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Research Highlights - DCEG News Updates

Highlighted research findings and scientific papers by DCEG investigators.
    • A Healthy Lifestyle May Help Former Smokers Lower Their Risk of Death from All Causes
      , by NCI Staff

      Findings from an analysis of a large group of former smokers who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study showed that former smokers who adhered to evidence-based recommendations for body weight, physical activity, and alcohol intake had a lower risk of mortality than former smokers who didn't adhere to these recommendations.

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    • Tea Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Death

      Investigators found that drinking 2+ cups of tea per day was associated with lower risk of death in a study of nearly five million people in the United Kingdom, where black tea is common.

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    • Many Types of Leisure Time Activities May Lower Risk of Death for Older Adults
      , by NCI Staff

      A study led by Dr. Eleanor Watts showed that older adults who participate weekly in many different types of leisure time activities, such as walking for exercise, jogging, swimming laps, or playing tennis, may have a lower risk of death from any cause, as well as death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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    • Oral Microbiome Linked to Lung Cancer Risk
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      A study from Emily Vogtmann, Ph.D., M.P.H., senior investigator in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, links the oral microbiome to lung cancer risk using data from three DCEG cohorts: the Agricultural Health Study, NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening trial.

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    • HPV Vaccine Protection Outweighs Additional Risk of Cervical Lesions Caused by Non-Preventable HPV Types
      , by Maura Kate Costello, M.A.

      In a study published June 2022 in Lancet Oncology, Jaimie Shing, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues observed that HPV types not targeted by the vaccine cause cervical lesions more frequently in vaccinated populations than in unvaccinated populations. However, the number of prevented cervical lesions was considerably greater than the number of additional lesions attributed to non-preventable HPV types, thus confirming the efficacy of the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer prevention.

      this study is the first to observe and evaluate clinical unmasking following HPV vaccination.  

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    • Testing for IBMFS Important for Treatment Decisions in Severe Aplastic Anemia
      , by Jennifer K. Loukissas, M.P.P.

      Individuals who receive hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) for treatment of severe aplastic anemia (SAA) can benefit from genetic testing prior to treatment initiation to determine if they have an unrecognized inherited bone marrow failure syndrome.

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    • Interferon Treatment May Improve COVID-19 Outcomes in People with Certain Genetic Factors
      , by Justine E. Yu, Ph.D.

      Drs. Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Oscar Florez-Vargas, and Rouf Banday in the Laboratory of Translational Genomics investigated the role of OAS1 in COVID-19 severity in patients of European and African ancestries. This finding contributes to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of COVID-19 disease severity and may inform treatment options for COVID-19.

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    • Bringing the Pieces Together: CCR-DCEG FLEX Awards
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      To capitalize on the complementary research approaches of the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) and DCEG, the CCR-DCEG FLEX award was established in 2015 to fund collaborative projects. Seven years later, Drs. Constanza Camargo, Charles Rabkin, Eric Engels, Neelam Giri, and Laufey Amundadottir, discuss how their projects came about and their progress toward understanding the causes of cancer and the means of prevention.

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    • Validation of a Low-cost, Rapid HPV DNA Genotyping Test for Cervical Cancer Prevention
      , by Jennifer K. Loukissas, M.P.P.

      A key deliverable of the Cancer Moonshot initiative to Accelerate Cervical Cancer Control is a rapid, mobile, simple, and affordable HPV DNA typing assay for risk-based screening and management in resource-limited settings where routine screening is logistically and cost prohibitive. Drs. Kanan Desai, Mark Schiffman, Silvia de Sanjose, and colleagues in the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Clinical Genetics Branch, in cooperation with Atila Biosystems scientists, guided the redesign of an existing test for this purpose.

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    • Radioactive Iodine Treatment for Thyroid Cancer Associated with Increased Risk of Second Cancers
      , by Maura Kate Costello, M.A.

      Elisa Pasqual, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues found that RAI therapy for thyroid cancer among people younger than 45 was associated with increased risk of solid cancer and leukemia. The strength of this study lies in its size and length of follow up.

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    • Two Studies on Disinfection Byproducts in Drinking Water and Cancer Risk
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      Two studies from the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, led by Drs. Laura Beane Freeman and Rena Jones, respectively, investigated the relationship between disinfection byproducts in drinking water and genetic factors for risk for bladder cancer and hormonal factors and risk for endometrial cancer.

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    • Cancer Death Rates Among Black People Declined Over Time, but Remain Higher than Other Racial and Ethnic Groups
      , by NCI Staff

      Wayne Lawrence, Dr.Ph.H., postdoctoral fellow in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, and Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., senior investigator in the Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch report that from 1999 to 2019, rates of cancer deaths declined steadily among Black people in the United States. Nevertheless, in 2019, Black people still had considerably higher rates of cancer death than people in other racial and ethnic groups.

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    • HPV 16 Variants Associated with Prognosis for Oropharyngeal Cancer
      , by Jennifer K. Loukissas, M.P.P.

      Human papillomavirus-driven oropharyngeal cancer (HPV-OPC), a type of throat cancer caused by oral HPV infection, is rapidly increasing in incidence in the US. This is the first study to sequence the HPV genome in a large number of HPV-OPC, and links HPV16 genetic variants to poorer patient survival. Median survival was 4 years for OPC patients with an HPV infection with one or more of eight specific viral genetic variants compared to 19 years for patients with infections without these variants.

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    • Uterine Cancer Death Rates Rising, Highest Among Black Women in the United States
      , by Justine E. Yu, Ph.D.

      A study led by Dr. Megan Clarke in the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, finds mortality rates from uterine cancer have been rising in the United States from 2010 to 2017, and are highest among non-Hispanic Black women. The higher death rates are driven by rising incidence of aggressive subtypes of uterine cancer, which are more commonly diagnosed in non-Hispanic Black women.

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    • Spectrum of Skin Cancer Risk Characterized for Solid Organ Transplant Recipients
      , by Maura Kate Costello, M.A.

      In the largest cohort study to date of solid organ transplant recipients, Michael Sargen, M.D., and colleagues characterized the spectrum of risk for common and rare non-keratinocyte skin cancers. Key risk factors that may contribute to elevated risk are viruses, UV radiation exposure, and immunosuppression.

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    • With Big Data Come Big Responsibilities
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      Data science provides a powerful transdisciplinary approach to data stewardship and analysis that allows researchers to take full advantage of the increasing scale of epidemiological data. DCEG investigators are implementing this approach across the Division by building collaborative data platforms and software tools for large-scale epidemiological research.

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    • Making Strides Toward Precision Medicine for Individuals with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome
      , by Maura Kate Costello, M.A.

      LFS research conducted in the Clinical Genetics Branch reveals nuanced cancer incidence patterns, key distinctions within the LFS population, and areas for improvement in TP53 variant classification and clinical management.

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    • Study Suggests HPV Vaccine Would Prevent Most Cervical Cancers/Precancers Across Major U.S. Racial/Ethnic Groups
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      Investigators from the CDC, Biostatistics Branch, and Clinical Genetics Branch collaborated on a pooled analysis of human papillomavirus (HPV) genotype studies in the U.S. and showed that among major racial and ethnic groups, at least 84% of cervical precancers and 90% of invasive cancers were attributed to HPV types targeted by the 9-valent HPV vaccine. Among non-Hispanic Black women, a higher proportion of squamous cervical precancers were attributed to non-vaccine types, especially HPV 35.

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    • Small Increases in Physical Activity Could Prevent Over 100,000 Deaths/Year
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      A research letter from Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., and Charles Mathews, Ph.D., in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch and Barry Graubard, Ph.D., in the Biostatistics Branch, reported that if the adult population in the United States increased moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity by 10 minutes per day, more than 100,000 deaths per year could be prevented. Similar benefits were observed regardless of sex or racial and ethnic group.

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    • Gastric Autoantibodies Associated with Elevated Gastric Cancer Risk in Women
      , by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

      Using blood samples from a cohort of young Finnish women, Minkyo Song, M.D., Ph.D., and Charles Rabkin, M.D., in the Infections and Immunology Branch and colleagues discovered an association between the presence of gastric parietal cell antibodies, which are used to diagnose autoimmune gastritis, and elevated risk of gastric cancer. These findings may explain the recent rise in gastric cancer developing at a young age.

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