Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Research Publications

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    Pre-Vaccination Human Papillomavirus Genotypes and HPV16 Variants among Women Aged 25 Years or Less with Cervical Cancer
    Jayasinghe, YN ; Tabrizi, S ; Stevens, M ; Leong, TY-M ; Pyman, JR ; Grover, SM ; Garland, S (MDPI, 2023-03-01)
    BACKGROUND: In 2007, Australia introduced a national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program. In 2017, the onset of cervical screening changed from 18 to 25 years of age, utilising human papillomavirus (HPV) nucleic acid testing. The objective of the study is to describe the HPV genotypes and HPV16 variants in biopsies from women ≤ 25 years of age with cervical carcinoma (CC) (cases), compared with those aged >25 years (controls), in a pre-vaccination cohort. METHODS: HPV genotyping of archival paraffin blocks (n = 96) was performed using the INNO-LiPA HPV Genotyping assay. HPV16-positive samples were analysed for variants by type-specific PCR spanning L1, E2 and E6 regions. RESULTS: HPV16 was the commonest genotype in cases (54.5%, 12/22) and controls (66.7%, 46/69) (p = 0.30), followed by HPV18 (36.3%, 8/22 vs. 17.3% 12/69, respectively) (p = 0.08). Furthermore, 90% (20/22) of cases and 84.1% (58/69) of controls were positive for HPV16 or 18 (p = 0.42); 100% (22/22) of cases and 95.7% (66/69) of controls had at least one genotype targeted by the nonavalent vaccine (p = 0.3). The majority of HPV16 variants (87.3%, 48/55) were of European lineage. The proportion of unique nucleotide substitutions was significantly higher in cases (83.3%, 10/12) compared with controls (34.1%, 15/44), (p < 0.003, χ2, OR 9.7, 95%CI 1.7-97.7). CONCLUSIONS: Virological factors may account for the differences in CCs observed in younger compared with older women. All CCs in young women in this study had preventable 9vHPV types, which is important messaging for health provider adherence to new cervical screening guidelines.
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    The Regulation of Endothelin-1 in Pregnancies Complicated by Gestational Diabetes: Uncovering the Vascular Effects of Insulin
    Fato, BR ; Beard, S ; Binder, NK ; Pritchard, N ; Kaitu'u-Lino, TJ ; de Alwis, N ; Hannan, NJ (MDPI, 2023-10)
    Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition of pregnancy defined by new-onset hyperglycemia. GDM is associated with impaired maternal endothelial and vascular reactivity. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor that contributes to endothelial dysfunction, however, its abundance and actions in GDM are unclear. Maternal plasma was obtained from pregnancies complicated by GDM (n = 24) and gestation-matched controls (n = 42); circulating ET-1 levels were assessed by ELISA. Human omental arteries from healthy pregnancies and those complicated by GDM were dissected from omental fat biopsies and collected at cesarean section. mRNA expression of ET-1 and its receptors, ETA and ETB, in addition to vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM1) were assessed by qPCR (n = 28). Using wire myography, we investigated vascular constriction to ET-1 (10-11-10-4 M) in omental arteries from pregnancies complicated by GDM, compared to gestation-matched controls (n = 7). GDM cases were stratified by clinical management, diet intervention (n = 5), or insulin treatment (n = 6). Additionally, arteries from healthy pregnancies were treated with insulin (1 mU/mL (n = 7) and 10 mU/mL (n = 5)) or vehicle control. Vasoactive response to ET-1 was measured via wire myography. Circulating ET-1 levels and mRNA expression of the ET-1 system in omental arteries were not found to be significantly different between pregnancies complicated by GDM compared to healthy controls. However, we found insulin treatment during pregnancy and in ex vivo models reduced ET-1 vasoconstriction of maternal vasculature in GDM. These data suggest insulin may improve vascular function in GDM, however, further investigation is needed to define the role of ET-1 in pregnancy.
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    A Matched Molecular and Clinical Analysis of the Epithelioid Haemangioendothelioma Cohort in the Stafford Fox Rare Cancer Program and Contextual Literature Review
    Abdelmogod, A ; Papadopoulos, L ; Riordan, S ; Wong, M ; Weltman, M ; Lim, R ; Mcevoy, C ; Fellowes, A ; Fox, S ; Bedo, J ; Penington, J ; Pham, K ; Hofmann, O ; Vissers, JHA ; Grimmond, S ; Ratnayake, G ; Christie, M ; Mitchell, C ; Murray, WK ; Mcclymont, K ; Luk, P ; Papenfuss, AT ; Kee, D ; Scott, CL ; Goldstein, D ; Barker, HE (MDPI, 2023-09)
    BACKGROUND: Epithelioid haemangioendothelioma (EHE) is an ultra-rare malignant vascular tumour with a prevalence of 1 per 1,000,000. It is typically molecularly characterised by a WWTR1::CAMTA1 gene fusion in approximately 90% of cases, or a YAP1::TFE3 gene fusion in approximately 10% of cases. EHE cases are typically refractory to therapies, and no anticancer agents are reimbursed for EHE in Australia. METHODS: We report a cohort of nine EHE cases with comprehensive histologic and molecular profiling from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research Stafford Fox Rare Cancer Program (WEHI-SFRCP) collated via nation-wide referral to the Australian Rare Cancer (ARC) Portal. The diagnoses of EHE were confirmed by histopathological and immunohistochemical (IHC) examination. Molecular profiling was performed using the TruSight Oncology 500 assay, the TruSight RNA fusion panel, whole genome sequencing (WGS), or whole exome sequencing (WES). RESULTS: Molecular analysis of RNA, DNA or both was possible in seven of nine cases. The WWTR1::CAMTA1 fusion was identified in five cases. The YAP1::TFE3 fusion was identified in one case, demonstrating unique morphology compared to cases with the more common WWTR1::CAMTA1 fusion. All tumours expressed typical endothelial markers CD31, ERG, and CD34 and were negative for pan-cytokeratin. Cases with a WWTR1::CAMTA1 fusion displayed high expression of CAMTA1 and the single case with a YAP1::TFE3 fusion displayed high expression of TFE3. Survival was highly variable and unrelated to molecular profile. CONCLUSIONS: This cohort of EHE cases provides molecular and histopathological characterisation and matching clinical information that emphasises the molecular patterns and variable clinical outcomes and adds to our knowledge of this ultra-rare cancer. Such information from multiple studies will advance our understanding, potentially improving treatment options.
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    Computerised Cardiotocography Analysis for the Automated Detection of Fetal Compromise during Labour: A Review
    Mendis, L ; Palaniswami, M ; Brownfoot, F ; Keenan, E (MDPI, 2023-09)
    The measurement and analysis of fetal heart rate (FHR) and uterine contraction (UC) patterns, known as cardiotocography (CTG), is a key technology for detecting fetal compromise during labour. This technology is commonly used by clinicians to make decisions on the mode of delivery to minimise adverse outcomes. A range of computerised CTG analysis techniques have been proposed to overcome the limitations of manual clinician interpretation. While these automated techniques can potentially improve patient outcomes, their adoption into clinical practice remains limited. This review provides an overview of current FHR and UC monitoring technologies, public and private CTG datasets, pre-processing steps, and classification algorithms used in automated approaches for fetal compromise detection. It aims to highlight challenges inhibiting the translation of automated CTG analysis methods from research to clinical application and provide recommendations to overcome them.
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    Depression in Mid- and Later-Life and Risk of Dementia in Women: A Prospective Study within the Danish Nurses Cohort
    Hickey, M ; Hueg, TK ; Priskorn, L ; Uldbjerg, CS ; Beck, AL ; Anstey, KJ ; Lim, Y-H ; Brauner, E (IOS PRESS, 2023)
    BACKGROUND: Depression and dementia confer substantial global health burdens, particularly in women. Understanding the association between depression and dementia may inform new targets for prevention and/or early intervention. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between depression in mid- and later-life and dementia (all-cause, Alzheimer's disease (AD) or vascular dementia (VaD)) in women. METHODS: A prospective study design. Nurses were followed from age 60 years or entry into the cohort, whichever came last, until date of dementia, death, emigration, or end of follow-up, whichever came first. Cox regression models with age as the underlying timeline were used to estimate the associations between time-varying depression and incident dementia. RESULTS: The study included 25,651 female Danish nurses (≥45 years) participating in the Danish Nurse Cohort. During an average of 23 years of follow-up, 1,232 (4.8%) nurses developed dementia and 8,086 (31.5%) were identified with at least two episodes of treated depression. In adjusted analyses, nurses with depression were at a statistically significant 5.23-fold higher risk of all-cause dementia (aHR 5.23:95% CI, 4.64-5.91) compared to those with no history of depression. The differential effects of depression were greater for VaD (aHR 7.96:95% CI, 5.26-12.0) than AD (aHR 4.64:95% CI, 3.97-5.42). Later life depression (>60 years) (aHR 5.85:95% CI, 5.17-6.64) and recurrent depression (aHR 3.51:95% CI, 2.67-4.61) elevated dementia risk. Severe depression tripled the risk of all cause dementia (aHR 3.14:95% CI, 2.62-3.76). CONCLUSION: Both later life and severe depression substantially increase dementia risk in women, particularly VaD.
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    'It all depends on why it's red': qualitative interviews exploring patient and professional views of a traffic light system for in vitro fertilisation add-ons
    Lensen, S ; Armstrong, S ; Vaughan, E ; Caughey, L ; Peate, M ; Farquhar, C ; Pacey, A ; Balen, A ; Wainwright, E (BIOSCIENTIFICA LTD, 2023-04)
    Background IVF add-ons are techniques, medicines or procedures used in addition to standard IVF with the aim of improving the chance of success. The United Kingdom's IVF regulator, ( the Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority (HFEA) developed a traffic light system to categorise add-ons as either green, amber, or red, based on results of randomised controlled trials. Method Qualitative interviews were undertaken to explore understanding and views of the HFEA traffic light system among IVF clinicians, embryologists and IVF patients across Australia and the United Kingdom. Results A total of 73 interviews were conducted. Overall, participants were supportive of the intention of the traffic light system, however many limitations were raised. It was widely recognized that a simple traffic light system necessarily omits information which may be important to understanding the evidence base. In particular, the red category was used in scenarios that patients viewed as having different implications for their decision-making, including 'no evidence' and 'evidence of harm'. Patients were surprised at the absence of any green add-ons and questioned the value of a traffic light system in this context. Many participants considered the website a helpful starting point, but desired more detail, including the contributing studies, results specific to patient demographics (e.g., <35 years and >35 years), and inclusion of more options (e.g. acupuncture). Overall, participants believed the website to be reliable and trustworthy, particularly due to the Government affiliation, and despite some concerns regarding transparency and an overly cautious regulator. Conclusion Participants identified many limitations with the current application of the traffic light system. These could be considered in any future updates to the HFEA website and for others developing similar decision support tools.
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    WHAM-A Prospective Study of Weight and Body Composition After Risk-Reducing Bilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy
    Price, SAL ; Finch, S ; Krejany, E ; Jiang, H ; Kale, A ; Domchek, S ; Wrede, D ; Wark, JD ; Hickey, M (ENDOCRINE SOC, 2023-07-06)
    CONTEXT: Body weight and composition may change over the natural menopause transition. Whether surgical menopause has similar effects, and the impact of HRT, are unknown. Understanding the metabolic effects of surgical menopause will inform clinical care. OBJECTIVE: To prospectively measure weight and body composition over 24-months following surgical menopause compared to a similar comparison group who retained their ovaries. METHODS: Prospective observational study of weight change from baseline to 24-months in 95 premenopausal women at elevated risk of ovarian cancer planning risk-reducing oophorectomy (RRSO) and 99 comparators who retained their ovaries. Change in body composition from baseline to 24-months was also assessed by DXA in a subgroup of 54 women who underwent RRSO and 81 comparators who retained their ovaries. In the sub-group, weight, fat mass, lean mass, and abdominal fat measures were compared between groups. RESULTS: At 24-months both groups had gained weight (RRSO 2760 ± 4860 g vs Comparators 1620 ± 4540 g) with no difference between groups (mean difference 730 g; 95% CI 920 g, 2380 g; p = 0.383). In the body composition subgroup, there was no difference in weight between groups at 24-months (mean difference 944 g; 95%CI -1120 g, 2614 g; p = 0.431). RRSO women may have gained slightly more abdominal visceral adipose tissue (mean difference 99.0 g; 95% CI 8.8 g, 189.2 g, p = 0.032) but there were no other differences in body composition. There were also no differences in weight or body composition between HRT users and non-users at 24-months. CONCLUSION: 24-months after RRSO, there was no difference in body weight compared with women who retained their ovaries. RRSO women gained more abdominal visceral adipose tissue than comparators, but there were no other differences in body composition. Use of HRT following RRSO had no effect on these outcomes.
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    Paternal Expressed Gene 10 (PEG10) is decreased in early-onset preeclampsia
    Baird, L ; Cannon, P ; Kandel, M ; Nguyen, T-V ; Nguyen, A ; Wong, G ; Murphy, C ; Brownfoot, FC ; Kadife, E ; Hannan, NJ ; Tong, S ; Bartho, LA ; Kaitu'u-Lino, TJ (BMC, 2023-07-18)
    BACKGROUND: Preeclampsia is a severe complication of pregnancy which is attributed to placental dysfunction. The retrotransposon, Paternal Expressed Gene 10 (PEG10) harbours critical placental functions pertaining to placental trophoblast cells. Limited evidence exists on whether PEG10 is involved in preeclampsia pathogenesis. This study characterised the expression and regulation of PEG10 in placentas from patients with early-onset preeclampsia compared to gestation-matched controls. METHODS: PEG10 expression was measured in plasma and placentas collected from patients with early-onset preeclampsia (< 34 weeks') and gestation-matched controls using ELISA (protein) and RT-qPCR (mRNA). First-trimester human trophoblast stem cells (hTSCs) were used for in vitro studies. PEG10 expression was measured during hTSC differentiation and hTSC exposure to hypoxia (1% O2) and inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and TNFα) using RT-qPCR. Functional studies used PEG10 siRNA to measure the effect of reduced PEG10 on canonical TGF-[Formula: see text] signalling and proliferation using luciferase and xCELLigence assays, respectively. RESULTS: PEG10 mRNA expression was significantly reduced in placentas from patients with early-onset preeclampsia (< 34 weeks' gestation) relative to controls (p = 0.04, n = 78 vs n = 18 controls). PEG10 protein expression was also reduced in preeclamptic placentas (p = 0.03, n = 5 vs n = 5 controls, blinded assessment of immunohistochemical staining), but neither PEG10 mRNA nor protein could be detected in maternal circulation. PEG10 was most highly expressed in hTSCs, and its expression was reduced as hTSCs differentiated into syncytiotrophoblasts (p < 0.0001) and extravillous trophoblasts (p < 0.001). Trophoblast differentiation was not altered when hTSCs were treated with PEG10 siRNA (n = 5 vs n = 5 controls). PEG10 was significantly reduced in hTSCs exposed to hypoxia (p < 0.01). PEG10 was also reduced in hTSCs treated with the inflammatory cytokine TNF [Formula: see text] (p < 0.01), but not IL-6. PEG10 knocked down (siRNA) in hTSCs showed reduced activation of the canonical TGF-β signalling effector, the SMAD binding element (p < 0.05) relative to controls. PEG10 knockdown in hTSCs however was not associated with any significant alterations in proliferation. CONCLUSIONS: Placental PEG10 is reduced in patients with early-onset preeclampsia. In vitro studies suggest that hypoxia and inflammation may contribute to PEG10 downregulation. Reduced PEG10 alters canonical TGF-[Formula: see text] signalling, and thus may be involved in trophoblast dysfunction associated with this pathway.
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    Telehealth in antenatal care: recent insights and advances
    Atkinson, J ; Hastie, R ; Walker, S ; Lindquist, A ; Tong, S (BMC, 2023-08-30)
    BACKGROUND: For decades, antenatal care in high-resource settings has involved 12-14 face-to-face visits across pregnancy. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many care providers to rapidly embrace telehealth to reduce face-to-face visits. Here we review recent advances in telehealth used to provide antenatal care. MAIN BODY: We conducted a narrative review examining the impact of telehealth on obstetric care. Two broad types of telehealth are used in antenatal care. The first is real-time telehealth, where consultations are done virtually instead of face-to-face. The second is remote monitoring, where in-clinic physical examinations are replaced with at-home alternatives. These can include blood pressure monitoring, fetal heart rate monitoring, and emerging technologies such as tele-ultrasound. Large cohort studies conducted during the pandemic era have shown that telehealth appears not to have increased adverse clinical outcomes for mothers or babies. However, further studies may be required to confidently conclude rare outcomes are unchanged, such as maternal mortality, serious morbidity, or stillbirth. Health economic studies suggest telehealth has the potential to reduce the financial cost of care provision. Telehealth in antenatal care seems to be acceptable to both pregnant women and healthcare providers. CONCLUSION: Adoption of telehealth technologies may improve the antenatal care experience for women and reduce healthcare expenditure without adversely impacting health outcomes for the mother or baby. More studies are warranted to confirm telehealth does not alter the risk of rare outcomes such as maternal or neonatal mortality.
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    The long-term risk of cardiovascular disease among women with a history of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: a systematic review of clinical practice guidelines
    Atkinson, J ; Simpson, G ; Walker, SP ; Tong, S ; Hastie, R ; Lindquist, A (BMC, 2023-09-09)
    BACKGROUND: The lifelong risks of cardiovascular disease following preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are well-established. However, it is unclear whether this evidence has been translated into clinical practice guidelines. Thus, this review aimed to assess the quality and content of Australian clinical practice guidelines regarding the risk of cardiovascular disease following gestational hypertension and preeclampsia. METHODS: We conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), and CINAHL databases, as well as hospital, obstetric society, and medical college websites. Publications were included if: they were a clinical practice guideline; were published in the previous ten years; and included recommendations for the management of future cardiovascular disease risk following hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Quality assessment was performed using Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation Instrument Version Two (AGREE-II) and AGREE Recommendations Excellence Instrument (AGREE-REX). RESULTS: Eighteen guidelines were identified, and of these, less than half (n = 8) included recommendations for managing future cardiovascular risk following hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Across these eight, four main counselling recommendations were found regarding (1) risk of future cardiovascular disease; (2) risk factor screening; (3) lifestyle interventions; and (4) prenatal counselling for future pregnancies. The quality and content of these recommendations varied significantly, and the majority of guidelines (87.5%) were assessed as low to moderate quality. CONCLUSIONS: There are limited Australian clinical practice guidelines providing appropriate advice regarding future risk of cardiovascular disease following hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The quality and content of these guidelines varied significantly. These findings highlight the need for improved translation from evidence-based research to enhance clinical care and guidance.