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The Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences is the academic department of surgery at the University of Oxford, and hosts a multidisciplinary team of senior clinical academic surgeons, senior scientists, junior clinicians and scientists in training.
Defining the transition from benign to malignant tissue is fundamental to improving early diagnosis of cancer1. Here we use a systematic approach to study spatial genome integrity in situ and describe previously unidentified clonal relationships. We used spatially resolved transcriptomics2 to infer spatial copy number variations in >120,000 regions across multiple organs, in benign and malignant tissues. We demonstrate that genome-wide copy number variation reveals distinct clonal patterns within tumours and in nearby benign tissue using an organ-wide approach focused on the prostate. Our results suggest a model for how genomic instability arises in histologically benign tissue that may represent early events in cancer evolution. We highlight the power of capturing the molecular and spatial continuums in a tissue context and challenge the rationale for treatment paradigms, including focal therapy.
Effects of the harvesting technique and external stenting on progression of vein graft disease 2 years after coronary artery bypass.
OBJECTIVES: In a post hoc analysis of the VEST III trial, we investigated the effect of the harvesting technique on saphenous vein graft (SVG) patency and disease progression after coronary artery bypass grafting. METHODS: Angiographic outcomes were assessed in 183 patients undergoing open (126 patients, 252 SVG) or endoscopic harvesting (57 patients, 114 SVG). Overall SVG patency was assessed by computed tomography angiography at 6 months and by coronary angiography at 2 years. Fitzgibbon patency (FP I, II and III) and intimal hyperplasia (IH) in a patient subset were assessed by coronary angiography and intravascular ultrasound, respectively, at 2 years. RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were similar between patients who underwent open and those who underwent endoscopic harvesting. Open compared with endoscopic harvesting was associated with higher overall SVG patency rates at 6 months (92.9% vs 80.4%, P = 0.04) and 2 years (90.8% vs 73.9%, P = 0.01), improved FP I, II and III rates (65.2% vs 49.2%; 25.3% vs 45.9%, and 9.5% vs 4.9%, respectively; odds ratio 2.81, P = 0.09) and reduced IH area (-31.8%; P = 0.04) and thickness (-28.9%; P = 0.04). External stenting was associated with improved FP I, II and III rates (odds ratio 2.84, P = 0.01), reduced IH area (-19.5%; P < 0.001) and thickness (-25.0%; P < 0.001) in the open-harvest group and reduced IH area (-12.7%; P = 0.01) and thickness (-9.5%; P = 0.21) in the endoscopic-harvest group. CONCLUSIONS: A post-hoc analysis of the VEST III trial showed that open harvesting is associated with improved overall SVG patency and reduced IH. External stenting reduces SVG disease progression, particularly with open harvesting.
Oxford Food and Activity Behaviors 20-item questionnaire to assess personal weight management strategies: Development and testing.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to develop a shortened Oxford Food and Activity Behaviors (OxFAB) questionnaire to identify the cognitive and behavioral strategies used by individuals during weight-management attempts. METHODS: This study reduced an existing 117-item questionnaire (the original OxFAB questionnaire) through identifying clusters of techniques from the responses of 278 people living with obesity and, within those clusters, identifying the most representative question or questions. Questions were rephrased to cover multiple strategies at the domain level, with several alternative phrasings developed for new questions. Face validity was tested through think-aloud interviews with 12 people living with obesity. Questions were rephrased accordingly and tested using test-retest (n = 172). Prevalence- and bias-adjusted κ (PABAK) were calculated, and questions with PABAK
Studies on volunteers are being performed to evaluate three-dimensional time-resolved optical tomography as a means of detecting and specifying breast disease. Two acquisition geometries have been assessed and the images obtained from a variety of studies are presented.
The Use of Digital Pathology and Artificial Intelligence in Histopathological Diagnostic Assessment of Prostate Cancer: A Survey of Prostate Cancer UK Supporters.
There has been particular interest in the deployment of digital pathology (DP) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the diagnosis of prostate cancer, but little is known about the views of the public on their use. Prostate Cancer UK supporters were invited to an online survey which included quantitative and qualitative questions exploring views on the use of DP and AI in histopathological assessment. A total of 1276 responses to the survey were analysed (response rate 12.5%). Most respondents were supportive of DP (87%, 1113/1276) and of testing AI in clinical practice as a diagnostic adjunct (83%, 1058/1276). Respondents saw DP as potentially increasing workflow efficiency, facilitating research, education/training and fostering clinical discussions between clinician and patient. Some respondents raised concerns regarding data security, reliability and the need for human oversight. Among those who were unsure about AI, information was requested regarding its performance and others wanted to defer the decision to use it to an expert. Although most are in favour of its use, some are unsure, and their concerns could be addressed with more information or better communication. A small minority (<1%) are not in favour of the testing of the use of AI in histopathology for reasons which are not easily addressed.
Multiple myeloma is a B cell neoplasm caused by the monoclonal expansion and infiltration of malignant plasma cells in the bone marrow. Myeloma growth can significantly disrupt normal bone function by cell-to-cell interactions and by the secretion of factors that promote osteoclastic bone resorption and inhibit osteoblastic bone formation. This imbalance can lead to the development of osteolytic lesions, hypercalcemia, and susceptibility to bone fractures. Ultimately a vicious cycle is created that increases bone damage, releasing more factors that in turn enhance myeloma cell growth. In addition, other cells within the bone marrow microenvironment, including osteocytes, adipocytes, and immune cells, can influence myeloma cell colonization, survival, and subsequent growth or dormancy. Myeloma in vivo models, patient studies, and clinical trials support these findings. In this chapter we will discuss the biological relationship between cells in the bone marrow microenvironment and myeloma cells, describing key mechanisms that disrupt normal bone function and current bone modulating therapies.
Impact of the transition to digital pathology in a clinical setting on histopathologists in training: experiences and perceived challenges within a UK training region
AimsWith increasing utility of digital pathology (DP), it is important to consider the experiences of histopathologists in training, particularly in view of the varied access to DP across a training region and the consequent need to remain competent in reporting on glass slides (GS), which is also relevant for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists part 2 examination. Understanding the impact of DP on training is limited but could aid development of guidance to support the transition. We sought to investigate the perceptions of histopathologists in training around the introduction of DP for clinical diagnosis within a training region, and the potential training benefits and challenges.MethodsAn anonymous online survey was circulated to 24 histopathologists in training within a UK training region, including a hospital which has been fully digitised since summer 2020.Results19 of 24 histopathologists in training responded (79%). The results indicate that DP offers many benefits to training, including ease of access to cases to enhance individual learning and teaching in general. Utilisation of DP for diagnosis appears variable; almost half of the (10 of 19) respondents with DP experience using it only for ancillary purposes such as measurements, reporting varying levels of confidence in using DP clinically. For those yet to undergo the transition, there was a perceived anxiety regarding digital reporting despite experience with DP in other contexts.ConclusionsThe survey evidences the need for provision of training and support for histopathologists in training during the transition to DP, and for consideration of their need to maintain competence and confidence with GS reporting.
Digital pathology (DP) offers potential for time efficiency gains over an analog workflow however, to date, evidence supporting this claim is relatively lacking. Studies available concentrate on specific workflow points such as diagnostic reporting time, rather than overall efficiencies in slide logistics that might be expected. This is in part a result of the complexity and variation in analog working, and the challenge therefore in capturing this. We have utilized RFID technology to conduct a novel study capturing the movement of diagnostic cases within the analog pathway in a large teaching hospital setting, thus providing benchmark data for potential efficiency gains with DP. This technology overcomes the need to manually record data items and has facilitated the capture of both the physical journey of a case and the time associated with relevant components of the analog pathway predicted to be redundant in the digital setting. RFID tracking of 1,173 surgical pathology cases and over 30 staff in an analog cellular pathology workflow illustrates the complexity of the physical movement of slides within the department, which impacts on case traceability within the system. Detailed analysis of over 400 case journeys highlights redundant periods created by batching of slides at workflow points, including potentially 2–3 h for a case to become available for reporting after release from the lab, and variable lag-times prior to collection for reporting, and provides an illustration of patterns of lab and pathologist working within the analog setting. This study supports the challenge in evidencing efficiency gains to be anticipated with DP in the context of the variation and complexity of the analog pathway, but also evidences the efficiency gains that may be expected through a greater understanding of patterns of working and movement of cases. Such data may benefit other departments building a business case for DP.
Methodology for the development of National Multidisciplinary Management Recommendations using a multi-stage meta-consensus initiative.
BACKGROUND: Methods for developing national recommendations vary widely. The successful adoption of new guidance into routine practice is dependent on buy-in from the clinicians delivering day-to-day patient care and must be considerate of existing resource constraints, as well as being aspirational in its scope. This initiative aimed to produce guidelines for the management of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma of unknown primary (HNSCCUP) using a novel methodology to maximise the likelihood of national adoption. METHODS: A voluntary steering committee oversaw 3 phases of development: 1) clarification of topic areas, data collection and assimilation, including systematic reviews and a National Audit of Practice; 2) a National Consensus Day, presenting data from the above to generate candidate consensus statements for indicative voting by attendees; and 3) a National Delphi Exercise seeking agreement on the candidate consensus statements, including representatives from all 58 UK Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Teams (MDT). Methodology was published online in advance of the Consensus Day and Delphi exercise. RESULTS: Four topic areas were identified to frame guideline development. The National Consensus Day was attended by 227 participants (54 in-person and 173 virtual). Results from 7 new systematic reviews were presented, alongside 7 expert stakeholder presentations and interim data from the National Audit and from relevant ongoing Clinical Trials. This resulted in the generation of 35 statements for indicative voting by attendees which, following steering committee ratification, led to 30 statements entering the National Delphi exercise. After 3 rounds (with a further statement added after round 1), 27 statements had reached 'strong agreement' (n = 25, 2, 0 for each round, respectively), a single statement achieved 'agreement' only (round 3), and 'no agreement' could be reached for 3 statements (response rate 98% for each round). Subsequently, 28 statements were adopted into the National MDT Guidelines for HNSCCUP. CONCLUSIONS: The described methodology demonstrated an effective multi-phase strategy for the development of national practice recommendations. It may serve as a cost-effective model for future guideline development for controversial or rare conditions where there is a paucity of available evidence or where there is significant variability in management practices across a healthcare service.
Performance characteristics of five immunoassays for SARS-CoV-2: a head-to-head benchmark comparison.
BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a global pandemic in 2020. Testing is crucial for mitigating public health and economic effects. Serology is considered key to population-level surveillance and potentially individual-level risk assessment. However, immunoassay performance has not been compared on large, identical sample sets. We aimed to investigate the performance of four high-throughput commercial SARS-CoV-2 antibody immunoassays and a novel 384-well ELISA. METHODS: We did a head-to-head assessment of SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay (Abbott, Chicago, IL, USA), LIAISON SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 IgG assay (DiaSorin, Saluggia, Italy), Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay (Roche, Basel, Switzerland), SARS-CoV-2 Total assay (Siemens, Munich, Germany), and a novel 384-well ELISA (the Oxford immunoassay). We derived sensitivity and specificity from 976 pre-pandemic blood samples (collected between Sept 4, 2014, and Oct 4, 2016) and 536 blood samples from patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, collected at least 20 days post symptom onset (collected between Feb 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to assess assay thresholds. FINDINGS: At the manufacturers' thresholds, for the Abbott assay sensitivity was 92·7% (95% CI 90·2-94·8) and specificity was 99·9% (99·4-100%); for the DiaSorin assay sensitivity was 96·2% (94·2-97·7) and specificity was 98·9% (98·0-99·4); for the Oxford immunoassay sensitivity was 99·1% (97·8-99·7) and specificity was 99·0% (98·1-99·5); for the Roche assay sensitivity was 97·2% (95·4-98·4) and specificity was 99·8% (99·3-100); and for the Siemens assay sensitivity was 98·1% (96·6-99·1) and specificity was 99·9% (99·4-100%). All assays achieved a sensitivity of at least 98% with thresholds optimised to achieve a specificity of at least 98% on samples taken 30 days or more post symptom onset. INTERPRETATION: Four commercial, widely available assays and a scalable 384-well ELISA can be used for SARS-CoV-2 serological testing to achieve sensitivity and specificity of at least 98%. The Siemens assay and Oxford immunoassay achieved these metrics without further optimisation. This benchmark study in immunoassay assessment should enable refinements of testing strategies and the best use of serological testing resource to benefit individuals and population health. FUNDING: Public Health England and UK National Institute for Health Research.
Dampened Inflammatory Signalling and Myeloid-Derived Suppressor-Like Cell Accumulation Reduces Circulating Monocytic HLA-DR Density and May Associate With Malignancy Risk in Long-Term Renal Transplant Recipients.
Background: Malignancy is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in transplant recipients. Identification of those at highest risk could facilitate pre-emptive intervention such as reduction of immunosuppression. Reduced circulating monocytic HLA-DR density is a marker of immune depression in the general population and associates with poorer outcome in critical illness. It has recently been used as a safety marker in adoptive cell therapy trials in renal transplantation. Despite its potential as a marker of dampened immune responses, factors that impact upon monocytic HLA-DR density and the long-term clinical sequelae of this have not been assessed in transplant recipients. Methods: A cohort study of stable long-term renal transplant recipients was undertaken. Serial circulating monocytic HLA-DR density and other leucocyte populations were quantified by flow cytometry. Gene expression of monocytes was performed using the Nanostring nCounter platform, and 13-plex cytokine bead array used to quantify serum concentrations. The primary outcome was malignancy development during one-year follow-up. Risk of malignancy was calculated by univariate and multivariate proportionate hazards modelling with and without adjustment for competing risks. Results: Monocytic HLA-DR density was stable in long-term renal transplant recipients (n=135) and similar to non-immunosuppressed controls (n=29), though was suppressed in recipients receiving prednisolone. Decreased mHLA-DRd was associated with accumulation of CD14+CD11b+CD33+HLA-DRlo monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor-like cells. Pathway analysis revealed downregulation of pathways relating to cytokine and chemokine signalling in monocytes with low HLA-DR density; however serum concentrations of major cytokines did not differ between these groups. There was an independent increase in malignancy risk during follow-up with decreased HLA-DR density. Conclusions: Dampened chemokine and cytokine signalling drives a stable reduction in monocytic HLA-DR density in long-term transplant recipients and associates with subsequent malignancy risk. This may function as a novel marker of excess immunosuppression. Further study is needed to understand the mechanism behind this association.
In a recent paper, Clavien et al. demonstrate the successful transplant of a sub-optimal donor liver using multi-day normothermic machine perfusion. This technological milestone opens up exciting new avenues for liver transplantation with the potential to ameliorate donor organ shortages and permit targeted therapeutic interventions.