Maria Blettner

Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

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Publications (457)1591.99 Total impact

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde
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    ABSTRACT: Background This study examined which patient- and physician-related factors influence guideline violations in adjuvant chemotherapy. Patients and methods In a prospective multi-center cohort study, patients with primary breast cancer were sampled consecutively over a period of four years (2009–2012). Patients completed a questionnaire prior to surgery and prior to adjuvant therapy. This questionnaire assessed health-related quality of life (QoL) using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30, psychiatric co-morbidity with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ), demographic characteristics (age, education), and the intensity of fear for chemotherapy. After surgery, a multi-professional team discussed recommendation for adjuvant chemotherapy, and this decision was documented in a database together with the indication for chemotherapy according to the German S3 guideline. This multi-professional team was blinded to that algorithm-based decision. Six months later, it was documented whether the patient had received adjuvant chemotherapy or not. Results Altogether, 857 patients were included in the study. In 391 of these patients, the tumor board (TB) decided to recommend chemotherapy. The most important reasons for not recommending chemotherapy were somatic co-morbidity not allowing adjuvant chemotherapy and age >75 years. Of these 391 patients, 73 (19 %) patients eventually did not receive chemotherapy. Deviations from the initial therapy decision were more frequent in older patients (≥75 years) with poor QoL. If the QoL was good, higher age was not related to deviation. There was some evidence that patients with higher education less frequently received chemotherapy (CT). Furthermore, if patients were very afraid of chemotherapy, deviations from the initial therapy decision were more likely. Co-morbidity and fear of CT were not related to the likelihood of deviating from the initial therapy decision. Conclusion Nineteen percent of patients eventually did not receive chemotherapy, despite guideline and TB recommendations. In these patients, this mainly occurred in association with poor QoL in elderly patients >75 years old. In the group with a chemotherapy recommendation, patients’ fear of chemotherapy is another factor preventing patients from undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Supportive Care Cancer

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · The Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology
  • Maria Blettner · Peter Jacob · Werner Rühm · Sisko Salomaa

    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Biophysik
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    ABSTRACT: Planning ahead the consequences of future actions is a prototypical executive function. In clinical and experimental neuropsychology, disc-transfer tasks like the Tower of London (TOL) are commonly used for the assessment of planning ability. Previous psychometric evaluations have, however, yielded a poor reliability of measuring planning performance with the TOL. Based on theory-grounded task analyses and a systematic problem selection, the computerized TOL-Freiburg version (TOL-F) was developed to improve the task's psychometric properties for diagnostic applications. Here, we report reliability estimates for the TOL-F from two large samples collected in Mainz, Germany (n = 3,770; 40–80 years) and in Vienna, Austria (n = 830; 16–84 years). Results show that planning accuracy on the TOL-F possesses an adequate internal consistency and split-half reliability (>0.7) that are stable across the adult life span while the TOL-F covers a broad range of graded difficulty even in healthy adults, making it suitable for both research and clinical application.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Martin Eichler · Roman Pokora · Lukas Schwentner · Maria Blettner

    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Deutsches Ärzteblatt
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Transanal endoscopic microsurgery is superior to other methods of local excision of rectal cancer, but few studies report long-term follow-up data. Objective: This study investigated the use of transanal endoscopic microsurgery alone as curative and compromise therapy based on long-term disease recurrence and mortality. Design: This was a retrospective review of prospectively collected data. Settings: The study was conducted at a tertiary care university medical center. Patients: The study included 133 patients treated between 1985 and 2007. There were 3 groups, including transanal endoscopic microsurgery in curative intent (low-risk rectal carcinoma, including pT1, G1/2, L0, and LX with clear margins and a minimal distance between tumor and resection margin of >1 mm (N = 64) or clear margins only (N = 18 ))) and as compromise therapy (high-risk or incompletely resected rectal carcinoma; N = 51). Main outcome measures: Log-rank tests were used to compare overall and cancer-specific survival. Results: The median follow-up time was 8.6 years (range, 0.2-25.1 years), and a total of 131 of 133 patients (98.5%) were followed >5 years or until death. The preoperative diagnosis of carcinoma was not associated with belonging into 1 of the 3 categories. In patients with low-risk completely (>1 mm) resected carcinoma, the 5- and 10-year local recurrence rates were 6.6% and 11.6%. In patients with high-risk or incompletely resected carcinoma, the rates were 32.5% and 35.0% (p = 0.006). The 5- and 10-year cancer-specific survival rates for low-risk patients were 98.0% and 91.0% and 84.3% and 74.3% for high-risk patients (p = 0.05). Limitations: The study was limited by its retrospective design and small subgroups. Conclusions: The high cancer-specific survival justifies transanal endoscopic microsurgery alone as curative treatment in low-risk rectal carcinoma. Complete resection is essential to lower the risk of local recurrence. The high local recurrence rate in patients with high-risk rectal carcinoma restricts the use of TEM alone as compromise therapy.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

  • No preview · Chapter · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Low circulating homoarginine has been associated with adverse cardiovascular (CV) outcome and mortality in patients at risk and in the general population. The present study aimed to define plasma homoarginine reference intervals from a representative population sample to improve risk stratification between healthy individuals and individuals at risk. Methods: We determined age- and sex-specific reference intervals for circulating plasma homoarginine in a subgroup of 786 healthy participants (no CV disease or risk factors) of the Gutenberg Health Study. Homoarginine concentrations were measured using a validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method. Results: Median EDTA plasma homoarginine concentration was 1.88 [25th; 75th percentile, 1.47; 2.41] μmol/L, with lower concentrations in women (1.77 [1.38; 2.26] μmol/L) than in men (2.01 [1.61; 2.56] μmol/L; p<0.001). Sex-specific 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles of reference intervals were 0.84 and 3.89 μmol/L in women and 0.98 and 4.10 μmol/L in men, respectively. Homoarginine concentrations also depended on age and single nucleotide polymorphisms related to the L-arginine:glycine amidinotransferase gene. Conclusions: We provide plasma homoarginine reference intervals in men and women of the general population. The determination of homoarginine levels might be favorable for individual risk stratification.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Radiotherapy is associated with a risk of subsequent neoplasms (SN) in childhood cancer survivors. It has been shown that children's thyroid glands are especially susceptible. The aim is to quantify the risk of a second neck neoplasm after primary cancer radiotherapy with emphasis on thyroid cancer. Methods: We performed a nested case-control study: 29 individuals, diagnosed with a solid SN in the neck region, including 17 with thyroid cancer, in 1980-2002 and 57 matched controls with single neoplasms were selected from the database of the German Childhood Cancer Registry. We investigated the risk associated with radiotherapy exposure given per body region, adjusted for chemotherapy. Results: 16/17 (94.1 %) thyroid SN cases, 9/12 (75 %) other neck SN cases and 34/57 (59.6 %) controls received radiotherapy, with median doses of 27.8, 25 and 24 Gy, respectively. Radiotherapy exposure to the neck region increased the risk of the other neck SNs by 4.2 % (OR = 1.042/Gy (95 %-CI 0.980-1.109)) and of thyroid SN by 5.1 % (OR = 1.051/Gy (95 %-CI 0.984-1.123)), and radiotherapy to the neck or spine region increased the thyroid risk by 6.6 % (OR = 1.066/Gy (95 %-CI 1.010-1.125)). Chemotherapy was not a confounder. Exposure to other body regions was not associated with increased risk. Conclusions: Radiotherapy in the neck or spine region increases the risk of thyroid cancer, while neck exposure increases the risk of any other solid SN to a similar extent. Other studies showed a decreasing risk of subsequent thyroid cancer for very high doses; we cannot confirm this.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Radiation Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Acute aortic dissection type A (AADA) is an emergency with excessive mortality if surgery is delayed. Knowledge about independent predictors of mortality on surgically treated AADA patients is scarce. Therefore, this study was conducted to identify pre- and intraoperative risk factors for death. Methods: Between July 2006 and June 2010, 2137 surgically treated patients with AADA were enrolled in a multicentre, prospective German Registry for Acute Aortic Dissection type A (GERAADA), presenting perioperative status, operative strategies, postoperative outcomes and AADA-related risk factors for death. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the influence of different parameters on 30-day mortality. Results: Overall 30-day mortality (16.9%) increased with age [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.121] and among patients who were comatose (adjusted OR = 3.501) or those who underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (adjusted OR = 3.751; all P < 0.0001). The higher the number of organs that were malperfused, the risk for death was (adjusted OR for one organ = 1.651, two organs = 2.440, three organs or more = 3.393, P < 0.0001). Mortality increased with longer operating times (total, cardiopulmonary bypass, cardiac ischaemia and circulatory arrest; all P < 0.02). Arterial cannulation site for extracorporeal circulation, operative techniques and arch interventions had no significant impact on 30-day mortality (all P > 0.1). No significant risk factors, but relevant increases in mortality, were determined in patients suffering from hemiparesis pre- and postoperatively (each P < 0.01), and in patients experiencing paraparesis after surgery (P < 0.02). Conclusions: GERAADA could detect significant disease- and surgery-related risk factors for death in AADA, influencing the outcome of surgically treated AADA patients. Comatose and resuscitated patients have the poorest outcome. Cannulation sites and operative techniques did not seem to affect mortality. Short operative times are associated with better outcomes.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · European journal of cardio-thoracic surgery: official journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery
  • M Blettner · C Spix
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    ABSTRACT: This article explains some important concepts of screening and early detection. It also discusses under which circumstances screening is useful, who can profit from screening and which persons may be at risk from screening procedures. Before the introduction of a screening program, empirical studies on the effectiveness are necessary to evaluate whether a screening program could be successful.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Der Internist
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: This study examined the frequency of psychiatric co-morbidity in patients with breast cancer, its changes over time and predictors for these changes. Methods: In a prospective study with measurements before surgery (t1, baseline), 1 month (t2) and 8 months thereafter (t3) using the Patient Health Questionnaire, we examined the course of psychiatric co-morbidity in breast cancer patients. The co-morbidity courses were grouped into healthy (no co-morbidity during the study), acute (co-morbidity at t1 and/or t2, but not at t3), emerging (no co-morbidity at t1, but at t3) and chronic (co-morbidity at t1 and t3). Results: Of the 598 participants, 19% had acute, 10% emerging and 9% chronic psychiatric co-morbidity. Acute co-morbidity was more common in patients with poor quality of life (odds ratio (OR) 9.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.4-20.8) and somatic co-morbidity (OR 3.8, CI 1.1-12.4). Patients who perceived support from their doctors had acute co-morbidity less frequently (OR 0.7, CI 0.5-1.0). Emerging co-morbidity occurred more often in younger patients (OR 2.4, CI 1.2-4.7) and in patients with another cancer in their own (OR 2.0, CI 1.1-3.9) or family (OR 2.1, CI 1.1-4.3) histories, less often in patients with support from doctors (OR 0.6, CI 0.4-1.0). Chronic co-morbidity was related to poor quality of life (OR 12.1, CI 3.6-39.9). Conclusion: We found acute and emerging psychiatric co-morbidities less often in patients who reported having a supportive doctor-patient relationship. Patients that require psycho-oncological support often have poor quality of life and have experienced cancer before. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Psycho-Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Patients who have survived malignant melanoma for more than five years may lack the opportunity to talk about their burden. As a consequence their psychosocial care needs remain undetected and available supportive interventions may not be utilised. Therefore, the psychosocial burden of this patient group needs to be assessed using specific screening instruments. The aim of this study was to investigate the psychosocial burden of long-term melanoma survivors, their psychosocial care needs and the determinants of these needs. We wanted to find out if the use of professional support corresponds to the care needs defined by experts. Using the cancer registry of Rhineland-Palatinate, melanoma patients diagnosed at least 5 years before the survey were contacted by physicians. N = 689 former patients completed the Hornheide Questionnaire (short form HQ-S) to identify psychosocial support need (scale cut off ≥ 16 or item-based cut-off score) and the potential psychosocial determinants of these needs. Additionally, they were asked about their utilisation of the professional support system. More than one third (36%) of them was in need for professional psychosocial support. The highest burden scores concerned worry about tumour progression. Younger age (< 50), higher general fatigue, higher symptom burden, lower general health, negative social interactions and unfulfilled information needs were significant predictors of the need for psychosocial intervention. Related to the percentage of survivors identified as 'in need', the professional support system was underused. Further studies should investigate whether using the HQ-S to routinely identify burdened melanoma patients could lead to better fulfilment of their intervention needs, ultimately enhancing health-related quality of life.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Computed tomography (CT) has great clinical utility and its usage has increased dramatically over the years. Concerns have been raised, however, about health impacts of ionising radiation exposure from CTs, particularly in children, who have a higher risk for some radiation induced diseases. Direct estimation of the health impact of these exposures is needed, but the conduct of epidemiological studies of paediatric CT populations poses a number of challenges which, if not addressed, could invalidate the results. The aim of the present paper is to review the main challenges of a study on the health impact of paediatric CTs and how the protocol of the European collaborative study EPI-CT, coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is designed to address them. The study, based on a common protocol, is being conducted in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom and it has recruited over one million patients suitable for long-term prospective follow-up. Cohort accrual relies on records of participating hospital radiology departments. Basic demographic information and technical data on the CT procedure needed to estimate organ doses are being abstracted and passive follow-up is being conducted by linkage to population-based cancer and mortality registries. The main issues which may affect the validity of study results include missing doses from other radiological procedures, missing CTs, confounding by CT indication and socioeconomic status and dose reconstruction. Sub-studies are underway to evaluate their potential impact. By focusing on the issues which challenge the validity of risk estimates from CT exposures, EPI-CT will be able to address limitations of previous CT studies, thus providing reliable estimates of risk of solid tumours and leukaemia from paediatric CT exposures and scientific bases for the optimisation of paediatric CT protocols and patient protection.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Radiological Protection
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    ABSTRACT: There is inconsistent evidence for a possible carcinogenic effect of shift work. In particular, little is known about the putative association of shift work with prostate cancer. We studied a cohort of 27 828 male industrial production workers residing in the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate who worked for at least one year in a chemical company in the period 1995-2005. We obtained data on shift work and potential confounders including age, occupational task, and duration of employment from personnel files and from the records of the occupational health service. New cases of cancer in the period 2000-2009 were ascertained from the state cancer registry. Differences in risk between shift workers and daytime workers were analyzed with Cox regression, stratified by stage of cancer, and adjusted for potential confounding effects. There were 146 new cases of prostate cancer in 12 609 rotating shift workers and 191 in 15 219 daytime workers. The median year of birth was 1960 in the first group and 1959 in the second. The shift workers did not have an elevated hazard ratio for prostate cancer in comparison to the daytime workers (HR = 0.93, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73-1.18). Some differences were seen depending on tumor stage. Both groups of workers had a higher incidence of prostate carcinoma than the general population (standardized incidence rate [SIR] = 1.44, 95% CI 1.22-1.70 for daytime workers; SIR = 1.51, 95% CI 1.30-1.74 for shift workers). In this well-documented, large-scale cohort study, the incidence of prostate cancer among shift workers did not differ from that among daytime workers. In the authors' opinion, further follow-up of this relatively young cohort is required.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Deutsches Ärzteblatt International
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this retrospective multicenter study was to resolve the pseudo-paradox that the clinical outcome of women affected by breast cancer has improved during the last 20 years irrespective of whether they were treated in accordance with clinical guidelines or not. This retrospective German multicenter study included 9061 patients with primary breast cancer recruited from 1991 to 2009. We formed subgroups for the time intervals 1991-2000 (TI1) and 2001-2009 (TI2). In these subgroups, the risk of recurrence (RFS) and overall survival (OS) were compared between patients whose treatment was either 100 % guideline-conforming or, respectively, non-guideline-conforming. The clinical outcome of all patients significantly improved in TI2 compared to TI1 [RFS: p < 0.001, HR = 0.57, 95 % CI (0.49-0.67); OS: p < 0.001, HR = 0.76, 95 % (CI 0.66-0.87)]. OS and RFS of guideline non-adherent patients also improved in TI2 compared to TI. Comparing risk profiles, determined by Nottingham Prognostic Score reveals a significant (p = 0.001) enhancement in the time cohort TI2. Furthermore, the percentage of guideline-conforming systemic therapy (endocrine therapy and chemotherapy) significantly increased (p < 0.001) in the time cohort TI2 to TI for the non-adherent group. The general improvement of clinical outcome of patients during the last 20 years is also valid in the subgroup of women who received treatments, which deviated from the guidelines. The shift in risk profiles as well as medical advances are major reasons for this improvement. Nevertheless, patients with 100 % guideline-conforming therapy always had a better outcome compared to patients with guideline non-adherent therapy.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
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    ABSTRACT: Malperfusion adversely affects outcomes in patients with acute type A aortic dissection, but reliable quantitative data are lacking. The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of various forms of malperfusion on early outcome. A total of 2,137 consecutive patients enrolled in GERAADA (German Registry for Acute Aortic Dissection Type A) who underwent surgery between 2006 and 2010, of whom 717 (33.6%) had any kind of pre-operative malperfusion, were retrospectively analyzed. All-cause 30-day mortality was 16.9% and varied substantially according to the number of organ systems affected by malperfusion (none, 12.6%; 1 system, 21.3%; 2 systems, 30.9%; 3 systems, 43.4%; p < 0.001). Pre-operative cerebral malperfusion, comatose state, peripheral malperfusion, visceral malperfusion, involvement of supra-aortic branches, coronary malperfusion, and renal malperfusion were all independent predictors of developing any post-operative malperfusion syndrome. When survival was considered, age, peripheral malperfusion, involvement of supra-aortic branches, coronary malperfusion, spinal malperfusion, a primary entry in the descending aorta, and pre-operative comatose state were independent predictors, again with increasing significance. Malperfusion remains a severe clinical condition with strong potential for adverse outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for acute type A aortic dissection. The GERAADA registry suggests that the impact of the number of organs involved and the type of malperfusion on outcome differs substantially. Introducing an appropriate classification system, such as "complicated" and uncomplicated" acute type A aortic dissection, might help predict individual risk as well as select a surgical strategy that may quickly resolve malperfusion. Copyright © 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology
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    Maria Blettner

    Preview · Article · Jun 2015

Publication Stats

13k Citations
1,591.99 Total Impact Points


  • 2009-2015
    • Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
      • Institute for Medical Biometry, Epidemiology and Computer Science
      Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
    • Erasmus MC
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
    • University of Cologne
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2005-2015
    • Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
      • Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI)
      Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
    • Technische Universität Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
    • International Agency for Research on Cancer
      Lyons, Rhône-Alpes, France
  • 2014
    • University of Surrey
      • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
      Guilford, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004-2014
    • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e.V.
      Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
    • Imperial College London
      • Faculty of Medicine
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2000-2013
    • Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
      • • Clinic of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy
      • • Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics
      Freiburg an der Elbe, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 1988-2006
    • National Institutes of Health
      • Branch of Radiation Epidemiology
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1999-2005
    • Bielefeld University
      • • School of Public Health
      • • Faculty of Health Science
      Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • Finnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki
      Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
  • 1995-1998
    • University of Freiburg
      • Institute of Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics
      Freiburg, Lower Saxony, Germany
    • Tel Aviv University
      • Department of Anatomy and Anthropology
      Tell Afif, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 1996-1997
    • Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1986-1997
    • German Cancer Research Center
      • Division of Cancer Epidemiology
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1992
    • University of Southern California
      • Department of Preventive Medicine
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
  • 1991
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • Radiation Epidemiology
      Maryland, United States
  • 1990
    • Royal Tropical Institute
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands