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Concept: Carcinoma


Background Bronchoscopy is frequently nondiagnostic in patients with pulmonary lesions suspected to be lung cancer. This often results in additional invasive testing, although many lesions are benign. We sought to validate a bronchial-airway gene-expression classifier that could improve the diagnostic performance of bronchoscopy. Methods Current or former smokers undergoing bronchoscopy for suspected lung cancer were enrolled at 28 centers in two multicenter prospective studies (AEGIS-1 and AEGIS-2). A gene-expression classifier was measured in epithelial cells collected from the normal-appearing mainstem bronchus to assess the probability of lung cancer. Results A total of 639 patients in AEGIS-1 (298 patients) and AEGIS-2 (341 patients) met the criteria for inclusion. A total of 43% of bronchoscopic examinations were nondiagnostic for lung cancer, and invasive procedures were performed after bronchoscopy in 35% of patients with benign lesions. In AEGIS-1, the classifier had an area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.78 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 0.83), a sensitivity of 88% (95% CI, 83 to 92), and a specificity of 47% (95% CI, 37 to 58). In AEGIS-2, the classifier had an AUC of 0.74 (95% CI, 0.68 to 0.80), a sensitivity of 89% (95% CI, 84 to 92), and a specificity of 47% (95% CI, 36 to 59). The combination of the classifier plus bronchoscopy had a sensitivity of 96% (95% CI, 93 to 98) in AEGIS-1 and 98% (95% CI, 96 to 99) in AEGIS-2, independent of lesion size and location. In 101 patients with an intermediate pretest probability of cancer, the negative predictive value of the classifier was 91% (95% CI, 75 to 98) among patients with a nondiagnostic bronchoscopic examination. Conclusions The gene-expression classifier improved the diagnostic performance of bronchoscopy for the detection of lung cancer. In intermediate-risk patients with a nondiagnostic bronchoscopic examination, a negative classifier score provides support for a more conservative diagnostic approach. (Funded by Allegro Diagnostics and others; AEGIS-1 and AEGIS-2 numbers, NCT01309087 and NCT00746759 .).

Concepts: Pulmonology, Lung, Lung cancer, Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Sensitivity and specificity, Carcinoma, Lesion


Treatment-related death (TRD) remains a serious problem in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), despite recent improvements in supportive care. However, few studies have formally assessed time trends in the proportion of TRD over the past two decades. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and pattern of TRD over time.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Carcinoma, Small cell carcinoma, Paraneoplastic syndrome


Anterior gradient homolog 2 (AGR2) is a functional protein with critical roles in a diverse range of biological systems, including vertebrate tissue development, inflammatory tissue injury responses, and cancer progression. Clinical studies have shown that the AGR2 protein is overexpressed in a wide range of human cancers, including carcinomas of the esophagus, pancreas, breast, prostate, and lung, making the protein as a potential cancer biomarker. However, the general biochemical functions of AGR2 in human cells remain undefined, and the signaling mechanisms that drive AGR2 to inhibit p53 are still not clearly illustrated. Therefore, it is of great interest to develop molecular probes specifically recognizing AGR2 for its detection and for the elucidation of AGR2-associated molecular mechanism.

Concepts: DNA, Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Molecular biology, Lung cancer, Histology, Carcinoma


BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer, including cancer of the ampulla of Vater and bile duct, is very aggressive and has a poor five year survival rate; improved methods of patient stratification are required. METHODS: We assessed the expression of calpain-1, calpain-2 and calpastatin in two patient cohorts using immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. The first cohort was composed of 68 pancreatic adenocarcinomas and the second cohort was composed of 120 cancers of the bile duct and ampulla. RESULTS: In bile duct and ampullary carcinomas an association was observed between cytoplasmic calpastatin expression and patient age (P=0.036), and between nuclear calpastatin expression and increased tumour stage (P=0.026) and the presence of vascular invasion (P=0.043). In pancreatic cancer, high calpain-2 expression was significantly associated with improved overall survival (P=0.036), which remained significant in multivariate Cox-regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.342; 95% confidence interval=0.157-0.741; P=0.007). In cancers of the bile duct and ampulla, low cytoplasmic expression of calpastatin was significantly associated with poor overall survival (P=0.012), which remained significant in multivariate Cox-regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.595; 95% confidence interval=0.365-0.968; P=0.037). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that calpain-2 and calpastatin expression is important in pancreatic cancers, influencing disease progression. The findings of this study warrant a larger follow-up study.

Concepts: Cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Liver, Carcinoma, Pancreatic cancer, Pancreatic duct


Tight junction (TJ) proteins are involved in a number of cellular functions, including paracellular barrier formation, cell polarization, differentiation, and proliferation. Altered expression of TJ proteins was reported in various epithelial tumors. Here, we used tissue samples of human cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), its precursor tumors, as well as sun-exposed and non-sun-exposed skin as a model system to investigate TJ protein alteration at various stages of tumorigenesis. We identified that a broader localization of zonula occludens protein (ZO)-1 and claudin-4 (Cldn-4) as well as downregulation of Cldn-1 in deeper epidermal layers is a frequent event in all the tumor entities as well as in sun-exposed skin, suggesting that these changes result from chronic UV irradiation. In contrast, SCC could be distinguished from the precursor tumors and sun-exposed skin by a frequent complete loss of occludin (Ocln). To elucidate the impact of down-regulation of Ocln, we performed Ocln siRNA experiments in human keratinocytes and uncovered that Ocln downregulation results in decreased epithelial cell-cell adhesion and reduced susceptibility to apoptosis induction by UVB or TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), cellular characteristics for tumorigenesis. Furthermore, an influence on epidermal differentiation was observed, while there was no change of E-cadherin and vimentin, markers for epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Ocln knock-down altered Ca(2+)-homeostasis which may contribute to alterations of cell-cell adhesion and differentiation. As downregulation of Ocln is also seen in SCC derived from other tissues, as well as in other carcinomas, we suggest this as a common principle in tumor pathogenesis, which may be used as a target for therapeutic intervention.

Concepts: Cancer, Epithelium, Carcinoma, Skin, Squamous cell carcinoma, Tissue, Tight junction, Occludin


Afatinib 40 mg/day is approved for first-line treatment of EGFR mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the case of drug-related grade ≥3 or selected prolonged grade 2 adverse events (AEs), the dose can be reduced by 10 mg decrements to a minimum of 20 mg. Here, we evaluate the influence of afatinib dose reduction on AEs, pharmacokinetics and progression-free survival (PFS) in the phase III LUX-Lung 3 and 6 (LL3/6) trials.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cancer, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Cancer staging, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma


After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the thyroid ultrasound screening program for children aged 0-18 at the time of the accident was started from October 2011. The prevalence of thyroid carcinomas in that population has appeared to be very high (84 cases per 296,253). To clarify the pathogenesis, we investigated the presence of driver mutations in these tumours. 61 classic papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs), two follicular variant PTCs, four cribriform-morular variant PTCs and one poorly-differentiated thyroid carcinoma were analysed. We detected BRAF(V600E) in 43 cases (63.2%), RET/PTC1 in six (8.8%), RET/PTC3 in one (1.5%) and ETV6/NTRK3 in four (5.9%). Among classic and follicular variant PTCs, BRAF(V600E) was significantly associated with the smaller size. The genetic pattern was completely different from post-Chernobyl PTCs, suggesting non-radiogenic etiology of these cancers. This is the first study demonstrating the oncogene profile in the thyroid cancers discovered by large mass screening, which probably reflects genetic status of all sporadic and latent tumours in the young Japanese population. It is assumed that BRAF(V600E) may not confer growth advantage on paediatric PTCs, and many of these cases grow slowly, suggesting that additional factors may be important for tumour progression in paediatric PTCs.

Concepts: Cancer, Mutation, Oncology, Chernobyl disaster, Tumor, Neoplasm, Carcinoma, Nuclear power


Women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or stage 0 breast cancer, often experience a second primary breast cancer (DCIS or invasive), and some ultimately die of breast cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Carcinoma in situ, Cancer staging, Estrogen, Carcinoma, Mammary ductal carcinoma


Background Routine resection of cavity shave margins (additional tissue circumferentially around the cavity left by partial mastectomy) may reduce the rates of positive margins (margins positive for tumor) and reexcision among patients undergoing partial mastectomy for breast cancer. Methods In this randomized, controlled trial, we assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, 235 patients with breast cancer of stage 0 to III who were undergoing partial mastectomy, with or without resection of selective margins, to have further cavity shave margins resected (shave group) or not to have further cavity shave margins resected (no-shave group). Randomization occurred intraoperatively after surgeons had completed standard partial mastectomy. Positive margins were defined as tumor touching the edge of the specimen that was removed in the case of invasive cancer and tumor that was within 1 mm of the edge of the specimen removed in the case of ductal carcinoma in situ. The rate of positive margins was the primary outcome measure; secondary outcome measures included cosmesis and the volume of tissue resected. Results The median age of the patients was 61 years (range, 33 to 94). On final pathological testing, 54 patients (23%) had invasive cancer, 45 (19%) had ductal carcinoma in situ, and 125 (53%) had both; 11 patients had no further disease. The median size of the tumor in the greatest diameter was 1.1 cm (range, 0 to 6.5) in patients with invasive carcinoma and 1.0 cm (range, 0 to 9.3) in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ. Groups were well matched at baseline with respect to demographic and clinicopathological characteristics. The rate of positive margins after partial mastectomy (before randomization) was similar in the shave group and the no-shave group (36% and 34%, respectively; P=0.69). After randomization, patients in the shave group had a significantly lower rate of positive margins than did those in the no-shave group (19% vs. 34%, P=0.01), as well as a lower rate of second surgery for margin clearance (10% vs. 21%, P=0.02). There was no significant difference in complications between the two groups. Conclusions Cavity shaving halved the rates of positive margins and reexcision among patients with partial mastectomy. (Funded by the Yale Cancer Center; number, NCT01452399 .).

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Cancer staging, Neoplasm, Carcinoma, Mammary ductal carcinoma, Breast


There have been calls to remove ‘carcinoma’ from terminology for in situ cancers such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), to reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment. We investigated the effect of describing DCIS as ‘abnormal cells’ versus ‘pre-invasive breast cancer cells’ on women’s concern and treatment preferences.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Carcinoma in situ, Cancer staging, Chemotherapy, Carcinoma, Cancer support group