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עמוד בית
Fri, 19.04.24

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December 2023
Mohamad Suki MD, Fadi Abu-baker MD, Amani Beshara MD, Baruch Ovadia MD, Oren Gal MD, Yael Kopelman MD

Background: With age, colorectal cancer (CRC) prevalence rises. The elderly (> 75 years), and the very elderly (> 85 years) are especially vulnerable. The advantages of screening must be assessed in the context of diminished life span and co-morbidities.

Objective: To compare CRC findings in colonoscopies that were performed following a positive fecal occult blood test/fecal immunochemical test (FOBT/FIT) in both elderly and very elderly age groups with those of younger patients.

Methods: We identified colonoscopies conducted between 1998 and 2019 following a positive stool test for occult blood in asymptomatic individuals. A finding of malignancy was compared between the two patient age groups. Furthermore, a sub-analysis was performed for positive malignancy findings in FOBT/FIT among patients > 85 years compared to younger than < 75 years.

Results: We compared the colonoscopy findings in 10,472 patients: 40–75 years old (n=10,146) vs. 76–110 years old (n=326). There was no significant difference in prevalence of CRC detection rate between the groups following positive FOBT/FIT (2.1% vs. 2.7%, P = 0.47). Similar results for non-significant differences were obtained in the sub-analysis compared to malignancy detection rates in the very elderly 0% (n=0) vs. 2.1% for < 75 years old (n=18), P = 0.59.

Conclusions: Although the prevalence of CRC increases with age, no significant increase in the detection rate of CRC by FOBT was found in either the elderly or very elderly age groups. Screening colonoscopies in elderly patients should be performed only after careful consideration of potential benefits, risks, and patient preferences.

July 2023
Moran Drucker Iarovich MD, Yael Inbar, MD, Sara Apter MD, Eli Konen MD MHA, Eyal Klang MD, Marrianne Michal Amitai MD

Background: Perivascular cuffing as the sole imaging manifestation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an under-recognized entity.

Objectives: To present this rare finding and differentiate it from retroperitoneal fibrosis and vasculitis.

Methods: Patients with abdominal vasculature cuffing were retrospectively collected (January 2011 to September 2017). We evaluated vessels involved, wall thickness, length of involvement and extra-vascular manifestations.

Results: Fourteen patients with perivascular cuffing were retrieved: three with celiac and superior mesenteric artery (SMA) perivascular cuffing as the only manifestation of surgically proven PDAC, seven with abdominal vasculitis, and four with retroperitoneal fibrosis. PDAC patients exhibited perivascular cuffing of either or both celiac and SMA (3/3). Vasculitis patients showed aortitis with or without iliac or SMA cuffing (3/7) or cuffing of either or both celiac and SMA (4/7). Retroperitoneal fibrosis involved the aorta (4/4), common iliac (4/4), and renal arteries (2/4). Hydronephrosis was present in 3/4 of retroperitoneal fibrosis patients. PDAC and vasculitis demonstrated reduced wall thickness in comparison to retroperitoneal fibrosis (PDAC: 1.0 ± 0.2 cm, vasculitis: 1.2 ± 0.5 cm, retroperitoneal fibrosis: 2.4 ± 0.4 cm; P = 0.002). There was no significant difference in length of vascular involvement (PDAC: 6.3 ± 2.1 cm, vasculitis: 7.1 ± 2.6 cm, retroperitoneal fibrosis: 8.7 ± 0.5 cm).

Conclusions: Celiac and SMA perivascular cuffing can be the sole finding in PDAC and may be indistinguishable from vasculitis. This entity may differ from retroperitoneal fibrosis as it spares the aorta, iliac, and renal arteries and demonstrates thinner walls and no hydronephrosis.

Sophia Eilat-Tsanani MD, Nebal Abu Ahmad MD, Moamena Agbaria MD

Background: In Israel, breast cancer prevalence is lower among Arab than Jewish women, but incidence is increasing among Arab women at a younger age.

Objectives: To explore differences between Arab and Jewish women with breast cancer with respect to age at diagnosis, associated risk factors, and use of hormonal medications.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective database study comparing Arab and Jewish women with breast cancer focusing on age at diagnosis, smoking history, obesity, and previous hormonal medication usage, including oral combined contraceptive pills (OCCP), progestogens, hormonal medications for treatment of infertility, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Results: The study included 2494 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer during 2004–2015. Age at diagnosis was lower among Arab women (50.7 ± 13.1 years vs. 55.4 ± 12.6 years, P < 0.0001). The rate of smoking was higher among Jewish women (16.0% vs. 4.3%, P < 0.0001). The rate of obesity was higher in Arab women older than 50 years at diagnosis (59.0% vs. 42.4%, P < 0.0001). Arab women demonstrated a lower overall chance of previous use of all types of hormonal medications (odds ratio [OR] 0.6, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.6–0.8) compared to Jewish women. Arab women were more likely to have used progestogens (OR 1.7, 95%CI 1.4–2.2) and medications for treatment of infertility (OR 2.3, 95%CI 1.5–3.4) and less likely OCCP (OR 0.4, 95%CI 0.3–0.6) and HRT (OR 0.4, 95%CI 0.3–0.5).

Conclusions: Previous use of hormonal medications may contribute to incidence of breast cancer in Arab women.

June 2023
Yael Laitman MSc, Rinat Bernstein-Molho MD, Talia Golan MD, Eitan Friedman MD PhD

Germline pathogenic variants (PVs) in the RET proto-oncogene (OMIM 164761) are associated with a diverse phenotype based on the type of PV. Gain-of-function (GOF) PVs are associated with the highly penetrant multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2-OMIM 171400), which are hallmarked by an increased risk for developing medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), pheochromocytoma, and parathyroid adenomas. Loss-of-function (LOF) RET PVs are associated with incompletely penetrant Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR OMIM 142623), which are pathologically characterized by the absence of enteric ganglia affecting the distal colon and clinically manifest as neonatal intestinal obstruction. Despite anecdotal reports of familial clustering of neoplasms in HSCR families, mostly MEN2-associated tumors [1,2], HSCR is not considered to be associated with an increased risk for developing cancer [3]. We report on a family with an unusual multigenerational solid tumor phenotype and severe HSCR phenotype with a LOF RET PV.

May 2023
Shaul Pery MD, Fadi Abu Baker MD, Yael Kopelman MD

Background: Esophageal cancer is comprised of adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Upper endoscopy may reveal a partially or completely lumen-occluding mass at diagnosis, yet the prognostic significance of such a presentation is not clear.

Objectives: To investigate whether endoscopic obstructing lesions have a meaning regarding patient prognosis.

Methods: We reviewed upper gastrointestinal endoscopic studies performed over a 20-year period (2000–2020). We compared overall survival, disease stage, histologic criteria, and anatomic location of the lesions in esophagus lumen-obstructing and non-obstructing tumors. Differences between the two groups were statistically evaluated.

Results: Sixty-nine patients were diagnosed with histologically confirmed esophageal cancer. As assessed through endoscopy, 32/69 (46%) patients had obstructive and 37/69 (54%) had non-obstructive cancers. Median survival was significantly shorter in the lumen-obstructing lesions compared with the non-obstructing lesions (3.5 months vs. 10 months, P = 0.001). Female median survival displayed a trend toward shorter survival compared to males (3.5 months vs. 10 months, P = 0.059). There was no statistically significant difference in the percentages of advanced, stage IV disease in the obstructive group and the non-obstructive group (11/32 [34.3%] and 14/37 [37.8%], respectively P = 0.80).

Conclusions: Obstructive esophageal cancers predict shorter median overall survival compared with non-obstructive cancers, without any correlation between obstruction of the lesion and tumor metastatic stage.

Yaniv Zager MD, Yuri Goldes MD, Dan Assaf MD, Nadav Zilka MD, Roi Anteby MD, Yehonatan Nevo MD, Liran Barda MD, Avinoam Nevler MD

Background: The neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has demonstrated prognostic value in various malignant conditions, including gastric adenocarcinoma. However, chemotherapy may affect NLR.

Objectives: To evaluate the prognostic value of NLR as an accessory decision-making tool in terms of operating patients after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resectable gastric cancer.

Methods: We collected oncologic, perioperative, and survival data of patients with gastric adenocarcinoma who underwent curative intent gastrectomy and D2 lymphadenectomy between 2009 and 2016. The NLR was calculated from preoperative laboratory tests and classified as high (> 4) and low (≤ 4). The t-test, chi-square, Kaplan-Meier analysis, and Cox multivariate regression models were used to assess associations of clinical, histologic, and hematological variables with survival.

Results: For 124 patients the median follow-up was 23 months (range 1–88). High NLR was associated with greater rate of local complication (r=0.268, P < 0.01). The rate of major complications (Clavien-Dindo ≥ 3) was higher in the high NLR group (28% vs. 9%, P = 0.022). Among the 53 patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, those with low NLR had significantly improved disease-free survival (DFS) (49.7 vs. 27.7 months, P = 0.025). Low NLR was not significantly associated with overall survival (mean survival, 51.2 vs. 42.3 months, P = 0.19). Multivariate regression identified NLR group (P = 0.013), male gender (P = 0.04), and body mass index (P = 0.026) as independently associated with DFS.

Conclusions: Among gastric cancer patients planned for curative intent surgery who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy, NLR may have prognostic value, particularly regarding DFS and postoperative complications.

April 2023
George M. Weisz MD FRACS BA MA, Andrew Gal MBBS FRCPA

The health of survivors of the Shoah has been investigated, both at early and late stages in their lives. There have been findings of multiple morbidities, but survivors have enjoyed slightly prolonged longevity when compared to the general population [1]. Less attention has been granted to investigations and descriptions of illnesses that presented inside the ghettos and the Nazi camps. Some of the surviving records from those sites have yet to be interpreted. Documented diagnoses of both insulin dependent and mature onset diabetes mellitus and of malignancy has been conspicuously absent. We present our meta-analysis and interpretations of surviving medical documents covering a large population of prisoners from a range of ghettos and concentration camps and specifically note the absence of recorded incidence of malignancy and a relatively low incidence of diabetes mellitus.

Avishag Laish-Farkash MD PhD, Lubov Vasilenko MD, Noy Moisa BSc, Daniel Vorobiof MD

Background: Cannabis consumption is suspected of causing arrhythmias and potentially sudden death.

Objectives: To investigate prevalence and temporal relationships between cannabis use and onset of symptomatic arrhythmias among cancer patients using Belong.life, a digital patient powered network application.

Methods: Real-world data (RWD) were obtained through Belong.Life, a mobile application for cancer patients who use cannabis routinely. Patients replied anonymously and voluntarily to a survey describing their demographics, medical history, and cannabis use.

Results: In total, 354 cancer patients (77% female, 71% 50–69 years of age) replied: 33% were smokers and 49% had no co-morbidities. Fifteen had history of arrhythmias and two had a pacemaker; 64% started cannabis before or during chemotherapy and 18% had no chemotherapy. Cannabis indication was symptom relief in most patients. The mode of administration included oil, smoking, or edibles; only 35% were prescribed by a doctor. Cannabis type was delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol > 15% in 43% and cannabidiol in 31%. After starting cannabis, 24 patients (7%) experienced palpitations; 13 received anti-arrhythmic drugs and 6 received anticoagulation. Eleven needed further medical investigation. Three were hospitalized. One had an ablation after starting cannabis and one stopped cannabis due to palpitations. Seven patients (2%) reported brady-arrhythmias after starting cannabis, but none needed pacemaker implantation.

Conclusions: RWD showed that in cancer patients using cannabis, the rate of reported symptomatic tachy- and brady-arrhythmias was significant (9%) but rarely led to invasive treatments. Although direct causality cannot be proven, temporal relationship between drug use and onset of symptoms suggests a strong association.

Yishai Mintzker MD, Limor Adler MD, Linoy Gabay MPH, Tamar Banon MSc

Background: Intrathoracic cancer can cause hyponatremia, but it is uncertain whether mild hyponatremia in the outpatient setting should be regarded as an early sign of intrathoracic cancer.

Objectives: To evaluate the risk of undiagnosed intrathoracic cancer in patients with new persistent mild hyponatremia.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the electronic health record database of a large healthcare organization. The hyponatremia group included patients with sodium concentration of 130–134 mmol/L twice, after a previous normal value and without previous history of cancer or diseases related to hyponatremia. A control group with normal sodium concentration was matched by sex, age, and year of testing. We measured specific intrathoracic cancer incidence during 3 years of follow-up after sodium concentration test date. A logistic regression was used to adjust for further clinical information including smoking history, symptoms, and medications.

Results: The study comprised 1539 participants with mild hyponatremia and 7624 matched controls. New intrathoracic cancer diagnosis was more common in the hyponatremia group during a 3-year follow-up; 1.49% in the hyponatremia group and 0.39% in the control group, crude odds ratio (OR) 3.84, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 2.22–6.63. After adjustment, hyponatremia remained a significant risk factor for the diagnosis of intrathoracic cancer; adjusted OR 3.61, 95%CI 2.08–6.28.

Conclusions: New mild persistent hyponatremia might be a significant predictive marker to a yet undiagnosed intrathoracic cancer.

March 2023
Elena Chernomordikov MD, Keren Rouvinov MD, Wilmosh Mermershtain MD, Konstantin Lavrenkov MD PhD

Background: Bicalutamide monotherapy (BMT) is an option for androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in patients with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer (LIR-PC). Painful gynecomastia (PG) is a common side effect of BMT. Few therapeutic options are available for preventing BMT-induced PG.

Objectives: To assess the efficacy and side effects of single fraction (SF) prophylactic breast irradiation (PBI) to prevent painful gynecomastia (PG) in patients LIR-PC treated with BMT.

Methods: We reviewed the results of bilateral PBI in a prospective cohort of LIR-PC patients who received 150 mg bicalutamide daily as a first-line treatment for at least 12 months. A single fraction of 8 Gy was administered to both breasts by a stationary field of 10 × 10 cm, using 10–15 MeV electron beam. PBI was commenced on the same day as BMT, but prior to the first dose of bicalutamide. A radiotherapy treatment plan was designed to cover breast tissue by the 90% isodose line. Subsequent monthly physical examinations were scheduled for all patients during the first year of BMT to evaluate any PG symptoms.

Results: Seventy-six patients received BMT and PBI, 80% (61/76) showed no signs of PG; 20% (15/76) experienced mild gynecomastia. The main adverse effect of PBI was grade 1 radiation dermatitis.

Conclusions: PBI using a SF of 8 Gy is an effective, safe, and low-cost strategy for the prevention of BMT-induced PG in LIR-PC patients.

February 2023
Daniel Solomon MD, Itzhak Greemland MD, Nikolai Menasherov MD, Vyacheslav Bard MD

Background: Surgical resection is the only curative option for gastric carcinoma (GC). Minimally invasive techniques are gaining popularity.

Objectives: To present a single-surgeon's experience in transitioning from an open to a minimally invasive approach, focusing on surgical and oncological outcomes.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis including distal gastrectomy patients 2012–2020 operated by a single surgeon. Two cohorts were compared: open (ODG) and laparoscopic distal gastrectomy (LDG).

Results: Overall, 173 patients were referred for gastrectomy during the study years. We excluded 80 patients because they presented with non-GC tumors, underwent proximal or total gastrectomy, or underwent palliative surgery. Neoadjuvant treatment was administered to 62 patients (33.3%). Billroth 1 was the preferred method of reconstruction (n=77, 82.8%), followed by Roux-en-Y (n=12, 13%). Fifty-one patients (54.8%) underwent LDG, 42 (45.2%) underwent ODG. The LDG group had significantly shorter lengths of stay (6 days, interquartile range [IQR] 1–3 5–8 vs. 5 days, IQR 1–3 4–6, P = 0.001, respectively), earlier return to oral feeding (1 day, IQR 1–3 1–3 vs. 2 days, IQR 1–3 1–3.2, P < 0.001), and earlier removal of drains (4 days, IQR 1–3 3–5.2 vs. 5 days, IQR 1–3 3.5–6.7, P < 0.001). Overall lymph node yield was 30 (IQR 1–3 24–39) and was similar among groups (P = 0.647).

Conclusions: Laparoscopic techniques for resection of distal GC are feasible and safe, leading to good perioperative outcomes and adequate lymph node yield.

Lior Baraf MD, Yuval Avidor MD, Anat Bahat Dinur MD, Uri Yoel MD, Benzion Samueli MD, Ben-Zion Joshua MD, Merav Fraenkel MD

Background: Due to the high variability in malignancy rate among cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules (Bethesda categories III–V), the American Thyroid Association recommends that each center define its own categorical cancer risk.

Objectives: To assess cancer risk in patients with cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules who were operated at our center.

Methods: In a retrospective study, we analyzed the pathology results of all the patients whose fine needle aspiration results showed Bethesda III–V cytology and who subsequently underwent total thyroidectomy or lobectomy from December 2013 to September 2017.

Results: We analyzed 56 patients with indeterminate cytology on fine needle aspiration. Twenty-nine (52%) were defined as Bethesda III, 19 (34%) Bethesda IV, and 8 (14%) Bethesda V category. Malignancy rates were 38%, 58%, and 100% for Bethesda categories III, IV, and V, respectively. Most malignancies in Bethesda categories III and IV were follicular in origin (follicular thyroid carcinoma and follicular type papillary thyroid carcinoma), while 100% of the patients with Bethesda category V were diagnosed with classical papillary thyroid carcinoma. No correlation was found between sonographic and cytological criteria of nodules with Bethesda categories III and IV and rates of malignancy.

Conclusions: We found higher than expected rates of malignancy in indeterminate cytology. This finding reinforces the guidelines of the American Thyroid Association to establish local malignancy rates for thyroid nodules with indetermined cytology.

January 2023
Naama Hermann MD, Pnina Mor CNM PhD, Orit Kaidar-Person MD, Rinat Bernstein-Molho MD, Mali Brodsky RN MSc, Dana Madorsky Feldman MD, Anath A. Flugelman MD MPH MA, Hadar Aboody Nevo MD, Danna Meshoulam Avital MD, Miri Sklair-Levy MD, Eitan Friedman MD PhD, Tanir M. Allweis MD

Background: Population screening for the BRCA mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish women was recently implemented in Israel and is expected to lead to a 10-fold increase in the diagnosis of asymptomatic carriers. Performing the screening follow-up within multidisciplinary dedicated clinics for carriers is recommended for early detection and risk reduction.

Objectives: To determine the availability, capacity, and practices of dedicated screening clinic for BRCA carriers in Israel.

Methods: A telephone-based survey of all public hospitals in Israel was conducted October 2020 to August 2021 to determine whether they had a dedicated clinic. Dedicated clinics were defined as multidisciplinary screening clinics offering at least breast and gynecological screening and risk reducing services on site. The clinic director or nurse navigator answered a questionnaire about screening practices followed by a semi-structured interview.

Results: Of the ten dedicated BRCA clinics found in Israel, nine participated. Approximately 4500 BRCA carriers are currently being followed. No specialized clinics are available in the southern district or in the northernmost half of the northern district of Israel, leading to a disparity between periphery and center. Screening recommendations, although asserted as adhering to international guidelines, vary among clinics including age at initiating of clinical exam, use of adjunct imaging modalities, and follow-up during lactation and after risk reducing surgery.

Conclusions: There is a suboptimal distribution of dedicated clinics for BRCA carriers in Israel. Nationally centralized attempt to create guidelines that will unify screening practices is warranted, especially considering the expected increase in demand.

Aaron Sulkes MD, Daniel Reinhorn MD, Tzeela Cohen MD, Tatiana Peysakhovich MD, Victoria Neiman MD, Baruch Brenner MD

Docetaxel (Taxotere®), obtained from the European yew Taxus baccata, is a widely used chemotherapeutic agent active against a variety of solid tumors including breast, lung, ovarian, gastric, head and neck, and prostate cancers. The drug is administered intravenously on a weekly or three-weekly schedule. Its main side effects include myelosuppression, fatigue, myalgias, arthralgias, fluid retention, peripheral neuropathy, paronychia, and lacrimation [1]. Myositis, however, has rarely been reported.

We describe a breast cancer patient who developed severe acute myositis while on treatment with docetaxel.

November 2022
Katya Meridor MD, Pnina Rotman-Pikielny MD, Or Carmi MD, Myriam Werner MD, Yair Levy MD

Background: Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) are at increased risk for autoimmune thyroid diseases, but information regarding thyroid nodules and cancer in SSc is scarce.

Objectives: To evaluate the thyroid gland in patients with SSc at a single Israeli center.

Methods: Thyroid workup was conducted in consecutive SSc patients: thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (fT4), anti-thyroid peroxidase, and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies, as well as thyroid ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (FNA) when appropriate.

Results: Fifty patients, mean age 51.3 ± 13.5 years (44 women) were evaluated. Ten were previously diagnosed with thyroid disease. Median TSH level was 2.0 (normal range 0.23–4 mIU/l) and median fT4 level was 1.0 (normal range 0.8–2.0 ng/dL). Among the 40 thyroid disorder-naive patients, 3 had subclinical hypothyroidism and 5 had positive anti-thyroid antibodies; 22 (44%) had 1–6 thyroid nodules, which were ≥ 1 cm in 12 (24%). Accordingly, six patients underwent FNA, and five were diagnosed as colloid nodules and one as papillary carcinoma.

Conclusions: New cases of clinically significant autoimmune thyroid disease were not detected in our cohort of patients with SSc. Nevertheless, almost half had thyroid nodules. The clinical significance of these findings and their relation to thyroid cancer remains to be determined.

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