• Association analyses based on false discovery rate implicate new loci for coronary artery disease.

    5 April 2018

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in coronary artery disease (CAD) had identified 66 loci at 'genome-wide significance' (P < 5 × 10(-8)) at the time of this analysis, but a much larger number of putative loci at a false discovery rate (FDR) of 5% (refs. 1,2,3,4). Here we leverage an interim release of UK Biobank (UKBB) data to evaluate the validity of the FDR approach. We tested a CAD phenotype inclusive of angina (SOFT; ncases = 10,801) as well as a stricter definition without angina (HARD; ncases = 6,482) and selected cases with the former phenotype to conduct a meta-analysis using the two most recent CAD GWAS. This approach identified 13 new loci at genome-wide significance, 12 of which were on our previous list of loci meeting the 5% FDR threshold, thus providing strong support that the remaining loci identified by FDR represent genuine signals. The 304 independent variants associated at 5% FDR in this study explain 21.2% of CAD heritability and identify 243 loci that implicate pathways in blood vessel morphogenesis as well as lipid metabolism, nitric oxide signaling and inflammation.

  • The Role of Lipoprotein(a) in Chronic Kidney Disease.

    15 February 2018

    Lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)) and its measurement, structure and function, the impact of ethnicity and environmental factors, epidemiological and genetic associations with vascular disease, and new prospects in drug development have been extensively examined throughout this Thematic Review series on Lp(a). Studies suggest that the kidney has a role in Lp(a) catabolism, and that Lp(a) levels are increased in association with kidney disease only for people with large apo(a) isoforms. By contrast, in those patients with large protein losses, as in the nephrotic syndrome and peritoneal dialysis, Lp(a) is increased irrespective of apo(a) isoform size. Such acquired abnormalities can be reversed by kidney transplantation or remission of nephrosis. In this Thematic review we focus on the relationship between Lp(a), chronic kidney disease and risk of cardiovascular events.

  • A randomised controlled trial of intravenous zoledronic acid in malignant pleural disease: a proof of principle pilot study.

    27 March 2018

    INTRODUCTION: Animal studies have shown Zoledronic Acid (ZA) may diminish pleural fluid accumulation and tumour bulk in malignant pleural disease (MPD). We performed a pilot study to evaluate its effects in humans. METHODS: We undertook a single centre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in adults with MPD. Patients were randomised (1:1) to receive 2 doses of intravenous ZA or placebo, 3 weeks apart and were followed-up for 6 weeks. The co-primary outcomes were change in Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score measured breathlessness during trial follow-up and change in the initial area under the curve (iAUC) on thoracic Dynamic Contrast Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) from randomisation to week 5. Multiple secondary endpoints were also evaluated. RESULTS: Between January 2010 and May 2013, 30 patients were enrolled, 24 randomised and 4 withdrew after randomisation (1 withdrew consent; 3 had a clinical decline). At baseline, the ZA group were more breathless, had more advanced disease on radiology and worse quality of life than the placebo group. There was no significant difference between the groups with regards change in breathlessness (Adjusted mean difference (AMD) 4.16 (95%CI -4.7 to 13.0)) or change in DCE-MRI iAUC (AMD -15.4 (95%CI -58.1 to 27.3). Two of nine (22%) in the ZA arm had a >10% improvement by modified RECIST (vs 0/11 who received placebo). There was no significant difference in quality of life measured by the QLQ-C30 score (global QOL: AMD -4.1 (-13.0 to 4.9)), side effects or serious adverse event rates. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first human study to evaluate ZA in MPD. The study is limited by small numbers and imbalanced baseline characteristics. Although no convincing treatment effect was identified, potential benefits for specific subgroups of patients cannot be excluded. This study provides important information regarding the feasibility of future trials to evaluate the effects of ZA further. TRIAL REGISTRATION: UK Clinical Research Network ID 8877 ISRCTN17030426 www.isrctn.com.

  • A prospective randomised phase II trial of thalidomide with carboplatin compared with carboplatin alone as a first-line therapy in women with ovarian cancer, with evaluation of potential surrogate markers of angiogenesis.

    6 March 2018

    OBJECTIVES: To compare the safety and efficacy of thalidomide in combination with carboplatin to carboplatin alone as a first-line therapy in women with ovarian cancer and to evaluate the anti-angiogenic effects of thalidomide by measurement of surrogate markers of angiogenesis. METHODS: Forty patients with Stage IC-IV ovarian cancer were randomly assigned to receive either carboplatin (AUC 7) intravenously every four weeks for up to six doses (n = 20) or carboplatin at the same dose and schedule, plus thalidomide 100 mg orally daily for six months (n = 20). RESULTS: After median follow-up of 1.95 years, there was no difference in the overall response rate (90% in carboplatin arm, 75% in combination arm; p = 0.41). Increased incidence of symptoms of constipation, dizziness, tiredness and peripheral neuropathy was observed in the combination arm. There was a significant fall in CA-125 and E-selectin in both arms after treatment and VCAM-1 in the carboplatin arm. No significant difference between the two arms was observed in any of the markers analysed. CONCLUSIONS: In our trial the addition of thalidomide to carboplatin was well tolerated with no increased efficacy. The fall in some of the angiogenic markers in both groups may reflect tumour response rather than any specific anti-angiogenic effect of thalidomide.

  • Paraneoplastic tumefactive demyelination with underlying combined germ cell cancer.

    5 December 2017

    Paraneoplastic demyelination is a rare disorder of the central nervous system. We describe a 60-year-old man with tumefactive demyelination who had an underlying retroperitoneal germ cell cancer. He presented with visuospatial problems and memory loss and had a visual field defect. His MRI was interpreted as a glioma but stereotactic biopsy showed active demyelination. Investigation for multiple sclerosis was negative but CT imaging showed retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy, and nodal biopsy confirmed a combined germ cell cancer. He responded poorly to corticosteroid treatment, and his visual field defect progressed. However, 6 months after plasma exchange and successful chemotherapy, he has partially improved clinically and radiographically. Tumefactive demyelination is typically associated with multiple sclerosis but may be paraneoplastic. It is important to recognise paraneoplastic tumefactive demyelination early, as the neurological outcome relies on treating the associated malignancy.

  • Hormone replacement therapy after endometrial cancer.

    12 December 2017

    Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common female cancer in the UK and the most common gynaecological cancer. Quality of life and symptom control needs to be considered in women who enter a surgically induced menopause. Hormone replacement in this population has been controversial to date. The current evidence regarding the safety of estrogen only and combined hormone replacement therapy is discussed in this review. The use of topical vaginal therapies, alternate therapies and the current data regarding testosterone use for symptom control is also outlined.