Lorraine L. Rosamilia, MD
Dr. Rosamilia is from the Department of Dermatology, Geisinger Health System, State College, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Rosamilia reports no conflicts of interest in relation to this post.
On June 1, Dermatology (2012;224:251-256) published a study outlining the risk for herpes zoster in patients exposed to biologic agents. The incidence and clinical features of zoster were examined in a single cohort of 1220 patients taking biologics for psoriasis and other US Food and Drug Administration–approved indications. There was indeed an increased incidence of zoster, particularly in patients older than 60 years, but it did not reach statistical significance. However, the presence of severe and prolonged skin involvement, multidermatomal distribution, and persistent postherpetic neuralgia was common. [More]
Kavita Mariwalla, MD
Dr. Mariwalla is the Director of Dermatologic Surgery, Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, New York.
Dr. Mariwalla reports no conflicts of interest in relation to this post.
On July 9, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released recommendations for the use of the sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy in patients with melanoma (Journal of Clinical Oncology). The SLN typically is the first draining lymph node to which melanoma cells are most likely to spread, and a positive node certainly has implications for staging. However, sending a patient to have this node mapped has been very inconsistent among practitioners. It also comes at a risk: an additional procedure in the operating room and the chance of possible lymphedema in the area where the node was harvested. [More]
Jonathan I. Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH
Dr. Silverberg is from the Department of Dermatology, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, New York.
Dr. Silverberg reports no conflicts of interest in relation to this post.
A May 4, 2012, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article discussed the increased usage of observational studies in clinical research despite being prone to methodological and statistical biases and possibly flawed results. Observational studies are commonly used to study associations between various exposures, such as environmental risk factors or treatment, and disease outcomes. Observational studies differ from prospectively controlled studies in that participants are assigned to an exposure or treatment group that is not controlled in the study. Typically, data are retrospectively collected from sources ranging from small single-site chart reviews to international epidemiologic databases and comprehensive health management organization cohorts. The WSJ article featured 2 studies from 2010: one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2010;304:657-663) and the other in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)(2010;341:C4444) on the use of osteoporosis drugs and risk for esophageal cancer. The studies found entirely conflicting results despite being performed on the exact same database.