the rate of development of distant metastases.  As a second message, we can appreciate that the 3% decreased distant metastases rate did not yet fully translate into a survival benefit, which can be explained by the need for even longer follow-up than 10 years. The explanation lies simply in the fact that even after development of distant metastases, patients can live for quite some more years with, however, only very little chance for definitive cure.  Thirdly, we demonstrated with the quality assurance programme linked to this trial that radiation treatment as used those days (the accrual phase was from 1996 until January 2004) radiation therapy techniques should be nowadays considered as suboptimal with a lack of full coverage of the target volumes and delivery of a too high dose to the organs at risk. With modern techniques, we expect that the results will even be quite better.  And finally, that the overall outcome of breast cancer improved a lot: at the start of the trial, we estimated overall survival at 10 years being 50%, which we revised in 2000 to 75% and we ended up with more than 80%. Thereby, it becomes more of a challenge to demonstrate benefits of further improving treatment as the same relative improvement will be translated into a lower absolute improvement. Nevertheless, by more effectively preventing the development of distant metastases by improved systemic therapy (or even better by earlier detection with a lower basal rate of distant metastases) the importance of optimizing locoregional control becomes even higher. Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study? Dr. Poortmans: o First of all we have to improve our ability to define which patients will gain most from this treatment. o Secondly, we have to further investigate how to optimize the technical aspects of this loco regional treatment and … o Thirdly how to optimally integrate all treatment aspects including locoregional ones and systemic ones. o Based on all this, we can develop and then provide the patients with shared decision making tools. Citation: Internal Mammary and Medial Supraclavicular Irradiation in Breast Cancer Philip M. Poortmans, Ph.D., Sandra Collette, M.Sc., Carine Kirkove, Ph.D., Erik Van Limbergen, Ph.D., Volker Budach, Ph.D., Henk Struikmans, Ph.D., Laurence Collette, Ph.D., Alain Fourquet, Ph.D., Philippe Maingon, M.D., Mariacarla Valli, M.D., Karin De Winter, M.D., Simone Marnitz, M.D., Isabelle Barillot, Ph.D., Luciano Scandolaro, M.D., Ernest Vonk, M.D., Carla Rodenhuis, Ph.D., Hugo Marsiglia, Ph.D., Nicola Weidner, Ph.D., Geertjan van Tienhoven, Ph.D., Christoph Glanzmann, Ph.D., Abraham Kuten, M.D., Rodrigo Arriagada, M.D., Harry Bartelink, Ph.D., and Walter Van den Bogaert, Ph.D. for the EORTC Radiation Oncology and Breast Cancer Groups N Engl J Med 2015; 373:317-327 July 23, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1415369 MedicalResearch.com is not a forum for the exchange of personal medical information, advice or the promotion of self-destructive behavior (e.g., eating disorders, suicide). While you may freely discuss your troubles, you should not look to the Website for information or advice on such topics. Instead, we recommend that you talk in person with a trusted medical professional. The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website. Philip.Poortmans@radboudumc.nl MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD Head of Department, Radiation Oncology ESTRO President Radboud university medical center The Netherlands   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Poortmans: Based on the former hypothesis that breast cancer sequentially spreads from breast to lymph nodes and from there to distant organs, up to the eighties it was very custom to perform extended radical surgery and to irradiate extensively locoregional for most patients. With the growing interest in systemic treatments to prevent development (= from already present undetectable cancer cells to really visible and threatening metastases) of distant metastases, new information about possible late side effects and our increasing knowledge about the biological behaviour of breast cancer in the eighties and the nineties, the extend of especially locoregional treatment was gradually reduced. For radiation therapy, often the irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes was left aside, as this was linked to the delivery of radiation dose to the heart, possibly or probably leading to late side effects. At the start of the study, about half of the radiation oncology departments did include irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes in patients with risk factors, while the other half did not. Hereby we had an ideal base for the investigation of the value of treating the non-operated part of the regional lymph nodes. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 14.08.2015

Thomas F. Imperiale, MD Indiana University Medical Center Regenstrief Institute Indianapolis, IN 46202 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas F. Imperiale, MD Indiana University Medical Center Regenstrief Institute Indianapolis, IN 46202 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Imperiale: The background is that colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is effective and cost-effective, but it is underutilized (35% of eligible persons in the U.S. are not current with screening; 28% have never been screened) and inefficient (persons at low risk have colonoscopy; persons at high risk have stool blood testing or nothing). We know about several risk factors for colorectal cancer and advanced, precancerous polyps. We wanted to see how those factors perform together in stratifying (or separating) risk among the 85% of the U.S. population that is considered to be “average-risk”. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Imperiale: We found that age, sex, whether a first-degree relative has or had colorectal cancer, cigarette smoking, and waist circumference do a good job in separating risk into the 4 categories described in the paper. When tested in the validation subgroup, the risk estimates reproduced themselves fairly well. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, JAMA, Ovarian Cancer / 13.08.2015

Leif W. Ellisen, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Program Director, Breast Medical Oncology Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Program MGH Research Scholar MGH Cancer Center Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leif W. Ellisen, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Program Director, Breast Medical Oncology Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Program MGH Research Scholar MGH Cancer Center Boston, MA 02114 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ellisen: The traditional approach to genetic testing for women with suspected hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer risk is to test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone. Recent studies have shown that testing with a multi-gene panel finds relevant risk gene mutations in substantially more women than does testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone. However, one of the concerns about broader multi-gene testing has been that the results really wouldn’t change what you told women about their risk and management – either because the risk associated with the other genes may not be as high as for BRCA1/2, or because the clinical practice guidelines associated with some of the other genes are less specific. Our study sought to determine how often testing such women using a multi-gene panel would find mutations in genes other than BRCA1/2, and more importantly to ask whether finding those mutations would change how you would manage the patient and their family. We found that multi-gene panel testing finds relevant risk gene mutations in substantially more women (approximately 40% more) than does testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone. Furthermore, in a case-by-case analysis we showed that finding mutations in these other genes is likely to change the clinical management that is considered or recommended for the majority of the mutation-positive women and their families. Notably, our analysis of the predicted management change is based not just on the gene mutation alone, but on how the gene appears to be behaving in that particular family. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Lymphoma / 12.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alain H. Rook, M.D. Professor of Dermatology University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 and Rachael A. Clark, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Dermatology Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115   Researchers’ summary: In this paper, Dr. Rachael Clark and I describe a novel topical therapy for mycosis fungoides (MF), which is a skin-limited variant of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL), a group of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas which represent cancers derived from skin-homing T cells. Although therapies exist that suppress the inflammatory skin lesions of MF, there are no curative therapies for this otherwise lifelong disease except for stem cell transplantation, which is only carried out in patients with aggressive and progressive disease. This manuscript describes a phase I trial of a novel immunomodulatory compound called resiquimod. This molecule stimulates two key receptors TLR7 and TLR8. Unlike imiquimod, a similar compound that is FDA approved for the treatment of local skin cancers, resiquimod actually stimulates inflammatory cytokine release from the dendritic cells that populate both healthy and inflamed human skin. As a result, this drug can enhance antigen presentation and immune responses. This study demonstrated that topical resiquimod was remarkably effective in that 90% of patients experienced a decrease in the percentage of the malignant T cell clone in skin lesions, and two patients had complete clearance of all disease, including both the treated skin lesions and the untreated lesions. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of regression of untreated skin lesions using a topical medication. This suggests that systemic antitumor immunity develops in these patients. Translational studies on the skin before and after treatment showed that the malignant T cell clone declined and inflammatory cytokine production by benign T cells increased after therapy suggesting the medication enhanced antitumor responses. In summary, this manuscript describes a small phase I trial that showed that topical resiquimod is safe, effective therapy for mycosis fungoides and can cause regression of both treated and untreated skin lesions, and may therefore represent a long-term potential cure for this otherwise lifelong disease. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Lung Cancer, Outcomes & Safety / 11.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raymond Osarogiagbon MD, FACP Thoracic Oncology Research Group Baptist Cancer Center Memphis, Tennessee MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Raymond Osarogiagbon MD, FACP Thoracic Oncology Research Group Baptist Cancer Center Memphis, Tennessee

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Osarogiagbon: Lung cancer care is complicated, but can be broken down into 5 steps: x-ray detection, biopsy, x-ray tests of cancer spread (the ‘stage’), biopsy of suspicious areas where cancer may have spread, and treatment. Looking only at patients who had surgery for a suspected lung cancer, we worked backwards to see how their care went through the key steps and how long it took. We found that patients often skip some of the crucial steps. For example, 22% did not have a staging PET/CT scan, 88% did not have an invasive staging test. Only 10% had the recommended combination of 3 staging tests leading up to surgery: a CT scan, PET/CT scan, and invasive staging test. It took a month and a half to more than 6 months for the middle half of patients to go from first abnormal x-ray sign of possible lung cancer to surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer / 11.08.2015

Dr Stephen Chan DM, FRCR, FRCP Consultant Oncologist Breast and Gynaecological Cancers Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham Visiting Professor of Cancer Medicine at Nottingham Trent University MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Stephen Chan DM, FRCR, FRCP Consultant Oncologist Breast and Gynaecological Cancers Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham Visiting Professor of Cancer Medicine at Nottingham Trent University MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chan: Worldwide each year 1.68 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than half a million die from the disease. Of these new cases around 12% will be classified as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), meaning that tumour cells from these patients do not show any of the three established clinical markers that can be treated with targeted therapies. These drugs are used in addition to standard chemotherapy to improve the chance of a good treatment response, leading to prolonged disease free survival. Without these additional treatment options triple negative patients are forced to depend entirely on chemotherapy to treat their cancer. Traditionally the sensitivity of a cancer to different types of chemotherapy has been categorised is based on a tumours tissue of origin and stage. There is currently no predictive marker of response that would allow chemotherapy treatment to be tailored to individual patients. With this information a clinician can predict which patients would benefit most from a particular chemotherapy and switch any who would do poorly to an alternative. The result would be a shift to increased treatment efficacy, while avoiding toxicity from ineffective treatment, which would in turn also reduce the cost to the health service. This need is particularly acute in triple negative breast cancer cases where chemotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment. In collaboration with researchers based at Nottingham Trent University our group has been successful in finding new markers, which can predict how a patient will respond to chemotherapy treatment. One of these is HAGE (DDX43), a DEAD box RNA helicase. We have found that high HAGE expression predicts good respond to one of the main first line chemotherapy drugs, called anthracycline (Tarek MA Abdel-Fatah et al, April 2014). Our recent work (Tarek MA Abdel-Fatah, 2015) has shown that the predictive value is strong in triple negative breast cancer cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer / 09.08.2015

Dr Helen Ross-Adams Cancer Research UK, London MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Helen Ross-Adams Cancer Research UK, London Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ross-Adams: Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men in both the UK and US. At the moment, prostate cancer is diagnosed and monitored mainly on the basis of blood tests for prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein in the blood. MRI scans and examination of biopsy tissue samples under a microscope are also used to decide on the best course of action for each patient. Despite all this, as a community, we still struggle to reliably predict which men with an initial diagnosis of prostate cancer will go on to have a fast-growing, aggressive form of the disease (a ‘tiger’) from men who will have a much slower-growing form of the disease that won’t really cause problems in the man’s lifetime (a ‘pussycat’). This means some men may get treatment they don’t need, while others could benefit from earlier, more intensive treatment. With this in mind, we studied a total of 250 men with prostate cancer and tested their tumour and healthy tissues at the molecular level. The idea was two-fold:
  • Could we identify different sub-types of prostate cancer using this genetic information, and
  • Could we link any of the sub-types we did find with other patient characteristics that clinicians would normally have, like histological staging information or PSA test results?
We looked at their DNA, to see whether any regions were deleted or repeated (copy number alterations), and we also measured the activity levels of thousands of genes in the tumour and healthy prostate tissues (gene expression). Each of these approaches on their own can be used to stratify patients, but we decided to combine this information and hopefully find genes that had a big impact on prostate cancer. Using this approach, we identified five different subtypes of prostate cancer, each with their own ‘molecular profile’:
  • One group had lots of DNA deletions and only low levels of certain genes
  • Another had lots of repeated DNA with high levels of associated genes
  • Two more groups had very ‘quiet’ genomes, with very few changes at the DNA level, and not much disruption at the gene expression level
  • The fifth and final group had an intermediate amount of copy number changes (DNA level), but no major changes at the gene expression level (mRNA level)
When we correlated these different molecular subtypes with the patients’ standard post-surgery follow-up data (the results of 6-monthly PSA tests), we found that these subtypes predicted how well a patient would do after surgery. We ultimately identified 100 key genes (a gene signature) that were most useful in classifying men into one of the 5 cancer subtypes we identified. This was derived from 150 men in Cambridge, UK. To check our findings, we repeated the same work in a group of 100 men from Stockholm, Sweden who had also had prostate surgery, and found that the 100 gene signature worked just as well – it subdivided the men into 5 different groups, each with different rates of relapse. In both cases, men with the most genetic alterations had the greatest chance of relapsing after surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Radiation Therapy, University of Michigan / 08.08.2015

Dr. Reshma Jagsi MD, DPhil Associate Professor and Deputy Chair for Faculty and Financial Operations in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan Health System Research Investigator at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil Associate Professor and Deputy Chair Department of Radiation Oncology University of Michigan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In recent years, there has been accumulating evidence from clinical trials that have supported the long-term safety and effectiveness of shorter courses of radiation therapy—“hypofractionated radiation therapy”—for patients with breast cancer. However, little has been known about the experiences of patients during treatment, especially when this new approach is administered outside the setting of closely controlled clinical trials. Our study examined the side effects and patient-reported experiences during radiation treatment of over 2000 breast cancer patients in the state of Michigan. It found that women who received hypofractionated treatment were less likely to report side effects (including skin reaction and fatigue) than patients treated with more traditional courses of radiation treatment, delivered daily over 5-6 weeks or longer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 02.08.2015

Christos Nikolaidis Ph.D. Laboratory of Pharmacology Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace Dragana, Alexandroupolis Greece MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christos Nikolaidis Ph.D. Laboratory of Pharmacology Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace Dragana, Alexandroupolis Greece Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Epigenetic changes are part of the natural history of cervical neoplasia. Tracking these changes at the molecular level is necessary for understanding disease progression, response to treatment and prognosis. Epigenetic biomarkers can potentially assess the stage of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). This information can be used for screening purposes, to improve the overall quality of cervical cancer diagnostics. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Paired boxed 1 (PAX1) gene methylation status has been widely used as a biomarker for cervical cancer screening. We have conducted a meta-analysis of the diagnostic test accuracy of PAX1 methylation, on moderate cervical dysplasia or worse (CIN2+) versus normal epithelium, and severe cervical dysplasia or worse (CIN3+) versus normal epithelium, for a total population of 1385 women. The results of this assay were generally satisfactory for CIN2+ vs normal, and extremely satisfactory for CIN3+ vs normal (Sensitivity=0.77, Specificity=0.92, AUC=0.931). This raises the possibility of utilizing this biomarker to improve current diagnostic protocols. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, End of Life Care, Lancet, Leukemia / 01.08.2015

Prof David C Currow Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services Flinders University Adelaide, SA, Australia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof David C Currow Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services Flinders University Adelaide, SA, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Currow: This study grew out of a desire to better understand the symptom burden experienced by people with hematological malignancies at the end of life. This has been very poorly documented and although there are lots of strong opinions, there are very few data at a population level. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Currow: The main finding is that community-dwelling people with hematological malignancies at the end of life have a burden of symptoms that looked almost identical to people with solid tumours. Given much lower rates of access to the hospice and palliative care, this suggests that these people and their family caregivers are missing out on opportunities for better symptom control and better support. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Sexual Health / 30.07.2015

Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center University of South Florida MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D. Moffitt Cancer Center University of South Florida MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Quinn: Our research group has been conducting studies of the LGBTQ community and their healthcare experiences combined with providers knowledge and attitudes about LGBTQ and cancer care. This led us to examine the literature on cancer and LGBTQ. The main findings point to the lack of rigorous data about cancer in the LGBTQ community. Our review revealed that 7 cancers (anal, breast, cervical, colorectal, colon and rectal, endometrial, lung and prostate cancers) may occur more frequently in the community due to elevated prevalence of risk factors and behaviors such as obesity and substance use; however, there are limited data on outcomes, morbidity and mortality. The lack of data makes it difficult for providers to fully inform patients about early detection, prevention, and treatment options and outcomes. Further, the lack of psychosocial data makes it difficult to provide supportive care recommendations and other forms of support. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer / 30.07.2015

Karla M. Gonye, MBA President, sphingotec LLC Cambridge, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karla M. Gonye, MBA President, sphingotec LLC Cambridge, Massachusetts MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response:
  • Met- and Leu-Enkephalin: are endogenous pentapeptides of the family of opioid peptides known as opiod-growth factors (OGF)
  • Enkephalins have been widely studied and play a major role in a variety of physiological processes
    • Perception of pain
    • Regulation of stress
    • Regulation of cardiovascular function
    • Regulation of bone formation
    • Regulation of immune responses
  • Alcohol and pain relievers reduce synthesis of Enkephalins
  • Met-Enkephalin (opioid growth factor) inhibits tumor progression and metastasis and enhances natural killer cell activity1,2
  • Mechanisms3-7:
    • Opioids can directly interact with tumor cells to cause a cytotoxic or antiproliferative effect
    • Opioids can modulate host antitumor immune mechanisms
  • Opiods can also induce apoptosis
  • We need enkephalins to help inhibit tumor progression
  • At sphingotec, it was hypothesized that disease progression begins earlier than symptoms are present and that reduced enkephalins in the blood would be an indicator of future breast cancer; measurement of this hormone peptide was possible with the company’s expertise, and that test could be developed to precisely measure enkephalin.
  • This method is published in a separate publication by Ernst et al (2006) in Peptides.
  • To test this hypothesis, Sphingotec measured enkephalin levels in the MDC and MPP study populations to determine if an association could be made between lower enkephalins and risk of breast cancer: We related proenkephalin (P-ENK) in fasting plasma from 1929 healthy women (mean age 58±5.9 years) of the population based Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS) to incidence of breast cancer (n=123) using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models during 14.8 years of follow-up. For replication, P-ENK was related to risk of breast cancer (n=130) in an older independent sample from the Malmö Preventive Project (MPP) consisting of 1569 women (mean age 70.0±4.4 years), using multivariate logistic regression.
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Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer / 29.07.2015

Karla M. Gonye, MBA President, sphingotec LLC Cambridge, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karla M. Gonye, MBA President, Sphingotec LLC Cambridge, Massachusetts MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response:
  • In experimental studies, Neurotensin and neurotensin expression was highly associated to breast cancer tissue
    • Dupouy et al (2009) investigated the expression of NTS and NTSR1 in normal human breast tissue and in invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs) and found that NTS is expressed in ductal and invasive components of IDCs. The high expression of NTSR1 is associated with the SBR grade 3 (p<0.05), larger tumor size (p<0.01), and the number of metastatic lymph nodes (p<0.05).
    • It was concluded from this paper that NTS/NTSR1 is a contributor to breast cancer progression.
    • Souaze et al (2006)also studied IDCs and found 34% of all tumors were positive for neurotensin and 91% positive for the NT1 receptor, suggesting the contribution of neurotensin’s involvement in the signaling cascade within breast cancer progression. In this study, it was found that disruption of neurotensin receptor signaling by silencing RNA or using a specific NT1 antagonist in nude mice xenografted with an aggressive cell line SR48692, caused the reversion of transforming functions that lead to tumor growth.
    • These findings support the contribution of neurotensin to breast cancer progression.
    • Wu, Z. et al (2013) reviewed the contribution of the neurotensinergic system to cancer progression, as well as the regulation and mechanisms of the system in order to highlight its potential as a therapeutic target, and its prospect for its use as a treatment in certain cancers.
    • This summarizes nicely the oncogenic effects of neurotensin after stimulation signaling proliferation, survival, migration, invasion and neoangeogeneis.
    • Several other papers published demonstrate the effects of neurotensin in cancers including breast cancer.
    • New studies such as Roselli et al (2015) further demonstrate the role of neurotensin in aggressive breast cancer.
    • At sphingotec, it was hypothesized that disease progression begins earlier than symptoms are present and that elevated expression of neurotensin in the blood would be an indicator of future breast cancer; measurement of this hormone peptide was possible with the company’s expertise, and that test could be developed to precisely measure neurotensin.
    • This method is published in Ernst et al (2006) in Peptides.
    • To test the hypothesis, the first clinical study was conducted in a cohort of normal healthy population that was indentified from the Malmo Diet and Cancer study, a prospective epidemiological study of 28,449 men and women. Of this group, a subset of 4632 randomly selected subjects were identified and neurotensin was measured in all subjects. Subjects were adjusted for known breast cancer risk factors such as age, age of menarche, heredity of cancer (all), hormone status, etc. (see Table 3, Melander et al JAMA 2012) so that the factors did not influence outcomes. On a 10-15 follow up period, of these subjects, 123 breast cancer events were found to be associated with higher levels of neurotensin, with the highest quartile associated with the highest levels of neurotensin and the lowest quartile associated with the lowest levels of neurotensin. The association of elevated neurotensin was found to be statistically significant for prediction of breast cancer.
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Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Sexual Health / 29.07.2015

Martha F. Goetsch, MD, MPH Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR 97239 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martha F. Goetsch, MD, MPH Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR 97239 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Goetsch: Women who are survivors of breast cancer now number about 3 million in the US. Therapy for breast cancer is anchored in creating a state of postmenopause in which estrogen is eliminated from the system. One of the most difficult symptoms of lack of estrogen is dyspareunia, the term for pain with intercourse. The old term “vulvovaginal atrophy” has been changed to “genitourinary syndrome of menopause” by agreement of two specialty societies. Because of my focus in the gynecologic specialty of vulvar pain, I have felt that this menopausal symptom is more than a condition of atrophy. Additionally, my clinical experience has led me to believe that the exquisite tenderness is located in the vulvar vestibule rather than in the vagina. The vestibule is the inner vulva or entryway before the vagina. This study was devised to answer these hypotheses. I predicted that the population most likely to represent the worst examples of postmenopausal dyspareunia was the population of women who cannot use estrogen due to being survivors of breast cancer. I treated the problem as a pain problem rather than solely a problem of dryness. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma / 28.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina Y. Lee BA Department of Dermatology Pedram Gerami, MD Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Melanoma is responsible for the majority of skin cancer-related mortality. While AJCC staging of melanoma provides highly valuable information that helps predict the behavior of cutaneous melanoma, there are likely a number of other variables not included that may help predict which melanomas may result in metastasis. Some of these data points are not be easily assessed or available in large databases. In this study, we sought to assess a broad range of specific clinical factors directly obtained from clinic notes that may help predict melanoma behavior. The study consisted of a large cohort of patients with clinical follow up from our melanoma center at Northwestern University. Some examples of evaluated characteristics include a documented history of tanning bed use, blistering sunburns, or outdoor activity. In our study, patients who were older or immunosuppressed at the time of diagnosis were associated with aggressive tumor behavior in multivariate statistical analysis, when controlled for traditional AJCC factors such as tumor depth, ulceration, and mitotic figures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lymphoma, Nutrition / 27.07.2015

Mara Meyer Epstein, ScD Assistant Professor Meyers Primary Care Institute University of Massachusetts Medical School MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mara Meyer Epstein, ScD Assistant Professor Meyers Primary Care Institute University of Massachusetts Medical School MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Epstein: Hodgkin lymphoma is a relatively rare cancer, with about 9,000 new cases diagnosed in the US each year. Hodgkin lymphoma is most commonly diagnosed in earlier (aged 15-34 years) or later adulthood (aged ≥50 years). The causes of the disease are not well understood, and most identified risk factors are not modifiable (for example, age, sex, family history, and infection with Epstein-Barr virus [EBV]). Previous studies have suggested that chronic inflammation may play a role in the development of Hodgkin lymphoma. Therefore, it is possible that a factor that can influence inflammation, such as diet, may be associated with risk of Hodgkin lymphoma. Discovering modifiable risk factors for Hodgkin lymphoma could offer a means for preventing this disease. The few existing studies of diet and Hodgkin lymphoma risk have focused on individual nutrients or foods; this is the first study to examine dietary pattern and risk of Hodgkin lymphoma. By examining dietary patterns instead of individual foods, we sought to assess Hodgkin lymphoma risk from the food combinations that may more closely reflect typical dietary habits. The current study includes 435 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma and 563 controls with no history of cancer from Massachusetts and Connecticut who were enrolled in the study between 1997 and 2000. Cases and controls provided information about their average intake of 61 food and beverage items over the year prior to the study. By evaluating foods commonly consumed by the study participants, we identified four major dietary patterns; high vegetable intake, high meat intake, high intake of fruit and low-fat dairy, and high intake of desserts and sweets. We looked for associations between each dietary pattern and risk of Hodgkin lymphoma overall, and also separately by age group (<50 years or ≥50 years old), tumor EBV status (positive or negative), and by tumor cell pattern (nodular sclerosis or mixed cellularity). The dietary pattern characterized by high intake of desserts and sweets was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of Hodgkin lymphoma among younger adults, and in particular, a 2-fold increased risk among younger adults with EBV-negative tumors. The dietary pattern featuring high meat intake was associated with a 3-fold increased risk of Hodgkin lymphoma among older adults, and again, we saw a stronger association among older adults with EBV-negative tumors, although the number of such cases in this group was small. We did not observe a clear association between the high vegetable dietary pattern, or the dietary pattern high in fruit and low-fat dairy intake, with Hodgkin lymphoma risk, and we also did not find any clear associations with EBV-positive tumors, which were relatively infrequent in the study population. The findings described above were obtained from statistical calculations that also took into account known Hodgkin lymphoma risk factors, other lifestyle factors, total caloric intake, and body mass index. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, MD Anderson / 24.07.2015

Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Science The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eduardo Vilar-Sanchez, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Science The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vilar-Sanchez: I am a physician scientist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDA), a medical oncologist specializing in cancer genetics, especially colorectal cancer (CRC) syndromes. At MD Anderson, I have medical practice consisting primarily of colorectal cancer, as part of the clinical cancer arm of MD Anderson. I became interested in this topic because it is now well recognized that colorectal cancer is increasing in prevalence in young individuals. CRC is the third most common cancer in the US with 90% diagnosed in patients older than 50. While most CRC patients develop cancer in their 60s or 70s, the incidence is now rising in individuals younger than 50. Over the next two decades, it is projected that the incidence of CRC in young adults under 35 will double. Only 5% of all CRC patients have a known hereditary predisposition cancer syndrome. Patients diagnosed at or under age 35 represent an extreme phenotypic presentation, constituting only 1.5% of all CRC cases. We retrospectively reviewed all patients with CRC patients age 35 or under, who were evaluated by the Genetic Services group at MD Anderson. In this group, a surprising 30% had a recognized hereditary cancer syndrome, a marked increase compared to the general CRC population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy / 24.07.2015

Adam G Alani, PhD Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences College of Pharmacy Oregon State University-Oregon Health & Science University Affiliate Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University Oregon State University-Portland Campus at OHSU Portland Oregon 97201-5042 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam G Alani, PhD Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutics Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences College of Pharmacy University Affiliate Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University Oregon State University-Portland Campus at OHSU Portland Oregon Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Alani: Doxorubicin, a potent anticancer agent is being under-utilized in the clinic due to its life threatening cardiotoxicity. This cardiotoxicity has imposed a life dose limit of 450 -550 mg/m2 which restricts clinicians use of this drug for subsequent relapses when a patient has responded to the drug favorably in the past. In our lab, we are looking to pair this drug with natural products that have shown both cardioprotective effects and while enhancing the potency of common chemotherapeutics like doxorubicin. Using this complementary approach with a high dose of doxorubicin known to cause cardiotoxicity, we have fully/ partially mitigated this cardiotoxicity in healthy mice. The goal is not to change the dosing regimen for doxorubicin, but to pair it with our nanoscale drug delivery systems containing these natural products as complementary therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, NIH / 24.07.2015

Dr. Pam Marcus PhD Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pam Marcus PhD Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892 MedicalResearch: Why do we need to consider targeted cancer screening? Dr. Marcus: Cancer screening, the routine testing of asymptomatic individuals without a history of the disease of interest, is an important approach to cancer prevention and control. There is compelling evidence that screening for at least four cancers reduces disease-specific mortality, but population-based cancer screening also leads to unfavorable events. Only a minority of those screened will benefit, and many will have false-positive exams. Some screenees will experience undesirable sequelae, ranging from minor inconveniences to serious adverse events due to the exam itself or diagnostic evaluation. MedicalResearch: What is the goal of targeted cancer screening in average-risk individuals? Dr. Marcus: Targeted cancer screening attempts to segregate those who will benefit from screening from those who will not through use of information on disease risk. Average risk individuals are those not known to be at substantially elevated risk, including those without known inherited predisposition, without co-morbidities known to increase cancer risk, and without previous diagnosis of cancer or pre-cancer. The goal of targeted cancer screening in average risk individuals is to reduce the number of individuals who need to be screened while preserving the overarching benefit of reduced cancer-specific mortality in the general population. Targeted cancer screening is an example of precision medicine; visit http://www.nih.gov/precisionmedicine/goals.htm to learn more about the National Institute of Health’s Precision Initiative. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, NIH / 24.07.2015

Mitchell H. Gail, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Investigator Biostatistics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health Rockville MD 20850-9780 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mitchell H. Gail, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Investigator Biostatistics Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health Rockville MD 20850-9780 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Gail: In the United States, breast cancer survival following diagnosis has been improving since the 1970s. We wanted to understand what might explain these shifts, to fully characterize the changes over time, and to explore whether tumor size and estrogen receptor status could help explain the trends in age- and stage-specific breast cancer death rates after diagnosis. We evaluated survival from breast cancer from the date of diagnosis of all women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the US SEER Cancer Registries between 1973 and 2010. We excluded women with ductal or lobular carcinoma in situ. We analyzed separate age groups (<50, 50-69, 70+ years) and SEER stage of disease (local, regional, distant). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Gail: Between 1973 and 2010, breast cancer death rates after diagnosis in the United States have fallen for each age group of women diagnosed with local or regional stage disease, not only in the first five years after diagnosis, but also thereafter. For women under age 70, rates also fell for women with distant disease. Changes in tumor size or estrogen-receptor status do not explain much of the improvement among women under age 70 years, but do explain roughly half the improvement in 70+ year old women in the first five years after diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Melanoma, Radiation Therapy / 23.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael A Henderson MBBS BMedSc MD FRACS Professor of Surgery, University of Melbourne Deputy Director Division of Cancer Surgery Head Skin and Melanoma Service Division of Cancer Surgery Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre East Melbourne Victoria Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Henderson: A number of retrospective reviews of adjuvant radiotherapy after lymphadenectomy for patients at high risk of further lymph node field relapse had all suggested that the risk of lymph node field relapse was reduced but there was controversy about whether there was any impact on survival. In addition many clinicians were concerned about the side effects of radiotherapy and in the absence of a proven survival benefit were reluctant to recommend it. Previously a phase 2 trial of adjuvant radiotherapy conducted by one of our co-authors Prof Bryan Burmiester confirmed that the morbidity of lymph node field radiotherapy was limited and the risks of recurrence was reduced. On that basis the current ANZMTG TROG randomised multicentre trial was initiated. In summary this final report updates information on overall survival, lymph node field relapse etc and provides information for the first time on long term toxicity of treatment, quality of life and lymphedema. Adjuvant lymph node field radiotherapy for patients at high risk of further lymph node field relapse reduces the risk of further lymph node field relapse by 50% but it has no effect on survival. Although radiotherapy toxicity was common (3 in 4 patients), mostly involving skin and subcutaneous tissue it was mild-to-moderate in severity and had little impact upon the patient's quality of life as measured by the FACT-G quality of life tool. Specific regional symptoms were more common in the radiated group. Limb volume measurements confirmed a significant but modest increase for patients receiving inguinal radiation (15%) but not for axillary radiation. In the design of this trial, a decision was made to allow patients in the observation arm who developed an isolated lymph node field relapse to be salvaged by surgery and or radiotherapy. There were only two patients in the radiotherapy arm who developed an isolated lymph node field relapse and both died of metastatic disease. In the observation arm 26 patients developed an isolated lymph node field relapse and the majority (23) achieved lymph node field control with a combination of surgery and or radiotherapy. The five-year survival FROM development of a lymph node field relapse in this group was 34% which is comparable to the overall survival of the entire cohort (42% five-year overall survival). This information whilst a subset analysis suggests that if it would be reasonable in some patients to consider a policy of observation only, reserving further surgery and or radiotherapy for a second relapse. (more…)