CRN Monthly Update for September 2015

In this issue:


The CRN and Precision Medicine

The CRN intends to help pave the way for the burgeoning area of cancer research encompassing precision medicine. This area is increasingly a part of the national clinical and research agenda, emphasized by President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative announced this past January. Because of the CRN's unique patient population and research setting - based in non-profit integrated health care delivery systems -- we are poised to answer important questions that can inform our understanding of precision medicine's role in cancer care. Examples of such questions include: How can we effectively communicate with patients about treatment options? How can we ensure that the best treatments are provided to those who need them? What are the the cost implications of implementing precision approaches to care?

The CRN is enhancing our data resources to better address questions like these. For example, we are documenting availability of biospecimens for research, the use of clinical genetic and molecular tests that may guide therapy, and the use of targeted and other cancer therapeutic agents. In collaboration with the Health Care Systems Research Network, we are organizing a symposium on the topic of precision medicine in cancer to the Spring 2016 HCSRN Annual Meeting. With these and other efforts, we hope to enhance the CRN's capabilities to contribute to this important area of research.

New Site PI at KPNW

Carmit McMullen

We are pleased to announce that Carmit McMullen, PhD, has taken over the role as site Principal Investigator for Mark Hornbrook at KPNW as of September 1, 2015. Carmit has been an investigator at KPNW since 2009. She is a medical anthropologist who studies health care delivery, cancer survivorship, and aging. Carmit has long ties to the CRN, having been a member of the first CRN Scholars cohort. Mark will continue in his role as Executive Committee member and co-lead of the Health Care Quality and Cost SWG.

Survivorship SIG

The CRN’s Cancer Survivorship Scientific Interest Group and listserv have been revived! The goal of the group is to foster the development of survivorship-related grants and the success of survivorship-related projects with the CRN. The hope is to gather a group of equally engaged people for true collaboration.

Please contact Jessica Chubak with any questions you have about this group and for information on how to join the listserv.

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Webinar: The pharmacoepidemiology of metformin - Sept 16, 2015
10am PT/11am MT/1pm ET

Please join the Epidemiology of Prognosis and Outcomes SWG on Sept 16th from 11:00am-noon (Mountain time) when Dr. Matthew Breitenstein will present a webinar titled "The pharmacoepidemiology of metformin: leveraging biomedical informatics and integrative molecular epidemiology approaches in cancer therapeutics research."

Dr. Breitenstein is a biomedical informatician and molecular epidemiologist in training interested in advancing our understanding of molecular therapeutics in breast cancer and lymphomas. Dr. Breitenstein is currently a research fellow in the Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Research Training Program Fellow at Mayo Clinic, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

In this talk Dr. Breitenstein will present an ongoing line of metformin pharmacoepidemiology research focused on elucidating metformin’s function and mechanism and potential opportunity for repurposing in breast cancer treatment. This work utilizes population and cellular models, spanning pharmacogenomics, metabolomics, biomedical informatics, and epidemiological approaches. The later part of this talk highlights proposed research within CRN based on preliminary associations of increased rheumatoid arthritis events following aromatase inhibitor breast cancer therapy.

Please contact Michelle Wren for more information.

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Webinar: Patient-Centered Decision Support for Lung Cancer Screening - Sept 21, 2015
12pm PT/3pm ET

The Prevention & Screening SWG presents Elena B. Elkin, PhD, Associate Attending Outcomes Research Scientist at the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Elkin’s primary research interest is evaluating determinants of cancer screening, treatment and outcomes using population-based observational data analysis, decision analysis and survey research methods. Her funded research agenda includes the development and evaluation of web-based decision aids for women in their 40s considering screening mammography, and for current and former smokers considering low-dose chest CT for lung cancer screening. Other funded research includes studies of the relationship between the availability of mammography utilization and resources with a focus on geographic and racial disparities in access; surveys of radiology facilities to assess access to screening mammography and low-dose chest CT for lung cancer screening; cost-effectiveness analyses of interventions to improve outcomes in childhood cancer survivors; and studies of treatment patterns, complications, survival and costs in urologic cancers, gastrointestinal cancers and head and neck cancers in the population-based SEER-Medicare dataset. Other research interests include the economic impact of cancer treatment on patients, their families and the health care system, and understanding and improving clinical decision-making processes from both patient and provider perspectives.

Please contact Tracy Becerra for more information.

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Cancer Counter Update

We are very pleased to report that the annual CRN Cancer Counter update is complete. Thank you to all the sites that responded to our request for updated tumor registry tabulations! The data have passed QA checks are now live on the cancer counter website. This year 12 of 14 HCSRN sites contributed new data (see the table below for details).

Please visit the handy appExternal Web Site Policy and let us know if you discover any problems. If you need access to the CRN CC app or have forgotten your username and/or password for this secure website, please let us know.
- Mark, Joanna, Kristal, and Donna at the Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Health Plan Research Center CRN Site or Affiliate Tumor Data through:
Essentia Institute of Rural Health (EIRH) Essentia Institute of Rural Health n/a 2013
Fallon Community Health Plan (MPCI) Meyers Primary Care Institute Site 2012
Geisinger Health System (GHS) Center for Health Research and Rural Advocacy Affiliate 2013
Group Health Cooperative (GHC) Group Health Research Institute Site 2013
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute (HPHC) Dept of Population Medicine, Harvard Med School Affiliate 2012
Health Alliance Plan (HFHS) Henry Ford Hospital & Health System Site 2013
HealthPartners (HPIER) HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research Affiliate 2013
Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KPCO) Institute for Health Research Site 2013
Kaiser Permanente Georgia (KPG) Center for Health Research/Southeast Affiliate 2010
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii (KPHI) Center for Health Research Site 2013
Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) Division of Research Site 2013
Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) Center for Health Research Site 2013
Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Dept of Research and Evaluation Affiliate 2012
Security Health Plan (MCRF) Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation Site 2013

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Welcome New Investigators

May Zhou
May Zhou, Programmer, Group Health

The Informatics Core of the CRN would like to announce that May Zhou has joined both Group Health and the Informatics Core as our new programmer. May has over 10 years experience as a statistician and statistical programmer and was previously at Kaiser Permanent Northwest working on various CDC vaccine and KPNW dental data projects.

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Recent Publications

Hoffmann TJ, Van Den Eeden SK, Sakoda LC, Jorgenson E, Habel LA, Graff RE, Passarelli MN, Cario CL, Emami NC, Chao CR, Ghai NR, Shan J, Ranatunga DK, Quesenberry CP, Aaronson D, Presti J, Wang Z, Berndt SI, Chanock SJ, McDonnell SK, French AJ, Schaid DJ, Thibodeau SN, Li Q, Freedman ML, Penney KL, Mucci LA, Haiman CA, Henderson BE, Seminara D, Kvale MN, Kwok PY, Schaefer C, Risch N, Witte JS. A Large Multiethnic Genome-Wide Association Study of Prostate Cancer Identifies Novel Risk Variants and Substantial Ethnic Differences. Cancer Discov 2015 Aug;5(8):878-91. [View Abstract]

Hassett MJ, Uno H, Cronin AM, Carroll NM, Hornbrook MC, Ritzwoller D. Detecting Lung and Colorectal Cancer Recurrence Using Structured Clinical/Administrative Data to Enable Outcomes Research and Population Health Management. Med Care 2015 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Jones SM, Ziebell R, Walker R, Nekhlyudov L, Rabin BA, Nutt S, Fujii M, Chubak J. Psychometric investigation of benefit finding among long-term cancer survivors using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Eur J Oncol Nurs 2015 Jul 25. pii: S1462-3889(15)30013-2. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Goodman M, Fletcher RH, Doria-Rose VP, Jensen CD, Zebrowski AM, Becerra TA, Quinn VP, Zauber AG, Corley DA, Doubeni CA. Observational methods to assess the effectiveness of screening colonoscopy in reducing right colon cancer mortality risk: SCOLAR. J Comp Eff Res 2015 Jul 23:1-11. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Mazor KM, Rubin DL, Roblin DW, Williams AE, Han PK, Gaglio B, Cutrona SL, Costanza ME, Wagner JL. Health literacy-listening skill and patient questions following cancer prevention and screening discussions. Health Expect 2015 Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Lewis JD, Habel LA, Quesenberry CP, Strom BL, Peng T, Hedderson MM, Ehrlich SF, Mamtani R, Bilker W, Vaughn DJ, Nessel L, Van Den Eeden SK, Ferrara A. Pioglitazone Use and Risk of Bladder Cancer and Other Common Cancers in Persons With Diabetes. JAMA 2015 Jul 21;314(3):265-77. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.7996. [View Abstract]

Collins LC, Achacoso N, Haque R, Nekhlyudov L, Quesenberry CP Jr, Schnitt SJ, Habel LA, Fletcher SW. Risk Prediction for Local Breast Cancer Recurrence Among Women with DCIS Treated in a Community Practice: A Nested, Case-Control Study. Ann Surg Oncol 2015 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print] [View Abstract]

Meenan RT, Anderson ML, Chubak J, Vernon SW, Fuller S, Wang CY, Green BB. An economic evaluation of colorectal cancer screening in primary care practice. Am J Prev Med 2015 Jun;48(6):714-21. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.12.016. [View Abstract]

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Meetings and Calls for Abstracts

Health Care Systems Research Network 2016 Conference (PDF) External Web Site Policy
Call for Abstracts Deadline: October 2, 2015
Meeting date: April 14-16, Atlanta, GA.
This year's theme is, Advancing Population Health: New Models and the Role of Research.

ASCO Quality Care SymposiumExternal Web Site Policy
Call for Abstracts Deadline: October 27, 2015
Meeting date: February 26-27, 2016, Phoenix, AZ.

Palliative Care in Oncology SymposiumExternal Web Site Policy
Meeting date: October 9-10, 2015, Boston MA.

Society for Integrative Oncology - 12th International ConferenceExternal Web Site Policy
Meeting date: November 14-16, 2015, Boston MA.

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Additional Funding Opportunities

Advanced Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U24)

Early-Stage Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U01)

Sustained Support for Informatics Resources for Cancer Research and Management (U24)

Development of Innovative Informatics Methods and Algorithms for Cancer Research and Management (R21)

Upcoming application submission dates for all of the above:
November 20, 2015; June 14, 2016.

Up for a Challenge - U4C

The NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) is partnering with Sage Bionetworks to launch "Up for a Challenge (U4C)—Stimulating Innovation in Breast Cancer Genetic Epidemiology."
Submissions due Jan 15, 2016

The Challenge: To use innovative approaches to identify novel pathways—including new genes or combinations of genes, genetic variants, or sets of genomic features—involved in breast cancer susceptibility.


U4C Prizes: NCI will award up to $50,000 and other prizes based on the identification of novel findings, replication of findings, innovation of approach, evidence of novel biological hypotheses, and collaboration.

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Employment Opportunities

Health Scientist - Healthcare Assessment Research Branch at NCI

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is conducting a national search for a Health Scientist to facilitate a new and innovative program of research in the assessment of health care in cancer. This includes assessment of population-based cancer-related health services utilization and outcomes; the dissemination and effective delivery of cancer-related health services by community-based health care providers and health care delivery organizations; and the role of economic factors related to the equitable, efficient, and effective provision of cancer-related health services.

See the NCI's full online job posting for more details.

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