Australia
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About 125,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Australia each year. With population growth and aging this is set to rise to 150,000 new cases each year by 2020.1 in 2 Australian men and 1 in 3 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia. (Source: Cancer Council Australia)

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Latest Research Publications

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New South Wales (10 links)


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South Australia (10 links)


Tasmania (3 links)


Victoria (13 links)


Western Australia (8 links)


Latest Research Publications

O'Callaghan CC, McDermott F, Hudson P, Zalcberg JR
Sound continuing bonds with the deceased: the relevance of music, including preloss music therapy, for eight bereaved caregivers.
Death Stud. 2013; 37(2):101-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study examines music's relevance, including preloss music therapy, for 8 informal caregivers of people who died from cancer. The design was informed by constructivist grounded theory and included semistructured interviews. Bereaved caregivers were supported or occasionally challenged as their musical lives enabled a connection with the deceased. Music was often still used to improve mood and sometimes used to confront grief. Specific music, however, was sometimes avoided to minimize sadness. Continuing bonds theory's focus on connecting with the deceased through memory and imagery engagement may expand to encompass musical memories, reworking the meaning of familiar music, and discovering new music related to the deceased. Preloss music involvement, including music therapy, between dying patients and families can help in bereavement.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


Trabert B, Ness RB, Lo-Ciganic WH, et al.
Aspirin, nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and acetaminophen use and risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014; 106(2):djt431 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Regular aspirin use is associated with reduced risk of several malignancies. Epidemiologic studies analyzing aspirin, nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and acetaminophen use and ovarian cancer risk have been inconclusive.
METHODS: We analyzed pooled data from 12 population-based case-control studies of ovarian cancer, including 7776 case patients and 11843 control subjects accrued between 1992 and 2007. Odds ratios (ORs) for associations of medication use with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer were estimated in individual studies using logistic regression and combined using random effects meta-analysis. Associations between frequency, dose, and duration of analgesic use and risk of ovarian cancer were also assessed. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: Aspirin use was associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer (OR = 0.91; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.84 to 0.99). Results were similar but not statistically significant for nonaspirin NSAIDs, and there was no association with acetaminophen. In seven studies with frequency data, the reduced risk was strongest among daily aspirin users (OR = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.67 to 0.96). In three studies with dose information, the reduced risk was strongest among users of low dose (<100 mg) aspirin (OR = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.53 to 0.83), whereas for nonaspirin NSAIDs, the reduced risk was strongest for high dose (≥500 mg) usage (OR = 0.76; 95% CI = 0.64 to 0.91).
CONCLUSIONS: Aspirin use was associated with a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, especially among daily users of low-dose aspirin. These findings suggest that the same aspirin regimen proven to protect against cardiovascular events and several cancers could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer 20% to 34% depending on frequency and dose of use.

Related: Ovarian Cancer USA
Affiliations of authors: Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (BT, LAB, NW); University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX (RBN); Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (WL); Cha...
Research funded by:


Abikhair MR, Mahar PD, Cachia AR, Kelly JW
Liability in the context of misdiagnosis of melanoma in Australia.
Med J Aust. 2014; 200(2):119-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant melanoma is a serious and relatively common condition, the diagnosis of which may be difficult. In a recent Supreme Court of New South Wales case, misdiagnosis of melanoma occurred, but there was failure to establish causation of the patient's poor prognosis. Aggressive melanomas may grow quickly, fail to conform to standard and commonly taught diagnostic criteria, and frequently escape early detection. In the event of uncertain diagnosis or failed treatment of a lesion, an appropriate standard of care is full excisional biopsy if not previously performed, or referral of the case to an appropriate specialist or melanoma centre. Clinicians should remain aware of the existence of higher-risk, easily misdiagnosed melanomas with a high mortality rate. Therefore, they should aim to identify these at the earliest opportunity.

Related: Melanoma Skin Cancer
Department of Dermatology, Monash Medical Centre, Monash Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Aebi S, Gelber S, Anderson SJ, et al.
Chemotherapy for isolated locoregional recurrence of breast cancer (CALOR): a randomised trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15(2):156-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with isolated locoregional recurrences (ILRR) of breast cancer have a high risk of distant metastasis and death from breast cancer. We aimed to establish whether adjuvant chemotherapy improves the outcome of such patients.
METHODS: The CALOR trial was a pragmatic, open-label, randomised trial that accrued patients with histologically proven and completely excised ILRR after unilateral breast cancer who had undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy with clear surgical margins. Eligible patients were enrolled from hospitals worldwide and were centrally randomised (1:1) to chemotherapy (type selected by the investigator; multidrug for at least four courses recommended) or no chemotherapy, using permuted blocks, and stratified by previous chemotherapy, oestrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor status, and location of ILRR. Patients with oestrogen-receptor-positive ILRR received adjuvant endocrine therapy, radiation therapy was mandated for patients with microscopically involved surgical margins, and anti-HER2 therapy was optional. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival. All analyses were by intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00074152.
FINDINGS: From Aug 22, 2003, to Jan 31, 2010, 85 patients were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy and 77 were assigned to no chemotherapy. At a median follow-up of 4·9 years (IQR 3·6-6 ·0), 24 (28%) patients had disease-free survival events in the chemotherapy group compared with 34 (44%) in the no chemotherapy group. 5-year disease-free survival was 69% (95% CI 56-79) with chemotherapy versus 57% (44-67) without chemotherapy (hazard ratio 0·59 [95% CI 0·35-0·99]; p=0·046). Adjuvant chemotherapy was significantly more effective for women with oestrogen-receptor-negative ILRR (pinteraction=0·046), but analyses of disease-free survival according to the oestrogen-receptor status of the primary tumour were not statistically significant (pinteraction=0·43). Of the 81 patients who received chemotherapy, 12 (15%) had serious adverse events. The most common adverse events were neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, and intestinal infection.
INTERPRETATION: Adjuvant chemotherapy should be recommended for patients with completely resected ILRR of breast cancer, especially if the recurrence is oestrogen-receptor negative.
FUNDING: US Department of Health and Human Services, Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK), Frontier Science and Technology Research Foundation, Australian and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group, Swedish Cancer Society, Oncosuisse, Cancer Association of South Africa, Foundation for Clinical Research of Eastern Switzerland (OSKK), Grupo Español de Investigación en Cáncer de Mama (GEICAM), and the Dutch Breast Cancer Trialists' Group (BOOG).

Related: Breast Cancer
Luzerner Kantonsspital, Lucerne, Switzerland; University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland; Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK), Berne, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Research funded by:


Bettington M, Walker N, Rosty C, et al.
Critical appraisal of the diagnosis of the sessile serrated adenoma.
Am J Surg Pathol. 2014; 38(2):158-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
The sessile serrated adenoma (SSA) is a relatively recently described polyp that can present diagnostic difficulties for the practicing pathologist. The frequency of SSA diagnoses varies dramatically in the reported literature. In addition, the histologic interface between the microvesicular hyperplastic polyp (MVHP) and the SSA continues to be a diagnostic problem. The trend in recent years has been toward a lower threshold for SSA diagnosis. Herein, we have performed a cross-sectional study of 6340 colorectal polyps received at a high-volume community-based pathology practice over a 3-month period. After central review, with strict application of the diagnostic criteria outlined in the 2010 edition of the World Health Organization Classification of Tumours of the Digestive Tract, we found that SSAs represented 12.1% of all polyps. In addition, we developed novel diagnostic subcategories in an attempt to determine the most appropriate cutoff for the interface between the MVHP and the SSA. We found that serrated polyps (MVHPs or SSAs) with any SSA-like crypts had clinical features more in common with the SSA than the MVHP and that this diagnostic cutoff showed good reproducibility between pathologists. This supports the position of a recent consensus publication proposing that polyps with as few as 1 SSA-type crypt should be diagnosed as an SSA. Applying these criteria to our cohort yields an overall SSA rate of 14.7%. In summary, we believe that SSAs continue to be underdiagnosed in pathologic practice and that this may result in inadequate surveillance and thus contribute to interval colorectal carcinomas.

Related: Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer
*The Conjoint Gastroenterology Laboratory §Cancer and Population Studies Group ¶The Statistics Unit, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute †School of Medicine, The University of Queensland ‡Envoi Specialist Pathologists Departments of ∥Anatomical Pathology #Chemical ...


McMurrick PJ, Oliva K, Carne P, et al.
The first 1000 patients on an internet-based colorectal neoplasia database across private and public medicine in Australia: development of a binational model for the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand.
Dis Colon Rectum. 2014; 57(2):167-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Collection of multi-institutional data pertaining to the treatment of bowel cancer has been hindered by poor clinician compliance with data entry and the lack of incentive to participate.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to establish if a novel browser-based model of data collection results in complete data capture.
DESIGN: A Web-based data collection interface was custom written, offering automated reporting modules for clinical outcome to participants and an automated reporting system for outstanding data fields, and summary reporting of surgical quality outcomes. The software was combined with a clinical feedback system incorporating fortnightly data review meetings, at the time of clinical multidisciplinary meetings.
PATIENTS AND SETTING: Selected were 932 consecutive patients with opt-out consent from 3 hospital sites, including public and private medicine.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes measured were the analysis of data completeness and accuracy and ensuring that the highest-quality data were used for clinical audit of the surgical practices of Australian colorectal surgeons for the purpose of quality assurance.
RESULTS: A total of 932 men and women, 22 to 94 years of age, treated for colorectal neoplasia were evaluated. We obtained 100% completion (>27,000 data points) of perioperative data registered by 8 specialist colorectal surgeons and a full-time database manager.
CONCLUSIONS: Data completeness and validity are essential for clinical databases to serve the purpose of quality assurance, benchmarking, and research. The results confirm the safety and efficacy of colorectal cancer surgery in both the public and private sector in Australia. The combination of a simple multiuser interface, defined data points, automated result-reporting modules, and data-deficiency reminder module resulted in 100% data compliance in nearly 1000 clinical episodes. The unprecedented success of this model has lead to the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand adopting this model for data collection for Australia and New Zealand as the binational database.

Related: Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer
1Department of Surgery, Cabrini Monash University, Malvern, Victoria, Australia 2CCRE Therapeutics, Monash University, Malvern, Victoria, Australia.


Chow E, van der Linden YM, Roos D, et al.
Single versus multiple fractions of repeat radiation for painful bone metastases: a randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15(2):164-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although repeat radiation treatment has been shown to palliate pain in patients with bone metastases from multiple primary origin sites, data for the best possible dose fractionation schedules are lacking. We aimed to assess two dose fractionation schedules in patients with painful bone metastases needing repeat radiation therapy.
METHODS: We did a multicentre, non-blinded, randomised, controlled trial in nine countries worldwide. We enrolled patients 18 years or older who had radiologically confirmed, painful (ie, pain measured as ≥2 points using the Brief Pain Inventory) bone metastases, had received previous radiation therapy, and were taking a stable dose and schedule of pain-relieving drugs (if prescribed). Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either 8 Gy in a single fraction or 20 Gy in multiple fractions by a central computer-generated allocation sequence using dynamic minimisation to conceal assignment, stratified by previous radiation fraction schedule, response to initial radiation, and treatment centre. Patients, caregivers, and investigators were not masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall pain response at 2 months, which was defined as the sum of complete and partial pain responses to treatment, assessed using both Brief Pain Inventory scores and changes in analgesic consumption. Analysis was done by intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00080912.
FINDINGS: Between Jan 7, 2004, and May 24, 2012, we randomly assigned 425 patients to each treatment group. 19 (4%) patients in the 8 Gy group and 12 (3%) in the 20 Gy group were found to be ineligible after randomisation, and 140 (33%) and 132 (31%) patients, respectively, were not assessable at 2 months and were counted as missing data in the intention-to-treat analysis. In the intention-to-treat population, 118 (28%) patients allocated to 8 Gy treatment and 135 (32%) allocated to 20 Gy treatment had an overall pain response to treatment (p=0·21; response difference of 4·00% [upper limit of the 95% CI 9·2, less than the prespecified non-inferiority margin of 10%]). In the per-protocol population, 116 (45%) of 258 patients and 134 (51%) of 263 patients, respectively, had an overall pain response to treatment (p=0·17; response difference 6·00% [upper limit of the 95% CI 13·2, greater than the prespecified non-inferiority margin of 10%]). The most frequently reported acute radiation-related toxicities at 14 days were lack of appetite (201 [56%] of 358 assessable patients who received 8 Gy vs 229 [66%] of 349 assessable patients who received 20 Gy; p=0·011) and diarrhoea (81 [23%] of 357 vs 108 [31%] of 349; p=0·018). Pathological fractures occurred in 30 (7%) of 425 patients assigned to 8 Gy and 20 (5%) of 425 assigned to 20 Gy (odds ratio [OR] 1·54, 95% CI 0·85-2·75; p=0·15), and spinal cord or cauda equina compressions were reported in seven (2%) of 425 versus two (<1%) of 425, respectively (OR 3·54, 95% CI 0·73-17·15; p=0·094).
INTERPRETATION: In patients with painful bone metastases requiring repeat radiation therapy, treatment with 8 Gy in a single fraction seems to be non-inferior and less toxic than 20 Gy in multiple fractions; however, as findings were not robust in a per-protocol analysis, trade-offs between efficacy and toxicity might exist.
FUNDING: Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, US National Cancer Institute, Cancer Council Australia, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dutch Cancer Society, and Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris.

Related: Canada
Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Electronic address:
Research funded by:


Chih H, Lee AH, Colville L, et al.
Sitting time, physical activity and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in Australian women: a preliminary investigation.
Health Promot J Austr. 2013; 24(3):219-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
ISSUE ADDRESSED: Physical activity affects the immune system, which in turn may modify the risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). The effect of sitting on CIN is unknown. This study investigated the relationship between sitting time, physical activity and the risk of CIN.
METHODS: Community-dwelling adult women within metropolitan Perth, Western Australia, who had had a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test at any of five clinics and medical centres, were approached by their general practitioners. In total, 348 women were recruited and interviewed for information on sitting time, physical activity level and lifetime physical activity exposure using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ)--short form. Associations of exposure variables with CIN risk were assessed by unconditional logistic regression analyses.
RESULTS: The prevalence of abnormal Pap smear status indicating CIN was found to be 15.8%. Women with prolonged sitting duration (≥42 h per week) had significantly increased risk of CIN (adjusted OR 3.49, 95% CI 1.12-10.88) than women who sat less than 24.5h per week. Although the effect of total physical activity level was non-significant (P=0.408), being always involved in physical activity during the entire life appeared to be inversely associated with the CIN risk (P=0.036).
CONCLUSIONS: Prolonged sitting time was significantly associated with increased risk of abnormal Pap smear status indicating CIN. SO WHAT?: This preliminary investigation highlights a new prospect for health-promotion intervention to reduce the risk of CIN. Health practitioners should encourage women to reduce their sitting time and maintain physically active throughout their life course.

Related: Cervical Cancer
School of Public Health, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia.


Buchanan DD, Tan YY, Walsh MD, et al.
Tumor mismatch repair immunohistochemistry and DNA MLH1 methylation testing of patients with endometrial cancer diagnosed at age younger than 60 years optimizes triage for population-level germline mismatch repair gene mutation testing.
J Clin Oncol. 2014; 32(2):90-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Clinicopathologic data from a population-based endometrial cancer cohort, unselected for age or family history, were analyzed to determine the optimal scheme for identification of patients with germline mismatch repair (MMR) gene mutations.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Endometrial cancers from 702 patients recruited into the Australian National Endometrial Cancer Study (ANECS) were tested for MMR protein expression using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and for MLH1 gene promoter methylation in MLH1-deficient cases. MMR mutation testing was performed on germline DNA of patients with MMR-protein deficient tumors. Prediction of germline mutation status was compared for combinations of tumor characteristics, age at diagnosis, and various clinical criteria (Amsterdam, Bethesda, Society of Gynecologic Oncology, ANECS).
RESULTS: Tumor MMR-protein deficiency was detected in 170 (24%) of 702 cases. Germline testing of 158 MMR-deficient cases identified 22 truncating mutations (3% of all cases) and four unclassified variants. Tumor MLH1 methylation was detected in 99 (89%) of 111 cases demonstrating MLH1/PMS2 IHC loss; all were germline MLH1 mutation negative. A combination of MMR IHC plus MLH1 methylation testing in women younger than 60 years of age at diagnosis provided the highest positive predictive value for the identification of mutation carriers at 46% versus ≤ 41% for any other criteria considered.
CONCLUSION: Population-level identification of patients with MMR mutation-positive endometrial cancer is optimized by stepwise testing for tumor MMR IHC loss in patients younger than 60 years, tumor MLH1 methylation in individuals with MLH1 IHC loss, and germline mutations in patients exhibiting loss of MSH6, MSH2, or PMS2 or loss of MLH1/PMS2 with absence of MLH1 methylation.

Related: Cancer Screening and Early Detection Endometrial (Uterus) Cancer Endometrial Cancer MSH6 MSH2
Daniel D. Buchanan, Yen Y. Tan, Michael D. Walsh, Mark Clendenning, Alexander M. Metcalf, Kaltin Ferguson, Sven T. Arnold, Bryony A. Thompson, Felicity A. Lose, Michael T. Parsons, Rhiannon J. Walters, Sally-Ann Pearson, Joanne P. Young, Penelope M. Webb, and Amanda B. Spurdle, QIMR Berghofer Medic...
Research funded by:


Howle JR, Veness MJ
Outcome of patients with microscopic and macroscopic metastatic nodal Merkel cell carcinoma: an Australian experience.
Dermatol Surg. 2014; 40(1):46-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive cutaneous malignancy with a high rate of nodal metastasis. The American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system subclassifies nodal disease into microscopic and macroscopic groups based on prognosis.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcome of patients with microscopic and macroscopic nodal metastases.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients were identified from a database of 180 patients with MCC who presented to Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia, from 1980 to 2013. Disease-free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS), and follow-up were calculated using Kaplan-Meier curves and compared using the log-rank (Mantel-Cox) test.
RESULTS: Forty-one patients were diagnosed with node-positive MCC; 11 patients had microscopic nodal metastases, with five (45%) relapsing, and 30 had macroscopic disease, with 17 (57%) relapsing. There was no significant difference in DFS (p = .93) or OS (p = .63) between the two groups.
CONCLUSION: The nonsignificant difference in DFS and OS suggest that even microscopic nodal metastases can predict a poor outcome. Because more than half of patients subsequently relapse, often at a distant site, there is a need to develop an effective systemic treatment.

Related: Skin Cancer
Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales; Surgical Oncology Unit and Department of Radiation Oncology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales; University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales.


Jorgensen ML, Young JM, Dobbins TA, Solomon MJ
Assessment of abdominoperineal resection rate as a surrogate marker of hospital quality in rectal cancer surgery.
Br J Surg. 2013; 100(12):1655-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Rates of abdominoperineal resection (APR) have been suggested as a solitary surrogate marker for comparing overall hospital quality in rectal cancer surgery. This study investigated the value of this marker by examining the associations between hospital APR rates and other quality indicators.
METHODS: Hospital-level correlations between risk-adjusted APR rates for low rectal cancer and six risk-adjusted outcomes and six care processes were performed (such as 30-day mortality, complications, timely treatment). The ability of APR rates to discriminate between hospitals' performance was examined by means of hospital variance results in multilevel regression models and funnel plots.
RESULTS: A linked population-based data set identified 1703 patients diagnosed in 2007 and 2008 who underwent surgery for rectal cancer. Some 15.9 (95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 14.2 to 17.6) per cent of these patients had an APR. Among 707 people with low rectal cancer, 38.2 (34.6 to 41.8) per cent underwent APR. Although risk-adjusted hospital rates of APR for low rectal cancer varied by up to 100 per cent, only one hospital (1 per cent) fell outside funnel plot limits and hospital variance in multilevel models was not very large. Lower hospital rates of APR for low rectal cancer did not correlate significantly with better hospital-level outcomes or process measures, except for recording of pathological stage (r = -0.55, P = 0.019). Patients were significantly more likely to undergo APR for low rectal cancer if they attended a non-tertiary metropolitan hospital (adjusted odds ratio 2.14, 95 per cent c.i. 1.11 to 4.15).
CONCLUSION: APR rates do not appear to be a useful surrogate marker of overall hospital performance in rectal cancer surgery.
Cancer Epidemiology and Services Research, Sydney School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney.


Chaturvedi AK, Anderson WF, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.
Worldwide trends in incidence rates for oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers.
J Clin Oncol. 2013; 31(36):4550-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/12/2014 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been identified as the cause of the increasing oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) incidence in some countries. To investigate whether this represents a global phenomenon, we evaluated incidence trends for OPCs and oral cavity cancers (OCCs) in 23 countries across four continents.
METHODS: We used data from the Cancer Incidence in Five Continents database Volumes VI to IX (years 1983 to 2002). Using age-period-cohort modeling, incidence trends for OPCs were compared with those of OCCs and lung cancers to delineate the potential role of HPV vis-à-vis smoking on incidence trends. Analyses were country specific and sex specific.
RESULTS: OPC incidence significantly increased during 1983 to 2002 predominantly in economically developed countries. Among men, OPC incidence significantly increased in the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Slovakia, despite nonsignificant or significantly decreasing incidence of OCCs. In contrast, among women, in all countries with increasing OPC incidence (Denmark, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and United Kingdom), there was a concomitant increase in incidence of OCCs. Although increasing OPC incidence among men was accompanied by decreasing lung cancer incidence, increasing incidence among women was generally accompanied by increasing lung cancer incidence. The magnitude of increase in OPC incidence among men was significantly higher at younger ages (< 60 years) than older ages in the United States, Australia, Canada, Slovakia, Denmark, and United Kingdom.
CONCLUSION: OPC incidence significantly increased during 1983 to 2002 predominantly in developed countries and at younger ages. These results underscore a potential role for HPV infection on increasing OPC incidence, particularly among men.

Related: Canada Lung Cancer Oral Cancer Oropharyngeal Cancer USA
Anil K. Chaturvedi, William F. Anderson, and Philip S. Rosenberg, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD; Maura L. Gillison, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Joannie Lortet-Tieulent, Jacques Ferlay, Silvia Franceschi, and Freddie Bray, International Agency for Research on Cancer; and Mari...


Collins IM, Milne RL, Weideman PC, et al.
Preventing breast and ovarian cancers in high-risk BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
Med J Aust. 2013; 199(10):680-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of the use of cancer risk-reducing measures among Australian BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.
DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Prospective follow-up of female carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations who had no personal history of cancer and were enrolled in a multiple-case breast cancer family cohort study (kConFab). Data, including cancer events and uptake of risk-reducing surgery and medication were collected by self-report at cohort entry and 3 yearly thereafter. Surgery was confirmed from pathology and medical records. Women were followed up from enrolment until cancer diagnosis, date of last follow-up, or death. Data were collected from 3 November 1997 to 21 May 2012.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Uptake of risk-reducing surgery and/or medication.
RESULTS: Of 175 BRCA1 and 150 BRCA2 mutation carriers (median age, 37 years at cohort enrolment), 69 (21%) underwent risk-reducing mastectomy, 125 (38%) underwent risk-reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and nine (3%) participated in a clinical trial of risk-reducing medication, during 2447 person-years of follow-up (median follow-up, 9 years). Sixty-eight women (21%) reported incident cancers, including 52 breast cancers and nine ovarian cancers (defined in this article as high-grade serous cancers of the ovary, fallopian tube or peritoneum).
CONCLUSIONS: There is considerable scope to increase the uptake of cancer risk-reducing measures in Australian BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. These findings should drive (i) future research into the factors contributing to low uptake in Australia and (ii) changes to policy and practice to help better translate genetic knowledge into reductions in cancer incidence.

Related: BRCA1 BRCA2
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Mitchell PL, Thursfield VJ, Ball DL, et al.
Lung cancer in Victoria: are we making progress?
Med J Aust. 2013; 199(10):674-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To identify areas to improve patient management in lung cancer, which remains the greatest cause of death from cancer in Australia.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Retrospective survey of all cases of lung cancer reported to the Victorian Cancer Registry from 1 January to 30 June 2003 and followed up for 5 years.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient and disease characteristics, investigations, staging, treatment, cause of death, survival.
RESULTS: 841 patients were included. Smoking data were available for 799, of whom 63 (7.9%) had never smoked. Of 655 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases, 198 (30.2%) were treated with curative intent, 125 (19.1%) by surgery and 73 (11.1%) by radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy. Only 7 (6.9%) of surgical patients with complete R0 resection had adjuvant chemotherapy. Of 101 small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cases, a third had limited stage disease which was mostly treated with curative intent by chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. Patients whose cases were discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting (MDM) were significantly more likely to receive anticancer treatment and had longer survival; on multivariate analysis, MDM discussion was an independent prognostic factor. Compared with a similar survey 10 years earlier, the median age of patients diagnosed with lung cancer had increased by almost 3 years, the proportion of affected men decreased and adenocarcinoma was more frequent, while 10% of patients continued to have no pathologically confirmed diagnosis and 26% continued to receive no anticancer treatment. The number of patients with NSCLC who went on to a definitive surgical procedure fell with no detriment to survival, which likely reflected better staging with the introduction of positron emission tomography scanning.
CONCLUSIONS: Opportunities to improve patient management included increasing the proportion with a pathologically confirmed diagnosis and greater use of postsurgical adjuvant chemotherapy. A high proportion of patients received no treatment, with underuse of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Critically, the low rate of case discussions at MDMs needs to increase. However, effective strategies are required to identify cases early, as over two-thirds currently present with incurable disease.

Related: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Lung Cancer Small Cell Lung Cancer
Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre, Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Verran DJ, Mulhearn MH, Dilworth PJ, et al.
Nature and outcomes of the increased incidence of colorectal malignancy after liver transplantation in Australasia.
Med J Aust. 2013; 199(9):610-2 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To examine whether incidence of colorectal malignancy is increased in Australasian liver transplant recipients compared with the general population of Australia, and to assess the characteristics and outcomes of colorectal malignancy in this patient group.
DESIGN, SETTING AND PATIENTS: Data on patients who underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTx) and had a diagnosis of de-novo colorectal malignancy after transplantation during the period 1985-2011 were obtained from the Australia and New Zealand Liver Transplant Registry, and these data were compared with colorectal malignancy data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Time from OLTx to diagnosis of colorectal malignancy, stage of colorectal malignancy at diagnosis, patient survival, and standardised incidence ratio (SIR) for colorectal malignancy.
RESULTS: Forty-eight of 3735 recipients (1.3%) were diagnosed with colorectal malignancy at a median of 7.3 years after OLTx. More advanced colorectal malignancy (regional or metastatic disease) was evident at diagnosis in 20 of the 48 patients; these patients tended to be younger than patients with less advanced malignancy (P = 0.01) and diagnosed sooner after OLTx (P = 0.005). Despite treatment predominantly with surgery, 19 of the 48 patients died from the malignancy. The overall SIR for colorectal malignancy liver transplant recipients compared with the general population of Australia was 2.80 (95% CI, 2.06-3.71).
CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of colorectal malignancy is increased in liver transplant recipients in comparison with the general population. Of concern is the tendency for advanced malignancy to be diagnosed in younger patients. These data highlight the importance of considering whether specific guidelines for colorectal malignancy screening in the Australasian adult liver transplant population are needed.

Related: Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer
Transplantation Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Coory MD, Ho T, Jordan SJ
Australia is continuing to make progress against cancer, but the regional and remote disadvantage remains.
Med J Aust. 2013; 199(9):605-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To measure progress, over the past decade, in reducing the disadvantage in cancer death rates among people living in regional and remote areas of Australia.
DESIGN: Analysis of routinely collected death certificate and corresponding population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
SETTING: Population-based, Australia-wide comparison of mortality rates in regional and remote areas compared with metropolitan areas from 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2010.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Absolute and relative excess of cancer deaths in regional and remote areas.
RESULTS: The number of excess cancer deaths in regional and remote areas from 2001 to 2010 was 8878 (95% CI, 8187-9572). For men, the age-standardised mortality ratios (comparing regional and remote areas with metropolitan areas) showed no evidence of improvement, from 1.08 in 1997-2000 to 1.11 in 2006-2010. For women, they increased from 1.01 in 1997-2000 to 1.07 in 2006-2010. The age-standardised cancer death rate in regional and remote areas (annual percentage change [APC], - 0.6%; 95% CI, - 0.8% to - 0.4%) is decreasing more slowly than in metropolitan areas (APC, - 1.1%; 95% CI, - 1.3% to - 1.0%).
CONCLUSIONS: The regional and remote disadvantage for cancer deaths has been recognised as a problem for more than two decades, yet we have made little progress. This is not surprising - we have not invested in research into solutions. The benefits of laboratory and clinical research to identify innovative cancer treatments will not be fully realised across the entire Australian population unless we also invest in health systems and policy research.

Related: Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer Lung Cancer Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction
Health Services Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.


Maynard A, Patterson P, McDonald FE, Stevens G
What is helpful to adolescents who have a parent diagnosed with cancer?
J Psychosoc Oncol. 2013; 31(6):675-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
This research sought to identify what has been helpful for young people who have a parent diagnosed with cancer. Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with young people (N = 15, age: M = 15.9 years) who had a parent diagnosed with cancer within the last 5 years. A phenomenological thematic data analysis distinguished three superordinate themes, identifying what helped adolescents cope with their parent's cancer diagnosis. These were parental behavior, specific coping strategies used by the young person, and community support. These results contribute to our knowledge of what can help young people whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction
a Curtin University , Perth , Australia.


Ta AD, Bolton DM, Dimech MK, et al.
Contemporary management of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in Victoria: implications for longer term outcomes and costs.
BJU Int. 2013; 112 Suppl 2:36-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To describe the contemporary patterns of care for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) using a whole of population series from Victoria.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Retrospective review of medical records of all patients diagnosed and treated for RCC in Victoria in 2009. Patients were identified via the State-wide Victorian Cancer Registry. Patient demographic characteristics, symptoms, stage, and first-line treatment were assessed. Associations between case residential location (metropolitan or rural) and treatment were examined using multivariate logistic regression after adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, treatment in private or public hospital and comorbidity.
RESULTS: Data were obtained for 499 of 577 eligible patients. In all, 413 patients (83%) underwent surgery. Laparoscopic radical nephrectomy (RN) was the most common procedure for Stage I pT1a/pT1b tumours (51.2%); partial nephrectomy (PN) was performed for 27% of Stage I RCC In multivariate analysis, regional patients were less likely to receive PN (odds ratio [OR] 0.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.18-0.85) for Stage I RCC, and less likely to receive systemic therapy for Stage IV RCC (OR 0.06, 95% CI 0.01-0.41). Multidisciplinary team meetings were recorded for only 25% of patients and 3% were enrolled in a clinical trial.
CONCLUSION: Most contemporary patients diagnosed with RCC are still treated with RN, including those with smaller tumours amenable to PN. This may impact future outcomes, including increased risk of chronic kidney disease and its potential financial healthcare burden. Patterns of treatment also appear to differ between metropolitan and regional populations.

Related: Kidney Cancer
Department of Surgery, The Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, Heidelberg; Department of Urology, The Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, Heidelberg.


Gertig DM, Brotherton JM, Budd AC, et al.
Impact of a population-based HPV vaccination program on cervical abnormalities: a data linkage study.
BMC Med. 2013; 11:227 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Australia was one of the first countries to introduce a publicly funded national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program that commenced in April 2007, using the quadrivalent HPV vaccine targeting 12- to 13-year-old girls on an ongoing basis. Two-year catch-up programs were offered to 14- to 17- year-old girls in schools and 18- to 26-year-old women in community-based settings. We present data from the school-based program on population-level vaccine effectiveness against cervical abnormalities in Victoria, Australia.
METHODS: Data for women age-eligible for the HPV vaccination program were linked between the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry and the National HPV Vaccination Program Register to create a cohort of screening women who were either vaccinated or unvaccinated. Entry into the cohort was 1 April 2007 or at first Pap test for women not already screening. Vaccine effectiveness (VE) and hazard ratios (HR) for cervical abnormalities by vaccination status between 1 April 2007 and 31 December 2011 were calculated using proportional hazards regression.
RESULTS: The study included 14,085 unvaccinated and 24,871 vaccinated women attending screening who were eligible for vaccination at school, 85.0% of whom had received three doses. Detection rates of histologically confirmed high-grade (HG) cervical abnormalities and high-grade cytology (HGC) were significantly lower for vaccinated women (any dose) (HG 4.8 per 1,000 person-years, HGC 11.9 per 1,000 person-years) compared with unvaccinated women (HG 6.4 per 1,000 person-years, HGC 15.3 per 1,000 person-years) HR 0.72 (95% CI 0.58 to 0.91) and HR 0.75 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.87), respectively. The HR for low-grade (LG) cytological abnormalities was 0.76 (95% CI 0.72 to 0.80). VE adjusted a priori for age at first screening, socioeconomic status and remoteness index, for women who were completely vaccinated, was greatest for CIN3+/AIS at 47.5% (95% CI 22.7 to 64.4) and 36.4% (95% CI 9.8 to 55.1) for women who received any dose of vaccine, and was negatively associated with age. For women who received only one or two doses of vaccine, HRs for HG histology were not significantly different from 1.0, although the number of outcomes was small.
CONCLUSION: A population-based HPV vaccination program in schools significantly reduced cervical abnormalities for vaccinated women within five years of implementation, with the greatest vaccine effectiveness observed for the youngest women.

Related: Cervical Cancer Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Vaccination, and Cervical Cancer
VCS Inc, 265 Faraday St, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia.


Cummings MC, Simpson PT, Reid LE, et al.
Metastatic progression of breast cancer: insights from 50 years of autopsies.
J Pathol. 2014; 232(1):23-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
There remain no clear guidelines for the optimal management of patients with metastatic breast cancer. To better understand its natural history, we undertook a detailed examination of 197 autopsies performed on women who died of breast cancer. We reviewed clinical, treatment and pathological aspects of all cases and, additionally, pathological features and biomarker expression (ER, PgR, HER2, EGFR, p53, Ki67, c-Kit, CK AE1/AE3) were assessed in detail for the primary tumour and matched metastases for 55 of the cases. Genomes of the primary tumour and multiple metastases were analysed by array-based comparative genomic hybridization for six cases(##) . 945 metastatic deposits were identified, with a median of four/patient. The most common organs involved were lung/pleura (80%), bone (74%), liver (71%) and non-axillary lymph nodes (55%). Major findings included: (a) patients with CNS metastases were more likely to have bone metastases (p < 0.013); (b) younger age was associated with metastasis to the liver (≤ 49 years; p < 0.001) and to gynaecological organs (≤ 49 years; p = 0.001); (c) surgical excision of the primary tumour was associated with metastasis to the liver (p = 0.002); and (d) ER and PgR showed down-regulation during progression in a non-random manner, particularly in lung/pleura (ER; p < 0.001), liver and bone metastases. Genomic analysis revealed DNA copy number variation between the primary tumour and metastases (e.g. amplification of 2q11.2-q12.1 and 10q22.2-q22.3) but little variation between metastases from the same patient. In summary, the association of CNS and bone metastases, liver and gynaecological metastases in young women and the risk of liver metastases following surgery have important implications for the management of patients with breast cancer. Clonal heterogeneity of the primary tumour is important in developing metastatic propensity and the change in tumour phenotype during progression/colonization highlights the importance of sampling metastatic disease for optimal treatment strategies.

Related: Breast Cancer CGH
The University of Queensland, UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Herston, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; Pathology Queensland, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia; The University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Herston, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.


Nordlinger B, Sorbye H, Glimelius B, et al.
Perioperative FOLFOX4 chemotherapy and surgery versus surgery alone for resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer (EORTC 40983): long-term results of a randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2013; 14(12):1208-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Previous results of the EORTC intergroup trial 40983 showed that perioperative chemotherapy with FOLFOX4 (folinic acid, fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin) increases progression-free survival (PFS) compared with surgery alone for patients with initially resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer. Here we present overall survival data after long-term follow-up.
METHODS: This randomised, controlled, parallel-group, phase 3 study recruited patients from 78 hospitals across Europe, Australia, and Hong Kong. Eligible patients aged 18-80 years who had histologically proven colorectal cancer and up to four liver metastases were randomly assigned (1:1) to either perioperative FOLFOX4 or surgery alone. Perioperative FOLFOX4 consisted of six 14-day cycles of oxaliplatin 85mg/m(2), folinic acid 200 mg/m(2) (DL form) or 100 mg/m(2) (L form) on days 1-2 plus bolus, and fluorouracil 400 mg/m(2) (bolus) and 600 mg/m(2) (continuous 22 h infusion), before and after surgery. Patients were centrally randomised by minimisation, adjusting for centre and risk score and previous adjuvant chemotherapy to primary surgery for colorectal cancer, and the trial was open label. Analysis of overall survival was by intention to treat in all randomly assigned patients.
FINDINGS: Between Oct 10, 2000, and July 5, 2004, 364 patients were randomly assigned to a treatment group (182 patients in each group, of which 171 per group were eligible and 152 per group underwent resection). At a median follow-up of 8·5 years (IQR 7·6-9·5), 107 (59%) patients in the perioperative chemotherapy group had died versus 114 (63%) in the surgery-only group (HR 0·88, 95% CI 0·68-1·14; p=0·34). In all randomly assigned patients, median overall survival was 61·3 months (95% CI 51·0-83·4) in the perioperative chemotherapy group and 54·3 months (41·9-79·4) in the surgery alone group. 5-year overall survival was 51·2% (95% CI 43·6-58·3) in the perioperative chemotherapy group versus 47·8% (40·3-55·0) in the surgery-only group. Two patients in the perioperative chemotherapy group and three in the surgery-only group died from complications of protocol surgery, and one patient in the perioperative chemotherapy group died possibly as a result of toxicity of protocol treatment.
INTERPRETATION: We found no difference in overall survival with the addition of perioperative chemotherapy with FOLFOX4 compared with surgery alone for patients with resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer. However, the previously observed benefit in PFS means that perioperative chemotherapy with FOLFOX4 should remain the reference treatment for this population of patients.
FUNDING: Norwegian and Swedish Cancer Societies, Cancer Research UK, Ligue Nationale Contre Cancer, US National Cancer Institute, Sanofi-Aventis.

Related: Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer Fluorouracil Leucovorin Oxaliplatin
Department of Surgery and Oncology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Ambroise Paré, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Université de Versailles, Boulogne-Billancourt, France. Electronic address:
Research funded by:


Lewis JR, Lipworth WL, Kerridge IH, Day RO
The economic evaluation of personalised oncology medicines: ethical challenges.
Med J Aust. 2013; 199(7):471-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
Insights into the molecular drivers of cancer are providing opportunities for the development of new targeted treatments and more personalised approaches to cancer management. Drugs targeting mutant epidermal growth factor receptors, such as erlotinib and gefitinib, may provide more effective, safer and better tolerated treatment options compared with chemotherapy among appropriately selected patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). First-line access to these newer treatments remains unfunded after several considerations by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and their assessment that these are not cost-effective treatments. We suggest that there may be evidentiary and ethical challenges associated with the assessment of the cost-effectiveness of personalised oncology medicines in Australia, and that a new approach is needed to determine the value and cost-effectiveness of personalised medicine.

Related: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Lung Cancer Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction Erlotinib (Tarceva) Gefitinib (Iressa)
Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Basch E, Autio K, Ryan CJ, et al.
Abiraterone acetate plus prednisone versus prednisone alone in chemotherapy-naive men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: patient-reported outcome results of a randomised phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2013; 14(12):1193-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Abiraterone acetate plus prednisone significantly improves radiographic progression-free survival in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, chemotherapy-naive patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer compared with prednisone alone. We describe analyses of data for patient-reported pain and functional status in a preplanned interim analysis of a phase 3 trial.
METHODS: Between April 28, 2009, and June 23, 2010, patients with progressive, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer were enrolled into a multinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients were eligible if they were asymptomatic (score of 0 or 1 on item three of the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form [BPI-SF] questionnaire) or mildly symptomatic (score of 2 or 3) and had not previously received chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive oral abiraterone (1 g daily) plus prednisone (5 mg twice daily) or placebo plus prednisone in continuous 4-week cycles. Pain was assessed with the BPI-SF questionnaire, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Prostate (FACT-P) questionnaire. We analysed data with prespecified criteria for clinically meaningful pain progression and deterioration in HRQoL. All patients who underwent randomisation were included in analyses.
FINDINGS: 1088 patients underwent randomisation: 546 were assigned to abiraterone plus prednisone and 542 to placebo plus prednisone. At the time of the second prespecified interim analysis, median follow-up was 22·2 months (IQR 20·2-24·8). Median time to progression of mean pain intensity was longer in patients assigned to abiraterone plus prednisone (26·7 months [95% CI 19·3-not estimable]) than in those assigned to placebo plus prednisone (18·4 months [14·9-not estimable]; hazard ratio [HR] 0·82, 95% CI 0·67-1·00; p=0·0490), as was median time to progression of pain interference with daily activities (10·3 months [95% CI 9·3-13·0] vs 7·4 months [6·4-8·6]; HR 0·79, 95% CI 0·67-0·93; p=0·005). Median time to progression of worst pain was also longer with abiraterone plus prednisone (26·7 months [95% CI 19·4-not estimable]) than with placebo plus prednisone (19·4 months [16·6-not estimable]), but the difference was not significant (HR 0·85, 95% CI 0·69-1·04; p=0·109). Median time to HRQoL deterioration was longer in patients assigned to abiraterone plus prednisone than in those assigned to placebo plus prednisone as assessed by the FACT-P total score (12·7 months [95% CI 11·1-14·0] vs 8·3 months [7·4-10·6]; HR 0·78, 95% CI 0·66-0·92; p=0·003) and by the score on its prostate-cancer-specific subscale (11·1 months [8·6-13·8] vs 5·8 months [5·5-8·3]; HR 0·70, 95% CI 0·60-0·83; p<0·0001).
INTERPRETATION: Abiraterone plus prednisone delays patient-reported pain progression and HRQoL deterioration in chemotherapy-naive patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. These results provide further support for the efficacy of abiraterone in this population.

Related: Canada USA
Department of Medicine, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. Electronic address:
Research funded by:


Dawes LL
'Just a quack who can cure cancer': John Braund, and regulating cancer treatment in New South Wales, Australia.
Med Hist. 2013; 57(2):206-25 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/12/2014 Related Publications
In 1948 the New South Wales government instituted an inquiry into the claims of John Braund – a 78-year-old self-described ‘quack’ – that his secret treatment had cured 317 cancer sufferers. The ‘Braund controversy’, as it became known, was one of Australia’s most prominent cases of medical fraud. This paper examines that controversy and its effects on cancer philanthropy, medical research, and especially on legislation regulating treatment providers up to the present. With the Braund controversy in mind, the New South Wales (NSW) parliament struggled to develop legislation that would protect patients and punish quacks but also allow for serendipitous, unorthodox discoveries. Recent decades saw new elements added to this calculus – allowing a wide-ranging health marketplace, and allowing patients to choose their therapies. This paper argues that the particular body of law legislatures used in regulating cancer treatment and how regulations were framed reflected the changing context of healthcare and illustrates the calculus legislatures have undertaken in regulating the health marketplace, variously factoring in public safety, serendipitous discovery, the authority of orthodox medicine, patient choice, and economic opportunity.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction
21 Clianthus Street, O'Connor, ACT 2602, Australia.


Kron T, Willis D, Link E, et al.
Can we predict plan quality for external beam partial breast irradiation: results of a multicenter feasibility study (Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group Study 06.02).
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013; 87(4):817-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Partial breast irradiation (PBI) after lumpectomy may be an option for selected patients with early breast cancer. A feasibility study of accelerated PBI delivered using external beam 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (RT) was undertaken at 8 Australasian centers. The present study evaluated the impact of patient, tumor, and RT technique-related factors on the quality of RT plans as determined by the dose-volume parameters of organs at risk.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Forty-eight patients were enrolled in the study. All RT plans were centrally reviewed using predefined dosimetric criteria before commencement and after completion of protocol therapy. The RT plans of 47 patients met the dose-volume constraints, and all 47 patients received PBI to a prescribed dose of 38.5 Gy in 10 fractions. The RT plan quality was determined by volumes of the ipsilateral whole breast, lung, and heart that received 50% and 95%; 30%; and 5% of the prescribed dose, respectively. Patient, tumor, and RT technique-related factors were investigated for association with the parameters of RT plan quality.
RESULTS: The ratio of the planning target volume to the ipsilateral whole-breast volume was significantly associated with the ipsilateral breast doses on multiple variable analyses. The distance of the postlumpectomy surgical cavity from the heart and lung were predictive for heart and lung doses, respectively. A distance between surgical cavity and heart of >4 cm typically resulted in <1% of the heart volume receiving 5 Gy or less. It was more difficult to meet the heart dose constraint for left-sided and medially located tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: Partial breast irradiation using 3-dimensional conformal RT was feasible within the study constraints. The ratio of planning target volume to ipsilateral whole-breast volume and the distance of surgical cavity from the heart were significant predictors of the quality of treatment plan for external beam PBI.

Related: Breast Cancer
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Departments of Radiation Oncology, Physical Sciences and Radiation Therapy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; School of Science, Engineering and Technology, Royal Melbou...


Ranasinghe WK, Kim SP, Lawrentschuk N, et al.
Population-based analysis of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in younger men (<55 years) in Australia.
BJU Int. 2014; 113(1):77-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To analyse the trends in opportunistic PSA screening in Australia, focusing on younger men (<55 years of age), to examine the effects of this screening on transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS)-guided biopsy rates and to determine the nature of prostate cancers (PCas) being detected.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: All men who received an opportunistic screening PSA test and TRUS-guided biopsy between 2001 and 2008 in Australia were analysed using data from the Australian Cancer registry (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) and Medicare databases. The Victorian cancer registry was used to obtain Gleason scores. Age-standardized and age-specific rates were calculated, along with the incidence of PCa, and correlated with Gleason scores.
RESULTS: A total 5 174 031 PSA tests detected 128 167 PCas in the period 2001-2008. During this period, PSA testing increased by 146% (a mean of 4629 tests per 100 000 men annually), with 80 and 59% increases in the rates of TRUS-guided biopsy and incidence of PCa, respectively. The highest increases in PSA screening occurred in men <55 years old and up to 1101 men had to be screened to detect one incident case of PCa (0.01%). Screening resulted in two thirds of men aged <55 years receiving a negative TRUS biopsy. There was no correlation with Gleason >7 tumours in patients aged <55 years.
CONCLUSION: Despite the ongoing controversy about the merits of PCa screening, there was an increase in PSA testing, especially in men <55 years old, leading to a modestly higher incidence of PCa in Australia. Overall, PSA screening was associated with high rates of negative TRUS-biopsy and the detection of low/intermediate grade PCa among younger patients.

Related: Prostate Cancer
Royal Melbourne Hospital, North East Health, Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia.


Greenop KR, Blair EM, Bower C, et al.
Factors relating to pregnancy and birth and the risk of childhood brain tumors: results from an Australian case-control study.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014; 61(3):493-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Childhood brain tumors (CBT) are the leading cause of cancer death in children, yet their causes are largely known. This study investigated the association between maternal and birth characteristics and risk of CBT.
PROCEDURES: Cases families were recruited from all 10 Australian pediatric oncology centers between 2005 and 2010. Control families were recruited via random-digit dialing, frequency matched to cases on the basis of child's age, sex, and State of residence. Maternal and birth characteristics of children were ascertained by questionnaires. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for relevant confounders.
RESULTS: For this analysis, data on 319 case children and 1,079 control children were available. No association was found between risk of CBT and birth weight, fetal growth, birth order, gestational age, or maternal body mass index. The ORs for inadequate and excessive maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) (Institute of Medicine 2009 guidelines) were 1.8 (95% CI 1.2-2.6) and 1.4 (95% CI 1.0-2.1), respectively; similar findings for GWG were seen across categories of child's age, fetal growth, maternal body mass index and height, maternal smoking, and parental education. Risk of low grade glioma appeared increased with preterm birth (OR 1.6 (95% CI 0.8-3.1) and admission to neonatal intensive care (NICU) for >2 days (OR 1.7, 95% CI 0.9-3.6).
CONCLUSION: We found little evidence of associations between risk of CBT and most birth characteristics. The associations we observed with GWG, prematurity and NICU admission require corroboration in other studies.

Related: Childhood Brain Tumours Childhood Brain Tumors
Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.


Fritschi L, Erren TC, Glass DC, et al.
The association between different night shiftwork factors and breast cancer: a case-control study.
Br J Cancer. 2013; 109(9):2472-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 29/10/2014 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Research on the possible association between shiftwork and breast cancer is complicated because there are many different shiftwork factors, which might be involved including: light at night, phase shift, sleep disruption and changes in lifestyle factors while on shiftwork (diet, physical activity, alcohol intake and low sun exposure).
METHODS: We conducted a population-based case-control study in Western Australia from 2009 to 2011 with 1205 incident breast cancer cases and 1789 frequency age-matched controls. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect demographic, reproductive, and lifestyle factors and lifetime occupational history and a telephone interview was used to obtain further details about the shiftwork factors listed above.
RESULTS: A small increase in risk was suggested for those ever doing the graveyard shift (work between midnight and 0500 hours) and breast cancer (odds ratio (OR)=1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.97-1.39). For phase shift, we found a 22% increase in breast cancer risk (OR=1.22, 95% CI=1.01-1.47) with a statistically significant dose-response relationship (P=0.04). For the other shiftwork factors, risks were marginally elevated and not statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: We found some evidence that some of the factors involved in shiftwork may be associated with breast cancer but the ORs were low and there were inconsistencies in duration and dose-response relationships.

Related: Breast Cancer
Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia.


Carter D, Afzali HH, Street J, et al.
Melanoma follow up: time to generate the evidence.
Aust Health Rev. 2013; 37(4):501-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
Research is needed into current melanoma follow-up practices and their implications for patients and society. We highlight the need and suggest a way forward.

Related: Melanoma Skin Cancer
School of Population Health, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia. Email: , .


McGrath P, Rawson N
The experience of relocation for specialist treatment for Indigenous women diagnosed with vulvar cancer in East Arnhem Land.
J Psychosoc Oncol. 2013; 31(5):540-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vulvar cancer is a serious condition that requires a range of specialist treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In Australia, such treatments are only available in major metropolitan hospitals. Thus, women diagnosed with this condition in rural and remote areas must relocate to the metropolitan specialist centers for treatment. The focus of this article is on the experience of relocation for specialist care for Indigenous women diagnosed with vulvar cancer from East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. The findings presented in this article explore a range of issues that affect the experience of relocation such as community concerns, cultural distress, loneliness, fear, worry, and physical concerns associated with the condition.

Related: Vulva Cancer
a Population & Social Health Program , Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University , Meadowbrook , Australia.


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