Publications by authors named "Geoffrey Liu"

363 Publications

The Controversy of Pepsinogen A/Pepsin A in Detecting Extra-Gastroesophageal Reflux.

J Voice 2021 Jun 2. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Department of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, and West China Biomedical Big Data Center, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.. Electronic address:

Background: Pepsinogen A (PGA)/pepsin A is often used as a diagnostic marker of extra-gastroesophageal reflux. We aimed to explore whether its positivity in upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) was specific enough to diagnose reflux.

Methods: PGA/pepsin A protein levels were examined in 10 types of tissues and 10 types of body fluid by immunological staining, western blot or Elisa, using three different commercially available brands simultaneously. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry parallel reaction monitoring (LC-MS/MS PRM) served as a gold reference for the detection of PGA/pepsin A proteins. PGA gene expression was analyzed by reverse transcriptase sequencing methods for tissue samples. Specifically, 24 hour pH monitoring technique was conducted for patients who donated saliva samples.

Results: Eight out of ten types of human tissue samples (stomach, esophagus, lung, kidney, colon, parotid gland, nasal turbinate and nasal polyps) were confirmed positive for PGA/pepsin A gene and protein by genetic and PRM technique, respectively. Two out of ten types of body fluid samples (gastric fluid, urine) were confirmed positive for PGA/pepsin A protein by PRM technique. The consistence rates of PGA/pepsin A positivity among three commercial antibody brands and Elisa kit were poor, and Elisa results of salivary did not match with 24-hour pH monitoring.

Conclusions: Multiple tissues and body fluid could be detected baseline expression levels of PGA/pepsin A gene and protein. However, those commercially available PGA/pepsin A antibodies achieved poor sensitivity and specificity, therefore, relying on the detection of PGA/pepsin A in UADT by single antibodies to diagnose extra-gastroesophageal reflux without a specific positive cut-off value is unreliable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.04.009DOI Listing
June 2021

A multi-omics study links TNS3 and SEPT7 to long-term former smoking NSCLC survival.

NPJ Precis Oncol 2021 May 17;5(1):39. Epub 2021 May 17.

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.

The genetic architecture of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is relevant to smoking status. However, the genetic contribution of long-term smoking cessation to the prognosis of NSCLC patients remains largely unknown. We conducted a genome-wide association study primarily on the prognosis of 1299 NSCLC patients of long-term former smokers from independent discovery (n = 566) and validation (n = 733) sets, and used in-silico function prediction and multi-omics analysis to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on prognostics with NSCLC. We further detected SNPs with at least moderate association strength on survival within each group of never, short-term former, long-term former, and current smokers, and compared their genetic similarity at the SNP, gene, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL), enhancer, and pathway levels. We identified two SNPs, rs34211819 at 7p12.3 (P = 3.90 × 10) and rs1143149 at 7p14.2 (P = 9.75 × 10), were significantly associated with survival of NSCLC patients who were long-term former smokers. Both SNPs had significant interaction effects with years of smoking cessation (rs34211819: P = 8.0 × 10; rs1143149: P = 0.003). In addition, in silico function prediction and multi-omics analysis provided evidence that these QTLs were associated with survival. Moreover, comparison analysis found higher genetic similarity between long-term former smokers and never-smokers, compared to short-term former smokers or current smokers. Pathway enrichment analysis indicated a unique pattern among long-term former smokers that was related to immune pathways. This study provides important insights into the genetic architecture associated with long-term former smoking NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41698-021-00182-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128887PMC
May 2021

Deliberations about clinical pharmacogenetic testing in pediatric oncology.

Per Med 2021 Jul 11;18(4):399-405. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Pediatrics & BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Division of Translational Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4, Canada.

This article summarizes the background, content and outcomes of a special meeting that was convened among oncologists and scientists to discuss the role of pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing in pediatric clinical oncology practice. This meeting provided an opportunity for what the lead author (AM Issa) refers to as the 'voice of the clinician' dynamic to be amplified in order to better understand how personalized or precision medicine applications such as PGx testing are adopted and incorporated into clinical settings and what we can learn from the experiences of current and ongoing implementation PGx approaches to further the implementation of precision medicine applications in real-world environments. Group dynamics and clinical experience with PGx testing and return of results shaped the discussion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/pme-2020-0120DOI Listing
July 2021

Advancing health equity in cancer care: The lived experiences of poverty and access to lung cancer screening.

PLoS One 2021 6;16(5):e0251264. Epub 2021 May 6.

Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Individuals living with low income are more likely to smoke, have a higher risk of lung cancer, and are less likely to participate in preventative healthcare (i.e., low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for lung cancer screening), leading to equity concerns. To inform the delivery of an organized pilot lung cancer screening program in Ontario, we sought to contextualize the lived experiences of poverty and the choice to participate in lung cancer screening.

Methods: At three Toronto academic primary-care clinics, high-risk screen-eligible patients who chose or declined LDCT screening were consented; sociodemographic data was collected. Qualitative interviews were conducted. Theoretical thematic analysis was used to organize, describe and interpret the data using the morphogenetic approach as a guiding theoretical lens.

Results: Eight participants chose to undergo screening; ten did not. From interviews, we identified three themes: Pathways of disadvantage (social trajectories of events that influence lung-cancer risk and health-seeking behaviour), lung-cancer risk and early detection (upstream factors that shape smoking behaviour and lung-cancer screening choices), and safe spaces of care (care that is free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas or conversations). We illuminate how 'choice' is contextual to the availability of material resources such as income and housing, and how 'choice' is influenced by having access to spaces of care that are free of judgement and personal bias.

Conclusion: Underserved populations will require multiprong interventions that work at the individual, system and structural level to reduce inequities in lung-cancer risk and access to healthcare services such as cancer screening.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0251264PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8101716PMC
May 2021

Durability of CNS disease control in NSCLC patients with brain metastases treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors plus cranial radiotherapy.

Lung Cancer 2021 Jun 8;156:76-81. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have excellent systemic activity and are standard first line treatment in EGFR/ALK wild type metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, their role in patients with brain metastases, which affects over 20% of patients and cause significant morbidity, is less clear.

Methods: We reviewed patients with EGFR/ALK wild-type mNSCLC with CNS metastases. Serial MRIs were reviewed to determine the time to intracranial progression (iPFS). Multivariate regression was performed to adjust for the disease-specific graded prognostic score (ds-GPA).

Results: We identified 36 ICI- and 33 chemotherapy-treated patients with baseline CNS metastases and available serial MRIs (average frequency:3.5 months). Baseline radiation was given except for 2 chemotherapy-treated patients with asymptomatic solitary metastasis. The CNS burden of disease was higher in the ICI-treated group (ICI:22% vs. chemotherapy:0% had >10 lesions; p = 0.02), but the utilization of WBRT was not (ICI:31% vs. chemotherapy:45%; p = 0.09). At the time of progression, CNS involvement was identified in 30 % of ICI-treated patients compared to 64 % of chemotherapy controls (p = 0.02). ICI-treated patients had superior iPFS (13.5 vs 8.4 months) that remained significant in multivariate analysis (HR 1.9; 95%CI 1.1--3.4). Superior CNS outcomes in ICI-treated patients were driven by the PD-L1 high subgroup where the 12-month cumulative incidence rate of CNS progression was 19% in ICI-treated PD-L1 ≥ 50%, 50% in ICI-treated PD-L1 < 50% and 58% in chemotherapy-treated patients (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Remarkable CNS disease control is seen with baseline RT plus ICIs in patients with PD-L1 ≥ 50%. Strategies for delaying WBRT should be investigated in this subgroup of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2021.04.006DOI Listing
June 2021

Using genetic variants to evaluate the causal effect of cholesterol lowering on head and neck cancer risk: A Mendelian randomization study.

PLoS Genet 2021 Apr 22;17(4):e1009525. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), which includes cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx, is a cause of substantial global morbidity and mortality. Strategies to reduce disease burden include discovery of novel therapies and repurposing of existing drugs. Statins are commonly prescribed for lowering circulating cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR). Results from some observational studies suggest that statin use may reduce HNSCC risk. We appraised the relationship of genetically-proxied cholesterol-lowering drug targets and other circulating lipid traits with oral (OC) and oropharyngeal (OPC) cancer risk using two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR). For the primary analysis, germline genetic variants in HMGCR, NPC1L1, CETP, PCSK9 and LDLR were used to proxy the effect of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering therapies. In secondary analyses, variants were used to proxy circulating levels of other lipid traits in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 188,578 individuals. Both primary and secondary analyses aimed to estimate the downstream causal effect of cholesterol lowering therapies on OC and OPC risk. The second sample for MR was taken from a GWAS of 6,034 OC and OPC cases and 6,585 controls (GAME-ON). Analyses were replicated in UK Biobank, using 839 OC and OPC cases and 372,016 controls and the results of the GAME-ON and UK Biobank analyses combined in a fixed-effects meta-analysis. We found limited evidence of a causal effect of genetically-proxied LDL-C lowering using HMGCR, NPC1L1, CETP or other circulating lipid traits on either OC or OPC risk. Genetically-proxied PCSK9 inhibition equivalent to a 1 mmol/L (38.7 mg/dL) reduction in LDL-C was associated with an increased risk of OC and OPC combined (OR 1.8 95%CI 1.2, 2.8, p = 9.31 x10-05), with good concordance between GAME-ON and UK Biobank (I2 = 22%). Effects for PCSK9 appeared stronger in relation to OPC (OR 2.6 95%CI 1.4, 4.9) than OC (OR 1.4 95%CI 0.8, 2.4). LDLR variants, resulting in genetically-proxied reduction in LDL-C equivalent to a 1 mmol/L (38.7 mg/dL), reduced the risk of OC and OPC combined (OR 0.7, 95%CI 0.5, 1.0, p = 0.006). A series of pleiotropy-robust and outlier detection methods showed that pleiotropy did not bias our findings. We found limited evidence for a role of cholesterol-lowering in OC and OPC risk, suggesting previous observational results may have been confounded. There was some evidence that genetically-proxied inhibition of PCSK9 increased risk, while lipid-lowering variants in LDLR, reduced risk of combined OC and OPC. This result suggests that the mechanisms of action of PCSK9 on OC and OPC risk may be independent of its cholesterol lowering effects; however, this was not supported uniformly across all sensitivity analyses and further replication of this finding is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096036PMC
April 2021

A reply to "Lung cancer outcomes: Are BMI and race clinically relevant?"

Lung Cancer 2021 04 26;154:225-226. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada; Division of Biostatistics, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2021.02.019DOI Listing
April 2021

Pharmacoepidemiology: A time for a new multidisciplinary approach to precision medicine.

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2021 Mar 13. Epub 2021 Mar 13.

School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA.

The advent of the genomic age has created a rapid increase in complexity for the development and selection of drug treatments. A key component of precision medicine is the use of genetic information to improve therapeutic effectiveness of drugs and prevent potential adverse drug reactions. Pharmacoepidemiology, as a field, uses observational methods to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of drug treatments in populations. Pharmacoepidemiology by virtue of its focus, tradition, and research orientation can provide appropriate study designs and analysis methods for precision medicine. The objective of this manuscript is to demonstrate how pharmacoepidemiology can impact and shape precision medicine and serve as a reference for pharmacoepidemiologists interested in contributing to the science of precision medicine. This paper depicts the state of the science with respect to the need for pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoepidemiological methods, tools and approaches for precision medicine; the need for and how pharmacoepidemiologists use their skills to engage with the precision medicine community; and recommendations for moving the science of precision medicine pharmacoepidemiology forward. We propose a new integrated multidisciplinary approach dedicated to the emerging science of precision medicine pharmacoepidemiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pds.5226DOI Listing
March 2021

Risk Perception Among a Lung Cancer Screening Population.

Chest 2021 Mar 2. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Background: A successful lung cancer screening program requires a patient cohort at sufficient risk of developing cancer who are willing to participate. Among other factors, a patient's lung cancer risk perception may inform their attitudes toward screening and smoking cessation programs.

Research Question: This study analyzed data from the Pan-Canadian Early Detection of Lung Cancer (PanCan) Study to address the following questions: Which factors are associated with the perception of lung cancer risk? Is there an association between risk perception for lung cancer and actual calculated risk? Is there an association between risk perception for lung cancer and the intent to quit smoking? Are there potential targets for lung cancer screening awareness?

Study Design And Methods: The PanCan study recruited current or former smokers aged 50 to 75 years who had at least a 2% risk of developing lung cancer over 6 years to undergo low-dose screening CT. Risk perception and worry about lung cancer were captured on a baseline questionnaire. Cumulative logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between baseline risk variables and both lung cancer risk perception and worry.

Results: Among the 2,514 individuals analyzed, a higher perceived risk of lung cancer was positively associated with calculated risk (P = .032). Younger age, being a former smoker, respiratory symptoms, lower FEV, COPD, and a family history of lung cancer were associated with higher perceived risk. Conversely, a consistent relationship between calculated risk and worry was not identified. There was a positive association between risk perception and lung cancer worry and reported intent to quit smoking.

Interpretation: Individuals' lung cancer risk perception correlated positively with calculated risk in a screening population. Promotion of screening programs may benefit from focusing on factors associated with higher risk perception; conversely, harnessing worry seemingly holds less value.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2021.02.050DOI Listing
March 2021

Genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies pleiotropic risk loci for aerodigestive squamous cell cancers.

PLoS Genet 2021 Mar 5;17(3):e1009254. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

University of Salzburg, Department of Biosciences and Cancer Cluster Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria.

Squamous cell carcinomas (SqCC) of the aerodigestive tract have similar etiological risk factors. Although genetic risk variants for individual cancers have been identified, an agnostic, genome-wide search for shared genetic susceptibility has not been performed. To identify novel and pleotropic SqCC risk variants, we performed a meta-analysis of GWAS data on lung SqCC (LuSqCC), oro/pharyngeal SqCC (OSqCC), laryngeal SqCC (LaSqCC) and esophageal SqCC (ESqCC) cancers, totaling 13,887 cases and 61,961 controls of European ancestry. We identified one novel genome-wide significant (Pmeta<5x10-8) aerodigestive SqCC susceptibility loci in the 2q33.1 region (rs56321285, TMEM273). Additionally, three previously unknown loci reached suggestive significance (Pmeta<5x10-7): 1q32.1 (rs12133735, near MDM4), 5q31.2 (rs13181561, TMEM173) and 19p13.11 (rs61494113, ABHD8). Multiple previously identified loci for aerodigestive SqCC also showed evidence of pleiotropy in at least another SqCC site, these include: 4q23 (ADH1B), 6p21.33 (STK19), 6p21.32 (HLA-DQB1), 9p21.33 (CDKN2B-AS1) and 13q13.1(BRCA2). Gene-based association and gene set enrichment identified a set of 48 SqCC-related genes rel to DNA damage and epigenetic regulation pathways. Our study highlights the importance of cross-cancer analyses to identify pleiotropic risk loci of histology-related cancers arising at distinct anatomical sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009254DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7968735PMC
March 2021

Internet and social media use in cancer patients: association with distress and perceived benefits and limitations.

Support Care Cancer 2021 Mar 2. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology Department of Medicine Princess Margaret Cancer Centre , University Health Network and University of Toronto , Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: Cancer patients may turn to social media (SM) to cope with distress. We investigated associations between distress and internet/SM use for cancer information/support.

Methods: Adult patients at a Canadian cancer centre completed a cross-sectional survey on sociodemographics, health status, use of cancer online resources and distress (EQ5D-5L). Statistical models adjusted for relevant variables.

Results: Of 376 participants, median age was 52 years, time since diagnosis was 1.63 years, 272 (74%) had post-secondary education and 192 (51%) were female. For cancer information/support, 276 (73%) used internet and 147 (39%) SM. Dose response relationships were observed between distress and cancer-related internet (p = 0.02), and SM use (p < 0.001). Respondents using internet/SM for cancer information/support reported greater internet confidence (internet OR = 4.0, 95% CI: 1.9-8.3; SM OR = 4.18, 95%, CI: 1.9-11.3), higher education (internet OR = 3.0, 95% CI: 1.7-5.2; SM OR = 2.21, 95% CI: 1.2-4.1) and were more likely female (internet OR = 2.6, 95% CI 1.5-4.6; SM OR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.3-3.4). For SM for cancer information/support, more used SM > 30 min daily (OR = 3.4; 95% CI: 2.1-5.7), and were distressed (OR = 1.67, 95% CI: 1.0-2.7). SM benefits were to learn about cancer (93; 25%), distract from cancer (85; 23%) and connect with survivors (81; 22%). SM limitations were privacy (161; 43%), quality (90; 24%) and personal applicability (85; 23%). Females used SM more to connect with survivors than males (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Greater internet confidence, higher education and being female were associated with cancer-related internet/SM use. Distressed cancer patients were also more likely to turn to SM. Privacy concerns may limit SM use for coping. Future research should determine how to optimize SM in caring for and connecting with patients and reduce cancer-related distress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06077-0DOI Listing
March 2021

Malignant priapism in metastatic adenocarcinoma of gastrointestinal origin: A F-FDG PET/CT study.

J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol 2021 Feb 26. Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Barwon Medical Imaging, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

Priapism is described as a persistent and non-sexual erection. It is a rare presenting complaint with a wide range of aetiologies. Malignant priapism was first used to describe persistent erections secondary to neoplastic infiltration of the penis by Peacock in 1938.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1754-9485.13163DOI Listing
February 2021

Rare deleterious germline variants and risk of lung cancer.

NPJ Precis Oncol 2021 Feb 16;5(1):12. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Recent studies suggest that rare variants exhibit stronger effect sizes and might play a crucial role in the etiology of lung cancers (LC). Whole exome plus targeted sequencing of germline DNA was performed on 1045 LC cases and 885 controls in the discovery set. To unveil the inherited causal variants, we focused on rare and predicted deleterious variants and small indels enriched in cases or controls. Promising candidates were further validated in a series of 26,803 LCs and 555,107 controls. During discovery, we identified 25 rare deleterious variants associated with LC susceptibility, including 13 reported in ClinVar. Of the five validated candidates, we discovered two pathogenic variants in known LC susceptibility loci, ATM p.V2716A (Odds Ratio [OR] 19.55, 95%CI 5.04-75.6) and MPZL2 p.I24M frameshift deletion (OR 3.88, 95%CI 1.71-8.8); and three in novel LC susceptibility genes, POMC c.*28delT at 3' UTR (OR 4.33, 95%CI 2.03-9.24), STAU2 p.N364M frameshift deletion (OR 4.48, 95%CI 1.73-11.55), and MLNR p.Q334V frameshift deletion (OR 2.69, 95%CI 1.33-5.43). The potential cancer-promoting role of selected candidate genes and variants was further supported by endogenous DNA damage assays. Our analyses led to the identification of new rare deleterious variants with LC susceptibility. However, in-depth mechanistic studies are still needed to evaluate the pathogenic effects of these specific alleles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41698-021-00146-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7887261PMC
February 2021

Systemic Inflammatory Markers of Survival in Epidermal Growth Factor-Mutated Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Single-Institution Analysis, Systematic Review, and Meta-analysis.

Clin Lung Cancer 2021 Jan 10. Epub 2021 Jan 10.

Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Departments of Medical Biophysics, Pharmacology, and Toxicology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Systemic inflammatory response (SIR) may influence prognosis in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated (m) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Pretreatment SIR markers (neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio [NLR], platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio, lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio [LMR], lactate dehydrogenase [LDH], and lung immune prognostic index [LIPI]) were assessed as prognostic factors in NSCLC survival.

Patients And Methods: Retrospective survival analysis (overall survival [OS] and progression-free survival [PFS]) of EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre were performed separately for early (I-IIIa) and late (IIIb-IV) stage disease for individual SIR variables, dichotomized by optimal cutoff points by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and multivariable Cox proportional hazard modeling. A systematic review and meta-analysis of known SIR studies in patients with late-stage EGFR-mutated were also performed.

Results: From 2012 to 2019, in 530 patients, significant adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for OS comparing high versus low NLR were 2.12 for early stage and 1.79 for late stage disease. Additionally, late stage cohorts had significant associations, as follows: high versus low derived NLR, aHR = 1.53; LMR, aHR = 0.62; LDH, aHR = 2.04; and LIPI, aHR = 2.04. Similar patterns were found for PFS in early stage NLR (aHR = 1.96) and late stage NLR (aHR = 1.46), while for PFS, only late stage derived NLR (aHR = 1.34), LDH (aHR = 1.75), and LIPI (aHR = 1.66) were significant. A meta-analysis confirmed that NLR, LMR, LDH, and LIPI were all significantly associated with OS and PFS in the late stage.

Conclusion: This primary study and meta-analysis demonstrated that LMR and LDH were significantly associated with late stage EGFR-mutated NSCLC outcomes, and the LIPI scoring system was prognostic. NLR remained an independent prognostic factor across all stages and could represent an early marker of immuno-oncology interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2021.01.002DOI Listing
January 2021

Subtypes of EGFR- and HER2-Mutant Metastatic NSCLC Influence Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.

Clin Lung Cancer 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:

Introduction: The efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) is low among EGFR-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although prolonged responses have occasionally been reported. We investigated the association between mutation subtypes and ICI outcomes among HER2- and EGFR-mutated NSCLC.

Patients And Methods: This retrospective single-center study analyzed patients with EGFR- and HER2-mutated advanced NSCLC who received at least 1 cycle of ICI between 2013 and 2019. Patient characteristics, mutation subtype, and ICI outcomes.

Results: Among 48 patients with advanced NSCLC, 14 (29%) had HER2 mutations and 34 (71%) had EGFR mutations. EGFR mutations included 16 (47%) exon 19 deletion, 7 (21%) L858R, 5 (15%) uncommon, and 6 (18%) exon 20 insertion. Compared to EGFR-sensitizing mutations (ESMs), HER2 and EGFR exon 20 mutations were associated with a trend toward better response (respectively, ESM, HER2, and EGFR exon 20: 11%, 29%, and 50%; P = .07) and significantly better disease control rates (respectively, 18%, 57%, and 67%; P = .008). Compared to ESM, HER2 mutations (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.35; P = .02) and EGFR exon 20 mutations (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.37; P = .10 trend) were also associated with improved PFS. Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression remained an independent predictor of PFS (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-0.76; P = .004). The 6-month PFS rates were 29% (HER2), 33% (EGFR exon 20), and 4% (ESM). ICIs were generally well tolerated in this population. Importantly, no immune-related toxicity was observed in 10 patients who received a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) as the immediate next line treatment after ICI.

Conclusion: HER2 and EGFR exon 20 mutations derive greater benefit from ICIs with comparable PFS to wild-type historical second/third-line unselected cohorts. ICIs remain a treatment option for this genomic subgroup, given the absence of approved targeted therapies for these rare mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.12.015DOI Listing
January 2021

Assessing Lung Cancer Absolute Risk Trajectory Based on a Polygenic Risk Model.

Cancer Res 2021 03 20;81(6):1607-1615. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Baylor Medical College, Houston, Texas.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death globally. An improved risk stratification strategy can increase efficiency of low-dose CT (LDCT) screening. Here we assessed whether individual's genetic background has clinical utility for risk stratification in the context of LDCT screening. On the basis of 13,119 patients with lung cancer and 10,008 controls with European ancestry in the International Lung Cancer Consortium, we constructed a polygenic risk score (PRS) via 10-fold cross-validation with regularized penalized regression. The performance of risk model integrating PRS, including calibration and ability to discriminate, was assessed using UK Biobank data ( = 335,931). Absolute risk was estimated on the basis of age-specific lung cancer incidence and all-cause mortality as competing risk. To evaluate its potential clinical utility, the PRS distribution was simulated in the National Lung Screening Trial ( = 50,772 participants). The lung cancer ORs for individuals at the top decile of the PRS distribution versus those at bottom 10% was 2.39 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.92-3.00; = 1.80 × 10] in the validation set ( = 5.26 × 10). The OR per SD of PRS increase was 1.26 (95% CI = 1.20-1.32; = 9.69 × 10) for overall lung cancer risk in the validation set. When considering absolute risks, individuals at different PRS deciles showed differential trajectories of 5-year and cumulative absolute risk. The age reaching the LDCT screening recommendation threshold can vary by 4 to 8 years, depending on the individual's genetic background, smoking status, and family history. Collectively, these results suggest that individual's genetic background may inform the optimal lung cancer LDCT screening strategy. SIGNIFICANCE: Three large-scale datasets reveal that, after accounting for risk factors, an individual's genetics can affect their lung cancer risk trajectory, thus may inform the optimal timing for LDCT screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-1237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7969419PMC
March 2021

Perspectives of family physicians towards access to lung cancer screening for individuals living with low income - a qualitative study.

BMC Fam Pract 2021 01 7;22(1):10. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Individuals living with low income are less likely to participate in lung cancer screening (LCS) with low-dose computed tomography. Family physicians (FPs) are typically responsible for referring eligible patients to LCS; therefore, we sought to understand their perspectives on access to lung cancer screening for individuals living with low income in order to improve equity in access to LCS.

Methods: A theory-informed thematic analysis was conducted using data collected from 11 semi-structured interviews with FPs recruited from three primary care sites in downtown Toronto. Data was coded using the Systems Model of Clinical Preventative Care as a framework and interpretation was guided by the synergies of oppression analytical lens.

Results: Four overarching themes describe FP perspectives on access to LCS for individuals living with low income: the degree of social disadvantage that influences lung cancer risk and opportunities to access care; the clinical encounter, where there is often a mismatch between the complex health needs of low income individuals and structure of health care appointments; the need for equity-oriented health care, illustrated by the neglect of structural origins of health risk and the benefits of a trauma-informed approach; and finally, the multiprong strategies that will be needed in order to improve equity in health outcomes.

Conclusion: An equity-oriented and interdisciplinary team based approach to care will be needed in order to improve access to LCS, and attention must be given to the upstream determinants of lung cancer in order to reduce lung cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12875-020-01354-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791696PMC
January 2021

The relationship between body-mass index and overall survival in non-small cell lung cancer by sex, smoking status, and race: A pooled analysis of 20,937 International lung Cancer consortium (ILCCO) patients.

Lung Cancer 2021 02 4;152:58-65. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Cancer Prevention Program, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Introduction: The relationship between Body-Mass-Index (BMI) and lung cancer prognosis is heterogeneous. We evaluated the impact of sex, smoking and race on the relationship between BMI and overall survival (OS) in non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: Data from 16 individual ILCCO studies were pooled to assess interactions between BMI and the following factors on OS: self-reported race, smoking status and sex, using Cox models (adjusted hazard ratios; aHR) with interaction terms and adjusted penalized smoothing spline plots in stratified analyses.

Results: Among 20,937 NSCLC patients with BMI values, females = 47 %; never-smokers = 14 %; White-patients = 76 %. BMI showed differential survival according to race whereby compared to normal-BMI patients, being underweight was associated with poor survival among white patients (OS, aHR = 1.66) but not among black patients (aHR = 1.06; p = 0.02). Comparing overweight/obese to normal weight patients, Black NSCLC patients who were overweight/obese also had relatively better OS (p = 0.06) when compared to White-patients. BMI was least associated with survival in Asian-patients and never-smokers. The outcomes of female ever-smokers at the extremes of BMI were associated with worse outcomes in both the underweight (p<0.001) and obese categories (p = 0.004) relative to the normal-BMI category, when compared to male ever-smokers.

Conclusion: Underweight and obese female ever-smokers were associated with worse outcomes in White-patients. These BMI associations were not observed in Asian-patients and never-smokers. Black-patients had more favorable outcomes in the extremes of BMI when compared to White-patients. Body composition in Black-patients, and NSCLC subtypes more commonly seen in Asian-patients and never-smokers, may account for differences in these BMI-OS relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.11.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8042597PMC
February 2021

Potential Molecular Targets in the Setting of Chemoradiation for Esophageal Malignancies.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jun;113(6):665-679

Radiation Research Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, USA.

Although the development of effective combined chemoradiation regimens for esophageal cancers has resulted in statistically significant survival benefits, the majority of patients treated with curative intent develop locoregional and/or distant relapse. Further improvements in disease control and survival will require the development of individualized therapy based on the knowledge of host and tumor genomics and potentially harnessing the host immune system. Although there are a number of gene targets that are amplified and proteins that are overexpressed in esophageal cancers, attempts to target several of these have not proven successful in unselected patients. Herein, we review our current state of knowledge regarding the molecular pathways implicated in esophageal carcinoma, and the available agents for targeting these pathways that may rationally be combined with standard chemoradiation, with the hope that this commentary will guide future efforts of novel combinations of therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa195DOI Listing
June 2021

Germline variation in the insulin-like growth factor pathway and risk of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

Carcinogenesis 2021 04;42(3):369-377

Department of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Science, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and its precursor, Barrett's esophagus (BE), have uncovered significant genetic components of risk, but most heritability remains unexplained. Targeted assessment of genetic variation in biologically relevant pathways using novel analytical approaches may identify missed susceptibility signals. Central obesity, a key BE/EAC risk factor, is linked to systemic inflammation, altered hormonal signaling and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis dysfunction. Here, we assessed IGF-related genetic variation and risk of BE and EAC. Principal component analysis was employed to evaluate pathway-level and gene-level associations with BE/EAC, using genotypes for 270 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 12 IGF-related genes, ascertained from 3295 BE cases, 2515 EAC cases and 3207 controls in the Barrett's and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Consortium (BEACON) GWAS. Gene-level signals were assessed using Multi-marker Analysis of GenoMic Annotation (MAGMA) and SNP summary statistics from BEACON and an expanded GWAS meta-analysis (6167 BE cases, 4112 EAC cases, 17 159 controls). Global variation in the IGF pathway was associated with risk of BE (P = 0.0015). Gene-level associations with BE were observed for GHR (growth hormone receptor; P = 0.00046, false discovery rate q = 0.0056) and IGF1R (IGF1 receptor; P = 0.0090, q = 0.0542). These gene-level signals remained significant at q < 0.1 when assessed using data from the largest available BE/EAC GWAS meta-analysis. No significant associations were observed for EAC. This study represents the most comprehensive evaluation to date of inherited genetic variation in the IGF pathway and BE/EAC risk, providing novel evidence that variation in two genes encoding cell-surface receptors, GHR and IGF1R, may influence risk of BE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgaa132DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052954PMC
April 2021

A case of omental torsion and infarct diagnosed on computed tomography.

J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol 2021 Apr 30;65(2):219-221. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Barwon Medical Imaging, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

A rare case of omental torsion and infarct diagnosed on CT in a 63-year-old male with undifferentiated abdominal pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1754-9485.13129DOI Listing
April 2021

A multivariable Mendelian randomization analysis investigating smoking and alcohol consumption in oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Nat Commun 2020 11 27;11(1):6071. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TL, UK.

The independent effects of smoking and alcohol in head and neck cancer are not clear, given the strong association between these risk factors. Their apparent synergistic effect reported in previous observational studies may also underestimate independent effects. Here we report multivariable Mendelian randomization performed in a two-sample approach using summary data on 6,034 oral/oropharyngeal cases and 6,585 controls from a recent genome-wide association study. Our results demonstrate strong evidence for an independent causal effect of smoking on oral/oropharyngeal cancer (IVW OR 2.6, 95% CI = 1.7, 3.9 per standard deviation increase in lifetime smoking behaviour) and an independent causal effect of alcohol consumption when controlling for smoking (IVW OR 2.1, 95% CI = 1.1, 3.8 per standard deviation increase in drinks consumed per week). This suggests the possibility that the causal effect of alcohol may have been underestimated. However, the extent to which alcohol is modified by smoking requires further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19822-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7695733PMC
November 2020

Durvalumab therapy following chemoradiation compared with a historical cohort treated with chemoradiation alone in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer: A real-world multicentre study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 24;142:83-91. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Centre de Recherche Du Centre Hospitalier de L'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900, Rue Saint-Denis, Pavillon R, H2X 0A9, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Cedars Cancer Center, McGill University Healthcare Center (MUHC), 1001, Boulevard Décarie, H4A 3J1, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Segal Cancer Center, Jewish General Hospital, 3755, Chemin de La Côte-Sainte-Catherine, H3T 1E2, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: The PACIFIC trial demonstrated that durvalumab therapy following chemoradiation (CRT) was associated with improved overall survival (OS) in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is unclear whether the results obtained as part of randomised controlled trials are a reflection of real-world (RW) data. Several questions remain unanswered with regard to RW durvalumab use, such as optimal time to durvalumab initiation, incidence of pneumonitis and response in PD-L1 subgroups.

Methods: In this multicentre retrospective analysis, 147 patients with stage III NSCLC treated with CRT followed by durvalumab were compared with a historical cohort of 121 patients treated with CRT alone. Survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared with the log-rank test in univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of standard prognostic factors for durvalumab use.

Results: Median OS was not reached in the durvalumab group, compared with 26.9 months in the historical group (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.37-0.85, p = 0.001). In the durvalumab group, our data suggest improved 12-month OS in patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% (100% vs 86%, HR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.11-0.58, p = 0.007). There was no difference in OS between patients with a PD-L1 expression of 1-49% and patients with PD-L1 expression <1%. Delay in durvalumab initiation beyond 42 days did not impact OS. Incidence of pneumonitis was similar in the durvalumab and historical groups. In the durvalumab group, patients who experienced any-grade pneumonitis had a lower 12-month OS than patients without pneumonitis (85% vs 95%, respectively; HR: 3.3, 95% CI: 1.2-9.0, p = 0.006).

Conclusions: This multicentre analysis suggests that PD-L1 expression ≥50% was associated with favourable OS in patients with stage III NSCLC treated with durvalumab after CRT, whereas the presence of pneumonitis represented a negative prognostic factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.10.008DOI Listing
January 2021

First-Line Lorlatinib or Crizotinib in Advanced -Positive Lung Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2020 11;383(21):2018-2029

From the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (A.T.S.) and Pfizer (G.P.) - both in Boston; Sarah Cannon Research Institute-Tennessee Oncology, Nashville (T.M.B.); European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS (F.M.), and Pfizer (A.P., A.M.C.) - both in Milan; Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and Institute of Oncology, International Oncology Bureau-Quirón, Barcelona (E.F.); National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo (Y.G.); Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto (G.L.); Toulouse University Hospital, Toulouse, France (J.M.); Seoul National University College of Medicine and Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea (D.-W.K.); State Key Laboratory of Translational Oncology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (T.M.); Pfizer, La Jolla, CA (H.T.); and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (B.J.S.).

Background: Lorlatinib, a third-generation inhibitor of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), has antitumor activity in previously treated patients with -positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The efficacy of lorlatinib, as compared with that of crizotinib, as first-line treatment for advanced -positive NSCLC is unclear.

Methods: We conducted a global, randomized, phase 3 trial comparing lorlatinib with crizotinib in 296 patients with advanced -positive NSCLC who had received no previous systemic treatment for metastatic disease. The primary end point was progression-free survival as assessed by blinded independent central review. Secondary end points included independently assessed objective response and intracranial response. An interim analysis of efficacy was planned after approximately 133 of 177 (75%) expected events of disease progression or death had occurred.

Results: The percentage of patients who were alive without disease progression at 12 months was 78% (95% confidence interval [CI], 70 to 84) in the lorlatinib group and 39% (95% CI, 30 to 48) in the crizotinib group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.41; P<0.001). An objective response occurred in 76% (95% CI, 68 to 83) of the patients in the lorlatinib group and 58% (95% CI, 49 to 66) of those in the crizotinib group; among those with measurable brain metastases, 82% (95% CI, 57 to 96) and 23% (95% CI, 5 to 54), respectively, had an intracranial response, and 71% of the patients who received lorlatinib had an intracranial complete response. The most common adverse events with lorlatinib were hyperlipidemia, edema, increased weight, peripheral neuropathy, and cognitive effects. Lorlatinib was associated with more grade 3 or 4 adverse events (mainly altered lipid levels) than crizotinib (in 72% vs. 56%). Discontinuation of treatment because of adverse events occurred in 7% and 9% of the patients, respectively.

Conclusions: In an interim analysis of results among patients with previously untreated advanced -positive NSCLC, those who received lorlatinib had significantly longer progression-free survival and a higher frequency of intracranial response than those who received crizotinib. The incidence of grade 3 or 4 adverse events was higher with lorlatinib than with crizotinib because of the frequent occurrence of altered lipid levels. (Funded by Pfizer; CROWN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03052608.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2027187DOI Listing
November 2020

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prevalence and prediction in a high-risk lung cancer screening population.

BMC Pulm Med 2020 Nov 16;20(1):300. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 675 West 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L3, Canada.

Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an underdiagnosed condition sharing risk factors with lung cancer. Lung cancer screening may provide an opportunity to improve COPD diagnosis. Using Pan-Canadian Early Detection of Lung Cancer (PanCan) study data, the present study sought to determine the following: 1) What is the prevalence of COPD in a lung cancer screening population? 2) Can a model based on clinical and screening low-dose CT scan data predict the likelihood of COPD?

Methods: The single arm PanCan study recruited current or former smokers age 50-75 who had a calculated risk of lung cancer of at least 2% over 6 years. A baseline health questionnaire, spirometry, and low-dose CT scan were performed. CT scans were assessed by a radiologist for extent and distribution of emphysema. With spirometry as the gold standard, logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with COPD.

Results: Among 2514 recruited subjects, 1136 (45.2%) met spirometry criteria for COPD, including 833 of 1987 (41.9%) of those with no prior diagnosis, 53.8% of whom had moderate or worse disease. In a multivariate model, age, current smoking status, number of pack-years, presence of dyspnea, wheeze, participation in a high-risk occupation, and emphysema extent on LDCT were all statistically associated with COPD, while the overall model had poor discrimination (c-statistic = 0.627 (95% CI of 0.607 to 0.650). The lowest and the highest risk decile in the model predicted COPD risk of 27.4 and 65.3%.

Conclusions: COPD had a high prevalence in a lung cancer screening population. While a risk model had poor discrimination, all deciles of risk had a high prevalence of COPD, and spirometry could be considered as an additional test in lung cancer screening programs.

Trial Registration: (Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00751660 , registered September 12, 2008).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12890-020-01344-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670711PMC
November 2020

Using breath analysis as a screening tool to detect gastric cancer: A systematic review.

J Breath Res 2020 Oct 26. Epub 2020 Oct 26.

Princess Margaret Hospital Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA.

Background: Breath analysis has emerged as an experimental method of non-invasive screening of gastric cancer and identification of individuals suitable for confirmatory, diagnostic upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. We aimed to evaluate the accuracy and applicability of breath analysis for gastric cancer detection in adults.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS, CENTRAL, and Compendex up to 27 September 2020 for original studies analysing exhaled breath to detect gastric cancer in patients. Summary sensitivity and specificity analyses were obtained using a hierarchical bivariate method. Non-quantitative results were descriptively summarized. Risk of bias was assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool. This study protocol was pre-registered in PROSPERO (CRD42020139422).

Results: Twenty-four studies were included. Within these, breath analysis technologies most commonly used were mass spectrometry (MS)-based methods; other methods included volatile organic compound sensors and silicon nanowire field effect transistors. Fourteen studies (total n=3028) involving all technologies reported quantitative results, with sensitivities ranging from 67-100% and specificities from 71-98%. The summary sensitivity across six studies utilizing MS-based breath analysis methods was 82.4% (95% CI: 78-86%); summary specificity was 91.3% (95% CI: 83-96%). Based on these values, we estimated that screening with MS-based breath tests could lower the number needed to screen (NNS) by more than eight-fold in the 15 countries with the highest prevalence of gastric cancer.

Conclusions: Breath analysis is a promising method for gastric cancer detection with good diagnostic performance and potential to decrease the NNS for endoscopy-based gastric cancer detection. However, due to the heterogeneity of breath analysis technologies, rigorous studies with standardized, reproducible methods are needed to evaluate the clinical applicability of these technologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1752-7163/abc4d5DOI Listing
October 2020

Chemoradiotherapy Using Carboplatin plus Paclitaxel versus Cisplatin plus Fluorouracil for Esophageal or Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer.

Oncology 2021 14;99(1):49-56. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

Background: Trimodality therapy (TMT) with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) using concurrent carboplatin plus paclitaxel (CP) followed by surgery is the standard of care for locoregional esophageal or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancers. Alternatively, nCRT with cisplatin plus fluorouracil (CF) can be used. Definitive chemoradiotherapy (dCRT) with CP or CF can be used if surgery is not planned. In the absence of comparative trials, we aimed to evaluate outcomes of CP and CF in the settings of TMT and dCRT.

Methods: A single-site, retrospective cohort study was conducted at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to identify all patients who received CRT for locoregional esophageal or GEJ cancer. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were assessed using the Kaplan-Meier method and multivariable Cox regression model. The inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW) method was used for sensitivity analysis.

Results: Between 2011 and 2015, 93 patients with esophageal (49%) and GEJ (51%) cancers underwent nCRT (n = 67; 72%) or dCRT (n = 26; 28%). Median age was 62.3 years and 74% were male. Median follow-up was 23.9 months. Comparing CP to CF in the setting of TMT, the OS and DFS rates were similar. In the setting of dCRT, CP was associated with significantly inferior 3-year OS (36 vs. 63%; p = 0.001; HR 3.1; 95% CI: 1.2-7.7) and DFS (0 vs. 41%; p = 0.004; HR 3.6; 95% CI: 1.4-8.9) on multivariable and IPTW sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: TMT with CF and CP produced comparable outcomes. However, for dCRT, CF may be a superior regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000510446DOI Listing
January 2021

Efficacy and Safety of nab-Paclitaxel vs Paclitaxel on Survival in Patients With Platinum-Refractory Metastatic Urothelial Cancer: The Canadian Cancer Trials Group BL.12 Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 Nov;6(11):1751-1758

Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: Treatment options for platinum-refractory metastatic urothelial cancer (mUC) are limited, and outcomes remain poor. Nab-paclitaxel is an albumin-bound formulation of paclitaxel showing promising activity and tolerability in a prior single-arm trial.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of nab-paclitaxel vs paclitaxel in platinum-refractory mUC.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this investigator-initiated, open-label, phase 2 randomized clinical trial conducted across Canada and Australia from January 2014 to April 2017, eligible patients had histologically confirmed, radiologically evident mUC of the urinary tract. Mixed histologic findings, except small cell, were permitted provided UC was the predominant histologic finding. All patients had received platinum-based chemotherapy either in the metastatic setting or were within 12 months of perioperative chemotherapy. Patients with prior taxane chemotherapy were not included. Patients had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG PS) 0 to 2 and adequate organ function.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to nab-paclitaxel, 260 mg/m2, or paclitaxel, 175 mg/m2, every 3 weeks.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS).

Results: Among 199 patients, median age was 67 (range, 24-88) years; 144 (72%) were men; 167 (84%) were ECOG PS 0-1; 59 (30%) had liver metastases; and 110 (55%) were within 6 months of prior platinum-based chemotherapy. At a median follow-up of 16.4 months, there was no significant difference between nab-paclitaxel vs paclitaxel for median PFS (3.4 months vs 3.0 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.92; 90% CI, 0.68-1.23; 1-sided P = .31). Median overall survival was 7.5 months for nab-paclitaxel vs 8.8 months for paclitaxel (HR, 0.95; 90% CI, 0.70-1.30; 1-sided P = .40); and objective response rate (ORR) was 22% for nab-paclitaxel vs 25% for paclitaxel (P = .97). Grade 3/4 adverse events were more frequent with nab-paclitaxel (64/97 [66%]) compared with paclitaxel (45/97 [46%]), P = .009; but peripheral sensory neuropathy was similar (all grades, 72/97 [74%] vs 64/97 [66%]; grade 3/4, 7/97 [7%] vs 3/97 [3%]; P = .27). There were no apparent differences in scores for health-related quality of life.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this open-label, phase 2 randomized clinical trial of patients with platinum-refractory mUC, nab-paclitaxel had similar efficacy to paclitaxel; but worse toxic effects. The ORR with either taxane, however, was higher than previously reported and similar to those reported for the immune checkpoint inhibitors, suggesting that the taxanes remain a reasonable option in this setting.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02033993.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.3927DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499236PMC
November 2020

Needing Too Much: Managing Crises in a Patient with Dependent Personality Traits.

Harv Rev Psychiatry 2020 Nov/Dec;28(6):412-420

From Harvard Medical School (Drs. Liu, Fusunyan, Unruh, and Mischoulon); McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA (Drs. Liu, Fusunyan, and Unruh); Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA (Drs. Fusunyan and Mischoulon); Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University (Dr. Bornstein).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/HRP.0000000000000270DOI Listing
September 2020

Integration of multiomic annotation data to prioritize and characterize inflammation and immune-related risk variants in squamous cell lung cancer.

Genet Epidemiol 2021 Feb 14;45(1):99-114. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Faculty of Medical Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Clinical trial results have recently demonstrated that inhibiting inflammation by targeting the interleukin-1β pathway can offer a significant reduction in lung cancer incidence and mortality, highlighting a pressing and unmet need to understand the benefits of inflammation-focused lung cancer therapies at the genetic level. While numerous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have explored the genetic etiology of lung cancer, there remains a large gap between the type of information that may be gleaned from an association study and the depth of understanding necessary to explain and drive translational findings. Thus, in this study we jointly model and integrate extensive multiomics data sources, utilizing a total of 40 genome-wide functional annotations that augment previously published results from the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) GWAS, to prioritize and characterize single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that increase risk of squamous cell lung cancer through the inflammatory and immune responses. Our work bridges the gap between correlative analysis and translational follow-up research, refining GWAS association measures in an interpretable and systematic manner. In particular, reanalysis of the ILCCO data highlights the impact of highly associated SNPs from nuclear factor-κB signaling pathway genes as well as major histocompatibility complex mediated variation in immune responses. One consequence of prioritizing likely functional SNPs is the pruning of variants that might be selected for follow-up work by over an order of magnitude, from potentially tens of thousands to hundreds. The strategies we introduce provide informative and interpretable approaches for incorporating extensive genome-wide annotation data in analysis of genetic association studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gepi.22358DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7855632PMC
February 2021