No Link Found Between Coffee and Increased Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
coffee-smell caffeineMr Jue Sheng Ong,  PhD Student
 QIMR Berghofer’s Statistical Genetics Group

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous findings have shown conflicting results on whether coffee is associated with cancer risk.

To evaluate whether there’s any evidence for a causal relationship between coffee and cancer outcomes, we performed two types of association analyses using data from the half a million participants in the UK.

  • We first studied whether an individual’s self-reported coffee consumption is related to their overall risk of developing or dying from any cancers.
  • Then, we repeated the analyses using genetically predicted coffee intake (using about 35 genetic markers related with coffee intake) instead of their self-reported consumption: a technique known as mendelian randomization which is commonly used in modern epidemiology to remove bias from environmental confounders.

Using both techniques, we found no evidence to support a relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of developing or dying from cancers.

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Prostate Cancer: Effects of Hormone Therapy on Cognitive Function Addressed in Large Study

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ravi Jayadevappa, PhD, MS Department of Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104-2676 

Dr. Jayadevappa

Ravi Jayadevappa, PhD, MS
Department of Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2676 

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

Response: In the US, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men. Research shows that hormone therapy or ADT reduces the levels of male hormones in the body, called androgens, to stop them from stimulating cancer cells to grow., and thus is effective in reducing the spread and progression of prostate cancer.

At the same time, some research has suggested that decreasing androgen levels may increase the risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia, including loss of lean body mass, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. The ADT therapy may lead to impaired neuron growth and the regeneration of axons, thus affecting the cognitive function. Thus there is growing interest in the possible association between exposure to ADT and cognitive dysfunction.

Our study investigates the association between exposure to ADT and subsequent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia in elderly, fee-for-service Medicare enrollees using SEER-Medicare linked databases.

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US Cancer Deaths Cost Society Billions in Lost Earnings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Islami

Farhad Islami, MD PhD
Scientific Director, Surveillance Research
American Cancer Society, Inc

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

Response: In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, and premature cancer deaths impose significant economic burden. Contemporary information on the economic burden of cancer mortality can inform policies and help prioritize resources for cancer prevention and control, but this information is lacking.

In our study, we provide contemporary estimates for the loss of future earnings (lost earnings) due to cancer death at national and state levels for all cancers combined and for major cancers.

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Atomwise Launches AI-Powered Virtual Drug Screening Program for Pediatric Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
atomwiseAbraham Heifets, PhD
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? How many children and adolescents are affected by pediatric cancer?

Response: Cancer is diagnosed in more than 15,000 children and adolescents each year. Many cancers, including pediatric cancer, do not have effective treatments and for those that do, it is estimated that 80% have serious adverse effects that impact long-term health. 

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Children with Birth and Chromosomal Defects More Likely to Develop Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Philip J. Lupo, PhD, MPH Co-Director, Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program, Texas Children's Cancer Center Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics Section of Hematology-Oncology, Member, Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center Baylor College of Medicine Adjunct Associate Professor, Human Genetics Center, Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences University of Texas School of Public Health

Dr. Lupo

Philip J. Lupo, PhD, MPH
Co-Director, Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program, Texas Children’s Cancer Center
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Section of Hematology-Oncology,
Member, Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Adjunct Associate Professor, Human Genetics Center, Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
University of Texas School of Public Health
 

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

Response: While cancer risk in children with certain chromosomal defects like Down syndrome is well established, much less is known for children with birth defects where there is no known genetic cause, sometimes called non-chromosomal defects. Non-chromosomal defects, as a group, affect more children, but one of the primary challenges of understanding risk among these children is that limited sample sizes make studying specific defects, like spina bifida, more difficult.

Because of that, we gathered data from birth, birth defect, and cancer registries across Texas, Arkansas, Michigan, and North Carolina to generate a birth cohort of more than 10 million children born between 1992 and 2013. We looked at diagnoses of cancer until 18 years of age to determine differences in cancer risk between those with and without birth defects.

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Chronic Pain in Cancer Patients Varies by Income and Insurance Status

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Changchuan (Charles) Jiang MD, MPH MSSLW Internal Medicine Residency Program, Class of 2020 Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Jiang

Changchuan (Charles) Jiang MD, MPH
MSSLW Internal Medicine Residency Program
Class of 2020
Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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

Response: Chronic pain is one of the common side effects of cancer treatments and it has been linked to low life quality, lower adherence to treatment, higher medical cost. As the population of cancer survivors grows rapidly, chronic pain will be a major public health issue in this population. We know from previous studies that chronic pain is common in certain cancers such as breast cancer. However, little was known about the epidemiology of chronic pain in the cancer survivors until our study.

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Medicaid Expansion Reduced Racial Disparities in Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blythe J.S. Adamson, PhD, MPH Senior Quantitative Scientist Flatiron Health

Dr. Adamson

Blythe J.S. Adamson, PhD, MPH
Senior Quantitative Scientist
Flatiron Health

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

Response: Racial disparities in access and outcomes have been documented across the full trajectory of cancer-related care. This includes access to prevention and screening, to early diagnosis, treatment, survival and other health outcomes. While these disparities have been well documented, finding mechanisms to reduce disparities is more challenging. One potential mechanism to reduce treatment disparities is to improve access to insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in March 2010, included as its overall goals the improvement in healthcare quality and access, and enhancing equity in treatment and outcomes. The ACA allowed states to expand Medicaid to poor and near-poor adults, and this was implemented by many states starting in 2014. In addition, the ACA established private insurance marketplaces with income-based premium subsidies and limits on out-of-pocket spending for qualifying low-income enrollees.

Prior research has demonstrated that ACA Medicaid expansions are associated with increased coverage and improved overall access for cancer survivors; and for newly diagnosed patients, the ACA was associated with increased coverage and shifts to earlier stage diagnosis for some cancers. To our knowledge, no research has yet demonstrated that the ACA coverage expansions affected the process of cancer care, specific cancer treatments received or specific treatment outcomes, let alone whether disparities were reduced.  In this study we looked at the time from advanced/metastatic diagnosis to start of systemic treatment for black vs. white patients and based on whether they were diagnosed at a time and in a state that had vs. had not implemented Medicaid expansion. Our study hypothesis was that Medicaid expansion reduced disparity in timely treatment of black patients compared to white patients with advanced cancer. We defined timely treatment as start of systemic therapy within 30 days of advanced/metastatic diagnosis.

This is a retrospective observational study, not a randomized controlled trial. In other words, we selected a cohort of patients diagnosed with advanced or metastatic cancers over time and observed whether they received timely treatment. The Flatiron Health EHR-derived database was the principal data source for this research. Flatiron contributing practices include 280 cancer community based clinics and academic hospital outpatient settings (~800 sites of care) representing more than 2.2 million patients with cancer in the United States. Practices are located in 40 states. To produce the database, Flatiron extracted data from structured fields, including demographics, and recorded medication orders and administrations. Flatiron also abstracted unstructured data, using technology assisted review by highly trained clinicians. Abstracted data include diagnosis date, stage, and prescribed oral anticancer medications. The database used for research purposes was de-identified. We also used data from the Kaiser Family Foundation which has tracked Medicaid implementation policies for over twenty years, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics from which we pulled state-year unemployment rates.

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Fewer Oncologists Have Financial Ties to Pharmaceutical Companies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Deborah C. Marshall, MD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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

Response: Open Payments has brought sweeping change to medicine by introducing transparency to physician relationships with industry. We have seen its impact on oncology through the recent media attention to high-profile physicians in oncology scrutinized for their failure to disclose industry relationships and through the resulting changes to conflict of interest policies of clinical, professional and research organizations in recent months.

We wanted to better understand the impact of Open Payments on individual physician behavior due to the important ethical and policy implications.  We have a cohort of oncology physicians that we followed from the inception of Open Payments to see whether the implementation and increasing awareness of Open Payments have resulted in fewer physicians engaging with industry and has shifted payments towards those considered more appropriate.

The study is important because we evaluate trends at the physician-level to explore the impact of Open Payments on how physicians interact with industry, which is difficult to measure. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The most important finding is that oncology physician interactions with industry are decreasing, which we interpret as being due to the effect of Open Payments.  Notably, we do not see large shifts in the types of payments yet, which suggests that transparency alone may not be enough to significantly alter behavior.  Moreover, while there has been a decrease in oncology physicians interacting with industry, the number and value of these interactions has not shifted greatly, which should reassure those who were concerned that this type of transparency program would have a negative impact on beneficial industry interactions.

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

Response: We are likely going to see the continued impact of Open Payments over time as the downstream effects of transparency become apparent, which warrants ongoing attention to help guide future policy-making.  Engaging stakeholders in these discussions, as well as investigating the impact of industry relationships on how physicians are providing care, conducting and reporting research, and educating future doctors are relevant areas of further research.  Also, there is increasing financial interest in oncology so addressing the risk associated with financial interactions with industry and conflicts of interest are more important than ever. 

Citation: 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting  June 1 2019

Trends in financial relationships between industry and individual medical oncologists in the United States from 2014 to 2017: A cohort study.

Author(s): Deborah Catherine Marshall, Elizabeth Stieglitz Tarras, Kenneth Rosenzweig, Deborah Korenstein, Susan Chimonas; Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY; New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

https://abstracts.asco.org/239/AbstView_239_258191.html 

[last-modified]

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More Younger People Getting Later Stage Colon Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Reinier G. S. Meester, PhDPostdoctoral scholar in the Department of MedicineDivision of Gastroenterology and HepatologyStanford

Dr. Meester

Dr. Reinier G. S. Meester, PhD
Postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Stanford

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

Response: Incidence of colorectal cancer has increased for decades in adults under age 50 years in the United States. However, there is still uncertainty regarding the underlying causes of this increase.

We studied the patterns in the stage at diagnosis from cancer registry data to assess whether the increases may be due more common use of colonoscopy in the ages 40-49 years, which account for nearly 3 out of 4 young-onset cases. If the increase in incidence were the result of earlier detection from increased colonoscopy use, earlier stage at diagnosis would be expected, whereas if the increased incidence were the result of true rises in risk, relatively later stage at diagnosis would be expected.

Our results suggest that the incidence of late-stage (metastatic) colorectal cancer increased at almost twice the relative rate since 1995 (2.9% per year) compared to earlier stages (1.3-1.4% per year). Over 1 in 4 young-onset cases are now diagnosed at a late stage vs. approximately 1 in 5 cases in the 1990s.

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Cancer Survivors: Insurance Patterns Before and After Affordable Care Act

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. Assistant ProfessorUT Southwestern Department of Radiation OncologyDallas TX 75390

Dr. Sanford

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. 
Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Department of Radiation Oncology
Dallas TX 75390 

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

Response: The background for this study is that we know cancer survivors are at risk for uninsurance or underinsurance and the most commonly cited reason for this is cost of insurance.  However, there have been no prior studies assessing from the patient perspective the reasons for not having insurance.

In addition, there has been further recent controversy over the Affordable Care Act, including threats from the current administration to dismantle it.  Thus assessing the impact of the ACA among at risk populations including cancer survivors is timely.

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Single Higher Dose Radiation Treatment Effective for Metastatic Cancer Pain Relief

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Quynh-Nhu Nguyen, MDDepartment of Radiation OncologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHouston

Dr. Quynh-Nhu

Quynh-Nhu Nguyen, MD
Department of Radiation Oncology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston

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

 Response: This is the first non-spine bone metastases trial comparing higher dose single fraction radiotherapy vs multifraction standard fractionated radiotherapy for patients with painful bone metastases.

The results of this trial demonstrated more durable pain relief and superior local control for patients treated in the higher dose(12 Gy-16 Gy)  single fraction RT compared to standard 30 Gy/10 fractions multifractionated regimen.  This trial supports the previous multiple randomized trials which recommend single fraction should be standard palliative radiotherapy regimen for bone metastases.  This trial is unique in that it addressed previous criticism that single fraction does not provide durable palliation with lower 8 gy single fraction and result in higher re-irradiation rates.  This trial on the contrary with the utilization of modern radiotherapy techniques, demonstrated we can safely and more effectively deliver a higher single fraction radiotherapy regimen for improvement in the quality of life for patients.  This higher dose should be the new standard single fraction regimen for patients who are functional and have a longer life expectancy.  Continue reading

Cancer Patients May Receive Better Emergency Care at Hospital Where They Receive Cancer Treatments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Keerat Grewal, MD, MSc, FRCPC Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto, ON

Dr. Grewal

Keerat Grewal, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital
Toronto, ON 

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

Response: Patients with cancer have complex care requirements and often use the emergency department. The purpose of our study was to determine whether continuity of care, cancer expertise, or both, impact outcomes among cancer patients in the emergency setting. Using administrative data we looked at adult patients with cancer who received chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the 30 days prior to an emergency department visit.  Continue reading

Occupational Exposure to Pesticides: Poor Prognosis for Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Patients

MedicalResearch.com interview with:
Sylvain Lamure, MD, Hematologist, Principal Investigator

Pascale Fabbro-Peray, MD, PhD , Epidemiologist, Senior Investigator
University of Montpellier, France

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

Response: Occupational exposure to pesticides is a well-documented associated factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The main biological mechanisms of both pesticides and chemotherapy are genotoxicity and reactive oxygen species generation. Cellular adaptation among patients exposed to low doses of genotoxic and oxidative compounds might hinder chemotherapy efficiency in lymphoma patients. T

hus, we have investigated the association of occupational exposure with response to immunochemotherapy and survival in the subgroup of diffuse large B cell lymphoma, whose treatment is standardized.

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Gene Linked to Colon Cancer in Younger Patients Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Valentine N. Nfonsam, MD, MS, FACSAssociate Professor of SurgeryProgram Director, General Surgery ResidencyColon and Rectal SurgeryDivision of Surgical OncologyUniversity of Arizona, Tucson

Dr. Nfonsam

Valentine N. Nfonsam, MD, MS, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Program Director, General Surgery Residency
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology
University of Arizona, Tucson 

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

Response: The overall incidence of colon cancer in the United states has gone down in the last few decades. However, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of sporadic colon cancer is young patients (<50 years old). The etiology of this phenomenon is likely multi-factorial.

These young patients do present with more advanced disease and with aggressive features. We demonstrated in our study that the colon cancer tumor biology was different between young and older patients. We also singled out a particular gene, Cartilage oligomeric Matrix Protein (COMP) which was significantly over-expressed in young patients and demonstrated its role in cancer proliferation and metastasis and also its potential as a prognostic biomarker since we were able to detect it in plasma.

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“Magic Mouthwash” Can Decrease Mouth Pain from Radiation Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert C. Miller, MD, MS, MBADepartment of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FloridaUniversity of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

Dr. Miller

Robert C. Miller, MD, MS, MBA
Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore

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

Response: “Magic Mouthwash” is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for oral mucositis pain during cancer therapy, but there has not been good evidence in the past to support its use.

This trial is the first large randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that both “Magic” mouthwash and doxepin rinse reduce patient reported pain during cancer therapy.

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RNA Genetic Testing Improves Analysis of Hereditary Cancer Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rachid Karam, PhD

Director, Ambry Translational Genomics Lab
Ambry Genetics 

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

Response: DNA genetic testing (DGT) for hereditary cancer genes is now a well accepted clinical practice; however, the interpretation of DNA variation remains a challenge to laboratories and medical providers.

RNA genetic testing (RGT) as a supplement to DGT is a means to clarify the clinical actionability of variants in hereditary cancer genes, improving our ability to accurately apply known strategies for cancer risk reduction.

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Sentinel Lymph Node Drainage Can Be Used to Test For Marker of Melanoma Relapse Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Héctor Peinado PhDMicroenvironment and Metastasis LaboratoryMolecular Oncology ProgramSpanish National Cancer Research CenterMadrid, Spain

Dr. Peinado

Héctor Peinado PhD
Microenvironment and Metastasis Laboratory
Molecular Oncology Program
Spanish National Cancer Research Center
Madrid, Spain 

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

Response: In this study we detected for the first time BRAF mutation by liquid biopsy in melanoma stage III patients that underwent lymphadenectomy. We obtained a novel biofluid from the drainage implanted 24-48 hours post-lymphadenectomy, called exudative seroma, and profiled BRAF mutation in circulating free DNA and extracellular vesicles.

Those patients positive for BRAF mutation in the seroma had increased risk of relapse, therefore we believe that this technique identifies patients at risk of relapse by identifying residual disease.

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Surgical Outcomes Found to be Better at ‘Brand Name’ than Affiliate Cancer Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel J. Boffa, MDAssociate Professor of Thoracic SurgeryYale School of Medicine

Dr. Boffa

Daniel J. Boffa, MD
Associate Professor of Thoracic Surgery
Yale School of Medicine

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

Response: Prominent cancer hospitals have been sharing their brands with smaller hospitals in the community.  We conducted a series of nationally representative surveys and found that a significant proportion of the U.S. public assumes that the safety of care is the same at all hospitals that share the same respected brand.  In an effort to determine if safety was in fact the same, we examined complex surgical procedures in the Medicare database.

We compared the chance of dying within 90 days of surgery between top-ranked hospitals, and the affiliate hospitals that share their brands.  When taking into account differences in patient age, health, and type of procedure, Medicare patients were 1.4 times more likely to die after surgery at the affiliate hospitals, compared to those having surgery at the top-ranked cancer hospitals.

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How Many Cancer Patients Use Complementary or Alternative Medicine Treatments?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. Assistant ProfessorUT Southwestern Department of Radiation OncologyDallas TX 75390

Dr. Niu Sanford

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D.
Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Department of Radiation Oncology
Dallas TX 75390

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

Response: There has been increasing interest in use of complementary and alternative medicine in the oncology population – both in terms of its potential efficacy and harms.

The main finding of this study is that approximately 1/3 of cancer patients and survivors self-reported using complementary or alternative medicine over the past year, the most common being herbal supplements.

Of these patients, approximately 1/3 did not disclose to their physicians that they were doing so.

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Cancer Drug Trials: Does Changing the Endpoint from Overall Survival Hasten the Approval Process?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emerson Chen, MDChief Fellow, Hematology-Oncology, PGY-6Oregon Health & Science University

Dr. Chen

Emerson Chen, MD
Chief Fellow, Hematology-Oncology, PGY-6
Oregon Health & Science University

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

Response: Many cancer drugs are approved annually giving the appearance of innovation; however, some drugs may have been approved because of a lower bar. Use of lesser endpoints like response rate (how tumor shrinks) and progression-free survival (how tumor has delayed growth) have been proposed to speed trials when compared against traditional endpoints like overall survival (how long patients might live).

Using published trials that led to cancer drug approval from 2006 to 2017, we estimated how long it would take to get each of these three endpoints across all cancer drugs and indications to see how much time we could save by using these weaker but faster endpoints.

We see that many trials using overall survival used less time than anticipated, and many trials using response rate or progression-free survival actually took quite a bit of time.  In part that is due to researchers needing to document the duration of the response. But, whatever the reason, the time to get each of the three endpoints is actually more similar than different, and we estimate that our current use of  these faster endpoints are saving us only 11 months compared to using only overall survival.

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Opioid-Related Hospitalizations Among Cancer Patients are Rare

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Isaac Chua MDInstructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical SchoolBoston, Massachusetts

Dr. Chua

Isaac Chua MD
Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts 

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

Response: Opioids are routinely prescribed for cancer-related pain, but little is known about the prevalence of opioid-related hospitalizations for patients with cancer. Although opioid addiction among patients with cancer is estimated to be as high as 7.7%, our understanding of opioid misuse is based on small, preliminary studies.

In light of the wider opioid epidemic, oncologists and palliative care clinicians frequently balance providing patients with legitimate access to opioids while protecting them and the general public from the risks of prescribing these medications.

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The Word ‘Cancer’ Still Affects How Patients Feel About Their Disease, Even if Low Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Peter R. Dixon, MDDepartment of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck SurgeryInstitute of Health Policy, Management and EvaluationUniversity of TorontoToronto, Ontario, Canada 

Dr. DIxon

Peter R. Dixon, MD
Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

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

Response: The word ‘cancer’ is often associated with an aggressive and lethal disease. Innovations in screening and diagnostic tests detect some ‘cancers’ that — even if left untreated — pose very low-risk of any symptoms, progression, or mortality. Still, many of these low-risk cancers are treated aggressively and those treatments can have harmful consequences and side-effects.

We were interested in determining how influential the word ‘cancer’ is in decisions made by patients about low-risk malignant neoplasms relative to other labels for the same disease.

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Genetic Mutation May Predict Outcomes of Prostate Cancer Treated With Androgen-Deprivation Therapy or Abiraterone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Masaki Shiota MD, PhD Department of Urology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences Kyushu University Fukuoka , Japan

Dr. Shiota

Masaki Shiota MD, PhD
Department of Urology
Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Kyushu University
Fukuoka , Japan

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

Response:  3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 encoded by HSD3B1 is a rate-limiting enzyme required for all pathways of dihydrotestosterone synthesis, as well as converts abiraterone into Δ4-abiraterone (D4A), which blocks multiple steroidogenic enzymes and antagonizes the androgen receptor.

A mutation (1245A>C) in HSD3B1 is shown to be resistant to proteasomal degradation, causing substantial accumulation of this enzyme and gain-of-function. Although the HSD3B1 (1245C) allele can be acquired by mutation, germ-line single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP; rs1047303) is also known to exist. Then, in this study, we investigated the significance of missense polymorphism in HSD3B1 gene among men treated with primary ADT or abiraterone.

The results showed men carrying variant allele showed higher risk of progression in primary androgen-deprivation therapy, but vulnerable to abiraterone treatment. Continue reading

Younger Generations at Much Higher Risk of Obesity Related Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hyuna Sung, PHD Principal Scientist, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303 

Dr. Sung

Hyuna Sung, PHD
Principal Scientist, Surveillance Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303 

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

Response: This project was motivated by our previous finding on the rise of colorectal cancer among young adults before age 55. Changes in cancer trends among young age group have significant implications because the newly introduced carcinogenic agents are likely to affect trends among young people before they affect those among older people. Owing to this relationship, cancer trends among young people can be often considered as a bellwether for future disease burden. Given the dramatic increase of the obesity prevalence during 3-4 decades in the US, we wanted to expand the colorectal cancer finding to the more comprehensive list of cancers and explain them in the context of obesity epidemic.

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Female Radiation Oncologists Less Likely to Receive Industry Payments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA

Dr. Raldow

Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
David Geffen School of Medicine
UCLA 

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

Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value.

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Younger Cancer Survivors Face Greater Financial Burdens

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhiyuan "Jason" Zheng PhD Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Zheng

Zhiyuan “Jason” Zheng PhD
Director, Economics and Healthcare Delivery Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30303

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

Response: Historically, the cost of healthcare can be a substantial burden for cancer survivors and their families in the US. Even with health insurance, a cancer diagnosis can impose significant out-of-pocket costs for medical care.  These are partially due to the rising costs of cancer treatments in recent years, moreover, the increasing levels of coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles also shift a significant portion of the burden to cancer patients.

We found that younger cancer survivors, those aged 18-49 years, bear a higher burden than their older counterparts. We also found that two-thirds of cancer survivors enrolled in high-deductible health plans did not have health savings accounts, and they are more vulnerable to financial hardship than those in high-deductible health plans with health savings accounts and those covered by low-deductible plans.

These findings are important to patients because although cancer patents have benefited from newer and more advanced treatments, financial hardship may lead to emotional distress, cause changes in health behaviors, and jeopardize treatment adherence and health outcomes. 

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First Patient Dosed in Phase 3 AGENT Study for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

MedicalResearch.com interview with:

Anders Rabbe CEO of Isofol Medical

Anders Rabbe

Anders Rabbe
CEO of Isofol Medical

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How common is colorectal cancer? 

Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common forms of cancer with more than 1.8 million new cases identified globally every year. Due to a lack of new therapeutic options and a high mortality rate, colorectal cancer is a disease with a significant unmet need for effective new treatments.

Isofol is developing arfolitixorin (Modufolin®) to improve the efficacy of standard of care chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancer. Arfolitixorin is the company’s proprietary drug candidate currently being studied in a global Phase 3 AGENT study (ISO-CC-007) as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), which just enrolled its first patient in December of 2018. Continue reading

Esophageal Cancer: HMIE Procedure Reduces Morbidity Without Sacrificing Efficacy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guillaume Piessen, MD, PhD University Hospital Centre Lille, France

Prof. Piessen

Guillaume Piessen, MD, PhD
University Hospital Centre
Lille, Franc

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

Response: Patients requiring surgery for esophageal cancer fare better after undergoing a hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) with a combined laparoscopy+thoracotomy procedure compared to an open esophagectomy (OE), according to results of the MIRO trial published in the last issue of the New England Journal Of Medicine (link article).

This French prospective multi-center randomized controlled study was funded by the French National Cancer Institute (Grant n° 1907). The study was conducted by Pr Mariette who sadely passed away in 2017 and Pr Piessen (Department of Digestive and Oncological Surgery, CHU Lille), under the hauspice of FRENCH (Fédération de Recherche EN Chirurgie) and FREGAT (French Eso-Gastric Tumors) working group (https://www.fregat-database.org/fr/).

Postoperative morbidity, especially pulmonary complications, affects more than half of patients after open esophagectomy for esophageal cancer.

Hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) combines a laparoscopic abdominal phase with an open thoracotomy, which may have specific advantages including lower rate of pulmonary complications, without laparoscopic tumor dissection limiting potential tumor spillage and easier reproducibility of the technique [12].

Postoperative morbidity, especially pulmonary complications, affects more than half of patients after open esophagectomy for esophageal cancer.

Hybrid minimally invasive esophagectomy (HMIE) combines a laparoscopic abdominal phase with an open thoracotomy, which may have specific advantages including lower rate of pulmonary complications, without laparoscopic tumor dissection limiting potential tumor spillage and easier reproducibility of the technique [12].

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WHO: Profits Outweigh R&D Costs of New Cancer Drugs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD World Health Organization Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. Kiu Tay-Teo

Kiu Tay-Teo, PhD
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: High costs and high risks of R&D for drugs have been presented to justify high drug prices, especially for cancer drugs. However, it is unclear whether prices are in fact justifiable compared to the overall return on R&D investment.

In this paper, we systematically compared incomes from the sales of cancer drugs with the R&D costs. We quantified the incomes generated from the sales of 99 cancer drugs approved by FDA from 1989–2017. This was based on sales figures reported in the originator companies’ annual financial reports, and where necessary, estimates deduced from the reported figures. The sales incomes were net of rebates and discounts, but without accounting for expenses and taxes. For the R&D costs of bringing one new cancer drug to the market, the literature reported a typical costs of between $219 million and $2.9 billion, after accounting for the costs of failed products that were investigated but not marketed and the opportunity costs. For the main analysis, we used a median cost of $794 million, as reported in the literature. To be clear, this analysis did not estimate profit return because we do not have information about the costs and year-to-year variations in costs (i.e. expenses and taxes) specific to cancer drugs.

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Cancers Attributable to Obesity Vary by State

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Islami

Farhad Islami, MD PhD
Scientific Director, Surveillance Research
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Atlanta, GA 30303

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

Response: Despite variations in excess body weight (EBW) prevalence among states in the United States, there was little information on the proportion of incident cancers attributable to EBW (or population attributable fraction, PAF) by state. This information would be useful to help states set priorities for cancer control initiatives.

In this paper, we estimated the PAF and number of incident cancer cases attributable to EBW by sex in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using representative exposure and cancer occurrence data. To provide more accurate estimates, we adjusted state-level data on body mass index (BMI) based on self-reported weight and height from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, and education level (162 strata) using BMI values from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative survey with objectively-measured height and weight.

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