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author:("Lee, sungmini")
1.  Sunitinib in patients with chemotherapy-refractory thymoma and thymic carcinoma: an open-label phase 2 trial 
The Lancet. Oncology  2015;16(2):177-186.
No standard treatments are available for advanced thymic epithelial tumours after failure of platinum-based chemotherapy. We investigated the activity of sunitinib, an orally administered tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
Between May 15, 2012, and Oct 2, 2013, we did an open-label phase 2 trial in patients with histologically confirmed chemotherapy-refractory thymic epithelial tumours. Patients were eligible if they had disease progression after at least one previous regimen of platinum-containing chemotherapy, an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of two or lower, measurable disease, and adequate organ function. Patients received 50 mg of sunitinib orally once a day, in 6-week cycles (ie, 4 weeks of treatment followed by 2 weeks without treatment), until tumour progression or unacceptable toxic effects arose. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed best tumour response at any point, which we analysed separately in thymoma and thymic carcinoma cohorts. Patients who had received at least one cycle of treatment and had their disease reassessed were included in the analyses of response. The trial was registered with, number NCT01621568.
41 patients were enrolled, 25 with thymic carcinoma and 16 with thymoma. One patient with thymic carcinoma was deemed ineligible after enrolment and did not receive protocol treatment. Of patients who received treatment, one individual with thymic carcinoma was not assessable because she died. Median follow-up on trial was 17 months (IQR 14·0–18·4). Of 23 assessable patients with thymic carcinoma, six (26%, 90% CI 12·1–45·3, 95% CI 10·2–48·4) had partial responses, 15 (65%, 95% CI 42·7–83·6) achieved stable disease, and two (9%, 1·1–28·0) had progressive disease. Of 16 patients with thymoma, one (6%, 95% CI 0·2–30·2) had a partial response, 12 (75%, 47·6–92·7) had stable disease, and three (19%, 4·1–45·7) had progressive disease. The most common grade 3 and 4 treatment-related adverse events were lymphocytopenia (eight [20%] of 40 patients), fatigue (eight [20%]), and oral mucositis (eight [20%]). Five (13%) patients had decreases in left-ventricular ejection fraction, of which three (8%) were grade 3 events. Three (8%) patients died during treatment, including one individual who died of cardiac arrest that was possibly treatment-related.
Sunitinib is active in previously treated patients with thymic carcinoma. Further studies are needed to identify potential biomarkers of activity.
National Cancer Institute (Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program).
PMCID: PMC4401497  PMID: 25592632
3.  Orphan/vulnerable child caregiving moderates the association between women’s autonomy and their BMI in three African countries 
AIDS care  2014;26(11):1336-1345.
Enhancement of women’s autonomy is a key factor for improving women’s health and nutrition. With nearly 12 million orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) in Africa due to HIV/AIDS, the study of OVC primary caregivers’ nutrition is fundamental. We investigated the association between married women’s autonomy and their nutritional status; explored whether this relationship was modified by OVC primary caregiving; and, analyzed whether decision-making autonomy mediated the association between household wealth and body mass index (BMI). This cross-sectional study used data from Demographic Health Surveys collected during 2006–2007 from 20–49 year old women in Namibia (n=2,633), Swaziland (n=1,395), and Zambia (n=2,920). Analyses included logistic regression, Sobel and Goodman tests. Our results indicated that women’s educational attainment increased the odds for being overweight (Swaziland and Zambia) and decreased the odds for being underweight (Namibia). In Zambia, having at least primary education increased the odds for being overweight only among child primary caregivers regardless of the OVC status of the child, and having autonomy for buying everyday household items increased the odds for being overweight only among OVC primary caregivers. Decision-making autonomy mediated the association between household wealth and OVC primary caregivers’ BMI in Zambia (Z=2.13, p-value0.03). We concluded that depending on each country’s contextual characteristics, having education can decrease the odds for being an underweight woman or increase the odds for being an overweight woman. Further studies should explore why in Namibia, education has an effect on women’s overweight status only among women who are caring for a child.
PMCID: PMC4122641  PMID: 24888977
Caregivers; Personal autonomy; Child, orphaned; Africa south of the Sahara; Body Mass Index; Women; Thinness; Overweight
4.  Client Proteins and Small Molecule Inhibitors Display Distinct Binding Preferences for Constitutive and Stress-Induced HSP90 Isoforms and Their Conformationally Restricted Mutants 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0141786.
The two cytosolic/nuclear isoforms of the molecular chaperone HSP90, stress-inducible HSP90α and constitutively expressed HSP90β, fold, assemble and maintain the three-dimensional structure of numerous client proteins. Because many HSP90 clients are important in cancer, several HSP90 inhibitors have been evaluated in the clinic. However, little is known concerning possible unique isoform or conformational preferences of either individual HSP90 clients or inhibitors. In this report, we compare the relative interaction strength of both HSP90α and HSP90β with the transcription factors HSF1 and HIF1α, the kinases ERBB2 and MET, the E3-ubiquitin ligases KEAP1 and RHOBTB2, and the HSP90 inhibitors geldanamycin and ganetespib. We observed unexpected differences in relative client and drug preferences for the two HSP90 isoforms, with HSP90α binding each client protein with greater apparent affinity compared to HSP90β, while HSP90β bound each inhibitor with greater relative interaction strength compared to HSP90α. Stable HSP90 interaction was associated with reduced client activity. Using a defined set of HSP90 conformational mutants, we found that some clients interact strongly with a single, ATP-stabilized HSP90 conformation, only transiently populated during the dynamic HSP90 chaperone cycle, while other clients interact equally with multiple HSP90 conformations. These data suggest different functional requirements among HSP90 clientele that, for some clients, are likely to be ATP-independent. Lastly, the two inhibitors examined, although sharing the same binding site, were differentially able to access distinct HSP90 conformational states.
PMCID: PMC4627809  PMID: 26517842
5.  Factors Associated with Hepatitis C Knowledge Before and After an Educational Intervention among Vietnamese Americans 
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver disease and cancer. Vietnamese Americans are at high risk of HCV infection, with men having the highest US incidence of liver cancer. This study examines an intervention to improve HCV knowledge among Vietnamese Americans.
Seven Vietnamese community-based organizations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey recruited a total of 306 Vietnamese participants from 2010 to 2011.
Average knowledge scores for pretest and posttest were 3.32 and 5.88, respectively (maximum 10). After adjusting for confounding variables, age and higher education were positively associated with higher pretest scores and having a physician who spoke English or Vietnamese was negatively associated with higher pretest scores. Additionally, after adjusting for confounding variables, household income, education, and having an HCV-infected family member significantly increased knowledge scores.
Promotion and development of HCV educational programs can increase HCV knowledge among race and ethnic groups, such as Vietnamese Americans. Giving timely information to at-risk groups provides the opportunity to correct misconceptions, decrease HCV risk behaviors, and encourage testing that might improve timely HCV diagnosis and treatment.
PMCID: PMC4629630  PMID: 26561280
hepatitis C; liver cancer; Vietnamese
6.  SIRT2 Interacts with β-catenin to Inhibit Wnt Signaling Output in Response to Radiation-Induced Stress 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2014;12(9):1244-1253.
Wnt signaling is critical to maintaining cellular homeostasis via regulation of cell division, mitigation of cell stress, and degradation. Aberrations in Wnt signaling contribute to carcinogenesis and metastasis, while sirtuins have purported roles in carcinogenesis, aging, and neurodegeneration. Therefore, the hypothesis that sirtuin 2 (SIRT2) directly interacts with β-catenin was tested and whether this interaction alters the expression of Wnt target genes to produce an altered cellular phenotype. Co-immunoprecipitation studies, using mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from Sirt2 wild-type and genomic knockout mice, demonstrate that β-catenin directly binds SIRT2. Moreover, this interaction increases in response to oxidative stress induced by ionizing radiation (IR). Additionally, this association inhibits the expression of important Wnt target genes like survivin (BIRC5), cyclin D1 (CCND1), and c-myc (MYC). In Sirt2 null MEFs, an up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and decreased E-cadherin (CDH1) expression is observed that produces increased cellular migration and invasion. Together, these data demonstrate that SIRT2, a tumor suppressor lost in multiple cancers, inhibits the Wnt signaling pathway in non-malignant cells by binding to β-catenin and that SIRT2 plays a critical role in the response to oxidative stress from radiation.
PMCID: PMC4163538  PMID: 24866770
SIRT2; β-catenin; Wnt Signaling; Gene Expression; Radiation
7.  Overweight status of the primary caregivers of orphan and vulnerable children in 3 Southern African countries: a cross sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:757.
Africa is facing a nutritional transition where underweight and overweight coexist. Although the majority of programs for orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) focus on undernourishment, the association between OVC primary caregiving and the caregivers’ overweight status remains unclear. We investigated the association between OVC primary caregiving status with women’s overweight status in Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia.
Demographic Health Survey (DHS) cross-sectional data collected during 2006–2007 were analyzed using weighted marginal means and logistic regressions. We analyzed data from 20–49 year old women in Namibia (N 6638), Swaziland (N 2875), and Zambia (N 4497.)
The overweight prevalence of the primary caregivers of OVC ranged from 27.0 % (Namibia) to 61.3 % (Swaziland). In Namibia, OVC primary caregivers were just as likely or even less likely to be overweight than other primary caregivers. In Swaziland and Zambia, OVC primary caregivers were just as likely or more likely to be overweight than other primary caregivers. In Swaziland and Zambia, OVC primary caregivers were more likely to be overweight than non-primary caregivers living with OVC (Swaziland AOR = 1.56, Zambia AOR = 2.62) and non-primary caregivers not living with OVC (Swaziland AOR = 1.92, Zambia AOR = 1.94). Namibian OVC caregivers were less likely to be overweight than non-caregivers not living with an OVC only in certain age groups (21–29 and 41–49 years old).
African public health systems/OVC programs may face an overweight epidemic alongside existing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics. Future studies/interventions to curb overweight should consider OVC caregiving status and address country-level differences.
PMCID: PMC4528346  PMID: 26250533
Orphans; Overweight; Africa South of the Sahara
8.  Acculturation and Cancer Screening among Asian Americans: Role of Health Insurance and Having a Regular Physician 
Journal of community health  2014;39(2):201-212.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans, but screening rates are significantly lower in Asians than in non-Hispanic Whites. This study examined associations between acculturation and three types of cancer screening (colorectal, cervical, and breast), focusing on the role of health insurance and having a regular physician. A cross-sectional study of 851 Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans was conducted in Maryland. Acculturation was measured using an abridged version of the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA), acculturation clusters, language preference, length of residency in the U.S., and age at arrival. Age, health insurance, regular physician, gender, ethnicity, income, marital status, and health status were adjusted in the multivariate analysis. Logistic regression analysis showed that various measures of acculturation were positively associated with the odds of having all cancer screenings. Those lived for more than 20 years in the U.S. were about 2-4 times [odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI): colorectal: 2.41 (1.52-3.82); cervical: 1.79 (1.07-3.01); and breast: 2.11 (1.25-3.57)] more likely than those who lived for less than 10 years to have had cancer screening. When health insurance and having a regular physician were adjusted, the associations between length of residency and colorectal cancer (OR: 1.72 (1.05-2.81)) was reduced and the association between length of residency and cervical and breast cancer became no longer significant. Findings from this study provide a robust and comprehensive picture of AA cancer screening behavior. They will provide helpful information on future target groups for promoting cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC4143174  PMID: 24002493
Asian Americans; Acculturation; Early Detection of Cancer; Breast Neoplasms/prevention & control; Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/prevention & control; Colorectal Neoplasms/prevention & control
9.  A Cluster Analytic Examination of Acculturation and Health Status among Asian Americans in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, United States 
Previous studies reported mixed findings on the relationship between acculturation and health status among Asian Americans due to different types of acculturation measures used or different Asian subgroups involved in various studies. We aim to fill the gap by applying multiple measures of acculturation in a diverse sample of Asian subgroups.
A cross sectional study was conducted among Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Americans in Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area to examine the association between health status and acculturation using multiple measures including the Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation (SL-ASIA) scale, clusters based on responses to SL-ASIA, language preference, length of stay, age at arrival in the United Sates and self-identity. Three clusters (Asian (31%); Bicultural (47%); and American (22%)) were created by using a two-step hierarchical method and Bayesian Information Criterion values. Across all the measures, more acculturated individuals were significantly more likely to report good health than those who were less acculturated after adjusting for covariates. Specifically, those in the American cluster were 3.8 times (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 2.2, 6.6) more likely and those in the Bicultural cluster were 1.7 times more likely (95% CI: 1.1, 2.4) to report good health as compared to those in the Asian cluster. When the conventional standardized SL-ASIA summary score (range: −1.4 to 1.4) was used, a one point increase was associated with 2.2 times greater odds of reporting good health (95% CI: 1.5, 3.2). However, the interpretation may be challenging due to uncertainty surrounding the meaning of a one point increase in SL-ASIA summary score.
Among all the measures used, acculturation clusters better approximated the acculturation process and provided us with a more accurate test of the association in the population. Variables included in this measure were more relevant for our study sample and may have worked together to capture the multifaceted acculturation process.
PMCID: PMC4143184  PMID: 24034947
acculturation; health status; Asian Americans; United States; clusters; measures
10.  Influence of Information Sources on Hepatitis B Screening Behavior and Relevant Psychosocial Factors Among Asian Immigrants 
This study examines how different information sources relate to Health Belief Model (HBM) constructs, hepatitis B virus (HBV) knowledge, and HBV screening. The Maryland Asian American Liver Cancer Education Program administered a survey of 877 Asian immigrants. The most common sources of information identified by the multiple-answer questions were newspapers (39.8%), physicians (39.3%), friends (33.8%), TV (31.7%), and the Internet (29.5%). Path analyses—controlling for age, sex, educational level, English proficiency, proportion of life in U.S., health insurance coverage, and family history of HBV infection—showed that learning about HBV from physicians had the strongest direct effect; friends had a marginal indirect effect. Perceived risk, benefits, and severity played limited roles in mediation effects. Path analysis results differed by ethnicity. Physician-based HBV screening intervention would be effective, but should be complemented with community health campaigns through popular information sources for the uninsured.
PMCID: PMC3615083  PMID: 23238580
Hepatitis B; Asian American; health information; screening; Health Belief Model
11.  Englerin A stimulates PKCθ to inhibit insulin signaling and simultaneously activate HSF1: An example of pharmacologically induced synthetic lethality 
Cancer cell  2013;23(2):228-237.
The natural product englerin A (EA) binds to and activates protein kinase C-θ (PKCθ). EA-dependent activation of PKCθ induces an insulin resistant phenotype, limiting the access of tumor cells to glucose. At the same time, EA causes PKCθ-mediated phosphorylation and activation of the transcription factor heat shock factor 1, an inducer of glucose dependence. By promoting glucose addiction while simultaneously starving cells of glucose, EA proves to be synthetically lethal to highly glycolytic tumors.
PMCID: PMC3574184  PMID: 23352416
HSF1; englerin A; renal cell cancer; PKCθ; insulin resistance
12.  Effect of a Liver Cancer Education Program on Hepatitis B Screening Among Asian Americans in the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area, 2009–2010 
Asian Americans have the highest incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the major form of primary liver cancer, of all ethnic groups in the United States. Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the most common cause of HCC, and as many as 1 in 10 foreign-born Asian Americans are chronically infected with HBV. We tested the effectiveness of a culturally tailored liver cancer education program for increasing screening for HBV among Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans residing in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area, from November 2009 through June 2010.
We used a cluster randomized controlled trial to recruit volunteer participants from community-based organizations (CBOs) in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. We selected 877 participants by using a pretest survey. People were eligible to participate if they had not attended a hepatitis B–related education program in the past 5 years. The intervention group (n = 441) received a 30-minute educational program, and the control group (n = 436) received an educational brochure. After attending the educational program, the intervention group completed a post-education survey. Six months later, participants in both groups were followed up by telephone. Receipt of HBV screening was the outcome measure.
Approximately 79% (n = 688) of participants completed the 6-month follow-up telephone survey. Among those who had not had HBV screening at baseline (n = 446), the adjusted odds of self-reported receipt of HBV screening at the 6-month follow-up to the educational program were significantly higher for the intervention group than for the control group (odds ratio = 5.13; 95% confidence interval, 3.14–8.39; P < .001). Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans had significantly higher odds of having HBV screening in the 6-month period than Korean Americans.
Culturally tailored education programs that increase liver cancer awareness can be effective in increasing HBV screening among underserved Asian American populations.
PMCID: PMC3921910  PMID: 24503341
13.  Effects of Parents' Employment Status on Changes in Body Mass Index and Percent Body Fat in Adolescent Girls 
Childhood Obesity  2012;8(6):526-532.
Parents' employment status is frequently cited as a possible predictor of child weight status. Despite the importance of the topic, only a few studies have been conducted. No longitudinal studies have been conducted in the United States.
A cohort of 1201 girls from the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls was used. Height, weight, and percent body fat (PBF) were measured at the 6th and 8th grades. Parents' employment status (measured at 6th grade) was categorized into working full time (reference), part time, unemployed, working or staying at home, and don't know. Mixed-model regression was used to reflect the hierarchical design of our study and adjusted for age, race, parents' education level, free or reduced-price school lunch status, and living arrangement.
Girls whose mothers worked part time or stayed at home had a decreased risk of excess weight gain [relative risk (RR)=0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.88, 1.00; RR=0.89, 95% CI 0.79, 1.00, respectively] compared to girls whose mothers worked full time. Girls whose fathers were unemployed had a moderately increased risk of excess weight gain (RR=1.13, 95% CI 1.00, 1.26) compared to girls whose fathers worked full time. Having an unemployed mother or part-time or stay-at-home father was not associated with excess weight gain. Parents' employment status was not associated with excess PBF gain.
Our findings suggest that the availability of the mother has a greater influence on the weight of the daughter than the availability of the father. There is a need for a better understanding of how parents' employment status influences excess weight gain in adolescent girls.
PMCID: PMC3647591  PMID: 23181918
14.  Culturally Appropriate Photonovel Development and Process Evaluation for Hepatitis B Prevention in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese American Communities 
Asian Americans have disproportionately high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection in the United States and yet have low hepatitis B screening and vaccination rates. We developed three photonovels specifically designed for Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans and evaluated their cultural relevance and effectiveness in increasing self-efficacy and intention to have a hepatitis B screening. Photonovels' storylines were drawn from focus group themes, and lay people from each community played actors/actresses in community settings. Photonovels were pilot tested, revised, and distributed in a hepatitis B intervention. A two-page process evaluation questionnaire was mailed to 441 participants after one month. Descriptive analysis and multiple logistic regressions were conducted to assess the overall evaluation of the photonovel and to assess factors associated with self-efficacy and intention to have hepatitis B screening. Eighty-four percent of participants responded to the process evaluation. The majority of participants either strongly agreed or agreed that the cancer information in the photonovel was helpful, the story was written by someone who knows the community, and the information was easy to understand. Overall, more than 80% of them thought this photonovel was a good teaching tool. Favorable evaluation of the photonovel was associated with both having intention and self-efficacy to have a hepatitis B screening in the next 5 months. When stratified by level of education and income, the associations were stronger among the lower income and education groups. Culturally appropriate photonovels are useful tools to promote hepatitis B screening among Asian Americans, especially among those of lower socioeconomic status.
PMCID: PMC3830675  PMID: 23372031
Asian Americans; community-based participatory research; educational material; hepatitis B; photonovel; screening
16.  Acculturation and BMI Among Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Adults 
Journal of community health  2012;37(3):539-546.
The objective of this study is to examine the association between acculturation and BMI among Asian Americans using multiple measures of acculturation. Data of 847 Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese recruited for a health education program in Maryland during 2009 to 2010 were used. Acculturation was measured by the short version of Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA) and its individual components. Height and weight were measured by trained staff. Multiple linear regressions were used to estimate the association between acculturation and BMI. After adjusting for age, gender, education, income, marital status, and ethnicity, SL-ASIA (β = 0.71, SE = 0.28), having education in the US (β = 0.56, SE = 0.28), younger age of arrival (0–5 years: β = 3.32, SE = 0.76, 6–10 years: β = 1.55, SE = 0.78), self identified as Americans (β = 1.51, SE = 0.77) and equal preference of Asian/American food in restaurants (β = 0.92, SE = 0.28) were significantly associated with increased BMI. The association between acculturation and BMI was stronger among men than women, strongest among Chinese and weakest among Vietnamese. Acculturation was moderately associated with increased BMI among Asian Americans and this association varied by measures of acculturation. The association of acculturation and BMI was moderated by sex and ethnicity groups.
PMCID: PMC3804273  PMID: 21922164
BMI; Obesity; Acculturation; Asian Americans
17.  Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer Among Three Asian American Sub-Groups: A Focus Group Inquiry 
Prevalence of hepatitis B among Asian Americans is higher than for any other ethnic group in the United States. Since more than 50% of liver cancer is hepatitis B related, the burden of morbidity and mortality is extremely high among Asian Americans, highlighting the need for culturally appropriate interventions. We conducted focus groups (n = 8) with a total of 58 Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese immigrants in Maryland to explore knowledge, awareness and perceived barriers toward hepatitis B screening and vaccinations. Thematic analysis uncovered generally low levels of knowledge and awareness of hepatitis B risks, screening, and vaccination; inter-generational differences; and barriers to prevention. Some differences arose across ethnic groups, particularly toward perceived orientation to preventive activities and the role of religious groups. High rates of hepatitis B infection among Asian Americans highlight the need for tailored interventions. These findings may assist policy strategists in implementing interventions that will facilitate the integration and scale-up of hepatitis B education, screening, and vaccination campaigns.
PMCID: PMC3804298  PMID: 21901445
Hepatitis B risk; HBV screening and vaccinations; Asian Americans; Qualitative; Immigrant health
18.  Ethnic Differences in Prevalence and Barriers of HBV Screening and Vaccination Among Asian Americans 
Journal of community health  2012;37(5):1071-1080.
Our study identifies the prevalence of HBV virus (HBV) screening and vaccination among Asian Americans, and ethnic differences for factors associated with screening and vaccination behaviors. In 2009–2010 we recruited 877 Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese Americans 18 years of age and above through several community organizations, churches and local ethnic businesses in Maryland for a health education intervention and a self-administered survey. Prevalence of HBV screening, screening result and vaccinations were compared by each ethnic group. We used logistic regression analysis to understand how sociodemographics, familial factors, patient-, provider-, and resource-related barriers are associated with screening and vaccination behaviors, using the total sample and separate analysis for each ethnic group. Forty-seven percent of participants reported that they had received HBV screening and 38% had received vaccinations. Among the three groups, the Chinese participants had the highest screening prevalence, but lowest self-reported infection rate; Vietnamese has the lowest screening and vaccination prevalence. In multivariate analysis, having better knowledge of HBV, and family and physician recommendations was significantly associated with screening and vaccination behaviors. Immigrants who had lived in the US for more than a quarter of their lifetime were less likely to report ever having been screened (OR = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.28–0.55) or vaccinated (OR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.44–0.88). In ethnic-specific analysis, having a regular physician (OR = 4.46, 95% CI: 1.62–12.25) and doctor's recommendation (OR = 2.11, 95% CI: 1.05–4.22) are significantly associated with Korean's vaccination behaviors. Health insurance was associated with vaccination behaviors only among Vietnamese (OR = 2.66, 95% CI: 1.21–5.83), but not among others.
PMCID: PMC3804552  PMID: 22302652
HBV infection; Asian Americans; HBV prevalence; Health care access barriers
19.  Combined inhibition of Wee1 and Hsp90 activates intrinsic apoptosis in cancer cells 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(19):3649-3655.
Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is an essential, evolutionarily conserved molecular chaperone. Cancer cells rely on Hsp90 to chaperone mutated and/or activated oncoproteins, and its involvement in numerous signaling pathways makes it an attractive target for drug development. Surprisingly, however, the impact of Hsp90 inhibitors on cancer cells is frequently cytostatic in nature, and efforts to enhance the antitumor activity of Hsp90 inhibitors in the clinic remain a significant challenge. In agreement with previous data obtained using Wee1 siRNA, we show that dual pharmacologic inhibition of Wee1 tyrosine kinase and Hsp90 causes cancer cells to undergo apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Gene expression profiling revealed that induction of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway by this drug combination coincided with transcriptional downregulation of Survivin and Wee1, an outcome not seen in cells treated separately with either agent. At the translational level, expression of these two proteins, as well as activated Akt, was completely abrogated. These data support the hypothesis that Wee1 inhibition sensitizes cancer cells to Hsp90 inhibitors; they establish combined Wee1/Hsp90 inhibition as a novel therapeutic strategy; and they provide a mechanistic rationale for enhancing the pro-apoptotic activity of Hsp90 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3478315  PMID: 22935698
Wee1; apoptosis; cancer; heat shock protein 90; molecular targeted anticancer drugs
20.  Change in Self-Reported Health Status among Immigrants in the United States: Associations with Measures of Acculturation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76494.
Although acculturation may have positive effects for immigrants, including better socioeconomic profiles and increased occupational opportunities, their health profiles deteriorate with longer duration in the U.S. Prior research indicates that increasing acculturation is associated with some poorer health outcomes among immigrants in the U.S. However, most of these studies have used length of stay or English language proficiency as proxies for acculturation, and have mainly examined self-reported “current” health outcomes. This study advances knowledge on associations between acculturation and health among immigrants by explicitly examining self-reported “change” in health since immigration, in relation to acculturation-related variables. We use data from the New Immigrant Survey (NIS; 2003-2004), a cross-sectional study of legal immigrants to the U.S. In addition to testing more conventionally examined proxies of acculturation (length of stay and English proficiency), we also examine English language use and self-reported change in diet. Multivariable logistic regression analyses on 5,982 participants generally supported previous literature indicating a deleterious impact of acculturation, with increasing duration of stay and greater self-reported change in diet being associated with a poorer change in health since moving to the U.S. Although English language proficiency and use were associated with greater odds of reporting a worse change in health when examined individually, they were non-significant in multivariable models including all acculturation measures. Findings from this study suggest that when taking into account multiple measures of acculturation, language may not necessarily indicate unhealthy assimilation and dietary change may be a pathway leading to declines in immigrant health. Increasing duration in the U.S. may also reflect the adoption of unhealthy behaviors, as well as greater exposure to harmful sources of psychosocial stress including racial and anti-immigrant discrimination. Our study suggests that multiple indicators of acculturation may be useful in examining the effect of acculturation on changes in health among immigrants.
PMCID: PMC3788132  PMID: 24098515
21.  Challenges and Needs of Chinese and Korean American Breast Cancer Survivors: In-Depth Interviews 
Breast cancer incidence and the number of breast cancer survivors have been rapidly increasing among Chinese and Korean women in the United States. However, few data are available regarding quality of life in Asian American breast cancer survivors. This qualitative study aims to describe Asian American women’s perceptions of quality of life and their breast cancer experiences. In-depth interviews with four Chinese and five Korean American breast cancer survivors and three oncologists were conducted in Chinese, Korean, or English. Interviews were recorded and transcripts were translated into English. Qualitative analyses were performed by two independent coders and then discussed and agreed upon by the research team. The respondents reported that the breast cancer experience had affected various domains of quality of life, but women reported having limited resources with which to cope effectively. Depression, anxiety, and stress were commonly reported, but women rarely discussed these issues with family and friends or sought professional help. As immigrants, women’s loneliness and a lack of social support and culturally relevant resources seemed to be major barriers to maintaining good quality of life. Women also expressed interest in learning more about alternative therapies and relaxation skills. These findings can be used to help inform the development of a culturally appropriate intervention for Asian American breast cancer survivors. Future programs may provide information in women’s native languages to teach skills to cope with stress and anxiety, increase women’s self-efficacy within the context of their cultural background, and enhance social support among women from the same ethnic group.
PMCID: PMC3766352  PMID: 24019995
breast cancer; quality of life; survivorship; Asian American; Chinese American; Korean American
22.  Chromosomal protein HMGN1 modulates the expression of N-cadherin 
The FEBS journal  2005;272(22):5853-5863.
HMGN1 is a nuclear protein that binds to nucleosomes and alters the accessibility of regulatory factors to their chromatin targets. To elucidate its biological function and identify specific HMGN1 target genes, we generated Hmgn1−/− mice. DNA microarray analysis of Hmgn1+/+ and Hmgn1−/− embryonic fibroblasts identified N-cadherin as a potential HMGN1 gene target. RT-PCR and western blot analysis confirmed a linkage between HMGN1 expression and N-cadherin levels. In both transformed and primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), HMGN1 acted as negative regulator of N-cadherin expression. Likewise, the N-cadherin levels in early embryos of Hmgn1−/− mice were higher than those of their Hmgn1+/+ littermates. Loss of HMGN1 increased the adhesiveness, motility and aggregation potential of Hmgn1−/− MEFs, a phenotype consistent with increased levels of N-cadherin protein. Re-expression of wildtype HMGN1, but not of the mutant HMGN1 protein that does not bind to chromatin, in Hmgn1−/− MEFs, decreased the levels of N-cadherin and restored the Hmgn1+/+ phenotype. These studies demonstrate a role for HMGN1 in the regulation of specific gene expression. We suggest that in MEFs, and during early mouse development, the interaction of HMGN1 with chromatin down-regulates the expression of N-cadherin.
PMCID: PMC3730465  PMID: 16279949
HMG protein; N-cadherin; chromatin; transcription
23.  Discrimination, Family Relationships, and Major Depression Among Asian Americans 
Depression represents a growing concern among Asian Americans. This study examined whether discrimination and family dynamics are associated with depression in this population.
Weighted logistic regressions using nationally representative data on Asian American adults (N = 2095) examining associations between discrimination, negative interactions with relatives, family support, and 12-month major depressive disorder (MDD).
Discrimination (odds ratio [OR] = 2.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.67, 2.71) and negative interactions with relatives (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.03, 1.58) were positively associated with MDD. Family support was associated with lower MDD (OR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.59, 0.89), and buffered lower levels of discrimination.
Results suggest that discrimination may have negative mental health implications, and also point to the importance of family relationships for depression among Asian Americans. Findings suggest that providers may consider stress experienced at multiple ecological levels to address Asian American mental health needs.
PMCID: PMC3501208  PMID: 22083344
Asian Americans; major depressive disorder; discrimination; family relationships
24.  What Is Lacking in Patient-Physician Communication: Perspectives from Asian American Breast Cancer Patients and Oncologists 
Journal of behavioral health  2012;1(2):10.5455/jbh.20120403024919.
Interactions between breast cancer patients and their oncologists are important as effective patient-physician communication can facilitate the delivery of quality cancer care. However, little is known about patient-physician communication processes among Asian American breast cancer patients, who may have unique communication needs and challenges. Thus, we interviewed Asian American patients and several oncologists to explore patient-physician communication processes in breast cancer care.
We conducted in-depth interviews with nine Chinese- or Korean American breast cancer patients and three Asian American oncologists who routinely provided care for Asian American patients in the Washington DC metropolitan area in 2010. We conducted patient interviews in Chinese or Korean and then translated into English. We conducted physicians’ interviews in English. We performed qualitative analyses to identify themes.
For women with limited English proficiency, language was the greatest barrier to understanding information and making treatment-related decisions. Both patients and oncologists believed that interpretation provided by patients’ family members may not be accurate, and patients may neglect to ask questions because of their worry of burdening others. We observed cultural differences regarding expectations of the doctor’s role and views of cancer recovery. As expressed by the patients and observed by oncologists, Asian American women are less likely to be assertive and are mostly reliant on physicians to make treatment decisions. However, many patients expressed a desire to be actively involved in the decision-making process.
Findings provide preliminary insight into patient-physician communication and identify several aspects of patient-physician communication that need to be improved for Asian American breast cancer patients. Proper patient education with linguistically and culturally appropriate information and tools may help improve communication and decision-making processes for Asian American women with breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3566873  PMID: 24496377
Asian American; breast cancer; patient-physician communication; language barrier; cultural difference; treatment decision making
25.  Methoxychalcone Inhibitors of Androgen Receptor Translocation and Function 
Androgen receptor activity drives incurable castrate-resistant prostate cancer. All approved antiandrogens inhibit androgen receptor-driven transcription, and in addition the second-generation antiandrogen MDV3100 inhibits ligand-activated androgen receptor nuclear translocation, via an unknown mechanism. Here, we report methoxychalcones that lock the heat shock protein 90-androgen receptor complex in the cytoplasm in an androgen-non-responsive state, thus demonstrating a novel chemical scaffold for antiandrogen development and a unique mechanism of antiandrogen activity.
PMCID: PMC3308679  PMID: 22310230
chalcone; antiandrogen; androgen receptor translocation; prostate cancer; Hsp90

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