BJC press notice

March 19, 2019

Paper: Serious Adverse Events in African American Cancer Patients with Sickle Cell Trait and Inherited Hemoglobinopathies in a SEER-Medicare Claims Cohort
Corresponding author: Dr Helen Swede
Contact: swede@uchc.edu

Author summary: African-American cancer patients die at higher rates than white patients despite recent longevity increases for patients in all race/ethnic groups. Some studies have shown African-Americans have worse outcomes even when they receive the same treatment as whites. This first-of-a kind study showed that African-American patients with inherited red blood cell conditions were 20% more likely to have at least one serious adverse event, such as a hospitalization or emergency visit, compared to patients of any race without such a disorder. This is the first study to evaluate if patients with these disorders are more prone to treatment complications possibly arising from the rigors of therapy. Many of these inherited conditions are disproportionately higher in the African-American population compared to whites, particularly sickle cell trait (8.5% vs < 0.1%, respectively.) Our findings suggest inherited red blood cell disorders could account for some of the persistent differences in cancer outcomes among African-Americans.

Post embargo link: http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/s41416-019-0416-7.html

DOI: s41416-019-0416-7

Paper: Recommendations for determining HPV status in patients with oropharyngeal cancers under TNM8 guidelines: a two-tier approach
Corresponding author: Dr Jacqueline James, Queen's University Belfast
Contact: j.james@qub.ac.uk, 028 90975781 (2915)

Author summary: Doctors use 'Staging' to determine how advanced a cancer is which helps with treatment planning and predicting survival. The new international cancer staging strategy introduced in 2018 proposes oropharyngeal cancers (OPC) are tested, using a surrogate marker called p16, for high risk human papilloma virus (HPV) which is thought to cause some OPCs. Patients with HPV positive OPC generally respond well to treatment and have better outcomes than those who are HPV negative. Clinical trials to evaluate reduced treatment for HPV positive OPC are showing much promise.

Our study suggests a second laboratory test is needed following p16 testing to truly establish HPV status. We show a percentage of OPC patients (~10%) who are p16 positive but HPV negative have poor survival characteristics similar to patients who are p16 negative. Our findings imply that the current staging strategy will lead to some patients not receiving appropriate treatment for their OPC.

Post embargo link: http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/s41416-019-0414-9.html

DOI: s41416-019-0414-9
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