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JNCI Podcast: Issue 20 Transcript

Hi and welcome to the JNCI podcast. I’m Steve Graff, JNCI’s assistant news and media editor, and I’ll be taking you through the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Up first: smoking and high schools student. Two linked studies in Issue 20 found that proactive, personalized phone counseling could help teen smokers quit. Also, researchers confirm previous findings on the STD Trichomonas vaginalis and its association with prostate cancer And: chemotherapy drugs for colorectal cancer are only going to get more expensive. But, some researchers say, investing in screening programs now could cut those treatment costs in half. And finally, in this issue’s brief communication: new research suggests that moles are polyclonal with respect to BRAF gene mutations, and that BRAF is mutated after the development of the mole.

All that in more detail coming up next

According to a pair of papers published online October 12, personalized, proactive telephone counseling centered on motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral skills training has been found to favorably impact quit rates among teen smokers.

Arthur V. Peterson and colleagues at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle designed the Hutchinson Study of High School Smoking trial to evaluate to what extent telephone counseling could help teenagers quit smoking. The researchers identified more than 2,000 smokers via classroom surveys of juniors from 50 high schools in Washington state. More than a year after the intervention began, nearly 89% of the students completed a follow-up survey in which 22% of intervened smokers reported 6-month prolonged abstinence from smoking.

In an editorial, Scott J. Leishow, of the Arizona Cancer Center, at the University of Arizona Tucson, and Eva Matthews, of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona, laud the studies. We asked Dr. Leishow to elaborate:

In the next study, published online September 9, researchers confirmed previous findings that the sexual transmitted infection known as Trichomonas vaginalis is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Jennifer Rider Stark, of the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a case-control study nested within the Physicians’ Health Study that included 673 case subjects with prostate cancer and 673 individually matched control subjects. Plasma was assayed for antibodies against T. vaginalis and the relationship of incident prostate cancer, extraprostatic prostate cancer, and cancer predicted to progress to bony metastases or prostate cancer–specific death was investigated.

Although not statistically significant, the size of the association between T. vaginalis–seropositive status and overall prostate cancer risk was similar to that reported previously. A seropositive status was associated with statistically significantly increased risks of extraprostatic prostate cancer and cancer that is likely to progress to bony metastases or prostate cancer–specific death.

T. vaginalis could serve as a marker for adverse outcomes in patients for prostate cancer or, more optimistically as a target for secondary chemoprevention,” the authors write.

In an accompanying editorial, Peter C. Albertsen., of the University of Connecticut Health Center, in Farmington, Conn., said that this study is another example of assessing a specific variable to determine the risk of prostate cancer that deserves serious attention.

According to another study published online September 24, investing in some colorectal cancer screening programs could cut future, more expensive treatment costs in half.

To determine the savings, Iris Lansdorp-Vogelaar, of the Department of Public Health, Eramus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues used the MISCAN-Colon model to assess whether the increasing use of new, very costly drugs would affect treatment savings of colorectal cancer screening. Researchers looked at annual guaiac (gwii al) fecal occult blood testing, annual immunochemical FOBT, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy in the general population for three chemotherapy treatment scenarios: the past, the present, and the near future.

The treatment savings from screening were more than twice as high in the near-future scenario, which included the widespread use of expensive new chemotherapies, than in the past scenario for all test strategies. This increase in savings makes screening with all strategies except colonoscopy cost-saving.

In Issue 20’s last study published online September 14, researcher found that the polyclonality of BRAF mutations in melanocytic nevi suggests that mutation of BRAF may not be an initial event in melanocyte transformation.

To test the polyclonality of BRAF mutations, Minoru Takata, of the department of dermatology at the Shinshu University School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, and colleagues separated approximately 50 single cells from each of 13 melanocytic nevi by using immunomagnetic beads or by laser-capture microdissection. They were then subjected to single-cell polymerase chain reaction and sequencing to determine BRAF mutations. In another experiment, BRAF and a neighboring single-nucleotide polymorphism were simultaneously amplified from nevi of four patients who were heterozygous for the polymorphism.

Although BRAF mutations were always found among nevus cells, cells that contained
only wild-type BRAF predominated in nine of 13 nevi. When BRAF was sequenced from both alleles of four patients heterozygous for an adjacent polymorphism,
both alleles harbored BRAF mutations.

That’s it for this edition of the JNCI podast.

Want to hear more about the study on high school students and smoking? Listen to JNCI’s full interview with Dr. Scott Leischow form the Arizona Cancer Center available online right now

And As always, you can find us online at…or follow us on Twitter @ JNCI_Now.

I’m Steve Graff and Thanks for listening.