Presenting treatment options to men with localized prostate cancer is difficult because of the lack of definitive evidence and the range of treatment options available. Active surveillance and monitoring programs are now a recognized treatment option for men with low-risk localized prostate cancer, but many patients are not fully aware of the details of such programs, and most still opt for immediate radical (surgery or radiotherapy) treatment. The provision of high-quality information with decision aids has been shown to increase the acceptability of active surveillance/monitoring programs. This chapter outlines techniques for providing high-quality information about active surveillance/monitoring, based on the findings of a randomized controlled trial of treatments for localized prostate cancer. The ProtecT (Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment) trial has randomized over 1500 men between active monitoring, radical surgery, and radical radiotherapy by ensuring that information was tailored to men’s existing knowledge and views. Care was taken with the content, order, and enthusiasm of the presentation of treatments by recruitment staff, and clinicians and other health professionals were supported to feel comfortable with being open about the uncertainties in the evidence and helped to rephrase terminology likely to be misinterpreted by patients. These techniques of information provision should be added to the use of decision aids to enable patients diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer in routine practice to reach well-informed and reasoned decisions about their treatment, including full consideration of active surveillance and monitoring programs.
There is a need for evidence of the clinical effectiveness of minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of esophageal cancer, but randomized controlled trials in surgery are often difficult to conduct. The ROMIO (Randomized Open or Minimally Invasive Oesophagectomy) study will establish the feasibility of a main trial which will examine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of minimally invasive and open surgical procedures for the treatment of esophageal cancer.
A pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT), in two centers (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust) will examine numbers of incident and eligible patients who consent to participate in the ROMIO study. Interventions will include esophagectomy by: (1) open gastric mobilization and right thoracotomy, (2) laparoscopic gastric mobilization and right thoracotomy, and (3) totally minimally invasive surgery (in the Bristol center only). The primary outcomes of the feasibility study will be measures of recruitment, successful development of methods to monitor quality of surgery and fidelity to a surgical protocol, and development of a core outcome set to evaluate esophageal cancer surgery. The study will test patient-reported outcomes measures to assess recovery, methods to blind participants, assessments of surgical morbidity, and methods to capture cost and resource use. ROMIO will integrate methods to monitor and improve recruitment using audio recordings of consultations between recruiting surgeons, nurses, and patients to provide feedback for recruiting staff.
The ROMIO study aims to establish efficient methods to undertake a main trial of minimally invasive surgery versus open surgery for esophageal cancer.
The pilot trial has Current Controlled Trials registration number ISRCTN59036820(25/02/2013) at http://www.controlled-trials.com; the ROMIO trial record at that site gives a link to the original version of the study protocol.
Feasibility studies; Upper gastrointestinal neoplasms; Pilot study; Surgical procedures; Minimally invasive; Randomized controlled trial
The diagnosis of prostate cancer (PC) can provide a trigger for dietary change, and there is evidence that healthier diets may improve quality of life and clinical outcomes. However, men’s views about dietary change in PC survivorship are largely unknown. This multi-centre qualitative interview study explored men’s views about dietary change in PC survivorship, to better understand motivations for, and barriers to, achieving desired changes. The role of radical and active surveillance treatments on dietary change and the influence of men’s partners were examined. Focus groups also evaluated stakeholder opinion, including healthcare professionals, about the provision of dietary advice to PC patients.
A multi-centre interview study explored views about diet and motivations for, and barriers to, dietary change in men at elevated risk or diagnosed with PC following prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing. 58 men and 11 partners were interviewed. Interviews and focus groups were undertaken with 11 healthcare professionals, 5 patients and 4 partners to evaluate stakeholders’ opinions about the feasibility and acceptability of providing dietary advice to PC patients. Data were analysed using methods of constant comparison and thematic analysis.
Over half of diagnosed men reported making dietary changes, primarily to promote general or prostate health or facilitate coping, despite their uncertainty about diet-PC links. Interest in dietary advice was high. Information needs varied depending on treatment received, with men on active surveillance more frequently modifying their diet and regarding this as an adjunct therapy. Men considered their partners integral to implementing changes. Provision of dietary advice to men diagnosed with PC was considered by healthcare professionals and men to be feasible and appropriate in the context of a holistic ‘care package’.
Many men make positive dietary changes after PC diagnosis, which are perceived by men and their partners to bring psychological and general health benefits and could help future dietary intervention trials. Men and their partners desire more and better dietary information that may support PC survivorship, particularly among those embarking on active surveillance/monitoring programmes. There are opportunities for healthcare professionals to support PC patients both clinically and psychologically by the routine integration of healthy eating advice into survivorship care plans.
Cancer; Diet; Oncology; Prostatic neoplasms; Qualitative research; Survivors
The prevalence of severe and complex obesity is increasing worldwide and surgery may offer an effective and lasting treatment. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery are the two main surgical procedures performed.
This open parallel-group randomised controlled trial will compare the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of gastric band (Band) versus gastric bypass (Bypass) in adults with severe and complex obesity. It has an internal pilot phase (in two centres) with integrated qualitative research to establish effective and optimal methods for recruitment. Adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 kg/m2 or more, or a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or more and other co-morbidities will be recruited. At the end of the internal pilot the study will expand into more centres if the pre-set progression criteria of numbers and rates of eligible patients screened and randomised are met and if the expected rates of retention and adherence to treatment allocation are achieved. The trial will test the joint hypotheses that Bypass is non-inferior to Band with respect to more than 50% excess weight loss and that Bypass is superior to Band with respect to health related quality of life (HRQOL, EQ-5D) at three years. Secondary outcomes include other weight loss measures, waist circumference and remission/resolution of co-morbidities; generic and symptom-specific HRQOL; nutritional blood test results; resource use; eating behaviours and adverse events. A core outcome set for reporting the results of obesity surgery will be developed and a systematic review of the evidence for sleeve gastrectomy undertaken to inform the main study design.
By-Band is the first pragmatic study to compare the two most commonly performed bariatric surgical procedures for severe and complex obesity. The design will enable and empower surgeons to learn to recruit and participate in a randomised study. Early evidence shows that timely recruitment is possible.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00786323.
Complex obesity; Gastric band; Gastric bypass; Integrated qualitative research
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified multiple common genetic variants associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (PrCa), but these explain less than one-third of the heritability. To identify further susceptibility alleles, we conducted a meta-analysis of four GWAS including 5953 cases of aggressive PrCa and 11 463 controls (men without PrCa). We computed association tests for approximately 2.6 million SNPs and followed up the most significant SNPs by genotyping 49 121 samples in 29 studies through the international PRACTICAL and BPC3 consortia. We not only confirmed the association of a PrCa susceptibility locus, rs11672691 on chromosome 19, but also showed an association with aggressive PrCa [odds ratio = 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.03–1.21), P = 1.4 × 10−8]. This report describes a genetic variant which is associated with aggressive PrCa, which is a type of PrCa associated with a poorer prognosis.
Recruitment of sufficient participants in an efficient manner is still widely acknowledged to be a major challenge to the mounting and completion of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Few recruitment interventions have involved staff undertaking recruitment. This study aimed i) to understand the recruitment process from the perspective of recruiters actively recruiting RCT participants in six pragmatic RCTs, and ii) to identify opportunities for interventions to improve recruitment.
Interviews were undertaken with 72 individuals (32 doctors or RCT Chief investigators (CIs); 40 nurses/other health professionals) who were actively recruiting participants in six RCTs to explore their experiences of recruitment. The RCTs varied in scale, duration, and clinical contexts. Interviews were fully transcribed and analysed using qualitative content and thematic analytic methods derived from grounded theory. For this analysis, data were systematically extracted from each RCT and synthesised across all six RCTs to produce a detailed and nuanced understanding of the recruitment process from the perspectives of the recruiters.
Recruiters readily identified organisational difficulties, fewer than expected eligible patients, and patients’ treatment preferences as the key barriers to recruitment. As they described their experiences of recruitment, several previously hidden issues related to their roles as researchers and clinicians emerged, imbued with discomfort and emotion. The synthesis across the RCTs showed that doctors were uncomfortable about aspects of patient eligibility and the effectiveness of interventions, whereas nurses were anxious about approaching potential RCT participants and conflicts between the research and their clinical responsibilities. Recruiters seemed unaware that their views contributed to recruitment difficulties. Their views were not known to RCT CIs. Training and support needs were identified for both groups of staff.
The synthesis showed that recruitment to these RCTs was a complex and fragile process. Clear obstacles were identified but hidden challenges related to recruiters’ roles undermined recruitment, unbeknown to RCT CIs. Qualitative research can elicit and identify the hidden challenges. Training and support are then needed for recruiters to become more comfortable with the design and principles of RCTs, so that they can engage more openly with potentially eligible participants and create a more resilient recruitment process.
Equipoise; Qualitative research; Randomised controlled trials; Recruitment
Chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a relatively common and potentially serious condition with a limited evidence base for treatment. Specialist treatment for paediatric CFS/ME uses interventions recommended by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) including cognitive behavioural therapy, graded exercise therapy and activity management. The Lightning Process® (LP) is a trademarked intervention derived from osteopathy, life-coaching and neuro-linguistic programming, delivered over three consecutive days as group sessions. Although over 250 children with CFS/ME attend LP courses each year, there are no reported studies on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness.
This pragmatic randomised controlled trial is set within a specialist paediatric CFS/ME service in the south west of England. Children and young people with CFS/ME (n = 80 to 112), aged 12 to 18 years old will be randomised to specialist medical care (SMC) or SMC plus the LP. The primary outcome will be physical function (SF-36 physical function short form) and fatigue (Chalder Fatigue Scale).
This study will tell us whether adding the LP to SMC is effective and cost-effective compared to SMC alone. This study will also provide detailed information on the implementation of the LP and SMC.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN81456207 (31 July 2012).
Fatigue; Paediatrics; Chronic fatigue syndrome; Myalgic encephalomyelitis
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in males in developed countries. To identify common prostate cancer susceptibility alleles, we genotyped 211,155 SNPs on a custom Illumina array (iCOGS) in blood DNA from 25,074 prostate cancer cases and 24,272 controls from the international PRACTICAL Consortium. Twenty-three new prostate cancer susceptibility loci were identified at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8). More than 70 prostate cancer susceptibility loci, explaining ~30% of the familial risk for this disease, have now been identified. On the basis of combined risks conferred by the new and previously known risk loci, the top 1% of the risk distribution has a 4.7-fold higher risk than the average of the population being profiled. These results will facilitate population risk stratification for clinical studies.
Ecological and epidemiological studies have identified an inverse association of intensity and duration of sunlight exposure with prostate cancer, which may be explained by a reduction in vitamin D synthesis. Pigmentation traits influence sun exposure and therefore may affect prostate cancer risk. Because observational studies are vulnerable to confounding and measurement error, we used Mendelian randomization to examine the relationship of sun exposure with both prostate cancer risk and the intermediate phenotype, plasma levels of vitamin D.
We created a tanning, a skin color and a freckling score as combinations of SNPs that have been previously associated with these phenotypes. A higher score indicates propensity to burn, have a lighter skin color and freckles. The scores were tested for association with vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin-D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D) and PSA-detected prostate cancer in 3123 white British individuals enrolled in the Prostate Testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study.
The freckling score was inversely associated with 25(OH)D levels (change in 25(OH)D per score unit −0.27; 95%CI: −0.52, −0.01), and the tanning score was positively associated with prostate cancer risk (OR 1.05; 95%CI: 1.02,1.09), after adjustment for population stratification and potential confounders.
Individuals who tend to burn are more likely to spend less time in the sun and consequently have lower plasma vitamin D levels and higher susceptibility to prostate cancer.
The use of pigmentation related genetic scores is valuable for the assessment of the potential benefits of sun exposure with respect to prostate cancer risk.
pigmentation; tanning; sun exposure; vitamin D; prostate cancer
Alcohol is an established carcinogen but not an established risk factor for prostate cancer, despite some recent prospective studies suggesting increased risk among heavy drinkers. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of alcohol on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels and prostate cancer risk. Two thousand four hundred PSA detected prostate cancer cases and 12,700 controls matched on age and general practice were identified through a case-control study nested in the PSA-testing phase of a large UK-based randomized controlled trial for prostate cancer treatment (ProtecT). Linear and multinomial logistic regression models were used to estimate ratios of geometric means (RGMs) of PSA and relative risk ratios (RRRs) of prostate cancer by stage and grade, with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), associated with weekly alcohol intake and drinking patterns. We found evidence of lower PSA (RGM 0.98, 95% CI: 0.98–0.99) and decreased risk of low Gleason-grade (RRR 0.96; 95%CI 0.93–0.99) but increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer (RRR 1.04; 95%CI 0.99–1.08; pdifference=0.004) per 10 units/week increase in alcohol consumption, not explained by current BMI, blood pressure, comorbidities, or reverse causation. This is the first large population-based study to find evidence of lower PSA levels for increasing alcohol consumption, with potential public health implications for the detection of prostate cancer. Our results also support a modestly higher risk of high-grade disease for heavy drinkers, but require independent replication to establish the nature of the association of alcohol with low-grade disease, preferably in cohorts with a heterogeneous case-mix.
Alcohol is not an established risk factor for prostate cancer; however, the current work suggests that heavy drinking could cause a small increase in risk of the more aggressive forms. If the results are confirmed to be causal, prostate cancer risk will be added to the many long-term health risks of heavy drinking, and public health strategies will then also reduce high-risk, poorer prognosis prostate cancer. The authors also found that heavy drinkers have lower PSA levels, suggesting that heavy alcohol consumption could be used as a marker to identify men in whom some cancers might be missed.
alcohol; prostate cancer; prostate specific antigen; ProtecT, nested case–control
Opt-in consent is usually required for research, but is known to introduce selection bias. This is a particular problem for large scale epidemiological studies using only pre-collected health data. Most previous studies have shown that members of the public value opt-in consent and can perceive research without consent as an invasion of privacy. Past research has suggested that people are generally unaware of research processes and existing safeguards, and that education may increase the acceptability of research without prior informed consent, but this recommendation has not been formally evaluated. Our objectives were to determine the range of public opinion about the use of existing medical data for research and to explore views about consent to a secondary review of medical records for research. We also investigated the effect of the provision of detailed information about the potential effect of selection bias on public acceptability of the use of data for research.
We carried out a systematic review of existing literature on public attitudes to secondary use of existing health records identified by searching PubMed (1966-present), Embase (1974-present) and reference lists of identified studies to provide a general overview, followed by a qualitative focus group study with 19 older men recruited from rural and suburban primary care practices in the UK to explore key issues in detail.
The systematic review identified twenty-seven relevant papers and the findings suggested that males and older people were more likely to consent to a review of their medical data. Many studies noted participants’ lack of knowledge about research processes and existing safeguards and this was reflected in the focus groups. Focus group participants became more accepting of the use of pre-collected medical data without consent after being given information about selection bias and research processes. All participants were keen to contribute to NHS-related research but some were concerned about data-sharing for commercial gain and the potential misuse of information.
Increasing public education about research and specific targeted information provision could promote trust in research processes and safeguards, which in turn could increase the acceptability of research without specific consent where the need for consent would lead to biased findings and impede research necessary to improve public health.
Medical record; Informed consent; Selection bias; Secondary research; Confidentiality
Circulating vitamin B12 (cobalamin/B12) and total transcobalamin (tTC) have been associated with increased and reduced risk, respectively, of prostate cancer. Mendelian randomization has the potential to determine whether these are causal associations. We estimated associations of single nucleotide polymorphisms in B12-related genes (MTR, MTRR, FUT2, TCN2, TCN1, CUBN, and MUT) with plasma concentrations of B12, tTC, holo-transcobalamin, holo-haptocorrin, folate, and homocysteine and with prostate cancer risk in a case-control study (913 cases, 895 controls) nested within the UK-wide population-based ProtecT study of prostate cancer in men age 45-69 years. Instrumental variable (IV) analysis was used to estimate odds ratios for effects of B12 and tTC on prostate cancer. We observed that B12 was lower in men with FUT2 204G>A (rs492602), CUBN 758C>T (rs1801222) and MUT 1595G>A (rs1141321) alleles (Ptrend<0.001); tTC was lower in men with the TCN2 776C>G (rs1801198) allele (Ptrend<0.001). FUT2 204G>A and CUBN 758C>T were selected as instruments for B12; TCN2 776C>G for tTC. Conventional and IV estimates for the association of loge(B12) with prostate cancer were: OR=1.17 (95% CI 0.90-1.51), P=0.2 and OR=0.60 (0.16-2.15), P=0.4, respectively. Conventional and IV estimates for the association of loge(tTC) with prostate cancer were: OR=0.81 (0.54-1.20), P=0.3 and OR=0.41 (0.13-1.32), P=0.1, respectively. Confidence intervals around the IV estimates in our study were too wide to allow robust inference. Sample size estimates based on our data indicated that Mendelian randomization in this context requires much larger studies or multiple genetic variants that explain all of the variance in the intermediate phenotype.
Vitamin B12/cobalamin; transcobalamin; prostate cancer; Mendelian Randomization
To explore how patients' treatment preferences were expressed and justified during recruitment to a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and how they influenced participation and treatment decisions.
Study Design and Setting
Qualitative analysis of audio recordings of recruitment appointments with 93 participants aged 51–70 years in a UK multicenter RCT of localized prostate cancer treatments.
Treatment preferences at recruitment were more complex and dynamic than previously assumed. Most participants expressed views about treatments early in appointments, ranging on a continuum from hesitant to well-formed opinions. As recruiters elicited men’s views and provided detailed evidence-based treatment and study information, some opted for their preference, but many became uncertain and open to RCT recruitment, often accepting a different treatment from their original “preference.” Discussion of treatment preferences did not act as the expected barrier to recruitment but actively enabled many to express their concerns and reach an informed decision that often included RCT participation.
Exploring treatment preferences and providing evidence-based information can improve levels of informed decision making and facilitate RCT participation. Treatment preferences should be reconceptualized from a barrier to recruitment to an integral part of the information exchange necessary for informed decision making about treatments and RCT participation.
Treatment preferences; Prostate cancer; ProtecT study; Qualitative research methods; Randomized controlled trial; Recruitment to RCTs
Recruitment to randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with very different treatment arms is often difficult. The ProtecT (Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment) study successfully used qualitative research methods to improve recruitment and these methods were replicated in five other RCTs facing recruitment difficulties. A similar qualitative recruitment investigation was undertaken in the SPARE (Selective bladder Preservation Against Radical Excision) feasibility study to explore reasons for low recruitment and attempt to improve recruitment rates by implementing changes suggested by qualitative findings.
In Phase I of the investigation, reasons for low levels of recruitment were explored through content analysis of RCT documents, thematic analysis of interviews with trial staff and recruiters, and conversation analysis of audio-recordings of recruitment appointments. Findings were presented to the trial management group and a plan of action was agreed. In Phase II, changes to design and conduct were implemented, with training and feedback provided for recruitment staff.
Five key challenges to trial recruitment were identified in Phase I: (a) Investigators and recruiters had considerable difficulty articulating the trial design in simple terms; (b) The recruitment pathway was complicated, involving staff across different specialties/centres and communication often broke down; (c) Recruiters inadvertently used 'loaded' terminology such as 'gold standard' in study information, leading to unbalanced presentation; (d) Fewer eligible patients were identified than had been anticipated; (e) Strong treatment preferences were expressed by potential participants and trial staff in some centres. In Phase II, study information (patient information sheet and flowchart) was simplified, the recruitment pathway was focused around lead recruiters, and training sessions and 'tips' were provided for recruiters. Issues of patient eligibility were insurmountable, however, and the independent Trial Steering Committee advised closure of the SPARE trial in February 2010.
The qualitative investigation identified the key aspects of trial design and conduct that were hindering recruitment, and a plan of action that was acceptable to trial investigators and recruiters was implemented. Qualitative investigations can thus be used to elucidate challenges to recruitment in trials with very different treatment arms, but require sufficient time to be undertaken successfully.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurements are increasingly used to monitor men with localised prostate cancer (PCa), but there is little consensus about the method to use.
To apply age-specific predictions of PSA level (developed in men without cancer) to one cohort of men with clinically identified PCa and one cohort of men with PSA-detected PCa. We hypothesise that among men with clinically identified cancer, the annual increase in PSA level would be steeper than in men with PSA-detected cancer.
Design, setting, and participants
The Scandinavian Prostatic Cancer Group 4 (SPCG-4) cohort consisted of 321 men assigned to the watchful waiting arm of the SPCG-4 trial. The UK cohort consisted of 320 men with PSA-detected PCa in the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study in nine UK centres between 1999 and 2007 who opted for monitoring rather than treatment. Multilevel models describing changes in PSA level were fitted to the two cohorts, and average PSA level at age 50, change in PSA level with age, and predicted PSA values were derived.
Results and limitations
In the SPCG-4 cohort, mean PSA at age 50 was similar to the cancer-free cohort but with a steeper yearly increase in PSA level (16.4% vs 4.0%). In the UK cohort, mean PSA level was higher than that in the cancer-free cohort (due to a PSA biopsy threshold of 3.0 ng/ml) but with a similar yearly increase in PSA level (4.1%). Predictions were less accurate for the SPCG-4 cohort (median observed minus predicted PSA level: −2.0 ng/ml; interquartile range [IQR]: −7.6–0.7 ng/ml) than for the UK cohort (median observed minus predicted PSA level: −0.8 ng/ml; IQR: −2.1–0.1 ng/ml).
In PSA-detected men, yearly change in PSA was similar to that in cancer-free men, whereas in men with symptomatic PCa, the yearly change in PSA level was considerably higher. Our method needs further evaluation but has promise for refining active monitoring protocols.
active surveillance; localised prostate cancer; PSA doubling time; PSA velocity; reference ranges
Prostate cancer (PrCa) is the most frequently diagnosed male cancer in developed countries. To identify common PrCa susceptibility alleles, we have previously conducted a genome-wide association study in which 541, 129 SNPs were genotyped in 1,854 PrCa cases with clinically detected disease and 1,894 controls. We have now evaluated promising associations in a second stage, in which we genotyped 43,671 SNPs in 3,650 PrCa cases and 3,940 controls, and a third stage, involving an additional 16,229 cases and 14,821 controls from 21 studies. In addition to previously identified loci, we identified a further seven new prostate cancer susceptibility loci on chromosomes 2, 4, 8, 11, and 22 (P=1.6×10−8 to P=2.7×10−33).
There is substantial evidence implicating environmental factors in the progression of prostate cancer. The metabolic consequences of a western lifestyle, such as obesity, insulin resistance and abnormal hormone production have been linked to prostate carcinogenesis through multiple overlapping pathways. Insulin resistance results in raised levels of the mitogens insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, both of which may affect prostate cancer directly, or through their effect on other metabolic regulators. Obesity is associated with abnormal levels of adipocyte-derived peptides (adipokines), sex hormones and inflammatory cytokines. Adipokines have been shown to influence prostate cancer in both cell culture studies and observational, population level studies. Testosterone appears to have a complex relationship with prostate carcinogenesis, and it has been suggested that the lower levels associated with obesity may select for more aggressive androgen independent prostate cancer cells. Prostatic inflammation, caused by infection, urinary reflux or dietary toxins, frequently occurs prior to cancer development and may influence progression to advanced disease. High levels of ω-6 fatty acids in the diet may lead to the production of further inflammatory molecules that may influence prostate cancer. Increased fatty acid metabolism occurs within tumour cells, providing a potential target for prostate cancer therapies. Aberrations in amino acid metabolism have also been identified in prostate cancer tissue, particularly in metastatic cancer. This evidence indicates lifestyle interventions may be effective in reducing the incidence of clinical disease. However, much more research is needed before recommendations are made.
Prostate cancer; obesity; adipokines; insulin-like growth factors; diabetes; inflammation; metabolism
Epidemiological studies have identified a positive association between prostate cancer and recent onset type 2 diabetes mellitus but an increasingly inverse association with greater duration of type 2 diabetes. The mecha- nisms underlying these paradoxical associations are not clear. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the glucokinase gene, rs1799884, is associated with higher circulating plasma fasting glucose and with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. We report a case-control study nested within the population-based Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study ISRCTN20141297. Men aged 50-69 years based around 9 UK cities were invited for a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test between June 2002 and November 2006. 1,551 cases and 2,993 controls were geno-typed. We observed suggestive evidence for a positive association between the AA variant rs1799884 and PSA-detected prostate cancer (ORAA V GG= 1.40, 95% CI= 0.95 to 2.07). There was little evidence that this effect was greater for more advanced stage/ grade cancers (ORAA V GG= 1.78, 95% CI= 0.99 to 3.21) versus less advanced cancers (ORAA V GG= 1.23, 95% CI= 0.77 to 1.94) (p for interaction = 0.33). The rs1799884 genotype was not associated with PSA concentration, suggesting that any effect on prostate cancer risk is not attributable to PSA detection bias. Our results provide suggestive evidence for a link between a genotype associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and PSA-detected prostate cancer. We hypothesize that hyperglycaemia may be important in mediating this relationship.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms; glucokinase; GCK; rs1799884; prostate cancer; diabetes; insulin; case-control study; prostate specific antigen
Schools have been identified as an important place in which to support adolescent emotional health, although evidence as to which interventions are effective remains limited. Relatively little is known about student and staff views regarding current school-based emotional health provision and what they would like to see in the future, and this is what this study explored.
A random sample of 296 English secondary schools were surveyed to quantify current level of emotional health provision. Qualitative student focus groups (27 groups, 154 students aged 12-14) and staff interviews (12 interviews, 15 individuals) were conducted in eight schools, purposively sampled from the survey respondents to ensure a range of emotional health activity, free school meal eligibility and location. Data were analysed thematically, following a constant comparison approach.
Emergent themes were grouped into three areas in which participants felt schools did or could intervene: emotional health in the curriculum, support for those in distress, and the physical and psychosocial environment. Little time was spent teaching about emotional health in the curriculum, and most staff and students wanted more. Opportunities to explore emotions in other curriculum subjects were valued. All schools provided some support for students experiencing emotional distress, but the type and quality varied a great deal. Students wanted an increase in school-based help sources that were confidential, available to all and sympathetic, and were concerned that accessing support should not lead to stigma. Finally, staff and students emphasised the need to consider the whole school environment in order to address sources of distress such as bullying and teacher-student relationships, but also to increase activities that enhanced emotional health.
Staff and students identified several ways in which schools can improve their support of adolescent emotional health, both within and outside the curriculum. However, such changes should be introduced as part of a wider consideration of how the whole school environment can be more supportive of students' emotional health. Clearer guidance at policy level, more rigorous evaluation of current interventions, and greater dissemination of good practice is necessary to ensure adolescents' emotional health needs are addressed effectively within schools.
Recent studies based on genome-wide association, linkage, and admixture scan analysis have reported associations of various genetic variants in 8q24 with susceptibility to breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. This locus lies within a 1.18-Mb region that contains no known genes but is bounded at its centromeric end by FAM84B and at its telomeric end by c-MYC, two candidate cancer susceptibility genes. To investigate the associations of specific loci within 8q24 with specific cancers, we genotyped the nine previously reported cancer-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms across the region in four case–control sets of prostate (1854 case subjects and 1894 control subjects), breast (2270 case subjects and 2280 control subjects), colorectal (2299 case subjects and 2284 control subjects), and ovarian (1975 case subjects and 3411 control subjects) cancer. Five different haplotype blocks within this gene desert were specifically associated with risks of different cancers. One block was solely associated with risk of breast cancer, three others were associated solely with the risk of prostate cancer, and a fifth was associated with the risk of prostate, colorectal, and ovarian cancer, but not breast cancer. We conclude that there are at least five separate functional variants in this region.
There is evidence that a substantial part of genetic predisposition to prostate cancer (PCa) may be due to lower penetrance genes which are found by genome-wide association studies. We have recently conducted such a study and seven new regions of the genome linked to PCa risk have been identified. Three of these loci contain candidate susceptibility genes: MSMB, LMTK2 and KLK2/3. The MSMB and KLK2/3 genes may be useful for PCa screening, and the LMTK2 gene might provide a potential therapeutic target. Together with results from other groups, there are now 23 germline genetic variants which have been reported. These results have the potential to be developed into a genetic test. However, we consider that marketing of tests to the public is premature, as PCa risk can not be evaluated fully at this stage and the appropriate screening protocols need to be developed. Follow-up validation studies, as well as studies to explore the psychological implications of genetic profile testing, will be vital prior to roll out into healthcare.
prostate cancer; genetics; susceptibility loci; SNPs; relative risks
Objective To investigate the feasibility of testing for prostate cancer and the prevalence and characteristics of the disease in unselected young men.
Design Prospective cohort nested within a randomised controlled trial, with two years of follow-up.
Setting Eight general practices in a UK city.
Participants 1299 unselected men aged 45-49.
Intervention Prostate biopsies for participants with a prostate specific antigen level of 1.5 ng/ml or more and the possibility of randomisation to three treatments for those with localised prostate cancer.
Main outcome measures Uptake of testing for prostate specific antigen; positive predictive value of prostate specific antigen; and prevalence of prostate cancer, TNM disease stage, and histological grade (Gleason score).
Results 442 of 1299 men agreed to be tested for prostate specific antigen (34%) and 54 (12%) had a raised level. The positive predictive value for prostate specific antigen was 21.3%. Ten cases of prostate cancer were detected (2.3%) with eight having at least two positive results in biopsy cores and three showing perineural invasion. One tumour was of high volume (cT2c), Gleason score 7, with a positive result on digital rectal examination; nine tumours were cT1c, Gleason score 6, and eight had a negative result on digital rectal examination. Five of the nine eligible participants (55%) agreed to be randomised. No biochemical disease progression in the form of a rising prostate specific antigen level occurred in two years of follow-up.
Conclusions Men younger than 50 will accept testing for prostate cancer but at a much lower rate than older men. Using an age based threshold of 1.5 ng/ml, the prevalence of prostate cancer was similar to that in older men (3.0 ng/ml threshold) and some cancers of potential clinical significance were found.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN20141297
Few young adults with mental disorder seek help from a GP.
To explore young adults' perceptions of GPs as a source of help for mental distress.
Design of study
Bristol and surrounding areas, UK.
Males and females aged 16–24 years screened as ‘cases’ with probable mental disorder (GHQ [General Health Questionnaire]-12 score≥4) or describing past episodes of mental disorder (n = 23) were sampled purposively according to help-seeking behaviour. Semi-structured interviews explored help-seeking choices. Transcripts were analysed using thematic, constant comparison and case study analysis.
Most young adults did not value or recognise GPs as a source of help for mental disorder or distress. They thought that GPs deal exclusively with physical illness, lack training in mental health, are unable to provide ‘talking’ therapy, and may be dismissive of those consulting with mental distress. A prescription for antidepressants was seen as the most likely outcome of a consultation, but young adults wished to avoid this and so rarely consulted. Encounters with GPs could challenge or reinforce these perceptions.
Negative perceptions about the value of consulting a GP for mental distress may explain low rates of help-seeking among young adults, including those with severe distress. Young people require a better understanding of GPs' role. It is also necessary to address evidence reported elsewhere that some GPs also experience uncertainties about what they can offer within the constraints of primary care.
adolescent; health behaviour; mental disorders; patient acceptance of healthcare; qualitative research