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 SchoolMedicalResearch.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 77030MedicalResearch.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 20892MedicalResearch.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 20850-9780MedicalResearch.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…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 21.07.2015

Helmneh Sineshaw, MD, MPH Senior Epidemiologist, Health Services Researcher American Cancer Society, Inc Atlanta, GA 30303MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Helmneh Sineshaw, MD, MPH Senior Epidemiologist, Health Services Researcher American Cancer Society, Inc Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sineshaw: Male breast cancer is a rare disease, and its incidence rate is increasing. Younger black men have a higher breast cancer incidence than their white counterparts. Although black/white disparities in treatment receipt and survival among women with breast cancer have been widely documented in the literature, there have been few similar studies in men with breast cancer. Previous studies were based on smaller sample size, older databases, or using data from elderly patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Radiology / 21.07.2015

Alison L. Chetlen, D.O. Associate Professor, Department of Radiology Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA 17033MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alison L. Chetlen, D.O. Associate Professor, Department of Radiology Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA 17033 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Chetlen:  Breast cancer risk assessment provides a means of identifying women who are at risk for development of this disease.   Identifying individuals at high risk for breast cancer allows for genetic testing, supplemental breast cancer screening, possibly prophylactic surgery or chemoprevention in hopes of decreasing mortality from breast cancer.  Despite the advantages of cancer genetic risk assessment and testing, most individuals in the general population who would benefit from such services currently do not receive them.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Chetlen:  After implementation of a specific high-risk recommendation within our standardized mammography report along with a letter written in “lay” language informing patients of their high-risk status, the number of referrals to our high-risk clinic increased only modestly.   Despite these specific recommendations to both physicians and patients, over 85% of high risk patients did not consult a high-risk provider regarding their elevated lifetime risk of breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer / 20.07.2015

Niels de Jonge, Ph.D Head of the Innovative Electron Microscopy group German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg University of FreiburgMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Niels de Jonge, Ph.D Head of the Innovative Electron Microscopy group German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg University of Freiburg Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: HER2 membrane proteins play a special role in certain types of breast cancer: amplified levels of HER2 drive unrestricted cell growth. HER2-tailored antibody-based therapeutics aim to prevent cancer cell growth. However, two-thirds of HER2 positive breast cancer patients develop resistance against HER2-targeting drugs. The reason for this is not yet understood. We now found out, that HER2 dimers appeared to be absent from a small sub-population of resting SKBR3 breast cancer cells. This small subpopulation may have self-renewing properties that are resistant to HER2-antibody therapy and thus able to seed new tumor growth. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Lymphoma / 17.07.2015

MedicalRDr Yeow Tee Goh Department of Haematology Singapore General Hospital Republic of Singaporeesearch.com Interview with: Dr Yeow Tee Goh MBBS Department of Haematology Singapore General Hospital Republic of Singapore Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Goh: Relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma after conventional chemotherapy is associated with a very poor prognosis and there is currently no recommendation on the standard approach to helping these patients. Novel targeted treatments for relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma such as romidepsin, pralatrexate, belinostat, and brentuximab vedotin has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on the results of their Phase II studies. With the exception of the remarkable efficacy of brentuximab vedotin in systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (86% of patients responding to treatment), the efficacy of romidepsin, pralatrexate, and belinostat in relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma is only modest with objective response rates between 25% and 29%. To our knowledge, no other clinical study has reported on the use of novel combination of targeted agents in in relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma. In our study, Of 23 patients assessable for responses, 10 (43%, 95% CI 23–63) patients had an objective response, of which 5 were complete responses. The combined proteasome and histone deacetylase inhibitor treatment shows promising activity for patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Nutrition / 16.07.2015

Dr. Vincent L. Cryns MD Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Medicine University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, WisconsinMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Vincent L. Cryns MD Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Department of Medicine University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Madison, Wisconsin Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cryns: It’s been known for quite some time that many tumors are highly vulnerable to deficiencies in certain amino acids such as methionine, causing tumor cells to stop growing or die. What’s been missing is a molecular explanation for these effects that would allow us incorporate this approach into a rationally designed clinical trial. In our work, we have demonstrated that “starving” triple-negative breast cancer cells of methionine uncovers a “fatal flaw” by increasing the expression of a cell death receptor (TRAIL-R2) that we can activate with a therapeutic antibody to efficiently kill the tumor cells. What’s especially exciting is that we can use a specific diet to metabolically prime cancer cells to respond to a targeted cancer therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 16.07.2015

Dr-Haining-Yang MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Haining Yang MD Ph.D Associate Professor Thoracic Oncology Program University of Hawaii Cancer Center University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Yang: Mesothelioma is often caused by asbestos and other carcinogenic mineral fibers.  When these fibers lodge in the pleura, mesothelial cells and macrophages try to phagocytize and eliminate them. However, asbestos is very bio-persistent and cannot be eliminated, which caused cells undergoing programmed necrosis that leads to the release of HMGB1 into the extracellular space.  HMGB1 is a damage-associated molecular pattern molecule (DAMP) that causes inflammation. Asbestos exposure induces HMGB1 release and chronic inflammatory process that overtime may lead to malignancy.  Mesothelioma cells develop out of an environment that is rich in HMGB1 and are often dependent on HMGB1 for their own growth.  In fact, most mesothelioma cells actively secrete HMGB1 extra-cellularly to promote their own tumor growth.  Accordingly HMGB1 levels are high in the serum of mesothelioma patients (reviewed in Yang and Carbone, Clinical Cancer Res 2013).  We tested several anti-inflammatory agents to see if we were able to reduce HMGB1-induced mesothelioma cell growth, and none of them worked except for aspirin, that led us to conduct a series of experiments in vitro and in vivo to test the hypothesis that aspirin inhibits HMGB1 activities, and that by doing so, inhibits mesothelioma growth. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Yang:  We found that aspirin inhibits the growth of human mesothelioma cells in a xenograft model, moreover in vitro experiments demonstrated that this effects was specifically mediated via inhibition of HMGB1 and not via COX2 inhibition.  We propose that the so far enigmatic anticancer activity of aspirin is mediated, at least partially, via inhibition of HMGB1, and that aspirin may help delay the onset of mesothelioma and may help inhibit the growth of mesothelioma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cognitive Issues, Radiation Therapy / 13.07.2015

MB. Pinkham, Clinical Oncology Christie NHS Foundation Trust Manchester UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: MB. Pinkham, Clinical Oncology Christie NHS Foundation Trust Manchester UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Brain metastases are a serious complication of advanced malignancy and for most patients the objective is to maximise quality of survival. As treatment decisions become increasingly tailored to the individual, patient-focussed measures of efficacy such as neurocognitive function (NCF) are an important consideration. This is illustrated by the NCCTG N0574 randomised study reported last month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting. 208 patients with 1-3 brain metastases each <3cm were randomised to stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or SRS with whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). The addition of WBRT improved intracranial disease control but did not translate into a survival benefit and was associated with a decline in neurocognitive function at 3 months. The objective of our study was to describe the types of changes in neurocognitive function that can occur, summarise how they are assessed and review approaches used to mitigate their effects. We wanted to provide busy physicians with a clear and comprehensive overview of the topic that could be used to inform clinical decisions. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Using sensitive tests, most patients with brain metastases have deficits in neurocognitive function at diagnosis. Evaluating and understanding changes after treatment is complex because neurocognitive function is a dynamic process that is influenced by a long list of inter-related factors. For patients treated using whole brain radiotherapy alone, worsening neurocognitive function is observed in about two-thirds within 2-6 months. Deficits in verbal memory and fine motor control are most common. It is unclear what proportion relates to treatment toxicity as opposed to disease progression or pre-terminal decline because both are unfortunately also common events during this interval. By contrast, in other patients, NCF improves after WBRT due to treatment response. For patients with 1-4 brain metastases treated using SRS, the addition of WBRT improves intracranial disease control at the expense of deficits in verbal memory at 4 months but the impact of recurrence and salvage therapy on neurocognitive function later than this is uncertain. Scant data suggests that some deficits in neurocognitive function after WBRT may improve with time in long term survivors. For patients with ≥5 brain metastases, SRS and/or systemic therapies may be considered in select patients instead of upfront whole brain radiotherapy but high quality evidence is lacking. Advanced radiotherapy technologies, such as hippocampal-sparing WBRT and post-operative cavity SRS, can limit the dose delivered to unaffected areas of the brain in the hope of reducing toxicity. Randomised studies assessing their efficacy and cost-effectiveness in various clinical situations are underway prior to routine use. Small but statistically significant improvements in certain neurocognitive domains can also be achieved using medications such as memantine and donepezil. Preclinical data suggests that some commonly available drugs (such as ramipril, lithium and indomethacin) may have neuroprotective properties following WBRT; further evaluation is warranted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Duke, Weight Research / 10.07.2015

S. Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS Associate Professor of Medicine Duke Cancer Institute Duke Clinical Research InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: S. Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS Associate Professor of Medicine Duke Cancer Institute Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Zafar: Multiple studies have suggested that obesity and colorectal cancer are related. For instance, obesity has been linked with an increased incidence of colon cancer. Obesity has also been associated with a greater risk of colon cancer recurrence. To date, no study has looked at the role of obesity in outcomes for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. In our study of over 6000 patients receiving treatment for metastatic olcolorectal cancer, we found that patients with the lowest body mass index (BMI) were at greatest risk for worse survival. This does not mean that obesity is good. More likely, it means that those who are very underweight are least able to tolerate the best treatment, or being very underweight is a biologic marker of poor prognosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy / 10.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Junichi Nishimura MD, PhD Assistant professor Osaka University in Japan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nishimura: Oxaliplatin is classified as moderately emetogenic chemotherapy and 2-drug combination antiemetic therapy is recommended for Oxaliplatin based chemotherapy including FOLFOX and XELOX in all guidelines for antiemesis. Nausea and vomiting are still frequent adverse events which decrease the patient’s QOL. However, there was no study investigating whether 3-drug combination antiemetic therapy (5HT3 receptor antagonist+dexamethasone+aprepitant) reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In this study, we conducted a multicentre, randomized phase III study to evaluate the usefulness of the combined use of aprepitant in colorectal cancer patients treated with Oxaliplatin based chemotherapy. In this phase III study, 3-drug combination therapy significantly increased the inhibition rate of vomiting which was the primary endpoint of this study. Moreover, the inhibition rate of nausea, complete response (no vomiting and no rescue medication use), and complete protection (no vomiting , no rescue medication use and no moderate or worsened nausea) was significantly higher in aprepitant group in overall and delayed phase. We, next, compared the inhibition of vomiting and nausea between males and females in delayed phase. When patients were grouped by sex regardless of the assigned treatment group, females were more affected by nausea and vomiting than males. Finally, in female, aprepitant did significantly prevent nausea and vomiting as well as increased chance of complete protection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer / 10.07.2015

Howard S. Hochster, MD Associate Director, Yale Cancer Center Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT 06520MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Howard S. Hochster, MD Associate Director, Yale Cancer Center Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT 06520 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hochster: TAS-102 is a novel anti-metabolite, recently combined with a metabolic inhibitor to make it orally bioavailable and active in the treatment of cancer.  In pre-clinical studies, it is non-cross reactive with 5FU.  What this means practically is that we have another chemotherapy agent that can be used for patients with colon cancer.  This drug will be an addition to the approved chemotherapy agents 5FU, oxaliplatin and irinotecan.  It may be combinable with these and with targeted agents to provide new active regimens. The main findings of the study were published in NEJM, May 15, 2015.  The study enrolled 800 patients randomized (2:1 ratio) to drug vs placebo.  Patients with advanced colon cancer who had been treated with all the previously approved drugs were eligible.  The drug was active in reducing time to tumor growth (Progression Free Survival) by 50% and improved overall survival for treated patients by about 25%. The data I presented at ESMO included a further analysis on specific genomic subsets of patients within the 800 patient study.  All patients were tested locally for RAS mutations and about 50% had such mutations (as expected).  There was no differences in benefit or toxicity for those with RAS wild-type tumors or RAS mutated tumors.  We also looked at those with BRAF mutations, but only 15% of patients were tested and this mutation occurs in about 8% of colon cancer, so we had very few patients with BRAF mutation.  Given this limitation, it appeared that this did not make a difference for benefit or toxicity either. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, End of Life Care, JAMA / 10.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Mack, MD, MPH Pediatric oncologist Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Mack:  This study evaluated the intensity of end-of-life care received by adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Little was previously known about the kind of end-of-life care these young patients receive. We evaluated the care of 663 Kaiser Permanente Southern California patients who died between the ages of 15 and 39 between the years 2001 and 2010. We found that more than two-thirds of adolescents and young adults received at least one form of intensive end-of-life care before death. This includes chemotherapy in the last two weeks of life (11%), more than one emergency room visit in the last month of life (22%), intensive care unit care in the last month of life (22%), and hospitalization in the last month of life (62%). Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Mack:  A majority of dying young people with cancer receive intensive measures at the end of life. Older patients who know they are dying usually do not want to receive intensive measures, which are associated with a poorer quality of life near death. High rates of intensive measures raise the concern that young people may experience unnecessary suffering at the end of life. However, it is also important to recognize that adolescents and young adult patients may have different priorities than older patients, and may be more willing to accept intensive measures in order to live as long as possible. Clinicians, patients, and family members should talk about what is most important to patients at the end of life so that their values can be upheld, whether patients prioritize doing everything possible to live as long as possible or focus on quality of life.   Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?  Dr. Mack:  Future research should further examine end-of-life decision-making for adolescents and young adults, including the reasons for receipt of intensive measures.    Citation:   JAMA Oncology  irene.sege@childrens.harvard.edu MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Mack, MD, MPH Pediatric oncologist Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mack: This study evaluated the intensity of end-of-life care received by adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Little was previously known about the kind of end-of-life care these young patients receive. We evaluated the care of 663 Kaiser Permanente Southern California patients who died between the ages of 15 and 39 between the years 2001 and 2010. We found that more than two-thirds of adolescents and young adults received at least one form of intensive end-of-life care before death. This includes chemotherapy in the last two weeks of life (11%), more than one emergency room visit in the last month of life (22%), intensive care unit care in the last month of life (22%), and hospitalization in the last month of life (62%). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, End of Life Care, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 10.07.2015

Amol Narang MD Radiation Oncology Resident Johns Hopkins MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amol Narang MD Radiation Oncology Resident Johns Hopkins Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Narang: The care provided to cancer patients at end-of-life can be intense, including frequent ER visit, hospitalizations, and ICU stays in the last month of life, administration of chemotherapy in last two weeks of life, and late referrals to hospice. Providing high-intensity treatments at end-of-life has been associated with reduced patient quality-of-life and increased caregiver bereavement. Advance care planning represents an opportunity for patients to indicate their preferences for end-of-life care to try to ensure that the care that they receive at end-of-life is consistent with their values, and has been endorsed by oncologic professional societies, such as ASCO and the NCCN. As such, we wanted to assess if oncologists’ long-standing recognition of the merits of advance care planning has translated into increased participation in advance care planning by cancer patients, and to determine which forms of advance care planning are associated with intensity of care given at end-of-life. From 2000-12, we found that the only type of advance care planning that increased was the assignment of a power of attorney (52% in 2000 to 74% in 2012). However, having a power of attorney was not associated with receiving less aggressive end-of-life care. On the other hand, having a living wills and engaging in a discussion with a provider or loved one about preferences for end-of-life care were both associated with reduced treatment intensity. However, the frequency with which cancer patients created a living or discussed their preferences for end-of-life care did not increase over the study period; importantly, 40% of patients dying of cancer never communicated their preferences for care at end-of-life with anyone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Melanoma / 09.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mario Mandalà, MD Department of Oncology and Haematology Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital Bergamo, Italy Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Mandalà: In addition to their established molecular mechanism of action, growing evidence suggests that the therapeutic efficacy of BRAFi relies on additional factors that affect the tumor–host interactions, including the enhancement of melanoma antigen expression and the increase in immune response against tumor cells.  Preclinical data show that oncogenic BRAF contributes to immune evasion, and that targeting this mutation may increase the melanoma immunogenicity. Data in vitro or from animal models propose PD-L1 as a potential mechanism that favors BRAFi resistance through the modulation of host immune responses. However, demonstration of this hypothesis in the clinical setting is lacking. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Mandalà: In the present study, we have evaluated, in a homogeneous series of MMP treated with BRAFi, the association of tumoral PD-L1 IHC expression and the density of TIMC with RR, PFS and OS. Results provide the first proof-of-principle clinical evidence of the predictive and prognostic relevance of PD-L1 IHC expression and density of immune cell infiltration in BRAFV600 mutated MMP receiving BRAFi. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JNCI / 08.07.2015

Aung Ko Win, MBBS MPH PhD Research Fellow NHMRC Early Career Clinical Research Fellow Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Melbourne School of Population and Global Health The University of Melbourne VIC 3010 AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aung Ko Win, MBBS MPH PhD Research Fellow NHMRC Early Career Clinical Research Fellow Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Melbourne School of Population and Global Health The University of Melbourne VIC 3010 Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: At least 1 in 1,000 people in the population have a mutation in one of the mismatch repair genes that causes Lynch syndrome. These people have a very high risk of bowel cancer (colorectal cancer): if nothing is done, about half would develop the disease. The main risk reduction method for these people is to have regular colonoscopy screening every year. Almost nothing is known whether or not lifestyle factors and medications can modify the risk of bowel cancer for people with Lynch syndrome. A study was conducted to investigate the associations between aspirin and ibuprofen intake and the risk of bowel cancer, by studying 1,858 people with Lynch syndrome who were recruited into the Colon Cancer Family Registry from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. This is the largest study to date investigating the associations between aspirin, ibuprofen and bowel cancer risk for people with Lynch syndrome. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, JAMA / 08.07.2015

Aung Ko Win, MBBS MPH PhD Research Fellow NHMRC Early Career Clinical Research Fellow Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Melbourne School of Population and Global Health The University of Melbourne VIC 3010 AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aung Ko Win, MBBS MPH PhD Research Fellow NHMRC Early Career Clinical Research Fellow Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Melbourne School of Population and Global Health The University of Melbourne VIC 3010 Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: About 2-5% of uterine cancer are associated with an underlying genetic condition mainly Lynch syndrome. Lynch syndrome is caused by a mutation in one of the mismatch repair genes. At least 1 in 1000 people in the population have a mutation that causes Lynch syndrome and these people have a very high risk of cancers mainly bowel and uterine cancers. One in three women with a mutation in one of the mismatch repair genes are likely to develop a uterine cancer in their lifetime. The only way to reduce the risk of uterine cancer for these women is to remove the uterus. There is no current recommendation for screening method to detect uterine cancer early. Almost nothing is known about if and how lifestyle factors and hormonal factors can modify their risk of uterine cancer. By studying 1128 women with a mutation that causes Lynch syndrome who were recruited from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA, we found that later age at first menstrual cycle, having one or more live births, and using hormonal contraceptive use for one year or longer were associated with a lower risk of uterine cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Endocrinology, Lancet, Menopause / 08.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jürg Bernhard Ph.D. International Breast Cancer Study Group Coordinating Center and Bern University Hospital, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the combined analysis of the SOFT and TEXT trials, the aromatase inhibitor exemestane was more effective than tamoxifen in preventing breast cancer recurrence in young women (premenopausal) who also receive ovarian function suppression (OFS) as adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment for hormone-sensitive early breast cancer, providing a new treatment option for these women. These trials were conducted by the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) and involved more than 4700 patients of over 500 centers in 27 countries. Now we present patient-reported quality of life outcomes from these trials. In the TEXT and SOFT trials, patients assigned exemestane+OFS reported more detrimental effects of bone or joint pain, vaginal dryness, greater loss of sexual interest and difficulties becoming aroused, while patients assigned tamoxifen+OFS were more affected by hot flushes and sweats. Global quality of life domains (mood, ability to cope and physical well-being) were similar between the randomized treatment groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology / 07.07.2015

Wen-Qing Li Ph.D Department of Dermatology Warren Alpert Medical School Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Brown University, Providence, RIMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wen-Qing Li Ph.D Department of Dermatology Warren Alpert Medical School Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Brown University, Providence, RI Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory cutaneous disorder and may be an end-organ response in a systemic disorder. We systemically examined the association between personal history of rosacea and risk of cancer based on 75088 whites in the Nurses’ Health Study II, during a follow-up of 20 years. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We suggest possible associations between personal history of rosacea and an increased risk of thyroid cancer and Basal Cell Cancer. Analyses did not find significant associations for other individual cancer types.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Radiation Therapy / 06.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ananya Choudhury Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Clinical Oncology The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road Withington, Manchester, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although more than half of newly diagnosed cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy, it is still not possible to select patients who will respond and tolerate radiotherapy compared to those who do not. There has been a lot of work done to try and isolate intrinsic biomarkers which will identify either radio-responsive or radio-resistant disease. We have undertaken a systematic view summarising the evidence for biomarkers as predictors of radiotherapy. Despite identifying more than 500 references during a systematic literature search, we found only twelve studies which fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Important exclusion criteria included pre-clinical studies, studies with no control population and a sample size of less than 100 patients. Only 10 biomarkers were identified as having been evaluated for their radiotherapy-specific predictive value in over 100 patients in a clinical setting, highlighting that despite a rich literature there were few high quality studies suitable for inclusion. The most extensively studied radiotherapy predictive biomarkers were the radiosensitivity index and MRE11; however, neither has been evaluated in a randomised controlled trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research / 02.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chao Cheng, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Genetics Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth Hanover NH, 03755 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cheng: Bladder cancer is a common tumor type, with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) representing the majority of cases. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) treatment is an effective immunotherapy that is commonly used to treat cancers of this subtype. However, this treatment fails to suppress tumor recurrence in up to 40% of patients. For this reason, biomarkers that predict the recurrence/progression of bladder cancer and patient response to BCG therapy are needed to tailor treatment strategies to individual patients. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Cheng: We had previously developed an E2F4 signature that consisted of the E2F4 transcription factor and its target genes identified by ChIP-seq and ChIP-chip experiments. Here, we found that the E2F4 signature is predictive of the progression of both non-muscle-invasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Furthermore, this signature is also predictive of patient responsiveness to intravesical BCG immunotherapy. Our results suggest that patients with positive E2F4 scores (indicating high E2F4 activity) benefit significantly from BCG therapy, while the progression of patients with negative E2F4 scores (indicating low E2F4 activity) does not show significant difference from untreated patients. (more…)