Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Weight Research / 24.01.2019 Interview with: Brian R. Lane MD PhD Division of Urology Spectrum Health Grand Rapids, Michigan Can you explain how you conducted your study, and what the main findings were? Response:  We used large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genetic variants associated with obesity measures, blood pressure, lipids, type 2 diabetes, insulin, and glucose. these genetic variants were used as proxies for the above-mentioned risk factors and evaluated in relation to renal cell carcinoma risk (kidney cancer) using GWAS data from 10,000 RCC patients and 20,000 control participants. -          Based on these genetic data, we found that multiple measures of obesity, as well as diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and fasting insulin, are associated with renal cell carcinoma risk. In contrast, we found little evidence for an association with RCC risk for systolic blood pressure (SBP), circulating lipids, overall diabetes, or fasting glucose.  (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Imperial College, Kidney Disease / 20.08.2018 Interview with: Dr. David C. Muller PhD Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health Research Fellow in Epidemiology and Biostatistics Imperial College, London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our colleagues in the U.S. have been working on KIM-1 for years, particularly in the context of chronic kidney disease. Recently they found that KIM-1 is also elevated at the time of diagnosis of kidney cancer. We wanted to see if KIM-1 concentrations could predict the chances of a future diagnosis of kidney cancer. We found that KIM-1 was a strong predictor of being diagnosis with kidney cancer in the next 5 years. We also found that higher pre-diagnostic KIM-1 was associated with worse survival after diagnosis.  (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 16.02.2018 Interview with: Prof. Michael B. Atkins, MD Deputy Director, Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center William M. Scholl Professor and Vice-Chair Department of Oncology and Professor of Medicine Georgetown University Medical Center What is the background for this study? Response: Prior studies combining programmed death-1 (PD-1) checkpoint inhibitors with tyrosine kinase inhibitors of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-pathway have been characterized by excess toxicity precluding further development. We hypothesized that axitinib, a more selective VEGF inhibitor would combine safely with pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1) and yield antitumour activity in treatment-naïve patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, Kidney Disease, UT Southwestern / 01.01.2018 Interview with: Kevin D. Courtney, M.D., Ph.D.  Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common form of kidney cancer. Metastatic ccRCC does not respond to traditional chemotherapy. Current standard treatments for metastatic ccRCC include drugs called vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGFR TKIs) that block the growth of new blood vessels that feed the cancer, as well as drugs that inhibit an enzyme called mTOR that is involved in ccRCC growth and immune therapies that rev up the body’s immune response to try to fight the cancer. Each of these treatments can have significant side effects for patients that can make them difficult to tolerate. Metastatic ccRCC is largely incurable, and we need novel and better-tolerated treatments. A central driver of ccRCC is a protein called hypoxia inducible factor 2alpha (HIF-2alpha). This protein has been very difficult to try to target with a drug. This study is the first to test a drug that targets HIF-2alpha in patients with metastatic ccRCC. The study results showed that the HIF-2alpha inhibitor, PT2385 (Peloton Therapeutics) was active in fighting metastatic ccRCC and was well-tolerated. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Urology / 10.05.2016 Interview with: Hiten D. Patel, MD, MPH Resident, Urological Surgery James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Baltimore, Maryland 21287 What is the background for this study? Dr. Patel: The study reports results of a systematic review contracted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality based on input from stakeholders. Part of the motivation was due to the American Urological Association's desire to use the results as a basis to update relevant clinical guidelines. There are four major management options for clinically localized small renal masses diagnosed on imaging including active surveillance, thermal ablation, partial nephrectomy, and radical nephrectomy. The body of research evaluating these management options is broad, but many of the studies performing comparative analyses have limitations. Therefore, the systematic review aimed to evaluate a number of outcomes (e.g. overall survival, cancer specific survival, local recurrence, metastasis, renal function, complications, and perioperative outcomes) based on available comparative studies in the literature. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, MD Anderson, Weight Research / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Xifeng Wu, MD PhD Department Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Director, Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics Professor, Department of Epidemiology Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wu: Obesity is a well-established risk factor for renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer. It has been estimated that more than 40% of RCC incident cases in the US may be attributed to excessive body weight. Growing body of evidence suggests that obesity may also influence clinical outcome of RCC; however, the findings are sometimes conflicting. So far, the molecular mechanism linking obesity to RCC risk or prognosis is not well understood. In this study, we evaluated the promoter CpG site methylation of 20 candidate obesity-related genes and their association with RCC risk and recurrence in a two-phase study of 240 newly diagnosed, previously untreated RCC patients. Pyrosequencing was conducted on paired RCC tumor and normal adjacent tissues to measure promoter methylation. Among the 20 markers, we found NPY, LEP and LEPR showed significant differential methylation levels between tumors and normal adjacent tissues, and methylation was significantly higher in tumors in both discovery and validation groups. Consistent with our findings, we also found lower expression of LEPR in tumor tissues compared to normal adjacent tissues in data obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Additionally, high LEPR methylation in tumors was associated with more advanced tumor features, such as high pathologic stage, high grade and clear cell RCC histology, and increased risk of recurrence compared to the low methylation group. These results suggest that tissue changes in promoter methylation in obesity-related genes may provide some biological basis for the association between obesity and RCC outcome, and that LEPR may be an independent prognostic indicator of recurrence in RCC patients. Further research in larger study population and functional studies are warranted to validate our findings and to elucidate the underlying causal mechanisms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, NYU, Surgical Research / 03.06.2015

Wiliam C. Huang, MD FACSAssociate Professor of Urology Division of Urologic Oncology NYU Langone Medical Center/Perlmutter Cancer Interview with: Wiliam C. Huang, MD FACS Associate Professor of Urology Division of Urologic Oncology NYU Langone Medical Center/Perlmutter Cancer Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Huang: The presentation of kidney cancers has dramatically evolved over the past two decades with most kidney cancers being incidentally diagnosed at an early stage. We have begun to recognize that at this small size (< 4 cm), the tumors are frequently indolent in nature and some are completely benign. Consequently, the management options for these small cancers have expanded and evolved.  Whereas the entire removal of the kidney was the treatment of choice in the past, alternative options including removal or ablation of the tumor-bearing portion of the kidney has become increasingly utilized. Similar to other early stage cancers, watchful waiting or observation is also becoming a reasonable treatment option. We used the most recent SEER-Medicare Data (2001 – 2009) to evaluate the management trends and outcomes of small kidney cancers in the new millennium.  We believe that this is an important study as it provides important and practical findings, which are useful to both clinical researches as well as practicing physicians. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic / 27.06.2014 Interview with: Dr. John A. Copland, PhD Associate Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Professor of Cancer Biology Cancer Basic Science Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Copland: In our study we identified a pro-cancerous role for a novel protein- neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2). This protein, normally found expressed in brain and nervous system tissues, is highly overexpressed in kidney tumors at all stages of disease. It has never previously been associated with kidney cancer, nor has it been associated with an oncogenic function in any other cancer. NPTX2 appears to play a significant role in not only tumor cell survival, but it also promotes tumor cell migration through activation of the ionotropic glutamate receptor 4 (GluR4). GluR4, also commonly associated with nervous system tissues, appears to be manipulating the flow of calcium into the tumor cell. Both NPTX2 and GluR4 are not components of normal kidney cell function. Because calcium is an important co-factor for many signaling pathways controlling cell growth, survival, and mobility, unconstrained calcium levels in a cell can promote malignancy. We show that calcium calmodulin kinase and AKT, two oncogenic signaling pathways are activated by NPTX2 via calcium influx. (more…)
Cancer Research, Diabetes / 20.05.2014 Interview with: Sarah P. Psutka, MD Fellow in Urologic Oncology Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of each study?  Dr. Psutka: In this study we identified all diabetic patients with localized clear cell renal cell carcinomas who were surgically treated between 1990 and 2008 in our institution and matched them with nondiabetic patients. Our main findings were that, after controlling for major confounders such as age, sex, type of surgery, renal function, smoking status, performance status, and tumor grade and stage, diabetic patients had inferior overall survival than nondiabetic patients. Furthermore, among patients with clear cell carcinoma, diabetic patients also had shorter cancer-specific survival, suggesting that diabetes is a poor prognostic factor for patients with surgically treated renal cell carcinoma. (more…)