Panitumumab (Vectibix) For Primary HER2-Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Naoto Tada Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P. Executive Director, Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TXNaoto Tada Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P.
Executive Director, Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic
Section Chief, Section of Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Breast Medical Oncology
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The best outcome of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is dependent on achieving a pathological completed response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for primary inflammatory breast cancer, which is the most aggressive type of breast cancer.

We have conducted extensive preclinical work, which showed that EGFR is a potential therapeutic targets of IBC.

Based on this preclinical data, we have conducted a phase II study to determine the pathological complete response rate of panitumumab plus neoadjuvant chemotherapy for HER2 negative primary inflammatory breast cancer.  Continue reading

How Long Should Cancer Survivors Be Followed by Oncology?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anil K. Sood M.D. Professor and Vice Chair for Translational Research in the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology and co-director of the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Sood

Dr. Anil K. Sood M.D.
Professor and Vice Chair for Translational Research in the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology and co-director of the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA
MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Cancer survivorship care involves coordinating between oncologists, surgeons, and primary care teams, yet there are no consistent or universal guidelines to dictate who will oversee which aspects of care, and when.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Some cancer survivorship populations have a short high-risk period and exceedingly low cancer mortality, suggesting their survivorship care may best be overseen by their primary care physician. The highest-risk populations saw a majority of deaths from their primary cancer, and had high-risk periods longer than five-years, suggesting an extended period of survivorship care management by their oncologist.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Many patients may be undergoing excessively long survivorship care with their oncologist, while others may be receiving insufficient periods of oncologist-led survivorship care

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This study looked at broad, organ-based cancer types. The methods used in this study could be performed to further tailor personalized survivorship care based on cancer and patient-level specifics.

All authors have no pertinent disclosures.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community

Citation:

Dood RL, Zhao Y, Armbruster SD, et al. Defining Survivorship Trajectories Across Patients With Solid TumorsAn Evidence-Based Approach. JAMA Oncol. Published online June 02, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2761

 

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-Emptive Therapy of CMV in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

 Dr-Roy F. Chemaly

Dr. Chemaly

Roy F. Chemaly, MD, MPH F.A.C.P., F.I.D.S.A.
Department of Infectious Diseases
Infection Control and Employee Health
Division of Internal Medicine
MD Anderson Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: CytomegalovirusCMV infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in allo-HCT recipients. Evidence suggests that CMV infection has not only an enormous clinical burden, but a substantial economic burden as well.

We conducted this study at MD Anderson to determine the economic and clinical burden of preemptive therapy (PET) for CMV infection. Between 2012 and 2015, 100 consecutive patients hospitalized at our institution for allo-HCT who experienced reactivation of CMV and were treated pre-emptively, were enrolled.

The majority of patients were men (55%), who had underlying leukemia (73%), and underwent matched unrelated donor transplant (59%). At the time of hospitalization, most patients had acute GvHD (62%), and were on steroids (58%) within 30 days of CMV reactivation which occurred at a median of 32 days post-HCT (2 -174). A total of 192 episodes of PET occurred in the 100 allo-HCT recipients within 1 year post-HCT. PET consisted of ganciclovir (41%), foscarnet (40%), and valganciclovir (38%). IVIG was also used as adjunct therapy in 20% of episodes.

Progression to Cytomegalovirus disease occurred in 4 patients (4%) and mainly affected the GI tract. Mean length of stay for patients treated with ganciclovir or foscarnet was 32 days (2-141) and 41 days (1-177), respectively. The average direct cost per patient admitted for PET was $126,038 ($7,866-$641,841) and the mean cost of CMV antiviral drug per hospitalization was $6,096 for IVIG, $2,410 for foscarnet, $836 for ganciclovir, and $780 for valganciclovir.

Serious side effects from PET were observed in 35% of patients on ganciclovir and 12% of patients on foscarnet. Total direct cost per encounter was significantly higher in patients who had serious side effects from foscarnet. All-cause mortality was 59% at 1 year post-transplant.

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Chronic Disease Linked To Increased Risk of Cancer and Cancer Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Xifeng Wu, MD PhD Department Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Director, Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics Professor, Department of Epidemiology Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

Dr. Xifeng Wu

Xifeng Wu MD PhD
Prevention and Population Sciences
MD Anderson Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous studies have shown that certain chronic diseases may predispose to cancer. These studies generally assessed chronic diseases or disease markers individually. As chronic diseases are typically clustered, it is necessary to study them simultaneously to elucidate their independent and joint impact on cancer risk. Therefore, we investigated the independent and joint effect of several common chronic diseases or disease markers on cancer and life span in a large prospective cohort. Also, we compared the contribution of chronic diseases or disease markers to cancer risk with that of lifestyle factors. We further assessed whether physical activity could attenuate the cancer risk associated with chronic diseases or disease markers. We hope the results of this study can contribute to evidence-based recommendations for future cancer prevention strategies.

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Medicaid Expansion Led To Better, More Timely Surgical Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew Phillip Loehrer MD MPH Fellow in Surgical Oncology Department The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Loehrer

Andrew Phillip Loehrer MD MPH
Fellow in Surgical Oncology Department
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: A growing number of studies have examined the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.  But none to date have looked at effects on surgical conditions, which are both expensive and potentially life-threatening.  We examined data for nearly 300,000 patients who presented to hospitals with common and serious surgical conditions such as appendicitis and aortic aneurysms.

We found that expansion of Medicaid coverage was linked to increased insurance coverage for these patients, but even more importantly, Medicaid expansion led patients to come to the hospital earlier before complications set in, and they also received better surgical care once they got there.

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BEACON Triplet Therapy for BRAF Mutant Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Shows Promise

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D., FACP Associate Professor Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX

Dr. Kopetz

Scott Kopetz, M.D., Ph.D., FACP
Associate Professor Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The BRAF mutation carries a very poor prognosis for patients with advanced colo-rectal cancer (CRC), and is particularly unresponsive after first-line therapy, so additional treatment options for these patients are needed. While treatment with a BRAF inhibitor alone has not been effective in treating this disease, combination therapies have shown promise and lead to the initiation of the BEACON study. The safety lead-in phase of the BEACON CRC trial was designed to assess the safety and tolerability of encorafenib, binimetinib  and cetuximab triplet combination prior to the Phase 3 randomized portion of the study. Thirty patients were treated in the safety lead-in and received the triplet combination (encorafenib 300 mg daily, binimetinib 45 mg twice daily, and cetuximab per label). Out of the 30 patients, 29 had a BRAFV600E mutation. Microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) (resulting from defective DNA mismatch repair) was detected in only 1 patient. The triplet demonstrated good tolerability, supporting initiation of the randomized portion of the study. In addition, promising initial clinical activity was observed.

In patients with the BRAFV600E mutation, the estimated median progression-free survival (mPFS) at the time of analysis was 8 months. The confirmed overall response rate (ORR) in patients with the BRAFV600E mutation was 48%, and 3 patients achieved complete responses (CR). Further, the ORR was 62% in the 16 patients (10/16) who received only one prior line of therapy.

Additionally, the triplet combination was generally well-tolerated. Two patients discontinued treatment due to AEs with only one of these considered related to treatment. The most common grade 3 or 4 AEs seen in at least 10% of patients were fatigue (4/30), urinary tract infection (3/30), increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 3/30) and increased blood creatine kinase (CK; 3/30).

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Some Breast Cancer Patients With Complete Response To Neoadjuvant Therapy Can Avoid Further Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Audree Tadros, MD, MPH Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program Department of Breast Surgical Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center and

Dr. Tadros

Audree Tadros, MD, MPH
Chief Administrative Fellow, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program
Department of Breast Surgical Oncology
MD Anderson Cancer Center and

Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS Executive Director, Breast Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research Department of Breast Surgical Oncology Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program

Dr. Kuerer

Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS
Executive Director, Breast Programs
MD Anderson Cancer Network
PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research
Dept of Breast Surgical Oncology
Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) has the ability to confer a pCR (pathologic complete response-when no residual cancer is found) in both the breast and axillary lymph nodes. We know that this is most likely to occur in women with HER2 positive and triple negative disease. The high rate of pCR among these patients raises the question of whether surgery is still required, particularly among those who will receive adjuvant radiation therapy.

Until recently, we lacked the ability to pre-operatively predict patients who achieved a breast pCR. Recently, we completed a clinical feasibility trial examining the ability of image-guided biopsy to predict a pCR after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Our biopsy technique was able to accurately predict a pCR in 98% of patients with only a 5% false negative rate. Based upon these findings, we believe we can accurately determine which patients achieve a breast pCR. This led us to develop a clinical trial to see if breast surgery is redundant in patients who achieve a pCR. An important question that remained was if we are going to omit breast surgery in these exceptional responders, can we also omit axillary surgery?

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Bisphosphonates Can Be Reduced In Second Year of Breast Cancer Metastases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP, FASCO Professor, Department of Breast Medical Oncology Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77230-1439

Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi

Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, FACP, FASCO
Professor, Department of Breast Medical Oncology
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 77230-1439 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Bisphosphonates have been commercially available for several decades as supportive care for patients with bone metastases. They reduce the frequency and severity of bone-related complications. While the optimal dose and short-term scheduling of zoledronic acid (and previously, pamidronate) have been determined, there has been no research to determine how long these drugs need to be maintained nor the optimal dose and schedule beyond the first year of therapy. These questions are particularly important for this family of drugs, since they are incorporated into bone and not excreted from the body for many years.

We set out to determine whether a reduction in the frequency of administration of zoledronic acid (every 12 weeks) was able to maintain the therapeutic efficacy of this intervention when compared to the “standard” schedule of administration (every 4 weeks). It was a prospective, randomized, non-inferiority trial that recruited patients with metastatic breast cancer with bone metastases and who had previously received 9 or more doses of zoledronic acid or pamidronate. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with one or more skeletal-related events. Four hundred and sixteen patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio. The two groups were comparable at baseline. After the first year of follow-up, there was no statistically significant difference in SRE rate between the two arms, confirming the non-inferiority fo the every-12-week schedule of zoledronic acid.

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Image-Guided Biopsies May Reduce Need For Surgery in Breast Cancer Patients Who Respond to Chemotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS</strong> Executive Director, Breast Network Programs MD Anderson Cancer Network PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Research Department of Breast Surgical Oncology Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program

Dr. Henry M. Kuerer

Henry M. Kuerer, MD, PhD, FACS
Executive Director, Breast Network Programs
MD Anderson Cancer Network
PH and Fay Etta Robinson Distinguished Professor in Research
Department of Breast Surgical Oncology
Director, Breast Surgical Oncology Training Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Worldwide, triple negative and HER2 positive breast cancers, combined, account for about 370,000 women diagnosed annually. With recent advances in neoadjuvant systemic therapy (NST, chemotherapy and targeted therapy given before surgery) for both subsets, the pCR (pathologic complete response- when no residual cancer is found) rates found at the time of surgery in these populations can be as high as 60 percent. This high rate of pCR naturally raises the question of whether surgery is required for all patients, particularly those who will receive adjuvant radiation.

We believe surgery may potentially be redundant – at least for these two subtypes of breast cancer – because of such a high chance for no evidence of disease at the time of pathological review. If there’s no cancer left after the patient has received chemotherapy and the patient is going to receive local radiation therapy, is surgery actually needed?

The challenge has been that standard breast imaging methods cannot accurately predict residual disease after NST. However, by doing the same image-guided percutaneous needle biopsies after neoadjuvant systemic therapy that we do at time of diagnosis, our preliminary research reveals that we may be able to accurately predict which women will have cancer or not.

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One Size Fits All Strategy No Longer Works For Treatment of Ovarian Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Larissa A. Meyer, MD MPH F.A.C.O.G. Assistant Professor Dept of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine Houston, TX 77030-1362

Dr. Larissa Meyer

Larissa A. Meyer, MD MPH F.A.C.O.G.
Assistant Professor
Dept of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine
Houston, TX 77030-1362

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite the completion of two randomized controlled trials, controversy regarding the optimal approach for the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer remains. Our observational study highlights the importance of thoughtful selection of individuals for primary cytoreductive surgery for advanced ovarian cancer. Our results suggest that primary cytoreductive surgery may improve survival for patients with stage IIIC ovarian cancer who are likely to achieve an optimal cytoreduction, while neoadjuvant chemotherapy may be the preferred option for many women with stage IV ovarian cancer.

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Molecular Subtyping of Rectal Cancers Can Guide Prognosis, Treatment and Future Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Y. Nancy You, MD, MHSc Associate Professor Section of Colorectal Surgery Department of Surgical Oncology Medical Director Familial High-risk Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinic University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Y. Nancy You

Y. Nancy You, MD, MHSc
Associate Professor
Section of Colorectal Surgery
Department of Surgical Oncology
Medical Director
Familial High-risk Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinic
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite the progress in the treatment of many cancers, colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the third most common and lethal cancer in the US. Over 130,000 people are expected to be diagnosed and over 50,000 patients will die from CRC this year. In the recent years, the most exciting development has been our understanding of the molecular complexity of CRC.

Currently, four major molecular subtypes of colorectal cancer are recognized. Our study focuses on the Consensus Molecular Subtype 1, which accounts for up to 15% of CRCs, and is characterized by a deficiency in DNA mismatch repair (dMMR), a high level of mutations (i.e. hypermutated), by instability in parts of the genome called microsatellites, and by strong immune activation. Prior to our study, patients with rectal cancer that belong to this molecular subtype have represented an unknown, in terms of their prognosis, and how the tumors respond to current treatments. More importantly, this molecular subtype harbor a genetic condition that can be transmitted within the family called “Lynch Syndrome”. So we designed our study to fill these gaps in our understanding that exist in this subtype of CRCs and to highlight key clinical care issues related to the caring for patients with a genetic syndrome.

The main findings are that rectal cancers belonging to this molecular subtype have favorable prognosis, respond well to standard chemoradiation, and are linked to Lynch Syndrome and should be treated at centers with expertise in hereditary cancer syndromes. Continue reading

Genetic Signatures Reveal Gender Differences In Cancer Biomarkers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Han Liang PhD Associate Professor and Deputy Department Chair, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Faculty Member, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX

Dr. Han Liang

Dr. Han Liang PhD
Associate Professor and Deputy Department Chair, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Faculty Member, Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Liang: An individual’s sex has been long recognized as a key factor affecting the risk of cancer development and management. However, previous studies on the sex effect have been limited to individual genes, single molecular data types, and single cancer lineages.

We performed a comprehensive analysis of molecular differences between male and female patients in a diversity of cancer types and revealed two sex-effect groups.

One group contains a small number of sex-affected genes, whereas the other shows much more extensive sex-biased molecular signatures. More than half of clinically actionable genes (e.g., therapeutic targets or biomarkers) show sex-biased signatures.

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Gene Therapy to Spinal Cord Offers Potential Hope to Peripheral Nerve Pain Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hui-Lin Pan, MD, PhD Helen T. Hawkins Distinguished Professor  and Deputy Division Head for Research Division of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Unit 110 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX

Dr. Hui-Lin Pan

Hui-Lin Pan, MD, PhD
Helen T. Hawkins Distinguished Professor
and Deputy Division Head for Research
Division of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, Unit 110
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Hui-Lin Pan: Chronic nerve pain caused by damage to the peripheral nerve is a debilitating health problem and remains very difficult to treat. Sensory neurons in the spinal cord are normally inhibited by inhibitory neurotransmitters (GABA and glycine) to regulate transmission of painful information. A major feature of nerve injury-induced chronic pain is reduced spinal cord inhibition, resulting from diminished activity of a chloride transporter called KCC2. In this study, we investigated whether increasing KCC2 expression at the spinal level using a lentiviral vector can restore KCC2 activity, thereby reducing chronic nerve pain.

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Study Targets Obesity Genes That May Raise Risk of Kidney Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Xifeng Wu, MD PhD Department Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Director, Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics Professor, Department of Epidemiology Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

Dr. Xifeng Wu

Dr. Xifeng Wu, MD PhD
Department Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
Director, Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics
Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Wu: Obesity is a well-established risk factor for renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer. It has been estimated that more than 40% of RCC incident cases in the US may be attributed to excessive body weight. Growing body of evidence suggests that obesity may also influence clinical outcome of RCC; however, the findings are sometimes conflicting. So far, the molecular mechanism linking obesity to RCC risk or prognosis is not well understood. In this study, we evaluated the promoter CpG site methylation of 20 candidate obesity-related genes and their association with RCC risk and recurrence in a two-phase study of 240 newly diagnosed, previously untreated RCC patients. Pyrosequencing was conducted on paired RCC tumor and normal adjacent tissues to measure promoter methylation. Among the 20 markers, we found NPY, LEP and LEPR showed significant differential methylation levels between tumors and normal adjacent tissues, and methylation was significantly higher in tumors in both discovery and validation groups. Consistent with our findings, we also found lower expression of LEPR in tumor tissues compared to normal adjacent tissues in data obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Additionally, high LEPR methylation in tumors was associated with more advanced tumor features, such as high pathologic stage, high grade and clear cell RCC histology, and increased risk of recurrence compared to the low methylation group. These results suggest that tissue changes in promoter methylation in obesity-related genes may provide some biological basis for the association between obesity and RCC outcome, and that LEPR may be an independent prognostic indicator of recurrence in RCC patients. Further research in larger study population and functional studies are warranted to validate our findings and to elucidate the underlying causal mechanisms.

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Immunotherapy Drug Nivolumab May Help Some Aggressive HPV-Induced Anal Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Van K. Morris, MD Assistant Professor, GI Medical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Van Morris

Dr. Van K. Morris, MD
Assistant Professor, GI Medical Oncology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Morris: Anal cancer is a very rare cancer and accounts for approximately 2% of all gastrointestinal malignancies. Currently, there is no accepted standard of care for patients with metastatic disease, which raises challenges for oncologist who may not have extensive experience caring for patients with metastatic anal cancer given that there are not accepted agents to treat with. This clinical trial was the first clinical trial ever conducted for patients with stage IV disease who had received prior chemotherapy in the past.

Given the well-known association with human papilloma virus (HPV) and the development of anal cancer, we were interested in the use of immunotherapy drugs as a new possible way to awaken the immune system to attack this tumor, especially as there may be viral components in the tumor cells which the immune system could potentially recognize. Nivolumab is an immunotherapy drug which has shown activity in other solid tumors like melanoma, kidney cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and bladder cancer.

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Hepatitis C Raises Risk of HPV Head and Neck Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Harrys A. Torres, MD, FACP, FIDSA Associate Professor Director of Hepatitis C Clinic Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston TX 77030

Dr. Harrys Torres

Harrys A. Torres, MD, FACP, FIDSA
Associate Professor
Director of Hepatitis C Clinic
Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health
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. Torres: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an oncogenic virus and is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer and certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. In 2009, at MD Anderson Cancer Center, we set up the first clinic in the United States, and probably in the world, specifically devoted to managing HCV infection in cancer patients. In the clinic, we expected to see a number of patients with liver cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as these have documented associations with HCV. Unexpectedly, we saw a high number of HCV-infected patients with head and neck cancers, and wondered whether there was an undiscovered association between having the infection and head and neck cancers. To explore this, we conducted a case-control study using 409 head and neck cancer subjects (164 oropharyngeal, 245 non-oropharyngeal [oral cavity, nasopharynx, larynx] cancers) and 694 control subjects with other smoking-associated cancers (378 lung, 168 esophagus, and 148 urinary bladder cancers), and compared the prevalence of HCV infection in the two groups. We observed a high prevalence of HCV infection in oropharyngeal (14%) and non-oropharyngeal (20%) cancer patients when compared to control subjects (6.5%). After adjusting for confounders such as smoking, alcohol intake, and socioeconomic status, HCV-infected individuals were 2.04 times more likely to have oropharyngeal cancers and 2.85 times more likely to have non-oropharyngeal cancers. Of note, HCV was associated only with patients with oropharyngeal cancers that tested positive for human papilloma virus, which is one of the main virus linked with increased risk of oropharyngeal cancers.

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High Glycemic Index May Raise Lung Cancer Risk Especially in Never Smokers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Epidemiology

Dr. Xifeng Wu

Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D
Professor of Epidemiology and

Dr. Stephanie Claire Melkonian PhD Epidemiologist, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Melkonian

Dr. Stephanie Claire Melkonian  PhD
Epidemiologist, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Glycemic index (GI) assigns foods an indexed value to show how quickly and how much carbohydrates in the food cause blood glucose levels to rise after eating and is a measure of overall carbohydrate quality. Glycemic load (GL) is a related measure that is calculated by multiplying Glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrates in grams in that specific food and by the amount consume, then dividing by 100. Previous studies have investigated the association of GI and GL with certain types of cancer, including colorectal, stomach, and pancreatic cancer, but there has been limited research into the association with lung cancer.

We conducted a study using patients and control subjects from an ongoing case-control study of lung cancer conducted at MD Anderson. The patients were newly diagnosed and had not received treatment other than surgery. The healthy control subjects were selected from patient lists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinics, a large physician group in the Houston area. The study results encompass 1,905 cases and 2,413 controls. Using data collected from in-person interviews regarding health histories and dietary behaviors, we were able to categorize the study subjects according to their dietary Glycemic index and GL.

What we found was that individuals in the highest category of GI were at an almost 50% increased risk for developing lung cancer as compared to those in the lowest group. This association was different based on different subtypes of cancer. Most interestingly, however, among those individuals that never smoked, high Glycemic index was associated with an almost 2 fold increased risk of lung cancer. In other words, we found a more profound association between GI and lung cancer in never smokers in this study.

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Gene Expression Profile Can Indicate Aggressive Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Dr. Dingxiao Zhang Ph.D Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Smithville, TX 78957, USA

Dr. Dingxiao Zhang

Dr. Dingxiao Zhang Ph.D
Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Smithville, TX 78957, USA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zhang: Prostate cancer (PCa) is a heterogeneous malignancy harboring phenotypically and functionally diverse subpopulations of cancer cells. To better understand PCa cell heterogeneity, it is crucial to dissect the biology of normal prostate epithelial lineages. The background for the current study is to annotate the gene expression profiles of normal prostate epithelial cells, through which we hope to gain insight on Prostate cancer subtypes and the cellular heterogeneity in PCa. The prostate gland mainly contains basal and luminal cells constructed as a pseudostratified epithelium. Annotation of prostate epithelial transcriptomes provides a foundation for discoveries that can impact disease understanding and treatment. In this study, we have performed a genome-wide transcriptome analysis of human benign prostatic basal and luminal epithelial populations using deep RNA sequencing.

One of our major findings is that the differential gene expression profiles in basal versus luminal prostate epithelial cells account for their distinct functional properties. Specifically, basal cells preferentially express gene categories associated with stem cells, MYC-transcriptional program, neurogenesis, and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) biogenesis regulated by Pol I. Consistent with this profile, basal cells functionally exhibit intrinsic stem-like and neurogenic properties with enhanced rRNA transcription activity. Of clinical relevance, the basal cell gene expression profile is enriched in advanced, anaplastic, castration-resistant, and metastatic prostate cancers.

Therefore, we link the cell-type specific gene signatures to aggressive subtypes of prostate cancer and identify gene signatures associated with adverse clinical features.

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Depression and Smoking Linked To Worse Prognosis in Oral Cancer

Dr. Eileen H. Shinn PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Science Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences MD Anderson Cancer Center The University of Texas Houston, TX

Dr. Eileen Shinn

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Eileen H. Shinn PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Science
Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
MD Anderson Cancer Center
The University of Texas
Houston, TX 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Shinn: Recent studies with leukemia, breast, lung, renal and liver cancer patients have shown that patients with depression have worsened survival.  These effect sizes are small, but independent of any of the traditional factors that are known to impact survival, such as extent of cancer, types of treatment administered and baseline health and age of the patient.  The current thinking is that cancer patients who are depressed have chronically heightened responses to stress; the constant release of stress hormones trigger changes in the tumor itself (such as noradrenergically-driven tumor angiogenesis) or may weakens the body’s immune function and ability to resist tumor growth.

When we measured depression in newly diagnosed patients with oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the base of tongue and tonsil), we found that those patients who scored as depressed were 3.5 times more likely to have died within the five year period after their diagnosis, compared to nondepressed patients.  We also found that patients who were depressed were also 3.8 times more likely to have their cancer recur within the first five years after diagnosis.  We also found that patients who continued to smoke after diagnosis were more likely to recur within the first five years. These effect sizes were larger than those typically found in recent studies.  We believe that the larger effect size may be due to the tight eligibility criteria ( e.g., we did not include patients who already had recurrent disease, we only included patients with one specific type of head and neck cancer, oropharyngeal) and also due to controlling other known factors (all patients completed individualized treatment regimens of radiation/ chemoradiation at a comprehensive cancer center and patients with more advanced disease stage were more likely to have received treatment intensification compared to patients with early stage disease).  In all, we had 130 patients, one of the largest prospective studies with oropharyngeal cancer to examine the effect of depression on cancer outcome.

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New Enzyme Inhibitor Shows Modest Effect Against Relapsed Lymphoma

Dr. Jatin J. Shah, MD Associate Professor, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma Assistant Professor, Lymphoma/Myeloma Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX

Dr. Shah

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jatin J. Shah, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma
Assistant Professor, Lymphoma/Myeloma
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Shah: The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is one of the key regulatory systems in our body’s cells. It controls the destruction of the majority of cellular proteins, which can be involved in making cells grow, expand, or die, among other functions. Defects in the UPS can result in a number of diseases, including cancer, for example by destroying too quickly the proteins that cause cells to die. The UPS has already been shown to be a rational target for cancer therapy: the approved drugs bortezomib and carfilzomib inhibit the proteasome itself, thus causing cancer cells to die. However, by completely blocking the proteasome, which is at the ‘end’ of the UPS, these drugs block the destruction of 100% of proteins, and can cause side effects. By contrast, blocking the NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) stops the cellular processes that are responsible for only approximately 20% of proteins being degraded by the UPS – including proteins of relevance to cancer development. Previous studies of pevonedistat in animals have shown that inhibiting NAE alters the ability of a cancer cell to repair its DNA after it is damaged; this leads to the death of cancer cells.

The man finding is this was the first reported study of pevonedistat in patients with multiple myeloma or lymphoma. It demonstrated that pevonedistat hits its target in cancer cells, exerted anticipated pharmacodynamic effects, and has modest activity as a single-agent in heavily pretreated patients with relapsed/refractory lymphoma.

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