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Journal of the National Cancer Institute

JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute - RSS feed of current issue
Background:

We examined the impact of palliative care (PC) on aggressiveness of end-of-life care for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Measures of aggressive care included chemotherapy within 14 days of death; and at least one intensive care unit (ICU) admission, more than one emergency department (ED) visit, and more than one hospitalization, all within 30 days of death.

Methods:

A retrospective population-based cohort study using administrative data was conducted in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer from 2005 to 2010 in Ontario, Canada. Multivariable logistic regression was performed with the above measures of aggressive care as the outcomes of interest and PC as the main exposure, adjusting for covariables. Secondary analyses examined intensity of PC as the main exposure defined in two ways: 1) absolute number of PC visits before the outcome of interest (0, 1, 2, 3+ visits) and 2) monthly rate of PC visits.

Results:

The cohort included 5381 patients (median survival 75 days); 2816 (52.3%) had received a PC consultation. PC consultation was associated with decreased use of chemotherapy near death (odds ratio [OR] = 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.25 to 0.46); lower risk of ICU admission: OR = 0.12, 95% CI = 0.08 to 0.18; multiple ED visits: OR = 0.19, 95% CI = 0.16 to 0.23; multiple hospitalizations near death: OR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.31). A per-unit increase in the monthly rate of PC visits was associated with lower odds of aggressive care for all four outcomes.

Conclusion:

PC consultation and a higher intensity of PC were associated with less aggressive care near death in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.





Background:

Hospital-level measures of patient satisfaction and quality are now reported publically by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There are limited metrics specific to cancer patients. We examined whether publically reported hospital satisfaction and quality data were associated with surgical oncologic outcomes.

Methods:

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was utilized to identify patients with solid tumors who underwent surgical resection in 2009 and 2010. The hospitals were linked to Hospital Compare, which collects data on patient satisfaction, perioperative quality, and 30-day mortality for medical conditions (pneumonia, myocardial infarction [MI], and congestive heart failure [CHF]). The risk-adjusted hospital-level rates of morbidity and mortality were calculated for each hospital and the means compared between the highest and lowest performing hospital quartiles and reported as absolute reduction in risk (ARR), the difference in risk of the outcome between the two groups. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

A total of 63197 patients treated at 448 hospitals were identified. For patients at high vs low performing hospitals based on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores, the ARR in perioperative morbidity was 3.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.4% to 5.7%, P = .02). Similarly, the ARR for mortality based on the same measure was -0.4% (95% CI = -1.5% to 0.6%, P = .40). High performance on perioperative quality measures resulted in an ARR of 0% to 2.2% for perioperative morbidity (P > .05 for all). Similarly, there was no statistically significant association between hospital-level mortality rates for MI (ARR = 0.7%, 95% CI = -1.0% to 2.5%), heart failure (ARR = 1.0%, 95% CI = -0.6% to 2.7%), or pneumonia (ARR = 1.6%, 95% CI = -0.3% to 3.5%) and complications for oncologic surgery patients.

Conclusion:

Currently available measures of patient satisfaction and quality are poor predictors of outcomes for cancer patients undergoing surgery. Specific metrics for long-term oncologic outcomes and quality are needed.


Background:

Women with node-positive vulvar cancer have a high risk for disease recurrence. Indication criteria for adjuvant radiotherapy are controversial. This study was designed to further understand the role of adjuvant therapy in node-positive disease.

Methods:

Patients with primary squamous-cell vulvar cancer treated at 29 gynecologic cancer centers in Germany from 1998 through 2008 were included in this retrospective exploratory multicenter cohort study. Of 1618 documented patients, 1249 had surgical groin staging and known lymph node status and were further analyzed. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Four hundred forty-seven of 1249 patients (35.8%) had lymph node metastases (N+). The majority of N+ patients had one (172 [38.5%]) or two (102 [22.8%]) positive nodes. The three-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate of N+ patients was 35.2%, and the overall survival (OS) rate 56.2% compared with 75.2% and 90.2% in node-negative patients (N-). Two hundred forty-four (54.6%) N+ patients had adjuvant therapy, of which 183 (40.9%) had radiotherapy directed at the groins (+/-other fields). Three-year PFS and OS rates in these patients were better compared with N+ patients without adjuvant treatment (PFS: 39.6% vs 25.9%, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.67, 95% confidence interval [CI[= 0.51 to 0.88, P = .004; OS: 57.7% vs 51.4%, HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.56 to 1.11, P = .17). This effect was statistically significant in multivariable analysis adjusted for age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, Union internationale contre le cancer stage, grade, invasion depth, and number of positive nodes (PFS: HR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.78, P < .001; OS: HR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.91, P = .01).

Conclusion:

This large multicenter study in vulvar cancer observed that adjuvant radiotherapy was associated with improved prognosis in node-positive patients and will hopefully help to overcome concerns regarding adjuvant treatment. However, outcome after adjuvant radiotherapy remains poor compared with node-negative patients. Adjuvant chemoradiation could be a possible strategy to improve therapy because it is superior to radiotherapy alone in other squamous cell carcinomas.


Background:

Adiposity, measured by body mass index, is implicated in carcinogenesis. While adult weight gain has diverse advantages over body mass index in measuring adiposity, systematic reviews on adult weight gain in relation to adiposity-related cancers are lacking.

Methods:

PubMed and Embase were searched through September 2014 for prospective observational studies investigating the relationship between adult weight gain and the risk of 10 adiposity-related cancers. Dose-response meta-analyses were performed using a random-effects model to estimate summary relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for each cancer type. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

A total of 50 studies were included. For each 5kg increase in adult weight gain, the summary relative risk was 1.11 (95% CI = 1.08 to 1.13) for postmenopausal breast cancer among no- or low-hormone replacement therapy (HRT) users, 1.39 (95% CI = 1.29 to 1.49) and 1.09 (95% CI = 1.02 to 1.16) for postmenopausal endometrial cancer among HRT nonusers and users, respectively, 1.13 (95% CI = 1.03 to 1.23) for postmenopausal ovarian cancer among no or low HRT users, 1.09 (95% CI = 1.04 to 1.13) for colon cancer in men. The relative risk of kidney cancer comparing highest and lowest level of adult weight gain was 1.42 (95% CI = 1.11 to 1.81). Adult weight gain was unrelated to cancers of the breast (premenopausal women, postmenopausal HRT users), prostate, colon (women), pancreas, and thyroid. An increase in risk associated with adult weight gain for breast cancer was statistically significantly greater among postmenopausal women (P heterogeneity = .001) and HRT nonusers (P heterogeneity = .001); that for endometrial cancer was alike among HRT nonusers (P heterogeneity = .04).

Conclusions:

Avoiding adult weight gain itself may confer protection against certain types of cancers, particularly among HRT nonusers.



Background:

Controversy exists regarding the impact of CYP2D6 genotype on tamoxifen responsiveness. We examined loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the CYP2D6 locus and determined its impact on genotyping error when tumor tissue is used as a DNA source.

Methods:

Genomic tumor data from the adjuvant and metastatic settings (The Cancer Genome Atlas [TCGA] and Foundation Medicine [FM]) were analyzed to characterize the impact of CYP2D6 copy number alterations (CNAs) and LOH on Hardy Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). Additionally, we analyzed CYP2D6 *4 genotype from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor blocks containing nonmalignant tissue and buccal (germline) samples from patients on the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) 89-30-52 tamoxifen trial. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

In TCGA samples (n =627), the CYP2D6 LOH rate was similar in estrogen receptor (ER)–positive (41.2%) and ER-negative (35.2%) but lower in HER2-positive tumors (15.1%) (P < .001). In FM ER+ samples (n = 290), similar LOH rates were observed (40.8%). In 190 NCCTG samples, the agreement between CYP2D6 genotypes derived from FFPE tumors and FFPE tumors containing nonmalignant tissue was moderate (weighted Kappa = 0.74; 95% CI = 0.63 to 0.84). Comparing CYP2D6 genotypes derived from buccal cells to FFPE tumor DNA, CYP2D6*4 genotype was discordant in six of 31(19.4%). In contrast, there was no disagreement between CYP2D6 genotypes derived from buccal cells with FFPE tumors containing nonmalignant tissue.

Conclusions:

LOH at the CYP2D6 locus is common in breast cancer, resulting in potential misclassification of germline CYP2D6 genotypes. Tumor DNA should not be used to determine germline CYP2D6 genotype without sensitive techniques to detect low frequency alleles and quality control procedures appropriate for somatic DNA.


Background:

Tumor heterogeneity and evolutionary complexity may underlie treatment failure in spite of the development of many targeted agents. We suggest a novel strategy termed induced phenotype targeted therapy (IPTT) to simplify complicated targets because of tumor heterogeneity and overcome tumor evolutionary complexity.

Methods:

We designed a caspase-3 specific activatable prodrug, DEVD-S-DOX, containing doxorubicin linked to a peptide moiety (DEVD) cleavable by caspase-3 upon apoptosis. To induce apoptosis locally in the tumor, we used a gamma knife, which can irradiate a very small, defined target area. The in vivo antitumor activity of the caspase-3–specific activatable prodrug combined with radiation was investigated in C3H/HeN tumor-bearing mice (n = 5 per group) and analyzed with the Student’s t test or Mann-Whitney U test. All statistical tests were two-sided. We confirmed the basic principle using a caspase-sensitive nanoprobe (Apo-NP).

Results:

A single exposure of radiation was able to induce apoptosis in a small, defined region of the tumor, resulting in expression of caspase-3. Caspase-3 cleaved DEVD and activated the prodrug. The released free DOX further activated DEVD-S-DOX by exerting cytotoxic effects on neighboring tumor or supporting cells, which repetitively induced the expression of caspase-3 and the activation of DEVD-S-DOX. This sequential and repetitive process propagated the induction of apoptosis. This novel therapeutic strategy showed not only high efficacy in inhibiting tumor growth (14-day tumor volume [mm3] vs radiation alone: 848.21±143.24 vs 2511.50±441.89, P < .01) but also low toxicity to normal cells and tissues.

Conclusion:

Such a phenotype induction strategy represents a conceptually novel approach to overcome tumor heterogeneity and complexity as well as to substantially improve current conventional chemoradiotherapy with fewer sequelae and side effects.


Background:

PIM1 kinase is coexpressed with c-MYC in human prostate cancers (PCs) and dramatically enhances c-MYC-induced tumorigenicity. Here we examine the effects of a novel oral PIM inhibitor, AZD1208, on prostate tumorigenesis and recurrence.

Methods:

A mouse c-MYC/Pim1-transduced tissue recombination PC model, Myc-CaP allografts, and human PC xenografts were treated with AZD1208 (n = 5–11 per group). Androgen-sensitive and castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) models were studied as well as the effects of hypoxia and radiation. RNA sequencing was used to analyze drug-induced gene expression changes. Results were analyzed with 2 test. Student’s t test and nonparametric Mann-Whitney rank sum U Test. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

AZD1208 inhibited tumorigenesis in tissue recombinants, Myc-CaP, and human PC xenograft models. PIM inhibition decreased c-MYC/Pim1 graft growth by 54.3±39% (P < .001), decreased cellular proliferation by 46±14% (P = .016), and increased apoptosis by 326±170% (P = .039). AZD1208 suppressed multiple protumorigenic pathways, including the MYC gene program. However, it also downregulated the p53 pathway. Hypoxia and radiation induced PIM1 in prostate cancer cells, and AZD1208 functioned as a radiation sensitizer. Recurrent tumors postcastration responded transiently to either AZD1208 or radiation treatment, and combination treatment resulted in more sustained inhibition of tumor growth. Cell lines established from recurrent, AZD1208-resistant tumors again revealed downregulation of the p53 pathway. Irradiated AZD1208-treated tumors robustly upregulated p53, providing a possible mechanistic explanation for the effectiveness of combination therapy. Finally, an AZD1208-resistant gene signature was found to be associated with biochemical recurrence in PC patients.

Conclusions:

PIM inhibition is a potential treatment for MYC-driven prostate cancers including CRPC, and its effectiveness may be enhanced by activators of the p53 pathway, such as radiation.


Background:

The shelterin complex protects chromosomal ends by regulating how the telomerase complex interacts with telomeres. Following the recent finding in familial melanoma of inactivating germline mutations in POT1, encoding a member of the shelterin complex, we searched for mutations in the other five components of the shelterin complex in melanoma families.

Methods:

Next-generation sequencing techniques were used to screen 510 melanoma families (with unknown genetic etiology) and control cohorts for mutations in shelterin complex encoding genes: ACD, TERF2IP, TERF1, TERF2, and TINF 2. Maximum likelihood and LOD [logarithm (base 10) of odds] analyses were used. Mutation clustering was assessed with 2 and Fisher’s exact tests. P values under .05 were considered statistically significant (one-tailed with Yates’ correction).

Results:

Six families had mutations in ACD and four families carried TERF2IP variants, which included nonsense mutations in both genes (p.Q320X and p.R364X, respectively) and point mutations that cosegregated with melanoma. Of five distinct mutations in ACD, four clustered in the POT1 binding domain, including p.Q320X. This clustering of novel mutations in the POT1 binding domain of ACD was statistically higher (P = .005) in melanoma probands compared with population control individuals (n = 6785), as were all novel and rare variants in both ACD (P = .040) and TERF2IP (P = .022). Families carrying ACD and TERF2IP mutations were also enriched with other cancer types, suggesting that these variants also predispose to a broader spectrum of cancers than just melanoma. Novel mutations were also observed in TERF1, TERF2, and TINF2, but these were not convincingly associated with melanoma.

Conclusions:

Our findings add to the growing support for telomere dysregulation as a key process associated with melanoma susceptibility.


The standard viewpoint that cancer is a genetic disease is often stated as a fact rather than a theory. By not acknowledging that it is a theory, namely the Somatic Mutation Theory (SMT), researchers are limiting their progress. An attractive alternative to SMT is the tissue organization field theory (TOFT), which is summarized as "development gone awry." To initiate a kerfuffle, I discuss the interpretation of various results under both TOFT and SMT, including recurrent mutations, hereditary cancers, induction of tumors in transgenic experiments, remission of tumors following the inhibition of enzymes activated by mutated genes, nongenotoxic carcinogens, denervation experiments, foreign-body carcinogenesis, transplantation experiments, and tumors with zero mutations. Thinking in terms of TOFT can spur new lines of research; examples are given related to the early detection of cancer.


Background:

Diffusion of new cancer treatments can be both inefficient and incomplete. The uptake of new treatments over time (diffusion) has not been well studied. We analyzed the diffusion of docetaxel in metastatic prostate cancer.

Methods:

We identified metastatic prostate cancer patients diagnosed from 1995 to 2007 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER)–Medicare database. Medicare claims through 2008 were analyzed. We assessed cumulative incidence of docetaxel by socioeconomic, demographic, and comorbidity variables, and compared diffusion patterns to landmark events including release of phase III results and FDA approval dates. We compared docetaxel diffusion patterns in prostate cancer to those in metastatic breast, lung, ovarian, and gastric cancers. To model docetaxel use over time, we used the classic "mixed influence" deterministic diffusion model. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

We identified 6561 metastatic prostate cancer patients; 1350 subsequently received chemotherapy. Among patients who received chemotherapy, docetaxel use was 95% by 2008. Docetaxel uptake was statistically significantly slower (P < .01) for patients older than 65 years, blacks, patients in lower income areas, and those who experienced poverty. Eighty percent of docetaxel diffusion occurred prior to the May, 2004 release of phase III results showing superiority of docetaxel over standard-of-care. The maximum increase in the rate of use of docetaxel occurred nearly simultaneously for prostate cancer as for all other cancers combined (in 2000).

Conclusion:

Efforts to increase the diffusion of treatments with proven survival benefits among disadvantaged populations could lead to cancer population survival gains. Docetaxel diffusion mostly preceded phase III evidence for its efficacy in castration-resistant prostate cancer, and appeared to be a cancer-wide—rather than a disease-specific—phenomenon. Diffusion prior to definitive evidence indicates the prevalence of off-label chemotherapy use.


Background:

Solid organ transplant recipients have elevated risks of virus-related cancers, in part because of long-term immunosuppression. Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive skin cancer recently found to have a viral origin, but little is known regarding the occurrence of MCC after transplant.

Methods:

We linked the US Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients with data from 15 population-based cancer registries to ascertain MCC occurrence among 189498 solid organ transplant recipients from 1987 to 2009. Risks for MCC following transplantation were compared with the general population using standardized incidence ratios, and Poisson regression was used to compare incidence rates according to key patient and transplant characteristics. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

After solid organ transplantation, overall risk of MCC was increased 23.8-fold (95% confidence interval = 19.6 to 28.7, n = 110). Adjusted risks were highest among older recipients, increased with time since transplantation, and varied by organ type (all P ≤ .007). Azathioprine, cyclosporine, and mTOR inhibitors given for maintenance immunosuppression increased risk, and non-Hispanic white recipients on cyclosporine and azathioprine experienced increasing MCC risk with lower latitude of residence (ie, higher ultraviolet radiation exposure, P = .012).

Conclusions:

MCC risk is sharply elevated after solid organ transplant, likely resulting from long-term immunosuppression. Immunosuppressive medications may act synergistically with ultraviolet radiation to increase risk.



Background:

Cutaneous melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States. Modifiable risk factors, with the exception of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), are poorly understood. Coffee contains numerous bioactive compounds and may be associated inversely with melanoma. However, previous epidemiological evidence is limited.

Methods:

Coffee intake was assessed at baseline with a food frequency questionnaire in the National Institutes of Health–AARP prospective cohort study. Among 447 357 non-Hispanic whites who were cancer-free at baseline, 2904 incident cases of malignant melanoma were identified during 4 329 044 person-years of follow-up, with a median of 10.5 years of follow-up. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for coffee intake and subsequent melanoma risk with non–coffee drinkers as the reference group. Statistical tests were two-sided, and P values less than .05 were interpreted as statistically significant.

Results:

The highest category of coffee intake was inversely associated with malignant melanoma (≥4 cups/day: HR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.68 to 0.93, P trend = .01). This association was statistically significant for caffeinated (≥4 cups/day: HR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.64 to 0.89, P trend = .01) but not for decaffeinated coffee (P trend = .55).

Conclusions:

Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study. Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted.



Background:

Recent genetic and morphologic studies have challenged the traditional view on the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer; suggesting that ovarian cancer predominantly arises within the fallopian tubes or the uterus. We hypothesize that surgical removal of the fallopian tubes is associated with a reduced risk for ovarian cancer.

Methods:

In this population-based cohort study, we used data on women with previous surgery on benign indication (sterilization, salpingectomy, hysterectomy, and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy [BSO], hysterectomy; n = 251465) compared with the unexposed population (n = 5449119) between 1973 and 2009 and analyzed with Cox regression models. The effects of one- and two-sided salpingectomy were considered in a subanalysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

There was a statistically significantly lower risk for ovarian cancer among women with previous salpingectomy (HR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.52 to 0.81) when compared with the unexposed population. In addition, statistically significant risk reductions were observed among women with previous hysterectomy (HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.70 to 0.88), sterilization (HR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.64 to 0.81), and hysterectomy with BSO (HR = 0.06, 95% CI = 0.03 to 0.12). Bilateral salpingectomy was associated with a 50% decrease in risk of ovarian cancer compared with the unilateral procedure (HR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.17 to 0.73, and 0.71, 95% CI = 0.56 to 0.91, respectively).

Conclusion:

Salpingectomy on benign indication is associated with reduced risk of ovarian cancer. These data support the hypothesis that a substantial fraction of ovarian cancer arises in the fallopian tube. Our results suggest that removal of the fallopian tubes by itself, or concomitantly with other benign surgery, is an effective measure to reduce ovarian cancer risk in the general population.



Background:

Human papillomavirus (HPV)–based screening needs triage. In most randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on HPV testing with cytological triage, cytology interpretation has been blind to HPV status.

Methods:

Women age 25 to 60 years enrolled in the New Technology in Cervical Cancer (NTCC) RCT comparing HPV testing with cytology were referred to colposcopy if HPV positive and, if no cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) was detected, followed up until HPV negativity. Cytological slides taken at the first colposcopy were retrieved and independently interpreted by an external laboratory, which was only aware of patients’ HPV positivity. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive values were computed for histologically proven CIN2+ with HPV status–informed cytology for women with a determination of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) or more severe. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Among HPV-positive women, informed cytology had cross-sectional sensitivity, specificity, PPV and 1-NPV for CIN2+ of 85.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 76.6 to 92.1), 65.9% (95% CI = 63.1 to 68.6), 16.2% (95% CI = 13.0 to 19.8), and 1.7 (95% CI = 0.9 to 2.8), respectively. Cytology was also associated with subsequent risk of newly diagnosed CIN2+ and CIN3+. The cross-sectional relative sensitivity for CIN2+ vs blind cytology obtained by referring to colposcopy and following up only HPV positive women who had HPV status–informed cytology greater than or equal to ASCUS was 1.58 (95% CI = 1.22 to 2.01), while the corresponding relative referral to colposcopy was 0.95 (95% CI = 0.86 to 1.04).

Conclusions:

Cytology informed of HPV positivity is more sensitive than blind cytology and could allow longer intervals before retesting HPV-positive, cytology-negative women.





Background:

We compared the estimated clinical outcomes, costs, and physician workload resulting from available strategies for deciding which women with an adnexal mass should be referred to a gynecologic oncologist.

Methods:

We used a microsimulation model to compare five referral strategies: 1) American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines, 2) Multivariate Index Assay (MIA) algorithm, 3) Risk of Malignancy Algorithm (ROMA), 4) CA125 alone with lowered cutoff values to prioritize test sensitivity over specificity, 5) referral of all women (Refer All). Test characteristics and relative survival were obtained from the literature and data from a biomarker validation study. Medical costs were estimated using Medicare reimbursements. Travel costs were estimated using discharge data from Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results–Medicare and State Inpatient Databases. Analyses were performed separately for pre- and postmenopausal women (60 000 "subjects" in each), repeated 10 000 times.

Results:

Refer All was cost-effective compared with less expensive strategies in both postmenopausal (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER] $9423/year of life saved (LYS) compared with CA125) and premenopausal women (ICER $10 644/YLS compared with CA125), but would result in an additional 73 cases/year/subspecialist. MIA was more expensive and less effective than Refer All in pre- and postmenopausal women. If Refer All is not a viable option, CA125 is an optimal strategy in postmenopausal women.

Conclusions:

Referral of all women to a subspecialist is an efficient strategy for managing women with adnexal masses requiring surgery, assuming sufficient capacity for additional surgical volume. If a test-based triage strategy is needed, CA125 with lowered cutoff values is a cost-effective strategy.


Modern breast cancer treatment offers many women greater prospects of cure or lengthier, good quality survival than was possible in the past. Advances include improved diagnostic and staging procedures, sophisticated onco-plastic surgery, enhanced radiotherapy techniques, and targeted systemic therapies. Much more attention has also been paid to cancer care delivery and access to specialist nurses, counsellors, support groups, and services provided by breast cancer charities. However, there are some concerns that these considerable improvements in treatment delivery and clinical outcomes have not led to similar benefits in the psychosocial, functional, and sexual well-being of women. The impact that non–life threatening, long-term iatrogenic harms of otherwise efficacious anticancer treatments has on patients is often overlooked; this is in part because of the emphasis given to physician-reported safety data in trials and the general exclusion of patient-reported outcomes (PROs). A failure to utilise reliable PRO measures has meant that some problems are underreported, which consequently has hampered much-needed research into ameliorative interventions. Systematic monitoring of quality of life-threatening side effects would permit early implementation of effective interventions and enhance long-term survivorship. Some examples of the pervasive difficulties that continue to affect survivors and evidence that certain interventions might help are provided in this commentary.


Background:

In the United States, patients who enroll in chemotherapy trials seldom reflect the attributes of the general population with cancer, as they are often younger, more functional, and have less comorbidity. We compared survival following three chemotherapy regimens according to the setting in which care was delivered (ie, clinical trial vs usual care) to determine the generalizability of clinical trial results to unselected elderly Medicare patients.

Methods:

Using SEER-Medicare data, we estimated survival for elderly patients (ie, age 65 years or older, n = 14097) with advanced pancreatic or lung cancer following receipt of one of three guideline-recommended first-line chemotherapy regimens. We compared their survival to that of similarly treated clinical trial enrollees, without age restrictions, with the same diagnosis and stage (n = 937). All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Trial patients were 9.5 years younger than elderly Medicare patients. Medicare patients were more often white and tended to live in areas of greater educational attainment than trial enrollees. For each tumor type, Medicare patients who were 75 years or older had median survivals that were six to eight weeks shorter than those of trial patients (4.3 vs 5.8 months following treatment with single agent gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer, P = .03; 7.3 vs 8.9 months following treatment with carboplatin and paclitaxel for stage IV non–small cell lung cancer, P = .91; 8.2 vs 10.2 months following treatment with CDDP/ VP16 for extensive stage small cell lung cancer, P ≤ .01), whereas younger Medicare patients had survival times that were similar to those of trial patients.

Conclusions:

Results of clinical trials for advanced pancreatic cancer and lung cancers tended to correctly estimate survival for Medicare patients aged 65 to 74 years, but to overestimate survival for older Medicare patients by six to eight weeks. These estimates of Medicare patients’ survival may aid subsequent patients and their oncologists in treatment decision-making.


We conducted a prospective, observational study of aspirin and COX-2 inhibitor use and survival in stage III colon cancer patients enrolled in an adjuvant chemotherapy trial. Among 799 eligible patients, aspirin use was associated with improved recurrence-free survival (RFS) (multivariable hazard ratio [HR] = 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.28 to 0.95), disease-free survival (DFS) (HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.42 to 1.11), and overall survival (OS) (HR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.35 to 1.12). Adjusted HRs for DFS and OS censored at five years (in an attempt to minimize misclassification from noncancer death) were 0.61 (95% CI = 0.36 to 1.04) and 0.48 (95% CI = 0.23 to 0.99). Among 843 eligible patients, those who used COX-2 inhibitors had multivariable HRs for RFS, DFS, and OS of 0.53 (95% CI = 0.27 to 1.04), 0.60 (95% CI = 0.33 to 1.08), and 0.50 (95% CI = 0.23 to 1.07), and HRs of 0.47 (95% CI = 0.24 to 0.91) and 0.26 (95% CI = 0.08 to 0.81) for DFS and OS censored at five years. Aspirin and COX-2 inhibitor use may be associated with improved outcomes in stage III colon cancer patients.


Since the millennium, personalized medicine has been at the forefront of therapeutic endeavors in medical oncology. The latest technology has given researchers the ability to define cancer at its molecular core. This has led to the development of "targeted therapies," designed to eliminate driver mutations while leaving healthy cells unscathed. Unfortunately, more than 10 years into the targeted molecular therapy era, successes have been infrequent, and toxicity remains largely unchanged compared with relatively indiscriminant, traditional chemotherapy. Emerging data suggests that the malignant clonal heterogeneity within solid tumors is so diverse that targeting one or even several mutations is likely to have minimal, transient impact. In recent years, new therapies have emerged that can effectively stimulate the immune system and improve survival in patients with metastatic disease. Through immune activation, there is the potential to target the cancer with a biologic diversity that can potentially rival the multiplicity of malignant mutations within tumors. Stimulating the immune system to become an evolving adversary against malignant cells may revolutionize cancer therapy in the years to come.


Cancer research is drawing on the human genome project to develop new molecular-targeted treatments. This is an exciting but insufficient response to the growing, global burden of cancer, particularly as the projected increase in new cases in the coming decades is increasingly falling on developing countries. The world is not able to treat its way out of the cancer problem. However, the mechanistic insights from basic science can be harnessed to better understand cancer causes and prevention, thus underpinning a complementary public health approach to cancer control. This manuscript focuses on how new knowledge about the molecular and cellular basis of cancer, and the associated high-throughput laboratory technologies for studying those pathways, can be applied to population-based epidemiological studies, particularly in the context of large prospective cohorts with associated biobanks to provide an evidence base for cancer prevention. This integrated approach should allow a more rapid and informed translation of the research into educational and policy interventions aimed at risk reduction across a population.


Background:

Tamoxifen has been US Food and Drug Administration–approved for primary prevention of breast cancer since 1998 but has not been widely adopted, in part because of increased risk of serious side effects. Little is known about the risk-benefit profiles of women who use chemoprevention outside of a clinical trial. We examined characteristics associated with initiation and discontinuation of tamoxifen for primary prevention of breast cancer within a large cohort of women with a first-degree family history of breast cancer.

Methods:

This research was conducted within The Sister Study, a cohort of 50884 US and Puerto Rican women age 35 to 74 years enrolled from 2003 to 2009. Eligible women were breast cancer–free at enrollment and had a sister who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Participants reported tamoxifen use, ages started and stopped taking tamoxifen, and total duration of use at enrollment. We identified 788 tamoxifen users and 3131 nonusers matched on age and year of enrollment who had no history of contraindicating factors (stroke, transient ischemic attack, cataract, endometrial or uterine cancer). Characteristics associated with tamoxifen initiation were evaluated with multivariable conditional logistic regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Based on published risk-benefit indices, 20% of women who used tamoxifen had insufficient evidence that the benefits of tamoxifen outweigh the risk of serious side effects. After 4.5 years, 46% of women had discontinued tamoxifen.

Conclusions:

While the majority of women who used tamoxifen for primary prevention of breast cancer were likely to benefit, substantial discontinuation of tamoxifen before five years and use by women at risk of serious side effects may attenuate benefits for breast cancer prevention.




Background:

Massively parallel gene expression profiling has provided a more objective, molecular-level characterization of breast cancer subtypes. Several bioinformatics tools are available to infer patient subtype from a gene expression profile including the well-studied PAM50. The specific algorithmic methods used in these tools require access to a broad patient dataset. The choice of subtype for an individual is determined relative to all other patients across the panel, making subtypes heavily dependent on the composition of the dataset. Our aim was to develop a bioinformatics approach assigning absolute breast cancer subtypes, independent of dataset composition.

Methods:

Using a dataset of 4924 breast cancer patients, we defined a new bioinformatics approach: Absolute Intrinsic Molecular Subtyping (AIMS) that assigns subtype from a gene expression profile for an individual sample without the need for a large, diverse, and normalized dataset. We evaluated the agreement of AIMS with PAM50 and compared subtype assignment and prognostic value of the subtypes. We assessed AIMS’ robustness using a benchmark set of tests including subtype reproducibility between technologies, gene removal, and normal gene expression contamination, and compared it with PAM50. All statistical tests, except where noted, were two-sided.

Results:

AIMS vastly agreed with PAM50, with 76% and 77% agreement for cross validation and the test set, respectively, and the prognostic capacity of the intrinsic subtypes was preserved. AIMS is fully stable, and its absolute nature enables its use on a wide range of datasets and technologies, including RNA-seq.

Conclusions:

The instability of a breast cancer subtyping scheme like PAM50 could have important consequences in clinical management of patients. AIMS is a fully stable and robust subtyping scheme that recapitulates PAM50.


Background:

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) directs the synthesis of prostaglandins including PGE-2 linking inflammation with mitogenic signaling. COX-2 is also an anticancer target, however, treatment strategies have been limited by unreliable expression assays and by inconsistent tumor responses to COX-2 inhibition.

Methods:

We analyzed the TCGA and Director’s Challenge lung cancer datasets (n = 188) and also generated an LKB1-null lung cancer gene signature (n = 53) to search the Broad Institute/Connectivity-MAP (C-MAP) dataset. We performed ChIP analyses, real-time polymerase chain reaction, immunoblotting, and drug testing of tumor cell lines (n = 8) and primary lung adenocarcinoma surgical resections (n = 13).

Results:

We show that COX-2 is a target of the cAMP/CREB coactivator CRTC1 signaling pathway. In addition, we detected a correlation between LKB1 status, CRTC1 activation, and presence of glycosylated, but not inactive hypoglycosylated COX-2 in primary lung adenocarcinoma. A search of the C-MAP drug database discovered that all high-ranking drugs positively associated with the LKB1-null signature are known CRTC1 activators, including forskolin and six different PGE-2 analogues. Somatic LKB1 mutations are present in 20.0% of lung adenocarcinomas, and we observed growth inhibition with COX-2 inhibitors in LKB1-null lung cancer cells with activated CRTC1 as compared with LKB1-wildtype cells (NS-398, P = .002 and Niflumic acid, P = .006; two-tailed t test).

Conclusion:

CRTC1 activation is a key event that drives the LKB1-null mRNA signature in lung cancer. We also identified a positive feedback LKB1/CRTC1 signaling loop for COX-2/PGE2 regulation. These data suggest a role for LKB1 status and glycosylated COX-2 as specific biomarkers that provide a framework for selecting patients for COX-2 inhibition studies.



Background:

Few studies have evaluated the relation between selenium supplementation after diagnosis and prostate cancer outcomes.

Methods:

We prospectively followed 4459 men initially diagnosed with nonmetastatic prostate cancer in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study from 1988 through 2010 and examined whether selenium supplement use (from selenium-specific supplements and multivitamins) after diagnosis was associated with risk of biochemical recurrence, prostate cancer mortality, and, secondarily, cardiovascular disease mortality and overall mortality, using Cox proportional hazards models. All P values were from two-sided tests.

Results:

We documented 965 deaths, 226 (23.4%) because of prostate cancer and 267 (27.7%) because of cardiovascular disease, during a median follow-up of 8.9 years. In the biochemical recurrence analysis, we documented 762 recurrences during a median follow-up of 7.8 years. Crude rates per 1000 person-years for prostate cancer death were 5.6 among selenium nonusers and 10.5 among men who consumed 140 or more μg/day. Crude rates per 1000 person-years were 28.2 vs 23.5 for all-cause mortality and 28.4 vs 29.3 for biochemical recurrence, for nonuse vs highest-dose categories, respectively. In multivariable analyses, men who consumed 1 to 24 μg/day, 25 to 139 μg/day, and 140 or more μg/day of supplemental selenium had a 1.18 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.73 to 1.91), 1.33 (95% CI = 0.77 to 2.30), and 2.60-fold (95% CI = 1.44 to 4.70) greater risk of prostate cancer mortality compared with nonusers, respectively, P trend = .001. There was no statistically significant association between selenium supplement use and biochemical recurrence, cardiovascular disease mortality, or overall mortality.

Conclusion:

Selenium supplementation of 140 or more μg/day after diagnosis of nonmetastatic prostate cancer may increase risk of prostate cancer mortality. Caution is warranted regarding usage of such supplements among men with prostate cancer.


Background:

Laparoscopic colectomy has been shown to have equivalent oncologic outcomes to open colectomy for the management of colon cancer, but its adoption nationally has been slow. This study investigates the prevalence and factors associated with laparoscopic colorectal resection at National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) centers.

Methods:

Data on patients undergoing surgery for colon and rectal cancer at NCCN centers from 2005 to 2010 were obtained from chart review of medical records for the NCCN Outcomes Project and included information on socioeconomic status, insurance coverage, comorbidity, and physician-reported Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status. Associations between receipt of minimally invasive surgery and patient and clinical variables were analyzed with univariate and multivariable logistic regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

A total of 4032 patients, diagnosed between September 2005 and December 2010, underwent elective colon or rectal resection for cancer at NCCN centers. Median age of colon cancer patients was 62.6 years, and 49% were men. The percent of colon cancer patients treated with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) increased from 35% in 2006 to 51% in 2010 across all centers but varied statistically significantly between centers. On multivariable analysis, factors associated with minimally invasive surgery for colon cancer patients who had surgery at an NCCN institution were older age (P = .02), male sex (P = .006), fewer comorbidities (P ≤ .001), lower final T-stage (P < .001), median household income greater than or equal to $80000 (P < .001), ECOG performance status = 0 (P = .02), and NCCN institution (P ≤ .001).

Conclusions:

The use of MIS increased at NCCN centers. However, there was statistically significant variation in adoption of MIS technique among centers.


Background:

Regulatory T cells (Treg) and tumor-exosomes are thought to play a role in preventing the rejection of malignant cells in patients bearing nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

Methods:

Treg recruitment by exosomes derived from NPC cell lines (C15/C17-Exo), exosomes isolated from NPC patients’ plasma (Patient-Exo), and CCL20 were tested in vitro using Boyden chamber assays and in vivo using a xenograft SCID mouse model (n = 5), both in the presence and absence of anti-CCL20 monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Impact of these NPC exosomes (NPC-Exo) on Treg phenotype and function was determined using adapted assays (FACS, Q-PCR, ELISA, and MLR). Experiments were performed in comparison with exosomes derived from plasma of healthy donors (HD-Exo). The Student’s t test was used for group comparisons. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

CCL20 allowed the intratumoral recruitment of human Treg. NPC-Exo also facilitated Treg recruitment (3.30±0.34 fold increase, P < .001), which was statistically significantly inhibited (P < .001) by an anti-CCL20 blocking mAb. NPC-Exo also recruited conventional CD4+CD25- T cells and mediated their conversion into inhibitory CD4+CD25high cells. Moreover, NPC-Exo enhanced (P = .0048) the expansion of human Treg, inducing the generation of Tim3Low Treg with increased expression of CD25 and FOXP3. Finally, NPC-Exo induced an overexpression of cell markers associated with Treg phenotype, properties and recruitment capacity. For example, GZMB mean fold change was 21.45±1.75 (P < .001). These results were consistent with a stronger suppression of responder cells’ proliferation and the secretion of immunosuppressive cytokines (IL10, TGFB1).

Conclusion:

Interactions between NPC-Exo and Treg represent a newly defined mechanism that may be involved in regulating peripheral tolerance by tumors and in supporting immune evasion in human NPC.


Background:

One bottleneck for adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) is recruitment of T cells into tumors. We hypothesized that combining tumor-specific T cells, modified with a marker antigen and a bispecific antibody (BiAb) that selectively recognizes transduced T cells and tumor cells would improve T cell recruitment to tumors and enhance therapeutic efficacy.

Methods:

SV40 T antigen–specific T cells from T cell receptor (TCR)-I–transgenic mice were transduced with a truncated human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a marker protein. Targeting and killing by combined ACT and anti-EGFR–anti-EpCAM BiAb therapy was analyzed in C57Bl/6 mice (n = six to 12 per group) carrying subcutaneous tumors of the murine gastric cancer cell line GC8 (SV40+ and EpCAM+). Anti-EGFR x anti-c-Met BiAb was used for targeting of human tumor-specific T cells to c-Met+ human tumor cell lines. Differences between experimental conditions were analyzed using the Student’s t test, and differences in tumor growth with two-way analysis of variance. Overall survival was analyzed by log-rank test. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

The BiAb linked EGFR-transduced T cells to tumor cells and enhanced tumor cell lysis. In vivo, the combination of ACT and Biab produced increased T cell infiltration of tumors, retarded tumor growth, and prolonged survival compared with ACT with a control antibody (median survival 95 vs 75 days, P < .001). In human cells, this strategy enhanced recruitment of human EGFR–transduced T cells to immobilized c-Met and recognition of tyrosinase+ melanoma cells by TCR-, as well as of CEA+ colon cancer cells by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)–modified T cells.

Conclusions:

BiAb recruitment of tumor-specific T cells transduced with a marker antigen to tumor cells may enhance efficacy of ACT.


Background:

The results of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) trial showed a statistically significant 29% prostate cancer mortality reduction for the men screened in the intervention arm and a 23% negative impact on the life-years gained because of quality of life. However, alternative prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening strategies for the population may exist, optimizing the effects on mortality reduction, quality of life, overdiagnosis, and costs.

Methods:

Based on data of the ERSPC trial, we predicted the numbers of prostate cancers diagnosed, prostate cancer deaths averted, life-years and quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) gained, and cost-effectiveness of 68 screening strategies starting at age 55 years, with a PSA threshold of 3, using microsimulation modeling. The screening strategies varied by age to stop screening and screening interval (one to 14 years or once in a lifetime screens), and therefore number of tests.

Results:

Screening at short intervals of three years or less was more cost-effective than using longer intervals. Screening at ages 55 to 59 years with two-year intervals had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $73000 per QALY gained and was considered optimal. With this strategy, lifetime prostate cancer mortality reduction was predicted as 13%, and 33% of the screen-detected cancers were overdiagnosed. When better quality of life for the post-treatment period could be achieved, an older age of 65 to 72 years for ending screening was obtained.

Conclusion:

Prostate cancer screening can be cost-effective when it is limited to two or three screens between ages 55 to 59 years. Screening above age 63 years is less cost-effective because of loss of QALYs because of overdiagnosis.


Background:

There is limited evidence on the association between dietary folate intake and the risk of breast cancer (BC) by hormone receptor expression in the tumors. We investigated the relationship between dietary folate and BC risk using data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Methods:

A total of 367993 women age 35 to 70 years were recruited in 10 European countries. During a median follow-up of 11.5 years, 11575 women with BC were identified. Dietary folate intake was estimated from country-specific dietary questionnaires. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to quantify the association between dietary variables and BC risk. BC tumors were classified by receptor status. Subgroup analyses were performed by menopausal status and alcohol intake. Intake of other B vitamins was considered. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

A borderline inverse association was observed between dietary folate and BC risk (hazard ratio comparing top vs bottom quintile [HRQ5-Q1] = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.83 to 1.01, P trend = .037). In premenopausal women, we observed a statistically significant trend towards lower risk in estrogen receptor-negative BC (HRQ5-Q1 = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.45 to 0.96, P trend = .042) and progesterone receptor-negative BC (HRQ5-Q1 = 0.70, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.97, P trend = .021). No associations were found in postmenopausal women. A 14% reduction in BC risk was observed when comparing the highest with the lowest dietary folate tertiles in women having a high (>12 alcoholic drinks/week) alcohol intake (HRT3-T1 = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.75 to 0.98, P interaction = .035).

Conclusions:

Higher dietary folate intake may be associated with a lower risk of sex hormone receptor–negative BC in premenopausal women.










Background:

Technological advances raise the possibility of systematic population-based genetic testing for cancer-predisposing mutations, but it is uncertain whether benefits outweigh disadvantages. We directly compared the psychological/quality-of-life consequences of such an approach to family history (FH)–based testing.

Methods:

In a randomized controlled trial of BRCA1/2 gene-mutation testing in the Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) population, we compared testing all participants in the population screening (PS) arm with testing those fulfilling standard FH-based clinical criteria (FH arm). Following a targeted community campaign, AJ participants older than 18 years were recruited by self-referral after pretest genetic counseling. The effects of BRCA1/2 genetic testing on acceptability, psychological impact, and quality-of-life measures were assessed by random effects regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

One thousand, one hundred sixty-eight AJ individuals were counseled, 1042 consented, 1034 were randomly assigned (691 women, 343 men), and 1017 were eligible for analysis. Mean age was 54.3 (SD = 14.66) years. Thirteen BRCA1/2 carriers were identified in the PS arm, nine in the FH arm. Five more carriers were detected among FH-negative FH-arm participants following study completion. There were no statistically significant differences between the FH and PS arms at seven days or three months on measures of anxiety, depression, health anxiety, distress, uncertainty, and quality-of-life. Contrast tests indicated that overall anxiety (P = .0001) and uncertainty (P = .005) associated with genetic testing decreased; positive experience scores increased (P = .0001); quality-of-life and health anxiety did not change with time. Overall, 56% of carriers did not fulfill clinical criteria for genetic testing, and the BRCA1/2 prevalence was 2.45%.

Conclusion:

Compared with FH-based testing, population-based genetic testing in Ashkenazi Jews doesn’t adversely affect short-term psychological/quality-of-life outcomes and may detect 56% additional BRCA carriers.


Background:

Population-based testing for BRCA1/2 mutations detects the high proportion of carriers not identified by cancer family history (FH)–based testing. We compared the cost-effectiveness of population-based BRCA testing with the standard FH-based approach in Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) women.

Methods:

A decision-analytic model was developed to compare lifetime costs and effects amongst AJ women in the UK of BRCA founder-mutation testing amongst: 1) all women in the population age 30 years or older and 2) just those with a strong FH (≥10% mutation risk). The model assumes that BRCA carriers are offered risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy and annual MRI/mammography screening or risk-reducing mastectomy. Model probabilities utilize the Genetic Cancer Prediction through Population Screening trial/published literature to estimate total costs, effects in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), cancer incidence, incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), and population impact. Costs are reported at 2010 prices. Costs/outcomes were discounted at 3.5%. We used deterministic/probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) to evaluate model uncertainty.

Results:

Compared with FH-based testing, population-screening saved 0.090 more life-years and 0.101 more QALYs resulting in 33 days’ gain in life expectancy. Population screening was found to be cost saving with a baseline-discounted ICER of -£2079/QALY. Population-based screening lowered ovarian and breast cancer incidence by 0.34% and 0.62%. Assuming 71% testing uptake, this leads to 276 fewer ovarian and 508 fewer breast cancer cases. Overall, reduction in treatment costs led to a discounted cost savings of £3.7 million. Deterministic sensitivity analysis and 94% of simulations on PSA (threshold £20000) indicated that population screening is cost-effective, compared with current NHS policy.

Conclusion:

Population-based screening for BRCA mutations is highly cost-effective compared with an FH-based approach in AJ women age 30 years and older.


Background:

The evidence for an association between migraine and breast cancer risk is inconclusive. While female sex hormones have been proposed as one underlying mechanism, data on sex hormone levels in migraineurs are sparse.

Methods:

We prospectively evaluated the association between migraine and breast cancer risk among 115378 Nurses’ Health Study II participants using Cox proportional hazards models. Differences in endogenous sex hormone levels according to migraine status were assessed among 2034 premenopausal women using linear regression. We performed a meta-analysis of studies investigating the association between migraine and invasive breast cancer risk published through October 2013. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Seventeen thousand six hundred ninety-six women (15.3%) reported a physician’s diagnosis of migraine at baseline. Over 20 years of follow-up, 833 in situ and 3091 invasive breast malignancies occurred. Migraine was not associated with total (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.88 to 1.04), in situ (HR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.82 to 1.15), or invasive breast cancer risk (HR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.87 to 1.04). Endogenous sex hormone levels did not differ according to migraine status. In the meta-analysis, migraine was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer overall (pooled risk ratio [RR] = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.73 to 0.98). However, this inverse association was apparent only among case-control studies (pooled RR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.66 to 0.79), and not among cohort studies (pooled RR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.87 to 1.10).

Conclusion:

In this large cohort study, migraine was not associated with breast cancer risk or differences in endogenous sex hormone levels. While case-control studies suggest an inverse association between migraine and breast cancer risk, prospective cohort studies do not support an association in pooled analyses.


Gliomas are the most common brain tumor, with several histological subtypes of various malignancy grade. The genetic contribution to familial glioma is not well understood. Using whole exome sequencing of 90 individuals from 55 families, we identified two families with mutations in POT1 (p.G95C, p.E450X), a member of the telomere shelterin complex, shared by both affected individuals in each family and predicted to impact DNA binding and TPP1 binding, respectively. Validation in a separate cohort of 264 individuals from 246 families identified an additional mutation in POT1 (p.D617Efs), also predicted to disrupt TPP1 binding. All families with POT1 mutations had affected members with oligodendroglioma, a specific subtype of glioma more sensitive to irradiation. These findings are important for understanding the origin of glioma and could have importance for the future diagnostics and treatment of glioma.


Background:

Several reports indicated that volunteers enrolled in preventive trials tend to show a different profile, with respect to sociodemographic characteristics, health-related behaviors, or medical history, compared with the source population. We conducted an incidence and mortality follow-up within a cohort of subjects who had been mailed a recruitment questionnaire in the SCORE trial of sigmoidoscopy (FS) screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) to assess the impact of self-selection in the study of volunteers willing to be screened on the outcomes estimates and on the generalizability of the results.

Methods:

We compared baseline demographics, CRC risk, and overall mortality at 11-year follow-up of responders declaring their interest in screening, with those of nonresponders and of responders not interested in screening using logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards multivariable models.

Results:

Both subjects who volunteered in the trial and those who refused were better educated than nonresponders. Men and people younger than age 60 years were more likely to volunteer among responders. At 11-year follow-up, interested responders showed a similar CRC risk as nonresponders, while CRC mortality was substantially reduced (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.70, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.54 to 0.91). All-cause mortality was reduced both among interested (HR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.57 to 0.65) and uninterested responders (HR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.76 to 0.86).

Conclusion:

The implementation of an FS population–based screening program would result in a similar reduction in CRC incidence, as observed in the SCORE trial, and likely in a larger impact on CRC mortality.









Background:

Self-collected human papillomavirus (HPV) testing could reduce barriers to cervical cancer screening, with performance comparable to clinician-collected specimens. The ability of self-collected specimens to cross-sectionally and prospectively detect precursor lesions was investigated in an HPV vaccine randomized trial in Costa Rica.

Methods:

In the trial, 7466 women age 18 to 25 years received an HPV16/18 or control vaccine and were followed at least annually for four years. In this secondary analysis, we included all women who provided a self-collected cervicovaginal specimen six months after enrollment (5109 women = full analytical cohort). A subset (615 women = restricted cohort) also had clinician-collected specimens at the six-month postenrollment visit. High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion or repeat low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion prompted colposcopic referral throughout the study. HPV testing was performed with SPF10PCR/DEIA/LiPA25. Cross-sectional and prospective sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were estimated.

Results:

In the full cohort, one-time HPV testing on self-collected samples detected prevalent CIN2+ with a sensitivity of 88.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] =77.0% to 95.7%) and a specificity of 68.9% (95% CI = 67.6% to 70.1%). For predicting incident CIN2+ in the subsequent four years, sensitivity was 73.9% (95% CI = 65.8% to 81.0%) and specificity 69.4% (95% CI = 68.1% to 70.7%). In the restricted cohort, for incident CIN2+, self-collected HPV was much more sensitive than cytology (80.0% vs 10.0%); relative sensitivity was 0.1 (95% CI = 0.03% to 0.5%). Furthermore, three times more women with normal baseline cytology developed incident CIN2+ than those with negative self-collected HPV. Self-collected and clinician-collected HPV testing had comparable performance. Agreement between self- and clinician-collected samples was 89.7% (kappa = 0.78, McNemar 2 = 0.62) for carcinogenic HPV types.

Conclusions:

Self-collected specimens can be used for HPV-based screening, providing sensitivity and specificity comparable with clinician-collected specimens and detecting disease earlier than cytology.


Background:

Current risk stratification in endometrial cancer (EC) results in frequent over- and underuse of adjuvant therapy, and may be improved by novel biomarkers. We examined whether POLE proofreading mutations, recently reported in about 7% of ECs, predict prognosis.

Methods:

We performed targeted POLE sequencing in ECs from the PORTEC-1 and -2 trials (n = 788), and analyzed clinical outcome according to POLE status. We combined these results with those from three additional series (n = 628) by meta-analysis to generate multivariable-adjusted, pooled hazard ratios (HRs) for recurrence-free survival (RFS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) of POLE-mutant ECs. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

POLE mutations were detected in 48 of 788 (6.1%) ECs from PORTEC-1 and-2 and were associated with high tumor grade (P < .001). Women with POLE-mutant ECs had fewer recurrences (6.2% vs 14.1%) and EC deaths (2.3% vs 9.7%), though, in the total PORTEC cohort, differences in RFS and CSS were not statistically significant (multivariable-adjusted HR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.13 to 1.37, P = .15; HR = 0.19, 95% CI = 0.03 to 1.44, P = .11 respectively). However, of 109 grade 3 tumors, 0 of 15 POLE-mutant ECs recurred, compared with 29 of 94 (30.9%) POLE wild-type cancers; reflected in statistically significantly greater RFS (multivariable-adjusted HR = 0.11, 95% CI = 0.001 to 0.84, P = .03). In the additional series, there were no EC-related events in any of 33 POLE-mutant ECs, resulting in a multivariable-adjusted, pooled HR of 0.33 for RFS (95% CI = 0.12 to 0.91, P = .03) and 0.26 for CSS (95% CI = 0.06 to 1.08, P = .06).

Conclusion:

POLE proofreading mutations predict favorable EC prognosis, independently of other clinicopathological variables, with the greatest effect seen in high-grade tumors. This novel biomarker may help to reduce overtreatment in EC.