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1.  Utilization of Services in a Randomized Trial Testing Phone- and Web-Based Interventions for Smoking Cessation 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2011;13(5):319-327.
Introduction:
Phone counseling has become standard for behavioral smoking cessation treatment. Newer options include Web and integrated phone–Web treatment. No prior research, to our knowledge, has systematically compared the effectiveness of these three treatment modalities in a randomized trial. Understanding how utilization varies by mode, the impact of utilization on outcomes, and predictors of utilization across each mode could lead to improved treatments.
Methods:
One thousand two hundred and two participants were randomized to phone, Web, or combined phone–Web cessation treatment. Services varied by modality and were tracked using automated systems. All participants received 12 weeks of varenicline, printed guides, an orientation call, and access to a phone supportline. Self-report data were collected at baseline and 6-month follow-up.
Results:
Overall, participants utilized phone services more often than the Web-based services. Among treatment groups with Web access, a significant proportion logged in only once (37% phone–Web, 41% Web), and those in the phone–Web group logged in less often than those in the Web group (mean = 2.4 vs. 3.7, p = .0001). Use of the phone also was correlated with increased use of the Web. In multivariate analyses, greater use of the phone- or Web-based services was associated with higher cessation rates. Finally, older age and the belief that certain treatments could improve success were consistent predictors of greater utilization across groups. Other predictors varied by treatment group.
Conclusions:
Opportunities for enhancing treatment utilization exist, particularly for Web-based programs. Increasing utilization more broadly could result in better overall treatment effectiveness for all intervention modalities.
doi:10.1093/ntr/ntq257
PMCID: PMC3082503  PMID: 21330267
2.  Varenicline for Smoking Cessation: Nausea Severity and Variation in Nicotinic Receptor Genes 
The Pharmacogenomics Journal  2011;12(4):349-358.
This study evaluated association between common and rare sequence variants in 10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes and the severity of nausea 21 days after initiating the standard, FDA-approved varenicline regimen for smoking cessation. Included in the analysis were 397 participants from a randomized clinical effectiveness trial with complete clinical and DNA resequencing data (mean age = 49.2 years; 68.0% female). Evidence for significant association between common sequence variants in CHRNB2 and nausea severity was obtained after adjusting for age, gender, and correlated tests (all PACT<.05). Individuals with the minor allele of CHRNB2 variants experienced less nausea than did those without the minor allele, consistent with previously reported findings for CHRNB2 and the occurrence of nausea and dizziness as a consequence of first smoking attempt in adolescents, and with the known neurophysiology of nausea. As nausea is the most common reason for discontinuance of varenicline, further pharmacogenetic investigations are warranted.
doi:10.1038/tpj.2011.19
PMCID: PMC3405554  PMID: 21606948
varenicline; nausea; smoking cessation; adherence
3.  Asthma Discordance in Twins Is Linked to Epigenetic Modifications of T Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48796.
T cells mediate the inflammatory responses observed in asthma among genetically susceptible individuals and have been suspected to be prone to epigenetic regulation. However, these relationships are not well established from past clinical studies that have had limited capacity to control for the effects of variable genetic predisposition and early environmental exposures. Relying on a cohort of monozygotic twins discordant for asthma we sought to determine if epigenetic modifications in T cells were associated with current asthma and explored whether such modifications were associated with second hand smoke exposures. Our study was conducted in a monozygotic twin cohort of adult twin pairs (n = 21) all discordant for asthma. Regulatory T cell (Treg) and effector T cell (Teff) subsets were assessed for levels of cellular function, protein expression, gene expression and CpG methylation within Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) and interferon gamma-γ (IFNγ) loci. Comparisons by asthma and current report of exposure to second hand smoke were made. Treg from asthmatic discordant twins demonstrated decreased FOXP3 protein expression and impaired Treg function that was associated with increased levels of CpG methylation within the FOXP3 locus when compared to their non-asthmatic twin partner. In parallel, Teff from discordant asthmatic twins demonstrated increased methylation of the IFNγ locus, decreased IFNγ expression and reduced Teff function when compared to Teff from the non-asthmatic twin. Finally, report of current exposure to second hand smoke was associated with modifications in both Treg and Teff at the transcriptional level among asthmatics. The results of the current study provide evidence for differential function of T cell subsets in monozygotic twins discordant for asthma that are regulated by changes in DNA methylation. Our preliminary data suggest exposure to second hand smoke may augment the modified T cell responses associated with asthma.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048796
PMCID: PMC3511472  PMID: 23226205
4.  Adherence to Varenicline in the COMPASS Smoking Cessation Intervention Trial 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2011;13(5):361-368.
Introduction:
Patient adherence to smoking cessation medications can impact their effectiveness. It is important to understand the extent to which prescribed medications are actually taken by smokers, how this influences smoking cessation outcomes, and what factors may influence adherence.
Methods:
Smokers recruited from a large health plan were randomized to receive different modes of cessation counseling in combination with varenicline (Swan, G. E., McClure, J. B., Jack, L. M., Zbikowski, S. M., Javitz, H. S., Catz, S. L., et al. 2010.Behavioral counseling and varenicline treatment for smoking cessation. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38, 482–490). One thousand one hundred and sixty-one participants were mailed a 28-day varenicline supply when they set a quit date and were able to request up to two refills from the health plan pharmacy at no cost. Pharmacy fill records were obtained and telephone surveys completed at baseline, 21 days, 12 weeks, and 6 months post target quit date.
Results:
Good adherence to varenicline (≥80% of days taken) was associated with a twofold increase in 6-month quit rates compared with poor adherence (52% vs. 25%). Smokers were more likely than nonsmokers to stop varenicline early. Purposeful nonadherence was associated with smoking at 12 weeks and was predicted in multivariate analyses by age, gender, adherence self-efficacy, and initial medication side effect severity.
Conclusions:
Innovative methods for increasing adherence to smoking cessation medications are needed, particularly early in the quit process. Simple metrics of adherence such as number of days cessation medication is taken can and should be routinely incorporated in effectiveness trials and reported to advance future attempts to understand and reduce nonadherence.
doi:10.1093/ntr/ntr003
PMCID: PMC3082504  PMID: 21350041
5.  Cost-effectiveness of varenicline and three different behavioral treatment formats for smoking cessation 
There is a lack of evidence of the relative cost-effectiveness of proactive telephone counseling (PTC) and Web-based delivery of smoking cessation services in conjunction with pharmacotherapy. We calculated the differential cost-effectiveness of three behavioral smoking cessation modalities with varenicline treatment in a randomized trial of current smokers from a large health system. Eligible participants were randomized to one of three smoking cessation interventions: Web-based counseling (n=401), PTC (n=402), or combined PTC-Web counseling (n=399). All participants received a standard 12-week course of varenicline. The primary outcome was a 7-day point prevalent nonsmoking at the 6month follow-up. The Web intervention was the least expensive followed by the PTC and PTC-Web groups. Costs per additional 6-month nonsmoker and per additional lifetime quitter were $1,278 and $2,601 for Web, $1,472 and $2,995 for PTC, and $1,617 and $3,291 for PTC-Web. Cost per life-year (LY) and quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) saved were $1,148 and $1,136 for Web, $1,320 and $1,308 for PTC, and $1,450 and $1,437 for PTC-Web. Based on the cost per LY and QALY saved, these interventions are among the most cost-effective life-saving medical treatments. Web, PTC, and combined PTC-Web treatments were all highly cost-effective, with the Web treatment being marginally more cost-effective than the PTC or combined PTC-Web treatments.
doi:10.1007/s13142-010-0009-8
PMCID: PMC3124766  PMID: 21731592
Smoking cessation; Varenicline; Cost-effectiveness; Quality-adjusted life-years saved; Behavioral intervention
6.  Behavioral Counseling and Varenicline Treatment for Smoking Cessation 
Background
Smoking remains the primary preventable cause of death and illness in the U.S. Effective, convenient treatment programs are needed to reduce smoking prevalence.
Purpose
This study compared the effectiveness of three modalities of a behavioral smoking-cessation program in smokers using varenicline.
Methods
Current treatment seeking smokers (n=1202) were recruited from a large healthcare organization between October 2006 and October 2007. Eligible participants were randomized to one of three smoking-cessation interventions: web-based counseling (n=401), proactive telephone-based counseling (PTC; n=402), or combined PTC and web counseling (n=399). All participants received a standard 12-week FDA-approved course of varenicline. Self-report determined the primary outcomes (7-day point prevalent abstinence at 3- and 6-month follow-up), the number of days varenicline was taken, and treatment-related symptoms. Behavioral measures determined utilization of both the web- and phone-based counseling.
Results
Intent-to-treat analyses revealed relatively high percentages of abstinence at 3 months (38.9%, 48.5%, 43.4%) and at 6 months (30.7%, 34.3%, 33.8%) for the web, PTC, and PTC web groups, respectively. The PTC group had a significantly higher percentage of abstinence than the web group at 3 months, OR=1.48, 95% CI 1.12–1.96, but no between-group differences in abstinence outcomes were seen at 6 months.
Conclusions
Phone counseling had greater treatment advantage for early cessation and appeared to increase medication adherence, but the absence of differences at 6 months suggests that any of the interventions hold promise when used in conjunction with varenicline.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2010.01.024
PMCID: PMC2879135  PMID: 20409497
7.  Cost-effectiveness of varenicline and three different behavioral treatment formats for smoking cessation 
There is a lack of evidence of the relative cost-effectiveness of proactive telephone counseling (PTC) and Web-based delivery of smoking cessation services in conjunction with pharmacotherapy. We calculated the differential cost-effectiveness of three behavioral smoking cessation modalities with varenicline treatment in a randomized trial of current smokers from a large health system. Eligible participants were randomized to one of three smoking cessation interventions: Web-based counseling (n = 401), PTC (n = 402), or combined PTC-Web counseling (n = 399). All participants received a standard 12-week course of varenicline. The primary outcome was a 7-day point prevalent nonsmoking at the 6 month follow-up. The Web intervention was the least expensive followed by the PTC and PTC-Web groups. Costs per additional 6-month nonsmoker and per additional lifetime quitter were $1,278 and $2,601 for Web, $1,472 and $2,995 for PTC, and $1,617 and $3,291 for PTC-Web. Cost per life-year (LY) and quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) saved were $1,148 and $1,136 for Web, $1,320 and $1,308 for PTC, and $1,450 and $1,437 for PTC-Web. Based on the cost per LY and QALY saved, these interventions are among the most cost-effective life-saving medical treatments. Web, PTC, and combined PTC-Web treatments were all highly cost-effective, with the Web treatment being marginally more cost-effective than the PTC or combined PTC-Web treatments.
doi:10.1007/s13142-010-0009-8
PMCID: PMC3124766  PMID: 21731592
Smoking cessation; Varenicline; Cost-effectiveness; Quality-adjusted life-years saved; Behavioral intervention
8.  IMPACT OF SYMPTOMS EXPERIENCED BY VARENICLINE USERS ON TOBACCO TREATMENT IN A REAL WORLD SETTING 
This paper examines reported symptoms, nonsmoking rates, and medication use among 1018 smokers using varenicline in a randomized trial comparing three forms of behavioral support for smoking cessation (phone, web, or phone + web). One month after beginning varenicline, 168 people (17%) had discontinued the medication. Most (53%) quit due to side-effects and other symptoms. The most common side-effect among all users was nausea (reported by 57% of users). At one month post medication initiation, those not taking varenicline were more likely to report smoking than those who continued the medication (57% vs. 16%, p<.001). Women reported more symptoms but did not discontinue medication at higher rates. Participants who received any telephone counseling (n=681) were less likely to discontinue their medication than those with web support only (15% vs. 21%, p<.01). Counseling may improve tolerance of this medication and reduce the rate of discontinuation due to side-effects. (149 words)
doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2008.09.001
PMCID: PMC2776715  PMID: 19004600
Varenicline; smoking cessation; tobacco dependence treatment
9.  Clinical trial participant characteristics and saliva and DNA metrics 
Background
Clinical trial and epidemiological studies need high quality biospecimens from a representative sample of participants to investigate genetic influences on treatment response and disease. Obtaining blood biospecimens presents logistical and financial challenges. As a result, saliva biospecimen collection is becoming more frequent because of the ease of collection and lower cost. This article describes an assessment of saliva biospecimen samples collected through the mail, trial participant demographic and behavioral characteristics, and their association with saliva and DNA quantity and quality.
Methods
Saliva biospecimens were collected using the Oragene® DNA Self-Collection Kits from participants in a National Cancer Institute funded smoking cessation trial. Saliva biospecimens from 565 individuals were visually inspected for clarity prior to and after DNA extraction. DNA samples were then quantified by UV absorbance, PicoGreen®, and qPCR. Genotyping was performed on 11 SNPs using TaqMan® SNP assays and two VNTR assays. Univariate, correlation, and analysis of variance analyses were conducted to observe the relationship between saliva sample and participant characteristics.
Results
The biospecimen kit return rate was 58.5% among those invited to participate (n = 967) and 47.1% among all possible COMPASS participants (n = 1202). Significant gender differences were observed with males providing larger saliva volume (4.7 vs. 4.5 ml, p = 0.019), samples that were more likely to be judged as cloudy (39.5% vs. 24.9%, p < 0.001), and samples with greater DNA yield as measured by UV (190.0 vs. 138.5, p = 0.002), but reduced % human DNA content (73.2 vs. 77.6 p = 0.005) than females. Other participant characteristics (age, self-identified ethnicity, baseline cigarettes per day) were associated with saliva clarity. Saliva volume and saliva and DNA clarity were positively correlated with total DNA yield by all three quantification measurements (all r > 0.21, P < 0.001), but negatively correlated with % human DNA content (saliva volume r = -0.148 and all P < 0.010). Genotyping completion rate was not influenced by saliva or DNA clarity.
Conclusion
Findings from this study show that demographic and behavioral characteristics of smoking cessation trial participants have significant associations with saliva and DNA metrics, but not with the performance of TaqMan® SNP or VNTR genotyping assays.
Trial registration
COMPASS; registered as NCT00301145 at clinicaltrials.gov.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-9-71
PMCID: PMC2776600  PMID: 19874586
10.  Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Tobacco Use: Methodology for a Multidisciplinary, Longitudinal Family-Based Investigation1 
This article describes the ongoing collaborative effort of six research teams to operationalize and execute an integrative approach to the study of gene × environment interactions in the development of tobacco dependence. At the core of the project is a longitudinal investigation of social and behavioral risk factors for tobacco use in individuals who were, on average, 13 years of age at intake and for whom smoking outcomes extending from early adolescence to young adulthood have been characterized previously (current average age of the cohort is 29 years). The conceptual framework for the integrative approach and the longitudinal investigation on which the study is based is presented. A description is also provided of the methods used to: (a) recruit participants and families to provide DNA samples and information on tobacco use; (b) assess participants for relevant tobacco-related phenotypes including smoking history, current use of tobacco, and nicotine metabolism; (c) assess the quality of the DNA samples collected from participants for genome-wide scanning and candidate gene analysis; (d) examine several research questions concerning the role of genetic and environmental factors in the onset and maintenance of tobacco use; and (e) ensure adherence to local and federal guidelines for ethical and legal investigations of genotypic associations with tobacco-related phenotypes in families. This investigation is unique among ongoing studies of the genetics of tobacco dependence in the extent to which equal importance has been assigned to both phenotypic and genotypic measurements.
PMCID: PMC2587265  PMID: 14578134

Results 1-10 (10)