Charles Loprinzi, MD
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
(made possible by Nestlé Waters North America, Inc.)
Co-Investigator: Debra L. Barton, RN, PhD, AOCN
, Associate Professor, Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Drs. Barton and Loprinzi's research focuses on alleviating the negative side effects related to breast cancer treatments that are experienced by patients. Specifically, they are examining the use of natural products, such as ginseng, to relieve chemotherapy-related fatigue. In 2011-2012, this team undertook an additional study that sought to address the physical discomforts faced by female cancer survivors who cannot use estrogen. Vaginal atrophy, causing dryness, discomfort, itching and pain with intercourse, is a significant problem for female cancer survivors who cannot use estrogen. Even low dose estrogen can have effects on tissue outside of the vagina and can present an unknown risk with respect to breast cancer.
A form of steroid called vaginal dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) is a potentially effective treatment for atrophy symptoms that may not have effects outside of the vagina. Dr. Barton and Loprinzi have begun to evaluate vaginal DHEA for vaginal dryness and pain, and their study continues to accrue ahead of schedule. Twenty-six community institutions are currently enrolling women, and there are 230 women on study and 456 serum samples have been sent for evaluation thus far. Based on current accrual averages, the team expects to complete the study by early summer 2013 and will be evaluating the biologic effects of DHEA along with the self-reported effects on dryness, pain and sexual health over the summer and early fall 2013. This study has been very well received by participants struggling with this problem. It can potentially define an effective and safe treatment for this important problem, which negatively impacts self-image, sexual health, and comfort.
Mid-year Progress: By February 2013, the study on developing a new treatment option for vaginal atrophy is scheduled to complete its planned enrollment of 456 patients on trial. Blood has been analyzed on 335 women and vaginal tissue has been evaluated for maturity on 60 women. Drs. Barton and Loprinzi are continuing the biologic analyses of collected samples as women are enrolled on the study. Women will have their final study visit by the end of May 2013. Therefore, all data should be entered and analyzed over the summer. Abstracts and manuscripts will be written during fall 2013. Drs. Barton and Loprinzi have received numerous positive comments about having an intervention available for women for vaginal issues, from both women participating in this study and from providers participating in this study. They look forward to seeing the results.
Dr. Loprinzi is currently a Professor of Oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN where he has completed tours of duty as the chair of the Division of Medical Oncology and the Vice-Chair of the Department of Oncology. He presently is the Director of the NCCTG Cancer Control Program and a Co-Director of the Mayo Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program.
Dr. Loprinzi has served as the principal investigator of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group, CCOP Research base for over a decade. As such, he has run an active cancer control program directed toward both cancer prevention efforts and symptom control efforts. He has conducted multiple placebo-controlled trials which have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and The Lancet. He has published over 250 articles and book chapters, over 60 of which have been published it the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In addition, Dr. Loprinzi serves as the founding editor for the Art of Oncology section of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
His work in this area has lead to him receiving two awards from the Susan B Komen Foundation, the Komen Foundation Brinker award in 2002 and the 2005 Komen Foundation Professor of Survivorship. In the Fall of 2005, he was awarded the 2006 Clinical Research Award by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). In the fall of 2006, he was awarded the North American Menopausal Society (NAMS) Vasomotor Symptoms Research Award.
Lastly, Dr Loprinzi is one of two chief editors for a book geared toward the lay public, entitled Mayo Clinic Guide to Women's Cancers.