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Branstrom R.,Karolinska University Hospital | Branstrom R.,University of Pennsylvania | Kasparian N.A.,University of New South Wales | Kasparian N.A.,Prince of Wales Hospital | And 27 more authors.
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention | Year: 2010

Background: The incidence of melanoma continues to increase in many countries, and primary prevention of melanoma includes avoidance of sunburn as well as adequate sun protection behavior. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of self-reported sun protection behaviors and sunburn in users of the Internet, and to identify the demographic, clinical, and attitudinal/motivational correlates of sun protection behaviors. Methods: Self-report data were gathered on behalf of the GenoMEL consortium using an online survey available in 10 different languages, and 8,178 individuals successfully completed at least 80% of survey items, with 73% of respondents from Europe, 12% from Australia, 7% from the United States, 2% from Israel, and 6% from other countries. Results: Half of all respondents and 27% of those with a previous melanoma reported at least one severe sunburn during the previous 12 months. The strongest factors associated with sun protection behavior were perceived barriers to protection (β = -0.44/β = -0.37), and respondents who reported a positive attitude toward suntans were less likely to protect (β = -0.16/β = -0.14). Reported use of protective clothing and shade, as well as avoidance of midday sun exposure, were more strongly related to reduced risk of sunburn than sunscreen use. Conclusions: Despite widespread dissemination of public health messages about the importance of sun protection, a substantial proportion of this international sample, including respondents with a previous melanoma, reported inadequate sun protection behaviors resulting in severe sunburn. Impact: Future strategies to decrease sunburn should target the practical, social, and psychological barriers associated with nonuptake of sun protection. ©2010 AACR.


Booij S.J.,Leiden University | Tibben A.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Marinus J.,Leiden University | Roos R.A.C.,Leiden University
Journal of Neurology | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of thoughts or wishes for the end of life in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD) or identified gene carriers (further mentioned together as patients). A custom-made questionnaire, based on previous qualitative research, was sent out to 242 patients with HD and identified gene carriers. Presence of wishes was investigated and correlated to demographic and clinical characteristics. A total of 134 patients (55 %) returned the questionnaire. 101 respondents (75 %) reported to have some kind of thoughts or wishes for the end of life. For 15 respondents (11 %) these thoughts concerned care; 86 respondents (64 %) reported to have also thoughts about euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The presence of any thoughts about the end of life was significantly related to being familiar with HD in the family, but not related to any other demographic or clinical variable. Participants with thoughts specifically about euthanasia or PAS were of higher education and in earlier stages of the disease than participants without such thoughts. Thoughts or wishes for the end of life are present amongst patients with HD. These thoughts include euthanasia or PAS in a majority of the respondents. It is suggested that prudential addressing of these issues may enhance the doctor–patient relationship. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Booij S.J.,LUMC | Rodig V.,LUMC | Tibben A.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Roos R.A.C,LUMC
Journal of Medical Ethics | Year: 2013

Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) by request and/or based on an advance directive are legal in The Netherlands under strict conditions, thus providing options for patients with Huntington's disease (HD) and other neurodegenerative diseases to stay in control and choose their end of life. HD is an inherited progressive disease characterised by chorea and hypokinesia, psychiatric symptoms and dementia. From a qualitative study based on interviews with 15 physicians experienced in treating HD, several ethical issues emerged. Consideration of these aspects leads to a discussion about the professional role of a physician in relation to the personal autonomy of a patient. Such a discussion can raise awareness that talking about end-of-life wishes with an HD patient is part of the legal, professional and moral responsibility of the physician, and that a letter of intent on behalf of the physician can improve active participation in the process. Discussion of these issues can help to advance the debate on euthanasia and PAS in HD and other neurodegenerative diseases.


Booij S.J.,Leiden University | Rodig V.,Leiden University | Tibben A.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Roos R.A.,Leiden University
Journal of Huntington's disease | Year: 2013

In the literature there are few reports on euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS) or other matters concerning the end-of-life in patients with Huntington's disease (HD), although clinical experience suggests these issues do arise. To obtain in-depth information about patients' thoughts on and attitudes to euthanasia, PAS and the use of advance directives in HD. To assess the difficulties patients encounter when thinking about end-of-life wishes. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with 14 unselected HD patients from our out-patient clinic based on a topic list. Qualitative analysis of the interviews based on grounded theory. We identified three patterns in our group of respondents: patients with distinct wishes, with general wishes and ideas and patients with no wishes. The most important frame of reference regarding end-of-life wishes in HD patients or known gene carriers is the experience with an affected parent. Family is important when thinking about the end of life and advance directives, even more so than the patient's physician. Knowledge about the (requirements of) law is limited. The majority of interviewees expressed some kind of wish regarding end of life, probably more than they had revealed to their physician, but were sometimes hesitant to discuss it. Knowledge on how to deal with wishes, advance directives and response shift is limited. In general, patients underestimate the requirement for sound professional support when considering euthanasia or PAS and the value of an advance directive. In an attempt to improve knowledge and communication about end-of-life issues, physicians should ask the patient directly about their wishes.


Booij S.J.,Leiden University | Tibben A.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Marinus J.,Leiden University | Roos R.A.C.,Leiden University
Journal of Neurology | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to investigate the presence of thoughts or wishes for the end of life in patients with Huntington's disease (HD) or identified gene carriers (further mentioned together as patients). A custom-made questionnaire, based on previous qualitative research, was sent out to 242 patients with HD and identified gene carriers. Presence of wishes was investigated and correlated to demographic and clinical characteristics. A total of 134 patients (55 %) returned the questionnaire. 101 respondents (75 %) reported to have some kind of thoughts or wishes for the end of life. For 15 respondents (11 %) these thoughts concerned care; 86 respondents (64 %) reported to have also thoughts about euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide (PAS). The presence of any thoughts about the end of life was significantly related to being familiar with HD in the family, but not related to any other demographic or clinical variable. Participants with thoughts specifically about euthanasia or PAS were of higher education and in earlier stages of the disease than participants without such thoughts. Thoughts or wishes for the end of life are present amongst patients with HD. These thoughts include euthanasia or PAS in a majority of the respondents. It is suggested that prudential addressing of these issues may enhance the doctor-patient relationship. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Kempers M.J.E.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Van Der Crabben S.N.,Radboud University Nijmegen | De Vroede M.,University Utrecht | Alfen-Van Der Velden J.,Radboud University Nijmegen | And 5 more authors.
Hormone Research in Paediatrics | Year: 2014

Background: Congenital isolated growth hormone deficiency (IGHD) is a rare endocrine disorder that presents with severe proportionate growth failure. Dominant (type II) IGHD is usually caused by heterozygous mutations of GH1. The presentation of newly affected family members in 3 families with dominant IGHD in whom previous genetic testing had not demonstrated a GH1 mutation or had not been performed, prompted us to identify the underlying genetic cause. Methods:GH1 was sequenced in 3 Caucasian families with a clinical autosomal dominant IGHD. Results: All affected family members had severe growth hormone (GH) deficiency that became apparent in the first 2 years of life. GH treatment led to a marked increase in height SDS. So far, no other pituitary dysfunctions have become apparent. In the first family a novel splice site mutation in GH1 was identified (c.172-1G>C, IVS2-1G>C). In two other families a previously reported splice site mutation (c.291+1G>A, IVS3+1G>A) was found. Conclusion: These data show that several years after negative genetic testing it was now possible to make a genetic diagnosis in these families with a well-defined, clearly heritable, autosomal dominant IGHD. This underscores the importance of clinical and genetic follow-up in a multidisciplinary setting. It also shows that even without a positive family history, genetic testing should be considered if the phenotype is strongly suggestive for a genetic syndrome. Identification of pathogenic mutations, like these GH1 mutations, has important clinical implications for the surveillance and genetic counseling of patients and expands our knowledge on the genotype-phenotype correlation. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Balgobind B.V.,Sophia Childrens Hospital | van den Heuvel-Eibrink M.M.,Sophia Childrens Hospital | De Menezes R.X.,Sophia Childrens Hospital | De Menezes R.X.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | And 17 more authors.
Haematologica | Year: 2011

Background Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia is a heterogeneous disease characterized by non-random genetic aberrations related to outcome. The genetic subtype is currently detected by different diagnostic procedures which differ in success rate and/or specificity. Design and Methods We examined the potential of gene expression profiles to classify pediatric acute myeloid leukemia. Gene expression microarray data of 237 children with acute myeloid leukemia were collected and a double-loop cross validation approach was used to generate a subtype-predictive gene expression profile in the discovery cohort (n=157) which was then tested for its true predictive value in the independent validation cohort (n=80). The classifier consisted of 75 probe sets, representing the top 15 discriminating probe sets for MLL-rearranged, t(8;21)(q22;q22), inv(16)(p13q22), t(15;17)(q21;q22) and t(7;12)(q36;p13)-positive acute myeloid leukemia. Results These cytogenetic subtypes represent approximately 40% of cases of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia and were predicted with 92% and 99% accuracy in the discovery and independent validation cohort, respectively. However, for NPM1, CEBPA, MLL(-PTD), FLT3(-ITD), KIT, PTPN11 and N/K-RAS gene expression signatures had limited predictive value. This may be caused by a limited frequency of these mutations and by underlying cytogenetics. This latter is exemplified by the fact that different gene expression signatures were discovered for FLT3-ITD in patients with normal cytogenetics and in those with t(15;17)(q21;q22)-positive acute myeloid leukemia, which pointed to HOXB-upregulation being specific for FLT3-ITD+ cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia. Conclusions In conclusion, gene expression profiling correctly predicted the most prevalent cytogenetic subtypes of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia with high accuracy. In clinical practice, this gene expression signature may replace multiple diagnostic tests for approximately 40% of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia cases whereas only for the remaining cases (predicted as 'acute myeloid leukemia-other') are additional tests indicated. Moreover, the discriminative genes reveal new insights into the biology of acute myeloid leukemia subtypes that warrants followup as potential targets for new therapies.© Ferrata Storti Foundation.


Goemans N.M.,University Hospitals Leuven | Tulinius M.,Gothenburg University | Van Den Akker J.T.,Prosensa | Burm B.E.,Prosensa | And 15 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2011

BACKGROUND: Local intramuscular administration of the antisense oligonucleotide PRO051 in patients with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy with relevant mutations was previously reported to induce the skipping of exon 51 during pre-messenger RNA splicing of the dystrophin gene and to facilitate new dystrophin expression in muscle-fiber membranes. The present phase 1-2a study aimed to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and molecular and clinical effects of systemically administered PRO051. METHODS: We administered weekly abdominal subcutaneous injections of PRO051 for 5 weeks in 12 patients, with each of four possible doses (0.5, 2.0, 4.0, and 6.0 mg per kilogram of body weight) given to 3 patients. Changes in RNA splicing and protein levels in the tibialis anterior muscle were assessed at two time points. All patients subsequently entered a 12-week open-label extension phase, during which they all received PRO051 at a dose of 6.0 mg per kilogram per week. Safety, pharmacokinetics, serum creatine kinase levels, and muscle strength and function were assessed. RESULTS: The most common adverse events were irritation at the administration site and, during the extension phase, mild and variable proteinuria and increased urinary a1-microglobulin levels; there were no serious adverse events. The mean terminal half-life of PRO051 in the circulation was 29 days. PRO051 induced detectable, specific exon-51 skipping at doses of 2.0 mg or more per kilogram. New dystrophin expression was observed between approximately 60% and 100% of muscle fibers in 10 of the 12 patients, as measured on post-treatment biopsy, which increased in a dose-dependent manner to up to 15.6% of the expression in healthy muscle. After the 12-week extension phase, there was a mean (±SD) improvement of 35.2±28.7 m (from the baseline of 384±121 m) on the 6-minute walk test. CONCLUSIONS: Systemically administered PRO051 showed dose-dependent molecular efficacy in patients with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, with a modest improvement in the 6-minute walk test after 12 weeks of extended treatment. (Funded by Prosensa Therapeutics; Netherlands National Trial Register number, NTR1241.) Copyright © 2011 Massachusetts Medical Society.


Caliebe J.,University Hospital of Tuebingen | Broekman S.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Boogaard M.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Bosch C.A.J.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | And 7 more authors.
Hormone Research in Paediatrics | Year: 2012

Background/Aims: Because the criteria for genetic screening of short children are unknown, we performed genetic analysis of 199 short children born small for gestational age (SGA) or with normal birth size (idiopathic short stature, ISS). Methods: After selection with a modified scoring system for SHOX and a novel score for IGF1 and IGF1R defects, direct sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was performed for SHOX and IGF1R in selected patients, and confirmed by SNP array analysis. Results: In 6 children, gene variants were identified in SHOX, its adjacent pseudoautosomal region (PAR) and IGF1R: a SHOX mutation, terminal 15q deletion, a SHOX and IGF1R defect, a deletion of the Xp22.3 PAR region, and two patients with duplications in the Xp22.3 PAR region. In a seventh patient, steroid sulfatase deficiency was detected because a probe for STS was used as control; this syndrome has not been associated with short stature before. Conclusion: A selection process using clinical scores for SHOX, IGF1 and IGF1R defects followed by genetic testing with MLPA and direct sequencing led to the detection of a SHOX or IGF1R genetic variant in 6% of short children. © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Helderman-Van Den Enden A.T.J.M.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Van Den Bergen J.C.,Leiden University | Breuning M.H.,Center for Human and Clinical Genetics | Verschuuren J.J.G.M.,Leiden University | And 3 more authors.
Clinical Genetics | Year: 2011

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common inherited neuromuscular disease. After identification of the mutation in the index patient, family members can be reliably investigated. Carriers should be informed about their risk of having offspring with the disease and about their own risk for cardiomyopathy for which regular cardiac surveillance is recommended. In a small country like the Netherlands with well-organized genetic services, one would expect that most DMD families are adequately informed about the above mentioned risks for carriers. We have investigated whether women at risk had been tested at a molecular level. In the national Duchenne/Becker database 311 DMD and 99 Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) patients had been registered up to 1 July 2009. These patients were asked to give information about the number of sisters and maternal aunts of the DMD/BMD patient and anything that was known about their genetic status and that of the mother. This information was compared with the information known at the genetic laboratory. Thirty-five of 104 adult sisters/maternal aunts of DMD patients with a 50% risk of being a carrier and 45 of 148 adult women with a 4.3% risk because of germ line mosaicism for DMD had not been tested by DNA analysis. Our study indicates that about one third of the potential carriers have not been tested. Given the possible far-reaching clinical consequences of being a carrier, further studies are needed to investigate the reasons why potential female carriers have not been tested. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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