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1.  Socioeconomic Disparity in Survival after Breast Cancer in Ireland: Observational Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111729.
We evaluated the relationship between breast cancer survival and deprivation using data from the Irish National Cancer Registry. Cause-specific survival was compared between five area-based socioeconomic deprivation strata using Cox regression. Patient and tumour characteristics and treatment were compared using modified Poisson regression with robust variance estimation. Based on 21356 patients diagnosed 1999–2008, age-standardized five-year survival averaged 80% in the least deprived and 75% in the most deprived stratum. Age-adjusted mortality risk was 33% higher in the most deprived group (hazard ratio 1.33, 95% CI 1.21–1.45, P<0.001). The most deprived groups were more likely to present with advanced stage, high grade or hormone receptor-negative cancer, symptomatically, or with significant comorbidity, and to be smokers or unmarried, and less likely to have breast-conserving surgery. Cox modelling suggested that the available data on patient, tumour and treatment factors could account for only about half of the survival disparity (adjusted hazard ratio 1.18, 95% CI 0.97–1.43, P = 0.093). Survival disparity did not diminish over time, compared with the period 1994–1998. Persistent survival disparities among Irish breast cancer patients suggest unequal use of or access to services and highlight the need for further research to understand and remove the behavioural or other barriers involved.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111729
PMCID: PMC4221110  PMID: 25372837
2.  Folate-related gene variants in Irish families affected by neural tube defects 
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:223.
Periconceptional folic acid use can often prevent neural tube defects (NTDs). Variants of genes involved in folate metabolism in mothers and children have been associated with occurrence of NTDs. We identified Irish families with individuals affected by neural tube defects. In these families, we observed that neural tube defects and birth defects overall occurred at a higher rate in the maternal lineage compared with the paternal lineage. The goal of this study was to look for evidence for genetic effects that could explain the discrepancy in the occurrence of these birth defects in the maternal vs. paternal lineage. We genotyped blood samples from 322 individuals from NTD-affected Irish families, identified through their membership in spina bifida associations. We looked for differences in distribution in maternal vs. paternal lineages of five genetic polymorphisms: the DHFR 19 bp deletion, MTHFD1 1958G>A, MTHFR 1298A>C, MTHFR 677C>T, and SLC19A1 80A>G. In addition to looking at genotypes individually, we determined the number of genotypes associated with decreased folate metabolism in each relative (“risk genotypes”) and compared the distribution of these genotypes in maternal vs. paternal relatives. Overall, maternal relatives had a higher number of genotypes associated with lower folate metabolism than paternal relatives (p = 0.017). We expected that relatives would share the same risk genotype as the individuals with NTDs and/or their mothers. However, we observed that maternal relatives had an over-abundance of any risk genotype, rather than one specific genotype. The observed genetic effects suggest an epigenetic mechanism in which decreased folate metabolism results in epigenetic alterations related to the increased rate of NTDs and other birth defects seen in the maternal lineage. Future studies on the etiology of NTDs and other birth defects could benefit from including multigenerational extended families, in order to explore potential epigenetic mechanisms.
doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00223
PMCID: PMC3818582  PMID: 24223580
neural tube defects; folate metabolism; DHFR 19bp deletion; MTHFD1 1958G>A; MTHFR 1298A>C; MTHFR 677C>T; SLC19A1 80A>G; maternal inheritance
3.  Characteristics of HIV Infected Adolescents in Latin America: Results from the NISDI Pediatric Study* 
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics  2010;57(3):165-172.
Objective: HIV-infected adolescents are a heterogeneous population; source of infection, immunodeficiency severity and antiretroviral (ARV) experience vary. Here, we describe youth followed in an observational study at Latin American sites of the NICHD International Site Development Initiative (NISDI).
Methods: The NISDI pediatric protocol is an ongoing prospective cohort study that collects demographic, clinical, immunologic, virologic and medication data. Youth were enrolled at 15 sites in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico between 2002 and 2006. HIV-infected subjects aged 12–21 years at the time of enrollment were analyzed.
Results: Data from 120 HIV-infected youth were analyzed. Sixty-nine (58%) had acquired HIV through vertical transmission (VT); 51(42%) via horizontal transmission (HT). Twenty-eight percent of the VT group were not diagnosed until they were ≥10 years of age. Ninety-one percent of the VT group and 46% of the HT were receiving ARV at enrollment. Modes of HT included sexual (ST), blood product transfusion (BPT) and unknown (U). Severe immunodeficiency was frequent (21%) in the ST group. Low BMI was frequent in the VT and BPT sub-groups. Utilization of HAART increased over the course of the study, but viral suppression was present in only 38% of the VT group and 37% of the HT group at study end.
Conclusions: This cohort of HIV-infected adolescents in Latin America displayed a diverse epidemiologic pattern. Care providers must be prepared to address the diverse needs and challenges of this population. The levels of virologic suppression achieved were inadequate. Further research into appropriate interventions for this population is urgently needed.
doi:10.1093/tropej/fmq068
PMCID: PMC3145388  PMID: 20685800
HIV-infected adolescents; Latin America; Cohort study
4.  Fertility of Male Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;28(2):332-339.
Purpose
This study was undertaken to determine the effect of treatment for childhood cancer on male fertility.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed the fertility of male Childhood Cancer Survivor Study survivor and sibling cohorts who completed a questionnaire. We abstracted the chemotherapeutic agents administered, the cumulative dose of drug administered for selected drugs, and the doses and volumes of all radiation therapy from medical records. Risk factors for siring a pregnancy were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models.
Results
The 6,224 survivors age 15 to 44 years who were not surgically sterile were less likely to sire a pregnancy than siblings (hazard ratio [HR], 0.56; 95% CI, −0.49 to 0.63). Among survivors, the HR of siring a pregnancy was decreased by radiation therapy of more than 7.5 Gy to the testes (HR, 0.12; 95% CI, −0.02 to 0.64), higher cumulative alkylating agent dose (AAD) score or treatment with cyclophosphamide (third tertile HR, 0.42; 95% CI, −0.31 to 0.57) or procarbazine (second tertile HR, 0.48; 95% CI, −0.26 to 0.87; third tertile HR, 0.17; 95% CI, −0.07 to 0.41). Compared with siblings, the HR for ever siring a pregnancy for survivors who had an AAD score = 0, a hypothalamic/pituitary radiation dose = 0 Gy, and a testes radiation dose = 0 Gy was 0.91 (95% CI, 0.73 to 1.14; P = .41).
Conclusion
This large study identified risk factors for decreased fertility that may be used for counseling male cancer patients.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.24.9037
PMCID: PMC2815721  PMID: 19949008
5.  Fertility of Female Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(16):2677-2685.
Purpose
This study was undertaken to determine the effect, if any, of treatment for cancer diagnosed during childhood or adolescence on fertility.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed the fertility of female participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), which consisted of 5-year survivors, and a cohort of randomly selected siblings who responded to a questionnaire. Medical records of all members of the cohort were abstracted to obtain chemotherapeutic agents administered; the cumulative dose of drug administered for several drugs of interest; and the doses, volumes, and dates of administration of all radiation therapy.
Results
There were 5,149 female CCSS participants, and there were 1,441 female siblings of CCSS participants who were age 15 to 44 years. The relative risk (RR) for survivors of ever being pregnant was 0.81 (95% CI, 0.73 to 0.90; P < .001) compared with female siblings. In multivariate models among survivors only, those who received a hypothalamic/pituitary radiation dose ≥ 30 Gy (RR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.83) or an ovarian/uterine radiation dose greater than 5 Gy were less likely to have ever been pregnant (RR, 0.56 for 5 to 10 Gy; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.85; RR, 0.18 for > 10 Gy; 95% CI, 0.13 to 0.26). Those with a summed alkylating agent dose (AAD) score of three or four or who were treated with lomustine or cyclophosphamide were less likely to have ever been pregnant.
Conclusion
This large study demonstrated that fertility is decreased among female CCSS participants. The risk factors identified may be utilized for pretreatment counseling of patients and their parents.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.20.1541
PMCID: PMC2690392  PMID: 19364965
6.  Impact of CNS Treatment on Mood in Adult Survivors of Childhood Leukemia: A Report From the Children’s Cancer Group 
Purpose
This study assessed the relationship between CNS treatment and psychologic mood using the Profile of Moods State (POMS), a standardized measure of affect, among a large sample of young adult survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL; N = 555).
Patients and Methods
Survivors of childhood ALL (ages 18 to 33 years at study entry) participated in a structured telephone interview eliciting demographic, health, and behavioral data and the POMS. Treatment data included total dose of CNS irradiation (CRT) and intrathecal methotrexate (MTX) obtained from medical records.
Results
Mood disturbance was reported by 24% of survivors. High-dose CRT and MTX predicted disturbance rates modestly and primarily in combination with education variables. Interactions between educational achievement, a history of attendance in special education classes, and sex were better predictors than treatment type or dose. Non-white males, those younger than 12.5 years of age at diagnosis, and those with negative perceptions of current health and cancer’s impact on employment were also at greater risk for mood disturbance (P < .01 to .001).
Conclusion
Although most survivors are doing well psychologically, a subset of long-term survivors show potentially serious mood disturbance. Mood disturbance seems to be a function of interactions between preexisting individual difference variables (eg, sex, race/ethnicity), treatment factors, and posttreatment educational experiences. Prevention strategies aimed at childhood cancer survivors at greatest risk for mood disturbance may be improved by focus on posttreatment psychosocial and educational supports.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2003.04.089
PMCID: PMC1459335  PMID: 14645430

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