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Castel Receives American Cancer Society Grant

June 11, 2010 | Dagny Stuart

Liana Castel, Ph.D., assistant professor of General Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, has received a Mentored Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Liana Castel, Ph.D.

The five-year, $725,000 grant will support Castel’s research in patient-reported outcomes and treatment adherence among early-stage breast cancer patients taking aromatase inhibitors as adjuvant therapy.

“This career development award will allow me to pursue my goal of leading research in patient-reported outcomes that will improve real-world clinical effectiveness of drugs that have been shown efficacious in clinical trials,” said Castel, a faculty member at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“With aromatase inhibitors, adherence is a real concern because patients are supposed to take them every day for years to prevent cancer recurrence. But these drugs have side effects that may affect patients’ daily lives and actually lead them to discontinue early.”

The ACS grant will allow Castel and her team to enhance their efforts to develop long-term adherence strategies, including educating patients about joint pain, a known side effect of aromatase inhibitors. Castel and her colleagues also are collecting patient data on costs, sleep, depression and the effects of other medications such as SSRIs prescribed for depression.

“We hope to better understand the impact of aromatase inhibitors on all aspects of patients’ well being and develop strategies to ensure that patients take these drugs every day for the full five years or more they are prescribed,” said Castel.