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Cancer Statistics
Population in 2012: 1.3m
People newly diagnosed with cancer (excluding NMSC) / yr: 6,100
Age-standardised rate, incidence per 100,000 people/yr: 242.8
Risk of getting cancer before age 75:25.2%
People dying from cancer /yr: 3,100
Data from IARC GlobalCan (2012)
Estonia Cancer Organisations and Resources
Latest Research Publications Related to Estonia

Estonia Cancer Organisations and Resources (9 links)

Latest Research Publications Related to Estonia

Utjés D, Malmstedt J, Teras J, et al.
2-cm versus 4-cm surgical excision margins for primary cutaneous melanoma thicker than 2 mm: long-term follow-up of a multicentre, randomised trial.
Lancet. 2019; 394(10197):471-477 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The optimal surgical excision margins are uncertain for patients with thick (>2 mm) localised cutaneous melanomas. In our previous report of this multicentre, randomised controlled trial, with a median follow-up of 6·7 years, we showed that a narrow excision margin (2 cm vs 4 cm) did not affect melanoma-specific nor overall survival. Here, we present extended follow-up of this cohort.
METHODS: In this open-label, multicentre randomised controlled trial, we recruited patients from 53 hospitals in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, and Norway. We enrolled clinically staged patients aged 75 years or younger diagnosed with localised cutaneous melanoma thicker than 2 mm, and with primary site on the trunk or upper or lower extremities. Patients were randomly allocated (1:1) to treatment either with a 2-cm or a 4-cm excision margin. A physician enrolled the patients after histological confirmation of a cutaneous melanoma thicker than 2 mm. Some patients were enrolled by a physician acting as responsible for clinical care and as a trial investigator (follow-up, data collection, and manuscript writing). In other cases physicians not involved in running the trial enrolled patients. Randomisation was done by telephone call to a randomisation office, by sealed envelope, or by computer generated lists using permuted blocks. Patients were stratified according to geographical region. No part of the trial was masked. The primary outcome in this extended follow-up study was overall survival and the co-primary outcome was melanoma-specific survival. All analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT03638492.
FINDINGS: Between Jan 22, 1992, and May 19, 2004, 936 clinically staged patients were recruited and randomly assigned to a 4-cm excision margin (n=465) or a 2-cm excision margin (n=471). At a median overall follow-up of 19·6 years (235 months, IQR 200-260), 621 deaths were reported-304 (49%) in the 2-cm group and 317 (51%) in the 4-cm group (unadjusted HR 0·98, 95% CI 0·83-1·14; p=0·75). 397 deaths were attributed to cutaneous melanoma-192 (48%) in the 2-cm excision margin group and 205 (52%) in the 4-cm excision margin group (unadjusted HR 0·95, 95% CI 0·78-1·16, p=0·61).
INTERPRETATION: A 2-cm excision margin was safe for patients with thick (>2 mm) localised cutaneous melanoma at a follow-up of median 19·6 years. These findings support the use of 2-cm excision margins in current clinical practice.
FUNDING: The Swedish Cancer Society, Stockholm Cancer Society, the Swedish Society for Medical Research, Radiumhemmet Research funds, Stockholm County Council, Wallström funds.

Cho BC, DE Pas T, Kalofonos H, et al.
Prognostic Factors in Early-stage NSCLC: Analysis of the Placebo Group in the MAGRIT Study.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(3):1403-1409 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: The analysis of prognostic factors is important to identify determinants of disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We examined baseline characteristics associated with DFS and OS among 757 patients with resected, histologically proven, MAGE-A3-positive Stage IB-IIIA NSCLC assigned to placebo in the MAGRIT study (NCT00480025). We explored characteristics of NSCLC that could predict DFS and OS using Cox regression models.
RESULTS: The multivariate analysis showed that lower nodal stage, the presence of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a broader surgical resection in patients with SCC, and being female with non-SCC were significantly associated with longer DFS. Lower nodal stage and smaller tumor size were significantly associated with an improved OS. Compared to Other International, enrollment in East Asia was associated with an improved OS in patients with non-SCC.
CONCLUSION: This is the first prognostic factor analysis in NSCLC performed on data from a large prospective study. These results confirm retrospective studies and add that histopathology subtype is a strong determinant of DFS in resected MAGE-A3-positive NSCLC.

Longo MI, Bulliard JL, Correia O, et al.
Sunbed use legislation in Europe: assessment of current status.
J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019; 33 Suppl 2:89-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The use of UV-emitting tanning devices for cosmetic purposes is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Young women are the most frequent users, therefore, there is an increasing concern about the regulation of sunbed use.
OBJECTIVE: The primary objective is to assess the current legislation on sunbed use among European countries.
METHODS: We developed a 30-item questionnaire to gather the most relevant information about sunbed use legislation. The questionnaire was sent to Euromelanoma coordinators and to designated coordinators out of the Euromelanoma network.
RESULTS: We obtained a response rate of 64%. More than 25% of the countries did not report any specific legislation. Roughly one-third of the countries does not have a restriction for minors. Even in countries with a specific legislation, a lack or insufficient enforcement of age limit was observed in up to 100% of the inspections based on the PROSAFE report from 2012. Self-tanning devices were reported in 50%, and almost 40% of countries do not require supervision of use. Although a warning display is required in 77% of cases, a signed informed consent is not required in 80%. In the vast majority of cases, the number of licensed or closed tanning centres is unknown.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the evidence of its harmful effects, and its frequent use by young people, many of whom are at high risk of skin cancer because of fair skin, a significant number of European countries lack a specific legislation on tanning devices. In order to limit the access of young people to sunbeds, a more strictly enforced regulation is needed, as well as regulation regarding advertisement, and location of tanning centres, in addition to health promotion campaigns that target the vulnerable population of young women seeking its use for improved cosmesis.

Aggarwal V, Kashyap D, Sak K, et al.
Molecular Mechanisms of Action of Tocotrienols in Cancer: Recent Trends and Advancements.
Int J Mol Sci. 2019; 20(3) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tocotrienols, found in several natural sources such as rice bran, annatto seeds, and palm oil have been reported to exert various beneficial health promoting properties especially against chronic diseases, including cancer. The incidence of cancer is rapidly increasing around the world not only because of continual aging and growth in global population, but also due to the adaptation of Western lifestyle behaviours, including intake of high fat diets and low physical activity. Tocotrienols can suppress the growth of different malignancies, including those of breast, lung, ovary, prostate, liver, brain, colon, myeloma, and pancreas. These findings, together with the reported safety profile of tocotrienols in healthy human volunteers, encourage further studies on the potential application of these compounds in cancer prevention and treatment. In the current article, detailed information about the potential molecular mechanisms of actions of tocotrienols in different cancer models has been presented and the possible effects of these vitamin E analogues on various important cancer hallmarks, i.e., cellular proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, and inflammation have been briefly analyzed.

Pärn ML, Innos K, Baburin A, et al.
Gastric cancer trends in Estonia 1995-2014 by age, subsite, morphology and stage.
Acta Oncol. 2019; 58(3):283-289 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gastric cancer (GC) is among the most common cancers and one of the leading causes of cancer deaths globally. In general, the incidence of GC has declined and survival improved in Europe. Nevertheless, previous analysis has shown that survival of GC patients in Estonia is still significantly lower compared to some European countries. Therefore, to improve patient outcomes, better overview of GC epidemiology is needed. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence and survival of GC in Estonia 1995-2014 in relation to age, subsite, morphology, and the extent of disease.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We used data from the population-based Estonian Cancer Registry on all incident cases of GC diagnosed in 1995-2014. Incidence rates and relative survival were calculated. Joinpoint regression modeling was used to estimate annual percentage change for incidence trends. Data were analyzed by age, sex, subsite, morphology, and the extent of disease. Changes between 1995-1999 and 2010-2014 were assessed.
RESULTS: The overall incidence of GC in Estonia decreased in 1995-2014. The age-standardized (world) incidence declined significantly for both sexes, for patients below 70 years of age, adenocarcinomas, NOS and other morphologies, non-cardia and unspecified cases, and for all known stages. Approximately 40% of GC cases were diagnosed with distant metastasis. Overall age-standardized 5-year relative survival of GC patients increased from 20% to 28%. Survival improved the most in age group 50-69 years. A large survival gain was also seen for localized (from 55% to 70%) and locally/regionally spread disease (from 23% to 37%).
CONCLUSIONS: In Estonia, the incidence of GC has declined and relative survival increased. However, special emphasis needs to be put on improving survival among men, elderly and in patients with metastatic disease.

Luo G, Zhang Y, Guo P, et al.
Global Patterns and Trends in Pancreatic Cancer Incidence: Age, Period, and Birth Cohort Analysis.
Pancreas. 2019; 48(2):199-208 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: We aim to provide a global geographical picture of pancreatic cancer incidence and temporal trends from 1973 to 2015 for 41 countries.
METHODS: Joinpoint regression and age-period-cohort model was used.
RESULTS: In 2012, the highest age-adjusted rate was in Central and Eastern Europe for males and North America for females. Most regions showed sex disparities. During the recent 10 years, increasing trends were observed in North America, Western Europe, and Oceania. The greatest increase occurred in France. For recent birth cohorts, cohort-specific increases in risk were pronounced in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, France, Israel, Latvia, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, United States, and US white male populations and in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, and US white female populations.
CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to the favorable effect of the decrease in smoking prevalence, other factors, including the increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes and increased physical inactivity, increased intake of red or processed meat and inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables are likely to have an unfavorable role in pancreatic cancer incidence worldwide.

Day F, Karaderi T, Jones MR, et al.
Large-scale genome-wide meta-analysis of polycystic ovary syndrome suggests shared genetic architecture for different diagnosis criteria.
PLoS Genet. 2018; 14(12):e1007813 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder characterized by hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction and polycystic ovarian morphology. Affected women frequently have metabolic disturbances including insulin resistance and dysregulation of glucose homeostasis. PCOS is diagnosed with two different sets of diagnostic criteria, resulting in a phenotypic spectrum of PCOS cases. The genetic similarities between cases diagnosed based on the two criteria have been largely unknown. Previous studies in Chinese and European subjects have identified 16 loci associated with risk of PCOS. We report a fixed-effect, inverse-weighted-variance meta-analysis from 10,074 PCOS cases and 103,164 controls of European ancestry and characterisation of PCOS related traits. We identified 3 novel loci (near PLGRKT, ZBTB16 and MAPRE1), and provide replication of 11 previously reported loci. Only one locus differed significantly in its association by diagnostic criteria; otherwise the genetic architecture was similar between PCOS diagnosed by self-report and PCOS diagnosed by NIH or non-NIH Rotterdam criteria across common variants at 13 loci. Identified variants were associated with hyperandrogenism, gonadotropin regulation and testosterone levels in affected women. Linkage disequilibrium score regression analysis revealed genetic correlations with obesity, fasting insulin, type 2 diabetes, lipid levels and coronary artery disease, indicating shared genetic architecture between metabolic traits and PCOS. Mendelian randomization analyses suggested variants associated with body mass index, fasting insulin, menopause timing, depression and male-pattern balding play a causal role in PCOS. The data thus demonstrate 3 novel loci associated with PCOS and similar genetic architecture for all diagnostic criteria. The data also provide the first genetic evidence for a male phenotype for PCOS and a causal link to depression, a previously hypothesized comorbid disease. Thus, the genetics provide a comprehensive view of PCOS that encompasses multiple diagnostic criteria, gender, reproductive potential and mental health.

Lambert JP, Picaud S, Fujisawa T, et al.
Interactome Rewiring Following Pharmacological Targeting of BET Bromodomains.
Mol Cell. 2019; 73(3):621-638.e17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Targeting bromodomains (BRDs) of the bromo-and-extra-terminal (BET) family offers opportunities for therapeutic intervention in cancer and other diseases. Here, we profile the interactomes of BRD2, BRD3, BRD4, and BRDT following treatment with the pan-BET BRD inhibitor JQ1, revealing broad rewiring of the interaction landscape, with three distinct classes of behavior for the 603 unique interactors identified. A group of proteins associate in a JQ1-sensitive manner with BET BRDs through canonical and new binding modes, while two classes of extra-terminal (ET)-domain binding motifs mediate acetylation-independent interactions. Last, we identify an unexpected increase in several interactions following JQ1 treatment that define negative functions for BRD3 in the regulation of rRNA synthesis and potentially RNAPII-dependent gene expression that result in decreased cell proliferation. Together, our data highlight the contributions of BET protein modules to their interactomes allowing for a better understanding of pharmacological rewiring in response to JQ1.

Teras M, Viisileht E, Pahtma-Hall M, et al.
Porcine circovirus type 2 ORF3 protein induces apoptosis in melanoma cells.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):1237 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The current treatment of malignant melanoma is limited by the lack of effective therapeutic approaches, and alternative treatments are needed. Proliferative diseases such as melanoma and other cancers may be treatable by virally-encoded apoptotic proteins that are targeted to rapidly multiplying cells. Caspase-dependent apoptosis, that is frequently used in chemotherapy, can boost the cell proliferation that caspase-independent cell death does not.
METHODS: In the current study, the porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), proapoptotic protein ORF3 was expressed in mouse and human cancer cell lines, and its apoptotic activity was assessed.
RESULTS: Quantitative assessment of the apoptotic cells by flow cytometry showed that apoptotic cell death was significantly increased in ORF3-expressing malignant cells, compared to ORF3 non-expressing cells. Our data show that PCV2 ORF3 induces apoptosis in a caspase-3 and -8 independent manner. ORF3 expression seems to cause an increase in abnormal mitosis in B16F10 melanoma cells by interacting with centrosomes and thereby disrupting the formation of the mitotic spindle. In addition, we show that ORF3 of PCV2 also exhibits significant anti-tumor effects in vivo. Although the expression of Regulator of G protein Signaling (RGS)-16 by recipient mice inhibited the development of grafted melanoma in vivo, it was not required for the antitumoral activity of ORF3.
CONCLUSION: PCV2 ORF3 causes abnormal mitosis in rapidly dividing cells and increases the apoptosis of cancer cells. Apoptin might, therefore, be considered to develop future antitumoral strategies.

Rich A, Baldwin D, Alfageme I, et al.
Achieving Thoracic Oncology data collection in Europe: a precursor study in 35 Countries.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):1144 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A minority of European countries have participated in international comparisons with high level data on lung cancer. However, the nature and extent of data collection across the continent is simply unknown, and without accurate data collection it is not possible to compare practice and set benchmarks to which lung cancer services can aspire.
METHODS: Using an established network of lung cancer specialists in 37 European countries, a survey was distributed in December 2014. The results relate to current practice in each country at the time, early 2015. The results were compiled and then verified with co-authors over the following months.
RESULTS: Thirty-five completed surveys were received which describe a range of current practice for lung cancer data collection. Thirty countries have data collection at the national level, but this is not so in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Data collection varied from paper records with no survival analysis, to well-established electronic databases with links to census data and survival analyses.
CONCLUSION: Using a network of committed clinicians, we have gathered validated comparative data reporting an observed difference in data collection mechanisms across Europe. We have identified the need to develop a well-designed dataset, whilst acknowledging what is feasible within each country, and aspiring to collect high quality data for clinical research.

Minicozzi P, Van Eycken L, Molinie F, et al.
Comorbidities, age and period of diagnosis influence treatment and outcomes in early breast cancer.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(9):2118-2127 [PubMed] Related Publications
Survival for breast cancer (BC) is lower in eastern than northern/central Europe, and in older than younger women. We analysed how comorbidities at diagnosis affected whether selected standard treatments (STs) were given, across Europe and over time, also assessing consequences for survival/relapse. We analysed 7581 stage I/IIA cases diagnosed in 9 European countries in 2009-2013, and 4 STs: surgery; breast-conserving surgery plus radiotherapy (BCS + RT); reconstruction after mastectomy; and prompt treatment (≤6 weeks after diagnosis). Covariate-adjusted models estimated odds of receiving STs and risks of death/relapse, according to comorbidities. Pearson's R assessed correlations between odds and risks. The z-test assessed the significance of time-trends. Most women received surgery: 72% BCS; 24% mastectomy. Mastectomied patients were older with more comorbidities than BCS patients (p < 0.001). Women given breast reconstruction (25% of mastectomies) were younger with fewer comorbidities than those without reconstruction (p < 0.001). Women treated promptly (45%) were younger than those treated later (p = 0.001), and more often without comorbidities (p < 0.001). Receiving surgery/BCS + RT correlated strongly (R = -0.9), but prompt treatment weakly (R = -0.01/-0.02), with reduced death/relapse risks. The proportion receiving BCS + RT increased significantly (p < 0.001) with time in most countries. This appears to be the first analysis of the influence of comorbidities on receiving STs, and of consequences for outcomes. Increase in BCS + RT with time is encouraging. Although women without comorbidities usually received STs, elderly patients often received non-standard less prompt treatments, irrespective of comorbidities, with increased risk of mortality/relapse. All women, particularly the elderly, should receive ST wherever possible to maximise the benefits of modern evidence-based treatments.

Bager N, Juul-Dam KL, Sandahl JD, et al.
Complex and monosomal karyotype are distinct cytogenetic entities with an adverse prognostic impact in paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia. A NOPHO-DBH-AML study.
Br J Haematol. 2018; 183(4):618-628 [PubMed] Related Publications
Data on occurrence, genetic characteristics and prognostic impact of complex and monosomal karyotype (CK/MK) in children with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) are scarce. We studied CK and MK in a large unselected cohort of childhood AML patients diagnosed and treated according to Nordic Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO)-AML protocols 1993-2015. In total, 800 patients with de novo AML were included. CK was found in 122 (15%) and MK in 41 (5%) patients. CK and MK patients were young (median age 2·1 and 3·3 years, respectively) and frequently had FAB M7 morphology (24% and 22%, respectively). Refractory disease was more common in MK patients (15% vs. 4%) and stem cell transplantation in first complete remission was more frequent (32% vs. 19%) compared with non-CK/non-MK patients. CK showed no association with refractory disease but was an independent predictor of an inferior event-free survival (EFS; hazard ratio [HR] 1·43, P = 0·03) and overall survival (OS; HR 1·48, P = 0·01). MK was associated with a poor EFS (HR 1·57, P = 0·03) but did not show an inferior OS compared to non-MK patients (HR 1·14, P = 0·62). In a large paediatric cohort, we characterized AML with non-recurrent abnormal karyotype and unravelled the adverse impact of CK and MK on prognosis.

Ojamaa K, Innos K, Baburin A, et al.
Trends in cervical cancer incidence and survival in Estonia from 1995 to 2014.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):1075 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer (CC) incidence in Estonia is the third highest in Europe, even though an organised nation-wide screening program has been in place since 2006. The aim of the study was to analyse the incidence and survival of CC in Estonia, focusing on age, morphology and stage at diagnosis.
METHODS: Data from Estonian Cancer Registry were used to analyse age-standardized (world) and age-specific incidence for 1968-2014 rates. Joinpoint regression was used to estimate the annual percentage change (APC) for incidence trends. Age-period-cohort model was used to summarise time trends in terms of cohort and period effects. Relative survival ratios (RSR) were calculated for cases diagnosed in 1995-2014. Union for International Cancer Control version 7 of the TNM classification for malignant tumours was used to categorise stage.
RESULTS: The age-standardized incidence of CC increased since 1980s at a rate of 0.8% per year. A significant increase was seen for all age groups except for 70+. The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma mimicked the overall trend, while adenocarcinoma showed increase since mid-1990s (APC 6.7). Age-period-cohort modelling showed strong cohort effects with the lowest risk for birth-cohorts born around 1940 and significantly increasing risks for successive cohorts born thereafter. No period effects were seen. The proportion of stage IV cases increased from 13% in 2005-2009 to 18% in 2010-2014. A significant increase was seen in the overall 5-year RSR from 1995 to 1999 to 2010-2014 (58% vs 66%). In 2010-2014, the 5-year RSRs ranged from 89% in women aged 15-39 to 41% in age group 70+. For stages I to IV, the respective RSRs were 98, 74, 57 and 22%.
CONCLUSIONS: The inadequate uptake and insufficient quality of the Pap-smear based screening program has not brought along a decline in the incidence of CC in Estonia. Stage distribution has shifted towards later stages. New approaches are needed to prevent CC in Estonia.

Sak K, Lust H, Kase M, et al.
Suppression of Taxanes Cytotoxicity by Citrus Flavonoid Hesperetin in PPC-1 Human Prostate Cancer Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2018; 38(11):6209-6215 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: More than half of prostate cancer patients use, in addition to conventional therapies, some kind of complementary medicine, including flavonoid-rich products. However, knowledge about the co-effects of flavonoids with cytotoxic chemotherapies is still rather poor. Therefore, this study was undertaken to assess the cytotoxic activity of flavonoids and their interactions with taxanes in human advanced prostate cancer cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cytotoxicity of different flavonoids and their effects on the efficacy of docetaxel and cabazitaxel were studied in the human metastatic prostate cancer cell line PPC-1, using MTT colorimetric assay.
RESULTS: Both taxanes suppressed the viability of PPC-1 cells with IC
CONCLUSION: Flavonoid hesperetin remarkably suppressed the cytotoxic efficacy of taxanes in prostate cancer cells. Therefore, caution is required from prostate cancer patients who take hesperetin-containing oral supplements.

Montagna G, Anderson D, Bochenek-Cibor J, et al.
How to become a breast cancer specialist in 2018: The point of view of the second cohort of the Certificate of Competence in Breast Cancer (CCB2).
Breast. 2019; 43:18-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer (BC) is the most frequent cancer in women and the leading cause of cancer death in females worldwide. Rapid research advancements add to the complexity of treatment options for this disease. It is known that the quality of patients' care is deeply affected by healthcare professionals following these advancements. There is a growing need for academic education to increase clinical knowledge and skills of physicians treating BC patients. The certificate of Competence in Breast Cancer Program (CCB) is a Certificate in Advanced Studies (CAS) organized by the European School of Oncology in cooperation with Ulm University (Germany), which focuses on both the clinical and scientific competence required for improving quality in the management of BC patients. This paper describes the experience of the second CCB cohort (CCB2), which brought together 24 physicians from four continents who shared the common will to improve their competence and skills in BC treatment.

Probert C, Dottorini T, Speakman A, et al.
Communication of prostate cancer cells with bone cells via extracellular vesicle RNA; a potential mechanism of metastasis.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(10):1751-1763 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as vehicles for cell-to-cell communication between a tumour and its environment is a relatively new concept. The hypothesis that EVs may be critical in co-opting tissues by tumours to generate distant metastatic niches is particularly pertinent to prostate cancer (PCa), where metastatic-tropism to bone predominates over other tissue types. The potential role of EVs as a means of communication between PCa cells and cells of the bone stroma such as osteoblasts, is yet to be fully explored. In this study, we demonstrate that PCa cell EVs both enhance osteoblast viability and produce a significantly more supportive growth environment for PCa cells when grown in co-culture with EV-treated osteoblasts (p < 0.005). Characterisation of the RNA cargo of EVs produced by the bone-metastatic PCa cell line PC3, highlights the EV-RNA cargo is significantly enriched in genes relating to cell surface signalling, cell-cell interaction, and protein translation (p < 0.01). Using novel techniques to track RNA, we demonstrate the delivery of a set of PCa-RNAs to osteoblast via PCa-EVs and show the effect on osteoblast endogenous transcript abundance. Taken together, by using proof-of-concept studies we demonstrate for the first time the contribution of the RNA element of the PCa EV cargo, providing evidence to support PCa EV communication via RNA molecules as a potential novel route to mediate bone metastasis. We propose targeting PCa EVs could offer a potentially important preventative therapy for men at risk of metastatic PCa.

Innos K, Sepp T, Baburin A, et al.
Increasing kidney cancer incidence and survival in Estonia: role of age and stage.
Acta Oncol. 2019; 58(1):21-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Kidney cancer rates in Estonia are high. The study aimed to examine long-term trends in kidney cancer incidence, mortality and survival in Estonia, with special focus on age, birth cohorts, morphology and TNM stage.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Estonian Cancer Registry provided data on all incident cases of kidney cancer (ICD-10 C64), diagnosed in adults (age ≥15 years) in Estonia during 1995 - 2014. Relative survival ratios (RSR) were calculated and excess hazard ratios of dying were estimated with gender, age, period of diagnosis and TNM stage as independent variables. Joinpoint regression modeling was used to calculate estimated annual percentage change for incidence (1970-2014) and mortality (1995-2016) trends. Age-specific incidence rates were presented by birth cohort and period of diagnosis.
RESULTS: Incidence increased significantly in both sexes, with the steepest rise seen for localized cancer. Cohort effects were pronounced particularly in men, while period effects were seen from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s in both sexes. Age-standardized five-year RSR for total kidney cancer increased by 13 percentage units (from 53% to 65%) over the study period; the increase was larger for renal cell carcinoma (from 63% to 78%). Survival increases of about five percentage units were seen for stages I/II and III. Age and gender were not associated with excess risk of dying from renal cell carcinoma after adjusting for stage.
CONCLUSION: Estonia is currently among countries with the highest incidence of kidney cancer. The results suggest a combined effect of changing risk profiles in successive birth cohorts and increasing diagnostic activity around 1990. Large survival increase can mostly be attributed to earlier detection, but improved diagnosis and treatment have probably influenced stage-specific survival. High proportion of tumors with unspecified morphology and those with unknown stage among the elderly warrants further investigation of diagnostic and treatment practices.

Tulstrup M, Grosjean M, Nielsen SN, et al.
NT5C2 germline variants alter thiopurine metabolism and are associated with acquired NT5C2 relapse mutations in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(12):2527-2535 [PubMed] Related Publications
The antileukaemic drug 6-mercaptopurine is converted into thioguanine nucleotides (TGN) and incorporated into DNA (DNA-TG), the active end metabolite. In a series of genome-wide association studies, we analysed time-weighted means (

de Vries PJ, Belousova E, Benedik MP, et al.
TSC-associated neuropsychiatric disorders (TAND): findings from the TOSCA natural history study.
Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2018; 13(1):157 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Most evidence for TSC-associated neuropsychiatric disorders (TAND) to date have come from small studies and case reports, and very little is known about TAND in adults. We explored baseline TAND data from the large-scale international TOSCA natural history study to compare childhood and adult patterns, describe age-based patterns, and explore genotype-TAND correlations.
RESULTS: The study enrolled 2216 eligible participants with TSC from 170 sites across 31 countries at the data cut-off for the third interim analysis (data cut-off date: September 30, 2015). The most common behavioural problems (reported in > 10% of participants) were overactivity, sleep difficulties, impulsivity, anxiety, mood swings, severe aggression, depressed mood, self-injury, and obsessions. Psychiatric disorders included autism spectrum disorder (ASD, 21.1%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, 19.1%), anxiety disorder (9.7%), and depressive disorder (6.1%). Intelligence quotient (IQ) scores were available for 885 participants. Of these, 44.4% had normal IQ, while mild, moderate, severe, and profound degrees of intellectual disability (ID) were observed in 28.1, 15.1, 9.3, and 3.1%, respectively. Academic difficulties were identified in 58.6% of participants, and neuropsychological deficits (performance <5th percentile) in 55.7%. Significantly higher rates of overactivity and impulsivity were observed in children and higher rates of anxiety, depressed mood, mood swings, obsessions, psychosis and hallucinations were observed in adults. Genotype-TAND correlations showed a higher frequency of self-injury, ASD, academic difficulties and neuropsychological deficits in TSC2. Those with no mutations identified (NMI) showed a mixed pattern of TAND manifestations. Children and those with TSC2 had significantly higher rates of intellectual disability, suggesting that age and genotype comparisons should be interpreted with caution.
CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasize the magnitude of TAND in TSC and the importance of evaluating for neuropsychiatric comorbidity in all children and adults with TSC, across TSC1 and TSC2 genotypes, as well as in those with no mutations identified. However, the high rates of unreported or missing TAND data in this study underline the fact that, even in expert centres, TAND remains underdiagnosed and potentially undertreated.

Turnbull E, Priaulx J, van Ravesteyn NT, et al.
A health systems approach to identifying barriers to breast cancer screening programmes. Methodology and application in six European countries.
Health Policy. 2018; 122(11):1198-1205 [PubMed] Related Publications
The benefits of population-based screening for breast cancer are now accepted although, in practice, programmes often fail to achieve their full potential. In this paper, we propose a conceptual model that situates screening programmes within the broader health system to understand the factors that influence their outcomes. We view the overall screening system as having multiple sub-systems to identify the population at risk, generate knowledge of effectiveness, maximise uptake, operate the programme, and optimise follow-up and assurance of subsequent treatment. Based on this model we have developed the Barriers to Effective Screening Tool (BEST) for analysing government-led, population-based screening programmes from a health systems perspective. Conceived as a self-assessment tool, we piloted the tool with key informants in six European countries (Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands and Slovenia) to identify barriers to the optimal operation of population-based breast cancer screening programmes. The pilot provided valuable feedback on the barriers affecting breast cancer screening programmes and stimulated a greater recognition among those operating them of the need to take a health systems perspective. In addition, the pilot led to further development of the tool and provided a foundation for further research into how to overcome the identified barriers.

Gibson-Helm M, Dokras A, Karro H, et al.
Knowledge and Practices Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome among Physicians in Europe, North America, and Internationally: An Online Questionnaire-Based Study.
Semin Reprod Med. 2018; 36(1):19-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: To inform knowledge translation by identifying evidence-practice gaps in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) care and variations between disciplines and across world regions via an online, anonymous, devised questionnaire distributed via professional societies and completed by 1,495 physicians (2015-2016).
METHODS: Multivariable logistic regression analyses generated adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between outcome measures and world region, specialty, annual patients with PCOS, age, and sex.
RESULTS: Features corresponding to Rotterdam diagnostic criteria were well recognized (e.g., irregular menstrual cycles by 99% of physicians), but psychological implications were recognized only by 29 to 64%. Reproductive endocrinologists were more likely to use Rotterdam diagnostic criteria (OR: 3.1; 95% CI: 2.3-4.3;
CONCLUSION: Knowledge gaps in PCOS care to be addressed internationally include physician awareness of the breadth of PCOS features, application of diagnostic criteria, and recommending lifestyle management effectively.

Turnbull E, Priaulx J, de Kok IMCM, et al.
Results of a health systems approach to identify barriers to population-based cervical and colorectal cancer screening programmes in six European countries.
Health Policy. 2018; 122(11):1206-1211 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to identify barriers to effective cervical and colorectal cancers screening programmes in Europe. The Barriers to Effective Screening Tool (BEST), based on a health systems approach, was completed by teams of three to six experts on cancer screening in each of the six countries involved in leading the EU-TOPIA project (TOwards imProved screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer In All of Europe). While the basic components of screening systems and the challenges they face, such as low participation, are similar, there are also many differences, both in the structures underpinning particular functions, such as maintenance of populationregisters and monitoring outcomes, and the ways that they operate. Many of these lie outside the strict organisational boundaries of screening programmes. BEST offers a means to identify and prioritise issues for further detailed exploration. The holistic health systems approach to assessing barriers differs from previous approaches. Those focus on individual characteristics that determine participation. The approach described here provides additional opportunities to improve outcomes with measures that are largely within the control of those managing the health system.

Kurtenkov O, Innos K, Sergejev B, Klaamas K
The Thomsen-Friedenreich Antigen-Specific Antibody Signatures in Patients with Breast Cancer.
Biomed Res Int. 2018; 2018:9579828 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alterations in the glycosylation of serum total immunoglobulins show these antibodies to have a diagnostic potential for cancer but the disease-related Abs to the tumor-associated antigens, including glycans, have still poorly been investigated in this respect. We analysed serum samples from patients with breast carcinoma (n = 196) and controls (n = 64) for the level of Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF) antigen-specific antibody isotypes, their sialylation, interrelationships, and the avidity by using ELISA with the synthetic TF-polyacrylamide conjugate as an antigen and the sialic acid-specific

Ponandai-Srinivasan S, Andersson KL, Nister M, et al.
Aberrant expression of genes associated with stemness and cancer in endometria and endometrioma in a subset of women with endometriosis.
Hum Reprod. 2018; 33(10):1924-1938 [PubMed] Related Publications
STUDY QUESTION: Is there molecular evidence for a link between endometriosis and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancers (EAOC)?
STUDY ANSWER: We identified aberrant gene expression signatures associated with malignant transformation in a small subgroup of women with ovarian endometriosis.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Epidemiological studies have shown an increased risk of EAOC in women with ovarian endometriosis. However, the cellular and molecular changes leading to EAOC are largely unexplored.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: CD73+CD90+CD105+ multipotent stem cells/progenitors (SC cohort) were isolated from endometrium (n = 18) and endometrioma (n = 11) of endometriosis patients as well as from the endometrium of healthy women (n = 14). Extensive phenotypic and functional analyses were performed in vitro on expanded multipotent stem cells/progenitors to confirm their altered characteristics. Aberrant gene signatures were also validated in paired-endometrium and -endometrioma tissue samples from another cohort (Tissue cohort, n = 19) of endometriosis patients.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTINGS, METHODS: Paired-endometrial and -endometriotic biopsies were obtained from women with endometriosis (ASRM stage III-IV) undergoing laparoscopic surgery. Control endometria were obtained from healthy volunteers. Isolated CD73+CD90+CD105+ SC were evaluated for the presence of known endometrial surface markers, colony forming efficiency, multi-lineage differentiation, cell cycle distribution and 3D-spheroid formation capacity. Targeted RT-PCR arrays, along with hierarchical and multivariate clustering tools, were used to determine both intergroup and intragroup gene expression variability for stem cell and cancer-associated markers, in both SC+ and tissue cohorts.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Isolated and expanded SC+ from both control and patient groups showed significantly higher surface expression of W5C5+, clonal expansion and 3D-spheroid formation capacity (P < 0.05) compared with SC-. The SC+ cells also undergo mesenchymal lineage differentiation, unlike SC-. Gene expression from paired-endometriosis samples showed significant downregulation of PTEN, ARID1A and TNFα (P < 0.05) in endometrioma compared with paired-endometrium SC+ samples. Hierarchical and multivariate clustering from both SC+ and tissue cohorts together identified 4 out of 30 endometrioma samples with aberrant expression of stem cell and cancer-associated genes, such as KIT, HIF2α and E-cadherin, altered expression ratio of ER-β/ER-α and downregulation of tumour suppressor genes (PTEN and ARID1A). Thus, we speculate that above changes may be potentially relevant to the development of EAOC.
LIMITATIONS, REASON FOR CAUTION: As the reported frequency of EAOC is very low, we did not have access to those samples in our study. Moreover, by adopting a targeted gene array approach, we might have missed several other potentially-relevant genes associated with EAOC pathogenesis. The above panel of markers should be further validated in archived tissue samples from women with endometriosis who later in life developed EAOC.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Knowledge gained from this study, with further confirmation on EAOC cases, may help in developing screening methods to identify women with increased risk of EAOC.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): The study is funded by the Swedish Research Council (2012-2844), a joint grant from Stockholm County and Karolinska Institutet (ALF), RGD network at Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Institutet for doctoral education (KID), Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (IUT34-16), Enterprise Estonia (EU48695), Horizon 2020 innovation program (WIDENLIFE, 692065), European Union's FP7 Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways funding (IAPP, SARM, EU324509) and MSCA-RISE-2015 project MOMENDO (691058). All authors have no competing interest.

Sommariva A, Forsea AM, Agius D, et al.
Quality assurance in melanoma care: The EU-MELACARE study.
Eur J Surg Oncol. 2018; 44(11):1773-1778 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A significant disparity regarding survival outcome for melanoma among European regions is well recognized and access to high quality care for European melanoma patients needs to be improved. There is an unmet need for the implementation of minimal standard of care within defined clinical pathways and Quality Assurance (QA) indicators.
OBJECTIVE: The EU-MELACARE study aims to identify shared variables for cutaneous melanoma cases recorded in melanoma registries across Europe.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Opinion leaders involved in melanoma data registration and care quality analysis in 34 European countries were invited to respond to an expert survey covering questions regarding the melanoma registration practice in their countries and the characteristics, coverage and variables collected by the relevant melanoma registries.
RESULTS: Data regarding 13 melanoma registries from 11 European countries contributed to the study. The majority (61,5%) were population based registries and more than half (62%) had national coverage. The included registries collected a median of 38 variables (Interquartile Range, IRQ 21-76). We identified 24 shared variables available in >70% of registries.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides valuable specific information on information recorded for melanoma cases are registered within Europe. A core of shared variables has been identified, which will constitute the basis for a standardized set of QA indicators for assessing and monitoring melanoma care across European countries.

Kashyap D, Sharma A, Tuli HS, et al.
Molecular targets of celastrol in cancer: Recent trends and advancements.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2018; 128:70-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite the advancement in the well-equipped and sophisticated laboratories and facilities, cancer remains to be a major cause of death worldwide. Consequently, further investigation of novel strategies need to be evolved. Since the last few decades, the utilization of phytochemicals is emerging against several human cancers, including lung, breast, colon carcinoma, lymphoma, and other hematological malignancies. Terpenoids are a category of therapeutically active phytochemicals that have been utilized against cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders. Particularly, celastrol, a pentacyclic terpenoid, is well-studied for its variety of pharmacological properties. It is well documented that celastrol can modulate a variety of signaling pathways. Celastrol's anti-proliferative role has been found to be associated with its pro-apoptotic (via protein kinase B), anti-angiogenic (via vascular endothelial growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor), anti-metastatic (via matrix metalloproteinases), and anti-inflammatory (via cytokines and chemokines) activities. This review describes various molecular mechanisms of celastrol for understanding the biology of cancer initiation, progression as well as designing efficacious therapeutic strategies.

Mogensen SS, Harila-Saari A, Mäkitie O, et al.
Comparing osteonecrosis clinical phenotype, timing, and risk factors in children and young adults treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018; 65(10):e27300 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Treatment-related osteonecrosis (ON) is a serious complication of treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
PROCEDURE: This study included 1,489 patients with ALL, aged 1-45 years, treated according to the Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology ALL2008 protocol, using alternate-week dexamethasone during delayed intensification, with prospective registration of symptomatic ON. We aimed at comparing risk factors, timing, and clinical characteristics of ON in children and young adults.
RESULTS: ON was diagnosed in 67 patients, yielding a 5-year cumulative incidence of 6.3%, but 28% in female adolescents. Median age at ALL diagnosis was 12.1 years and 14.9 years for females and males, respectively. At ON diagnosis, 59 patients had bone pain (91%) and 30 (46%) had multiple-joint involvement. The median interval between ALL and ON diagnosis was significantly shorter in children aged 1.0-9.9 years (0.7 years [range: 0.2-2.1]) compared with adolescents (1.8 years [range: 0.3-3.7, P < 0.001]) and adults (2.1 years [range: 0.4-5.3, P = 0.001]). Female sex was a risk factor in adolescent patients (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1-4.2) but not in children aged 1.1-9.9 years (HR = 2.4, 95% CI: 0.9-6.2, P = 0.08) or adults aged 19-45 years (HR = 1.1, 95% CI: 0.3-4.0). Age above 10 years at ALL diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] = 3.7, P = 0.026) and multiple joints affected at ON diagnosis (OR = 3.4, P = 0.027) were risk factors for developing severe ON.
CONCLUSION: We provide a detailed phenotype of patients with ALL with symptomatic ON, including description of risk factors and timing of ON across age groups. This awareness is essential in exploring measures to prevent development of ON.

Francis JH, Roosipu N, Levin AM, et al.
Current Treatment of Bilateral Retinoblastoma: The Impact of Intraarterial and Intravitreous Chemotherapy.
Neoplasia. 2018; 20(8):757-763 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate the management and outcomes of naïve bilateral retinoblastoma treated at a single-center over a 5-year period during the era of ophthalmic artery chemosurgery (OAC) and intravitreous chemotherapy.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of 46 patients (92 eyes) with naïve bilateral retinoblastoma treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center between January 2012 and February 2017. Indirect ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, ultrasonography, and ultrasonic biomicroscopy were used to evaluate clinical response. Patient, ocular, ocular progression-free, ocular recurrent event-free, and second ocular survivals were assessed by Kaplan-Meier estimates. Retinal toxicity was evaluated by electroretinography. Snellen visual acuity and complete blood count metrics were recorded.
RESULTS: Sixty-four eyes (70%) in 41 patients (89%) received ophthalmic artery chemosurgery as part of their treatment. Twenty-six patients (56%) received tandem OAC (bilateral simultaneous infusions). Seven eyes were primarily enucleated. No eye receiving initial OAC was enucleated. There was a single secondary enucleation in an eye initially treated with focal therapy with anterior chamber recurrence. The 3-year Kaplan-Meier estimates for overall ocular, secondary ocular (survival after treatment for recurrence), progression-free, and recurrent event-free survival were 91.3% [95% confidence interval (CI) 83.4-95.5], 98.7% (95% CI 91.3-99.8), 91.5% (95% CI 83.0-95.8), and 78.9% (95% CI 68.2-86.3), respectively. Overall and secondary ocular survivals were 100% for International Classification of Retinoblastoma (ICRB) groups A-C. Overall ocular survival was 91.5% (95% CI 70-97.8) for ICRB group D and 71.4% (95% CI 47.1-79.4) for group E. Secondary ocular survival was 95.4% (95% CI 71.8-99.3) for ICRB group D and 100% for group E. There were no treatment-related deaths, three patients developed trilateral retinoblastoma (one died), and one patient (who did not receive OAC) developed metastatic disease and is in remission at 32-month follow-up.
CONCLUSION: The majority (89%) of bilateral retinoblastoma patients in the current era and at this center were treated with OAC. This has resulted in saving a historic number of eyes. A quarter of eyes developed recurrent disease (defined as recurrent disease requiring any treatment including focal), the majority of which occurred in the first year after treatment, and all but one was saved. There has been no compromise in patient survival.

Huang L, Jansen L, Balavarca Y, et al.
Nonsurgical therapies for resected and unresected pancreatic cancer in Europe and USA in 2003-2014: a large international population-based study.
Int J Cancer. 2018; 143(12):3227-3239 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of chemotherapy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer (PaC) has been well-established, while radiation plays ambiguous roles. This international large-scale population-based study aimed to investigate the real-world application of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for resected and unresected PaC in Europe and USA. Population-based data from multiple European national cancer registries and the US Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-18 database during 2003-2014 were analyzed. Temporal trends and geographical variations in the application rates of chemotherapy and radiotherapy were quantified using age standardization. Associations of treatment with demographic and clinical characteristics were assessed using multivariable logistic regression. A total of 141,533 PaC patients were analyzed. From 2003-2005 to 2012-2014, chemotherapy administration rates increased in most countries and more strongly among resected patients, while radiation rates were generally low with a slight decline or no obvious trend. In 2012-2014, 12.5% (Estonia) to 61.7% (Belgium) of resected and 17.1% (Slovenia) to 56.9% (Belgium) of unresected patients received chemotherapy. Radiation was administered in 2.6% (Netherlands) to 32.6% (USA) of resected and 1.0% (USA) to 6.0% (Belgium) of unresected patients. Strong temporal and geographical variations were observed. Patterns and strengths of associations of treatment administration with various demographic and clinical factors differed substantially between resected and unresected cancers and varied greatly across countries. Conclusively, administration of chemotherapy but not radiotherapy for PaC increased during the last decade in Europe and USA. Treatment rates were low and the uptake strongly varied across countries, highlighting the need for standardization in PaC treatment to improve patient care.

Alvarez MJ, Subramaniam PS, Tang LH, et al.
A precision oncology approach to the pharmacological targeting of mechanistic dependencies in neuroendocrine tumors.
Nat Genet. 2018; 50(7):979-989 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We introduce and validate a new precision oncology framework for the systematic prioritization of drugs targeting mechanistic tumor dependencies in individual patients. Compounds are prioritized on the basis of their ability to invert the concerted activity of master regulator proteins that mechanistically regulate tumor cell state, as assessed from systematic drug perturbation assays. We validated the approach on a cohort of 212 gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), a rare malignancy originating in the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract. The analysis identified several master regulator proteins, including key regulators of neuroendocrine lineage progenitor state and immunoevasion, whose role as critical tumor dependencies was experimentally confirmed. Transcriptome analysis of GEP-NET-derived cells, perturbed with a library of 107 compounds, identified the HDAC class I inhibitor entinostat as a potent inhibitor of master regulator activity for 42% of metastatic GEP-NET patients, abrogating tumor growth in vivo. This approach may thus complement current efforts in precision oncology.

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