Some Cancer Drugs May Also Treat Hypertension

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anton Wellstein, MD PhD Professor Oncology & Pharmacology Georgetown University Medical School Associate Director for Basic and Translational Science Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Washington DC

Dr. Wellstein

Anton Wellstein, MD PhD
Professor Oncology & Pharmacology
Georgetown University Medical School
Associate Director for Basic and Translational Science
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Washington DC

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

Response: Tumor angiogenesis and signaling by growth factors such as Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are targets for the treatment of cancer. Targeting some of these factors will alter blood pressure. We show that FGF activation in an animal model can cause hypertension. We show that the hypertension is driven by sensitization of resistance vessels to the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. We propose that drugs used to target FGF pathway signaling in cancer could be useful to treat hypertension.

Continue reading

MedImmune’s MEDI9197 Activates Immune System To Fight Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Koustubh Ranade, Vice President of Research & Development Translational Medicine MedImmune

Dr. Ranade

Dr. Koustubh Ranade, PhD
Vice President of Research & Development Translational Medicine
MedImmune

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

Response: In a healthy person, abnormal cells including cancer cells are typically detected and destroyed by the immune system in response to danger signals activated by the abnormal cells. However, some solid tumors avoid triggering danger signals, and thus the immune system cannot recognize and destroy cancer cells, permitting tumor growth. To help activate the patient’s immune system to fight these “hidden” cancer cells, MedImmune scientists have developed MEDI9197, a TLR 7/8 agonist, to trigger the needed danger signals.

Our latest data from the Phase 1 study of MEDI9197 demonstrated that through intratumor injection, the therapy binds to TLR7 and TLR8 receptors and activates dendritic cells, which call in other immune cells to fight the tumor.

Continue reading

Testicular Cancer Stem Cells Highly Sensitive To Chemotherapy, Resulting In High Cure Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

 Credit: Tim Pierpont, Cornell University

A low magnification image of a germ cell tumor, called a teratocarcinoma, from a new mouse model developed to study testicular cancer. A cluster of cancer stem cells, termed embryonal carcinoma, is shown at higher magnification at the bottom.

 

Amy M. Lyndaker, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Elmira College
This work was completed when I was a Research Associate in the laboratory of
Dr. Robert S. Weiss at:
Department of Biomedical Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University Ithaca, NY

 

 

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

Response: There has been this puzzle in the field of cancer biology that testicular cancers, even after they have spread to the brain or the lungs, are often able to be cured with radiation and chemotherapy (think of Lance Armstrong, for instance), whereas the majority of cancers are not curable with similar treatments. We thought that this could be due to the unique properties of the cells from which the cancers are derived; testicular cancers arise from germ cells (which later go on to make sperm), whereas most cancers arise from somatic cells (body cells). We proposed that maybe the germ cells and somatic cells were hard-wired to respond differently to DNA damage, and that because of this, cancers derived from these two distinct types of cells might then respond differently to chemotherapies (which typically kill cancer cells by creating DNA damage).

To test this, we generated a novel genetic mouse model that develops cancers similar to the malignant testicular cancers seen in young men. We then used standard chemotherapies (cisplatin alone, or combined bleomycin/etoposide/cisplatin), and found that treatment with DNA-damaging chemotherapies specifically killed the cancer stem cells within the tumors. Thus, we were able to show that testicular cancers are curable with standard DNA-damaging chemotherapies because their stem cells are highly sensitive to DNA damage. This is in contrast to most cancers, where the cancer stem cells are refractory to treatment and are responsible for tumor recurrence and metastasis.

Continue reading

Married Head/Neck Cancer Patients Less Likely To Smoke, More Likely To Live Longer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, CHES Instructor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Saint Louis University School of Medicine Member, Saint Louis University Cancer Center St Louis, Missouri

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, CHES
Instructor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Member, Saint Louis University Cancer Center
St Louis, Missouri 

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

Response: Several studies have shown that there is an adverse effect of smoking on head and neck cancer survival; however, there are studies that show no effect between smoking and head and neck cancer. We wanted to investigate this problem using a single institution’s cancer dataset. Additionally, we wanted to understand the role of marital status in the smoking behavior of head and neck cancer patients, and to understand if smoking played any role in head and neck cancer survival.

Our study confirmed that head and neck cancer patients who were smokers at the time of diagnosis had lower survival rates than nonsmokers. We also found that married head and neck cancer patients were less likely to be smokers and more likely to survive longer than those unmarried.

Continue reading

Bariatric Surgery Associated With Reduced Risk of Obesity-Related Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel P. Schauer, MD, MSc Associate Professor, Internal Medicine University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Division of General Internal Medicine Cincinnati OH 45267-0535

Dr. Schauer

Daniel P. Schauer, MD, MSc
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine
Cincinnati OH 45267-0535

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

Response: Obesity is associated with many types of cancer and bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe obesity.  We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2012 with follow-up through 2014 using data from Kaiser Permanente using 5 study sites. The study included 22,198 patients who had bariatric surgery matched to 66,427 nonsurgical patients with severe obesity.

We found that bariatric surgery was associated with a reduced risk of cancer.  The risk reduction was greatest for the cancers that are associated with obesity including postmenopausal breast, endometrial, colon, and pancreatic cancers, as well as esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Continue reading

Anticoagulant Warfarin May Lower Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gry Haaland, MD

James Lorens PhD, Professor
The Department of Biomedicine
University of Bergen

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

Response: Antitumor activity of the common blood thinner warfarin has been reported in several experimental cancer model systems. We therefore considered whether warfarin is cancer protective.

Using the comprehensive national health registries in Norway, we examined cancer incidence among a large number of people taking warfarin (92,942) and compared to those not taking warfarin (more than 1.1 million).

Continue reading

Methadone As First Line Opioid in Cancer Pain Management

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sebastiano Mercadante, MD Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit La Maddalena Cancer Center Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care & Emergencies University of Palermo Palermo, Italy

Dr. Mercadante

Sebastiano Mercadante, MD
Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit
La Maddalena Cancer Center
Department of Anesthesia, Intensive Care & Emergencies
University of Palermo
Palermo, Italy

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

Response: There are many clinical experiences suggesting that methadone, when optimally used by skilled physicians, has invaluable properties in the management of cancer pain. Methadone used as first opioid may provide interesting advantages due to the low tendency to induce tolerance, while providing a clinical profile similar to that of other opioids. Moreover, methadone possesses other extra-opioid effects that can be of interest.

Continue reading

Cancer in Young Adults Disproportionately Affects Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Miranda M Fidler, PhD Section of Cancer Surveillance International Agency for Research on Cancer Lyon, France 

Dr. Fidler

Dr Miranda M Fidler, PhD
Section of Cancer Surveillance
International Agency for Research on Cancer
Lyon, France 

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

Response: The burden of cancer among young adults has been rarely studied in depth. To our knowledge, we describe for the first time the scale and profile of cancer incidence and mortality worldwide among 20-39 year-olds, highlighting major patterns by age, sex, development level, and geographic region.

Although cancer is less frequent than that observed at older ages, its impact remains considerable because these individuals have a large proportion of their expected lifespans remaining, contribute substantially to the economy, and play a major role in caring for their families. Worldwide, almost 1 million new cases of cancer and 400 000 cancer-related deaths occurred among young adults aged 20–39 years in 2012.

Overall, the most common cancer types in terms of new cases were female breast cancer, cervical cancer, thyroid cancer, leukemia, and colorectal cancer, and the most common types of cancer-related deaths were those due to female breast cancer, liver cancer, leukemia, and cervical cancer. The burden was disproportionately greater among women, with an estimated 633 000 new cancer cases (65% of all new cancer cases in that age group) and 194 000 cancer-related deaths (54% of all cancer-related deaths in that age group) in 2012.

Continue reading

Patients Prefer Doctors Who Face Them Rather Than Computer Screen

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ali Haider, MBBS MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine
Division of Cancer Medicine
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 

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

Response: Patients with chronic and serious illnesses such as cancer often experience high physical and psychosocial symptoms. Recent studies have reported association of physicians’ examination room computer use with less face to face interactions and eye contact. It’s important for the clinicians to look for certain physical cues to better understand the well being of their patients. Therefore we conducted this randomized clinical trial to understand patients perception of physicians compassion, communication skills and professionalism with and without the use of examination room computer.

Continue reading

40% of Cancers Associated With Overweight and Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. C. Brooke Steele D.O.

Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Centers fo Disease Control and Prevention 

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

Response: This report contains new information about cancer risk and people being overweight and obese. Research shows that being overweight or having obesity is associated with at least 13 types of cancer (adenocarcinoma of the esophagus; cancers of the breast [in postmenopausal women], colon and rectum, endometrium, gallbladder, gastric cardia, kidney, liver, ovaries, pancreas, and thyroid; meningioma; and multiple myeloma). We also know that the number of people who weigh more than recommended has increased over the past few decades. Therefore, we looked at the numbers of new cases of cancers associated with overweight and having obesity in the United States, as well as how the rates have changed over a 10-year period. Because screening for colorectal cancer can reduce colorectal cancer incidence through detection and removal of precancerous polyps before they become cancerous, we analyzed trends with and without colorectal cancer.

Continue reading

Ischemic Stroke As Cancer Predecessor and Associated Predictors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacobo Rogado

Dr. Rogado

Dr Jacobo Rogado
Medical oncology fellow
Hospital de La Princesa
Madrid, Spain

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

Response: Some publications have suggested that there is an association between stroke and the subsequent diagnosis of cancer, although others have not confirmed this.

We have addressed this issue with a study conducted at our hospital during two years. We studied a population of about 1000 patients with stroke. We evaluated the incidence of cancer in this population during the follow-up of 18 months, as well as whether there were factors associated with its occurrence.

Continue reading

Pembrolizumab Reduces Death Rate in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ezra Cohen, MD Associate Director, Moores Cancer Center Professor of Medicine Moores Cancer Center UC San Diego Health - La Jolla Moores Cancer Center La Jolla, CA  92093

Dr. Cohen

Ezra Cohen, MD
Associate Director, Moores Cancer Center
Professor of Medicine
Moores Cancer Center
UC San Diego Health – La Jolla
Moores Cancer Center
La Jolla, CA  92093

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

Response: We have known for a couple of years that anti-PD1 therapy, and specifically pembrolizumab, is active in  head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The KN40 trial now tested pembrolizuamb against standard of care in patients whose cancers progressed on platinum containing regimens.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: The main findings really supported what we know about pembrolizumab in this disease – it is active and effective with a favorable side effect profile. Pembrolizumab reduced the risk of death by 19% and was associated with a 14% response rate. The effect was even greater in tumors that expressed PDL1 and, in the highest expressing group, the benefit in reduction of risk of death was 46% with a 27% response rate.

Continue reading

Inotuzumab Plus Low-Intensity Chemo Effective in Resistant ALL

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elias Jabbour, MD Associate Professor Leukemia Department MD Anderson Cancer Center

Dr. Jabbour

Elias Jabbour, MD
Associate Professor
Leukemia Department
MD Anderson Cancer Center

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

Response: Inotuzumab is active in relapsed or refractory (R/R) acute lymphoblastic leukemia  (R/R ALL). The addition of low intensity chemotherapy may further improve outcome.

ORR around 80%. Median survival 11 months. Better results obtained in Savage 1. Superior outcome when compared to historical cohort treated with inotuzumab monotherapy

Continue reading

Study Finds Only 1/3 of Melanomas Arise in Pre-Existing Moles

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Riccardo Pampena MD and  Caterina Longo, MD, PhD Dermatology Unit University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova-IRCCS Reggio Emilia Italy

Mole or Nevus
Wikipedia

Riccardo Pampena MD and
Caterina Longo, MD, PhD
Dermatology Unit
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova-IRCCS
Reggio Emilia Italy

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

Response: High heterogeneity has been reported in previous studies on the ratio of melanoma associated with moles (nevus-associated melanomas).

Despite this heterogeneity, researchers agree that some melanomas may develop in conjunction with a pre-existing mole.

We know that nevus-associated melanomas are usually located on the trunk and more frequently occur in younger patients than de novo melanomas (not nevus-associated).

Defining the risk for a melanoma to arise in association with a pre-existing mole is important in order to define the best strategies for early melanoma diagnosis.

The main finding of our study is that only one third of melanomas arose from a pre-existing mole, in fact the majority were de novo.

We also found that nevus-associated melanomas were less aggressive than de novo.

Continue reading

In the Age of Antiretrovirals for HIV, New Secondary Tumors Have Emerged

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Fahad Mukhtar MD MPH Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics College of Public Health University of South Florida, Tampa

Dr. Mukhtar

Fahad Mukhtar MD MPH
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
College of Public Health
University of South Florida, Tampa

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

Response: Studies done in the 80s and 90s showed that patients with Kaposi sarcoma may be at risk of having secondary tumors. As a result of changes that have taken place in the demographics of patients affected with HIV/AIDS as well as Kaposi’s sarcoma, we hypothesized that tumors that follow Kaposi sarcoma might have also changed. We analyzed the incidence of second tumors developing after Kaposi sarcoma using the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Result (SEER) data.

Our result indicated that the incidence of secondary tumors following Kaposi sarcoma have decreased after the emergence of antiretroviral therapy. However, we observed a significantly higher than expected number of cancer of the anus, liver, tongue, penis lymphomas, and acute lymphocytic leukemia developing in patients with Kaposi sarcoma in the era of antiretroviral therapy.

Continue reading

Many Young Adults Have One or More Modifiable Cancer Risk Factors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mary C. White, ScD MPH Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch Division of Cancer Prevention and Control CDC Atlanta GA 30341

Dr. White

Mary C. White, ScD MPH
Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC
Atlanta GA 30341

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

Response: Most cancers are caused not by just one thing, but instead by a combination of different factors over many years. Early adulthood is a time of many life changes and stresses, and exposure to harmful products and unhealthy habits during early adulthood can set the stage for developing cancer at older ages. We analyzed responses from a national sample of young adults to questions about diet, physical activity, tobacco products, alcohol, indoor tanning, sleep, the HPV vaccine, and obesity. These factors have been linked to higher risks of different types of cancer.

Continue reading

Financial Distress Common Among Cancer Patients, Especially Underinsured

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Fumiko Chino, MD Duke Radiation Oncology Duke School of Medicine

Dr. Chino

Dr. Fumiko Chino, MD
Duke Radiation Oncology
Duke School of Medicine

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

Response: The financial burden of cancer treatment is a growing concern. Out-of-pocket expenses are higher for patients with cancer than for those who have other chronic illnesses. Fifty percent of elderly cancer patients spend at least 10% of their income on treatment-related out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, high financial burden is associated with both increased risk of poor psychological well-being and worse health-related quality of life. A cancer diagnosis has been shown to be an independent risk factor for declaring personal bankruptcy, and cancer patients who declare personal bankruptcy are at greater risk for mortality. These potentially harmful outcomes resulting from financial burden have been recognized as the financial toxicity of cancer therapy, analogous to the more commonly considered physical toxicity.

We conducted an IRB approved study of financial distress and cost expectations among patients with cancer presenting for anti-cancer therapy. In this cross-sectional, survey based study of 300 patients, over one third of patients reported higher than expected financial burden. Cancer patients with highest financial distress are underinsured, paying nearly 1/3 of income in cancer-related costs. In adjusted analysis, experiencing higher than expected financial burden was associated with high/overwhelming financial distress (OR 4.78; 95% CI 2.02-11.32; p<0.01) and with decreased willingness to pay for cancer care (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.25-0.95, p=0.03).

Continue reading

Opioid Prescriptions Common Among Cancer Survivors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rinku Sutradhar, Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto, Canada

Dr. Sutradhar

Rinku Sutradhar, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto, Canada

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

  • We suspected that pain was prevalent among survivors of cancer, but there were no comprehensive estimates on the magnitude of this prevalence. For example, recent work had reported pain prevalence among cancer survivors to be anywhere from 5% to 56%, which is quite a wide range.
  • To our knowledge, there has been no prior research conducted at the individual-level that specifically examines opioid prescribing rates for cancer survivors, compared to matched control groups who have no prior cancer diagnosis.
  • We also know that socio-economically disadvantaged populations are more at risk for opioid dependency, but previous studies have not examined cancer survivors who a part of this disadvantaged group, so this is an important knowledge gap to fill.
  • We found that cancer survivors have significantly higher rates of opioid prescriptions compared with their matched controls (who had no prior cancer diagnosis). In fact, after adjusting for other study factors, we found that the rate of opioid prescriptions was 22% higher among survivors.
  • MOST SURPRISING: This higher rate of opioid prescriptions persisted even among survivors who were 10 or more years past their cancer diagnosis (compared to matched control individuals who had no prior cancer diagnosis).
  • When we broke the cohort down based on the type of cancer, we didn’t see a significant spike in opioid prescriptions for breast cancer survivors compared to their non-cancer controls, but we did see higher opioid prescriptions for survivors of lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, or gynaecological cancers, compared to their controls.

Continue reading

Doubt Cast on Traditional Pattern of Cancer Metastases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin Weixler, MD
Department of Surgery
University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland and
Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands 

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

Response: For most patients with lymph node negative colon cancer (stage I and II) surgery is regarded to be the curative treatment. Despite the curative attempt up to thirty percent of these patients will develop disease recurrence, most likely due to missed micro-metastatic disease at initial tumor staging. Pathological standard processing with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) entails a considerable risk of missing micro-metastatic deposits in the lymph nodes. Mounting evidence indicates that micro-metastatic tumor deposits in the lymph nodes as well as in the bone marrow might be associated with an increased risk of disease recurrence and death in node negative patients. With our study we wanted to examine the correlation between the occurrence of micro-metastatic deposits in the lymph nodes and the bone marrow as well as their prognostic significance.

As a main finding, the study provides compelling evidence that tumor cell dissemination to the lymph nodes and to the bone marrow are independent events in patients with colon cancer. Most importantly did the study demonstrate that micro-metastatic deposits in the lymph nodes as well as in the bone marrow are independent negative prognostic factors regarding  disease-free and overall survival. The combined occurrence is associated with significantly worse prognosis compared to either one of them.

Continue reading

Periodontal Disease is Associated with Higher Risk of Cancer in Postmenopausal Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD Dean, SUNY Distinguished Professor Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health School of Public Health and Health Professions University of Buffalo

Dr. Wactawski-Wende

Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD
Dean, SUNY Distinguished Professor
Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health
School of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Buffalo

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

Response: There has been a growing interest in the role of periodontal disease in system chronic diseases, including cancer. We explored the association of periodontal disease history and incident cancer in the women’s health initiative study of postmenopausal women. We found that women reporting periodontal disease history were at increased risk of developing cancer overall. In addition they were found to have significant increased risk of specific cancers including cancers of the lung, breast, esophagus, gallbladder and melanoma. The risk persisted after control for many other factors. In addition, the risk was seen in women regardless of their smoking history. Both ever smokers and never smokers were found to have increased risk of cancer associated with periodontal disease history.

Continue reading

Cancer Death Rates Higher in Rural America

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Oncologist Director,Division of Cancer Prevention and Control CDC

Dr. Richardson

Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH, Oncologist
Director,Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC

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

Response: This MMWR report is the first complete description of cancer incidence and mortality comparing rural and urban America.  From previous reports we know that rural residents are more likely to be older, have more comorbid conditions and participate in high risk behaviors that can lead to cancer. CDC researchers were interested in how these factors were related to new cancers and cancer deaths in rural counties compared to metropolitan counties.

Researchers found that rates of new cases for lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer were higher in rural America. In contrast, rural areas were found to have lower rates of new cancers of the female breast, and prostate. Rural counties had higher death rates from lung, colorectal, prostate, and cervical cancers.

Continue reading

Google Searches Valuable Source of Cancer Incidence and Mortality Data

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mackenzie R. Wehner, MD, MPhil Department of Dermatology University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Weher

Mackenzie R. Wehner, MD, MPhil
Department of Dermatology
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

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

Response: For some diseases, we have national registries, in which information about every person with that disease is entered for research purposes. For other diseases, unfortunately, we do not have such registries. There are growing opportunities to use information like internet searches to better understand behaviors and diseases, however. Our study was a proof-of-concept: we aimed to find out whether internet searches for diseases correlated with known incidence (how many people are diagnosed with the disease) and mortality (how many people die of the disease) rates. E.g. does the number of people who searched ‘lung cancer’ online correlate with the number of people who we know were diagnosed with or who died of lung cancer during that same time period? This is important to know if researchers in the future want to use internet search data for diseases where we lack registry information.

Continue reading

Many Older Adults Welcome A Stop To Cancer Screenings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nancy Schoenborn, MD Assistant Professor Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Nancy Schoenborn, MD
Assistant Professor
Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: A lot of cancer screenings are not expected to save lives until up to 10 years later; however, the side effects of the test happen right away. Because of this, clinical guidelines have recommended against routine screening for those patients who will not live long enough to benefit but may experience the potential harm of the test in the short term. However, many patients with limited life expectancy still receive screening and clinicians are worried about how patients would react if they recommended that patients stop screening. This research is important because it is the first study that explores how patients think about the decision of stopping cancer screening and how patients want to talk to their doctors about this issue. Understanding patient perspectives would help improve screening practices and better align recommendations and patient preference.

Continue reading

Malignancies More Common In Men With BRCA Germline Mutations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Roy Mano, MD and
David Margel, MD, PhD
Department of Urology, Rabin Medical Center
Petach Tikva, Israel

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

Response: According to previous reports, male BRCA mutation carriers have a higher risk of developing malignancies of the prostate, pancreas, breast, colon and melanoma. While malignancy screening protocols for female BRCA carriers are well established and widely implemented, little is known about the optimal screening protocol for male BRCA carriers, and current screening protocols focus on malignancies of the breast and prostate rather than offer a comprehensive screening protocol for all BRCA associated malignancies.

Continue reading

CLL: Long-term efficacy of ONO/GS-4059 is maintained without emergence of new toxicities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Martin J.S. Dyer, D.Phil MA FRCP FRCPath Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute University of Leicester, UK

Prof. Dyer

Martin J.S. Dyer, D.Phil MA FRCP FRCPath
Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute
University of Leicester, UK

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

Response: This study follows on from a world-first clinical trial of a new drug to treat particular blood cancers. Results of that international clinical trial were published in the journal Blood in November 2015 and looked at the efficacy of a new inhibitor, ONO/GS-4059, in the treatment of CLL and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma patients, refractory or resistant to current chemotherapies.

ONO/GS-4059 targets BTK, a protein essential for the survival and proliferation of the tumour cells.

The study opened in January 2012 and 90 patients were enrolled in different centres in the UK and in France, with 28 coming from Leicester. Patients with CLL showed the best response and most of them were still on the study after 3 years, and remarkably without notable toxicities.

In the new paper, we are reporting the long-term follow-up results. This work, published in the journal Blood, was funded by the Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute, ONO Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Pharmaceuticals and the Cancer Research UK Leicester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre. Local charity Hope Against Cancer fund the Clinical Trials Facility based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

This current paper describes the long term follow up and shows that in patients with CLL the remissions are durable and associated with no new toxicities. Furthermore, in collaboration with Sistemas Genomicos, a company in Valencia, we have shown that mutations associated with aggressive disease respond well to treatment with ONO/GS-4059.

Continue reading

Granzyme B Probe Plus PET Scanning Helps Determine Response To Immunotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ben Larimer, PhD research fellow in lab of Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Ben Larimer

Ben Larimer, PhD research fellow in lab of
Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School

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

Response:
Although immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized cancer treatment, unfortunately they only work in a minority of patients. This means that most people who are put on a checkpoint inhibitor will not benefit but still have the increased risk of side effects. They also lose time they could have spent on other therapies. The ability to differentiate early in the course of treatment patients who are likely to benefit from immunotherapy from those who will not greatly improves individual patient care and helps accelerate the development of new therapies.

The main purpose of our study was to find a way to separate immunotherapy responders from non-responders at the earliest time point possible, and develop an imaging probe that would allow us to distinguish this non-invasively.

Granzyme B is a protein that immune cells use to actually kill their target. They keep it locked up in special compartments until they get the right signal to kill, after which they release it along with another protein called perforin that allows it to go inside of tumor cells and kill them. We designed a probe that only binds to granzyme B after it is released from immune cells, so that we could directly measure immune cell killing. We then attached it to a radioactive atom that quickly decays, so we could use PET scanning to noninvasively image the entire body to see where immune cells were actively releasing tumor-killing granzyme B.

We took genetically identical mice and gave them identical cancer and then treated every mouse with checkpoint inhibitors, which we knew would result in roughly half of the mice responding, but we wouldn’t know which ones until their tumors began to shrink. A little over a week after giving therapy to the mice, and before any of the tumors started to shrink, we injected our imaging probe and performed PET scans. When we looked at the mice by PET imaging, they fell into two groups. One group had high PET uptake, meaning high levels of granzyme B in the tumors, the other group had low levels of PET signal in the tumors. When we then followed out the two groups, all of the mice with high granzyme B PET uptake ended up responding to the therapy and their tumors subsequently disappeared, whereas those with low uptake had their tumors continue to grow.

We were very excited about this and so we expanded our collaboration with co-authors Keith Flaherty and Genevieve Boland to get patient samples from patients who were on checkpoint inhibitor therapy to see if the same pattern held true in humans. When we looked at the human melanoma tumor samples we saw the same pattern, high secreted granzyme levels in responders and much lower levels in non-responders.

Continue reading

New Breast Cancer Genes May Identify Women Who Can Benefit From Enhanced Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Fergus J. Couch, Ph.D. Zbigniew and Anna M. Scheller Professor of Medical Research Chair, Division of Experimental Pathology Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN 55905

Dr. Couch

Fergus J. Couch, Ph.D.
Zbigniew and Anna M. Scheller Professor  of Medical Research
Chair, Division of Experimental Pathology
Department of Laboratory Medicine  and Pathology
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN

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

Response: The main finding is that RAD51D, BARD1, and MSH6 can now be included in the list of moderate risk breast cancer genes. In contrast, other genes such as MRE11A and RAD50 do not increase risk of breast cancer. In addition, we provide initial estimates of the level of breast cancer risk associated with mutations in the genes that cause breast cancer. The “new” breast cancer genes may now be useful for identifying women who can benefit from enhanced screening. These new data will need to be considered by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) which provides guidelines for clinical management of individuals with mutations in cancer predisposition genes. These results will also be useful for identifying members of families who are at increased risk of breast cancer.

Continue reading

Sleep Difficulties Linked to Survival Among Women With Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald Ph.D. FRQS Postdoctoral research fellow & Clinical psychologist (OPQ) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Trudel-Fitzgerald

Claudia Trudel-Fitzgerald Ph.D. 
FRQS Postdoctoral research fellow & Clinical psychologist (OPQ)
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: There is very limited research on the association between sleep characteristics and survival among individuals with cancer. However, this is an important question, especially among breast cancer patients because sleep disturbances are frequently reported by these women. Preliminary studies have suggested that sleep duration is related to mortality. The novel findings of our research indicate that not only sleep duration, but also changes in sleep duration before versus after diagnosis, as well as regular difficulties to fall or stay asleep, may also be associated with mortality among women with breast cancer over a period of up to 30 years.

Continue reading

Suicide Risk Increased in Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Raffaella Calati, Psy.D., Ph.D. University of Montpellier INSERM U 1061: Neuropsychiatry: Epidemiological and Clinical Research Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Post Acute Care Lapeyronie Hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Montpellier, France

Dr. Calati

Raffaella Calati, Psy.D., Ph.D.
University of Montpellier
INSERM U 1061: Neuropsychiatry: Epidemiological and Clinical Research
Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Post Acute Care
Lapeyronie Hospital, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire
Montpellier, France

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

Response: A number of previous original studies investigated suicidal thoughts and behaviours in cancer patients, finding them to be higher than those in the general population. However, to our knowledge, we performed the first meta-analysis on this link, pooling all the published data to calculate the size of this increased risk.

Our main finding is an increased suicide risk in patients with cancer compared to individuals without it.

It should be underlined that the analyses presented are the first stage in our work, since at the moment we are analyzing a higher number of studies and we are planning to control for confounders, not considered in our first analyses. This means that the exact strength of this association will be more precisely known.

Continue reading

Newly Recognized Connection Between Immune System and Sperm Opens Window to Some Male Infertility and Cancer Vaccine Failures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kenneth S. K. Tung, M.D.
Professor of Pathology and Microbiology
Director of UVA Research Histology Core
Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research
University of Virginia

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

Response: The immune system needs to see tissue antigens to avoid responding to them in order to prevent autoimmune disease development. The current dogma, stated in all Immunology and Reproductive Biology textbooks, considers the sperm antigens in the testis to be exempted from this process. They are considered totally hidden behind a tissue barrier, and are invisible to the immune system.

Because sperm antigens are treated as foreign molecules, they should stimulate strong immune response when employed in cancer vaccines against antigens common to sperm and cancers. It is also believed that sperm molecules are protected by local factors that inhibit inflammation, whereas systemic mechanisms such as regulatory T cells would not exist.

The paradigm has restrained ongoing research on systemic tolerance to sperm, and the need to understanding systemic regulation in infertility research

Continue reading

Based on Genetic Profile, Longer Adjuvant Treatment Recommended for Some GIST Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Heikki Joensuu, MD

Department of Oncology
Helsinki University Hospital
University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland 

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

Response: The randomized Scandinavian Sarcoma Group (SSG) XVIII trial compared three years of adjuvant imatinib to one year of adjuvant imatinib as adjuvant treatments of patients who had undergone macroscopically complete surgery for a GIST with a high risk for tumor recurrence. In this trial, patients treated with 3 years of imatinib had improved overall survival as compared to those who were allocated to one year of adjuvant imatinib. In 2 other randomized trials that compared either 1 year of adjuvant imatinib to one year or placebo, or 2 years of adjuvant imatinib to observation, no improvement in overall survival was found, although in all three trials adjuvant imatinib improved recurrence-free survival (RFS). The reasons for the discrepant findings with respect of overall survival in the 3 trials have been unclear.

Continue reading

Racial Disparities in Genetic Testing of Women With Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cary P. Gross, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT

Dr. Cary Gross

Cary P. Gross, MD
Section of General Internal Medicine
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, CT

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

Response: Prior work has demonstrated racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.  As the oncology field has progressed over the past decade, the use of genetic testing to guide treatment decisions is one of the most exciting new developments.

Our team was concerned that these new gene tests, which can offer important benefits, may have the potential to exacerbate disparities further.  That is, if there is unequal access to gene testing among patients for whom it is recommended, then our progress against cancer will not be equitably shared among people of all races and ethnicities.

Continue reading

Gene “Decorations” Can Serve as Blood Biomarkers To Detect Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kun Zhang, PhD Professor UCSD Department of Bioengineering La Jolla, CA 92093-0412

Dr. Kun Zhang

Kun Zhang, PhD
Professor
UCSD Department of Bioengineering
La Jolla, CA 92093-0412

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

Response: We have been interested in a type of chemical modification on the DNA, called CpG methylation, for years. This is like a decoration of DNA molecules that is specific to the cell type or tissue type. We were particularly interested in studying how such decoration spread along the DNA molecules. In this study, we did a very comprehensive search of the entire human genome for various human cell types and tissue types, and found close to 150,000 regions (called MHB in this study) in which adjacent CpG share the same decoration. We then went on to find out how many of such regions are unique to each normal cell/tissue type, and how many are specific to cancers. Then we took some of these highly informative regions as “biomarkers”, and showed that we can detect the absence or presence of cancer, and, in the latter case, where the tumor grow, in a patient’s blood.

Continue reading

11 Cancer Types Have Strong Connection to Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Maria Kyrgiou MSc, PhD, MRCOG Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Gynaecologic Oncology IRDB - Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea-Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust

Dr. Kyrgiou

Dr Maria Kyrgiou MSc, PhD, MRCOG
Clinical Senior Lecturer & Consultant in Gynaecologic Oncology
IRDB – Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London
West London Gynaecological Cancer Centre, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea-Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Obesity has become a major public health challenge and it’s prevalence worldwide has more than doubled amongst women n the last four decadesExcess body weight has been associated with an increased risk of developing and dying from numerous cancers. Although the reported associations may be potentially causal, some of the associations may be flawed due to inherent study biases such as residual confounding and selective reporting of positive results.

We included 204 meta-analyses investigating associations between adiposity and the development or death from 36 primary cancers and their sub-types. Adiposity was associated with a higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, gastric cardia, colon and rectal cancer in men, biliary tract system, pancreatic, postmenopausal breast among HRT non-users, endometrial, ovarian, and kidney cancer and multiple myeloma.

Continue reading

Reduction in Radiation Has Reduced Second Tumors in Pediatric Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Assistant Professor Minneapolis, MN 55455

Dr. Lucie Turcotte

Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH
University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Assistant Professor
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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

Response: We have observed dramatic improvements in the number of survivors of childhood cancer over the last 60 years. As more children are surviving, we have identified many important late health consequences of cancer therapy. One of the most devastating of these late health consequences is the diagnosis of a second cancer. As we have identified late effects, such as second cancers, we have modified therapy in an effort to prevent long-term sequelae of therapy, while still maintaining superior survival rates.

For this study, we utilized data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), which is a cohort of more than 23,000 survivors of childhood cancer from multiple centers in North America, who were initially diagnosed between 1970 and 1999. Our analysis focused on elucidating whether survivors diagnosed more recently were experiencing fewer second cancers, and determining whether a reduction in second cancers could be associated with treatment modifications.

The most important finding from this study is that the reductions in therapeutic radiation exposure that occurred between 1970-1999 resulted in a significant reduction in the second cancers experienced by survivors of childhood cancer.

Continue reading

Long Telomeres May Be Good For Heart Disease, Bad For Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Philip C. Haycock, PhD MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit University of Bristol Bristol, England

Dr. Philip Haycock

Philip C. Haycock, PhD
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
University of Bristol
Bristol, England

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

Response: The direction and causal nature of the association of telomere length with risk of cancer and other diseases is uncertain. In a Mendelian randomization study of 83 non-communicable diseases, including 420,081 cases and 1,093,105 controls, we found that longer telomeres were associated with increased risk for several cancers but reduced risk for some other diseases, including cardiovascular diseases.

Continue reading

Cooling System Can Prevent Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US

Dr. Julie Nangia

Julie Rani Nangia, M.D.
Assistant Professor
Breast Center – Clinic
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

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

Response: This study was fueled by the feedback from women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. One of the most distressing side effects of their treatment is hair loss. It robs them of their anonymity and, for many, their femininity. Scalp cooling therapy has been available for a few years in the UK, but has faced obstacles in FDA clearance in the states. The makers of the scalp cooling device used in this study, Paxman Coolers Ltd., have a personal connection to breast cancer, as the company founder’s wife passed away from the disease.

This was the first randomized scalp cooling study, and it shows that the Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System is an effective therapy for reducing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. The results show a 50% increase in hair preservation of grade 0 or 1, meaning use of a scarf or wig is not necessary, in patients who received the scalp cooling therapy as opposed to those who did not.

Continue reading

New ‘Blood Biopsies’ with Experimental Device to Speed Cancer Diagnosis and Predict Disease Spread

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Edwin Posadas, MD, FACP, KM Director, Translational Oncology Program Medical Director, Urologic Oncology Program Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute

Dr. Edwin Posadas

Edwin Posadas, MD, FACP, KM
Director, Translational Oncology Program
Medical Director, Urologic Oncology Program
Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Clinical Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Cedars-Sinai

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings of your work so far?

Response: The technology we are using is called a NanoVelcro assay. This is a nanotechnology that can be used to isolate rare cells and cell-like particles in the blood stream. We have focused the use of the NanoVelcro on isolating circulating tumor cells (or CTCs). This technology is about 10 times more sensitive than that currently used in clinics. More importantly, because of some modification in our approach, we can now not only capture CTCs, but also examine them under the microscope and even analyze them using advanced molecular techniques. In this way, we take a classic and modern approach to our work.

We firmly believe that there is much to be learned by studying the shapes of these CTCs. We in the cancer field have long known that shape and cellular function are intimately related. In fact, a young pathologist in our group readily recognized that patients with the most aggressive cancers had CTCs with small nuclei, which we verified in a larger study. We are now exploring the importance of these shape variations in CTCs by coupling this classic microscopy-driven approach with RNA characterizations, giving us insight into the molecular nature of the CTC. My collaborator, UCLA Professor Hsian-Rong Tseng, PhD, is a brilliant engineer who has found ways of altering the system to allow us to capture and release live cells for analysis. By using this system, we believe that one day we may be able to avoid performing invasive tissue biopsies to study a cancer.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Anti-Cancer Agent May Have Simultaneous Regenerative Properties

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lawrence Lum, Ph.D. Associate Professor Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Lum

Lawrence Lum, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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

Response: Scarring of the adult heart due to excessive fibrotic responses is common after a heart attack, or following radiation therapy for the treatment of certain cancers. We have identified an anti-cancer agent currently in clinical development called WNT-974 that decreases fibrotic responses and improves heart function following myocardial infarction in mice. This unexpected observation was the outcome of a study focused on identifying unwanted adult tissue toxicities associated with this class of chemicals.

Continue reading

Does IVF Raise Risk of Malignancies in Offspring?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tamar Wainstock, PhD

Department of Public Health; Faculty of Health Sciences
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
ISRAEL

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

Response: There is a controversy in the medical literature regarding the possible association between infertility or infertility treatments, and the long-term offspring neoplasm risk: while some studies have found such an association, others have not.
Since the number of offspring conceived following treatments are growing, and as they age, it is critical to clarify this possible association.

Continue reading

New Oncoprotein Offers Potential Therapeutic Target

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Hua Lu MS PhD Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Reynolds and Ryan Families Chair in Translation Cancer Tulane Cancer Center Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

Dr. Hua Lu

Dr. Hua Lu MS PhD
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Reynolds and Ryan Families Chair in Translation Cancer
Tulane Cancer Center
Tulane University School of Medicine
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

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

Response: It has been well appreciated and acknowledged that p53 is the most important tumor suppressor in human body. However, approximately 50% of human cancers still sustain the wild type form of its gene, and also oddly, some cancers, such as breast cancer, which contain wild type p53, are often less sensitive to chemotherapy than those harbor mutated p53. Although a number of oncoproteins, including MDM2 and MDMX (MDM4), have been shown to be highly expressed and to inactivate p53 in those wild type p53-containing cancers, more molecules need to be discovered to keep p53 in control in order to let cancer cells to proliferate and growth.

Our study as described in our recent publication in Nature Communications unveils a new p53 target gene that encodes pleckstrin homology domain-containing protein (PHLDB3) as another p53 inhibitor in a negative feedback fashion. Interestingly and mechanistically, PHLDB3 can work with MDM2 by boosting its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity, consequently leading to degradation of p53. Biologically, PHLDB3 can promote cancer cell proliferation and growth in culture and in xenograft tumor models by in part inactivating p53 activity. More interestingly, PHLDB3 is highly amplified and expressed in a number of human cancers, such as pancreatic, prostate, colon and breast cancers. High expression of PHLDB3 is well correlated with the wild type status of p53 in certain portion of breast cancer. These findings uncover PHLDB3 as another oncoprotein that can promote cancer growth by partially inactivate p53, and thus might serve as a potential target for future development of anti-cancer therapy. Our study also suggests that PHLDB3 has a p53-independent function important for cancer growth.

Continue reading

Cancer Killed While Preserving A Kidney Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kenar D. Jhaveri, MD Professor of Medicine Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, 100 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021

Dr. Kenar Jhaveri,

Kenar D. Jhaveri, MD
Professor of Medicine
Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine,
100 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021

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

Response: The immune check point inhibitors are novel anti cancer agents being used rapidly in various cancers. Many cancers don’t allow our natural immune system to attack the cancer. These immunotherapy agents “activate” the immune system to attack the cancer. These agents have been reported to cause multiple end organ side effects as noted by this recent NYT article. We also recently reported the known renal effects of immunotherapy.

In the kidney transplant patient who is on immunosuppressive agents, the physicians need to keep the immune system suppressed to preserve the kidney. When one of these agents are used for a cancer in a kidney transplant patient, prior reports have suggested severe rejection episodes and loss of the transplanted kidney. Our case in the NEJM is the first report of a preventive strategy used to allow for simultaneous treatment of cancer and preventive rejection of the kidney. We used a regimen of steroids and sirolimus( an anti-proliferative agent that is used to treat cancer and also is an immunosuppresant) along with the immunotherapy. The cancer started regressing and the kidney did not reject.

Continue reading

DNA Methylation Allows Head and Neck Tumors To Be SubClassified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacek Majewski PhD Associate Professor Department of Human Genetics McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre Montreal, Canada

Dr. Jacek Majewski

Jacek Majewski PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Human Genetics
McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre
Montreal, Canada 

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

Response: Our lab, in collaboration with Dr. Nada Jabado, has been investigating the molecular genetics of pediatric glioblastoma – a deadly brain cancer. Several years ago, in the majority of our patients’ tumors we discovered mutations in genes that encode histone proteins. Those mutations disrupt the epigenome – that is the way the DNA is modified, silenced, or activated in the cancer cells. It appears that epigenome-modifying mutations are particularly important in pediatric cancers, and our hypothesis is that they act by diverting the normal developmental pathways into unrestrained proliferation. Many other studies have highlighted the significance of epigenome disruption in a number of cancers.

Continue reading

Cancer Deaths Drop 25% in Less Than 25 Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rebecca Siegel, MPH Strategic Director, Surveillance Information Services American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303

Rebecca Siegel

Rebecca Siegel, MPH
Strategic Director, Surveillance Information Services
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the bottom line for incidence and mortality trends?

Response: The bottom line for cancer mortality is that in contrast to many other major causes of death, cancer death rates continue to decline, dropping by 25% from 1991 to 2014. This translates to about 2 million fewer cancer deaths over this time period than would be expected if cancer death rates had remained at their peak. Death rates are the best measure of progress against disease.

Cancer incidence rates also dropped in men over the past decade of data, whereas in women they are flat. The drop in men is because of large declines for the top 3 cancers (prostate, lung, and colorectum), which account for more than 40% of cancers diagnosed in men. The stable trend in women is largely because declines in lung and colorectal cancers are offset by a flat trend for both breast and uterine corpus (i.e., endometrial) cancers, which combined account for almost 40% of cases in women, as well as rapid increases for thyroid cancer over the past decade — increasing by almost 5% annually. Importantly, thyroid incidence rates have stabilized in the past few data years because of modifications in diagnostic criteria.

Continue reading

Bisphosphonates For Bone Metastases May Be Given Less Frequently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charles L. Shapiro, MD Professor of Medicine Co-Director of Dubin Breast Center Director of Translational Breast Cancer Research Director of Cancer Survivorship, Tisch Cancer Institute Mount Sinai Health System Division of Hematology / Medical Oncology: Tisch Cancer Institute New York, NY 10029

Dr. Charles Shapiro

Charles L. Shapiro, MD
Professor of Medicine
Co-Director of Dubin Breast Center
Director of Translational Breast Cancer Research
Director of Cancer Survivorship, Tisch Cancer Institute
Mount Sinai Health System
Division of Hematology / Medical Oncology: Tisch Cancer Institute
New York, NY 10029

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

Response: Metastases to bone are frequent in many cancers and cause pain, pathological fractures, necessitate surgical and/or radiation treatments, cause spinal chord compression that can lead to paralysis, and significantly increase health care costs.

Zoledronic acid, a bisphosphonate that inhibits bone resorption, is used in standard practice because it reduces the risks skeletal-related events including cancer-related pathological fractures, the need for surgery and/or radiation to bone metastases, and spinal chord compression in patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma.

However, the optimal dosing interval for zoledronic acid is unknown and based on prior studies and empiricism it is administered monthly along with anti-cancer treatments.

In this trial, over 1800 breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma patients with bone metastases were randomized to the standard dosing interval of monthly zoledronic acid versus every 3-months zoledronic acid for a duration of two years.

The results overall, and in each specific disease site, show that giving zoledronic acid once every 3-months as opposed to monthly did not result in any increase in skeletal-related
events.

Continue reading

Molecular Imaging as a Clinical Tool for Precision Oncology

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

David A Mankoff, MD, PhD

Dr. David Mankoff

David A Mankoff, MD, PhD
Gerd Muehllehner Professor of Radiology
Attending Physician
University of Pennsylvania Health System
PET Center Director
Vice-Chair of Research, Department of Radiology
University of Pennsylvania

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

Response: This review was designed to describe the current status of molecular imaging, especially positron emission tomography (PET) as a clinical tool for helping to direct precision oncology.

We found that while there had been a number of promising methods tested in small, single research studies, the number of new molecular imaging tests translated to the clinic was small. In addition, the application of molecular methods as tools for therapeutic decision making (versus use for disease detections and staging) was even smaller. We noted that some recently published studies, including a few large multi-center trials, indicated the considerable potential of new molecular imaging tests to identify therapeutic targets for cancer treatment, to evaluate early response to targeted cancer therapy, and to predict downstream outcomes such as progression free survival. We made some observations and recommendations in the review for directing these potentially powerful imaging tools towards use as biomarkers for precision oncology.

Continue reading

Vaccine Nanodiscs Can Trigger More Cancer Fighting Immune Cells

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James Moon, PhD John Gideon Searle Assistant Professor University of Michigan Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Biointerfaces Institute Ann Arbor, MI, 48109

Dr. James Moon

James Moon, PhD
John Gideon Searle Assistant Professor
University of Michigan
Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering
Biointerfaces Institute
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109

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

Response: The field of cancer immunotherapy has recently made a breakthrough with the clinical success of immune checkpoint inhibitors, which work by removing the brakes on immunosuppressed T-cells. However, these approaches generally work by augmenting pre-existing T-cell immunity and benefit only a subset of patients. In addition, because the majority of somatic mutations in cancer cells are unique to each patient, cancer immunotherapy may benefit from a personalized approach.

Continue reading

Epidemiology and Outcomes of Angiosarcoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adj Assoc Prof Richard Quek Deputy Head and Senior Consultant Program Director, Medical Oncology Residency Division of Medical Oncology National Cancer Centre Singapore

Prof Richard Quek

Adj Assoc Prof Richard Quek
Deputy Head and Senior Consultant
Program Director, Medical Oncology Residency
Division of Medical Oncology
National Cancer Centre Singapore

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

Response: Angiosarcoma is an uncommon form of aggressive soft tissue sarcoma (STS). It comprises of 2 distinct subgroups of patients: one originating from the skin – typically scalp, seen predominantly in elderly patients while the second subgroup affects younger patients and tends to originate from visceral organs including the liver and breasts. Angiosarcoma may also develop as a complication of prior radiation treatment. Prognosis in patient is poor, with survival generally less than 1 year in those with advanced or unresectable disease. Optimal treatment remains unclear; most published series on angiosarcoma tends to be small singlecenter studies.

In our previous Asian STAR study evaluating epidemiology, treatment patterns and outcomes in Asian patients diagnosed with STS [J Clin Oncol 33, 2015 (suppl; abstract 10549)], we found that angiosarcoma represented 7% of the cohort, a proportion higher than what we would have expected from published series coming out of the west and hence our interest in this subject.

Continue reading

AI plus Genetic Database Drives Personalized Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Kai Wang Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California Institute for Genomic Medicine, Columbia University

Dr. Kai Wang

Dr. Kai Wang
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute, University of Southern California
Institute for Genomic Medicine, Columbia University

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

Response: Cancer is a genetic disease caused by a small number of “driver mutations” in the cancer genome that drive disease initiation and progression. To understand such mechanism, there are increasing community efforts in interrogating cancer genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes by high-throughput technologies, generating huge amounts of data. For example, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project has already made public 2.5 petabytes of data describing tumor and normal tissues from more than 11,000 patients. We were interested in using such publicly available genomics data to predict cancer driver genes/variants for individual patients, and design an “electronic brain” called iCAGES that learns from such information to provide personalized cancer diagnosis and treatment.

iCAGES is composed of three consecutive layers, to infer driver variants, driver genes and drug treatment, respectively. Unlike most other existing tools that infer driver genes from a cohort of patients with similar cancer, iCAGES attempts to predict drivers for individual patient based on his/her genomic profile.

What we have found is that iCAGES outperforms other tools in identifying driver variants and driver genes for individual patients. More importantly, a retrospective analysis on TCGA data shows that iCAGES predicts whether patients respond to drug treatment and predicts long-term survival. For example, we analyzed two groups of patients and found that using iCAGES recommend drugs can increase patients’ survival probability by 66%. These results suggest that whole-genome information, together with transcriptome and proteome information, may benefit patients in getting optimal and precise treatment. Continue reading