Gaps in completion and timeliness of breast surgery and adjuvant therapy: a retrospective cohort of Haitian patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer

Background
There are limited data on breast surgery completion rates and prevalence of care-continuum delays in breast cancer treatment programs in low-income countries.

Methods
This study analyzes treatment data in a retrospective cohort of 312 female patients with non-metastatic breast cancer in Haiti. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize patient characteristics; treatments received; and treatment delays of > 12 weeks. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify factors associated with receiving surgery and with treatment delays. Exploratory multivariate survival analysis examined the association between surgery delays and disease-free survival (DFS).

Results
Of 312 patients, 249 (80%) completed breast surgery. The odds ratio (OR) for surgery completion for urban vs. rural dwellers was 2.15 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.19–3.88) and for those with locally advanced vs. early-stage disease was 0.34 (95%CI: 0.16–0.73). Among the 223 patients with evaluable surgery completion timelines, 96 (43%) experienced delays. Of the 221 patients eligible for adjuvant chemotherapy, 141 (64%) received adjuvant chemotherapy, 66 of whom (47%) experienced delays in chemotherapy initiation. Presentation in the later years of the cohort (2015–2016) was associated with lower rates of surgery completion (75% vs. 85%) and with delays in adjuvant chemotherapy initiation (OR [95%CI]: 3.25 [1.50–7.06]). Exploratory analysis revealed no association between surgical delays and DFS.

Conclusion
While majority of patients obtained curative-intent surgery, nearly half experienced delays in surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy initiation. Although our study was not powered to identify an association between surgical delays and DFS, these delays may negatively impact long-term outcomes.

“My Body, My Rhythm, My Voice”: a community dance pilot intervention engaging breast cancer survivors in physical activity in a middle-income country

Background: Interventions to promote physical activity among women breast cancer survivors (BCS) in low to middle-income countries are limited. We assessed the acceptability and preliminary effectiveness of a theory-driven group dance intervention for BCS delivered in Bogotá, Colombia.

Methods: We conducted a quasi-experimental study employing a mixed-methods approach to assess the 8-week, 3 times/week group dance intervention. The effect of the intervention on participants’ physical activity levels (measured by accelerometry), motivation to engage in physical activity, and quality of life were evaluated using Generalized Estimating Equations analysis. The qualitative method included semi-structured interviews thematically analyzed to evaluate program acceptability.

Results: Sixty-four BCS were allocated to the intervention (N=31) or the control groups (N=33). In the intervention arm, 84% attended ≥60% of sessions. We found increases on average minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day (intervention: +8.99 vs control: -3.7 min; p = 0.01), and in ratings of motivation (intervention change score= 0.45, vs. control change score= -0.05; p = 0.01). BCS reported improvements in perceived behavioral capabilities to be active, captured through the interviews.

Conclusions: The high attendance, behavioral changes, and successful delivery indicate the potential effectiveness, feasibility, and scalability of the intervention for BCS in Colombia.

Trial registration: Clinical trials NCT05252780, registered on Dec 7th, 2021 – Retrospectively registered Unique protocol ID: P20CA217199-9492018.

Physicians’ Perceptions of and Satisfaction With Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Treatment: A Clinical Decision Support System Experience and Implications for Low-Middle–Income Countries

As technology continues to improve, health care systems have the opportunity to use a variety of innovative tools for decision-making, including artificial intelligence (AI) applications. However, there has been little research on the feasibility and efficacy of integrating AI systems into real-world clinical practice, especially from the perspectives of clinicians who use such tools. In this paper, we review physicians’ perceptions of and satisfaction with an AI tool, Watson for Oncology, which is used for the treatment of cancer. Watson for Oncology has been implemented in several different settings, including Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. By focusing on the implementation of an AI-based clinical decision support system for oncology, we aim to demonstrate how AI can be both beneficial and challenging for cancer management globally and particularly for low-middle–income countries. By doing so, we hope to highlight the need for additional research on user experience and the unique social, cultural, and political barriers to the successful implementation of AI in low-middle–income countries for cancer care.

Randomized Controlled Trials in Lung, Gastrointestinal, and Breast Cancers: An Overview of Global Research Activity

Background: In this study, we compared and contrasted design characteristics, results, and publications of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in gastrointestinal (GI), lung, and breast cancer. Methods: A PUBMED search identified phase III RCTs of anticancer therapy in GI, lung, and breast cancer published globally during the period 2014–2017. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and the Kruskal–Wallis test were used to compare RCT design, results, and output across the cancer sites. Results: A total of 352 RCTs were conducted on GI (36%), lung (29%), and breast (35%) cancer. Surrogate endpoints were used in 55% of trials; this was most common in breast trials (72%) compared to GI (47%) and lung trials (43%, p < 0.001). Breast trials more often met their primary endpoint (54%) than GI (41%) and lung trials (41%) (p = 0.024). When graded with the ESMO-MCBS, lung cancer trials (50%, 15/30) were more likely to meet the threshold for substantial benefit. GI trials were published in journals with a substantially lower impact factor (IF; median IF 13) than lung (median IF 21) and breast cancer trials (median IF 21) (p = 0.038). Conclusions: Important differences in RCT design and output exist between the three major cancer sites. Use of surrogate endpoints and the magnitude of benefit associated with new treatments vary substantially across cancer sites.

Global, regional, and national burden of colorectal cancer and its risk factors, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019

Background
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Given the recent increasing trends in colorectal cancer incidence globally, up-to-date information on the colorectal cancer burden could guide screening, early detection, and treatment strategies, and help effectively allocate resources. We examined the temporal patterns of the global, regional, and national burden of colorectal cancer and its risk factors in 204 countries and territories across the past three decades.

Methods
Estimates of incidence, mortality, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for colorectal cancer were generated as a part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019 by age, sex, and geographical location for the period 1990–2019. Mortality estimates were produced using the cause of death ensemble model. We also calculated DALYs attributable to risk factors that had evidence of causation with colorectal cancer.

Findings
Globally, between 1990 and 2019, colorectal cancer incident cases more than doubled, from 842 098 (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 810 408–868 574) to 2·17 million (2·00–2·34), and deaths increased from 518 126 (493 682–537 877) to 1·09 million (1·02–1·15). The global age-standardised incidence rate increased from 22·2 (95% UI 21·3–23·0) per 100 000 to 26·7 (24·6–28·9) per 100 000, whereas the age-standardised mortality rate decreased from 14·3 (13·5–14·9) per 100 000 to 13·7 (12·6–14·5) per 100 000 and the age-standardised DALY rate decreased from 308·5 (294·7–320·7) per 100 000 to 295·5 (275·2–313·0) per 100 000 from 1990 through 2019. Taiwan (province of China; 62·0 [48·9–80·0] per 100 000), Monaco (60·7 [48·5–73·6] per 100 000), and Andorra (56·6 [42·8–71·9] per 100 000) had the highest age-standardised incidence rates, while Greenland (31·4 [26·0–37·1] per 100 000), Brunei (30·3 [26·6–34·1] per 100 000), and Hungary (28·6 [23·6–34·0] per 100 000) had the highest age-standardised mortality rates. From 1990 through 2019, a substantial rise in incidence rates was observed in younger adults (age <50 years), particularly in high Socio-demographic Index (SDI) countries. Globally, a diet low in milk (15·6%), smoking (13·3%), a diet low in calcium (12·9%), and alcohol use (9·9%) were the main contributors to colorectal cancer DALYs in 2019.

Interpretation
The increase in incidence rates in people younger than 50 years requires vigilance from researchers, clinicians, and policy makers and a possible reconsideration of screening guidelines. The fast-rising burden in low SDI and middle SDI countries in Asia and Africa calls for colorectal cancer prevention approaches, greater awareness, and cost-effective screening and therapeutic options in these regions.

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Services in South Africa and Survivor Experience of These Services in Two Dedicated Cancer Units

Purpose Integrated rehabilitation health care pathways are implemented to meet both physical and clinical needs of breast cancer survivors as they transition from medical treatment to long term survivorship. The aim of this study was to assess current South African upper limb rehabilitation service provision, and perspectives of these from health professionals and breast cancer survivors.

Methods A sequential explanatory mixed-methods design informed this study. Service provision was evaluated via an online survey questionnaire completed by health practitioners working in public and private breast cancer units. Focus groups were conducted with both public health practitioners providing the services and breast cancer survivors accessing the services.

Results This study has revealed a dearth of rehabilitation services for breast cancer survivors in the public health sector of South Africa. Data reveal an overstretched, understaffed and poorly trained public health sector, unable to deliver adequate upper limb services to breast cancer survivors. Focus group data suggests that this is due to financial austerity rather than poor recognition of the need. Limited patient education is driving poor upper limb outcomes and barriers to change in exercise behaviour.

Conclusion Current South African upper limb rehabilitation services do not cater for the needs of breast cancer survivors, leading to poor health outcomes.

Evaluation of Quality Indicators of Breast Cancer Management at a Tertiary Cancer Center in Nepal

PURPOSE
Breast cancer is the second commonest cancer among female in Nepal. This is our first attempt to audit breast cancer management in our institute and compare with standard quality indicators (QIs) available.

METHODS
The retrospective study included 104 female patients with breast cancer who had taken treatment at Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital in 1 year. Participants were selected on the basis of convenience sampling. Of 33 QIs in breast cancer management according to European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists guidelines, 19 QIs were chosen relevant to our setup. These QIs were calculated for all patients and compared with the European Society of Breast Cancer Specialists standard target. Frequencies and percentages were calculated and presented in tables. Binomial 95% of the rates for QI adherence were also calculated for each QI.

RESULTS
One hundred four patients had a median age of 47.5 years (range 24-70 years). Applicable QIs were in the range of 5-15 with a mean of 9.66 per patient. Of 19 evaluable QIs, very high adherence rates were observed in six QIs, high adherence in three Qis, and low adherences in 10 QIs. High adherence rates were for QI 5 and QI 10a, which were 88.46% and 94.73%, respectively. The low compliance was for QI 1, QI 4a, QI 8, QI 9d, QI 10b, QI 11a, QI 11b, QI 13b, QI 13e, and 14b, which were 53.84%, 78.21%, 0%, 83.16%, 76.92%, 36.0%, 33.33%, 4.76%, 30.55%, and 10.81%, respectively.

CONCLUSION
There are several QIs that have low levels of adherence in our setting and suggest that there is significant room for improvement. We will be continuing auditing these QIs regularly to improve our quality of care.

Low-dose diethylstilbestrol for heavily pretreated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer

Background:

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) at low doses is effective in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), understudied in the context of currently available treatments. We describe the efficacy and tolerability of low doses of DES for patients with heavily pretreated mCRPC.

Material and methods:

Single center retrospective cohort of patients with mCRPC treated with low dose DES between 2005 and 2020.

Results:

Thirty-four patients were evaluated, with a median age of 74 years (range 56-94), and a median of 3 previous treatment lines (range 1-7). 64.7% had received chemotherapy. A biochemical response was achieved in 10/32 patients (31.3%). Median progression free survival was 3.7 months. Median overall survival (OS) was 9.7 months. The most common adverse events were fatigue, gynecomastia, and nausea. Two deaths occurred due to arterial thrombosis.

Conclusions:

Low dose DES remains active in highly pretreated patients, with median PFS comparable to other available treatments. Patient selection is important for treatment safety.

Epidemiological profile and clinico-pathological features of pediatric gynecological cancers at Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital, Kenya

Background
The main pediatric (0–18 years) gynecologic cancers include stromal carcinomas (juvenile granulosa cell tumors and Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors), genital rhabdomyosarcomas and ovarian germ cell. Outcomes depend on time of diagnosis, stage, tumor type and treatment which can have long-term effects on the reproductive career of these patients. This study seeks to analyze the trends in clinical-pathologic presentation, treatment and outcomes in the cases seen at our facility. This is the first paper identifying these cancers published from sub-Saharan Africa.

Method
Retrospective review of clinico-pathologic profiles and treatment outcomes of pediatric gynecologic oncology patients managed at MTRH between 2010 and 2020. Data was abstracted from gynecologic oncology database and medical charts.

Results
Records of 40 patients were analyzed. Most, (92.5%, 37/40) of the patients were between 10 and 18 years. Ovarian germ cell tumors were the leading histological diagnosis in 72.5% (29/40) of the patients; with dysgerminomas being the commonest subtype seen in 12 of the 37 patients (32.4%). The patients received platinum-based chemotherapy in 70% of cases (28/40). There were 14 deaths among the 40 patients (35%)

Conclusion
Surgery remains the main stay of treatment and fertility-sparing surgery with or without adjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy are the standard of care with excellent prognosis following early detection and treatment initiation. LMICs face several challenges in access to quality care and that affects survival of these patients. Due to its commonality, ovarian germ cell cancers warrant a high index of suspicion amongst primary care providers attending to adnexal masses in this age grou

Association Between Adherence to Clinical Practice Guidelines for Adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer and Survival in a Resource-Limited Setting

PURPOSE
Addressing unwarranted clinical variation in oncology practices is expected to lead to improved cancer outcomes. Particularly, the application and impact of treatment guidelines on breast cancer outcomes are poorly studied in resource-limited settings. We measured adherence to a set of locally developed adjuvant treatment guidelines in a middle-income setting. Importantly, the impact of guidelines adherence on survival following breast cancer was determined.

METHODS
Data of 3,100 Malaysian women with nonmetastatic breast cancer diagnosed between 2010 and 2017 were analyzed. Adherence to the Malaysian Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Breast Cancer second Edition was measured. Outcomes comprised overall survival and event-free survival.

RESULTS
Guideline adherence for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, and targeted therapy were 61.7%, 79.2%, 85.1%, and 26.2%, respectively. Older age was generally associated with lower adherence to guidelines. Compared with patients who were treated according to treatment guidelines, overall survival and event-free survival were substantially lower in patients who were not treated accordingly; hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were 1.69 (95% CI, 1.29 to 2.22), 2.59 (95% CI, 1.76 to 3.81), 3.08 (95% CI, 1.94 to 4.88), and 4.48 (95% CI, 1.98 to 10.13) for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy, respectively. Study inferences remain unchanged following sensitivity analyses.

CONCLUSION
Our study findings appear to suggest that adherence to treatment guidelines that have been adapted for resource-limited settings may still provide effective guidance in improving breast cancer outcomes.