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Progress in the HIV epidemic: Identifying goals and measuring success

Ven, 18/01/2019 - 23:00

by Jeb Jones, Patrick S. Sullivan, James W. Curran

Substantial progress has been made towards the goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic due to advancements in both prevention and treatment of HIV. However, major challenges still remain. We describe basic principles of epidemic control in the context of HIV and identify a number of attainable goals in terms of control and elimination of HIV in specific populations and risk groups, given currently available HIV prevention and treatment methods. Currently available HIV prevention methods make it a feasible goal to eliminate HIV transmission attributable to mother-to-child transmission and blood transfusions. Reductions in transmission attributable to sexual behavior and injection drug use are feasible, but elimination of these modes of transmission will require further advancements in behavioral and biomedical HIV prevention. With regard to HIV-related mortality, we argue that elimination of death due to HIV-related causes is a feasible goal. HIV-related deaths should be treated as sentinel events triggering epidemiological investigation into the breakdowns in the HIV care continuum that led to them. We briefly discuss additional considerations that will affect the success of HIV prevention programs.

No causal effects of serum urate levels on the risk of chronic kidney disease: A Mendelian randomization study

Mar, 15/01/2019 - 23:00

by Daniel M. Jordan, Hyon K. Choi, Marie Verbanck, Ruth Topless, Hong-Hee Won, Girish Nadkarni, Tony R. Merriman, Ron Do

Background

Studies have shown strong positive associations between serum urate (SU) levels and chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk; however, whether the relation is causal remains uncertain. We evaluate whether genetic data are consistent with a causal impact of SU level on the risk of CKD and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).

Methods and findings

We used Mendelian randomization (MR) methods to evaluate the presence of a causal effect. We used aggregated genome-wide association data (N = 110,347 for SU, N = 69,374 for gout, N = 133,413 for eGFR, N = 117,165 for CKD), electronic-medical-record-linked UK Biobank data (N = 335,212), and population-based cohorts (N = 13,425), all in individuals of European ancestry, for SU levels and CKD. Our MR analysis showed that SU has a causal effect on neither eGFR level nor CKD risk across all MR analyses (all P > 0.05). These null associations contrasted with our epidemiological association findings from the 4 population-based cohorts (change in eGFR level per 1-mg/dl [59.48 μmol/l] increase in SU: −1.99 ml/min/1.73 m2; 95% CI −2.86 to −1.11; P = 8.08 × 10−6; odds ratio [OR] for CKD: 1.48; 95% CI 1.32 to 1.65; P = 1.52 × 10−11). In contrast, the same MR approaches showed that SU has a causal effect on the risk of gout (OR estimates ranging from 3.41 to 6.04 per 1-mg/dl increase in SU, all P < 10−3), which served as a positive control of our approach. Overall, our MR analysis had >99% power to detect a causal effect of SU level on the risk of CKD of the same magnitude as the observed epidemiological association between SU and CKD. Limitations of this study include the lifelong effect of a genetic perturbation not being the same as an acute perturbation, the inability to study non-European populations, and some sample overlap between the datasets used in the study.

Conclusions

Evidence from our series of causal inference approaches using genetics does not support a causal effect of SU level on eGFR level or CKD risk. Reducing SU levels is unlikely to reduce the risk of CKD development.

Rapid antiretroviral therapy initiation in low- and middle-income countries: A resource-based approach

Mar, 15/01/2019 - 23:00

by Mark W. Tenforde, A. Sarah Walker, Diana M. Gibb, Yukari C. Manabe

In an Essay, Mark Tenforde and colleagues advocate continued provision of baseline CD4 cell count testing in HIV care in low- and middle-income countries.

Association between severe drought and HIV prevention and care behaviors in Lesotho: A population-based survey 2016–2017

Lun, 14/01/2019 - 23:00

by Andrea J. Low, Koen Frederix, Stephen McCracken, Salome Manyau, Elizabeth Gummerson, Elizabeth Radin, Stefania Davia, Herbert Longwe, Nahima Ahmed, Bharat Parekh, Sally Findley, Amee Schwitters

Background

A previous analysis of the impact of drought in Africa on HIV demonstrated an 11% greater prevalence in HIV-endemic rural areas attributable to local rainfall shocks. The Lesotho Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (LePHIA) was conducted after the severe drought of 2014–2016, allowing for reevaluation of this relationship in a setting of expanded antiretroviral coverage.

Methods and findings

LePHIA selected a nationally representative sample between November 2016 and May 2017. All adults aged 15–59 years in randomly selected households were invited to complete an interview and HIV testing, with one woman per household eligible to answer questions on their experience of sexual violence. Deviations in rainfall for May 2014–June 2016 were estimated using precipitation data from Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station Data (CHIRPS), with drought defined as <15% of the average rainfall from 1981 to 2016. The association between drought and risk behaviors as well as HIV-related outcomes was assessed using logistic regression, incorporating complex survey weights. Analyses were stratified by age, sex, and geography (urban versus rural). All of Lesotho suffered from reduced rainfall, with regions receiving 1%–36% of their historical rainfall. Of the 12,887 interviewed participants, 93.5% (12,052) lived in areas that experienced drought, with the majority in rural areas (7,281 versus 4,771 in urban areas). Of the 835 adults living in areas without drought, 520 were in rural areas and 315 in urban. Among females 15–19 years old, living in a rural drought area was associated with early sexual debut (odds ratio [OR] 3.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.43–6.74, p = 0.004), and higher HIV prevalence (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.19–6.47, p = 0.02). It was also associated with lower educational attainment in rural females ages 15–24 years (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.25–0.78, p = 0.005). Multivariable analysis adjusting for household wealth and sexual behavior showed that experiencing drought increased the odds of HIV infection among females 15–24 years old (adjusted OR [aOR] 1.80, 95% CI 0.96–3.39, p = 0.07), although this was not statistically significant. Migration was associated with 2-fold higher odds of HIV infection in young people (aOR 2.06, 95% CI 1.25–3.40, p = 0.006). The study was limited by the extensiveness of the drought and the small number of participants in the comparison group.

Conclusions

Drought in Lesotho was associated with higher HIV prevalence in girls 15–19 years old in rural areas and with lower educational attainment and riskier sexual behavior in rural females 15–24 years old. Policy-makers may consider adopting potential mechanisms to mitigate the impact of income shock from natural disasters on populations vulnerable to HIV transmission.

Airway obstruction and bronchial reactivity from age 1 month until 13 years in children with asthma: A prospective birth cohort study

Mar, 08/01/2019 - 23:00

by Henrik Wegener Hallas, Bo Lund Chawes, Morten Arendt Rasmussen, Lambang Arianto, Jakob Stokholm, Klaus Bønnelykke, Hans Bisgaard

Background

Studies have shown that airway obstruction and increased bronchial reactivity are present in early life in children developing asthma, which challenges the dogma that airway inflammation leads to low lung function. Further studies are needed to explore whether low lung function and bronchial hyperreactivity are inherent traits increasing the risk of developing airway inflammation and asthmatic symptoms in order to establish timely primary preventive initiatives.

Methods and findings

We investigated 367 (89%) of the 411 children from the at-risk Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood 2000 (COPSAC2000) birth cohort born to mothers with asthma, who were assessed by spirometry and bronchial reactivity to methacholine from age 1 month, plethysmography and bronchial reversibility from age 3 years, cold dry air hyperventilation from age 4 years, and exercise challenge at age 7 years. The COPSAC pediatricians diagnosed and treated asthma based on symptom load, response to inhaled corticosteroid, and relapse after treatment withdrawal according to a standardized algorithm. Repeated measures mixed models were applied to analyze lung function trajectories in children with asthma ever or never at age 1 month to 13 years. The number of children ever versus never developing asthma in their first 13 years of life was 97 (27%) versus 270 (73%), respectively. Median age at diagnosis was 2.0 years (IQR 1.2–5.7), and median remission age was 6.2 years (IQR 4.2–7.8). Children with versus without asthma had reduced lung function (z-score difference, forced expiratory volume, −0.31 [95% CI −0.47; −0.15], p < 0.001), increased airway resistance (z-score difference, specific airway resistance, +0.40 [95% CI +0.24; +0.56], p < 0.001), increased bronchial reversibility (difference in change in forced expiratory volume in the first second [ΔFEV1], +3% [95% CI +2%; +4%], p < 0.001), increased reactivity to methacholine (z-score difference for provocative dose, −0.40 [95% CI −0.58; −0.22], p < 0.001), decreased forced expiratory volume at cold dry air challenge (ΔFEV1, −4% [95% CI −7%; −1%], p < 0.01), and decreased forced expiratory volume after exercise (ΔFEV1, −4% [95% CI −7%; −1%], p = 0.02). Both airway obstruction and bronchial hyperreactivity were present before symptom debut, independent of disease duration, and did not improve with symptom remission. The generalizability of these findings may be limited by the high-risk nature of the cohort (all mothers had a diagnosis of asthma), the modest study size, and limited ethnic variation.

Conclusions

Children with asthma at some point at age 1 month to 13 years had airway obstruction and bronchial hyperreactivity before symptom debut, which did not worsen with increased asthma symptom duration or attenuate with remission. This suggests that airway obstruction and bronchial hyperreactivity are stable traits of childhood asthma since neonatal life, implying that symptomatic disease may in part be a consequence of these traits but not their cause.

Health system costs for individual and comorbid noncommunicable diseases: An analysis of publicly funded health events from New Zealand

Mar, 08/01/2019 - 23:00

by Tony Blakely, Giorgi Kvizhinadze, June Atkinson, Joseph Dieleman, Philip Clarke

Background

There is little systematic assessment of how total health expenditure is distributed across diseases and comorbidities. The objective of this study was to use statistical methods to disaggregate all publicly funded health expenditure by disease and comorbidities in order to answer three research questions: (1) What is health expenditure by disease phase for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in New Zealand? (2) Is the cost of having two NCDs more or less than that expected given the independent costs of each NCD? (3) How is total health spending disaggregated by NCDs across age and by sex?

Methods and findings

We used linked data for all adult New Zealanders for publicly funded events, including hospitalisation, outpatient, pharmaceutical, laboratory testing, and primary care from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2014. These data include 18.9 million person-years and $26.4 billion in spending (US$ 2016). We used case definition algorithms to identify if a person had any of six NCDs (cancer, cardiovascular disease [CVD], diabetes, musculoskeletal, neurological, and a chronic lung/liver/kidney [LLK] disease). Indicator variables were used to identify the presence of any of the 15 possible comorbidity pairings of these six NCDs. Regression was used to estimate excess annual health expenditure per person. Cause deletion methods were used to estimate total population expenditure by disease. A majority (59%) of health expenditure was attributable to NCDs. Expenditure due to diseases was generally highest in the year of diagnosis and year of death. A person having two diseases simultaneously generally had greater health expenditure than the expected sum of having the diseases separately, for all 15 comorbidity pairs except the CVD-cancer pair. For example, a 60–64-year-old female with none of the six NCDs had $633 per annum expenditure. If she had both CVD and chronic LLK, additional expenditure for CVD separately was $6,443/$839/$9,225 for the first year of diagnosis/prevalent years/last year of life if dying of CVD; additional expenditure for chronic LLK separately was $6,443/$1,291/$9,051; and the additional comorbidity expenditure of having both CVD and LLK was $2,456 (95% confidence interval [CI] $2,238–$2,674). The pattern was similar for males (e.g., additional comorbidity expenditure for a 60–64-year-old male with CVD and chronic LLK was $2,498 [95% CI $2,264–$2,632]). In addition to this, the excess comorbidity costs for a person with two diseases was greater at younger ages, e.g., excess expenditure for 45–49-year-old males with CVD and chronic LLK was 10 times higher than for 75–79-year-old males and six times higher for females. At the population level, 23.8% of total health expenditure was attributable to higher costs of having one of the 15 comorbidity pairs over and above the six NCDs separately; of the remaining expenditure, CVD accounted for 18.7%, followed by musculoskeletal (16.2%), neurological (14.4%), cancer (14.1%), chronic LLK disease (7.4%), and diabetes (5.5%). Major limitations included incomplete linkage to all costed events (although these were largely non-NCD events) and missing private expenditure.

Conclusions

The costs of having two NCDs simultaneously is typically superadditive, and more so for younger adults. Neurological and musculoskeletal diseases contributed the largest health system costs, in accord with burden of disease studies finding that they contribute large morbidity. Just as burden of disease methodology has advanced the understanding of disease burden, there is a need to create disease-based costing studies that facilitate the disaggregation of health budgets at a national level.

The influence of obesity-related factors in the etiology of renal cell carcinoma—A mendelian randomization study

Gio, 03/01/2019 - 23:00

by Mattias Johansson, Robert Carreras-Torres, Ghislaine Scelo, Mark P. Purdue, Daniela Mariosa, David C. Muller, Nicolas J. Timpson, Philip C. Haycock, Kevin M. Brown, Zhaoming Wang, Yuanqing Ye, Jonathan N. Hofmann, Matthieu Foll, Valerie Gaborieau, Mitchell J. Machiela, Leandro M. Colli, Peng Li, Jean-Guillaume Garnier, Helene Blanche, Anne Boland, Laurie Burdette, Egor Prokhortchouk, Konstantin G. Skryabin, Meredith Yeager, Sanja Radojevic-Skodric, Simona Ognjanovic, Lenka Foretova, Ivana Holcatova, Vladimir Janout, Dana Mates, Anush Mukeriya, Stefan Rascu, David Zaridze, Vladimir Bencko, Cezary Cybulski, Eleonora Fabianova, Viorel Jinga, Jolanta Lissowska, Jan Lubinski, Marie Navratilova, Peter Rudnai, Simone Benhamou, Geraldine Cancel-Tassin, Olivier Cussenot, Elisabete Weiderpass, Börje Ljungberg, Raviprakash Tumkur Sitaram, Christel Häggström, Fiona Bruinsma, Susan J. Jordan, Gianluca Severi, Ingrid Winship, Kristian Hveem, Lars J. Vatten, Tony Fletcher, Susanna C. Larsson, Alicja Wolk, Rosamonde E. Banks, Peter J. Selby, Douglas F. Easton, Gabriella Andreotti, Laura E. Beane Freeman, Stella Koutros, Satu Männistö, Stephanie Weinstein, Peter E. Clark, Todd L. Edwards, Loren Lipworth, Susan M. Gapstur, Victoria L. Stevens, Hallie Carol, Matthew L. Freedman, Mark M. Pomerantz, Eunyoung Cho, Kathryn M. Wilson, J. Michael Gaziano, Howard D. Sesso, Neal D. Freedman, Alexander S. Parker, Jeanette E. Eckel-Passow, Wen-Yi Huang, Richard J. Kahnoski, Brian R. Lane, Sabrina L. Noyes, David Petillo, Bin Tean Teh, Ulrike Peters, Emily White, Garnet L. Anderson, Lisa Johnson, Juhua Luo, Julie Buring, I-Min Lee, Wong-Ho Chow, Lee E. Moore, Timothy Eisen, Marc Henrion, James Larkin, Poulami Barman, Bradley C. Leibovich, Toni K. Choueiri, G. Mark Lathrop, Jean-Francois Deleuze, Marc Gunter, James D. McKay, Xifeng Wu, Richard S. Houlston, Stephen J. Chanock, Caroline Relton, J. Brent Richards, Richard M. Martin, George Davey Smith, Paul Brennan

Background

Several obesity-related factors have been associated with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), but it is unclear which individual factors directly influence risk. We addressed this question using genetic markers as proxies for putative risk factors and evaluated their relation to RCC risk in a mendelian randomization (MR) framework. This methodology limits bias due to confounding and is not affected by reverse causation.

Methods and findings

Genetic markers associated with obesity measures, blood pressure, lipids, type 2 diabetes, insulin, and glucose were initially identified as instrumental variables, and their association with RCC risk was subsequently evaluated in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 10,784 RCC patients and 20,406 control participants in a 2-sample MR framework. The effect on RCC risk was estimated by calculating odds ratios (ORSD) for a standard deviation (SD) increment in each risk factor. The MR analysis indicated that higher body mass index increases the risk of RCC (ORSD: 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.44–1.70), with comparable results for waist-to-hip ratio (ORSD: 1.63, 95% CI 1.40–1.90) and body fat percentage (ORSD: 1.66, 95% CI 1.44–1.90). This analysis further indicated that higher fasting insulin (ORSD: 1.82, 95% CI 1.30–2.55) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP; ORSD: 1.28, 95% CI 1.11–1.47), but not systolic blood pressure (ORSD: 0.98, 95% CI 0.84–1.14), increase the risk for RCC. No association with RCC risk was seen for lipids, overall type 2 diabetes, or fasting glucose.

Conclusions

This study provides novel evidence for an etiological role of insulin in RCC, as well as confirmatory evidence that obesity and DBP influence RCC risk.

HIV self-testing alone or with additional interventions, including financial incentives, and linkage to care or prevention among male partners of antenatal care clinic attendees in Malawi: An adaptive multi-arm, multi-stage cluster randomised trial

Mer, 02/01/2019 - 23:00

by Augustine T. Choko, Elizabeth L. Corbett, Nigel Stallard, Hendramoorthy Maheswaran, Aurelia Lepine, Cheryl C. Johnson, Doreen Sakala, Thokozani Kalua, Moses Kumwenda, Richard Hayes, Katherine Fielding

Background

Conventional HIV testing services have been less comprehensive in reaching men than in reaching women globally, but HIV self-testing (HIVST) appears to be an acceptable alternative. Measurement of linkage to post-test services following HIVST remains the biggest challenge, yet is the biggest driver of cost-effectiveness. We investigated the impact of HIVST alone or with additional interventions on the uptake of testing and linkage to care or prevention among male partners of antenatal care clinic attendees in a novel adaptive trial.

Methods and findings

An adaptive multi-arm, 2-stage cluster randomised trial was conducted between 8 August 2016 and 30 June 2017, with antenatal care clinic (ANC) days (i.e., clusters of women attending on a single day) as the unit of randomisation. Recruitment was from Ndirande, Bangwe, and Zingwangwa primary health clinics in urban Blantyre, Malawi. Women attending an ANC for the first time for their current pregnancy (regardless of trimester), 18 years and older, with a primary male partner not known to be on ART were enrolled in the trial after giving consent. Randomisation was to either the standard of care (SOC; with a clinic invitation letter to the male partner) or 1 of 5 intervention arms: the first arm provided women with 2 HIVST kits for their partners; the second and third arms provided 2 HIVST kits along with a conditional fixed financial incentive of $3 or $10; the fourth arm provided 2 HIVST kits and a 10% chance of receiving $30 in a lottery; and the fifth arm provided 2 HIVST kits and a phone call reminder for the women’s partners. The primary outcome was the proportion of male partners who were reported to have tested for HIV and linked into care or prevention within 28 days, with referral for antiretroviral therapy (ART) or circumcision accordingly. Women were interviewed at 28 days about partner testing and adverse events. Cluster-level summaries compared each intervention versus SOC using eligible women as the denominator (intention-to-treat). Risk ratios were adjusted for male partner testing history and recruitment clinic. A total of 2,349/3,137 (74.9%) women participated (71 ANC days), with a mean age of 24.8 years (SD: 5.4). The majority (2,201/2,233; 98.6%) of women were married, 254/2,107 (12.3%) were unable to read and write, and 1,505/2,247 (67.0%) were not employed. The mean age for male partners was 29.6 years (SD: 7.5), only 88/2,200 (4.0%) were unemployed, and 966/2,210 (43.7%) had never tested for HIV before. Women in the SOC arm reported that 17.4% (71/408) of their partners tested for HIV, whereas a much higher proportion of partners were reported to have tested for HIV in all intervention arms (87.0%–95.4%, p < 0.001 in all 5 intervention arms). As compared with those who tested in the SOC arm (geometric mean 13.0%), higher proportions of partners met the primary endpoint in the HIVST + $3 (geometric mean 40.9%, adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 3.01 [95% CI 1.63–5.57], p < 0.001), HIVST + $10 (51.7%, aRR 3.72 [95% CI 1.85–7.48], p < 0.001), and phone reminder (22.3%, aRR 1.58 [95% CI 1.07–2.33], p = 0.021) arms. In contrast, there was no significant increase in partners meeting the primary endpoint in the HIVST alone (geometric mean 17.5%, aRR 1.45 [95% CI 0.99–2.13], p = 0.130) or lottery (18.6%, aRR 1.43 [95% CI 0.96–2.13], p = 0.211) arms. The lottery arm was dropped at interim analysis. Overall, 46 male partners were confirmed to be HIV positive, 42 (91.3%) of whom initiated ART within 28 days; 222 tested HIV negative and were not already circumcised, of whom 135 (60.8%) were circumcised as part of the trial. No serious adverse events were reported. Costs per male partner who attended the clinic with a confirmed HIV test result were $23.73 and $28.08 for the HIVST + $3 and HIVST + $10 arms, respectively. Notable limitations of the trial included the relatively small number of clusters randomised to each arm, proxy reporting of the male partner testing outcome, and being unable to evaluate retention in care.

Conclusions

In this study, the odds of men’s linkage to care or prevention increased substantially using conditional fixed financial incentives plus partner-delivered HIVST; combinations were potentially affordable.

Trial registration

ISRCTN 18421340.

Better medicine through machine learning: What’s real, and what’s artificial?

Lun, 31/12/2018 - 23:00

by Suchi Saria, Atul Butte, Aziz Sheikh

Machine Learning Special Issue Guest Editors Suchi Saria, Atul Butte, and Aziz Sheikh cut through the hyperbole with an accessible and accurate portrayal of the forefront of machine learning in clinical translation.

A new aging measure captures morbidity and mortality risk across diverse subpopulations from NHANES IV: A cohort study

Lun, 31/12/2018 - 23:00

by Zuyun Liu, Pei-Lun Kuo, Steve Horvath, Eileen Crimmins, Luigi Ferrucci, Morgan Levine

Background

A person’s rate of aging has important implications for his/her risk of death and disease; thus, quantifying aging using observable characteristics has important applications for clinical, basic, and observational research. Based on routine clinical chemistry biomarkers, we previously developed a novel aging measure, Phenotypic Age, representing the expected age within the population that corresponds to a person’s estimated mortality risk. The aim of this study was to assess its applicability for differentiating risk for a variety of health outcomes within diverse subpopulations that include healthy and unhealthy groups, distinct age groups, and persons with various race/ethnic, socioeconomic, and health behavior characteristics.

Methods and findings

Phenotypic Age was calculated based on a linear combination of chronological age and 9 multi-system clinical chemistry biomarkers in accordance with our previously established method. We also estimated Phenotypic Age Acceleration (PhenoAgeAccel), which represents Phenotypic Age after accounting for chronological age (i.e., whether a person appears older [positive value] or younger [negative value] than expected, physiologically). All analyses were conducted using NHANES IV (1999–2010, an independent sample from that originally used to develop the measure). Our analytic sample consisted of 11,432 adults aged 20–84 years and 185 oldest-old adults top-coded at age 85 years. We observed a total of 1,012 deaths, ascertained over 12.6 years of follow-up (based on National Death Index data through December 31, 2011). Proportional hazard models and receiver operating characteristic curves were used to evaluate all-cause and cause-specific mortality predictions. Overall, participants with more diseases had older Phenotypic Age. For instance, among young adults, those with 1 disease were 0.2 years older phenotypically than disease-free persons, and those with 2 or 3 diseases were about 0.6 years older phenotypically. After adjusting for chronological age and sex, Phenotypic Age was significantly associated with all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality (with the exception of cerebrovascular disease mortality). Results for all-cause mortality were robust to stratifications by age, race/ethnicity, education, disease count, and health behaviors. Further, Phenotypic Age was associated with mortality among seemingly healthy participants—defined as those who reported being disease-free and who had normal BMI—as well as among oldest-old adults, even after adjustment for disease prevalence. The main limitation of this study was the lack of longitudinal data on Phenotypic Age and disease incidence.

Conclusions

In a nationally representative US adult population, Phenotypic Age was associated with mortality even after adjusting for chronological age. Overall, this association was robust across different stratifications, particularly by age, disease count, health behaviors, and cause of death. We also observed a strong association between Phenotypic Age and the disease count an individual had. These findings suggest that this new aging measure may serve as a useful tool to facilitate identification of at-risk individuals and evaluation of the efficacy of interventions, and may also facilitate investigation into potential biological mechanisms of aging. Nevertheless, further evaluation in other cohorts is needed.

Comparative efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions for individuals with cocaine and amphetamine addiction: A systematic review and network meta-analysis

Mer, 26/12/2018 - 23:00

by Franco De Crescenzo, Marco Ciabattini, Gian Loreto D’Alò, Riccardo De Giorgi, Cinzia Del Giovane, Carolina Cassar, Luigi Janiri, Nicolas Clark, Michael Joshua Ostacher, Andrea Cipriani

Background

Clinical guidelines recommend psychosocial interventions for cocaine and/or amphetamine addiction as first-line treatment, but it is still unclear which intervention, if any, should be offered first. We aimed to estimate the comparative effectiveness of all available psychosocial interventions (alone or in combination) for the short- and long-term treatment of people with cocaine and/or amphetamine addiction.

Methods and findings

We searched published and unpublished randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing any structured psychosocial intervention against an active control or treatment as usual (TAU) for the treatment of cocaine and/or amphetamine addiction in adults. Primary outcome measures were efficacy (proportion of patients in abstinence, assessed by urinalysis) and acceptability (proportion of patients who dropped out due to any cause) at the end of treatment, but we also measured the acute (12 weeks) and long-term (longest duration of study follow-up) effects of the interventions and the longest duration of abstinence. Odds ratios (ORs) and standardised mean differences were estimated using pairwise and network meta-analysis with random effects. The risk of bias of the included studies was assessed with the Cochrane tool, and the strength of evidence with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. We followed the PRISMA for Network Meta-Analyses (PRISMA-NMA) guidelines, and the protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD 42017042900). We included 50 RCTs evaluating 12 psychosocial interventions or TAU in 6,942 participants. The strength of evidence ranged from high to very low. Compared to TAU, contingency management (CM) plus community reinforcement approach was the only intervention that increased the number of abstinent patients at the end of treatment (OR 2.84, 95% CI 1.24–6.51, P = 0.013), and also at 12 weeks (OR 7.60, 95% CI 2.03–28.37, P = 0.002) and at longest follow-up (OR 3.08, 95% CI 1.33–7.17, P = 0.008). At the end of treatment, CM plus community reinforcement approach had the highest number of statistically significant results in head-to-head comparisons, being more efficacious than cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.02–5.88, P = 0.045), non-contingent rewards (OR 3.31, 95% CI 1.32–8.28, P = 0.010), and 12-step programme plus non-contingent rewards (OR 4.07, 95% CI 1.13–14.69, P = 0.031). CM plus community reinforcement approach was also associated with fewer dropouts than TAU, both at 12 weeks and the end of treatment (OR 3.92, P < 0.001, and 3.63, P < 0.001, respectively). At the longest follow-up, community reinforcement approach was more effective than non-contingent rewards, supportive-expressive psychodynamic therapy, TAU, and 12-step programme (OR ranging between 2.71, P = 0.026, and 4.58, P = 0.001), but the combination of community reinforcement approach with CM was superior also to CBT alone, CM alone, CM plus CBT, and 12-step programme plus non-contingent rewards (ORs between 2.50, P = 0.039, and 5.22, P < 0.001). The main limitations of our study were the quality of included studies and the lack of blinding, which may have increased the risk of performance bias. However, our analyses were based on objective outcomes, which are less likely to be biased.

Conclusions

To our knowledge, this network meta-analysis is the most comprehensive synthesis of data for psychosocial interventions in individuals with cocaine and/or amphetamine addiction. Our findings provide the best evidence base currently available to guide decision-making about psychosocial interventions for individuals with cocaine and/or amphetamine addiction and should inform patients, clinicians, and policy-makers.

Defining rights-based indicators for HIV epidemic transition

Ven, 21/12/2018 - 23:00

by Joseph J. Amon, Patrick Eba, Laurel Sprague, Olive Edwards, Chris Beyrer

In a Policy Forum, Joseph Amon and colleagues discuss human rights indicators for tracking progress toward ending the HIV epidemic.

Small for gestational age and risk of childhood mortality: A Swedish population study

Mar, 18/12/2018 - 23:00

by Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Donghao Lu, Lennart Hammarström, Sven Cnattingius, Fang Fang

Background

Small for gestational age (SGA) has been associated with increased risks of stillbirth and neonatal mortality, but data on long-term childhood mortality are scarce. Maternal antenatal care, including globally reducing the risk of SGA birth, may be key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-5 mortality. We therefore aimed to examine the association between SGA and mortality from 28 days to <18 years using a population-based and a sibling control design.

Methods and findings

In a Swedish population study, we identified 3,795,603 non-malformed singleton live births and 2,781,464 full siblings born from January 1, 1973, to December 31, 2012. We examined the associations of severe (<3rd percentile) and moderate (3rd to <10th percentile) SGA with risks of death from 28 days to <18 years after birth. Children born SGA were first compared to non-SGA children from the population, and then to non-SGA siblings. The sibling-based analysis, by design, features a better control for unmeasured factors that are shared between siblings (e.g., socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and genetic factors). Hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards and flexible parametric survival models. During follow-up (1973–2013), there were 10,838 deaths in the population-based analysis and 1,572 deaths in sibling pairs with discordant SGA and mortality status. The crude mortality rate per 10,000 person-years was 5.32 in children born with severe SGA, 2.76 in children born with moderate SGA, and 1.93 in non-SGA children. Compared with non-SGA children, children born with severe SGA had an increased risk of death in both the population-based (HR = 2.58, 95% CI = 2.38–2.80) and sibling-based (HR = 2.61, 95% CI = 2.19–3.10) analyses. Similar but weaker associations were found for moderate SGA in the population-based (HR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.28–1.47) and sibling-based (HR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.22–1.56) analyses. The excess risk was most pronounced between 28 days and <1 year of age but remained throughout childhood. The greatest risk increase associated with severe SGA was noted for deaths due to infection and neurologic disease. Although we have, to our knowledge, the largest study sample so far addressing the research question, some subgroup analyses, especially the analysis of cause-specific mortality, had limited statistical power using the sibling-based approach.

Conclusions

We found that SGA, especially severe SGA, was associated with an increased risk of childhood death beyond the neonatal period, with the highest risk estimates for death from infection and neurologic disease. The similar results obtained between the population- and sibling-based analyses argue against strong confounding by factors shared within families.

Effectiveness and treatment moderators of internet interventions for adult problem drinking: An individual patient data meta-analysis of 19 randomised controlled trials

Mar, 18/12/2018 - 23:00

by Heleen Riper, Adriaan Hoogendoorn, Pim Cuijpers, Eirini Karyotaki, Nikolaos Boumparis, Adriana Mira, Gerhard Andersson, Anne H. Berman, Nicolas Bertholet, Gallus Bischof, Matthijs Blankers, Brigitte Boon, Leif Boß, Håvar Brendryen, John Cunningham, David Ebert, Anders Hansen, Reid Hester, Zarnie Khadjesari, Jeannet Kramer, Elizabeth Murray, Marloes Postel, Daniela Schulz, Kristina Sinadinovic, Brian Suffoletto, Christopher Sundström, Hein de Vries, Paul Wallace, Reinout W. Wiers, Johannes H. Smit

Background

Face-to-face brief interventions for problem drinking are effective, but they have found limited implementation in routine care and the community. Internet-based interventions could overcome this treatment gap. We investigated effectiveness and moderators of treatment outcomes in internet-based interventions for adult problem drinking (iAIs).

Methods and findings

Systematic searches were performed in medical and psychological databases to 31 December 2016. A one-stage individual patient data meta-analysis (IPDMA) was conducted with a linear mixed model complete-case approach, using baseline and first follow-up data. The primary outcome measure was mean weekly alcohol consumption in standard units (SUs, 10 grams of ethanol). Secondary outcome was treatment response (TR), defined as less than 14/21 SUs for women/men weekly. Putative participant, intervention, and study moderators were included. Robustness was verified in three sensitivity analyses: a two-stage IPDMA, a one-stage IPDMA using multiple imputation, and a missing-not-at-random (MNAR) analysis. We obtained baseline data for 14,198 adult participants (19 randomised controlled trials [RCTs], mean age 40.7 [SD = 13.2], 47.6% women). Their baseline mean weekly alcohol consumption was 38.1 SUs (SD = 26.9). Most were regular problem drinkers (80.1%, SUs 44.7, SD = 26.4) and 19.9% (SUs 11.9, SD = 4.1) were binge-only drinkers. About one third were heavy drinkers, meaning that women/men consumed, respectively, more than 35/50 SUs of alcohol at baseline (34.2%, SUs 65.9, SD = 27.1). Post-intervention data were available for 8,095 participants. Compared with controls, iAI participants showed a greater mean weekly decrease at follow-up of 5.02 SUs (95% CI −7.57 to −2.48, p < 0.001) and a higher rate of TR (odds ratio [OR] 2.20, 95% CI 1.63–2.95, p < 0.001, number needed to treat [NNT] = 4.15, 95% CI 3.06–6.62). Persons above age 55 showed higher TR than their younger counterparts (OR = 1.66, 95% CI 1.21–2.27, p = 0.002). Drinking profiles were not significantly associated with treatment outcomes. Human-supported interventions were superior to fully automated ones on both outcome measures (comparative reduction: −6.78 SUs, 95% CI −12.11 to −1.45, p = 0.013; TR: OR = 2.23, 95% CI 1.22–4.08, p = 0.009). Participants treated in iAIs based on personalised normative feedback (PNF) alone were significantly less likely to sustain low-risk drinking at follow-up than those in iAIs based on integrated therapeutic principles (OR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.29–0.93, p = 0.029). The use of waitlist control in RCTs was associated with significantly better treatment outcomes than the use of other types of control (comparative reduction: −9.27 SUs, 95% CI −13.97 to −4.57, p < 0.001; TR: OR = 3.74, 95% CI 2.13–6.53, p < 0.001). The overall quality of the RCTs was high; a major limitation included high study dropout (43%). Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of our primary analyses.

Conclusion

To our knowledge, this is the first IPDMA on internet-based interventions that has shown them to be effective in curbing various patterns of adult problem drinking in both community and healthcare settings. Waitlist control may be conducive to inflation of treatment outcomes.

Effectiveness of a text-messaging-based smoking cessation intervention (“Happy Quit”) for smoking cessation in China: A randomized controlled trial

Mar, 18/12/2018 - 23:00

by Yanhui Liao, Qiuxia Wu, Brian C. Kelly, Fengyu Zhang, Yi-Yuan Tang, Qianjin Wang, Honghong Ren, Yuzhu Hao, Mei Yang, Joanna Cohen, Jinsong Tang

Background

China has the highest global prevalence of cigarette smokers, accounting for more than 40% of the total cigarette consumption in the world. Considering the shortage of smoking cessation services in China, and the acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy of mobile-phone-based text messaging interventions for quitting smoking in other countries, we conducted a mobile-phone-based smoking cessation study in China.

Methods and findings

We conducted a randomized controlled trial in China across 30 cities and provinces from August 17, 2016, to May 27, 2017. Adult smokers aged 18 years and older with the intention to quit smoking were recruited and randomized to a 12-week high-frequency messaging (HFM) or low-frequency messaging (LFM) intervention (“Happy Quit”) or to a control group in a 5:2:3 ratio. The control group received only text messages unrelated to quitting. The primary outcome was biochemically verified continuous smoking abstinence at 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes included (1) self-reported 7-day point prevalence of abstinence (i.e., not even a puff of smoke, for the last 7 days) at 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 weeks; (2) self-reported continuous abstinence at 4, 12, and 24 weeks; and (3) self-reported average number of cigarettes smoked per day. A total of 1,369 participants received 12 weeks of intervention or control text messages with continued follow-up for 12 weeks. The baseline characteristics of participants among the HFM (n = 674), LFM (n = 284), and control (n = 411) groups were similar. The study sample included 1,295 (94.6%) men; participants had a mean age of 38.1 (SD 9.79) years and smoked an average of 20.1 (SD 9.19) cigarettes per day. We included the participants in an intention-to-treat analysis. Biochemically verified continuous smoking abstinence at 24 weeks occurred in 44/674 participants in the HFM group (6.5%), 17/284 participants in the LFM group (6.0%), and 8/411 participants (1.9%) in the control group; participants in both the HFM (odds ratio [OR] = 3.51, 95% CI 1.64–7.55, p < 0.001) and the LFM (OR = 3.21, 95% CI 1.36–7.54], p = 0.002) intervention groups were more likely to quit smoking than those in the control group. However, there was no difference in quit rate between the HFM and LFM interventions. We also found that the 7-day point quit rate from week 1 to week 24 ranged from approximately 10% to more than 26% with the intervention and from less than 4% to nearly 12% without the intervention. Those who continued as smokers in the HFM group smoked 1 to 3 fewer cigarettes per day than those in the LFM group over the 24 weeks of trial. Among study limitations, the participants were able to use other smoking cessation services (although very few participants reported using them), cotinine tests can only detect smoking status for a few days, and the proportion of quitters was small.

Conclusions

Our findings demonstrate that a mobile-phone-based text messaging intervention (Happy Quit), with either high- or low-frequency messaging, led to smoking cessation in the present study, albeit in a low proportion of smokers, and can therefore be considered for use in large-scale intervention efforts in China. Mobile-phone-based interventions could be paired with other smoking cessation services for treatment-seeking smokers in China.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02693626.

Supermarket policies on less-healthy food at checkouts: Natural experimental evaluation using interrupted time series analyses of purchases

Mar, 18/12/2018 - 23:00

by Katrine T. Ejlerskov, Stephen J. Sharp, Martine Stead, Ashley J. Adamson, Martin White, Jean Adams

Background

In response to public concerns and campaigns, some United Kingdom supermarkets have implemented policies to reduce less-healthy food at checkouts. We explored the effects of these policies on purchases of less-healthy foods commonly displayed at checkouts.

Methods and findings

We used a natural experimental design and two data sources providing complementary and unique information. We analysed data on purchases of small packages of common, less-healthy, checkout foods (sugary confectionary, chocolate, and potato crisps) from 2013 to 2017 from nine UK supermarkets (Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose). Six supermarkets implemented a checkout food policy between 2013 and 2017 and were considered intervention stores; the remainder were comparators.Firstly, we studied the longitudinal association between implementation of checkout policies and purchases taken home. We used data from a large (n ≈ 30,000) household purchase panel of food brought home to conduct controlled interrupted time series analyses of purchases of less-healthy common checkout foods from 12 months before to 12 months after implementation. We conducted separate analyses for each intervention supermarket, using others as comparators. We synthesised results across supermarkets using random effects meta-analyses. Implementation of a checkout food policy was associated with an immediate reduction in four-weekly purchases of common checkout foods of 157,000 (72,700–242,800) packages per percentage market share—equivalent to a 17.3% reduction. This decrease was sustained at 1 year with 185,100 (121,700–248,500) fewer packages purchased per 4 weeks per percentage market share—equivalent to a 15.5% reduction. The immediate, but not sustained, effect was robust to sensitivity analysis.Secondly, we studied the cross-sectional association between checkout food policies and purchases eaten without being taken home. We used data from a smaller (n ≈ 7,500) individual purchase panel of food bought and eaten ‘on the go’. We conducted cross-sectional analyses comparing purchases of common checkout foods in 2016–2017 from supermarkets with and without checkout food policies. There were 76.4% (95% confidence interval 48.6%–89.1%) fewer annual purchases of less-healthy common checkout foods from supermarkets with versus without checkout food policies.The main limitations of the study are that we do not know where in the store purchases were selected and cannot determine the effect of changes in purchases on consumption. Other interventions may also have been responsible for the results seen.

Conclusions

There is a potential impact of checkout food polices on purchases. Voluntary supermarket-led activities may have public health benefits.

Associations between sex work laws and sex workers’ health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies

Mar, 11/12/2018 - 23:00

by Lucy Platt, Pippa Grenfell, Rebecca Meiksin, Jocelyn Elmes, Susan G. Sherman, Teela Sanders, Peninah Mwangi, Anna-Louise Crago

Background

Sex workers are at disproportionate risk of violence and sexual and emotional ill health, harms that have been linked to the criminalisation of sex work. We synthesised evidence on the extent to which sex work laws and policing practices affect sex workers’ safety, health, and access to services, and the pathways through which these effects occur.

Methods and findings

We searched bibliographic databases between 1 January 1990 and 9 May 2018 for qualitative and quantitative research involving sex workers of all genders and terms relating to legislation, police, and health. We operationalised categories of lawful and unlawful police repression of sex workers or their clients, including criminal and administrative penalties. We included quantitative studies that measured associations between policing and outcomes of violence, health, and access to services, and qualitative studies that explored related pathways. We conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the average effect of experiencing sexual/physical violence, HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and condomless sex, among individuals exposed to repressive policing compared to those unexposed. Qualitative studies were synthesised iteratively, inductively, and thematically. We reviewed 40 quantitative and 94 qualitative studies. Repressive policing of sex workers was associated with increased risk of sexual/physical violence from clients or other parties (odds ratio [OR] 2.99, 95% CI 1.96–4.57), HIV/STI (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.60–2.19), and condomless sex (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.03–1.94). The qualitative synthesis identified diverse forms of police violence and abuses of power, including arbitrary arrest, bribery and extortion, physical and sexual violence, failure to provide access to justice, and forced HIV testing. It showed that in contexts of criminalisation, the threat and enactment of police harassment and arrest of sex workers or their clients displaced sex workers into isolated work locations, disrupting peer support networks and service access, and limiting risk reduction opportunities. It discouraged sex workers from carrying condoms and exacerbated existing inequalities experienced by transgender, migrant, and drug-using sex workers. Evidence from decriminalised settings suggests that sex workers in these settings have greater negotiating power with clients and better access to justice. Quantitative findings were limited by high heterogeneity in the meta-analysis for some outcomes and insufficient data to conduct meta-analyses for others, as well as variable sample size and study quality. Few studies reported whether arrest was related to sex work or another offence, limiting our ability to assess the associations between sex work criminalisation and outcomes relative to other penalties or abuses of police power, and all studies were observational, prohibiting any causal inference. Few studies included trans- and cisgender male sex workers, and little evidence related to emotional health and access to healthcare beyond HIV/STI testing.

Conclusions

Together, the qualitative and quantitative evidence demonstrate the extensive harms associated with criminalisation of sex work, including laws and enforcement targeting the sale and purchase of sex, and activities relating to sex work organisation. There is an urgent need to reform sex-work-related laws and institutional practices so as to reduce harms and barriers to the realisation of health.

Metabolic syndrome in pregnancy and risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes: A prospective cohort of nulliparous women

Mar, 04/12/2018 - 23:00

by Jessica A. Grieger, Tina Bianco-Miotto, Luke E. Grzeskowiak, Shalem Y. Leemaqz, Lucilla Poston, Lesley M. McCowan, Louise C. Kenny, Jenny E. Myers, James J. Walker, Gus A. Dekker, Claire T. Roberts

Background

Obesity increases the risk for developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and preeclampsia (PE), which both associate with increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women in later life. In the general population, metabolic syndrome (MetS) associates with T2DM and CVD. The impact of maternal MetS on pregnancy outcomes, in nulliparous pregnant women, has not been investigated.

Methods and findings

Low-risk, nulliparous women were recruited to the multi-centre, international prospective Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) cohort between 11 November 2004 and 28 February 2011. Women were assessed for a range of demographic, lifestyle, and metabolic health variables at 15 ± 1 weeks’ gestation. MetS was defined according to International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria for adults: waist circumference ≥80 cm, along with any 2 of the following: raised trigycerides (≥1.70 mmol/l [≥150 mg/dl]), reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (<1.29 mmol/l [<50 mg/dl]), raised blood pressure (BP) (i.e., systolic BP ≥130 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥85 mm Hg), or raised plasma glucose (≥5.6 mmol/l). Log-binomial regression analyses were used to examine the risk for each pregnancy outcome (GDM, PE, large for gestational age [LGA], small for gestational age [SGA], and spontaneous preterm birth [sPTB]) with each of the 5 individual components for MetS and as a composite measure (i.e., MetS, as defined by the IDF). The relative risks, adjusted for maternal BMI, age, study centre, ethnicity, socioeconomic index, physical activity, smoking status, depression status, and fetal sex, are reported. A total of 5,530 women were included, and 12.3% (n = 684) had MetS. Women with MetS were at an increased risk for PE by a factor of 1.63 (95% CI 1.23 to 2.15) and for GDM by 3.71 (95% CI 2.42 to 5.67). In absolute terms, for PE, women with MetS had an adjusted excess risk of 2.52% (95% CI 1.51% to 4.11%) and, for GDM, had an adjusted excess risk of 8.66% (95% CI 5.38% to 13.94%). Diagnosis of MetS was not associated with increased risk for LGA, SGA, or sPTB. Increasing BMI in combination with MetS increased the estimated probability for GDM and decreased the probability of an uncomplicated pregnancy. Limitations of this study are that there are several different definitions for MetS in the adult population, and as there are none for pregnancy, we cannot be sure that the IDF criteria are the most appropriate definition for pregnancy. Furthermore, MetS was assessed in the first trimester and may not reflect pre-pregnancy metabolic health status.

Conclusions

We did not compare the impact of individual metabolic components with that of MetS as a composite, and therefore cannot conclude that MetS is better at identifying women at risk. However, more than half of the women who had MetS in early pregnancy developed a pregnancy complication compared with just over a third of women who did not have MetS. Furthermore, while increasing BMI increases the probability of GDM, the addition of MetS exacerbates this probability. Further studies are required to determine if individual MetS components act synergistically or independently.

Raltegravir-intensified initial antiretroviral therapy in advanced HIV disease in Africa: A randomised controlled trial

Mar, 04/12/2018 - 23:00

by Cissy Kityo, Alexander J. Szubert, Abraham Siika, Robert Heyderman, Mutsa Bwakura-Dangarembizi, Abbas Lugemwa, Shalton Mwaringa, Anna Griffiths, Immaculate Nkanya, Sheila Kabahenda, Simon Wachira, Godfrey Musoro, Chatu Rajapakse, Timothy Etyang, James Abach, Moira J. Spyer, Priscilla Wavamunno, Linda Nyondo-Mipando, Ennie Chidziva, Kusum Nathoo, Nigel Klein, James Hakim, Diana M. Gibb, A. Sarah Walker, Sarah L. Pett, on behalf of the REALITY trial team

Background

In sub-Saharan Africa, individuals infected with HIV who are severely immunocompromised have high mortality (about 10%) shortly after starting antiretroviral therapy (ART). This group also has the greatest risk of morbidity and mortality associated with immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a paradoxical response to successful ART. Integrase inhibitors lead to significantly more rapid declines in HIV viral load (VL) than all other ART classes. We hypothesised that intensifying standard triple-drug ART with the integrase inhibitor, raltegravir, would reduce HIV VL faster and hence reduce early mortality, although this strategy could also risk more IRIS events.

Methods and findings

In a 2×2×2 factorial open-label parallel-group trial, treatment-naive adults, adolescents, and children >5 years old infected with HIV, with cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) <100 cells/mm3, from eight urban/peri-urban HIV clinics at regional hospitals in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe were randomised 1:1 to initiate standard triple-drug ART, with or without 12-week raltegravir intensification, and followed for 48 weeks. The primary outcome was 24-week mortality, analysed by intention to treat. Of 2,356 individuals screened for eligibility, 1,805 were randomised between 18 June 2013 and 10 April 2015. Of the 1,805 participants, 961 (53.2%) were male, 72 (4.0%) were children/adolescents, median age was 36 years, CD4 count was 37 cells/mm3, and plasma viraemia was 249,770 copies/mL. Fifty-six participants (3.1%) were lost to follow-up at 48 weeks. By 24 weeks, 97/902 (10.9%) raltegravir-intensified ART versus 91/903 (10.2%) standard ART participants had died (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.10 [95% CI 0.82–1.46], p = 0.53), with no evidence of interaction with other randomisations (pheterogeneity > 0.7) and despite significantly greater VL suppression with raltegravir-intensified ART at 4 weeks (343/836 [41.0%] versus 113/841 [13.4%] with standard ART, p < 0.001) and 12 weeks (567/789 [71.9%] versus 415/803 [51.7%] with standard ART, p < 0.001). Through 48 weeks, there was no evidence of differences in mortality (aHR = 0.98 [95% CI 0.76–1.28], p = 0.91); in serious (aHR = 0.99 [0.81–1.21], p = 0.88), grade-4 (aHR = 0.88 [0.71–1.09], p = 0.29), or ART-modifying (aHR = 0.90 [0.63–1.27], p = 0.54) adverse events (the latter occurring in 59 [6.5%] participants with raltegravir-intensified ART versus 66 [7.3%] with standard ART); in events judged compatible with IRIS (occurring in 89 [9.9%] participants with raltegravir-intensified ART versus 86 [9.5%] with standard ART, p = 0.79) or in hospitalisations (aHR = 0.94 [95% CI 0.76–1.17], p = 0.59). At 12 weeks, one and two raltegravir-intensified participants had predicted intermediate-level and high-level raltegravir resistance, respectively. At 48 weeks, the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) mutation K219E/Q (p = 0.004) and the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) mutations K101E/P (p = 0.03) and P225H (p = 0.007) were less common in virus from participants with raltegravir-intensified ART, with weak evidence of less intermediate- or high-level resistance to tenofovir (p = 0.06), abacavir (p = 0.08), and rilpivirine (p = 0.07). Limitations of the study include limited clinical, radiological, and/or microbiological information for some participants, reflecting available services at the centres, and lack of baseline genotypes.

Conclusions

Although 12 weeks of raltegravir intensification was well tolerated and reduced HIV viraemia significantly faster than standard triple-drug ART during the time of greatest risk for early death, this strategy did not reduce mortality or clinical events in this group and is not warranted. There was no excess of IRIS-compatible events, suggesting that integrase inhibitors can be used safely as part of standard triple-drug first-line therapy in severely immunocompromised individuals.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01825031.

Trial registration

International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number ISRCTN 43622374.

Deep learning for lung cancer prognostication: A retrospective multi-cohort radiomics study

Ven, 30/11/2018 - 23:00

by Ahmed Hosny, Chintan Parmar, Thibaud P. Coroller, Patrick Grossmann, Roman Zeleznik, Avnish Kumar, Johan Bussink, Robert J. Gillies, Raymond H. Mak, Hugo J. W. L. Aerts

Background

Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients often demonstrate varying clinical courses and outcomes, even within the same tumor stage. This study explores deep learning applications in medical imaging allowing for the automated quantification of radiographic characteristics and potentially improving patient stratification.

Methods and findings

We performed an integrative analysis on 7 independent datasets across 5 institutions totaling 1,194 NSCLC patients (age median = 68.3 years [range 32.5–93.3], survival median = 1.7 years [range 0.0–11.7]). Using external validation in computed tomography (CT) data, we identified prognostic signatures using a 3D convolutional neural network (CNN) for patients treated with radiotherapy (n = 771, age median = 68.0 years [range 32.5–93.3], survival median = 1.3 years [range 0.0–11.7]). We then employed a transfer learning approach to achieve the same for surgery patients (n = 391, age median = 69.1 years [range 37.2–88.0], survival median = 3.1 years [range 0.0–8.8]). We found that the CNN predictions were significantly associated with 2-year overall survival from the start of respective treatment for radiotherapy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] = 0.70 [95% CI 0.63–0.78], p < 0.001) and surgery (AUC = 0.71 [95% CI 0.60–0.82], p < 0.001) patients. The CNN was also able to significantly stratify patients into low and high mortality risk groups in both the radiotherapy (p < 0.001) and surgery (p = 0.03) datasets. Additionally, the CNN was found to significantly outperform random forest models built on clinical parameters—including age, sex, and tumor node metastasis stage—as well as demonstrate high robustness against test–retest (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.91) and inter-reader (Spearman’s rank-order correlation = 0.88) variations. To gain a better understanding of the characteristics captured by the CNN, we identified regions with the most contribution towards predictions and highlighted the importance of tumor-surrounding tissue in patient stratification. We also present preliminary findings on the biological basis of the captured phenotypes as being linked to cell cycle and transcriptional processes. Limitations include the retrospective nature of this study as well as the opaque black box nature of deep learning networks.

Conclusions

Our results provide evidence that deep learning networks may be used for mortality risk stratification based on standard-of-care CT images from NSCLC patients. This evidence motivates future research into better deciphering the clinical and biological basis of deep learning networks as well as validation in prospective data.