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Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Democratic Rep., Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Africa - Regional Organisations
Recent Research Publications

Africa - Regional Organisations (10 links)

Recent Research Publications

Kamanzi JB, Adeduntan R, Antoni D, et al.
Implementing radiotherapy in Africa: Focus on the needs in Rwanda.
Cancer Radiother. 2016; 20(3):231-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer care is a concern in low- and middle-income countries. The needs of structure to treat patients are huge. Because of the cost of radiotherapy, and the need for highly specialized workers, providing radiation therapy in these nations is a challenge. However, some solutions exist that can dramatically improve future care. In this article, we reviewed the plight of cancer treatment organization in Africa, and more specifically, the status of radiotherapy needs and concerns within Rwanda.

Lane D
p53: out of Africa.
Genes Dev. 2016; 30(8):876-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Somatic mutations in the tumor suppressor gene p53 occur in more than half of all human cancers. Rare germline mutations result in the Li-Fraumeni cancer family syndrome. In this issue ofGenes&Development, Jennis and colleagues (pp. 918-930) use an elegant mouse model to examine the affect of a polymorphism, P47S (rs1800371), in the N terminus of p53 that is found in Africans as well as more than a million African Americans. Remarkably, the single nucleotide change causes the mice to be substantially tumor-prone compared with littermates, suggesting that this allele causes an increased risk of developing cancer. The defect in p53 function is traced to a restriction in downstream gene regulation that reduces cell death in response to stress.

Adeloye D, David RA, Aderemi AV, et al.
An Estimate of the Incidence of Prostate Cancer in Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(4):e0153496 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer (PCa) is rated the second most common cancer and sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among men globally. Reports show that African men suffer disproportionately from PCa compared to men from other parts of the world. It is still quite difficult to accurately describe the burden of PCa in Africa due to poor cancer registration systems. We systematically reviewed the literature on prostate cancer in Africa and provided a continent-wide incidence rate of PCa based on available data in the region.
METHODS: A systematic literature search of Medline, EMBASE and Global Health from January 1980 to June 2015 was conducted, with additional search of Google Scholar, International Association of Cancer Registries (IACR), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and WHO African region websites, for studies that estimated incidence rate of PCa in any African location. Having assessed quality and consistency across selected studies, we extracted incidence rates of PCa and conducted a random effects meta-analysis.
RESULTS: Our search returned 9766 records, with 40 studies spreading across 16 African countries meeting our selection criteria. We estimated a pooled PCa incidence rate of 22.0 (95% CI: 19.93-23.97) per 100,000 population, and also reported a median incidence rate of 19.5 per 100,000 population. We observed an increasing trend in PCa incidence with advancing age, and over the main years covered.
CONCLUSION: Effective cancer registration and extensive research are vital to appropriately quantifying PCa burden in Africa. We hope our findings may further assist at identifying relevant gaps, and contribute to improving knowledge, research, and interventions targeted at prostate cancer in Africa.

Gordon LG, Elliott TM, Wright CY, et al.
Modelling the healthcare costs of skin cancer in South Africa.
BMC Health Serv Res. 2016; 16:113 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Skin cancer is a growing public health problem in South Africa due to its high ambient ultraviolet radiation environment. The purpose of this study was to estimate the annual health system costs of cutaneous melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in South Africa, incorporating both the public and private sectors.
METHODS: A cost-of-illness study was used to measure the economic burden of skin cancer and a 'bottom-up' micro-costing approach. Clinicians provided data on the patterns of care and treatments while national costing reports and clinician fees provided cost estimates. The mean costs per melanoma and per SCC/BCC were extrapolated to estimate national costs using published incidence data and official population statistics. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were undertaken to address the uncertainty of the parameters used in the model.
RESULTS: The estimated total annual cost of treating skin cancers in South Africa were ZAR 92.4 million (2015) (or US$15.7 million). Sensitivity analyses showed that the total costs could vary between ZAR 89.7 to 94.6 million (US$15.2 to $16.1 million) when melanoma-related variables were changed and between ZAR 78.4 to 113.5 million ($13.3 to $19.3 million) when non-melanoma-related variables were changed. The primary drivers of overall costs were the cost of excisions, follow-up care, radical lymph node dissection, cryotherapy and radiation therapy.
CONCLUSION: The cost of managing skin cancer in South Africa is sizable. Since skin cancer is largely preventable through improvements to sun-protection awareness and skin cancer prevention programs, this study highlights these healthcare resources could be used for other pressing public health problems in South Africa.

Thornton J
A lifeline for cancer patients in Africa.
Nurs Stand. 2016; 30(27):22-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
In Rwanda, many people with cancer are diagnosed too late because of low awareness of the disease coupled with a lack of specialist facilities and staff. The opening of a specialist centre in the northern part of the country is extending and saving lives.

Sewram V, Sitas F, O'Connell D, Myers J
Tobacco and alcohol as risk factors for oesophageal cancer in a high incidence area in South Africa.
Cancer Epidemiol. 2016; 41:113-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, which includes the former Transkei has high rates of squamous cell oesophageal cancer (OC), thought to be caused mainly by nutritional deficiencies and fungal contamination of staple maize. A hospital-based case-control study was conducted at three of the major referral hospitals in this region to measure, among other suspected risk factors, the relative importance of tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption for the disease in this population.
METHODS: Incident cases (n=670) of OC and controls (n=1188) were interviewed using a structured questionnaire which included questions on tobacco and alcohol-related consumption. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals for each of the risk factors were calculated using unconditional multiple logistic regression models.
RESULTS: A monotonic dose-response was observed across the categories of each tobacco-related variable in both sexes. Males and females currently smoking a total of >14g of tobacco per day were observed to have over 4-times the odds of developing OC (males OR=4.36, 95% CI 2.24-8.48; females OR=4.56, 95% CI 1.46-14.30), with pipe smoking showing the strongest effect. Similar trends were observed for the alcohol-related variables. The quantity of ethanol consumed was the most important factor in OC development rather than any individual type of alcoholic beverage, especially in smokers. Males and females consuming >53g of ethanol per day had approximately 5-times greater odds in comparison to non-drinkers (males OR=4.72, 95% CI 2.64-8.41; females OR=5.24, 95% CI 3.34-8.23) and 8.5 greater odds in those who smoked >14g tobacco daily. The attributable fractions for smoking and alcohol consumption were 58% and 48% respectively, 64% for both factors combined.
CONCLUSION: Tobacco and alcohol use are major risk factors for OC development in this region.
IMPACT: This study provides evidence for further reinforcement of cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption to curb OC development.

Perry AM, Perner Y, Diebold J, et al.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in Southern Africa: review of 487 cases from The International Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Classification Project.
Br J Haematol. 2016; 172(5):716-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Comparative data on the distribution of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes in Southern Africa (SAF) is scarce. In this study, five expert haematopathologists classified 487 consecutive cases of NHL from SAF using the World Health Organization classification, and compared the results to North America (NA) and Western Europe (WEU). Southern Africa had a significantly lower proportion of low-grade (LG) B-NHL (34·3%) and a higher proportion of high-grade (HG) B-NHL (51·5%) compared to WEU (54·5% and 36·4%) and NA (56·1% and 34·3%). High-grade Burkitt-like lymphoma was significantly more common in SAF (8·2%) than in WEU (2·4%) and NA (2·5%), most likely due to human immunodeficiency virus infection. When SAF patients were divided by race, whites had a significantly higher frequency of LG B-NHL (60·4%) and a lower frequency of HG B-NHL (32·7%) compared to blacks (22·5% and 62·6%), whereas the other races were intermediate. Whites and other races had a significantly higher frequency of follicular lymphoma and a lower frequency of Burkitt-like lymphoma compared to blacks. The median ages of whites with LG B-NHL, HG B-NHL and T-NHL (64, 56 and 67 years) were significantly higher than those of blacks (55, 41 and 34 years). Epidemiological studies are needed to better understand these differences.

Freeman E, Semeere A, Wenger M, et al.
Pitfalls of practicing cancer epidemiology in resource-limited settings: the case of survival and loss to follow-up after a diagnosis of Kaposi's sarcoma in five countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16:65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Survival after diagnosis is a fundamental concern in cancer epidemiology. In resource-rich settings, ambient clinical databases, municipal data and cancer registries make survival estimation in real-world populations relatively straightforward. In resource-poor settings, given the deficiencies in a variety of health-related data systems, it is less clear how well we can determine cancer survival from ambient data.
METHODS: We addressed this issue in sub-Saharan Africa for Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a cancer for which incidence has exploded with the HIV epidemic but for which survival in the region may be changing with the recent advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART). From 33 primary care HIV Clinics in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria and Cameroon participating in the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) Consortia in 2009-2012, we identified 1328 adults with newly diagnosed KS. Patients were evaluated from KS diagnosis until death, transfer to another facility or database closure.
RESULTS: Nominally, 22% of patients were estimated to be dead by 2 years, but this estimate was clouded by 45% cumulative lost to follow-up with unknown vital status by 2 years. After adjustment for site and CD4 count, age <30 years and male sex were independently associated with becoming lost.
CONCLUSIONS: In this community-based sample of patients diagnosed with KS in sub-Saharan Africa, almost half became lost to follow-up by 2 years. This precluded accurate estimation of survival. Until we either generally strengthen data systems or implement cancer-specific enhancements (e.g., tracking of the lost) in the region, insights from cancer epidemiology will be limited.

Semeere A, Wenger M, Busakhala N, et al.
A prospective ascertainment of cancer incidence in sub-Saharan Africa: The case of Kaposi sarcoma.
Cancer Med. 2016; 5(5):914-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In resource-limited areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa, problems in accurate cancer case ascertainment and enumeration of the at-risk population make it difficult to estimate cancer incidence. We took advantage of a large well-enumerated healthcare system to estimate the incidence of Kaposi sarcoma (KS), a cancer which has become prominent in the HIV era and whose incidence may be changing with the rollout of antiretroviral therapy (ART). To achieve this, we evaluated HIV-infected adults receiving care between 2007 and 2012 at any of three medical centers in Kenya and Uganda that participate in the East Africa International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) Consortium. Through IeDEA, clinicians received training in KS recognition and biopsy equipment. We found that the overall prevalence of KS among 102,945 HIV-infected adults upon clinic enrollment was 1.4%; it declined over time at the largest site. Among 140,552 patients followed for 319,632 person-years, the age-standardized incidence rate was 334/100,000 person-years (95% CI: 314-354/100,000 person-years). Incidence decreased over time and was lower in women, persons on ART, and those with higher CD4 counts. The incidence rate among patients on ART with a CD4 count >350 cells/mm(3) was 32/100,000 person-years (95% CI: 14-70/100,000 person-years). Despite reductions over time coincident with the expansion of ART, KS incidence among HIV-infected adults in East Africa equals or exceeds the most common cancers in resource-replete settings. In resource-limited settings, strategic efforts to improve cancer diagnosis in combination with already well-enumerated at-risk denominators can make healthcare systems attractive platforms for estimating cancer incidence.

Stefan DC
Red meat, processed meat and cancer in South Africa.
S Afr Med J. 2015; 106(1):43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidemiological studies around the world were analysed recently by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, demonstrating a positive correlation between consumption of red meat and processed meat and colorectal cancer. In South Africa (SA) there is a great variation in the incidence of this type of cancer between various ethnic groups, related to diet and other risk factors. Strengthening the SA cancer registry and co-ordinated research on diet and cancer are required to provide specific answers for our population.

Schonfeld SJ, Erdmann F, Wiggill T, et al.
Hematologic malignancies in South Africa 2000-2006: analysis of data reported to the National Cancer Registry.
Cancer Med. 2016; 5(4):728-38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Little is known about the incidence patterns of hematologic malignancies in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa. We estimated incidence rates of pathology-confirmed adult cases of leukemia, myeloma and related diseases (myeloma), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) reported to the National Cancer Registry of South Africa (NCR) between 2000 and 2006, by age, gender, and population group (Black, White, Coloured, Asian/Indian). Gender-specific age-standardized rates were calculated overall and by population group and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated using Poisson regression models. Between 2000 and 2006, there were 14662 cases of leukemia, myeloma, HL, and NHL reported to the registry. Incidence rates of reported hematologic malignancies were generally 20-50% higher among males than females. Our analyses suggested marked differences in the rates of reported hematologic malignancies by population group which were most pronounced when comparing the White versus Black population groups (IRRs ranging from 1.6 for myeloma to 3.8 for HL for males and females combined). Challenges related to diagnosis and reporting of cancers may play a role in the patterns observed by population group while the set-up of the NCR (pathology-based) could lead to some degree of under-ascertainment in all groups. This is the first country-wide report of the incidence of hematologic malignancies in South Africa. Despite challenges, it is important to analyze and report available national cancer incidence data to raise awareness of the cancer burden and to characterize patterns by demographic characteristics so as ultimately to improve the provision of cancer-related health care.

Tetteh DA, Faulkner SL
Sociocultural factors and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa: implications for diagnosis and management.
Womens Health (Lond). 2016; 12(1):147-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence of breast cancer is on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and efforts at early diagnosis have not been very successful because the public has scant knowledge about the disease, a large percentage of breast cancer cases are diagnosed late and mainly rural SSA women's practice of breast self-examination is poor. In this paper, we argue that an examination of the social and cultural contexts of SSA that influence breast cancer diagnosis and management in the region is needed. We discuss the implications of sociocultural factors, such as gender roles and spirituality, on breast cancer diagnosis and management in SSA.

Firnhaber C, Goeieman B, Faesen M, et al.
Prospective One Year Follow Up of HIV Infected Women Screened for Cervical Cancer Using Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid, Cytology and Human Papillomavirus Testing in Johannesburg South Africa.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0144905 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are little of HIV-infected women one-year after screening using visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), HPV or cytology in sub-Saharan Africa.
METHODS: HIV-infected women in Johannesburg South Africa were screened one year later by Pap smear, VIA and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. Women qualified for the 12 month follow-up visit if they had a negative or cervical intra-epithelial neoplasia (CIN) 1 results at the baseline visit. Modified Poisson regression was used to analyse associations between patient baseline characteristics and progression.
RESULTS: A total of 688 of 1,202 enrolled at baseline study who were CIN-2+ negative and qualified for a 12 month follow-up visit. Progression to CIN-2+ was higher in women with positive VIA results (12.6%; 24/191) than those VIA-negative (4.4%; 19/432). HPV-positive women at baseline were more likely to progress to CIN-2+ (12.3%; 36/293) than those HPV-negative (2.1%; 7/329). Cytology-positive women at baseline were more likely to progress to CIN-2+ (9.6%; 37/384) than cytology-negative women (2.5%; 6/237). Approximately 10% (10.4%; 39/376) of women with CIN 1 at baseline progressed to CIN 2+. Women who were VIA or HPV positive at baseline were more likely to progress aIRR 1.85, CI 95% (1.46 to 2.36), aIRR 1.41 CI 95% (1.14 to 1.75) respectively.
CONCLUSION: Progression to CIN-2+ in HIV-infected women is significant when measured by baseline positive VIA, HPV or Pap and yearly screening by any method should be considered in this population if possible.

Moodley J, Cairncross L, Naiker T, Momberg M
Understanding pathways to breast cancer diagnosis among women in the Western Cape Province, South Africa: a qualitative study.
BMJ Open. 2016; 6(1):e009905 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to explore and understand women's pathways to breast cancer diagnosis and factors influencing this journey.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Indepth interviews were conducted with clients at a tertiary level breast cancer clinic in Cape Town, South Africa. A thematic analysis was performed underpinned by the theoretical concepts of the Model of Pathways to Treatment framework.
PARTICIPANTS: 20 women were interviewed within 1 week of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
RESULTS: The average time between discovery of bodily changes to breast cancer diagnosis was 8.5 months. Deficits in breast self-awareness and knowledge of breast cancer symptoms delayed women's interpretation of bodily changes as being abnormal. All women first noticed breast lumps; however, many did not perceive it as abnormal until additional symptoms were present. General good health, attribution of symptoms to ageing, and past benign breast disease resulted in women being complacent about bodily changes. Disclosure to family members served as a trigger to seek healthcare. The initial type of primary level care services women accessed was influenced by perceptions of care each service provided, finances, structural factors, and personal safety related to the physical location of services.
CONCLUSIONS: Symptom appraisal and interpretation contributed significantly to delayed presentation. To improve timely diagnosis of breast cancer, interventions that increase women's confidence in detecting breast changes, improve knowledge of breast cancer symptoms, address myths, and encourage prompt help-seeking behaviour are required.

Faggons CE, Mabedi C, Shores CG, Gopal S
Review: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malawi Med J. 2015; 27(3):79-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: Review the literature from 1990 to 2013 to determine known anatomic sites, risk factors, treatments, and outcomes of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in sub-Saharan Africa.
METHODS: Using a systematic search strategy, literature pertaining to HNSCC in sub-Saharan Africa was reviewed and patient demographics, anatomic sites, histology, stage, treatment, and outcomes were abstracted. The contributions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomavirus (HPV) and behavioural risk factors to HNSCC in the region were assessed.
RESULTS: Of the 342 papers identified, 46 were utilized for review, including 8611 patients. In sub-Saharan Africa, the oropharyngeal/oral cavity was found to be the most common site, with 7750 cases (90% of all cases). Few papers distinguished oropharyngeal from oral cavity, making identification of possible HPV-associated oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) difficult. SCC of the nasopharynx, nasal cavity, or paranasal sinuses was identified in 410 patients (4.8% of all cases). Laryngeal SCC was found in 385 patients (4.5% of all cases), and only 66 patients (0.8% of all cases) with hypopharyngeal SCC were identified. In 862 patients with data available, 43% used tobacco and 42% used alcohol, and reported use varied widely and was more common in laryngeal SCC than that of the oropharyngeal/oral cavity. Toombak and kola nut use was reported to be higher in patients with HNSCC. Several papers reported HIV-positive patients with HNSCC, but it was not possible to determine HNSCC prevalence in HIV-positive compared to negative patients. Reports of treatment and outcomes were rare.
CONCLUSIONS: The oropharyngeal/oral cavity was by far the most commonly reported site of HNSCC reported in sub-Saharan Africa. The roles of risk factors in HNSCC incidence in sub-Saharan Africa were difficult to delineate from the available studies, but a majority of patients did not use tobacco and alcohol.

Perry AM, Diebold J, Nathwani BN, et al.
Relative frequency of non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes in selected centres in North Africa, the middle east and India: a review of 971 cases.
Br J Haematol. 2016; 172(5):699-708 [PubMed] Related Publications
Comparative data regarding the distribution of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes in North Africa, the Middle East and India (NAF/ME/IN) is scarce in the literature. In this study, we evaluated the relative frequencies of NHL subtypes in this region. Five expert haematopathologists classified 971 consecutive cases of newly-diagnosed NHL from five countries in NAF/ME/IN. After review, 890 cases (91·7%) were confirmed to be NHL and compared to 399 cases from North America (NA). The male-to-female ratio was significantly higher in NAF/ME/IN (1·8) compared to NA (1·1; P< 0·05). The median ages of patients with low-grade (LG) and high-grade (HG) B-NHL in NAF/ME/IN (56 and 52 years, respectively) were significantly lower than in NA (64 and 68 years, respectively). In NAF/ME/IN, a significantly lower proportion of LG B-NHL (28·4%) and a higher proportion of HG B-NHL (58·4%) were found compared to NA (56·1% and 34·3%, respectively). Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was more common in NAF/ME/IN (49·4%) compared to NA (29·3%), whereas follicular lymphoma was less common in NAF/ME/IN (12·4%) than in NA (33·6%). In conclusion, we found significant differences in NHL subtypes and clinical features between NAF/ME/IN and NA. Epidemiological studies are needed to better understand the pathobiology of these differences.

Lucas RM, Norval M, Wright CY
Solar ultraviolet radiation in Africa: a systematic review and critical evaluation of the health risks and use of photoprotection.
Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2016; 15(1):10-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Most information on the harmful health effects of solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has been obtained in populations in which the majority has fair skin. Here a systematic review of evidence on diseases related to solar UVR in Africa was undertaken, and the appropriateness of effective photoprotection for these people considered. There are few population-based studies on UV-induced skin cancers (melanoma, squamous and basal cell carcinomas) in Africa, although limited reports indicated that they occur, even in people with deeply pigmented skin. The incidence of melanoma is particularly high in the white population living in the Western Cape of South Africa and has increased significantly in recent years. Cataract is extremely common in people of all skin colours and is a frequent cause of blindness, particularly in the elderly. For both skin cancer and cataract, the proportion of the disease risk that is attributable to exposure to solar UVR in African populations, and therefore the health burden caused by UV irradiation is unclear. There was little published information on the use of sun protection in Africa. The potential disease burden attributable to solar UVR exposure of Africans is high, although accurate data to quantify this are sparse. Information is required on the incidence, prevalence and mortality for the range of UV-related diseases in different populations living throughout Africa. Photoprotection is clearly required, at least for those subpopulations at particularly high risk, but may be limited by cost and cultural acceptability.

Lei H, Li T, Li B, et al.
Epstein-Barr virus from Burkitt Lymphoma biopsies from Africa and South America share novel LMP-1 promoter and gene variations.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16706 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epstein Barr virus (EBV) sequence variation is thought to contribute to Burkitt lymphoma (BL), but lack of data from primary BL tumors hampers efforts to test this hypothesis. We directly sequenced EBV from 12 BL biopsies from Ghana, Brazil, and Argentina, aligned the obtained reads to the wild-type (WT) EBV reference sequence, and compared them with 100 published EBV genomes from normal and diseased people from around the world. The 12 BL EBVs were Type 1. Eleven clustered close to each other and to EBV from Raji BL cell line, but away from 12 EBVs reported from other BL-derived cell lines and away from EBV from NPC and healthy people from Asia. We discovered 23 shared novel nucleotide-base changes in the latent membrane protein (LMP)-1 promoter and gene (associated with 9 novel amino acid changes in the LMP-1 protein) of the 11 BL EBVs. Alignment of this region for the 112 EBV genomes revealed four distinct patterns, tentatively termed patterns A to D. The distribution of BL EBVs was 48%, 8%, 24% and 20% for patterns A to D, respectively; the NPC EBV's were Pattern B, and EBV-WT was pattern D. Further work is needed to investigate the association between EBV LMP-1 patterns with BL.

Coleman JS, Cespedes MS, Cu-Uvin S, et al.
An Insight Into Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Capacity in Sub Saharan Africa.
J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2016; 20(1):31-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Approximately 85% of cervical cancer cases and deaths occur in resource-constrained countries where best practices for prevention, particularly for women with HIV infection, still need to be developed. The aim of this study was to assess cervical cancer prevention capacity in select HIV clinics located in resource-constrained countries.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of sub-Saharan African sites of 4 National Institutes of Health-funded HIV/AIDS networks was conducted. Sites were surveyed on the availability of cervical cancer screening and treatment among women with HIV infection and without HIV infection. Descriptive statistics and χ or Fisher exact test were used as appropriate.
RESULTS: Fifty-one (65%) of 78 sites responded. Access to cervical cancer screening was reported by 49 sites (96%). Of these sites, 39 (80%) performed screening on-site. Central African sites were less likely to have screening on-site (p = .02) versus other areas. Visual inspection with acetic acid and Pap testing were the most commonly available on-site screening methods at 31 (79%) and 26 (67%) sites, respectively. High-risk HPV testing was available at 29% of sites with visual inspection with acetic acid and 50% of sites with Pap testing. Cryotherapy and radical hysterectomy were the most commonly available on-site treatment methods for premalignant and malignant lesions at 29 (74%) and 18 (46%) sites, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite limited resources, most sites surveyed had the capacity to perform cervical cancer screening and treatment. The existing infrastructure of HIV clinical and research sites may provide the ideal framework for scale-up of cervical cancer prevention in resource-constrained countries with a high burden of cervical dysplasia.

Nelson AM, Milner DA, Rebbeck TR, Iliyasu Y
Oncologic Care and Pathology Resources in Africa: Survey and Recommendations.
J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34(1):20-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The connection of a clinician who identifies a patient with signs and symptoms of malignancy to an oncologist who has the tools to treat a patient's cancer requires a diagnostic pathology laboratory to receive, process, and diagnose the tumor. Without an accurate classification, nothing is known of diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment by the clinical team, and most important, the patient is left scared, confused, and without hope. The vast majority of deaths from malignancies occur in sub-Saharan Africa primarily as a result of lack of public awareness of cancer and how it is diagnosed and treated in the setting of a severe lack of resources (physical and personnel) to actually diagnose tumors. To correct this massive health disparity, a plan of action is required across the continent of Africa to bring diagnostic medicine into the modern era and connect patients with the care they desperately need. We performed a survey of resources in Africa for tissue diagnosis of cancer and asked quantitative questions about tools, personnel, and utilization. We identified a strong correlation between pathology staffing and capacity to provide pathology services. On the basis of this survey and through a congress of concerned pathologists, we propose strategies that will catapult the continent into an era of high-quality pathology services with resultant improvement in cancer outcomes.

Lince-Deroche N, Phiri J, Michelow P, et al.
Costs and Cost Effectiveness of Three Approaches for Cervical Cancer Screening among HIV-Positive Women in Johannesburg, South Africa.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(11):e0141969 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: South Africa has high rates of HIV and HPV and high incidence and mortality from cervical cancer. However, cervical cancer is largely preventable when early screening and treatment are available. We estimate the costs and cost-effectiveness of conventional cytology (Pap), visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and HPV DNA testing for detecting cases of CIN2+ among HIV-infected women currently taking antiretroviral treatment at a public HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa.
METHODS: Method effectiveness was derived from a validation study completed at the clinic. Costs were estimated from the provider perspective using micro-costing between June 2013-April 2014. Capital costs were annualized using a discount rate of 3%. Two different service volume scenarios were considered. Threshold analysis was used to explore the potential for reducing the cost of HPV DNA testing.
RESULTS: VIA was least costly in both scenarios. In the higher volume scenario, the average cost per procedure was US$ 3.67 for VIA, US$ 8.17 for Pap and US$ 54.34 for HPV DNA. Colposcopic biopsies cost on average US$ 67.71 per procedure. VIA was least sensitive but most cost-effective at US$ 17.05 per true CIN2+ case detected. The cost per case detected for Pap testing was US$ 130.63 using a conventional definition for positive results and US$ 187.52 using a more conservative definition. HPV DNA testing was US$ 320.09 per case detected. Colposcopic biopsy costs largely drove the total and per case costs. A 71% reduction in HPV DNA screening costs would make it competitive with the conservative Pap definition.
CONCLUSIONS: Women need access to services which meet their needs and address the burden of cervical dysplasia and cancer in this region. Although most cost-effective, VIA may require more frequent screening due to low sensitivity, an important consideration for an HIV-positive population with increased risk for disease progression.

Herd O, Francies F, Kotzen J, et al.
Chromosomal radiosensitivity of human immunodeficiency virus positive/negative cervical cancer patients in South Africa.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 13(1):130-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer amongst South African women and is the leading cause of cancer-associated mortality in this region. Several international studies on radiation‑induced DNA damage in lymphocytes of cervical cancer patients have remained inconclusive. Despite the high incidence of cervical cancer in South Africa, and the extensive use of radiotherapy to treat it, the chromosomal radiosensitivity of South African cervical cancer patients has not been studied to date. Since a high number of these patients are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)‑positive, the effect of HIV infection on chromosomal radiosensitivity was also investigated. Blood samples from 35 cervical cancer patients (20 HIV‑negative and 15 HIV‑positive) and 20 healthy controls were exposed to X‑rays at doses of 6 MV of 2 and 4 Gy in vitro. Chromosomal radiosensitivity was assessed using the micronucleus (MN) assay. MN scores were obtained using the Metafer 4 platform, an automated microscopic system. Three scoring methods of the MNScore module of Metafer were applied and compared. Cervical cancer patients had higher MN values than healthy controls, with HIV‑positive patients having the highest MN values. Differences between groups were significant when using a scoring method that corrects for false positive and false negative MN. The present study suggested increased chromosomal radiosensitivity in HIV-positive South African cervical cancer patients.

Halec G, Schmitt M, Egger S, et al.
Mucosal alpha-papillomaviruses are not associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinomas: Lack of mechanistic evidence from South Africa, China and Iran and from a world-wide meta-analysis.
Int J Cancer. 2016; 139(1):85-98 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epidemiological and mechanistic evidence on the causative role of human papillomaviruses (HPV) in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is unclear. We retrieved alcohol- and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded ESCC tissues from 133 patients seropositive for antibodies against HPV early proteins, from high-incidence ESCC regions: South Africa, China and Iran. With rigorous care to prevent nucleic acid contamination, we analyzed these tissues for the presence of 51 mucosotropic human alpha-papillomaviruses by two sensitive, broad-spectrum genotyping methods, and for the markers of HPV-transformed phenotype: (i) HPV16/18 viral loads by quantitative real-time PCR, (ii) type-specific viral mRNA by E6*I/E6 full-length RT-PCR assays and (iii) expression of cellular protein p16(INK4a). Of 118 analyzable ESCC tissues, 10 (8%) were positive for DNA of HPV types: 16 (4 tumors); 33, 35, 45 (1 tumor each); 11 (2 tumors) and 16, 70 double infection (1 tumor). Inconsistent HPV DNA+ findings by two genotyping methods and negativity in qPCR indicated very low viral loads. A single HPV16 DNA+ tumor additionally harbored HPV16 E6*I mRNA but was p16(INK4a) negative (HPV16 E1 seropositive patient). Another HPV16 DNA+ tumor from an HPV16 E6 seropositive patient showed p16(INK4a) upregulation but no HPV16 mRNA. In the tumor tissues of these serologically preselected ESCC patients, we did not find consistent presence of HPV DNA, HPV mRNA or p16(INK4a) upregulation. These results were supported by a meta-analysis of 14 other similar studies regarding HPV-transformation of ESCC. Our study does not support the etiological role of the 51 analyzed mucosotropic HPV types in the ESCC carcinogenesis.

Sissolak G, Badenhorst J, Steenkamp J, et al.
Treatment Outcomes in CML Patients Treated With Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors at a Tertiary Teaching Hospital in South Africa.
Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2015; 15(12):803-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has become one of the most treatable hematologic neoplasms since the advent of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), but it was not known if similar treatment outcomes could be achieved in a resource-limited country. We tested the hypothesis that, despite challenges to access to second-generation TKIs, excellent responses could be replicated in the setting of limited resources.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Records of 58 patients with newly diagnosed CML in the chronic phase treated with TKIs at a tertiary teaching hospital in Cape Town, South Africa between 2003 and 2012 were reviewed and assessed according to European LeukemiaNet (ELN) criteria.
RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 60.5 months, progression-free survival at 60 and 96 months was 79.98% and 68.4%, respectively. Overall survival at 60 and 96 months was 92.9% and 83.6%, respectively. Progression to blast phase at 60 months was associated with poorer survival (P = .0002) but progression to accelerated phase was not (P = .1456). Attainment of a complete cytogenetic response at 12 months (P = .28) or major molecular response at 18 months (P = .268) did not have prognostic significance.
CONCLUSION: Despite delays in achievement of the target responses defined according to ELN criteria, the use of imatinib mesylate as a first-line treatment can still result in treatment outcomes comparable with those in developed countries. These data suggest opportunities for improvement and success might be even greater with uninterrupted access to second-generation or newer TKIs.

Chattopadhyay K, Williamson AL, Hazra A, Dandara C
The combined risks of reduced or increased function variants in cell death pathway genes differentially influence cervical cancer risk and herpes simplex virus type 2 infection among black Africans and the Mixed Ancestry population of South Africa.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:680 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer is one of the most important cancers worldwide with a high incident and mortality rate and is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Among sexually active women who get infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), a small fraction progresses to cervical cancer disease pointing to possible roles of additional risk factors in development of the disease which include host genetic factors and other infections such as HSV-2. Since cellular apoptosis plays a role in controlling the spread of virus-infections in cells, gene variants altering the function of proteins involved in cell death pathways might be associated with the clearing of virus infections. Activity altering polymorphisms in FasR (-1377G > A and -670A > G), FasL (-844 T > C) and CASP8 (-652 6 N ins/del) genes have been shown to alter the mechanism of apoptosis by modifying the level of expression of their correspondent proteins. In the present study, we set out to investigate the combined risks of CASP8, FasR, and FasL polymorphisms in cervical cancer, pre-cancerous lesions, HPV infection and HSV-2 infection.
METHODS: Participants were 442 South African women of black African and mixed-ancestry origin with invasive cervical cancer and 278 control women matched by age, ethnicity and domicile status. FasR and FasL polymorphisms were genotyped by TaqMan and CASP8 polymorphism by PCR-RFLP. The results were analysed with R using haplo.stats software version 1.5.2.
RESULTS: CASP8 -652 6 N del + FasR-670A was associated with a reduced risk (P = 0.019, Combined Polymorphism Score (CPS) = -2.34) and CASP8 -652 6 N ins + FasR-1377G was associated with a marginal increased risk (P = 0.047, CPS = 1.99) of cervical cancer among black Africans. When compared within the control group, CASP8 -652 6 N ins + FasR-1377A showed a reduced risk (P = 0.023, CPS = -2.28) of HSV-2 infection in both black African and mixed-ancestry population.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that the combined risks of variants in cell death pathway genes are associated with the cervical cancer as well as the HSV-2 infection in the black African and mixed-ancestry population.

Amerson E, Woodruff CM, Forrestel A, et al.
Accuracy of Clinical Suspicion and Pathologic Diagnosis of Kaposi Sarcoma in East Africa.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016; 71(3):295-301 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: HIV-associated Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is one of the most common malignancies in sub-Saharan Africa. The diagnosis is often based on clinical suspicion, without histopathologic confirmation. When biopsies are performed, the accuracy of interpretation by local pathologists is poorly understood. We assessed the accuracy of clinical suspicion and pathologic diagnosis of KS in 2 East African countries.
METHODS: At 2 large HIV care sites in Uganda and Kenya, we evaluated consecutive biopsies performed from October 2008 to January 2013 on HIV-infected adults with clinically suspected KS. Biopsies were interpreted by both local African pathologists and a group of US-based dermatopathologists from a high volume medical center. For the purpose of this analysis, the US-based dermatopathologist interpretation was used as the gold standard. Positive predictive value was used to characterize accuracy of local African clinical suspicion of KS, and concordance, sensitivity, and specificity were used to characterize accuracy of local pathologic diagnosis.
RESULTS: Among 1106 biopsies, the positive predictive value of clinical suspicion of KS was 77% (95% confidence interval: 74% to 79%). When KS was not histopathologically diagnosed, clinically banal conditions were found in 35%, medically significant disorders which required different therapy in 59% and life-threatening diseases in 6%. Concordance between African pathologists and US-based dermatopathologists was 69% (95% confidence interval: 66% to 72%). Sensitivity and specificity of African pathologic diagnoses were 68% and 89%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Among East African HIV-infected patients, we found suboptimal positive predictive value of clinical suspicion of KS and specific, but not sensitive, histopathologic interpretation. The findings call for abandonment of isolated clinical diagnosis of KS in the region and augmentation of local dermatopathologic services.

Snyman LC, Dreyer G, Visser C, et al.
The Vaccine and Cervical Cancer Screen project 2 (VACCS 2): Linking cervical cancer screening to a two-dose HPV vaccination schedule in the South-West District of Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa.
S Afr Med J. 2015; 105(3):191-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer is a preventable disease with a high prevalence in South Africa (SA), where screening is opportunistic. Primary prevention is now possible through HPV vaccination. In VACCS 1 the feasibility of linking cervical cancer with HPV vaccination was demonstrated.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the feasibility of linking HPV self-testing with a two-dose HPV vaccination schedule and to compare results with VACCS 1.
METHODS: The project was conducted in five schools in the South-West District of Tshwane, Gauteng, SA. Leaflet information on cervical cancer and screening was provided, with requests for consent and assent for a two-dose HPV vaccination of schoolgirls. Female caregivers were invited to take part in HPV self-screening.
RESULTS: Of 965 girls invited for vaccination, 519 (53.7%) had full consent and 518 (99.8%) received at least one vaccine dose. The invited uptake rate was 53.7% and 495 girls received both doses, giving a completion rate of 95.4% v. 82.6% in VACCS 1. Of 1 135 self-screen kits handed out, 560 (49.3%) were not returned. The mean age (standard deviation) of the 160 women who participated in self-screening was 38.7 (7.7) years. HPV testing was negative in 116 women (72.5%), 15 women (9.4%) tested positive for HPV 16 and/or 18, and 27 (16.9%) were positive for non-16/18 oncogenic HPV.
CONCLUSION: Data from the VACCS projects suggest that school-based vaccine programmes can be successfully implemented. A two-dose schedule allowed for higher completion rates. Linking self-collected HPV screening to HPV vaccination is feasible, is a promising and viable screening strategy, and reached the appropriate age group for screening.

Stulac S, Binagwaho A, Tapela NM, et al.
Capacity building for oncology programmes in sub-Saharan Africa: the Rwanda experience.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(8):e405-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite an estimated 456,000 deaths caused by cancer in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012 and a cancer burden that is predicted to double by 2030, the region accounts for only 0·3% of worldwide medical expenditure for cancer. Challenges to cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa include a shortage of clinicians and training programmes, weak healthcare infrastructure, and inadequate supplies. Since 2011, Rwanda has developed a national cancer programme by designing comprehensive, integrated frameworks of care, building local human resource capacity through partnerships, and delivering equitable, rights-based care. In the 2 years since the inauguration of Rwanda's first cancer centre, more than 2500 patients have been enrolled, including patients from every district in Rwanda. Based on Rwanda's national cancer programme development, we suggest principles that could guide other nations in the development of similar cancer programmes.

Mostert S, Njuguna F, Olbara G, et al.
Corruption in health-care systems and its effect on cancer care in Africa.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(8):e394-404 [PubMed] Related Publications
At the government, hospital, and health-care provider level, corruption plays a major role in health-care systems in Africa. The returns on health investments of international financial institutions, health organisations, and donors might be very low when mismanagement and dysfunctional structures of health-care systems are not addressed. More funding might even aggravate corruption. We discuss corruption and its effects on cancer care within the African health-care system in a sociocultural context. The contribution of high-income countries in stimulating corruption is also described. Corrupt African governments cannot be expected to take the initiative to eradicate corruption. Therefore, international financial institutions, health organisations, and financial donors should use their power to demand policy reforms of health-care systems in Africa troubled by the issue of corruption. These modifications will ameliorate the access and quality of cancer care for patients across the continent, and ultimately improve the outcome of health care to all patients.

Harford JB
Barriers to overcome for effective cancer control in Africa.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(8):e385-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer control in Africa is complicated due to large differences in cancer incidence between countries caused by differences in exposure to known risk factors. For example, substantial differences are seen when selected cancers in north Africa are compared with those in sub-Saharan Africa. In the future, population growth and demographic shifts are likely to have profound effects on the prevalence of cancer across the continent. Likewise, many factors outside of health care such as language differences, conflict, and poverty can affect cancer control efforts. Although cooperation in cancer control efforts is desirable, differences in cultural and geopolitical factors that characterise African countries and their populations, together with the sheer size of the continent, present unique challenges to effective cancer control. This Series paper discusses factors related to the size, diversity, and conditions within Africa that present barriers to optimal collaboration in cancer control efforts across the continent.

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