Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA / 08.09.2016 Interview with: Conny Vrieling, M.D., Ph.D. Radiation Oncologist Clinique des Grangettes Geneva What is the background for this study? Response: In the early ’90s, the EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer) ran the “boost no-boost” trial, randomizing 5569 early-stage breast cancer patients, treated with breast-conserving surgery and whole-breast irradiation, between no boost and a 16-Gy boost. A third of the patients were included in a central pathology review. The 10-year follow-up results of this subpopulation showed that young age and high-grade invasive carcinoma were the most important risk factors for ipsilateral breast tumor recurrence (IBTR). In this study, we re-analyzed with long-term follow-up the pathological prognostic factors related to IBTR, with a special focus on the evolution of these effects over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Heart Disease, Pediatrics / 06.09.2016 Interview with: Steven E. Lipshultz, MD, FAAP, FAHA Schotanus Family Endowed Chair of Pediatrics / Carman and Ann Adams Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research / Professor, Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics / Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Oncology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Molecular Biology/Genetics, Family Medicine/Public Health Sciences, & Pharmacology /Professor in the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics Wayne State University School of Medicine President, University Pediatricians & Interim Director, Children’s Research Center of Michigan Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children’s Hospital of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Surviving childhood cancer has dramatically and increasing improved to the point where more than 80% will achieve a 5-year event free survival. Many of these survivors look forward to decades of active productive life. More than half of these survivors have been treated with therapies know to be associated with late cardiotoxicity that can be pervasive, persistent, and progressive and associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In this article we review both the course and prevention of this cardiotoxicity. We focus in part on anthracycline chemotherapy that is widely used and known to be cardiotoxicity. We further review studies we and others have conducted to examine the effectiveness of dexrazoxane, an iron chelator, that when given before each anthracycline dose results in anthracycline cardioprotection for long term survivors. In some reported studies this has allowed for higher cumulative anthracycline doses to be safely given. In other cases this has allowed for simultaneously being able to safely treat children with malignancies that would be refractory to conventional therapy more potent therapies that would normally have additive cardiotoxicity. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer / 04.09.2016 Interview with:  

Ilaria Stura PhD

Università degli Studi di Torino Turin, Piedmont, Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Man has always tried to predict the future, especially to prevent catastrophes, diseases and death. In this case, we want to prevent the ‘personal catastrophe’, i.e. the spread of the disease (recurrence of prostate cancer) in the patient. Our work therefore belongs to the so-called ‘personalized medicine’, a very important and innovative clinical approach.

In particular this study may potentially improve the quality of life of the patients and help the clinicians, since it could give valuable information to the urologist, for example reporting that the growth velocity of the tumor is increasing and that a relapse is expected within few months. With this information, the clinician could chose the best therapy for the patient (e.g. hormone or radio therapy) in order to stop the spread of the disease or, conversely, the use of drugs can be delayed if not necessary. Obviously clinicians already try to do this, based on their experience, but our method provides further confidence in their 'investigation' work, since the algorithm is validated on data coming from a database much larger than his/her personal experience. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Technology / 04.09.2016 Interview with: Adam G Alani, PhD Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences College of Pharmacy Oregon State University-Oregon Health & Science University Affiliate Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University Oregon State University-Portland Campus at OHSU Portland Oregon What is the background for this study? Response: Current chemotherapeutic regimens while effective are difficult for patients and affect their quality of life. Our research tackles this issue by designing a nanotherapy that can deliver multiple chemotherapeutic agents by targeting the entire tumor microenvironment and not just the cancer cells and by reducing drug resistance. This, then is intended to simplify the treatment regimen, reduce drug related side effects and extends the life of the drugs by preventing resistance should the patient need it in the future. Thus, the ultimate underlying goal is to improve the patient’s quality of life by not just maximizing the drug’s efficacy but also trying to decrease its impact on the overall lifestyle of the individual. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Karolinski Institute / 02.09.2016 Interview with: Qing Shen, PhD student Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet What is the background for this study? Response: Injury, either iatrogenic (for example, complications from medical procedures and drug treatment) or non-iatrogenic (for instance, suicidal behavior and accidents), is one of the leading causes of non-cancer mortality for patients diagnosed with cancer. Iatrogenic injuries are common in those with cancer and have been shown to increase mortality in some cancer patients. Increased risks of suicide and accidental death after diagnosis have been reported, and the diagnostic process of cancer has been recognized highly stressful. It is, however, unknown whether the risk of injuries is also increased during the time period before receiving the diagnosis. Actually confirming a diagnosis can often be difficult due to patients sometimes concealing information. This is why Motivational Interviewing is important. Anyway, we analysed the risks of injuries during the weeks before and after diagnosis using a nationwide study sample in Sweden. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cocaine / 01.09.2016 Interview with: Dr Stefania Fasano Cardiff University What is the background for this study? Response: Exposure to drugs of abuse such as cocaine produces intense and long-lasting memories that are critical in the transition from recreational drug-taking to uncontrolled drug use. In the brain, addictive drugs usurp cellular circuits and signalling molecules involved in normal memory processes; hence, these drug-related memories resist extinction and contribute to high rates of relapse. Despite almost five decades of experimental research, there are currently no approved medications for cocaine dependence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Lancet / 29.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Manel Esteller Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program (PEBC) Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) occurs when the patient is diagnosed with a metastasis but the primary tumor is not found. It accounts for around 5-10% of tumors around the world and the survival is very poor. Until now, only in 25% of cases the primary site was identified after diagnosis pipeline. We are showing herein that the use of epigenetic profiling, based in the determination of the chemical marks occurring in DNA that are tumor-type specific, reaches a diagnoses of 87% of cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy / 26.08.2016 Interview with: Dr Charles Akle, Chairman and Linda Summerton, CEO Immodulon Therapeutics Short Hills, NJ 07078 and London, UKDr Charles Akle, Chairman and Dr. Linda Summerton, CEO Immodulon Therapeutics Short Hills, NJ 07078 and London, UK What is the background for Immodulon? Would you tell us a little about Dr. Charles Akle? Response: Immodulon was established in November 2007. The founder and Chairman, Dr Charles Akle, was a Harley Street surgeon and pioneer of keyhole surgery who established Immodulon with the financial support of a former patient. His interest in immunology led him to the potential of cancer immunotherapy long before the term “immuno-oncology” was coined and when skepticism, rather than optimism was the norm. His ambition from the start was to develop an affordable immunotherapy treatment that would transform the way that cancer is treated in the world today. Since then, Immodulon has become a leading, independent biopharmaceutical company with one of the longest running research projects into how to harness the power of the immune system in treating cancer. It also has its own R&D and manufacturing capability in Lyon, France. The wider Immodulon senior team has extensive experience of bringing drugs to market and includes Dr James Shannon and Dr Jean Pierre Bizzari. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, JAMA / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Leni van Doorn, MSc Department of Medical Oncology Erasmus MC Cancer Institute Rotterdam, the Netherlands What is the background for this study? Response: The common cancer treatment capecitabine, a regular treatment for patients mostly diagnosed with breast-, colon- or gastic cancer, induces hand foot syndrome (HFS). HFS is a cutaneous condition that may lead to red palms and blisters in approximately 50% to 60% of the patients and is believed to result in the loss of fingerprints. This fingerprint loss has been described sporadically in the literature. The main aim of our prospective study was to have a closer look of the association between  hand foot syndrome and the loss of fingerprints. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Weight Research / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Beatrice Lauby-Secretan, PhD IARC – Section IMO (International Agency for Research on Cancer) Lyon, France What is the background for this study? Response: The IARC Handbook of Cancer Prevention Series perform systematic reviews and evaluations of the cancer-preventive effects of interventions and strategies. The summary article published today presents the conclusions of a Working Group of experts who examined and assessed the currently available literature on the link between overweight/obesity and cancer. Thus this is not a single study, but the report on more than 1000 individual studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Genetic Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, MD Anderson / 18.08.2016 Interview with: Y. Nancy You, MD, MHSc Associate Professor Section of Colorectal Surgery Department of Surgical Oncology Medical Director Familial High-risk Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinic University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite the progress in the treatment of many cancers, colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the third most common and lethal cancer in the US. Over 130,000 people are expected to be diagnosed and over 50,000 patients will die from CRC this year. In the recent years, the most exciting development has been our understanding of the molecular complexity of CRC. Currently, four major molecular subtypes of colorectal cancer are recognized. Our study focuses on the Consensus Molecular Subtype 1, which accounts for up to 15% of CRCs, and is characterized by a deficiency in DNA mismatch repair (dMMR), a high level of mutations (i.e. hypermutated), by instability in parts of the genome called microsatellites, and by strong immune activation. Prior to our study, patients with rectal cancer that belong to this molecular subtype have represented an unknown, in terms of their prognosis, and how the tumors respond to current treatments. More importantly, this molecular subtype harbor a genetic condition that can be transmitted within the family called “Lynch Syndrome”. So we designed our study to fill these gaps in our understanding that exist in this subtype of CRCs and to highlight key clinical care issues related to the caring for patients with a genetic syndrome. The main findings are that rectal cancers belonging to this molecular subtype have favorable prognosis, respond well to standard chemoradiation, and are linked to Lynch Syndrome and should be treated at centers with expertise in hereditary cancer syndromes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care / 08.08.2016 Interview with: Sarah C. Markt, ScD, MPH Research Associate Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health | Department of Epidemiology Boston, MA 02115 What is the background for this study? Response: Age is associated with insurance status, with the greatest proportion of uninsured between the ages of 20 to 34 years. For testicular cancer this is important because the median age of diagnosis is 33 years and the majority of the cases are diagnosed between then ages of 20 and 44 years. Previous studies have shown that people with cancer who are uninsured are more likely to present with worse disease, less likely to receive treatment, and are more likely to die of their disease, compared with those who have private insurance. Furthermore, the associations between Medicaid coverage and cancer outcomes have been conflicting. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Radiology, Thyroid / 22.07.2016 Interview with: Megan Haymart, M.D. Assistant Professor Institute for HealthCare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over the past three decades the incidence of thyroid cancer has risen. The majority of this rise in incidence is secondary to an increase in low-risk disease. In the setting of this rise in low-risk thyroid cancer, our team noted that over time there was a dramatic rise in imaging after initial treatment for thyroid cancer. We subsequently wanted to understand the implications of this increase in imaging. Does more imaging equal improved outcomes? In this study published in BMJ, we found that this marked rise in imaging after primary treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer was associated with increased treatment for recurrence but with the exception of radioiodine scans in presumed iodine-avid disease, no clear improvement in disease specific survival. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research / 22.07.2016 Interview with: Dr. Hunter R. Underhill MD, PhD Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Radiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah Department of Radiology and Department of Neurological Surgery University of Washington Seattle, Washington What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: When cells undergo cell death (i.e., apoptosis) the DNA has the potential to enter the circulation. This DNA is not contained within a cellular membrane and is known as "cell-free DNA." This is a naturally occurring process. The same process also occurs when malignant tumors grow and evolve. The deposition of cell-free DNA derived from tumors is known as "circulating tumor DNA." Analysis of circulating tumor DNA holds the promise of detecting, diagnosing, and monitoring response to therapy of cancers through a simple blood draw - the "liquid biopsy." The challenge has been isolation of circulating tumor DNA from the background of the naturally occurring cell-free DNA. This has been particularly difficult in non-metastatic solid tumors as circulating tumor DNA has been heretofore indistinguishable from normal cell-free DNA except for the occurrence of mutant alleles that commonly occur at a frequency below detection limits - the proverbial needle in a haystack. Our study found a distinct size difference in DNA fragment length between circulating tumor DNA and cell-free DNA. Specifically, circulating tumor DNA is about 20-50 base pairs shorter than cell-free DNA originating from healthy cells. We were subsequently able to exploit this difference in size to enrich for circulating tumor DNA - essentially removing a large portion of the haystack that does not contain the needle to simplify the search. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, End of Life Care, JAMA / 16.07.2016 Interview with: Robert Gramling, MD, DSc Division of Palliative Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington Department of Family Medicine Burlington Vermont School of Nursing and Department of Public Health Sciences Center for Communication and Disparities Research, Department of Family Medicine, and Division of Palliative Care, Center for Community Health, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York What should readers take away from your report? Response: Patients with advanced cancer often misunderstand their doctor's expectations about the length of life they have remaining and this misunderstanding is relevant to their preferences for sharing in treatment decisions at end of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Diabetes / 13.07.2016 Interview with: Iliana Lega, MD, FRCPC Assistant Professor Department of Medicine and a Clinician Scientist University of Toronto What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Diabetes and cancer share a variety of risk factors that predispose individuals to both conditions. However the exact mechanism of this relationship is unclear. Our study examined differences in cancer diagnosis at different time points around a diagnosis of diabetes. We found two interesting trends. First, people with diabetes have the highest risk for cancer in the first 3 months following a diagnosis of diabetes. Second, we found that people with diabetes are also more likely to have had cancer even prior to being diagnosed with diabetes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Stem Cells / 11.07.2016 Interview with: Cédric Blanpain, MD, PhD Professor of Stem Cell and Developmental Biology WELBIO, Interdisciplinary Research Institute (IRIBHM) Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) Belgium What is the background for this study? Response: Many cancers arise from tissues maintained by stem and progenitor cells that ultimately give rise to non-dividing terminally differentiated cells. However, little is known about the contribution of stem cells and progenitors to cancer initiation. During tumor initiation, cells targeted by oncogenic mutations undergo a series of molecular changes leading to their clonal expansion and the acquisition of invasive properties. How exactly oncogenic mutations impact on the rate of stem cell and progenitor division, and change the proportion of divisions that result in symmetric and asymmetric cell fate, allowing clonal expansion and tumor progression is poorly understood. In this new study, we define for the first time the clonal dynamics that lead to skin cancer initiation using the basal cell carcinoma, the most frequent tumor in humans, as a model. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, UCLA / 11.07.2016 Interview with: Karim Chamie MD, MSHS Department of Urology Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center David Geffen School of Medicine University of California at Los Angeles Los Angeles, California What is the background for this study? Response: With improved cancer outcomes, there are 14 million cancer survivors alive in the United States in 2012. That number is expected to increase to nearly 20 million by 2024. With such a large population, many of these cancer survivors are at risk for developing a second primary malignancy. Multiple primary cancers now account for approximately 17% of all incident cancers reported each year in the United States. Cancer survivors may be especially susceptible to developing second primary malignancies due to a variety of unique factors, including genetic syndromes, common etiologic exposures, and the late effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Given the longer duration of cancer survivorship and the substantial proportion of survivors at risk for developing second primary malignancies, the incidence and mortality from second primary malignancies are likely to increase. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, CDC, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 09.07.2016 Interview with: Laura J. Viens, MD Division of cancer prevention and control CDC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We analyzed the most recent available data from 2008–2012 from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program for HPV-associated cancers.
  • These data cover 99% of the US population.
  • These data represent the official federal statistics on cancer incidence (new cases).
  • Every year between 2008 and 2012, about 39,000 men and women were diagnosed with cancers associated with HPV, an overall increase when compared with the 33,000 cancers associated with HPV between 2004 and 2008.
  • 23,000 (13.5 per 100,000 population) among females and 15,793 (9.7 per 100,000 population) among males.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, JAMA / 04.07.2016 Interview with: Aditya Bardia, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Harvard Medical School Boston, MA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While endocrine therapy is the recommended therapy for Estrogen Receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, the role of endocrine therapy in neoadjuvant (pre-surgical) setting is unclear. We performed this systematic review and meta-analysis to comprehensively evaluate the efficacy of neoadjuvant endocrine therapy, both alone and in combination with other therapies, compared to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for localized ER+ breast cancer. We found no statistically significant differences between the two treatments in regards to clinical response, imaging response, rates of breast conservation therapy, and achievement of pathologic complete response. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Pharmacology / 04.07.2016 Interview with: Dr Wai Liu Senior Research Fellow St George's University of London London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Naltrexone is a drug commonly used to wean addicts off alcohol and heroin, but clinical evidence has shown that when the drug is used at lower doses, patients would exhibit alter immunity. The symptoms that patients with a number of autoimmune diseases and those associated with chronic pain would ease significantly. Additionally, a number of reports showed patients with some forms of cancer would experience therapeutic benefit. Interestingly, the doses of the drug was crucial, and the non-conventional effects of naltrexone was only achieved at doses that were lower that what was conventionally used. We set about to understand why a drug could have such different effects when used at differing doses. Our results show that the genetic profile of the drug is subtly different at the two different doses, which helped us identify novel ways in which the drug could be used to induce an anticancer effect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Nutrition / 23.06.2016 Interview with: Lindsay Kohler MPH Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Tucson, Arizona What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several studies have reported that following health promotion guidelines for diet, physical activity, and maintenance of a healthy body weight may reduce the risk of getting cancer or dying from cancer. We performed a systematic review to examine the associations between established cancer prevention guidelines for diet and physical activity and cancer outcomes. We found that adhering to cancer prevention guidelines set forth by the American Cancer Society or the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research consistently reduced the risk of overall cancer incidence and mortality (10-61%) in the studies included in this review. In addition, higher adherence to the guidelines consistently reduced the risk of breast, colorectal, and endometrial cancers. Adherence to a pattern of healthy behaviors may significantly reduce cancer incidence and mortality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Nature / 23.06.2016 Interview with: Dr Stéphanie Kermorgant PhD Barts Cancer Institute Queen Mary University of London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is an urgent need to better understand how cancer spreads around the body (a process called metastasis). Often it is metastasis that kills cancer patients and not the primary tumour. During metastasis, cancer cells detach from the primary tumour and are able to survive detached, allowing them to enter in blood vessels and colonize different parts of the body. Integrins and growth factor receptors are two classes of cell surface molecules that have been known to cooperate to promote cancer metastasis. However how they communicate is poorly understood. They have mostly been shown to exert their function at the surface of the cells. Our study reveals that one growth factor receptor, called c-Met, and one integrin, beta1-integrin, in fact communicate inside the cancer cell to increase its survival when detached. Moreover, this communication occurs in an anusual place in the cell, that we have called “Autophagy Related Endomembrane” (ARE). Autophagy is normally a process that degrades and recycles cellular material, making new building blocks for the cell. Our study reveals that intracellular structures related to the autophagy process can also help membrane receptors to communicate. Thus they may also function as “signalling platforms”. One other key finding in this study is that integrins normally have been recognized to function as “adhesion molecules”, connecting the cells to their surrounding environment, the “extracellular matrix”. Their role in metastasis has been mostly linked to their adhesive function. Our exciting study reveals a new function of integrins, a “signalling function”, which is independent from their adhesion function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Nature, University Texas, Weight Research / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Mikhail Kolonin, PhD, Associate Professor Director, Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Distinguished University Chair in Metabolic Disease Research The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston, TX 77030 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Epidemiology studies have indicated that in obese patients progression of prostate, breast, colorectal, and other cancers is more aggressive. Adipose (fat) tissue, expanding and undergoing inflammation in obesity, directly fuels tumor growth. Adipose tissue is composed by adipocytes and stromal/vascular cells, which secrete tumor-trophic factors. Previous studies by our group have demonstrated that adipose stromal cells, which support blood vessels and serve as adipocyte progenitors, are recruited by tumors and contribute to cancer progression. Mechanisms underlying stromal cell trafficking from fat tissue to tumors have remained obscure. We discovered that in obesity a chemokine CXCL1, expressed by cancer cells, attracts adipose stromal cells to tumors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy / 15.06.2016 Interview with: Professor Frances Balkwill OBE, FMedSci Lead, Centre for Cancer and Inflammation Barts Cancer Institute Queen Mary University of London London What is the background for this study? Prof. Balkwill: We wanted to find out if chemotherapy altered patients immune system especially the immune cells that co-exist with cancer cells in tumors. We studied women with ovarian cancer who often receive chemotherapy after diagnosis but before surgery. This meant, at least in some of them, we could study a biopsy taken before treatment began and also a biopsy taken during the operation. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Immunotherapy / 08.06.2016 Interview with: Dr. Arjun Balar MD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Co-Leader Genitourinary Cancers Program NYU Langone Medical Center Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center What is the background for this study? Dr. Balar: Standard treatment for advanced urothelial cancer includes cisplatin chemotherapy. But more than half of patients are not expected to tolerate it well and alternative treatment is inferior to cisplatin. The average survival for these patients is in the range of 9-10 months with carboplatin-based treatment, which is the most commonly used alternative to cisplatin. Atezolizumab is a PD-L1 blocking antibody that reactivates the body¹s immune system to fight bladder cancer and has been recently FDA approved in the management of advanced urothelial cancer in the second-line setting after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Pediatrics / 06.06.2016 Interview with: Katie Greenzang, MD Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Greenzang: Advances made over the last several decades mean that more than 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer will become long-term survivors. However, many of these survivors experience physical and cognitive late effects of the treatment that cured them. We surveyed 352 parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer to assess how well they understood their children’s risk of future limitations in physical abilities, intelligence, and quality of life. We found that an overwhelming majority of parents (92 percent) are very interested in learning about possible late effects, and most (86 percent) seek detailed information. Yet, parent and physician predictions of a child’s risk of experiencing late effects of treatment often don’t match. Among children identified by their oncologists as being at high risk for such challenges, only 38 percent of parents recognized this risk in physical abilities, 21 percent in intelligence, and 5 percent in quality of life. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research / 06.06.2016 Interview with: Gregory Idos MD Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90033 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Idos: Identifying individuals at increased risk for hereditary cancer prompts enhanced cancer surveillance as early detection mitigates disease specific morbidity and mortality. This justifies germ line genetic testing for specific cancer risk alleles. In recent years, the field of cancer genetics has moved from a gene by gene sequencing approach to now having the ability to examine multiple genes concurrently. Multiplex gene panel (MGP) testing allows simultaneous analysis of multiple high- and moderate- penetrance genes. As a result, more pathogenic mutations and variants of uncertain significance (VUS) are discovered. MGP tests are increasingly being used by cancer genetic clinics, but questions remain about the clinical utility and complexities of these tests. We are conducting a multi center prospective trial to measure the added yield of detecting pathogenic mutations using the MGP approach. In our interim analysis of the first 1000 participants, we found that multiplex gene panel testing increased the yield of detection of pathogenic mutations by 26%. In some cases, we found patient’s who had a mutation in the BRCA gene, but their family history did not indicate a history of breast or ovarian cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Kaiser Permanente, Pediatrics / 03.06.2016 Interview with: Andrea C. Wickremasinghe, MD Neonatologist Kaiser Santa Clara California What is the background for this study? Response: Neonatal jaundice is common and is often treated with phototherapy. Phototherapy is typically considered to be benign. In the past decade, phototherapy use has increased and it is sometimes started at bilirubin levels below recommended treatment thresholds. Beginning in the 1970’s, in-vitro and in-vivo studies have shown phototherapy to be associated with cellular changes implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer. Epidemiologic studies have yielded mixed results, with some studies showing associations between phototherapy and leukemia and other studies failing to show this association. In this study, we used a large statewide administrative dataset to investigate the relationship between neonatal phototherapy and cancer in the first year after birth. (more…)