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Newcastle, Australia

Avery-Kiejda K.A.,Hunter Medical Research Institute | Avery-Kiejda K.A.,University of Newcastle | Braye S.G.,Hunter Area Pathology Service | Mathe A.,Hunter Medical Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2014

Background: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy that develops in women, responsible for the highest cancer-associated death rates. Triple negative breast cancers represent an important subtype that have an aggressive clinical phenotype, are associated with a higher likelihood of metastasis and are not responsive to current targeted therapies. miRNAs have emerged as an attractive candidate for molecular biomarkers and treatment targets in breast cancer, but their role in the progression of triple negative breast cancer remains largely unexplored.Methods: This study has investigated miRNA expression profiles in 31 primary triple negative breast cancer cases and in 13 matched lymph node metastases compared with 23 matched normal breast tissues to determine miRNAs associated with the initiation of this disease subtype and those associated with its metastasis.Results: 71 miRNAs were differentially expressed in triple negative breast cancer, the majority of which have previously been associated with breast cancer, including members of the miR-200 family and the miR-17-92 oncogenic cluster, suggesting that the majority of miRNAs involved in the initiation of triple negative breast cancer are not subtype specific. However, the repertoire of miRNAs expressed in lymph node negative and lymph node positive triple negative breast cancers were largely distinct from one another. In particular, miRNA profiles associated with lymph node negative disease tended to be up-regulated, while those associated with lymph node positive disease were down-regulated and largely overlapped with the profiles of their matched lymph node metastases. From this, 27 miRNAs were identified that are associated with metastatic capability in the triple negative breast cancer subtype.Conclusions: These results provide novel insight into the repertoire of miRNAs that contribute to the initiation of and progression to lymph node metastasis in triple negative breast cancer and have important implications for the treatment of this breast cancer subtype. © 2014 Avery-Kiejda et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Dawood F.S.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Hope K.G.,Public Health England | Durrheim D.N.,Hunter Medical Research Institute | Givney R.,Hunter Area Pathology Service | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Introduction: On May 26, 2009, the first confirmed case of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus (pH1N1) infection in Hunter New England (HNE), New South Wales (NSW), Australia (population 866,000) was identified. We used local surveillance data to estimate pH1N1-associated disease burden during the first wave of pH1N1 circulation in HNE. Methods: Surveillance was established during June 1-August 30, 2009, for: 1) laboratory detection of pH1N1 at HNE and NSW laboratories, 2) pH1N1 community influenza-like illness (ILI) using an internet survey of HNE residents, and 3) pH1N1- associated hospitalizations and deaths using respiratory illness International Classification of Diseases 10 codes at 35 HNE hospitals and mandatory reporting of confirmed pH1N1-associated hospitalizations and deaths to the public health service. The proportion of pH1N1 positive specimens was applied to estimates of ILI, hospitalizations, and deaths to estimate disease burden. Results: Of 34,177 specimens tested at NSW laboratories, 4,094 (12%) were pH1N1 positive. Of 1,881 specimens from patients evaluated in emergency departments and/or hospitalized, 524 (26%) were pH1N1 positive. The estimated number of persons with pH1N1-associated ILI in the HNE region was 53,383 (range 37,828-70,597) suggesting a 6.2% attack rate (range 4.4-8.2%). An estimated 509 pH1N1-associated hospitalizations (range 388-630) occurred (reported: 184), and up to 10 pH1N1-associated deaths (range 8-13) occurred (reported: 5). The estimated case hospitalization ratio was 1% and case fatality ratio was 0.02%. Discussion: The first wave of pH1N1 activity in HNE resulted in symptomatic infection in a small proportion of the population, and the number of HNE pH1N1-associated hospitalizations and deaths is likely higher than officially reported. Copyright: © 2010 Dawood et al. Source

Williams M.,Royal Melbourne Hospital | Izzard L.,Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory | Graves S.R.,Hunter Area Pathology Service | Stenos J.,Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Medical Journal of Australia | Year: 2011

Human infection with Rickettsia felis has been reported in most parts of the world, and R. felis has recently been confirmed in cat fleas in Western Australia. The clinical presentations of R. typhi and R. felis are similar, and in the past, the incidence of R. felis infection may have been underestimated. We describe the first reported cases of probable human R. felis infection in Australia. Two adults and three children in Victoria contracted a rickettsial disease after exposure to fleas from kittens. Molecular testing of fleas demonstrated the presence of R. felis but not R. typhi. Source

Avery-Kiejda K.A.,Hunter Medical Research Institute | Avery-Kiejda K.A.,University of Newcastle | Braye S.G.,Hunter Area Pathology Service | Forbes J.F.,Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group | And 3 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2014

Background: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women world-wide. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive subtype that lacks expression of hormone receptors for estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor 2; and is associated with a high propensity for metastatic spread. Several studies have identified critical roles for microRNAs in breast cancer, but the role of two critical enzymes involved in microRNA biogenesis, Dicer and Drosha, is not well understood, particularly with respect to metastatic progression in this subtype.Methods: We examined the expression of Dicer and Drosha in a series of invasive 35 TNBCs with matched normal adjacent tissues (n = 18) and lymph node metastases (n = 15) using semi-quantitative real time RT-PCR. The relationship of their expression with clinical features including age at diagnosis, lymph node positivity and tumour size was analysed.Results: We report that Dicer was significantly decreased while Drosha was significantly increased in tumours when compared to normal adjacent tissues. While there was no difference in Drosha expression in lymph node metastases when compared to the primary tumour, Dicer was significantly increased. There was no correlation between the expression of either Dicer or Drosha to age at diagnosis, lymph node positivity and tumour size.Conclusions: In conclusion, Dicer and Drosha are dysregulated in TNBC and matched lymph node metastases however, the clinical relevance of this is still not known. The altered expression of Dicer and Drosha may serve as markers for disrupted miRNA biogenesis in TNBC. © 2014 Avery-Kiejda et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Favaloro E.J.,Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research ICPMR | Chapman K.,Hunter Area Pathology Service | Meiring M.,University of the Free State | Funk Adcock D.,Esoterix Inc
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis | Year: 2012

Background von Willebrand disease (VWD), the most common inherited bleeding disorder, is caused by deficiencies and/or defects in von Willebrand factor (VWF). An effective diagnostic and VWD typing strategy requires plasma testing for factor VIII, and VWF antigen plus one or more VWF 'activity' assays. VWF activity is classically assessed by using VWF ristocetin cofactor activity (VWF:RCo), although VWF collagen-binding (VWF:CB) and VWF mAb-based (VWF activity [VWF:Act]) assays are used by some laboratories. Objective: To perform a cross-laboratory study to specifically evaluate these three VWF activity assays for comparative sensitivity to loss of high molecular weight (HMW) VWF, representing the form of VWF that is most functionally active and that is absent in some types of VWD, namely 2A and 2B. Methods: A set of eight samples, including six selectively representing stepwise reduction in HMW VWF, were tested by 51 different laboratories using a variety of assays. Results: The combined data showed that the VWF:CB and VWF:RCo assays had higher sensitivity to the loss of HMW VWF than did the VWF:Act assay. Moreover, within-method analysis identified better HMW VWF sensitivity of some VWF:CB assays than of others, with all VWF:CB assays still showing better sensitivity than the VWF:Act assay. Differences were also identified between VWF:RCo methodologies on the basis of either platelet aggregometry or as performed on automated analyzers. Conclusions: We believe that these results have significant clinical implications for the diagnosis of VWD and monitoring of its therapy, as well as for the future diagnosis and therapy monitoring of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. © 2012 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Source

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