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Metastatic cancers impose significant burdens on patients, affecting quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. Even during remission, microscopic metastases can lurk, but few therapies directly target tumor cell metastasis. Agents that interfere with this process would represent a new paradigm in cancer management, changing the 'waiting game' into a time of active prevention. These therapies could take multiple forms based on the pathways involved in the metastatic process. For example, a phenome-wide association study showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the gene TBXA2R is associated with increased metastasis in multiple primary cancers (P = 0.003), suggesting clinical applicability of TBXA2R antagonists. Emerging data related to the role of platelets in metastasis are concordant with our sense that these pathways present significant opportunities for therapeutic development. However, before real progress can be made toward clinical targeting of the metastatic process, foundational work is needed to define informative measures of critical elements such as circulating tumor cells and tumor DNA, and circulatory vs. lymphatic spread. These challenges require an expansion of team science and composition to obtain competitive funding. At our academic medical center, we have implemented a Cancer Metastasis Inhibition (CMI) program investigating this approach across multiple cancers.
BACKGROUND - Molecular biomarkers have the potential to improve the current state of early lung cancer detection. The goal of this project was to develop a policy statement that provides guidance about the level of evidence required to determine that a molecular biomarker, used to support early lung cancer detection, is appropriate for clinical use.
METHODS - An ad hoc project steering committee was formed, to include individuals with expertise in the early detection of lung cancer and molecular biomarker development, from inside and outside of the Assembly on Thoracic Oncology. Key questions, generated from the results of a survey of the project steering committee, were discussed at an in-person meeting. Results of the discussion were summarized in a policy statement that was circulated to the steering committee and revised multiple times to achieve consensus.
RESULTS - With a focus on the clinical applications of lung cancer screening and lung nodule evaluation, the policy statement outlines categories of results that should be reported in the early phases of molecular biomarker development, discusses the level of evidence that would support study of the clinical utility, describes the outcomes that should be proven to consider a molecular biomarker clinically useful, and suggests study designs capable of assessing these outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS - The application of molecular biomarkers to assist with the early detection of lung cancer has the potential to substantially improve our ability to select patients for lung cancer screening, and to assist with the characterization of indeterminate lung nodules. We have described relevant considerations and have suggested standards to apply when determining whether a molecular biomarker for the early detection of lung cancer is ready for clinical use.
Lung cancer screening identifies cancers with heterogeneous behaviors. Some lung cancers will be identified among patients who had prior negative CT screens and upon follow-up scans develop a de novo nodule that was determined to be cancerous. Other lung cancers will be identified among patients who had one or more prior stable positive scans that were not determined to be lung cancer (indeterminate pulmonary nodules), but in follow-up scans was diagnosed with an incidence lung cancer. Using data from the CT arm of the National Lung Screening Trial, this analysis investigated differences in patient characteristics and survival endpoints between prevalence-, interval-, and screen-detected lung cancers, characterized based on sequence of screening results. Lung cancers immediately following a positive baseline (T0), and prior to the T1 screen, formed the prevalence cohort. Interval cancers were diagnosed following a negative screen at any time point prior to the next screening round. Two cohorts of screen-detected lung cancers (SDLC) were identified that had a baseline positive screen that was that was not determined to be lung cancer (i.e., an indeterminate pulmonary nodule), but in follow-up scans was diagnosed with an incidence lung cancer 12 (SDLC1) or 24 (SDLC2) months later. Two other incidence cohorts had screen-detected lung cancers that had baseline negative screen and upon follow-up scans developed a de novo nodule determined to be cancerous at 12 (SDLC3) or 24 (SDLC4) months later. Differences in patient characteristics, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were assessed. The lung cancer-specific death rate was higher for SDLC3/SDLC4 compared to SDLC1/SDLC2 lung cancers (136.6/1,000 person-years vs. 71.3/1,000 person-years, P < 0.001). Moreover, PFS and OS were significantly lower for SDLC3/SDLC4 compared to SDLC1/SDLC2 (P < 0.004; P < 0.002, respectively). The findings were consistent when stratified by stage and histology. Multivariable Cox proportional models revealed that the SDLC3/SDLC4 case groups were associated with significantly poorer PFS (HR = 1.89; 95% CI 1.31-2.74) and OS (HR = 1.80; 95% CI 1.21-2.67) compared to SDLC1/SDLC2 lung cancers (HR = 1.00). Lung cancer patients who develop a de novo nodule that determined to be cancerous (i.e., at least one negative CT screen prior to cancer diagnosis) had poorer survival outcomes compared to patients who had at least one positive screen prior to cancer diagnosis. As such, the observation that de novo screen-detected are associated with poorer survival could be attributed to faster growing, more aggressive cancers that arose from a lung environment previously lacking focal abnormalities.
PURPOSE - No biomarker is available for pancreatic cancer early detection, but a small prospective European study involving 16 cases and 32 controls raised the possibility that anti-Ezrin autoantibodies may be associated with risk of pancreatic cancer. We aimed to validate this finding in a case-control study nested within a prospective study in the USA.
METHODS - Levels of anti-Ezrin autoantibodies were examined using ELISA in pre-diagnostic plasma samples of 73 cases and 145 matched controls. Paired t test and paired signed rank tests were used to determine the difference between two groups, and conditional logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between anti-Ezrin autoantibody levels and risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
RESULTS - No association was found between levels of anti-Ezrin plasma autoantibodies and subsequent risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
CONCLUSION - Anti-Ezrin autoantibodies did not appear to be useful as a plasma biomarker for early detection of pancreatic cancer.
BACKGROUND - While much is known about correlates of C-reactive protein (CRP), little is known about correlates of other inflammation biomarkers. As these measures are increasingly being used in epidemiologic studies, it is important to determine what factors affect inflammation biomarker concentrations.
METHODS - Using age, sex, and body mass index (BMI) adjusted linear regression, we examined 38 exposures (demographic and anthropometric measures, chronic disease history, NSAIDs, dietary factors, and supplement use) of 8 inflammation biomarkers [CRP, IL1β, IL6, IL8, TNFα, and soluble TNF receptors (sTNFR) in plasma; and prostaglandin E2 metabolite (PGE-M) in urine] in 217 adults, ages 50 to 76 years.
RESULTS - Increasing age was associated with higher concentrations of all biomarkers except IL1β. BMI was positively associated with CRP and sTNFR I and II. Saturated fat intake was associated with increased CRP, sTNFRII, TNFα, and IL1β, whereas eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid (EPA+DHA) intake (diet or total) was associated with decreased CRP, TNFα, and IL1β. Results for sex were varied: CRP and IL6 were lower among men, whereas PGE-M and sTNFRI were higher. Higher CRP was also associated with smoking, hormone replacement therapy use, and γ-tocopherol intake; lower CRP with physical activity, and intakes of dietary vitamin C and total fiber.
CONCLUSIONS - Although the associations varied by biomarker, the factors having the greatest number of significant associations (P ≤ 0.05) with the inflammation biomarkers were age, BMI, dietary saturated fat, and EPA+DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
IMPACT - Our results suggest that potential confounders in epidemiologic studies assessing associations with inflammation biomarkers vary across specific biomarkers.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.
BACKGROUND - The Lung Cancer Risk Test (LCRT) trial is a prospective cohort study comparing lung cancer incidence among persons with a positive or negative value for the LCRT, a 15 gene test measured in normal bronchial epithelial cells (NBEC). The purpose of this article is to describe the study design, primary endpoint, and safety; baseline characteristics of enrolled individuals; and establishment of a bio-specimen repository.
METHODS/DESIGN - Eligible participants were aged 50-90 years, current or former smokers with 20 pack-years or more cigarette smoking history, free of lung cancer, and willing to undergo bronchoscopic brush biopsy for NBEC sample collection. NBEC, peripheral blood samples, baseline CT, and medical and demographic data were collected from each subject.
DISCUSSION - Over a two-year span (2010-2012), 403 subjects were enrolled at 12 sites. At baseline 384 subjects remained in study and mean age and smoking history were 62.9 years and 50.4 pack-years respectively, with 34% current smokers. Obstructive lung disease (FEV1/FVC <0.7) was present in 157 (54%). No severe adverse events were associated with bronchoscopic brushing. An NBEC and matched peripheral blood bio-specimen repository was established. The demographic composition of the enrolled group is representative of the population for which the LCRT is intended. Specifically, based on baseline population characteristics we expect lung cancer incidence in this cohort to be representative of the population eligible for low-dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening. Collection of NBEC by bronchial brush biopsy/bronchoscopy was safe and well-tolerated in this population. These findings support the feasibility of testing LCRT clinical utility in this prospective study. If validated, the LCRT has the potential to significantly narrow the population of individuals requiring annual low-dose helical CT screening for early detection of lung cancer and delay the onset of screening for individuals with results indicating low lung cancer risk. For these individuals, the small risk incurred by undergoing once in a lifetime bronchoscopic sample collection for LCRT may be offset by a reduction in their CT-related risks. The LCRT biospecimen repository will enable additional studies of genetic basis for COPD and/or lung cancer risk.
TRIAL REGISTRATION - The LCRT Study, NCT 01130285, was registered with Clinicaltrials.gov on May 24, 2010.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a pro-inflammatory protein with potential as a biomarker in predicting colon cancer risk. However, little is known regarding its association with risk of colorectal adenomas, particularly by subtypes. We conducted a colonoscopy-based matched case-control study to assess whether elevated plasma CRP levels may be associated with colorectal adenoma risk and further whether this association may be modified by urinary prostaglandin E2 metabolite (PGE-M), a biomarker of systemic prostaglandin E2 production. Included in the study were 226 cases with a single small tubular adenoma, 198 cases with multiple small tubular adenomas, 283 cases with at least one advanced adenoma, and 395 polyp-free controls. No apparent association between CRP level and risk of single small tubular adenomas was found (ptrend = 0.59). A dose-response relationship with CRP level was observed for risk of either multiple small tubular adenomas (OR = 2.01, 95%CI = 1.10-3.68 for the highest versus lowest tertile comparison; ptrend = 0.03) or advanced adenomas (OR = 1.81, 95%CI = 1.10-2.96 for the highest versus lowest tertile comparison; ptrend = 0.02). In a joint analysis of CRP level and PGE-M, risk of multiple or advanced adenoma was greatest among those with highest levels of both CRP and PGE-M in comparison to those with low CRP and low PGE-M (OR = 3.72, 95%CI = 1.49-9.72). Our results suggest that elevated CRP, particularly in the context of concurrent elevated PGE-M, may be a biomarker of multiple or advanced adenoma risk in a screening age population. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
RATIONALE - Screening for lung cancer using low-dose computed tomography (CT) reduces lung cancer mortality. However, in addition to a high rate of benign nodules, lung cancer screening detects a large number of indolent cancers that generally belong to the adenocarcinoma spectrum. Individualized management of screen-detected adenocarcinomas would be facilitated by noninvasive risk stratification.
OBJECTIVES - To validate that Computer-Aided Nodule Assessment and Risk Yield (CANARY), a novel image analysis software, successfully risk stratifies screen-detected lung adenocarcinomas based on clinical disease outcomes.
METHODS - We identified retrospective 294 eligible patients diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma spectrum lesions in the low-dose CT arm of the National Lung Screening Trial. The last low-dose CT scan before the diagnosis of lung adenocarcinoma was analyzed using CANARY blinded to clinical data. Based on their parametric CANARY signatures, all the lung adenocarcinoma nodules were risk stratified into three groups. CANARY risk groups were compared using survival analysis for progression-free survival.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS - A total of 294 patients were included in the analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis of all the 294 adenocarcinoma nodules stratified into the Good, Intermediate, and Poor CANARY risk groups yielded distinct progression-free survival curves (P < 0.0001). This observation was confirmed in the unadjusted and adjusted (age, sex, race, and smoking status) progression-free survival analysis of all stage I cases.
CONCLUSIONS - CANARY allows the noninvasive risk stratification of lung adenocarcinomas into three groups with distinct post-treatment progression-free survival. Our results suggest that CANARY could ultimately facilitate individualized management of incidentally or screen-detected lung adenocarcinomas.
UNLABELLED - Tanzania has the highest burden of cervical cancer in East Africa. This study aims to identify perceived barriers and facilitators that influence scale-up of regional and population-level cervical cancer screening and treatment programs in Tanzania. Convenience sampling was used to select participants for this qualitative study among 35 key informants. Twenty-eight stakeholders from public-sector health facilities, academia, government, and nongovernmental organizations completed in-depth interviews, and a seven-member municipal health management team participated in a focus group discussion. The investigation identified themes related to the infrastructure of health services for cervical cancer prevention, service delivery, political will, and sociocultural influences on screening and treatment. Decentralizing service delivery, improving access to screening and treatment, increasing the number of trained health workers, and garnering political will were perceived as key facilitators for enhancing and initiating screening and treatment services. In conclusion, participants perceived that system-level structural factors should be addressed to expand regional and population-level service delivery of screening and treatment.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE - Tanzanian women have a high burden of cervical cancer. Understanding the perceived structural factors that may influence screening coverage for cervical cancer and availability of treatment may be beneficial for program scale-up. This study showed that multiple factors contribute to the challenge of cervical cancer screening and treatment in Tanzania. In addition, it highlighted systematic developments aimed at expanding services. This study is important because the themes that emerged from the results may help inform programs that plan to improve screening and treatment in Tanzania and potentially in other areas with high burdens of cervical cancer.
BACKGROUND - Very few efforts have been undertaken to scale-up low-cost approaches to cervical cancer prevention in low-resource countries.
METHODS - In a public sector cervical cancer prevention program in Zambia, nurses provided visual-inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cryotherapy in clinics co-housed with HIV/AIDS programs, and referred women with complex lesions for histopathologic evaluation. Low-cost technological adaptations were deployed for improving VIA detection, facilitating expert physician opinion, and ensuring quality assurance. Key process and outcome indicators were derived by analyzing electronic medical records to evaluate program expansion efforts.
FINDINGS - Between 2006-2013, screening services were expanded from 2 to 12 clinics in Lusaka, the most-populous province in Zambia, through which 102,942 women were screened. The majority (71.7%) were in the target age-range of 25-49 years; 28% were HIV-positive. Out of 101,867 with evaluable data, 20,419 (20%) were VIA positive, of whom 11,508 (56.4%) were treated with cryotherapy, and 8,911 (43.6%) were referred for histopathologic evaluation. Most women (87%, 86,301 of 98,961 evaluable) received same-day services (including 5% undergoing same-visit cryotherapy and 82% screening VIA-negative). The proportion of women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 and worse (CIN2+) among those referred for histopathologic evaluation was 44.1% (1,735/3,938 with histopathology results). Detection rates for CIN2+ and invasive cervical cancer were 17 and 7 per 1,000 women screened, respectively. Women with HIV were more likely to screen positive, to be referred for histopathologic evaluation, and to have cervical precancer and cancer than HIV-negative women.
INTERPRETATION - We creatively disrupted the 'no screening' status quo prevailing in Zambia and addressed the heavy burden of cervical disease among previously unscreened women by establishing and scaling-up public-sector screening and treatment services at a population level. Key determinants for successful expansion included leveraging HIV/AIDS program investments, and context-specific information technology applications for quality assurance and filling human resource gaps.