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1.  The number of women who would need to be screened regularly by mammography to prevent one death from breast cancer 
Journal of Medical Screening  2011;18(4):210-212.
The number of women who would need to be screened regularly by mammography to prevent one death from breast cancer depends strongly on several factors, including the age at which regular screening starts, the period over which it continues, and the duration of follow-up after screening. Furthermore, more women would need to be INVITED for screening than would need to be SCREENED to prevent one death, since not all women invited attend for screening or are screened regularly. Failure to consider these important factors accounts for many of the major discrepancies between different published estimates. The randomised evidence indicates that, in high income countries, around one breast cancer death would be prevented in the long term for every 400 women aged 50–70 years regularly screened over a ten-year period.
PMCID: PMC3266234  PMID: 22184734
2.  Predictors of early death in female patients with breast cancer in the UK: a cohort study 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000247.
To identify factors predicting early death in women with breast cancer.
Cohort study.
29 trusts across seven cancer networks in the North Thames area.
15 037 women with primary breast cancer diagnosed between January 1996 and December 2005.
Logistic regression analyses to determine predictors of early death and factors associated with lack of surgical treatment.
Main exposures
Age at diagnosis, mode of presentation, ethnicity, disease severity, comorbidities, treatment and period of diagnosis in relation to the Cancer Plan (the NHS's strategy in 2000 for investment in and reform of cancer services).
Main outcome measures
Death from any cause within 1 year of diagnosis, and receipt of surgical treatment.
By 31 December 2006, 4765 women had died, 980 in the year after diagnosis. Older age and disease severity independently predicted early death. Women over 80 were more likely to die early than women under 50 (OR 8.05, 95% CI 5.96 to 10.88). Presence of distant metastases on diagnosis increased the odds of early death more than eightfold (OR 8.41, 95% CI 6.49 to 10.89). Two or more recorded comorbidities were associated with a nearly fourfold increase. There was a significant decrease in odds associated with surgery (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.35). Independently of disease severity and comorbidities, women over 70 were less likely than those under 50 to be treated surgically and this was even more pronounced in those aged over 80 (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.10). Other factors independently associated with a reduced likelihood of surgery included a non-screening presentation, non-white ethnicity and additional comorbidities.
These findings may partially explain the survival discrepancies between the UK and other European countries in female patients with breast cancer. The study identifies a group of women with a particularly poor prognosis for whom interventions aiming at early detection may be targeted.
Article summary
Article focus
Several studies have shown that the UK has lower survival for breast cancer than some other European countries with a similar expenditure on healthcare.
Differences have been shown to occur mainly in older patients and in the first year after diagnosis.
Several reasons/explanations have been proposed.
Key messages
This study shows that patients with breast cancer dying in the first year after diagnosis are more likely to be older and have more advanced disease and existing comorbidities.
Surgical treatment and (to a lesser extent) radiotherapy and tamoxifen usage were associated with a reduced risk of early death.
The likelihood of receiving surgery was inversely related to age, independently of comorbidity and disease severity.
These findings suggest that early detection, management of comorbidities and optimisation of treatment of older patients are important target areas to improve outcomes.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is a large cohort of women with a diagnosis of breast cancer, and the results may be generalisable to women treated for breast cancer in the UK during the same time period.
Many variables that may be related to both risk factors and outcomes have not been assessed in this study. However, their correlation with death within a year would have to be very strong to explain the strong associations seen in our data.
PMCID: PMC3227804  PMID: 22123920
3.  Survival endpoints in colorectal cancer and the effect of second primary other cancer on disease free survival 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:438.
In cancer research the selection and definitions of survival endpoints are important and yet they are not used consistently. The aim of this study was to compare different survival endpoints in patients with primary colorectal cancer (CRC) and to understand the effect of second primary other cancer on disease-free survival (DFS) calculations.
A population-based cohort of 415 patients with CRC, 332 of whom were treated with curative intention between the years 2000-2003, was analysed. Events such as locoregional recurrence, distant metastases, second primary cancers, death, cause of death and loss to follow-up were recorded. Different survival endpoints, including DFS, overall survival, cancer-specific survival, relapse-free survival, time to treatment failure and time to recurrence were compared and DFS was calculated with and without inclusion of second primary other cancers.
The events that occurred most often in patients treated with curative intention were non-cancer-related death (n = 74), distant metastases (n = 66) and death from CRC (n = 59). DFS was the survival endpoint with most events (n = 170) followed by overall survival (n = 144) and relapse-free survival (n = 139). Fewer events were seen for time to treatment failure (n = 80), time to recurrence (n = 68) and cancer-specific survival (n = 59). Second primary other cancer occurred in 26 patients and its inclusion as an event in DFS calculations had a detrimental effect on the survival. The DFS for patients with stage I-III disease was 62% after 5 years if second primary other cancer was not included as an event, compared with 58% if it was. However, the difference was larger for stage II (68 vs 60%) than for stage III (49 vs 47%).
The inclusion of second primary other cancer as an endpoint in DFS analyses significantly alters the DFS for patients with CRC. Researchers and journals must clearly define survival endpoints in all trial protocols and published manuscripts.
PMCID: PMC3209454  PMID: 21989154
4.  Serum levels of selenium and smoking habits at age 50 influence long term prostate cancer risk; a 34 year ULSAM follow-up 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:431.
Serum selenium level (s-Se) has been associated with prostate cancer (PrCa) risk. We investigated the relation between s-Se, smoking and non-screening detected PrCa and explored if polymorphisms in two DNA repair genes: OGG1 and MnSOD, influenced any effect of s-Se.
ULSAM, a population based Swedish male cohort (n = 2322) investigated at age 50 for s-Se and s-Se influencing factors: serum cholesterol, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and smoking habits. At age 71 a subcohort, (n = 1005) was genotyped for OGG1 and MnSOD polymorphisms.
In a 34-year-follow-up, national registries identified 208 PrCa cases further confirmed in medical records. Participants with s-Se in the upper tertile had a non-significantly lower risk of PrCa. Smokers with s-Se in the two lower tertiles (≤80 μg/L) experienced a higher cumulative incidence of PrCa than smokers in the high selenium tertile (Hazard Ratio 2.39; 95% CI: 1.09-5.25). A high tertile selenium level in combination with non-wt rs125701 of the OGG1 gene in combination with smoking status or rs4880 related variation of MnSOD gene appeared to protect from PrCa.
S-Se levels and smoking habits influence long-term risk of PrCa. Smoking as a risk factor for PrCa in men with low s-Se is relevant to explore further. Exploratory analyses of variations in OGG1 and MnSOD genes indicate that hypotheses about patterns of exposure to selenium and smoking combined with data on genetic variation in genes involved in DNA repair can be valuable to pursue.
PMCID: PMC3199281  PMID: 21982398
5.  Association between levels of C-reactive protein and leukocytes and cancer: Three repeated measurements in the Swedish AMORIS study 
To study levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and leukocytes, as inflammatory markers, in the context of cancer risk.
From the Apolipoprotein MOrtality RISk (AMORIS) study, we selected 102,749 persons with one measurement and 9,273 persons with three repeated measurements of CRP and leukocytes. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression was applied to categories of CRP (<10, 10-15, 15-25, 25-50, >50 g/L) and quartiles of leukocytes. An Inflammation-based Predictive Score (IPS) indicated whether someone had CRP levels >10mg/L combined with leukocytes >10×109/L. Reverse causality was assessed by excluding those with <3, 5, or 7 years of follow-up. To analyze repeated measurements of CRP and leukocytes the repeated IPS (IPSr) was calculated by adding the IPS of each measurement.
In the cohort with one measurement, there was a positive trend between CRP and cancer, with the lowest category being the reference: 0.99 (0.92-1.06), 1.28 (1.11-1.47), 1.27 (1.09-1.49), 1.22 (1.01-1.48) for the 2nd to 5th categories, respectively. This association disappeared when excluding those with follow-up <3, 5 or 7 years. The association between leukocytes and cancer was slightly stronger. In the cohort with repeated measurements the IPSr was strongly associated with cancer risk: 1.87 (1.33-2.63), 1.51 (0.56-4.06), 4.46 (1.43-13.87) for IPSr =1, 2, and 3, compared to IPSr =0. The association remained after excluding those with follow-up <1 year.
Conclusions and impact
Our large prospective cohort study adds evidence for a link between inflammatory markers and cancer risk by using repeated measurements and ascertaining reverse causality.
PMCID: PMC3078551  PMID: 21297038
cancer; C-reactive protein; leukocytes; Sweden

Results 1-5 (5)