Publications by authors named "Billy Franks"

28 Publications

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Cost-Effectiveness of Lower Extremity Nerve Decompression Surgery in the Prevention of Ulcers and Amputations: A Markov Analysis.

Plast Reconstr Surg 2021 Nov;148(5):1135-1145

From the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery, Utrecht University Medical Center, University of Utrecht; Department of Data Science, Julius Clinical; Department of Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen; and Department of Internal Medicine/Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Vascular Medicine, Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland Hospital.

Background: The costs and health effects associated with lower extremity complications in diabetes mellitus are an increasing burden to society. In selected patients, lower extremity nerve decompression is able to reduce symptoms of neuropathy and the concomitant risks of diabetic foot ulcers and amputations. To estimate the health and economic effects of this type of surgery, the cost-effectiveness of this intervention compared to current nonsurgical care was studied.

Methods: To estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness of lower extremity nerve decompression over a 10-year period, a Markov model was developed to simulate the onset and progression of diabetic foot disease in patients with diabetes and neuropathy who underwent lower extremity nerve decompression surgery, compared to a group undergoing current nonsurgical care. Mean survival time, health-related quality of life, presence or risk of lower extremity complications, and in-hospital costs were the outcome measures assessed. Data from the Rotterdam Diabetic Foot Study were used as current care, complemented with information from international studies on the epidemiology of diabetic foot disease, resource use, and costs, to feed the model.

Results: Lower extremity nerve decompression surgery resulted in improved life expectancy (88,369.5 life-years versus 86,513.6 life-years), gain of quality-adjusted life-years (67,652.5 versus 64,082.3), and reduced incidence of foot complications compared to current care (490 versus 1087). The incremental cost-effectiveness analysis was -€59,279.6 per quality-adjusted life-year gained, which is below the Dutch critical threshold of less than €80,000 per quality-adjusted life-year.

Conclusions: Decompression surgery of lower extremity nerves improves survival, reduces diabetic foot complications, and is cost saving and cost-effective compared with current care, suggesting considerable socioeconomic benefit for society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PRS.0000000000008440DOI Listing
November 2021

A prospective, randomized, single-blinded, crossover trial to investigate the effect of a wearable device in addition to a daily symptom diary for the Remote Early Detection of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-RED): a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Oct 11;22(1):694. Epub 2021 Oct 11.

Julius Clinical, Zeist, the Netherlands.

Objectives: It is currently thought that most-but not all-individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms, but the infectious period starts on average 2 days before the first overt symptoms appear. It is estimated that pre- and asymptomatic individuals are responsible for more than half of all transmissions. By detecting infected individuals before they have overt symptoms, wearable devices could potentially and significantly reduce the proportion of transmissions by pre-symptomatic individuals. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests [to determine if there are antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the blood] or SARS-CoV-2 infection tests such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the following two algorithms to detect first time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: • The algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo; experimental condition) • The algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone (Symptom Only Algo; control condition) In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.

Trial Design: The trial is a randomized, single-blinded, two-period, two-sequence crossover trial. The study will start with an initial learning phase (maximum of 3 months), followed by period 1 (3 months) and period 2 (3 months). Subjects entering the study at the end of the recruitment period may directly start with period 1 and will not be part of the learning phase. Each subject will undergo the experimental condition (the Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) in either period 1 or period 2 and the control condition (Symptom Only Algo) in the other period. The order will be randomly assigned, resulting in subjects being allocated 1:1 to either sequence 1 (experimental condition first) or sequence 2 (control condition first). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence.

Participants: The trial will be conducted in the Netherlands. A target of 20,000 subjects will be enrolled. Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence. This results in approximately 6500 normal-risk individuals and 3500 high-risk individuals per sequence. Subjects will be recruited from previously studied cohorts as well as via public campaigns and social media. All data for this study will be collected remotely through the Ava COVID-RED app, the Ava bracelet, surveys in the COVID-RED web portal and self-sampling serology and PCR kits. More information on the study can be found in www.covid-red.eu . During recruitment, subjects will be invited to visit the COVID-RED web portal. After successfully completing the enrolment questionnaire, meeting eligibility criteria and indicating interest in joining the study, subjects will receive the subject information sheet and informed consent form. Subjects can enrol in COVID-RED if they comply with the following inclusion and exclusion criteria: Inclusion criteria: • Resident of the Netherlands • At least 18 years old • Informed consent provided (electronic) • Willing to adhere to the study procedures described in the protocol • Must have a smartphone that runs at least Android 8.0 or iOS 13.0 operating systems and is active for the duration of the study (in the case of a change of mobile number, the study team should be notified) • Be able to read, understand and write Dutch Exclusion criteria: • Previous positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (confirmed either through PCR/antigen or antibody tests; self-reported) • Current suspected (e.g. waiting for test result) COVID-19 infection or symptoms of a COVID-19 infection (self-reported) • Participating in any other COVID-19 clinical drug, vaccine or medical device trial (self-reported) • Electronic implanted device (such as a pacemaker; self-reported) • Pregnant at the time of informed consent (self-reported) • Suffering from cholinergic urticaria (per the Ava bracelet's user manual; self-reported) • Staff involved in the management or conduct of this study INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: All subjects will be instructed to complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app daily, wear their Ava bracelet each night and synchronize it with the app each day for the entire period of study participation. Provided with wearable sensor and/or self-reported symptom data within the last 24 h, the Ava COVID-RED app's underlying algorithms will provide subjects with a real-time indicator of their overall health and well-being. Subjects will see one of three messages, notifying them that no seeming deviations in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected; some changes in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected and they should self-isolate; or alerting them that deviations in their symptoms and/or physiological parameters could be suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection and to seek additional testing. We will assess the intraperson performance of the algorithms in the experimental condition (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) and control conditions (Symptom Only Algo). Note that both algorithms will also instruct to seek testing when any SARS-CoV-2 symptoms are reported in line with those defined by the Dutch national institute for public health and the environment 'Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu' (RIVM) guidelines.

Main Outcomes: The trial will evaluate the use and performance of the Ava COVID-RED app and Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to measure breathing rate, pulse rate, skin temperature and heart rate variability for the purpose of early and asymptomatic detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in general and high-risk populations. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests, PCR tests and/or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for each of the following two algorithms to detect first-time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with the self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data and the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone. In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing. The protocol contains an additional twenty secondary and exploratory objectives which address, among others, infection incidence rates, health resource utilization, symptoms reported by SARS-CoV-2-infected participants and the rate of breakthrough and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. PCR or antigen testing will occur when the subject receives a notification from the algorithm to seek additional testing. Subjects will be advised to get tested via the national testing programme and report the testing result in the Ava COVID-RED app and a survey. If they cannot obtain a test via the national testing programme, they will receive a nasal swab self-sampling kit at home, and the sample will be tested by PCR in a trial-affiliated laboratory. In addition, all subjects will be asked to take a capillary blood sample at home at baseline (between month 0 and 3.5 months after the start of subject recruitment), at the end of the learning phase (month 3; note that this sampling moment is skipped if a subject entered the study at the end of the recruitment period), period 1 (month 6) and period 2 (month 9). These samples will be used for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody testing in a trial-affiliated laboratory, differentiating between antibodies resulting from a natural infection and antibodies resulting from COVID-19 vaccination (as vaccination will gradually be rolled out during the trial period). Baseline samples will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of the learning phase is positive, or if the subject entered the study at the end of the recruitment period, and samples collected at the end of period 1 will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of period 2 is positive. When subjects obtain a positive PCR/antigen or serology test result during the study, they will continue to be in the study but will be moved into a so-called COVID-positive mode in the Ava COVID-RED app. This means that they will no longer receive recommendations from the algorithms but can still contribute and track symptom and bracelet data. The primary analysis of the main objective will be executed using the data collected in period 2 (months 6 through 9). Within this period, serology tests (before and after period 2) and PCR/antigen tests (taken based on recommendations by the algorithms) will be used to determine if a subject was infected with SARS-CoV-2 or not. Within this same time period, it will be determined if the algorithms gave any recommendations for testing. The agreement between these quantities will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms and how these compare between the study conditions.

Randomization: All eligible subjects will be randomized using a stratified block randomization approach with an allocation ratio of 1:1 to one of two sequences (experimental condition followed by control condition or control condition followed by experimental condition). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence, resulting in approximately equal numbers of high-risk and normal-risk individuals between the sequences.

Blinding (masking): In this study, subjects will be blinded to the study condition and randomization sequence. Relevant study staff and the device manufacturer will be aware of the assigned sequence. The subject will wear the Ava bracelet and complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app for the full duration of the study, and they will not know if the feedback they receive about their potential infection status will only be based on the data they entered in the Daily Symptom Diary within the Ava COVID-RED app or based on both the data from the Daily Symptom Diary and the Ava bracelet.

Numbers To Be Randomized (sample Size): A total of 20,000 subjects will be recruited and randomized 1:1 to either sequence 1 (experimental condition followed by control condition) or sequence 2 (control condition followed by experimental condition), taking into account their risk level. This results in approximately 6500 normal-risk and 3500 high-risk individuals per sequence.

Trial Status: Protocol version: 3.0, dated May 3, 2021. Start of recruitment: February 19, 2021. End of recruitment: June 3, 2021. End of follow-up (estimated): November 2021 TRIAL REGISTRATION: The Netherlands Trial Register on the 18 of February, 2021 with number NL9320 ( https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9320 ) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05643-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8503725PMC
October 2021

A prospective, randomized, single-blinded, crossover trial to investigate the effect of a wearable device in addition to a daily symptom diary for the remote early detection of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-RED): a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Jun 22;22(1):412. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Julius Clinical, Zeist, the Netherlands.

Objectives: It is currently thought that most-but not all-individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms, but that the infectious period starts on average two days before the first overt symptoms appear. It is estimated that pre- and asymptomatic individuals are responsible for more than half of all transmissions. By detecting infected individuals before they have overt symptoms, wearable devices could potentially and significantly reduce the proportion of transmissions by pre-symptomatic individuals. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests [to determine if there are antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the blood] or SARS-CoV-2 infection tests such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the following two algorithms to detect first time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo; experimental condition) the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone (Symptom Only Algo; control condition) In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.

Trial Design: The trial is a randomized, single-blinded, two-period, two-sequence crossover trial. All subjects will participate in an initial Learning Phase (varying from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on enrolment date), followed by two contiguous 3-month test phases, Period 1 and Period 2. Each subject will undergo the experimental condition (the Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) in one of these periods and the control condition (Symptom Only Algo) in the other period. The order will be randomly assigned, resulting in subjects being allocated 1:1 to either Sequence 1 (experimental condition first) or Sequence 2 (control condition first). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence.

Participants: The trial will be conducted in the Netherlands. A target of 20,000 subjects will be enrolled. Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence. This results in approximately 6,500 normal-risk individuals and 3,500 high-risk individuals per sequence. Subjects will be recruited from previously studied cohorts as well as via public campaigns and social media. All data for this study will be collected remotely through the Ava COVID-RED app, the Ava bracelet, surveys in the COVID-RED web portal, and self-sampling serology and PCR kits. During recruitment, subjects will be invited to visit the COVID-RED web portal ( www.covid-red.eu ). After successfully completing the enrolment questionnaire, meeting eligibility criteria and indicating interest in joining the study, subjects will receive the subject information sheet and informed consent form. Subjects can enrol in COVID-RED if they comply with the following inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion Criteria: Resident of the Netherlands At least 18 years old Informed consent provided (electronic) Willing to adhere to the study procedures described in the protocol Must have a smartphone that runs at least Android 8.0 or iOS 13.0 operating systems and is active for the duration of the study (in the case of a change of mobile number, study team should be notified) Be able to read, understand and write Dutch Exclusion criteria: Previous positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (confirmed either through PCR/antigen or antibody tests; self-reported) Previously received a vaccine developed specifically for COVID-19 or in possession of an appointment for vaccination in the near future (self-reported) Current suspected (e.g., waiting for test result) COVID-19 infection or symptoms of a COVID-19 infection (self-reported) Participating in any other COVID-19 clinical drug, vaccine, or medical device trial (self-reported) Electronic implanted device (such as a pacemaker; self-reported) Pregnant at time of informed consent (self-reported) Suffering from cholinergic urticaria (per the Ava bracelet's User Manual; self-reported) Staff involved in the management or conduct of this study INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: All subjects will be instructed to complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app daily, wear their Ava bracelet each night and synchronise it with the app each day for the entire period of study participation. Provided with wearable sensor and/or self-reported symptom data within the last 24 hours, the Ava COVID-RED app's underlying algorithms will provide subjects with a real-time indicator of their overall health and well-being. Subjects will see one of three messages, notifying them that: no seeming deviations in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected; some changes in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected and they should self-isolate; or alerting them that deviations in their symptoms and/or physiological parameters could be suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection and to seek additional testing. We will assess intraperson performance of the algorithms in the experimental condition (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) and control conditions (Symptom Only Algo).

Main Outcomes: The trial will evaluate the use and performance of the Ava COVID-RED app and Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to measure breathing rate, pulse rate, skin temperature, and heart rate variability for the purpose of early and asymptomatic detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in general and high-risk populations. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests, PCR tests and/or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for each of the following two algorithms to detect first-time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava Bracelet data when coupled with the self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data, and the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone. In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing. The protocol contains an additional seventeen secondary outcomes which address infection incidence rates, health resource utilization, symptoms reported by SARS-CoV-2 infected participants, and the rate of breakthrough and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. PCR or antigen testing will occur when the subject receives a notification from the algorithm to seek additional testing. Subjects will be advised to get tested via the national testing programme, and report the testing result in the Ava COVID-RED app and a survey. If they cannot obtain a test via the national testing programme, they will receive a nasal swab self-sampling kit at home, and the sample will be tested by PCR in a trial-affiliated laboratory. In addition, all subjects will be asked to take a capillary blood sample at home at baseline (Month 0), and at the end of the Learning Phase (Month 3), Period 1 (Month 6) and Period 2 (Month 9). These samples will be used for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody testing in a trial-affiliated laboratory, differentiating between antibodies resulting from a natural infection and antibodies resulting from COVID-19 vaccination (as vaccination will gradually be rolled out during the trial period). Baseline samples will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of the Learning Phase is positive, and samples collected at the end of Period 1 will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of Period 2 is positive. When subjects obtain a positive PCR/antigen or serology test result during the study, they will continue to be in the study but will be moved into a so-called "COVID-positive" mode in the Ava COVID-RED app. This means that they will no longer receive recommendations from the algorithms but can still contribute and track symptom and bracelet data. The primary analysis of the main objective will be executed using data collected in Period 2 (Month 6 through 9). Within this period, serology tests (before and after Period 2) and PCR/antigen tests (taken based on recommendations by the algorithms) will be used to determine if a subject was infected with SARS-CoV-2 or not. Within this same time period, it will be determined if the algorithms gave any recommendations for testing. The agreement between these quantities will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms and how these compare between the study conditions.

Randomisation: All eligible subjects will be randomized using a stratified block randomization approach with an allocation ratio of 1:1 to one of two sequences (experimental condition followed by control condition or control condition followed by experimental condition). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence, resulting in equal numbers of high-risk and normal-risk individuals between the sequences.

Blinding (masking): In this study, subjects will be blinded as to study condition and randomization sequence. Relevant study staff and the device manufacturer will be aware of the assigned sequence. The subject will wear the Ava bracelet and complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app for the full duration of the study, and they will not know if the feedback they receive about their potential infection status will only be based on data they entered in the Daily Symptom Diary within the Ava COVID-RED app or based on both the data from the Daily Symptom Diary and the Ava bracelet.

Numbers To Be Randomised (sample Size): 20,000 subjects will be recruited and randomized 1:1 to either Sequence 1 (experimental condition followed by control condition) or Sequence 2 (control condition followed by experimental condition), taking into account their risk level. This results in approximately 6,500 normal-risk and 3,500 high-risk individuals per sequence.

Trial Status: Protocol version: 1.2, dated January 22, 2021 Start of recruitment: February 22, 2021 End of recruitment (estimated): April 2021 End of follow-up (estimated): December 2021 TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial has been registered at the Netherlands Trial Register on the 18 of February, 2021 with number NL9320 ( https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9320 ) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05241-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8218271PMC
June 2021

Validation of cardiovascular outcomes and risk factors in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in the United Kingdom.

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2021 02 28;30(2):237-247. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Pharmacoepidemiology and Risk Management, RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: Strategies to identify and validate acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke in primary-care electronic records may impact effect measures, but to an unknown extent. Additionally, the validity of cardiovascular risk factors that could act as confounders in studies on those endpoints has not been thoroughly assessed in the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink's (CPRD's) GOLD database. We explored the validity of algorithms to identify cardiovascular outcomes and risk factors and evaluated different outcome-identification strategies using these algorithms for estimation of adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs).

Methods: First, we identified AMI, stroke, smoking, obesity, and menopausal status in a cohort treated for overactive bladder by applying computerized algorithms to primary care medical records (2004-2012). We validated these cardiovascular outcomes and risk factors with physician questionnaires (gold standard for this analysis). Second, we estimated IRRs for AMI and stroke using algorithm-identified and questionnaire-confirmed cases, comparing these with IRRs from cases identified through linkage with hospitalization/mortality data (best estimate).

Results: For AMI, the algorithm's positive predictive value (PPV) was >90%. Initial algorithms for stroke performed less well because of inclusion of codes for prevalent stroke; algorithm refinement increased PPV to 80% but decreased sensitivity by 20%. Algorithms for smoking and obesity were considered valid. IRRs based on questionnaire-confirmed cases only were closer to IRRs estimated from hospitalization/mortality data than IRRs from algorithm-identified cases.

Conclusions: AMI, stroke, smoking, obesity, and postmenopausal status can be accurately identified in CPRD. Physician questionnaire-validated AMI and stroke cases yield IRRs closest to the best estimate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pds.5150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821285PMC
February 2021

Introducing PIONEER: a project to harness big data in prostate cancer research.

Nat Rev Urol 2020 Jun 27;17(6):351-362. Epub 2020 May 27.

The Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE), Stockholm, Sweden.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Enhancement Through the Power of Big Data in Europe (PIONEER) is a European network of excellence for big data in prostate cancer, consisting of 32 private and public stakeholders from 9 countries across Europe. Launched by the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 and part of the Big Data for Better Outcomes Programme (BD4BO), the overarching goal of PIONEER is to provide high-quality evidence on prostate cancer management by unlocking the potential of big data. The project has identified critical evidence gaps in prostate cancer care, via a detailed prioritization exercise including all key stakeholders. By standardizing and integrating existing high-quality and multidisciplinary data sources from patients with prostate cancer across different stages of the disease, the resulting big data will be assembled into a single innovative data platform for research. Based on a unique set of methodologies, PIONEER aims to advance the field of prostate cancer care with a particular focus on improving prostate-cancer-related outcomes, health system efficiency by streamlining patient management, and the quality of health and social care delivered to all men with prostate cancer and their families worldwide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41585-020-0324-xDOI Listing
June 2020

The Association of Tacrolimus Formulation Switching with Trough Concentration Variability: A Retrospective Cohort Study of Tacrolimus Use Post-Kidney Transplantation Based on National Drug Code (NDC) Numbers.

Adv Ther 2019 06 19;36(6):1358-1369. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

Formerly Real World Evidence, CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Introduction: It was hypothesized that patients experiencing at least one tacrolimus formulation switch may require more frequent therapeutic drug monitoring, subsequent dose adjustments, and a potential for untoward clinical outcomes than patients who remain on a single formulation.

Methods: Eligible patients were adult kidney transplant recipients with stable renal function at month 3 post-transplant and no evidence of acute rejection, receiving an oral, tacrolimus-based regimen. Patients were categorized into two groups (fixed or variable formulation) using the US National Drug Code (NDC) on the basis of tacrolimus formulation usage over the 12-month period.

Results: A total of 305 patients were enrolled from four US transplant centers; 44 (14.4%) received multiple formulations and 261 (85.6%) received a single formulation. Mean number of tacrolimus dose adjustments and mean cumulative milligram dose change were not statistically different between the two groups. Mean trough-to-dose ratio, frequency of trough level measurements, and mean number of excursions above 120% or below 80% of the patient's mean trough concentration were significantly higher in the variable compared to the fixed formulation group.

Conclusion: A variable tacrolimus formulation regimen was associated with a higher frequency of trough level measurements and a greater number of excursions in trough levels compared with continuing on a fixed formulation regimen of tacrolimus in this retrospective chart review study.

Funding: Astellas Pharma Global Development, Inc. Plain language summary available for this article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-019-00950-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824386PMC
June 2019

Proportions of Cancer Cases in Primary Care, Hospital, and Cancer Registry Data Among Patients Treated for Overactive Bladder.

Epidemiology 2019 03;30(2):e8-e9

RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain, RTI Health Solutions, Waltham, MA RTI Health Solutions, Research Triangle Park, NC RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain RTI Health Solutions, Research Triangle Park, NC Astellas Pharma B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0000000000000953DOI Listing
March 2019

Cardiovascular safety of mirabegron: analysis of an integrated clinical trial database of patients with overactive bladder syndrome.

J Am Soc Hypertens 2018 11 10;12(11):768-778.e1. Epub 2018 Aug 10.

Astellas Pharma Global Development, Inc., Northbrook, IL, USA.

Mirabegron is a β-adrenoreceptor agonist used for the treatment of overactive bladder syndrome. We evaluated the cardiovascular (CV) safety of mirabegron using pooled data from 13 studies. The analysis included 13,396 patients who received ≥1 dose of mirabegron (25 mg/50 mg) or comparator antimuscarinics (solifenacin 2.5 mg/5 mg/10 mg or tolterodine extended release 4 mg) as monotherapies, or placebo. We focused on changes in blood pressure and CV adverse events. Baseline CV risk factors had an imbalanced effect on subsequent CV adverse events. The frequency of these adverse events was comparable for overactive bladder treatments (0.4%-1.5%) and placebo (0.9%). Changes from baseline in blood pressure were similar for the overactive bladder treatments and placebo, and did not confer increased risk of CV adverse events. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that baseline CV risk factors (history of arrhythmia, history of coronary artery disease, and history of stroke/transient ischemic attack) were significantly associated with subsequent CV adverse events in the trials, whereas overactive bladder therapies were not. In conclusion, using an analytical approach to carefully control for CV characteristics of patients in these trials demonstrated no evidence of increased CV risk for mirabegron or antimuscarinics over placebo in the treatment of overactive bladder syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jash.2018.08.001DOI Listing
November 2018

Healthcare utilization and costs with fixed-source versus variable-source tacrolimus in patients receiving a kidney transplant.

J Med Econ 2018 Nov 14;21(11):1067-1074. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

e Medical Affairs , Astellas Pharma Global Development, Inc. , Northbrook , IL , USA.

Aims: Switching drug manufacturers in transplant patients may require an increased intensity of therapeutic monitoring, leading to additional healthcare visits, associated laboratory tests, and perhaps hospitalizations. As real-world studies examining the interchangeability of tacrolimus from different manufacturers are limited, the purpose of this study was to examine the healthcare resource utilization (HRU) and economic impact of tacrolimus-switching in kidney transplantation.

Materials And Methods: This cross-sectional, retrospective study examined HRU and healthcare costs (HCCs) among patients with a kidney transplant who were prescribed tacrolimus from fixed-source (FS) vs variable-source (VS) manufacturers using claims data from the large US health plan Humana from October 1, 2012, to December 31, 2013.

Results: Overall, 1,024 patients were identified (FS: n = 674, 66%; VS: n = 350, 34%). The number of therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) events for the VS group was 13% greater than for the FS group after controlling for demographics, comorbidity score, and number of medications (incidence rate ratio = 1.13, p = .033). Adjusted total HCCs were 9% lower for VS (US$28,054 vs US$30,823, p = .045). In the unadjusted analysis, VS had greater emergency department (ED) utilization (45% vs 35%, p < .002). In the VS group, the mean (standard deviation [SD]) number of days from manufacturer switch to first outpatient visit was 23.8 (33.6), and the number of days (SD) to first TDM event was 43.6 (56.2).

Limitations: Study limitations include the lack of availability of many transplant-specific variables within the Humana database, potential errors/omissions in claims coding, and restriction of cross-sectional data examination to a 1-year period.

Conclusions: VS patients had greater TDM and lower total HCCs. Further research is warranted to understand the drivers of ED use among the VS group, and to determine factors associated with delayed TDM after regimen modification. Opportunities may exist to improve the quality of care for patients receiving immunosuppressant treatment with tacrolimus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13696998.2018.1503596DOI Listing
November 2018

Value of Free-text Comments for Validating Cancer Cases Using Primary-care Data in the United Kingdom.

Epidemiology 2018 09;29(5):e41-e42

RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain RTI Health Solutions, Waltham, MA RTI Health Solutions, RTP, Research Triangle Park, NC RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain RTI Health Solutions, RTP, Research Triangle Park, NC Astellas Pharma B.V., Leiden, The Netherlands RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0000000000000856DOI Listing
September 2018

Variation in Cardiovascular Risk Related to Individual Antimuscarinic Drugs Used to Treat Overactive Bladder: A UK Cohort Study.

Pharmacotherapy 2018 06;38(6):628-637

RTI Health Solutions, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Blocking muscarinic receptors could have an effect on cardiac function, especially among elderly patients with overactive bladder (OAB).

Study Objective: To investigate the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events in users of antimuscarinic drugs to treat OAB.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Cohort study of new users of darifenacin, fesoterodine, oxybutynin, solifenacin, tolterodine, or trospium, 18 years or older, in the United Kingdom's Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), 2004-2012.

Outcome Measurements And Main Results: Using tolterodine as the reference, we estimated propensity-score-stratified incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for acute myocardial infarction, stroke, CV mortality, major adverse cardiac events (MACE, a combined end point of the previous three), and all-cause death for individual antimuscarinic drugs. The study cohort included 119,912 new users of OAB drugs. The mean age at cohort entry was 62 years, 70% were female, and the mean follow-up was 3.3 years. The adjusted IRR for MACE and current use of oxybutynin compared with current use of tolterodine was 1.14 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.30). In contrast, the IRR was 0.65 (CI 0.56-0.76) for current use of solifenacin compared with tolterodine. In this study, performed with health care data, the distribution of risk factors was relatively similar across users of different OAB drugs and, although our analyses controlled for a range of measured potential confounders, residual confounding cannot be ruled out.

Conclusions: In an observational comparative study of users of medications to treat OAB conducted in routine clinical practice, the risk for CV side effects was increased in users of oxybutynin and decreased in users of solifenacin compared with users of tolterodine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/phar.2121DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6033092PMC
June 2018

Validation of Cancer Cases Using Primary Care, Cancer Registry, and Hospitalization Data in the United Kingdom.

Epidemiology 2018 03;29(2):308-313

Background: In the United Kingdom, hospital or cancer registry data can be linked to electronic medical records for a subset of general practices and years.

Methods: We used Clinical Practice Research Datalink data (2004-2012) from patients treated for overactive bladder. We electronically identified provisional cases of 10 common cancers in General Practitioner Online Database data and validated them by medical profile review. In practices with linkage to Hospital Episodes Statistics and National Cancer Data Repository (2004-2010), we validated provisional cancer cases against these data sources. This linkage also let us identify additional cancer diagnoses in individuals without cancer diagnosis records in the General Practitioner Online Database.

Results: Among 50,840 patients, 1,486 provisional cancer cases were identified in the General Practitioner Online Database for 2004-2012. Medical profile review confirmed 93% of 661 cases in nonlinked practices (range, 100% of non-Hodgkin lymphomas and uterine cancer to 77% of skin melanomas) and 96% of 825 cases in linked practices (100% of kidney and uterine cancers to 92% of melanomas). In the subset of linked practices, for 2004-2010, 720 cases were confirmed, of which 68% were identifiable in the General Practitioner Online Database (range, 90% of breast to 36% of kidney cancers).

Conclusions: Most cases of cancer identified electronically in the General Practitioner Online Database were confirmed. A substantial proportion of cases, especially of cancer types not typically managed by general practitioners, would be missed without Hospital Episodes Statistics and National Cancer Data Repository data (and are likely missed in nonlinked practices). See video abstract at, http://links.lww.com/EDE/B315.

Registration (before Study Conduct): European Union electronic Register of Post-Authorisation Studies (EU PAS Registry) number EUPAS5529, http://www.encepp.eu/encepp/viewResource.htm?id=11107.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0000000000000786DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794229PMC
March 2018

Comparison of cardiovascular events among treatments for overactive bladder: a Danish nationwide cohort study.

Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2018 Feb 13;74(2):193-199. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

RTI Health Solutions, Av. Diagonal, 605, 9-1, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the cardiovascular safety of antimuscarinic drugs to treat overactive bladder (OAB) in Denmark.

Methods: This was a cohort study using data recorded in Danish registries from patients newly exposed to darifenacin, fesoterodine, oxybutynin, solifenacin, tolterodine, or trospium in 2004-2012. We estimated crude and standardized incidence rates (IRs) for acute myocardial infarction (AMI); stroke; cardiovascular mortality; major adverse cardiac events (MACE, a combined endpoint of the previous three outcomes); and all-cause death for the individual and combined drugs. We also estimated crude, standardized, and propensity score-stratified incidence rate ratios (IRRs) comparing individual antimuscarinic drugs to tolterodine as the reference.

Results: Among 72,917 new users of OAB drugs (mean age, 66 years; 60% women), the standardized IR (95% confidence interval) per 1000 person-years for current use of any OAB drug was 2.7 (2.5-2.9) for AMI, 1.3 (1.2-1.5) for stroke, 7.8 (7.5-8.1) for MACE, 4.8 (4.5-5.0) for cardiovascular mortality, and 15.2 (14.8-15.6) for all-cause mortality. Propensity score-stratified IRRs for current use (reference, tolterodine) were close to the null for all drugs and endpoints.

Conclusions: We did not identify differences in the risk of cardiovascular events or mortality among users of individual antimuscarinic OAB drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00228-017-2359-3DOI Listing
February 2018

Epidemiological features of invasive mold infections among solid organ transplant recipients: PATH Alliance® registry analysis.

Med Mycol 2017 Apr;55(3):269-277

David Horn, LLC, Doylestown, PA, 18902, USA.

Epidemiological characteristics of 333 proven and probable invasive mould infections (IMIs) among solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) identified between 2004 and 2008 from the Prospective Antifungal Therapy Alliance (PATH) registry are presented. Liver transplant recipients (LTRs) had the lowest median time to IMIs (109 days; interquartile range [IQR] 24-611 days), the highest rate of disseminated disease (n/N = 18/33; 55%), and highest mortality (n/N = 21/33; 64%). Lung transplant recipients had highest median time to IMIs (486 days; IQR 117-1358 days) and lowest mortality (n/N = 31/184; 17%). Complete or partial response at week 12 in patients with invasive aspergillosis (IA) was 67% (n/N = 189/281), and 41% (n/N = 9/22) in mucormycosis patients. In the composite outcome of death or no response to therapy, LTRs had the worst outcome. Higher suspicion of mold infection and institution of appropriate antifungal prophylactic strategies are warranted, especially in high risk LTRs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mmy/myw086DOI Listing
April 2017

Effect of Potentially Inappropriate Use of Antimuscarinic Medications on Healthcare Use and Cost in Individuals with Overactive Bladder.

J Am Geriatr Soc 2016 Apr 5;64(4):779-87. Epub 2016 Apr 5.

Astellas Pharma Global Development, Northbrook, Illinois.

Objectives: To examine potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in older adults initiating an antimuscarinic medication for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB).

Design: Retrospective database analysis.

Setting: Medical and pharmacy claims data.

Participants: Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan members aged 65 and older newly initiated on an antimuscarinic OAB treatment were identified and assigned to PIM and non-PIM comparison groups based on 2012 American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria and/or the presence of an anticholinergic medication interaction at the time of initiation of treatment (N = 66,275).

Measurements: Healthcare costs and OAB medication use.

Results: Of members initiated on an antimuscarinic OAB medication, 31.1% had a drug-drug or drug-disease or syndrome interaction. Dementia was the most common disease or syndrome interaction (11.3%), followed by constipation (8.6%) and delirium (2.9%). Paroxetine (2.6%), amitriptyline (2.2%), cyclobenzaprine (1.7%), and meclizine (1.6%) were the most common interacting medications. Subjects in the PIM group had greater healthcare costs over 12 months of follow-up ($12,001) than those in the non-PIM group ($9,373) after controlling for baseline characteristics (P < .001). There was no difference between the PIM and the non-PIM groups in odds of discontinuing OAB treatment at 12 months after controlling for baseline characteristics (odds ratio = 0.98, 95% confidence interval = 0.89-1.07, P = .63).

Conclusion: Potentially inappropriate medication use was highly prevalent and was associated with greater total healthcare costs. Providers should carefully consider medical history and concurrent medication use when initiating antimuscarinic medication for the treatment of OAB. Development of interventions to reduce potentially inappropriate use of antimuscarinics in individuals with OAB is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jgs.14030DOI Listing
April 2016

Drug-Drug Interaction Associated with Mold-Active Triazoles among Hospitalized Patients.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2016 06 23;60(6):3398-406. Epub 2016 May 23.

Astellas Pharma Global Development, Inc., Northbrook, Illinois, USA.

The majority of hospitalized patients receiving mold-active triazoles are at risk of drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Efforts are needed to increase awareness of DDIs that pose a serious risk of adverse events. Triazoles remain the most commonly utilized antifungals. Recent developments have included the mold-active triazoles (MATs) itraconazole, voriconazole, and posaconazole, which are first-line agents for the treatment of filamentous fungal infections but have the potential for DDIs. This objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of triazole DDIs. Hospitalized U.S. adults with MAT use were identified in the Cerner HealthFacts database, which contained data from over 150 hospitals (2005 to 2013). The severities of DDIs with MATs were categorized, using drug labels and the drug information from the Drugdex system (Thompson Micromedex), into four groups (contraindicated, major, moderate, and minor severity). DDIs of minor severity were not counted. A DDI event was considered to have occurred if the following two conditions were met: (i) the patient used at least one drug with a classification of at least a moderate interaction with the MAT during the hospitalization and (ii) there was a period of overlap between the administration of the MAT and that of the interacting drug of at least 1 day. A total of 6,962 hospitalizations with MAT use were identified. Among them, 88% of hospitalizations with voriconazole use, 86% of hospitalizations with itraconazole use, and 93% of hospitalizations with posaconazole use included the use of a concomitant interacting drug. A total of 68% of hospitalizations with posaconazole use, 34% of hospitalizations with itraconazole use, and 20% of hospitalizations with voriconazole use included the use of at least one drug with a DDI of contraindicated severity. A total of 83% of hospitalizations with posaconazole use, 61% of hospitalizations with itraconazole use, and 82% of hospitalizations with voriconazole use included the use of at least one drug that resulted in a severe DDI. The findings of this study demonstrate that a majority of hospitalized patients receiving MAT are at risk for severe drug-drug interactions and highlight the need for antifungal stewardship.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.00054-16DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4879403PMC
June 2016

Hospital resource use of patients receiving isavuconazole vs voriconazole for invasive mold infections in the phase III SECURE trial.

J Med Econ 2016 Jul 30;19(7):728-34. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

d Washington Hospital Center , Washington , DC , USA.

Objective: In the phase III SECURE trial, isavuconazole was non-inferior to voriconazole for all-cause mortality for the primary treatment of invasive mold disease (IMD) caused by Aspergillus spp. and other filamentous fungi. This analysis assessed whether hospital resource utilization was different between patients treated with isavuconazole vs voriconazole in SECURE.

Methods: The analysis population comprised adults with proven/probable/possible IMD enrolled in SECURE. The primary endpoint was hospital length of stay (LOS) in the overall trial population. Patients were also stratified by estimated glomerular filtration rate-modification of diet in renal disease category (< 60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) [moderate-to-severe impairment] and ≥60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) [mild or no impairment]), body mass index (BMI; <25, ≥25-<30, and ≥30 kg/m(2)), and age (≤45, >45-≤65, and >65 years).

Results: Data from 516 patients (258 per arm) were evaluated. Overall, median LOS was not statistically significantly different between the isavuconazole (15.0 days) and voriconazole (16.0 days; p = 0.607) arms. Median LOS was statistically significantly shorter in patients with moderate-to-severe renal impairment treated with isavuconazole (9.0 days) vs voriconazole (19.0 days; hazard ratio [HR]: 3.44; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.51-7.83). Median LOS was shorter, but not significantly, in patients with a BMI ≥30 kg/m(2) (isavuconazole 13.5 days vs voriconazole 22 days; HR = 1.57; 95% CI = 0.70-3.52) or aged >65 years (isavuconazole 15.0 days vs voriconazole 20.0 days; HR = 1.37; 95% CI = 0.87-2.16).

Limitations: As the patient subgroups analyzed were small, sub-group findings should be interpreted with caution in light of the lack of statistical significance for each sub-group-by-treatment interaction.

Conclusions: Isavuconazole may reduce hospital LOS in certain subgroups of patients with IMD, especially those with moderate-to-severe renal impairment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3111/13696998.2016.1164175DOI Listing
July 2016

Persistence and adherence with the new beta-3 receptor agonist, mirabegron, versus antimuscarinics in overactive bladder: Early experience in Canada.

Can Urol Assoc J 2015 Sep-Oct;9(9-10):343-50

Astellas Scientific and Medical Affairs, Northbrook, IL.

Introduction: Antimuscarinics are the principal pharmacological treatment for overactive bladder (OAB), but frequently give rise to anticholinergic side effects, such as dry mouth, a factor leading to poor persistence. The β3-adrenoceptor agonist mirabegron is devoid of significant anticholinergic activity, while being effective in OAB. We evaluated persistence and adherence with mirabegron versus antimuscarinics over 12 months.

Methods: We obtained retrospective claims from a Canadian Private Drug Plan database for patients 18 years old and over, with a first claim for mirabegron or antimuscarinics during a 6-month index period (April-September 2013). A 6-month look-back identified those with no prior claims for OAB medication (treatment-naïve) or ≥1 prior OAB drug (treatment-experienced). Time to end of persistence (≥30 day therapy gap or switch of therapy) was evaluated over 12 months; adherence with medication (medication possession ratio) was also measured.

Results: Persistence data from 19 485 patients (74% female, 92% naïve, 19.9% aged ≥65 years) showed that for experienced patients the median number of days on mirabegron was 299 days, compared with a range of 96 to 242 days for the different antimuscarinics; for naïve patients, it was 196 versus 70 to 100 days, respectively. Persistence at 12 months was for mirabegron 39% versus 14% to 35% for antimuscarinics, (experienced) and 30% mirabegron versus 14% to 21% antimuscarinics, (naïve). Patients taking mirabegron demonstrated statistically significantly greater adherence than those taking antimuscarinics.

Conclusion: Patients who received mirabegron remained longer on treatment than those treated with antimuscarinics, and had higher 12-month persistence and adherence rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.3098DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4662398PMC
December 2015

Alpha blocker monotherapy versus combination therapy with antimuscarinics in men with persistent LUTS refractory to alpha-adrenergic treatment: patterns of persistence.

Can J Urol 2015 Aug;22(4):7914-23

Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Introduction: Patients with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) often present with voiding and storage symptoms, which may require combination therapy with an alpha blocker and an antimuscarinic (AM). This study compared treatment persistence in LUTS/BPH patients on alpha blocker monotherapy with those using combination alpha blocker and AM therapy (AB/AM).

Materials And Methods: Retrospective analysis of anonymized patient longitudinal prescription reimbursement claims data. All patients who had claims for any of four alpha blocker medications and six AM agents during an index period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 were included. For the combination therapy group, the effect of adherence with the AM medication on persistence to the alpha blocker was examined.

Results: Patients on AB/AM combination therapy remained on alpha blockers for longer than those on alpha blocker monotherapy (p = 0.04); 92.4% were persistent at 3 months versus 89.0%, and at 1 year 50.8% were persistent versus 49.6%, respectively. The highest number of days on therapy was reported for tamsulosin plus solifenacin. As confirmed by multivariate analysis, patients with the highest adherence to AM medication (= 80%) persisted on alpha blockers for longer than those with the lowest (< 50%) adherence (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Patients taking an AM in combination with an alpha blocker showed greater persistence with alpha blocker treatment over a 1 year period. When an AM is combined with an alpha blocker in patients with LUTS/BPH, the additional medication burden does not have a negative impact on persistence and may even improve it.
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August 2015

Efficacy outcomes by baseline prostate-specific antigen quartile in the AFFIRM trial.

Eur Urol 2015 Feb 27;67(2):223-30. Epub 2014 Aug 27.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Enzalutamide significantly prolonged the survival of men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (PCa) after docetaxel in the randomised, phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multinational Patients with Progressive Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Previously Treated with Docetaxel-Based Chemotherapy (AFFIRM) trial (NCT00974311). Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is commonly used as a marker of PCa disease burden, and the relationship of baseline PSA level to consequent treatment effect is of clinical interest.

Objective: Exploratory analysis to evaluate any differences in patient characteristics and efficacy outcomes by baseline PSA level in the AFFIRM trial.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Post hoc subanalysis of all randomised patients (n=1199) from the AFFIRM trial.

Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned in a two-to-one ratio to receive oral enzalutamide 160 mg/d or placebo.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: The major clinical efficacy end points were overall survival (OS), radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS), and time to PSA progression (TTPP) versus placebo; baseline characteristics, treatment duration, and subsequent antineoplastic therapy were compared by baseline PSA quartile.

Results And Limitations: Baseline PSA quartiles corresponded to the following PSA groups: <40 ng/ml (n=299), 40 to <111 ng/ml (n=300), 111 to <406 ng/ml (n=300), and ≥406 ng/ml (n=300). Enzalutamide consistently improved OS, rPFS, and TTPP compared with placebo across all subgroups, regardless of baseline PSA level. Hazard ratios for improvements in OS were 0.55 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.36-0.85), 0.69 (95% CI, 0.47-1.02), 0.73 (95% CI, 0.53-1.01), and 0.53 (95% CI, 0.39-0.73) for PSA groups 1-4, respectively. The post hoc design of this analysis was not statistically powered to assess the relationship between baseline PSA and clinical efficacy outcomes.

Conclusions: This post hoc analysis of the AFFIRM trial demonstrates consistent benefits in OS, rPFS, and TTPP with enzalutamide regardless of baseline disease severity, as assessed by PSA.

Patient Summary: Exploratory post hoc analysis of the AFFIRM trial showed that enzalutamide improves overall survival, radiographic progression-free survival, and time to prostate-specific antigen progression compared with placebo regardless of baseline disease severity, as assessed by prostate-specific antigen.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00974311.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2014.08.025DOI Listing
February 2015

Enzalutamide in European and North American men participating in the AFFIRM trial.

BJU Int 2015 Jan 23;115(1):41-9. Epub 2014 Oct 23.

Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.

Objective: To explore any differences in efficacy and safety outcomes between European (EU) (n = 684) and North American (NA) (n = 395) patients in the AFFIRM trial (NCT00974311).

Patients And Methods: Phase III, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multinational AFFIRM trial in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) after docetaxel. Participants were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive oral enzalutamide 160 mg/day or placebo. The primary end point was overall survival (OS) in a post hoc analysis.

Results: Enzalutamide significantly improved OS compared with placebo in both EU and NA patients. The median OS in EU patients was longer than NA patients in both treatment groups. However, the relative treatment effect, expressed as hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval, was similar in both regions: 0.64 (0.50, 0.82) for EU and 0.63 (0.47, 0.83) for NA. Significant improvements in other end points further confirmed the benefit of enzalutamide over placebo in patients from both regions. The tolerability profile of enzalutamide was comparable between EU and NA patients, with fatigue and nausea the most common adverse events. Four EU patients (4/461 enzalutamide-treated, 0.87%) and one NA patient (1/263 enzalutamide-treated, 0.38%) had seizures. The difference in median OS was related in part to the timing of development of mCRPC and baseline demographics on study entry.

Conclusion: This post hoc exploratory analysis of the AFFIRM trial showed a consistent OS benefit for enzalutamide in men with mCRPC who had previously progressed on docetaxel in both NA- and EU-treated patients, although the median OS was higher in EU relative to NA patients. Efficacy benefits were consistent across end points, with a comparable safety profile in both regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.12898DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312486PMC
January 2015

Epidemiology and outcomes of invasive candidiasis due to non-albicans species of Candida in 2,496 patients: data from the Prospective Antifungal Therapy (PATH) registry 2004-2008.

PLoS One 2014 3;9(7):e101510. Epub 2014 Jul 3.

Astellas Scientific and Medical Affairs, Northbrook, Illinois, United States of America.

This analysis describes the epidemiology and outcomes of invasive candidiasis caused by non-albicans species of Candida in patients enrolled in the Prospective Antifungal Therapy Alliance (PATH Alliance) registry from 2004 to 2008. A total of 2,496 patients with non-albicans species of Candida isolates were identified. The identified species were C. glabrata (46.4%), C. parapsilosis (24.7%), C. tropicalis (13.9%), C. krusei (5.5%), C. lusitaniae (1.6%), C. dubliniensis (1.5%) and C. guilliermondii (0.4%); 111 infections involved two or more species of Candida (4.4%). Non-albicans species accounted for more than 50% of all cases of invasive candidiasis in 15 of the 24 sites (62.5%) that contributed more than one case to the survey. Among solid organ transplant recipients, patients with non-transplant surgery, and patients with solid tumors, the most prevalent non-albicans species was C. glabrata at 63.7%, 48.0%, and 53.8%, respectively. In 1,883 patients receiving antifungal therapy on day 3, fluconazole (30.5%) and echinocandins (47.5%) were the most frequently administered monotherapies. Among the 15 reported species, 90-day survival was highest for patients infected with either C. parapsilosis (70.7%) or C. lusitaniae (74.5%) and lowest for patients infected with an unknown species (46.7%) or two or more species (53.2%). In conclusion, this study expands the current knowledge of the epidemiology and outcomes of invasive candidiasis caused by non-albicans species of Candida in North America. The variability in species distribution in these centers underscores the importance of local epidemiology in guiding the selection of antifungal therapy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0101510PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4081561PMC
October 2015

Treatment and outcomes of invasive fusariosis: review of 65 cases from the PATH Alliance(®) registry.

Mycoses 2014 Nov 18;57(11):652-8. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

David Horn LLC, Doylestown, PA, USA.

Invasive Fusarium infections occur in immunosuppressed patients, especially those with haematological malignancies. We conducted a descriptive analysis of data from patients with invasive fusariosis identified in the Prospective Antifungal Therapy Alliance registry, which collected data on invasive fungal infections in the United States and Canada from 2004 to 2008. In this series of 65 patients with proven (83.1%) and probable (16.9%) invasive fusariosis, the most common underlying condition was haematological malignancy, in which neutropenia and corticosteroid usage frequently occurred. Seven patients with invasive Fusarium infections had cross-reactive galactomannan assay results. The survival rate for all patients at 90 days was 44%, which was an improvement compared with historical data. Disseminated disease occurred frequently (35.4%), and patients with and without disseminated disease had survival rates of 33% and 50%, respectively. Posaconazole and voriconazole were the most frequently employed therapies and may be linked to the improved survival rate observed in this patient series. In summary, patients with invasive Fusarium infections continue to have high fatality rates, especially those with disseminated disease. Fusarium infections should be strongly considered in the absence of Aspergillus isolation in patients at high risk of mould infections with positive galactomannan assay test results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/myc.12212DOI Listing
November 2014

Prospective antifungal therapy (PATH) alliance(®) : focus on mucormycosis.

Mycoses 2014 Apr 22;57(4):240-6. Epub 2013 Oct 22.

Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Mucormycosis is increasingly encountered in immunosuppressed patients, such as those with haematological malignancies or stem cell transplantation. We present a descriptive analysis of 121 cases of mucormycosis from the Prospective Antifungal Therapy Alliance(®) registry (July 2004 to December 2008). Patients with proven or probable mucormycosis were enrolled and followed prospectively for 12 weeks. The most common underlying disease and site of infection were haematologic malignancy (61.2%) and lungs (46.3%) respectively. Rhizopus (n = 63; 52.1%) was the most commonly isolated species, followed by Mucor (n = 28; 23.1%), other or unknown (n = 17; 14.0%), Rhizomucor (n = 9; 7.4%) and Lichtheimia (n = 4; 3.3%). The 12-week Kaplan-Meier survival probability for all patients was 0.41; however, there was large variation in survival probabilities between species, with highest survival probability observed for Lichtheimia (0.5), followed by Rhizopus (0.47), Mucor (0.40), unknown Mucormycetes species (0.40), other Mucormycetes species (0.17) and Rhizomucor (0.15). Prior use of voriconazole decreased 12-week survival probability. Survival probability was higher in patients receiving amphotericin B by Day 3 (0.72) vs. those who started amphotericin B therapy after Day 3 (0.33). The low survival probability observed underscores the importance of further studies of mucormycosis. Optimal treatment selection and timing may improve prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/myc.12149DOI Listing
April 2014

Effect of caffeine on SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging during regadenoson pharmacologic stress: rationale and design of a prospective, randomized, multicenter study.

J Nucl Cardiol 2011 Feb 17;18(1):73-81. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.

Background: Caffeine attenuates the coronary hyperemic response to adenosine by competitive A₂(A) receptor blockade. This study aims to determine whether oral caffeine administration compromises diagnostic accuracy in patients undergoing vasodilator stress myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) with regadenoson, a selective adenosine A(2A) agonist.

Methods: This multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study includes patients with suspected coronary artery disease who regularly consume caffeine. Each participant undergoes three SPECT MPI studies: a rest study on day 1 (MPI-1); a regadenoson stress study on day 3 (MPI-2), and a regadenoson stress study on day 5 with double-blind administration of oral caffeine 200 or 400 mg or placebo capsules (MPI-3; n = 90 per arm). Only participants with ≥ 1 reversible defect on the second MPI study undergo the subsequent stress MPI test. The primary endpoint is the difference in the number of reversible defects on the two stress tests using a 17-segment model. Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analyses will evaluate the effect of caffeine on the regadenoson exposure-response relationship. Safety will also be assessed.

Conclusion: The results of this study will show whether the consumption of caffeine equivalent to 2-4 cups of coffee prior to an MPI study with regadenoson affects the diagnostic validity of stress testing (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00826280).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12350-010-9311-6DOI Listing
February 2011

Differences in heart rate response to adenosine and regadenoson in patients with and without diabetes mellitus.

Am Heart J 2009 Apr 6;157(4):771-6. Epub 2009 Mar 6.

Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294-0006, USA.

Background: Adenosine and regadenoson increase heart rate (HR) when used as stress agents to produce coronary hyperemia due to direct sympathetic stimulation. We hypothesized that the HR response will be lower in patients with than in those without diabetes mellitus (DM).

Methods: We studied the HR response (percentage maximal increase) in 2,000 patients in The ADenoscan Versus regAdenosoN Comparative Evaluation for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (ADVANCE MPI 1 and 2) Trials with known DM status.

Results: There were 643 patients with a history of DM (65.4 +/- 0.4 years, 32% women) and 1,357 patients with no DM (65.5 +/- 0.3 years, 29% women). Compared with non-DM, the DM group had higher HR at baseline (68.4 +/- 0.48 vs 65.2 +/- 0.31 beat/min, P < .001) and smaller HR response after adenosine or regadenoson administration (29.4% +/- 0.64% vs 36.1% +/- 0.54%, P < .001). Insulin therapy was associated with further blunting in the HR response (25.9% +/- 1.0% vs 31.2% +/- 0.8%, P < .001). After adjusting for beta-blocker intake, baseline HR, age, gender, renal function, systolic blood pressure, and left ventricular systolic function, DM independently accounted for a decrease in the HR response.

Conclusions: The HR response to adenosine and regadenoson in patients with DM is blunted. If additional studies confer an agreement between traditional tests for determination of autonomic neuropathy and this measure, then examination of HR response to these agents during myocardial perfusion imaging might add prognostic power.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2009.01.011DOI Listing
April 2009

Alefacept revisited: Our 3-year clinical experience in 200 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis.

J Am Acad Dermatol 2008 Jan 12;58(1):116-24. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

Baylor Research Institute, Dallas, Texas 75246, USA.

Background: Alefacept was the first biologic agent approved in the United States for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis (January 2003). Standard prescription is 12 weekly intramuscular doses. The mechanism of action involves the inhibition of T-cell activation and the selective induction of apoptosis of memory T cells. A proportion of patients responding to therapy have been reported to experience remissions of approximately 7 to 8 months, characterized by disease-free and treatment-free intervals.

Objective: We sought to evaluate the efficacy and safety of alefacept treatment in patients with psoriasis during routine clinical practice.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart analysis of data involving 201 patients and 296 courses of alefacept from February 2003 to January 2006. Standard informed consent was obtained.

Results: Of the 62 patients (32.6%) who achieved an excellent response, 45% received dosage regimens defined as alternative and 73% had concomitant therapy in at least one of the treatment courses that they received. The average remission time of these patients who achieved an excellent response was approximately 7 months, with a maximum of up to 25 months. Adverse events were generally manageable and rarely led to treatment discontinuation.

Limitations: Study data rely on retrospective analysis of chart-documented clinical examination findings, and patient compliance with visit schedules.

Conclusion: Alefacept is a long-term treatment option for psoriasis with long-term remissions noted in a proportion of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2007.09.030DOI Listing
January 2008
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