Monthly Archives: February 2014

Improving QOL in head and neck cancer as survival improves

Source: www.medscape.com
Author: Zosia Chustecka

In patients undergoing radiation treatment for head and neck cancer, reducing the radiation to organs not affected by cancer is key to improving quality of life post-treatment.

Several studies presented here at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium described new approaches to sparing radiation delivered to the salivary glands and to the voice box, without any loss of cancer control, but with a reported reduction in adverse effects, such as xerostomia (dry mouth), and an anticipated reduction in loss of voice and speech quality.

Improvements in such outcomes are becoming increasingly important as the epidemiology of head and neck cancer is changing, and the increase in human papillomavirus-positive disease means that patients are being diagnosed their 50s and will, in many cases, go on to live for decades after their definitive cancer treatment, researchers commented at a press briefing.

Xerostomia can make it difficult to speak, as well as chew and swallow, and can lead to dental problems. “Dry mouth might seem trivial, but it actually has a significant effect on quality of life,” commented Tyler Robin, PhD, an MD candidate in his final year at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver.

To reduce this adverse effect, intensity-modulated radiation techniques are already directing the beam away from the parotid gland, which is responsible for stimulated saliva production, for example during eating. But for the rest of the time, saliva is produced unstimulated from the submandibular gland. “This gland actually produces the majority of saliva for the majority of the day,” he said.

“Historically, however, there had been hesitation to spare the submandibular gland from radiation because there are lymph nodes near the gland that also end up not getting treated,” he said. “While this seems worrisome because head and neck cancer spreads through the lymph nodes, it is well established that the risk of cancer involvement in the lymph nodes near the submandibular gland is exceedingly low, yet the benefit of sparing the gland for a patient’s quality of life is high.”

Dr. Robin presented data from 71 patients with advanced head and neck cancer who were treated with radiation that spared the contralateral submandibular gland in a collaborative study conducted at the University of Colorado and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The mean radiation dose delivered to the contralateral gland was 33.04 Gy./p>

At a median follow-up of 27.3 months, none had had cancer recurrences in the spared area.

This is preliminary evidence that submandibular gland-sparing radiotherapy is feasible technically, and that it is safe even in advanced-stage node-positive cancers, the researchers conclude. They suggest that these outcomes data “offer significant promise for decreasing morbidity.”

More data on this submandibular gland-sparing approach were presented at the meeting by Moses Tam, BS, an MB candidate in his final year at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, who was also an author on the previous presentation.

He reported data from 125 patients (median age, 57 years) with oropharyngeal cancer (53% base of tongue, 41% tonsil, 6% other), all of whom had node involvement (16% N1, 8% N2A, 48% N2B, and 28% N2C).

All patients underwent chemoradiation, but some patients had sparing radiation, with a reduction of radiation treatment volume to the submandibular (level 1B) lymph nodes, while the remainder had radiation without sparing.

The sparing approach significantly reduced the dose of radiation to the submandibular salivary glands (from 70.5 Gy to 63.9 Gy in the ipsilateral gland, and from 56.2 Gy to 43.0 Gy in the contralateral gland), and also to the oral cavity (from 45.2 Gy to 36.1 Gy; all P < .001).

Both groups of patients had a similar 2-year local regional control rate — 97.5% with sparing radiation and 93.8% with nonsparing radiation — indicating a low rate of tumor recurrence at the original tumor site.

However, those who received the sparing radiation had significant improvement in both patient-reported xerostomia summary scores ( P = .021) and observer-rated xerostomia scores ( P = .006), compared with the other group.

“Our data show that it is safe to spare the lymph nodes in oropharyngeal cancer from radiation,” Tam commented. This approach reduces the radiation dose to several nearby salivary organs, and therefore causes less damage to a patient’s post-treatment salivary function.

Effects on Voice and Speech Under-recognized

In contrast to the attention that has been focused on chronic mouth dryness and swallowing difficulties as complications of radiotherapy, relatively little attention has been paid to treatment-related changes in voice and speech quality, commented Jeffrey Vainshtein, MD, chief resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

In fact, physicians tend to underestimate the detrimental effects of head and neck radiation on this aspect of patients’ quality of life, he commented, and presented data showing a wide discrepancy between the reports from patients as compared to physicians on a voice and speech quality assessment tool.

The finding comes from a study conducted in 91 patients with stage III or IV oropharyngeal cancer who had participated in trials at the University of Michigan and been treated with definitive concurrent chemotherapy (weekly carboplatin and paclitaxel) and organ-sparing intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

Patient-reported results show a maximal decrease in voice and speech quality at 1 month, with 41% to 68% of patients (using 2 different questionnaires) reporting worse quality than pretreatment baseline levels. Voice and speech quality returned to baseline levels by 12 to 18 months, but not in all patients. At 12 months, 28% to 33% of patients continued to report lower voice and speech quality.

In contrast, physicians reported that larynx toxicity was rare, and reported grade 1 toxicity in 5% of patients at 6 months, and in none at 1 and 2 years.

“It’s interesting to see this physician and patient disconnect,” commented Mitchell Machtay, MD, chair of radiation oncology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who moderated the press conference.

Dr. Vainshtein said that the degree of disconnect was “quite surprising,” but added that this is not unique to this study or to oncology, and indeed is seen throughout medicine. He suggested that physicians may miss the subtleties of changes in quality of life, and also some patients may not mention symptoms when talking with their doctor, but once they are asked in detail in a structured questionnaire, the results can be quite informative. He also said that more emphasis should be, and in fact is already being, placed on patient-reported outcomes in clinical trials.

Further analysis showed that the mean radiation dose to the voice box (glottic larynx) was independently associated with poor voice quality, while patient-perceived speech difficulties were related to the radiation dose received by both the voice box and the oral cavity.

These findings, from the largest prospective study of this issue to date, support limiting the mean radiation dose to the glottic larynx to less than 20 Gy during whole-neck IMRT for head and neck cancer when the larynx is not a target, the researchers conclude.

Minimizing the radiation dose is likely to reduce voice and speech problems, and thus improve post-treatment quality of life, Dr. Vainshtein commented.

Notes: The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Source: 2 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium (MHNCS): Abstracts 12 (Robin), 121 (Vainshtein), 139 (Tam). Presented February 21, 2014.

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Mouth bacteria trigger oral cancer

Source: www.digitaljournal.com
Author: Tim Sandle

Chemicals released from two bacteria that cause gum disease can incite the growth of deadly lesions and tumors in the mouth, trigger oral cancer. This is according to a new study carried out by Case Western Reserve University.

High levels of certain bacteria found in the saliva of people are associated with the risk of oral cancer. The researchers were keen to understand why most people never develop oral cancer and what it is that protects them. Their answer related to most people not carrying a certain type of bacteria in their mouths.

The cancer of concern is Kaposi’s sarcoma-related (KS) lesions and tumors in the mouth. The bacteria associated with this are the species Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum. These species are associated with gum disease.

For the research, scientists recruited 21 patients, dividing them into two groups. All participants were given standard gum-disease tests. The first group of 11 participants had an average age of 50 and had severe chronic gum disease. The second group of 10 participants, whose average age was about 26, had healthy gums. The bacteria were common to those with gum disease.

By carrying out further tests, the researchers found that the bacteria produce fatty acids and these fatty acids then allowed oral cancer causing viruses to grow. The discovery could lead to early saliva testing for the bacteria. When such bacteria are found the mouth of a patient could be treated and monitored for signs of cancer and before it develops into a malignancy.

The findings have been reported in The Journal of Virology, in a paper titled “Short Chain Fatty Acids from Periodontal Pathogens Suppress HDACs, EZH2, and SUV39H1 to Promote Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Replication.”

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Contralateral submandibular gland-sparing radiation safe, effective in head, neck cancers

Source: helio.com
Published: February 24, 2014

 

Sparing the contralateral submandibular gland with low doses of radiation therapy appeared safe and effective among patients with locally advanced head and neck cancers, according to study results presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

“Historically … there has been hesitation to spare the submandibular gland from radiation because there are lymph nodes near the gland that also end up not getting treated,” researcher Tyler Robin, PhD, an MD candidate at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a press release. “While this seems worrisome because head and neck cancer spreads through the lymph nodes, it is well established that the risk of cancer involvement in the lymph nodes near the submandibular gland is exceedingly low, yet the benefit of sparing the gland for a patient’s quality of life is high.”

Robin and colleagues evaluated data from 71 patients who underwent contralateral submandibular gland-sparing radiation therapy at the University of Colorado Cancer Center or Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The median age of patients was 55 years. About half of patients were current or former smokers, and half were never smokers.

Nearly 50% of patients had lesions involving the base of the tongue. About 80% of patients had N2b or greater disease, and 90% of patients had overall stage IV disease.

Researchers classified contralateral submandibular gland sparing as mean radiation doses to the contralateral submandibular gland of ≤39 Gy. The mean radiation dose to the contralateral submandibular gland of all patients in the study was 33.04 Gy.

Median follow-up was 27.3 months. At this time, no patients experienced disease recurrences in the contralateral level Ib lymph nodes.

“It is important to consider treatment side effects alongside treatment benefit, and overall, our goal is to decrease side effects associated with radiation treatment without undertreating a patient’s cancer,” Robin said. “With modern advances in radiation therapy, it is possible to eloquently treat cancers while avoiding surrounding normal tissues. Our study is a prime example of how we can safely spare normal tissues in appropriate patients in order to decrease treatment side effects.”

 

 

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.
February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

HPV-Positive Oropharyngeal Patients Show Overall Higher Survival Rate Compared to HPV-Negative Patients

Source: eurekalert.org
Published: February 20, 2014
By: Michelle Kirkwood
 

Scottsdale, Ariz., February 20, 2014—A retrospective analysis of oropharyngeal patients with recurrence of disease after primary therapy in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) studies 0129 or 0522 found that HPV-positive patients had a higher overall survival (OS) rate than HPV-negative patients (at two years post-treatment, 54.6 percent vs. 27.6 percent, respectively), according to research presented today at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

The analysis included 181 patients with stage III-IV oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) with known HPV status (HPV-positive = 105; HPV-negative = 76), and cancer progression that was local, regional and/or distant after completion of primary cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy (standard vs. accelerated fractionation (AFX)) in RTOG 0129 or cisplatin-AFX with or without cetuximab in RTOG 0522. Tumor status was determined by a surrogate, p16 immunohistochemistry.

Median time to progression was virtually the same for HPV-positive and HPV-negative patients (8.2 months vs. 7.3 months, respectively). Increased risk of death in univariate analysis was associated with high tumor stage at diagnosis (T4 vs. T2-T3), fewer on-protocol cisplatin cycles (≤1 vs. 2-3) and distant vs. local/regional recurrent (for all, hazard ratios (HRs) >2.0 and p<0.05). Risk of death after disease progression increased by 1 percent per cigarette pack-year at diagnosis. Rates were estimated by Kaplan-Meier method and compared by log-rank. HRs were estimated by Cox proportional hazards models and stratified by treatment protocol.

In addition, HPV-positive and HPV-negative patients who underwent surgery after cancer recurrence also experienced improved OS compared to those who did not undergo surgery. (The effect may have been more pronounced among HPV-positive than HPV-negative patients.) Recurrence is most commonly in the lungs for both groups of patients.

“Our findings demonstrate that HPV-positive OPSCC patients have significantly improved survival after progression of disease when compared with HPV-negative patients. Median survival after disease progression was strikingly longer for HPV-positive than HPV-negative patients,” said lead author Carole Fakhry, MD, MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. “These findings provide us with valuable knowledge to better counsel and treat patients.”

 

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

 

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Gland-sparing technique safe in tonsillar, tongue cancers

Source: oncologypractice.com/The Oncology Report
Published: February 24, 2014
By: Neil Osterweil

 

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. – Although radiation oncologists have typically worried that, in patients with oral cancers, leaving contralateral submandibular glands untreated could lead to tumor involvement of nearby lymph nodes, those worries may soon be put to rest, suggest results of a small retrospective study.

Among 71 patients with locally advanced cancers of the tongue base or tonsils who underwent radiation therapy that avoided targeting the contralateral submandibular glands, there were no cancer recurrences in contralateral level 1B nodes after a median 27.3 months of follow-up, reported Dr. Tyler Robin of the University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora.

“We’re interested in sparing the contralateral submandibular gland because we’re interested in minimizing xerostomia. Xerostomia is a significant morbidity of head and neck cancer radiotherapy, and it has substantial impact on patient quality of life,” Dr. Robin said at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) allows treatment beams to be shaped to avoid the parotid glands with no subsequent increase in regional lymph node failures and preservation of parotid salivary flow. But patient-reported xerostomia and quality-of-life outcomes with parotid-sparing techniques have been mixed, Dr. Robin said.

“Interestingly, an earlier study looking at predictors of xerostomia found that dose to the submandibular gland was a stronger predictor of xerostomia than dose to the parotids, and this may be because of the role of the submandibular gland in unstimulated salivary flow,” he said.

The submandibular gland is located near level IB lymph nodes, but the risk of contralateral level IB involvement in oropharyngeal (OP) cancers is low, on the order of 0%-2%. Gland-sparing therapy with IMRT has previously been shown to mitigate xerostomia and to be safe, but primarily in patients with early-stage disease, prompting the investigators to examine whether it would also be safe and effective in patients with locally advanced tumors.

The question is particularly relevant at a time when the epidemiology of OP cancers is shifting toward patients who are positive for the human papillomavirus, who are more likely to have good therapeutic outcomes and who may live for many decades beyond an initial diagnosis, Dr. Robin said at the symposium cosponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

His team reviewed records of 71 patients treated for primary OP cancers at the University of Colorado and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

In all, 40 patients had tonsillar cancers, 28 had base-of-tongue lesions, and 3 had cancers involving both sites.

They considered gland-sparing procedures as those in which total doses delivered to the contralateral submandibular gland during bilateral neck radiotherapy were not more than 39 Gy.

Of the 71 patients, 61 (85.9%) had stage IVA disease, 6 (8.5%) had stage III cancers, and 3 (4.2%) had stage IVB disease. The majority of patients had significant nodal involvement, with 46 (64.8%) having stage N2b; 7 (9.9%) N2c; and 3 (4.2%) having staging N3 disease.

The respective mean and median doses to the contralateral glands were 33.04 and 34.21 Gy.

At median follow-up of 27.3 months, there were 12 treatment failures: 1 local, 6 regional, and 5 distant failures. However, there were no cases of disease recurrence in contralateral level IB nodes, the investigators found. There was, however, one documented case of recurrence in contralateral level IIa lymph nodes.

“We believe this is evidence that contralateral submandibular gland sparing can be feasible and safe even in advanced node-positive head and neck cancers, including base- of-tongue lesions,” Dr. Robin said,

The data suggest the need for a large prospective trial specifically addressing the safety and efficacy of contralateral submandibular gland-sparing therapy in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancers. Such studies should incorporate existing xerostomia-based quality-of-life assessments and formal sialometry studies, he added.

While the study shows that contralateral submandibular gland sparing is feasible, it raises the question of whether the technique might increase the dose to the muscles of the floor of the mouth, said Dr. Harry Quon of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the invited discussant.

“There is emerging data that our chemoradiation approaches, with long-term follow-up maybe increases [patients’] risk of death, and one hypothesis that has been put forward is chronic aspiration with secondary injury to the lungs,” he said.

Radiation injury to the floor-of-mouth muscles appears to be a significant risk factor for aspiration, indicating that future conformal approaches to treating cancers of the tonsils and tongue base should attempt to avoid delivering excessive doses to the midline mucosa, Dr. Quon said.

The study was internally funded. Dr. Robin and Dr. Quon reported having no financial disclosures.

 

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

 

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Effects of Chemoradiation on Voice and Speech Quality of H&N Cancer Patients

Source: Med Page Today
Published: February 23, 2014
By: Charles Bankhead
 

 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Patients with oropharyngeal cancer reported significant voice and speech impairment for up to 2 years after chemoradiation therapy, but most of their doctors saw no evidence of it, data from a prospective study showed.

Two years after treatment, a fourth of patients said their voice and speech remained below baseline levels, whereas none of their clinicians noted any impairment. At no time did as many as 10% of clinicians report patients with speech and voice issues, whereas the proportion of patients reporting problems ranged as high as 56%.

The likelihood of patient-reported difficulties with oral communication increased with the radiation dose to the glottic larynx, reported Jeffrey M. Vainshtein, MD, and colleagues at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

“Our findings highlight the critical role of patient-reported outcomes in identifying areas of improvement of our current therapies, which may ultimately translate into improvements in quality of life for our patients,” Vainshtein, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said during a press briefing.

Dysphagia and xerostomia are recognized adverse effects of chemoradiation for head and neck cancer and have been studied extensively in recent years. In contrast, a paucity of information exists relative to the effects of chemoradiation on voice and speech quality, Vainshtein said.

To examine the issue, investigators assessed voice and speech outcomes in 93 patients who underwent chemoradiation for oropharyngeal cancer, using intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). At baseline, and then every 3 to 6 months after finishing treatment, patients completed two validated questionnaires: Head and Neck Quality of Life (HNQOL) and University of Washington Quality of Life (UWQOL).

At the same intervals, the patients’ physicians reported their assessments in accordance with the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events.

All of the patients had locally advanced stage III/IV oropharyngeal cancer and received treatment in two clinical trials of organ-sparing IMRT. Radiation therapy protocols were designed to minimize the radiation dose to the pharyngeal constrictors, salivary glands, oral cavity, glottic larynx, supraglottic larynx, and esophagus.

Vainshtein and colleagues analyzed patient questionnaires to identify factors associated with voice and speech impairment, in addition to the frequency of impairment.

By the HNQOL communication domain and speech impairment domain of the UWQOL, radiotherapy-induced speech impairment reached a maximum in the first month after treatment. Impairment then decreased in subsequent assessments, stabilizing at 12 to 18 months.

The proportion of patients reporting post-treatment speech and voice impairment followed a time pattern consistent with speech impairment reflected in answers to the questionnaires. By the HNQOL, 68% of patients said their voice and speech quality were impaired versus baseline, decreasing to 56% at 3 months, 46% at 6 months, 33% at 12 months, 31% at 18 months, and 24% at 24 months.

By the UWQOL, the proportion of patients reporting worsening of voice and speech quality after treatment was 41%, 26%, 29%, 28%, 15%, and 22% at the assessments from 1 to 24 months after finishing therapy.

In contrast, few physicians included voice and speech impairment in their adverse event reports. Vainshtein said 7% of physicians reported grade 1 toxicity with respect to worsening of voice and speech at 3 months, 5% at 6 months, and 0% thereafter.

Comparing treatment characteristics and patient-reported voice quality worsening, investigators found an association between radiation dose to the larynx and patient-reported impairment at 6 and 12 months. Reported impairment at 6 months increased from 25% with a cumulative radiation dose of <20 Gy to 59% at >30-40 Gy, 50% at 40-50 Gy, and 64% with laryngeal doses >50 Gy (P=0.02).

A similar pattern emerged from the analysis of 12-month outcomes, as the proportion of patients reporting worsening of voice quality from baseline increased from 10% for laryngeal radiation doses <20 Gy to 63% of patients for cumulative doses >50 Gy (P=0.011).

“We observed similar findings for patient-reported voice quality worsening and speech impairment,” Vainshtein said. “The results were independent of other patient and treatment factors.”

Press briefing moderator Mitchell Machtay, MD, said he found the study eye opening.

“If you looked at radiation dose to larynx, not the area where the tumor was, I was struck by how doses of 20 to 30 Gy, which we don’t normally consider as very toxic high doses that can damage the voicebox, still caused a fair amount of damage,” said Machtay, of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

The magnitude of disconnect between patient and physician assessments was one of the more surprising findings in the study.

“I don’t think it’s unique to head and neck cancer. I don’t think it’s unique to our study. I don’t think it’s unique to medicine,” Vainshtein said. “I think physicians tend to underestimate the effect of their treatment — whatever it is — on our patients.”

Some adverse effects can be subtle and do not become apparent during conversations with physicians, he continued. When the patients express their sentiments in a more formal manner, such as a questionnaire, the effects do emerge.

Some of the disconnect reflects differences in patients’ approaches to their illness and adverse effects of treatment, said Wade Thorstad, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis.

“There’s a group of patients, when you’re interviewing them about their symptoms, will tell it like it is and really explain things well,” said Thorstad, another participant in the press briefing. “There’s another group that is stoic, and they really underplay their issues before [their physician]. However, when they are filling out a questionnaire about their feelings about quality of life, I think you get a more honest assessment.”

 

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

 

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Study: Recurrence of SCCOP may differ in HPV-positive and HPV-negative patients

Source: News Medical
Published: February 21, 2014

 

Patients with HPV-positive squamous cell carcinoma of the oropharynx (SCCOP) had a longer time to development of distant metastasis (DM) after initial treatment, and had more metastatic sites in more atypical locations compared to HPV-negative patients, according to research presented today at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium.

Culled from records of an IRB-approved registry, the study reviewed 285 patients with stage III-IV SCCOP (originally thought to be a smoking-related head and neck cancer) treated with chemotherapy and radiation from 2002 to 2013. HPV status was determined by in situ hybridization for HPV DNA and/or by strong and diffuse (>75 percent) staining for p16 immunohistochemistry. There were 245 HPV-positive and 40 HPV-negative patients.

Twenty-seven HPV-positive and eight HPV-negative patients failed with DM and were the subjects for more detailed evaluation. Radiation therapy (RT) was either 3-D RT (HPV-positive = 15/27; HPV-negative = 4/8) or intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) (HPV-positive = 12/27; HPV-negative = 4/8) with doses from 66-79 Gy. Patients received concurrent chemotherapy of cisplatin (HPV-positive = 9/27; HPV-negative = 2/8), cisplatin/5 fluorouracil (FU) (HPV-positive = 10/27; HPV-negative = 3/8) or cetuximab (HPV-positive = 8/27; HPV-negative = 2/8). One HPV-negative patient received cisplatin/paclitaxel chemotherapy. One patient in each group was treated with adjuvant chemoradiotherapy after initial resection. Student t-tests were used to compare the difference between the means of the samples.

Both HPV-positive and HPV-negative patients were found to have similar rates of DM, however the mean time to develop DM was significantly longer for HPV-positive patients (HPV-positive = 21.6 months vs. HPV-negative = 7.0 months). The most common sites of metastasis for all patients were the lung (HPV-positive = 17/27 vs. HPV-negative = 5/8) and bone (HPV-positive = 12/27 vs. HPV-negative = 2/8). The average number of metastatic subsites was significantly higher for HPV-positive patients (HPV-positive = 2.0 vs. HPV-negative = 1.1, p = 0.026). Twenty-one of 27 HPV-positive patients had more than one metastatic deposit, and 12/27 had DM involving more than one organ system, compared to only 1/8 for HPV-negative patients. Metastases in less typical sites were more common in HPV-positive patients; sites included the liver (6), intra-abdominal lymph nodes (3), brain (2), pleura (2) and peritoneum (1). Locoregional failure (metastases in the original tumor region) was only seen in four of the 27 HPV-positive patients, compared to three of the eight HPV-negative patients.

“The late onset of DM in HPV-positive patients (almost two years) is unusual since the majority of aerodigestive tract malignancies tend to recur within 12-18 months of definitive treatment. The multiple and varied DM sites, which can present as distal localized pain, indicates that we may need to be more aggressive in working up suspicions for metastatic disease and that imaging such as PET/CT scans may be warranted even several years after treatment,” said Samuel Trosman, MD, a resident in otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic. “We were able to learn significant characteristics of HPV-positive SCCOP that will help us provide more tailored care and surveillance strategies for these patients.”

The abstract, “Distant Metastatic Failure Patterns in Squamous Cell Cancer of the Oropharynx (SCCOP) Treated with Chemoradiation: the Impact of Human Papillomavirus,” will be presented in detail as a poster presentation at the 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium. To speak with Dr. Trosman, contact Michelle Kirkwood on February 20 – 21, 2014 in the ASTRO Press Office at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona at 480-596-7085 or email michellek@astro.org.

The 2014 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium is sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Head & Neck Society (AHNS). The two-and-a-half day meeting includes interactive educational sessions focused on topics such as supportive care, directed therapy, new surgical and radiotherapeutic techniques, as well as 12 oral abstract presentations of the current science of relevance to the head and neck cancer community. A total of 189 abstracts will be presented including 177 posters. Keynote speakers include Jennifer Grandis, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, to present “The Molecular Road to Defining and Targeting High-risk Head and Neck Patients;” and Julia H. Rowland, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, to present “Cancer Survivorship: Research Opportunities on the Path to Where We Want to Be.”

 

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

 

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

New study claims children who use snus before age 16 are more likely to become cigarette smokers

Source: Reuters Health

Author: Shereen Jegtvig

Norwegians who started using snus before age 16 were more likely to become cigarette smokers than those who started using snus later in life, according to a new study.

Snus is moist smokeless tobacco developed in Sweden. It’s contained in a small pouch, and unlike regular chewing tobacco, it doesn’t make the user spit.

Research suggests snus has lower levels of chemicals called nitrosamines than cigarettes and may be less harmful.

In Norway, snus has become a smoking cessation aid and most older snus users are former smokers.

But snus is also becoming increasingly popular among young Norwegian adults, many of whom have not smoked cigarettes. And although research is divided, the current thinking is that snus use reduces the likelihood of taking up smoking.

The authors of the new study wanted to know more about when people start using snus, to see if that ties into whether they also begin smoking cigarettes.

“I already knew about the research investigating associations between snus use and later smoking, but discovered that snus debut age had not been mentioned in that research,” Ingeborg Lund told Reuters Health in an email.

Lund is a researcher with the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research – SIRUS, in Oslo. She and her colleague Janne Scheffels published their study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The researchers analyzed surveys of Norwegian teenagers and adults conducted from 2005 to 2011.

Out of 8,313 people, 409 were long-term snus users who had started using snus before cigarettes or never used cigarettes. Of the snus users, 30 percent were long-term smokers.

Just over one third of the snus users started using snus before age 16. The researchers discovered those participants had two to three times the odds of becoming lifetime smokers, compared to people who began using snus after age 16.

They also found that early snus users had about the same rate of cigarette smoking as non-snus users. About 23 percent of early snus users were current smokers at the time of the survey, compared to only six percent of people who started using snus when they were older.

“Snus use seems to protect against smoking if the snus debut does not happen too early during adolescence,” Lund said.

She said it’s particularly important to keep teenagers tobacco-free until they are at least 16 years old.

“At younger ages, even if they start with a low risk product such as snus, there is a high risk that they will switch to – or add – other high-risk products, such as cigarettes,” she said. “This risk is reduced when they grow older.”

Since snus use is much less common in other countries, Lund said she doesn’t know if these results can be generalized outside of Norway and Sweden.

Lucy Popova, from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, told Reuters Health the new study was “interesting.” She was not involved in the research.

“Earlier initiation of snus basically makes it a gateway to tobacco use, to cigarette use in the future,” she said.

Popova explained that traditional Swedish snus is less dangerous than cigarettes.

“But it’s not harm-free, and (what) is really bad is when people start using both products because of increased rates of cardiovascular disease, pancreatic cancers and other problems,” she said.

Snus is fairly new to the U.S., and Popova said the version made in the U.S. isn’t like the traditional Swedish product.

“A research study found that it’s different from the traditional low-nitrosamine snus in Sweden – it’s not necessarily going to be as low-harm,” she said.

Popova is concerned with heavy promotion for smokeless tobacco products like snus.

“There’s been a lot of studies showing that more advertisement for tobacco products makes it more likely that children will use tobacco products,” she said, “and it’s important to keep youth tobacco-free as long as possible.”

RESEARCH SOURCE: bit.ly/1dP5O2Q Nicotine and Tobacco Research, online February 5, 2014.

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Support HPV Vaccination to protect children in the US

Source: www.usatoday.com

Author: Liz Sbazo

The USA is failing to protect children from preventable cancers that afflict 22,000 Americans a year by not vaccinating enough of them against HPV, a new report says.

Although a safe and effective HPV vaccine has been available for eight years, only one-third of girls have been fully immunized with all three recommended doses, according to a report from the President’s Cancer Panel, which has advised the White House on cancer since 1971. HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a family of viruses that causes cancer throughout the body, including cancers that predominantly affect men, such as a type of throat cancer. Only 7% of boys are fully vaccinated, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the shots for them since 2011.

Raising vaccination rates to at least 80% of teen girls could prevent 53,000 future cases of cervical cancer in girls alive today, according to the CDC.

“Our children deserve this protection,” says panel chairperson Barbara Rimer, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Administering the HPV shot poses practical difficulties not faced by other adolescent vaccines, because it currently requires three doses, at least two months apart, beginning when kids are 11 or 12, says pediatrician Mary Anne Jackson, director of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., who wasn’t involved in the new report. Although emerging research suggest that two doses could be equally effective, experts have not yet changed their recommendations.

And at a total cost of $400 for three shots, the HPV vaccine is also more expensive than other vaccinations, although it’s often covered by insurance, Jackson says.

The real problem, research shows, is that doctors are treating HPV vaccinations differently than other shots recommended for kids at that age, such as meningitis and whooping cough boosters, Jackson says.

All too often, doctors offer HPV shots, giving parents the option to vaccinate, without strongly recommending them, says Debbie Saslow of the American Cancer Society, who served as an adviser on the report. That could be because doctors are leery of initiating a discussion about sexual activity, which is how HPV spreads, Saslow says. Doctors recommend giving HPV shots to kids at a young age, when they’re most effective.

Yet studies show that most parents are likely to follow their pediatrician’s recommendations, Jackson says. Most families would likely agree to HPV vaccinations if doctors simply included it in their general package of middle-school shots, Jackson says. Studies have found the vaccine to be extremely safe, with no increase in serious side effects, in spite of giving 56 million doses of the shots in the USA alone.

Future HPV vaccines may soon be even more protective than the original shot. While the current vaccines can prevent about 70% of cervical cancers, HPV vaccines under development will protect against 90% of cervical tumors, the report says.

“If we could get physicians to give a strong message about HPV vaccination to every child, we could make a real difference,” says Rimer, whose report notes that 60% of girls in the United Kingdom and 71% in Australia are fully vaccinated against HPV. “The conversation needs to be framed around cancer prevention, not about sex.”

State lawmakers could help boost vaccination rates, Rimer says, by passing laws to allow pharmacists to administer HPV shots to teens just as they do flu shots. Only 6% of pharmacists are in states that allow them to give HPV shots without prior approval from a physician.

The panel also asks President Obama to lend his support to HPV vaccination.

“Your support of widespread HPV vaccination starting today can help save thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives, and could forever alter the landscape for cancers related to HPV,” the report says. “No man or woman should have to suffer or die from cancer or other diseases when the means by which to prevent them is within our grasp.”

 

* This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|

Shedding light on oral cancer

Source: www.laboratorytalk.com
Author: staff

A team of Indian cancer researchers led by Dr Narayanan Subhash has developed a simple, non-invasive spectral imaging system that holds the possibility of rapid, inexpensive mass screening. Even in the hands of non-clinical staff, it is capable of real-time discrimination of healthy oral tissue from pre-malignant and malignant tissues with accuracy comparable to the gold standard histopathology of a biopsy sample.

The core of the novel Diffuse Reflectance Imaging System (DRIS) is an Andor Luca-R EMCCD camera, which captures monochrome images of the patient’s mouth at 545 and 575 nm.

Andor’s SOLIS software computes a ratio image (R545/R575) of the area under investigation and generates a Pseudo Colour Map (PCM) where blue designates healthy tissue, red denotes dysplastic/pre-malignant tissue and yellow identifies malignant tissue.

Fig-1a

This allows rapid visual differentiation of oral lesions and identification of regions with pre-malignant characteristics.

Fig-1b

“Since mortality from oral cancer is particularly high, early detection, diagnosis and treatment is vital in increasing the survival rate of those with the disease,” says Dr Subhash. “Our imaging method has the great advantage of non-invasively scanning entire lesions and their surrounding areas and automatically categorising these oral lesions into normal/clinically healthy, pre-malignant, and malignant tissue in real-time.

“It also delineates the boundaries of neoplastic changes and locates sites with the most malignant potential for biopsy, thereby avoiding unnecessary repeated biopsies and delay in diagnosis. What’s more, imaging the entire region may also help the surgeons to identify the margins of the lesion that cannot be easily visualised by the naked eye during surgical interventions.”

Orla Hanrahan of Andor added: “The Luca-R EMCCD camera is well-equipped to handle this demanding role. It is built around a monochrome, megapixel frame transfer EMCCD sensor to deliver single photon detection sensitivity and unrestrained QE (65% max) in a TE cooled, USB 2.0 camera platform.”

February, 2014|Oral Cancer News|