Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 26.09.2017 Interview with: Dr. Shuang George Zhao, MD House Officer, Radiation Oncology University Hospital Ann Arbor, MI 48109 What is the background for this study? Response: Targeting cancer through the immune system has been a longstanding goal of cancer research, and with recent advances in immunotherapy, it is now a reality. However, the role of immunotherapy in prostate cancer is still being defined. Sipuleucel-T was the first FDA approved immunotherapy in prostate cancer, and is a personalized cellular therapy that has been shown to prolong survival in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. On the other hand, two recent phase III randomized trials looking at ipilimumab, a CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor in metastatic prostate cancer have both been negative for their primary endpoint of OS. Interestingly, there was a PSA response, suggesting that there may be some therapeutic effect in a subset of patients. Therefore, understanding the immune infiltrate is likely critical to selecting patients and therapeutic strategies utilizing the immune system. Unfortunately, it is difficult and laborious to histologically assess immune infiltrate directly. Therefore, we used existing high throughput transcriptomic data with new computational methods in order to more fully characterize the immune landscape of localized prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, Prostate Cancer / 13.07.2017 Interview with: Dr. Timothy Wilt, MD MPH Core Investigator: Minneapolis VA Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research Staff Physician: Section of General Internal Medicine, Minneapolis VA Health Care System Professor: Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer is common and potentially serious. However, the comparative benefits and harms of surgery versus observation in men with localized prostate cancer are not known. After nearly 20 years, surgery did not significantly reduce all-cause or prostate cancer mortality compared to observation, particularly in men with low risk disease. Surgery was associated with more harms than observation, causing complications within 30 days in about 20% of men and large long term increases in urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction, as well as treatment related bother and reductions in daily functioning. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Weight Research / 11.07.2017 Interview with: Aurora Perez-Cornago, PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Greater height and adiposity have been suggested as possible prostate cancer risk factors, but these associations are not clear, probably because most previous studies have not looked separately at different tumour subtypes. For this reason, we wanted to look at these associations splitting tumours into subtypes according to tumour stage and histological grade, looking as well at death from prostate cancer. We found a marked difference in risks looking at low and high risk tumours. Taller men and men with greater adiposity had an elevated of high-grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 06.07.2017 Interview with: Dr. Norman Lee PhD Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology School of Medicine and Health Sciences George Washington University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are health disparities when it comes to prostate cancer. The African American population, in general, has a higher prostate cancer incidence and mortality rate compared to other racial groups such as European Americans. A major reason for this disparity is due to socioeconomic factors such as access to health care. There are also biological influences for the disparities, such as specific gene mutations and genetic polymorphisms that are found at a higher incidence in the African American population. My lab has been studying other potential contributing biological factors in prostate cancer disparities; namely, RNA splicing. RNA splicing is a cellular program that increases the diversity of expressed proteins by regulating which exons are included in an mRNA transcript, leading to mRNA variants encoding slightly different proteins (or isoforms) in different cells, organs, and individuals. One can think of RNA splicing as a form of genetic diversity. What we have found is that the repertoire of mRNA variants can differ in prostate cancer between African and European Americans. We also find that the mRNA variants in African American prostate cancer encode signal transduction proteins that are more oncogenic and resistant to targeted therapies, compared to the variants found in European American prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Prostate Cancer / 19.06.2017 Interview with: Dr. Susanne Lütje Ärztlicher Dienst Universitätsklinikum Essen (AöR) Klinik für Nuklearmedizin Essen Germany What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer in men and accounts for a significant amount of morbidity and mortality. At present, the curative treatment option of choice for localized stages of PCa is radical prostatectomy, which may include extended lymph node dissection. Unfortunately, surgical procedures can be accompanied by complications such as urinary incontinence. Most importantly, small tumor deposits may not be seen by the surgeon during surgery and could ultimately lead to disease recurrence. To overcome these issues, new and innovative treatments are needed. The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a surface protein that is overexpressed in prostate cancer and can be used as a target to guide new therapies. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an ablative procedure in which tumor cells can be destroyed effectively by irradiation of light of a specific wavelength, which activates previously administered photosensitizers. The photosensitizers can respond by emitting fluorescence or emitting oxygen radicals which can cause cellular damage. Coupling the photosensitizer to an agent that targets PSMA on the tumor surface offers the possibility to selectively and effectively destroy prostate tumor remnants and micrometastases, while surrounding healthy tissues remain unaffected. In our study, the PSMA targeting antibody D2B was coupled to the photosensitizer IRDye700DX and radiolabeled with 111In. In a mouse model, this multi-modality agent was used to preoperatively visualize tumor lesions with SPECT/CT to allow rough localization of the tumors. During surgery, the fluorescent signal originating from the photosensitizer facilitates visualization of tumors and residual tumor tissue, so the surgeon can be guided towards accurate resection of the entire tumors and metastases. In addition, the PSMA-targeted PDT can be applied to destroy small tumor deposits in cases where close proximity of the tumors. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer / 15.06.2017 Interview with: Dr. Yong-Jie Lu MBBS, MD, PhD Reader in Medical Oncology Centre for Molecular Oncology Barts Cancer Institute - a CR-UK Centre of Excellence Queen Mary University of London John Vane Science Centre, Charterhouse Square London What is the background for this study? Response: Identifying/monitoring the occurrence of metastasis and the prediction of the length that a patient may survive with a prostate cancer is critical for doctors to select the proper treatment, aiming to achieve the best control of the cancer with a balance of quality of life. Currently this is achieved mainly by analysing the cancer tissues acquired through very invasive procedures or by expensive imaging techniques, most of which expose the patient to toxic radioactive materials. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs), which play a key role in the metastasis process, have been shown for their potential to be used for cancer prognosis by a simple blood sample analysis. However, previous CTC studies mainly detect the epithelial type of CTCs. Using the ParsortixTM (ANGLE plc) cell-size and deformability based CTC isolation system, we analysed not only epithelial CTCs, but also CTCs with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a cellular process associated with cancer invasion and metastasis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, MRI, Prostate, Prostate Cancer / 21.05.2017 Interview with: Vikas Gulani, MD, PhD Director, MRI, UH Cleveland Medical Center Associate Professor, Radiology, CWRU School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We wanted to learn if performing MR before prostate biopsy, followed by MR guided strategies for biopsy, are cost effective for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men who have not previously undergone a biopsy and who have a suspicion of prostate cancer. The most significant findings are as follows: We found that all three MR guided strategies for lesion targeting (cognitive targeting, MR-ultrasound fusion targeting, and in-gantry targeting) are cost effective, as the increase in net health benefits as measured by addition of quality adjusted life years (QALY), outweigh the additional costs according to commonly accepted willingness to pay thresholds in the United States. Cognitive targeting was the most cost effective. In-gantry biopsy added the most health benefit, and this additional benefit was cost-effective as well. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer / 19.05.2017 Interview with: Bela S. Denes, MD, FACS Senior Director Medical Affairs UROLOGY Genomic Health Inc. Redwood City, CA. 94063 What is the background for this study? Response: This is a prospective community based non-interventional study designed to provide information on the utility of Oncotype GPS in the management of men presenting with a new diagnosis of clinically localized low risk prostate cancer. We sought to understand the impact of incorporating a molecular marker into the shared treatment decision in practices already well versed in Active Surveillance (AS) as measured by persistence on surveillance at 2 years as well as a number of patient reported outcomes. The current publication reports on the results of a one year pre-specified interim analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Urology / 17.05.2017 Interview with: Keyan Salari, MD, PhD Resident in Urologic Surgery Keyan Salari is currently completing his residency in the Harvard Program in Urologic Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and is conducting post-doctoral research in cancer genomics in the Garraway Lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT What is the background for this study? Response: Active surveillance is an effective strategy addressing the problem of over treatment of clinically indolent prostate cancer, but data on the role of active surveillance in younger men is limited. Younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer are typically counseled to undergo treatment as opposed to surveillance of their prostate cancer. To potentially expand the role of active surveillance to younger patient populations, we undertook this study evaluating the outcomes of younger men under 60 years of age who elected to pursue active surveillance of their prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Prostate Cancer, Urology / 17.05.2017 Interview with: Eric A. Klein, MD Chairman, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute Cleveland Clinic Which of these results did you find most interesting or surprising? Response: What’s most interesting is that the IsoPSA assay redefines how PSA is measured, which links it more closely to the underlying biology of cancer. Current assays measure only the concentration of PSA, which can be affected by conditions other than cancer – BPH most commonly, but also infection and inflammation – which limits its diagnostic accuracy for finding cancer. Its been known for several decades that PSA exists in multiple different forms in the bloodstream in patients with prostate cancer. These novel molecules arise because cancer cells have deranged cellular metabolism that result in the generation of new species of PSA, making their measurement more tightly linked to the presence or absence of cancer and even the presence of high grade cancer (where cellular metabolism is even more disordered). The IsoPSA assay is the first assay to measure all of these isoforms and thus has better diagnostic accuracy for cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, UCSF / 24.04.2017 Interview with: Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., M.A.S. Lee Goldman, MD, endowed chair in medicine and professor of medicine and of epidemiology and biostatistics University of California, San Francisco Chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers to affect men, and the Task Force believes all men should be aware of the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer screening with PSA testing can help men reduce their chance of dying of prostate cancer or of having metastatic cancer. These are important benefits but occur in a small number of men. There are risks associated with screening, specifically overdiagnosis and overtreatment with surgery and radiation that can have important side effects like impotence and incontinence. Since the release of our 2012 recommendation, new evidence has emerged that increased the Task Force’s confidence in the benefits of screening, which include reducing the risk of metastatic cancer (a cancer that spreads) and reducing the chance of dying from prostate cancer. This draft recommendation also reflects new evidence on the use of active surveillance in men with low-risk prostate cancers that may help mitigate some of the harms in these men by allowing some men with low risk cancer to delay or avoid surgery or radiation. Therefore, in our new 2017 draft recommendation, the Task Force encourages men ages 55 to 69 to make an individual decision about whether to be screened after a conversation with their clinician about the potential benefits and harms. For men age 70 years and older, the potential benefits do not outweigh the harms, and these men should not be screened for prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer / 04.04.2017 Interview with Dr. Alice Levine MD Professor, Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease Associate Professsor ,Oncological Sciences Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai What is the background for this study? Response: Prostate cancer (PCa) bone metastases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality. This cancer is unique in its tendency to produce osteoblastic (OB) bone metastases, which affects 90% of men with PCa bone metastases, compared to others that produce osteolytic bone metastases. Currently, there are no existing therapies that specifically target the OB phase and no effective therapies for PCa bone metastases that prolong survival. We have identified a secretory protein that promotes the development PCa osteoblastic bone metastases, Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP). Prostatic epithelial cells produce PAP. The physiologic function of PAP is unknown. It was the first human tumor marker ever described. Patients with PCa bone metastases demonstrated high levels of PAP. PAP is expressed by PCa cells in OB metastases and increases OB growth, differentiation, and bone mineralization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Journal Clinical Oncology, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 16.03.2017 Interview with: Charles N Catton, MD, FRCPC Cancer Clinical Research Unit (CCRU) Princess Margaret Cancer Centre UHN What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prostate cancer is a very common malignancy which is frequently treated with external beam radiotherapy. A typical standard treatment course can extend over 7.5-8.5 weeks. The introduction of high-precision radiotherapy treatment techniques provided the opportunity to compress treatment courses by delivering fewer, but more intensive daily treatments. The concerns with giving fewer and larger daily treatments (hypofractionation) is that toxicity may increase and that cancer control may become worse. This international randomized trial enrolled 1206 men with intermediate risk prostate cancer and compared a standard 8 week course of external beam radiation treatment with a novel hypofractionated treatment course that was given over 4 weeks. Cancer control as measured by PSA control and clinical evidence of failure, bowel and bladder toxicity and quality of life were compared. At a median follow-up of 6 years the hypofractionated regimen was found to be non-inferior to the standard regimen for cancer control. There was no difference early or late bladder toxicity between the two treatments. There was slightly worse early bowel toxicity during and immediately after treatment with the hypofractionated regimen, but there was actually slightly less long-term bowel toxicity with this same regimen. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Boehringer Ingelheim, Journal Clinical Oncology, NYU, Prostate Cancer, Testosterone / 16.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Stacy Loeb MD Msc Assistant Professor of Urology and Population Health New York University Langone Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The association between exposure to testosterone replacement therapy and prostate cancer risk is controversial. The purpose of our study was to examine this issue using national registries from Sweden, with complete records on prescription medications and prostate cancer diagnoses. Overall, we found no association between testosterone use and overall prostate cancer risk. There was an early increase in favorable cancers which is likely due to a detection bias, but long-term users actually had a significantly reduced risk of aggressive disease. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, Pharmacology, Prostate Cancer, University of Michigan / 03.03.2017 Interview with: Megan Elizabeth Veresh Caram MD Clinical Lecturer Internal Medicine, Hematology & Oncology University of Michigan What is the background for this study? Response: Abiraterone and enzalutamide are oral medications that were approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 2011 and 2012 to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Most men with advanced prostate cancer are over age 65 and thus eligible for Medicare Part D. We conducted a study to better understand the early dissemination of these drugs across the United States using national Medicare Part D and Dartmouth Atlas data. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Daniel A. Hamstra, MD PhD Radiation Oncologist Beaumont Hospital Dearborn Michigan What is the background for the The SpaceOAR phase 3 trial study and the hydrogel spacer? Response: External beam radiation therapy is commonly used to treat men with prostate cancer. As part of this treatment, side effects can occur involving bowel, urinary, and sexual symptoms. This study was performed to test if an absorbable hydrogel placed between the prostate and rectum (using a simple outpatient procedure) could move the rectum away from the prostate and thus result in sparing of the rectum and decreased bowel toxicity. The study randomized 222 men and the three-year data were just published (The International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics). With three years of follow-up, we saw that the spacer did improve the radiation plans and decreased both rectal toxicity and urinary toxicity. (more…)
ASCO, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Endocrinology, Journal Clinical Oncology, Prostate Cancer, Testosterone / 27.02.2017 Interview with: Farzin Khosrow-Khavar, M.Sc. Ph.D. Candidate Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University Center for Clinical Epidemiology - Jewish General Hospital Montreal, QC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown an association between androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, these studies had methodological limitations that may account for this positive association. Using appropriate study design and methodology, we found no association between androgen deprivation therapy and risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) in patients with prostate cancer. These results were consistent by cumulative duration of androgen deprivation therapy use and by ADT modality. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, PLoS, Prostate Cancer / 23.02.2017 Interview with: G. Andrés Cisneros, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Chemistry Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling, University of North Texas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The accurate maintenance of DNA is crucial, if DNA damage is not addressed it can lead to various diseases including cancer. Therefore, the question arises about what happens if enzymes in charge of DNA repair are themselves mutated. We previously developed a method to perform targeted searches for cancer-related SNPs on genes of interest called HyDn-SNP-S. This method was applied to find prostate-cancer SNPs on DNA dealkylases in the ALKB family of enzymes. Our results uncovered a particular mutation on ALKBH7, R191Q, that is significantly associated with prostate cancer. Subsequent computer simulations and experiments indicate that this cancer mutation results in a decreased ability of ALKBH7 to bind its co-factor, thus impeding its ability to perform its native function. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 20.02.2017 Interview with: Neeraj Agarwal, MD Associate Professor, Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine University of Utah School of Medicine What is the background for this study? Response: Biomarkers predicting response to cancer therapy help guide physicians personalize medicine. Significant advances have been made in the development of therapeutic biomarkers in various malignancies, but not in prostate cancer. Dr. Nima Sharifi’s group at the Cleveland Clinic recently discovered that a germline inherited polymorphic variant (1245A→C) in the HSD3B1 gene correlates with shorter duration of response to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in hormone sensitive prostate cancer (HSPC). HSD3B1 gene encodes the enzyme 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 (3βHSD1), which catalyzes adrenal androgen precursors into dihydrotestosterone, the most potent androgen. The authors found that the variant allele of HSD3B1 led to decreased progression-free survival in a dose-dependent manner in post-prostatectomy biochemical recurrence and metastatic HSPC (mHSPC). These results needed external validation before application in the clinic. In our study, we sought to provide the first independent validation of these results in patients with mHSPC. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Urology / 19.02.2017 Interview with: Yoshifumi Kadono, MD. PhD. Department of Integrative Cancer Therapy and Urology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: I had experienced some patients who underwent radical prostatectomy (RP) complained penile shortening after RP. Once I checked that kind of reports, some reports mentioned the phenomenon of penile shortening (PS) after radical prostatectomy; however, the results were little bit different and the reasons of PS after RP were not well elucidated. Therefore, we started our study to obtain our data. In our study, the penile length (PL) was measured before, 10 days after, and at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months after RP. And the PL at 10 days after RP was shortest, and it gradually recovered thereafter. Penile length at 12 months after radical prostatectomy was not significantly different from preoperative penile length. Based on MRI investigation, slight vertical repositioning of the membranous urethra after radical prostatectomy caused chronological changes in penile length. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Pharmacology, Prostate Cancer / 19.02.2017 Interview with: Teemu J Murtola, MD, PhD, adjunct professor University of Tampere, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences Tampere University Hospital, Department of Urology Tampere, Finland What is the background for this study? Response: A previous study called Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) showed that finasteride, which belongs to a drug group called 5alpha-reductase inhibitors lowers serum PSA and increases sensitivity of PSA to detect high-grade prostate cancer in men who had little or no symptoms of the lower urinary tract. We postulated that this effect would increase the accuracy and benefits of PSA-based prostate cancer screening. Finnish Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer was a large trial of over 80,000 men randomized either to be screened for prostate cancer with a PSA test at 4-year intervals or to be followed for prostate cancer incidence and mortality via national registries. Three consecutive screening rounds were commenced between 1996-2008. In the current study we compared the effects of PSA-based screening on prostate cancer risk and mortality separately among men who were using 5alpha-reductase inhibitors finasteride or dutasteride and among men who were not. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, Personalized Medicine, Prostate Cancer / 17.02.2017 Interview with: Dr. John L. Gore, MD Associate Professor Adjunct Associate Professor-Surgery Department of Urology University of Washington What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The rationale for our study derives from the uncertainty that both patients and clinicians confront when trying to make decisions about adjuvant therapy for prostate cancers found to have aggressive pathologic features at the time of radical prostatectomy. There is level 1 evidence in support of adjuvant radiation therapy in this setting, but several factors restrain providers from recommending adjuvant radiation. We found that interjecting a genomic test that predicts the risk of clinical metastases 5 years after surgery impacts the treatment recommended and helps men and clinicians feel more confident in the decision they are making or recommending. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Prostate Cancer / 20.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Nina Klemann MD, PhD-student Copenhagen Prostate Cancer Center Copenhagen What is the background for this study? Response: For 30 years, ultrasound-guided biopsies of the prostate have been used in the evaluation of men suspected for prostate cancer. The biopsy needles are employed systematically into the prostate at different sites where prostate cancer is typically present. However, it has been recognized for years, that there is a risk of not hitting the cancer areas, simply by chance. Although cancer diagnosis may be missed in the initial biopsy set by sampling error, it has been a continuous debate whether lethal prostate cancer is missed. Today, we know that prostate cancer is a common finding in men age 50-80, but that the life-time risk of prostate cancer death in this age-group is low. Consequently, we know that there is a considerable risk of diagnosing, and ultimately treating, a disease that will never result in symptoms or death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 13.01.2017 Interview with: Trevor Royce MD MS Resident, Harvard Radiation Oncology Program What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clinical trials in early prostate cancer take more than a decade to report on. Multiple early reporting endpoints have been proposed, but which one is best, remains unknown, until now. Of all the possible early endpoints examined, to date, how low a PSA blood test falls to, after treatment with radiation and hormonal therapy, appears to be the best, specifically, if the PSA doesn’t get below half a point, that patient is very likely to die of prostate cancer if given standard treatment for recurrence. Those men deserve prompt enrollment on clinical trials in order to properly save their life. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Prostate Cancer / 13.01.2017 Interview with: Karsten Juhl Jørgensen, MD, Dr. MedSci The Nordic Cochrane Centre Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our systematic Cochrane review of the original randomised breast screening trials showed substantial conflict between their estimates of the benefit. Some trials showed a large benefit, others none or a small benefit. This difference was related to the design of the trials. The most optimistic trials were those with suboptimal randomisation. The main findings of our current study support those of the most rigorously performed randomised trials: breast screening does not fulfill its fundamental premise, which is to reduce the occurrence of late stage disease. This means a mortality reduction is unlikely and that use of less invasive surgery due to breast screening is also unlikely. However, we did find very substantial increases in early stage breast cancer, which persisted over our 17 year observation period. This means that breast screening likely leads to substantial overdiagnosis of breast cancers that would otherwise not have caused health problems during a woman’s lifetime. We estimate that 1 in 3 breast cancers detected in a screened population is likely overdiagnosed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Prostate Cancer / 10.01.2017 Interview with: Tudor Borza, MD, MS Urologic Oncology and Health Service Research Fellow Department of Urology, University of Michigan What is the background for this study? Response: Starting in the late 2000’s studies began to identify overdiagnosis and overtreatment in men with prostate cancer. Because of the indolent nature of some prostate cancers many men who ended up diagnosed and treated would have never had any consequences from their prostate cancer. This led national organizations (like the American Urological Association and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network) to call for decreased prostate cancer screening (using the serum PSA test) and eventually led to the US Preventive Services Task Force to recommend against routine PSA screening, citing that the harms from diagnosis and treatment outweighed the harms from the disease. Over the same specialists treating the disease began to report on the safety of surveillance strategies in select men with prostate cancer. Watchful waiting (delaying any treatment until men become symptomatic from their cancer and then offering palliative treatment) was found to be comparable to initial treatment in men with a limited life expectance, either from advanced age or multiple comorbidities. Similarly, active surveillance (a technique employing intense monitoring with PSA testing, digital rectal exams, repeat biopsies and possible use of MRI or other biomarkers) was introduced with the goal of delaying treatment in some men with low risk cancer until the cancer becomes more aggressive and was shown to have similar outcomes to initial treatment in carefully selected men. We wanted to study the trends in initial prostate cancer treatment in this context of recommendations for decreased screening and recognition of the feasibility of surveillance in certain patients with prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Rebecca Siegel, MPH Strategic Director, Surveillance Information Services American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Prostate Cancer / 03.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Jim C. Hu MD MPH Professor of Urology Weill Cornell Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The most significant finding from our population based study is that after years of decline following the introduction of PSA screening, we see a rise in the incidence of metastatic prostate cancer at diagnosis among men aged 75 years and older. This is concerning in light of recent criticisms and guidelines against PSA testing. For instance, in 2008, the US Preventative Services Task Force recommended against PSA testing in this age group, and in our study, we see the incidence of metastasis at diagnosis rising in 2012 and 2013. This is significant because there is no cure for men with metastatic prostate cancer of their disease. The traditional argument against PSA screening is that it leads to over-diagnosis and over-treatment of prostate cancer. However, we currently do not have a better test for diagnosing prostate cancers before it has spread beyond the prostate and metastasized. Remarkably, when Ben Stiller shared his personal use of PSA testing in his mid to late 40's and how this led to a detection of intermediate risk prostate cancer that led him to surgery and cure, others criticized him for sharing his story. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Prostate Cancer / 22.12.2016 Interview with: Prof Mark Emberton UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The key driver was a desire to come up with a treatment for men with localised prostate cancer that was better tolerated that the traditional options. The intervention is a combination of padeliporphin, a short acting photosensitiser which was developed by Drs Shertz and Salomon at the Weismann Institute. This is activated by a laser inserted into the prostate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, Prostate Cancer / 03.11.2016 Interview with: Lauren P. Wallner, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor, Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Michigan Adjunct Investigator Kaiser Permanente Southern California North Campus Research Complex Ann Arbor, MI What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors (5ARIs) are often used for the management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men. Two prior clinical trials found 5ARIs also reduced the risk of prostate cancer, but there was an increase in more aggressive (Gleason 7-10) cancers among the men who were diagnosed. Thus, concerns over whether 5ARIs may increase the risk of prostate cancer death have limited their use in the prevention of prostate cancer, which remains controversial. To address the safety of 5ARIs for the primary prevention of prostate cancer, we conducted a large population-based study of over 200,000 men in community practice settings of over a 19 year observation period to assess whether 5ARI use (as compared to alpha-blocker use) was associated with prostate cancer mortality. Our results suggest that 5ARI use was not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer mortality when compared to alpha-blocker use. (more…)