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Omar Abdel-Rahman

Background: The aim of this study was to assess the patterns and trends of colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer screening within a contemporary cohort of Canadian adults. Methods: Canadian Community Health Survey datasets (2007–2016) were accessed and 3 cohorts were defined: (1) a colorectal cancer (CRC) screening cohort, defined as men and women aged 50 to 74 years with complete information about CRC screening tests and their timing; (2) a breast cancer screening cohort, defined as women aged 40 to 74 years with complete information about mammography and its timing; and (3) a cervical cancer screening cohort, defined as women aged 25 to 69 years with complete information about the Papanicolaou (Pap) test and its timing. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was then performed to evaluate factors associated with not having timely screening tests at the time of survey completion. Results: A total of 99,820 participants were considered eligible for the CRC screening cohort, 59,724 for the breast cancer screening cohort, and 46,767 for the cervical cancer screening cohort. Among eligible participants, 43% did not have timely recommended screening tests for CRC, 35% did not have timely mammography (this number decreased to 26% when limiting the eligible group to ages 50–74 years), and 25% did not have a timely Pap test. Lower income was associated with not having a timely recommended screening tests for all 3 cohorts (odds ratios [95% CI]: 1.86 [1.76–1.97], 1.89 [1.76–2.04], and 1.96 [1.79–2.14], respectively). Likewise, persons self-identifying as a visible minority were less likely to have timely recommended screening tests in all 3 cohorts (odds ratios for White race vs visible minority [95% CI]: 0.87 [0.83–0.92], 0.85 [0.80–0.91], and 0.66 [0.61–0.70], respectively). Conclusions: More than one-third of eligible individuals are missing timely screening tests for CRC. Moreover, at least one-quarter of eligible women are missing their recommended breast and cervical cancer screening tests. More efforts from federal and provincial health authorities are needed to deal with socioeconomic disparities in access to cancer screening.

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Medhavi Gupta, Christopher Sherrow, Maghan E. Krone, Edik M. Blais, Michael J. Pishvaian, Emanuel F. Petricoin III, Lynn M. Matrisian, Patricia DeArbeloa, Gary Gregory, Alyson Brown, Olivia Zalewski, Gillian Prinzing, Charles Roche, Kazunori Kanehira, Sarbajit Mukherjee, Renuka Iyer and Christos Fountzilas

Pancreatic acinar cell carcinoma (PACC) is a rare pancreatic exocrine malignancy. Compared with the more common pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), PACC is more common in younger White men, has earlier stages and a lower mean age (56 vs 70 years) at the time of presentation, and has a better prognosis. In addition to differences in demographic, histologic, and clinical characteristics, PACC has a genomic profile distinct from PDAC, with only rare mutations in TP53, KRAS, and p16 that are commonly found in PDAC. This case report presents a man aged 81 years who presented with a pancreatic body mass with peripancreatic lymph node enlargement. Biopsy of the mass showed acinar cell carcinoma. The patient underwent upfront surgical resection, followed by one cycle of adjuvant gemcitabine, with stoppage of therapy due to poor tolerance. Lower-dose gemcitabine was reintroduced after disease progression 6 months later. Nab-paclitaxel was added to gemcitabine after 6 cycles because of a continued increase in the size of peripancreatic lymph nodes. Combination chemotherapy was stopped after 4 cycles because of further disease progression with new liver metastasis. Molecular testing showed the presence of an SEL1L-NTRK1 fusion. Targeted therapy was started with the oral neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase (NTRK) inhibitor larotrectinib at a dosage of 100 mg twice daily. At the time of writing, the patient has been on therapy for 13 months with an exceptional radiographic response and has not experienced any grade 3 adverse effects. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical report of an NTRK gene fusion in a patient with PACC. This case study highlights the significance of tumor molecular profiling in patients with pancreatic tumors, especially rare histologies.

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Samuel Martel, Matteo Lambertini, Dominique Agbor-Tarh, Noam F. Ponde, Andrea Gombos, Vicki Paterson, Florentine Hilbers, Larissa Korde, Anna Manukyants, Amylou Dueck, Christian Maurer, Martine Piccart, Alvaro Moreno-Aspitia, Christine Desmedt, Serena Di Cosimo and Evandro de Azambuja

Background: The association between obesity and prognosis in HER2-positive early breast cancer remains unclear, with limited data available. This study aimed to determine the impact of body mass index (BMI) at baseline and weight change after 2 years on outcomes of patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. Methods: ALTTO was a randomized phase III trial in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. BMI was collected at randomization and 2 years after. WHO BMI categories were used: underweight, <18.5 kg/m2; normal weight, 18.5 to <25 kg/m2; overweight, ≥25 to <30 kg/m2; and obese ≥30 kg/m2. A weight change from baseline of ≥5.0% and ≤5.0% was categorized as weight gain and weight loss. The impact of BMI at randomization and of weight change on disease-free survival (DFS), distant disease-free survival (DDFS), and overall survival (OS) were investigated with multivariate analyses, adjusting for baseline patients and tumor characteristics. Results: A total of 8,381 patients were included: 187 (2.2%), 3,797 (45.3%), 2,690 (32.1%), and 1,707 (20.4%) were underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese at baseline, respectively. Compared with normal weight, being obese at randomization was associated with a significantly worse DDFS (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.25; 95% CI, 1.04–1.50) and OS (aHR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.01–1.60), but no significant difference in DFS (aHR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.97–1.32). Weight loss ≥5.0% at 2 years after randomization was associated with significantly poorer DFS (aHR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.05–1.71), DDFS (aHR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.07–1.98), and OS (aHR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.18–2.84). Hormone receptor and menopausal status but not anti-HER2 treatment type influenced outcomes. Toxicities were more frequent in obese patients. Conclusions: In patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer, obesity at baseline is a poor prognostic factor. Weight loss during treatment and follow-up negatively impacts clinical outcomes. Dietary counseling should be part of survivorship care programs.

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Jeremy P. Harris, Mehr Kashyap, Jessi N. Humphreys, Daniel T. Chang and Erqi L. Pollom

Background: Patients with cancer are at high risk for having mental disorders, resulting in widespread psychosocial screening efforts. However, there is a need for population-based and longitudinal studies of mental disorders among patients who have gastrointestinal cancer and particular among elderly patients. Patients and Methods: We used the SEER-Medicare database to identify patients aged ≥65 years with colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, hepatic/biliary, esophageal, or anal cancer. Earlier (12 months before or up to 6 months after cancer diagnosis) and subsequent mental disorder diagnoses were identified. Results: Of 112,283 patients, prevalence of an earlier mental disorder was 21%, 23%, 20%, 20%, 19%, and 26% for colorectal, pancreatic, gastric, hepatic/biliary, esophageal, and anal cancer, respectively. An increased odds of an earlier mental disorder was associated with pancreatic cancer (odds ratio [OR], 1.17; 95% CI, 1.11–1.23), esophageal cancer (OR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02–1.18), and anal cancer (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.05–1.30) compared with colorectal cancer and with having regional versus local disease (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.06–1.13). The cumulative incidence of a subsequent mental disorder at 5 years was 19%, 16%, 14%, 13%, 12%, and 10% for patients with anal, colorectal, esophageal, gastric, hepatic/biliary, and pancreatic cancer, respectively. There was an association with having regional disease (hazard ratio [HR], 1.08; 95% CI, 1.04–1.12) or distant disease (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.28–1.45) compared with local disease and the development of a mental disorder. Although the development of a subsequent mental disorder was more common among patients with advanced cancers, there continued to be a significant number of patients with earlier-stage disease at risk. Conclusions: This study suggests a larger role for incorporating psychiatric symptom screening and management throughout oncologic care.

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Anthony A. Matthews, Sharon Peacock Hinton, Susannah Stanway, Alexander R. Lyon, Liam Smeeth, Krishnan Bhaskaran and Jennifer L. Lund

Background: It has been suggested that cardiovascular risks are increased in breast cancer survivors, but few studies have quantified the risks of a range of specific clinically important cardiovascular outcomes in detail. Patients and Methods: Women aged >65 years with incident breast cancer from 2004 to 2013 in the SEER-Medicare linked database were matched with 5 cancer-free female counterparts (5:1 ratio). Prevalence of specific cardiovascular outcomes at baseline was measured, then Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals for the risk of individual cardiovascular outcomes during follow-up. Modification of the effect was investigated by time since diagnosis, race/ethnicity, prior cardiovascular disease (CVD), and age. Results: In all, 91,473 women with breast cancer and 454,197 without breast cancer were included. Women with breast cancer had lower baseline prevalence of all CVDs. Compared with cancer-free controls, breast cancer survivors had substantially increased risks of deep vein thrombosis (adjusted HR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.62–1.73; 386,484 person-years of follow-up) and pericarditis (HR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.38–1.49; 390,776 person-years of follow-up); evidence of smaller increased risks of sudden cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, heart failure, and valvular heart disease (adjusted HRs ranging from 1.05–1.09, lower CI limits all ≥1); and evidence of lower risk of incident angina, myocardial infarction, revascularization, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke (adjusted HRs ranging from 0.89–0.98, upper CI limits all ≤1). Increased risks of arrhythmia, heart failure, pericarditis, and deep vein thrombosis persisted >5 years after cancer diagnosis. Conclusions: Women with a history of breast cancer were at increased risk of several CVDs, persisting into survivorship. Monitoring and managing cardiovascular risk throughout the long-term follow-up of women diagnosed with breast cancer should be a priority.

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Narek Shaverdian, Erin F. Gillespie, Elaine Cha, Soo Young Kim, Stephanie Benvengo, Fumiko Chino, Jung Julie Kang, Yuelin Li, Thomas M. Atkinson, Nancy Lee, Charles M. Washington, Oren Cahlon and Daniel R. Gomez

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed cancer care with the rapid expansion of telemedicine, but given the limited use of telemedicine in oncology, concerns have been raised about the quality of care being delivered. We assessed the patient experience with telemedicine in routine radiation oncology practice to determine satisfaction, quality of care, and opportunities for optimization. Patients and Methods: Patients seen within a multistate comprehensive cancer center for prepandemic office visits and intrapandemic telemedicine visits in December 2019 through June 2020 who completed patient experience questionnaires were evaluated. Patient satisfaction between office and telemedicine consultations were compared, patient visit-type preferences were assessed, and factors associated with an office visit preference were determined. Results: In total, 1,077 patients were assessed (office visit, n=726; telemedicine, n=351). The telemedicine-consult survey response rate was 40%. No significant differences were seen in satisfaction scores between office and telemedicine consultations, including the appointment experience versus expectation, quality of physician’s explanation, and level of physician concern and friendliness. Among telemedicine survey respondents, 45% and 34% preferred telemedicine and office visits, respectively, and 21% had no preference for their visit type. Most respondents found their confidence in their physician (90%), understanding of the treatment plan (88%), and confidence in their treatment (87%) to be better or no different than with an office visit. Patients with better performance status and who were married/partnered were more likely to prefer in-person office visit consultations (odds ratio [OR], 1.04 [95% CI, 1.00–1.08]; P=.047, and 2.41 [95% CI, 1.14–5.47]; P=.009, respectively). Patients with telephone-only encounters were more likely to report better treatment plan understanding with an office visit (OR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.00–4.77; P=.04). Conclusions: This study is the first to assess telemedicine in routine radiation oncology practice, and found high patient satisfaction and confidence in their care. Optimization of telemedicine in oncology should be a priority, specifically access to audiovisual capabilities that can improve patient–oncologist communication.

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Carlos J. Roldan, Matthew Chung, Lei Feng and Eduardo Bruera

Background: Oral mucositis is a complication of cancer therapy, causing severe pain that affects oral functioning, nutrition, and quality of life, as well as therapy nonadherence or dose-limiting toxicity. Anecdotal experience has suggested that methylene blue (MB) oral rinse may be an effective and safe treatment of this oral pain. Methods: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of MB oral rinse for the treatment of oral pain due to mucositis in patients with cancer, we retrospectively evaluated patients who experienced refractory pain despite conventional therapy. Results: We identified 281 patients who received MB oral rinse. Most were receiving treatment for leukemia (n=85; 30.3%) and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (n=84; 29.9%). The most common treatments were radiation therapy alone (n=108; 38.4%) and chemoradiation (n=86; 30.6%). Median duration of symptoms was 14 days. Mean (SD) numeric rating scale pain scores were 7.7 (1.83; median, 8) before MB oral rinse and 2.51 (2.76; median, 2) after MB oral rinse (P<.0001). Most patients achieved pain control within the first 3 doses. The effectiveness of MB oral rinse was independent of patient age, sex, cancer type, cancer stage, MB dilution, and pain duration or baseline pain scores. The lowest response to treatment was reported in individuals with esophageal mucositis. Few patients experienced adverse effects of MB oral rinse (n=13; 4.6%); 10 had a transient burning sensation, 2 had transient blue discoloration of the teeth and mouth, and 1 had increased pain. Conclusions: MB oral rinse is an effective and safe treatment for refractory pain from oral mucositis related to cancer treatment.