Recent Submissions

  • Robotic-assisted surgery in high-risk surgical patients with endometrial cancer

    Moss, Esther (2023-11-04)
    Many patients diagnosed with an endometrial cancer are at high-risk for surgery due to factors such as advanced age, raised body mass index or frailty. Minimally-invasive surgery, in particular robotic-assisted, is increasingly used in the surgical management of endometrial cancer however, there are a lack of clinical trials investigating outcomes in high-risk patient populations. This article will review the current evidence and identify areas of uncertainty where future research is needed.
  • Standardized clinical annotation of digital histopathology slides at the point of diagnosis

    Hero, Emily (2023-11)
    As digital pathology replaces conventional glass slide microscopy as a means of reporting cellular pathology samples, the annotation of digital pathology whole slide images is rapidly becoming part of a pathologist's regular practice. Currently, there is no recognizable organization of these annotations, and as a result, pathologists adopt an arbitrary approach to defining regions of interest, leading to irregularity and inconsistency and limiting the downstream efficient use of this valuable effort. In this study, we propose a Standardized Annotation Reporting Style for digital whole slide images. We formed a list of 167 commonly annotated entities (under 12 specialty subcategories) based on review of Royal College of Pathologists and College of American Pathologists documents, feedback from reporting pathologists in our NHS department, and experience in developing annotation dictionaries for PathLAKE research projects. Each entity was assigned a suitable annotation shape, SNOMED CT (SNOMED International) code, and unique color. Additionally, as an example of how the approach could be expanded to specific tumor types, all lung tumors in the fifth World Health Organization of thoracic tumors 2021 were included. The proposed standardization of annotations increases their utility, making them identifiable at low power and searchable across and between cases. This would aid pathologists reporting and reviewing cases and enable annotations to be used for research. This structured approach could serve as the basis for an industry standard and be easily adopted to ensure maximum functionality and efficiency in the use of annotations made during routine clinical examination of digital slides.
  • Osimertinib with or without chemotherapy in EGFR-mutated advanced NSCLC

    Ahmed, Samreen (2023-11-23)
    Background: Osimertinib is a third-generation epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) that is selective for EGFR-TKI-sensitizing and EGFR T790M resistance mutations. Evidence suggests that the addition of chemotherapy may extend the benefits of EGFR-TKI therapy. Methods: In this phase 3, international, open-label trial, we randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio patients with EGFR-mutated (exon 19 deletion or L858R mutation) advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had not previously received treatment for advanced disease to receive osimertinib (80 mg once daily) with chemotherapy (pemetrexed [500 mg per square meter of body-surface area] plus either cisplatin [75 mg per square meter] or carboplatin [pharmacologically guided dose]) or to receive osimertinib monotherapy (80 mg once daily). The primary end point was investigator-assessed progression-free survival. Response and safety were also assessed. Results: A total of 557 patients underwent randomization. Investigator-assessed progression-free survival was significantly longer in the osimertinib-chemotherapy group than in the osimertinib group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.49 to 0.79; P<0.001). At 24 months, 57% (95% CI, 50 to 63) of the patients in the osimertinib-chemotherapy group and 41% (95% CI, 35 to 47) of those in the osimertinib group were alive and progression-free. Progression-free survival as assessed according to blinded independent central review was consistent with the primary analysis (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.48 to 0.80). An objective (complete or partial) response was observed in 83% of the patients in the osimertinib-chemotherapy group and in 76% of those in the osimertinib group; the median response duration was 24.0 months (95% CI, 20.9 to 27.8) and 15.3 months (95% CI, 12.7 to 19.4), respectively. The incidence of grade 3 or higher adverse events from any cause was higher with the combination than with monotherapy - a finding driven by known chemotherapy-related adverse events. The safety profile of osimertinib plus pemetrexed and a platinum-based agent was consistent with the established profiles of the individual agents. Conclusions: First-line treatment with osimertinib-chemotherapy led to significantly longer progression-free survival than osimertinib monotherapy among patients with EGFR-mutated advanced NSCLC. (Funded by AstraZeneca; FLAURA2 number, NCT04035486.).
  • Safety of bendamustine for the treatment of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a UK real-world experience

    Ahearne, Matthew J; Miall, Fiona (2023-11-15)
    Introduction: Bendamustine is among the most effective chemotherapeutics for indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (iNHL), but trial reports of significant toxicity, including opportunistic infections and excess deaths, led to prescriber warnings. We conducted a multicentre observational study evaluating bendamustine toxicity in real-world practice. Methods: Patients receiving at least one dose of bendamustine (B) +/- rituximab (R) for iNHL were included. Demographics, lymphoma and treatment details and grade 3-5 adverse events (AEs) were analysed. Results: 323 patients were enrolled from 9 NHS hospitals. Most patients (96%) received BR and 46% R maintenance. 21.7% experienced serious AEs (SAE) related to treatment, including infections in 12%, with absolute risk highest during induction (63%), maintenance (20%), and follow-up (17%), and the relative risk highest during maintenance (54%), induction (34%) and follow-up (28%). Toxicity led to permanent treatment discontinuation in 13% of patients, and 2.8% died of bendamustine-related infections (n=5), myelodysplastic syndrome (n=3), and cardiac disease (n=1). More SAEs per patient were reported in patients with mantle cell lymphoma, poor pre-induction PS, poor pre-maintenance PS, abnormal pre-induction total globulins and in those receiving growth factors. Use of antimicrobial prophylaxis was variable, and 3/10 opportunistic infections occurred despite prophylaxis. Conclusion: In this real-world analysis, bendamustine-related deaths and treatment discontinuation were similar to trial populations of younger, fitter patients. Poor PS, mantle cell histology and maintenance rituximab were potential risk factors. Infections, including late onset events, were the most common treatment-related SAE and cause of death warranting extended antimicrobial prophylaxis and infectious surveillance, especially in maintenance-treated patients.
  • Outcomes and characteristics of non-melanoma skin cancers in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms on ruxolitinib

    Laing, Heather; Garg, Mamta (2023-11-14)
    Non-melanoma skin cancers in ruxolitinib-treated MPN patients behave aggressively, with adverse features and high recurrence. In our cohort, mortality from metastatic NMSC exceeded that from myelofibrosis . Vigilant skin assessment, counselling on NMSC risks, and prospective ruxolitinib-NMSC studies are crucial.
  • Late onset toxicities associated with the use of CDK 4/6 inhibitors in hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HER2-) metastatic breast cancer patients: a multidisciplinary, pan-EU position paper regarding their optimal management. The GIOCONDA project

    Olubukola, Ayodele; Ahmed, Samreen (2023-10-26)
    The personalization of therapies in breast cancer has favoured the introduction of new molecular-targeted therapies into clinical practice. Among them, cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors have acquired increasing importance, with the approval in recent years of palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib in combination with endocrine therapy. Currently, no guidelines are available to monitor and manage potential long-term toxicities associated with the use of these drugs. A multidisciplinary panel of European oncologists, was supported by a pharmacologist, a hematologist, a hepatologist and a pulmonologist to discuss the management of long-term toxicities, based on the literature review and their clinical experience. The panel provided detailed roadmaps to manage long-term toxicities associated with the use of CDK4/6 inhibitors in clinical practice. Knowing the frequency and characteristics of the toxicity profile associated with each CDK4/6 inhibitor is important in the decision-making process to match the right drug to the right patient.
  • Walking pace and the time between the onset of non-communicable diseases and mortality: a UK biobank prospective cohort study

    Henson, Joseph; Davies, Melanie; Zaccardi, Francesco; Goldney, Jonathan (2023-10-09)
    Purpose: To estimate trajectories of time spent in various cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer states, according to self-reported walking pace. Methods: 391,744 UK Biobank participants were included (median age=57 years; 54.7% women). Data was collected 2006-2010, with follow-up data collected in 2021. Usual walking pace was self-defined as slow, steady/average or brisk. Multistate modelling was used to obtain the transition rate and mean sojourn time in and across three different states (healthy, CVD/cancer, death) upon a time horizon of 10 years. Results: Those reporting an average or brisk walking pace at baseline displayed lower rates across all transitions (vs. slow walkers). The mean sojourn time in the healthy state was longer while that in the CVD/cancer state was shorter in individuals reporting an average or brisk walking pace (vs. slow). A 75-year-old woman reporting a brisk walking pace spent, on average, 8.4 years of the next 10 years in a healthy state; an additional 8.0 (95% CI: 7.3, 8.7) months longer compared to a 75-year-old woman reporting a slow walking pace. This corresponded to 4.3 (3.7, 4.9) fewer months living with CVD/ cancer. Similar results were seen in men. Conclusions: Adults reporting an average or brisk walking pace at baseline displayed a lower transition to disease development and a greater proportion of life lived without CVD/cancer. Availability of data and materials: Research was conducted using the UK Biobank Resource under Application #33266. The UK Biobank resource can be accessed by researchers on application. Variables derived for this study have been returned to the UK Biobank for future applicants to request. No additional data are available.
  • Kidney function and long-term risk of end-stage kidney disease and mortality in a multiethnic population

    Zaccardi, Francesco; Khunti, Kamlesh; Brunskill, Nigel; Xu, Gang (2023-06-19)
    Introduction: Contemporary differences between South Asian and White ethnicities in the incidence of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) and mortality are poorly described. Methods: Data for all South Asian patients who had an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) measure after January 1, 2006, and 1 million randomly selected participants of other ethnicities were extracted from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). All participants were followed-up with from index date until ESKD, all-cause mortality, or end of study. All-cause mortality rate and ESKD incidence rate by age were described among Whites and South Asians, and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of these 2 outcomes by baseline eGFR estimated using Cox proportional hazard model. Results: A total of 40,888 South Asians and 236,634 Whites were followed for a median of 5.3 and 9.4 years for ESKD incidence and mortality outcomes, respectively. All-cause mortality rates were higher among Whites than South Asians; South Asian women aged between 70 and 85 years had a slightly higher ESKD incidence rate compared to their White counterparts. Compared to Whites with a baseline eGFR of 90 ml/min per 1.73 m2, adjusted HRs for all-cause mortality were significantly lower among South Asians than Whites; however, adjusted HRs for ESKD incidence by baseline eGFR were similar in both ethnicities. Calculating South Asian eGFRs using an ethnicity-specific equation had no impact on the results. Conclusions: South Asians experience lower mortality than Whites but not substantially higher rates of ESKD. Further research is warranted to better understand the reasons for these ethnic differences and possible impacts on chronic kidney disease (CKD) service delivery and patient outcomes.
  • The British Orthopaedic Oncology Management (BOOM) audit

    Ashford, Robert; Sharma, Vivek; Rai, Paul; Mitchell, Lara; Hutchings, Steffan; Nichols, Jennifer; Singh, Harvinder; Armstrong, Alison; Brown, Andrew (01/10/2023)
    Aims: Most patients with advanced malignancy suffer bone metastases, which pose a significant challenge to orthopaedic services and burden to the health economy. This study aimed to assess adherence to the British Orthopaedic Oncology Society (BOOS)/British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) guidelines on patients with metastatic bone disease (MBD) in the UK. Methods: A prospective, multicentre, national collaborative audit was designed and delivered by a trainee-led collaborative group. Data were collected over three months (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021) for all patients presenting with MBD. A data collection tool allowed investigators at each hospital to compare practice against guidelines. Data were collated and analyzed centrally to quantify compliance from 84 hospitals in the UK for a total of 1,137 patients who were eligible for inclusion. Results: A total of 846 patients with pelvic and appendicular MBD were analyzed, after excluding those with only spinal metastatic disease. A designated MBD lead was not present in 39% of centres (33/84). Adequate radiographs were not performed in 19% of patients (160/846), and 29% (247/846) did not have an up-to-date CT of thorax, abdomen, and pelvis to stage their disease. Compliance was low obtaining an oncological opinion (69%; 584/846) and prognosis estimations (38%; 223/846). Surgery was performed in 38% of patients (319/846), with the rates of up-to-date radiological investigations and oncology input with prognosis below the expected standard. Of the 25% (215/846) presenting with a solitary metastasis, a tertiary opinion from a MBD centre and biopsy was sought in 60% (130/215). Conclusion: Current practice in the UK does not comply with national guidelines, especially regarding investigations prior to surgery and for patients with solitary metastases. This study highlights the need for investment and improvement in care. The recent publication of British Orthopaedic Association Standards for Trauma (BOAST) defines auditable standards to drive these improvements for this vulnerable patient group.
  • Navigating thyroid dysfunction and comorbidities among university students in Abbottabad, Pakistan - a cross-sectional evaluation of screening tool for thyroid dysfunction

    Iqbal, Muhammad (2023-09-15)
    Background: Thyroid dysfunction has a direct role in diagnosing, and assessment and indicates the development of thyroid carcinoma. This study aimed to assess thyroid dysfunction through medical camps in different age and sex groups in students of Comsats University Abbottabad Pakistan. Methods: In this study, a cross-sectional survey design was used. For data collection, a two-day medical camp was set in the Comsats University Abbottabad campus. The students were examined physically for symptoms of thyroid dysfunction using the survey questionnaire specifically designed for this study. Results: The current research revealed that 78 out of 1032 students, or 7.6% of the population, had thyroid disease. Although 39.3% (=406) were found to have low risk, followed by 36.7% (n=379) had moderate risk and 23.9% (n=247) had high risk of thyroid dysfunction. Altogether, 6.1% (n=63) of the students had high blood pressure (BP), 3.2% (n=33) had high cholesterolemia, 3.4% (n=33) had angina, and 0.9% (n=9) had diabetes mellitus (DM). In relation, students who exhibit signs and symptoms that last longer than five weeks include 42.2% (n=435) who felt the need for excessive sleep, 35.3% (n=364) who felt tired, 36.8% (n=380) who had trouble concentrating and 30.1% (n=311) who had palpitations. The high risk of thyroid being seen predominantly in students between the ages of 15-20 years (31.2%, n=148), as opposed to other age groups (p=0.001). Similar to this, women having a higher risk of thyroid disease (26.5%) than men (22.8%) (p =0.001). Conclusion: In conclusion, few students suffer with thyroid found to have high risk of thyroid disease. This method of questionnaire-based screening for thyroid dysfunction is cost-effective, with no additive risk of adverse effects from excessive screening, and could help in the early detection of thyroid and help avoid excess costs related to thyroid dysfunction and cancer screening.
  • NICE 2022 guidelines on the management of melanoma: Update and implications

    Ramachandran, Sanjeev; Begaj, Ardit; Morgan, Bruno; Faust, Guy; Patel, Nakul; Jayarajan, Rajshree (2023-07-20)
    Aims: In July 2022, NICE updated the guidelines on the management of melanoma by lowering the number of follow-up appointments and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) but increasing the number of scans. This study aims to evaluate the implications of executing the new guidelines in terms of cost-effectiveness and personnel. Methods: All patients newly diagnosed with melanoma in 2019 at a regional skin cancer specialist center were reviewed. Data were analyzed for their journey on an idealized pathway modeled over a 5-year follow-up period when adhering to both the previous and new guidelines. Differences in the management of melanoma were elucidated by comparing these changes. The cost was quantified on a perpatient basis and the financial implication on each department was considered. Results: One hundred and ten patients were diagnosed with melanoma in 2019, stages I-III. The changes ease the burden on plastic surgery and dermatology; however, increased pressure is faced by radiologists and histopathologists. An overall cost benefit of £141.85 perpatient was calculated, resulting in a decrease of 1.22 hospital visits on average and an increase in the time spent there (19.55 min). The additional expenses of implementing the new guidelines due to the added BRAF tests, CT, and ultrasound scans are outweighed by savings from the reduction in follow-up appointments and SLNB. Conclusion: The focus has shifted to less invasive procedures for lower melanoma stages and fewer follow-up appointments, at the expense of more genetic testing and imaging. This paper serves as a useful baseline for other centers to plan their service provision and resource allocation to adhere to the updated guidelines.
  • Changes in lung cancer staging and emergency presentations during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Vella, Claire; Ashraf, Asif; Ajmal, Syed; Sudhir, Rajini; Agrawal, Sanjay; Tufail, Muhammad; Bennett, Jonathan (2023-01)
    Aim: This study retrospectively analyses the impact of the 1st year of the COVID-19 pandemic on route of presentation and staging in lung cancer compared to the 2 years before and after implementation of the Leicester Optimal Lung Cancer Pathway (LOLCP) in Leicester, United Kingdom. Method: Electronic databases and hospital records were used to identify all patients diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 (pre-LOLCP), 2019 (post-LOLCP), and March 2020-2021 (post-COVID-19 lockdown). Information regarding patient characteristics, performance status, stage, and route of diagnosis was documented and analysed. Emergency presentation was defined as diagnosis of new lung cancer being made after unscheduled attendance to urgent or emergency care facility. Results: Following implementation of the LOLCP pathway, there was a significant decrease in emergency presentations from 26.8 to 19.6% (p = 0.002) with a stage shift from 33.9% early stage disease to 40.3%. These improved outcomes were annulled during the COVID-19 pandemic, with emergency presentations increasing to 38.9% (p < 0.001) and a reduction in early-stage lung cancer diagnoses to 31.5%. There was a 61% decline in 2 week wait referrals but no significant decline in the LOLCP direct-to-CT referrals. Conclusion: We have demonstrated a significant increase in late-stage lung cancer diagnoses and emergency presentations during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The causes for these changes are likely to be multifactorial. The long-term effect on lung cancer mortality remains to be seen and is an important focus of future study.
  • Fifteen-year outcomes after monitoring, surgery, or radiotherapy for prostate cancer

    Kockelbergh, Roger (2023-04-27)
    Background: Between 1999 and 2009 in the United Kingdom, 82,429 men between 50 and 69 years of age received a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Localized prostate cancer was diagnosed in 2664 men. Of these men, 1643 were enrolled in a trial to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, with 545 randomly assigned to receive active monitoring, 553 to undergo prostatectomy, and 545 to undergo radiotherapy. Methods: At a median follow-up of 15 years (range, 11 to 21), we compared the results in this population with respect to death from prostate cancer (the primary outcome) and death from any cause, metastases, disease progression, and initiation of long-term androgen-deprivation therapy (secondary outcomes). Results: Follow-up was complete for 1610 patients (98%). A risk-stratification analysis showed that more than one third of the men had intermediate or high-risk disease at diagnosis. Death from prostate cancer occurred in 45 men (2.7%): 17 (3.1%) in the active-monitoring group, 12 (2.2%) in the prostatectomy group, and 16 (2.9%) in the radiotherapy group (P = 0.53 for the overall comparison). Death from any cause occurred in 356 men (21.7%), with similar numbers in all three groups. Metastases developed in 51 men (9.4%) in the active-monitoring group, in 26 (4.7%) in the prostatectomy group, and in 27 (5.0%) in the radiotherapy group. Long-term androgen-deprivation therapy was initiated in 69 men (12.7%), 40 (7.2%), and 42 (7.7%), respectively; clinical progression occurred in 141 men (25.9%), 58 (10.5%), and 60 (11.0%), respectively. In the active-monitoring group, 133 men (24.4%) were alive without any prostate cancer treatment at the end of follow-up. No differential effects on cancer-specific mortality were noted in relation to the baseline PSA level, tumor stage or grade, or risk-stratification score. No treatment complications were reported after the 10-year analysis. Conclusions: After 15 years of follow-up, prostate cancer-specific mortality was low regardless of the treatment assigned. Thus, the choice of therapy involves weighing trade-offs between benefits and harms associated with treatments for localized prostate cancer. (Funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research; ProtecT Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN20141297; number, NCT02044172.).
  • Codon-specific KRAS mutations predict survival benefit of trifluridine/tipiracil in metastatic colorectal cancer

    Thomas, Anne (2023-03-02)
    Genomics has greatly improved how patients with cancer are being treated; however, clinical-grade genomic biomarkers for chemotherapies are currently lacking. Using whole-genome analysis of 37 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated with the chemotherapy trifluridine/tipiracil (FTD/TPI), we identified KRAS codon G12 (KRASG12) mutations as a potential biomarker of resistance. Next, we collected real-world data of 960 patients with mCRC receiving FTD/TPI and validated that KRASG12 mutations were significantly associated with poor survival, also in analyses restricted to the RAS/RAF mutant subgroup. We next analyzed the data of the global, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 RECOURSE trial (n = 800 patients) and found that KRASG12 mutations (n = 279) were predictive biomarkers for reduced overall survival (OS) benefit of FTD/TPI versus placebo (unadjusted interaction P = 0.0031, adjusted interaction P = 0.015). For patients with KRASG12 mutations in the RECOURSE trial, OS was not prolonged with FTD/TPI versus placebo (n = 279; hazard ratio (HR) = 0.97; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73-1.20; P = 0.85). In contrast, patients with KRASG13 mutant tumors showed significantly improved OS with FTD/TPI versus placebo (n = 60; HR = 0.29; 95% CI = 0.15-0.55; P < 0.001). In isogenic cell lines and patient-derived organoids, KRASG12 mutations were associated with increased resistance to FTD-based genotoxicity. In conclusion, these data show that KRASG12 mutations are biomarkers for reduced OS benefit of FTD/TPI treatment, with potential implications for approximately 28% of patients with mCRC under consideration for treatment with FTD/TPI. Furthermore, our data suggest that genomics-based precision medicine may be possible for a subset of chemotherapies.
  • Diagnostic adjuncts in oral cancer evaluation

    Mair, Manish (2022)
    Oral cancer is a major health concern in developing countries like India which contributes one-third of the global oral cancer burden. Unlike other non-head and neck malignancies, oral cancer has a more curative treatment course. If detected early, oral cancer has the best treatment outcomes. However, most oral cancer has a dismal five-year survival rate as the majority are diagnosed in late/advanced loco-regional stages. Current methods of assessment for oral cancer include, thorough clinical examination under white light and biopsy. Over the years, a number of diagnostic tools have been created as adjuncts to white light evaluation to help with the early diagnosis of oral cancer. This article's goal is to discuss the present diagnostic techniques for oral cancer as well as potential future uses of cutting-edge, innovative technology for the detection of the disease. This may expand our diagnostic choices and enhance our capacity to accurately identify and manage lesions associated with oral cancer.
  • Two-week wait gastrointestinal (GI) cancer pathway: A single tertiary centre experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

    Al Saoudi, Tareq; Bahri, Suchita; Khasawneh, Farah; Bhardwaj, Neil; Garcea, Giuseppe (2023-03-29)
    Background: This article investigated the impact of COVID-19 on the two-week wait referral pathway at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. The conversion rate of these referrals was also explored as an indicator of the appropriateness of referrals from primary care. Methods: Two-week wait referrals to the Cancer Centre of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust from 2018 to 2020 were collected for upper gastrointestinal (UGI), lower gastrointestinal (LGI), and hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgery. The confirmed cancer cases out of these referrals were also recorded. Additionally, the outcomes of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings for all patients discussed in June 2018, 2019, and 2020 were collected, and their staging and treatment data were examined. Results: The number of two-week referrals decreased in 2020 compared to the previous two years across the three specialities. This was more pronounced in April, with a reduction of over 50%. The conversion rate of these referrals increased in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019 among all three specialities. The increase in conversion rate was statistically significant for LGI referrals (2018 vs 2020 p = 0.0056; 2019 vs 2020 p = 0.0005). There was no significant difference in the MDT outcome across the three specialities. Conclusion: Two-week wait remains a cornerstone pathway in the management of patients with suspected cancer in the National Health Service. The COVID-19 pandemic appeared to have reduced inappropriate referrals, as evidenced by the increased conversion rate. This did not appear to negatively impact tumour staging and outcomes for those patients who were referred on the pathway.
  • Mesothelioma palliative care needs: supporting patients and families with new research-based resources

    Darlison, Liz
    Background: Mesothelioma is a rare cancer without cure. Clinical guidelines recommend the timely provision of palliative/supportive care; however, a new study identified barriers to achieving this ambition. Objective: The study aimed to explore palliative care needs and the role of Mesothelioma Clinical Nurse Specialists (MCNSs); and to develop resources to address study findings. Methods: The mixed-methods study included a literature review, focus groups, interviews and surveys. Results: The study highlighted the important role of the MCNSs in palliative care and the need to: address disjointed care; improve support for families; and explain the benefits of palliative care for patients/families. A co-production approach developed an animation for patients/families to demystify palliative care and explain the benefits of early-stage engagement; and an infographic targeted at community and primary care professionals. Recommendations for community nursing practice are described.
  • Family matters: germline testing in thoracic cancers

    Fennell, Dean (2023-05-11)
    Most thoracic cancers arise via a series of stepwise somatic alterations driven by a well-defined carcinogen (ie, tobacco or asbestos for lung cancer and mesothelioma, respectively). A small proportion can emerge on a background of pathogenic germline variants (PGVs), which have the property of heritability. In general, PGVs may be initially suspected on the basis of the presence of specific clinical features. Such gene × environment interactions significantly increase the risk of developing lung cancer (1.5- to 3.2-fold). PGVs have been discovered involving the actionable driver oncogene, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), with an EGFR T790M PGV rate of 0.3%-0.9% in the nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer subtype. Its appearance during routine somatic DNA sequencing in those patients who have not had a previous tyrosine kinase inhibitor should raise suspicion. In patients with sporadic mesothelioma, BAP1 is the most frequently mutated tumor driver, with a PGV rate between 2.8% and 8%, associated with a favorable prognosis. BAP1 PGVs accelerate mesothelioma tumorigenesis after asbestos exposure in preclinical models and may be partly predicted by clinical criteria. At present, routine germline genetic testing for thoracic cancers is not a standard practice. Expert genetic counseling is, therefore, required for patients who carry a PGV. Ongoing studies aim to better understand the natural history of patients harboring PGVs to underpin future cancer prevention, precise counseling, and cancer management with the goal of improving the quality and length of life.
  • Venetoclax ramp-up strategies for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in the United Kingdom: a real world multicentre retrospective study

    Halperin, Daniel; Kennedy, Ben (2023-03-23)
    This retrospective, observational study evaluated patterns of inpatient versus outpatient tumour lysis syndrome (TLS) monitoring during venetoclax ramp-up in 170 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The primary outcome was clinical/biochemical TLS. Two clinical and four biochemical TLS occurred (4.1%). Five of the six events occurred in high-risk patients, four occurred at 20 mg dose and three at the 6-h time-point. Inpatient versus outpatient TLS rates within the high-risk subgroup were 15% and 8%. Risk category was the only predictor of TLS events in multivariate analysis. Outpatient escalation did not associate with clinically meaningful TLS events, suggesting outpatient escalation has manageable associated TLS risks, including in high-risk cohorts. These observations require confirmation in larger studies.

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