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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Background

Everolimus, an orally administered rapamycin analogue, inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a highly conserved intracellular serine–threonine kinase that is a central node in a network of signaling pathways controlling cellular metabolism, growth, survival, proliferation, angiogenesis, and immune function. Everolimus has demonstrated substantial clinical benefit in randomized, controlled, phase III studies leading to approval for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma, advanced neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin, renal angiomyolipoma and subependymal giant-cell astrocytoma associated with tuberous sclerosis complex, as well as advanced hormone-receptor-positive (HR+) and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2-negative advanced breast cancer.

Materials and methods

We discuss clinically relevant everolimus-related adverse events from the phase III studies, including stomatitis, noninfectious pneumonitis, rash, selected metabolic abnormalities, and infections, with focus on appropriate clinical management of these events and specific considerations in patients with breast cancer.

Results

The majority of adverse events experienced during everolimus therapy are of mild to moderate severity. The safety profile and protocols for toxicity management are well established. The class-effect adverse event profile observed with everolimus plus endocrine therapy in breast cancer is (as expected) distinct from that of endocrine therapy alone, but is similar to that observed with everolimus in other solid tumors. Information gained from the experience in other carcinomas on prompt diagnosis and treatments to optimize drug exposure, treatment outcomes, and patients' quality of life also applies to the patient population with advanced breast cancer.

Conclusions

As with all orally administered agents, education of both physicians and patients in the management of adverse events for patients receiving everolimus is critical to achieving optimal exposure and clinical benefit. Active monitoring for early identification of everolimus-related adverse events combined with aggressive and appropriate intervention should lead to a reduction in the severity and duration of the event.


Insights into tumour biology of breast cancer have led the path towards the introduction of targeted treatment approaches; still, breast cancer-related mortality remains relatively high. Efforts in the field of basic research revealed new druggable targets which now await validation within the context of clinical trials. Therefore, questions concerning the optimal design of future studies are becoming even more pertinent. Aspects such as the ideal end point, availability of predictive markers to identify the optimal cohort for drug testing, or potential mechanisms of resistance need to be resolved. An expert panel representing the academic community, the pharmaceutical industry, as well as European Regulatory Authorities met in Vienna, Austria, in November 2012, in order to discuss breast cancer biology, identification of novel biological targets and optimal drug development with the aim of treatment individualization. This article summarizes statements and perspectives provided by the meeting participants.


Background

Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening has been shown to reduce mortality from lung cancer but at a substantial cost in diagnostic activity. The objective of this study was to investigate the characteristics of screening programmes associated with recall rates, detection rates and positive predictive values (PPVs).

Design

We conducted a systematic review of randomised trials and observational studies on LDCT screening for lung cancer. A meta-regression using random-effect logistic regressions was carried out to assess factors influencing recall rates for further investigation, cancer detection rates and PPVs of recall.

Results

We used data from 63 372 prevalent screens from 16 studies of LDCT screening for lung cancer and 79 302 incident screens from nine studies. In univariable analysis, the use of a cut-off size to define nodules warranting further investigation at prevalent screens reduced recall rates [odds ratio (OR) = 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.24–0.82 and OR = 0.42, 95% CI 0.21–0.84 for cut-off sizes of 3–4 and 5–8 mm, respectively], without significant changes in detection rates and PPVs. The number of readers (1 or ≥2) was not associated with changes in recall rates, detection rates and PPVs at prevalent and incident screens. Using the volumetry software at incident screens significantly increased the PPV (OR = 5.02, 95% CI 1.65–15.28) as a result of a decrease in recall rates (OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.12–0.51), without significant changes in detection rates.

Conclusion

These results highlight the value of using a cut-off size for nodules warranting further investigation with lower recall rates at prevalent screens, whereas the volumetric assessment software at incident screens results in lower recall rates and higher PPVs. The presence of positron emission tomography in the work-up protocol might be associated with lower rates of surgical procedures for benign findings, although this hypothesis deserves further investigation.


Sleep disturbance is prevalent in cancer with detrimental effects on health outcomes. Sleep problems are seldom identified or addressed in cancer practice. The purpose of this review was to identify the evidence base for the assessment and management of cancer-related sleep disturbance (insomnia and insomnia syndrome) for oncology practice. The search of the health literature included grey literature data sources and empirical databases from June 2004 to June 2012. The evidence was reviewed by a Canadian Sleep Expert Panel, comprised of nurses, psychologists, primary care physicians, oncologists, physicians specialized in sleep disturbances, researchers and guideline methodologists to develop clinical practice recommendations for pan-Canadian use reported in a separate paper. Three clinical practice guidelines and 12 randomized, controlled trials were identified as the main source of evidence. Additional guidelines and systematic reviews were also reviewed for evidence-based recommendations on the assessment and management of insomnia not necessarily in cancer. A need to routinely screen for sleep disturbances was identified and the randomized, controlled trial (RCT) evidence suggests benefits for cognitive behavioural therapy for improving sleep quality in cancer. Sleep disturbance is a prevalent problem in cancer that needs greater recognition in clinical practice and in future research.


Background

Tumor human papillomavirus (HPV) status is an important prognostic factor in locoregionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Prognostic value in recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) disease remains to be confirmed. This retrospective analysis of the EXTREME trial, comparing chemotherapy plus cetuximab with chemotherapy first line in R/M SCCHN, investigated efficacy and prognosis according to tumor p16 and HPV status.

Patients and methods

Paired tissue samples were used: p16INK4A expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry, and HPV status determined in extracted DNA samples using oligonucleotide hybridization assays.

Results

Altogether, 416 of 442 patients had tumor samples available for p16 and HPV: 10% of tumors were p16 positive and 5% were HPV positive. Adding cetuximab to chemotherapy improved survival, irrespective of tumor p16 or HPV status. This pattern remained in a combined analysis of p16 and HPV. p16 positivity and HPV positivity were associated with prolonged survival compared with p16 negativity and HPV negativity. Subgroup analysis of patients with oropharyngeal cancer demonstrated a similar pattern to all evaluable patients.

Conclusion

The results from this analysis suggest that p16 and HPV status have prognostic value in R/M SCCHN and survival benefits of chemotherapy plus cetuximab over chemotherapy alone are independent of tumor p16 and HPV status.


Background

In the BOLERO-2 trial, everolimus (EVE), an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin, demonstrated significant clinical benefit with an acceptable safety profile when administered with exemestane (EXE) in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive (HR+) advanced breast cancer. We report on the incidence, time course, severity, and resolution of treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs) as well as incidence of dose modifications during the extended follow-up of this study.

Patients and methods

Patients were randomized (2:1) to receive EVE 10 mg/day or placebo (PBO), with open-label EXE 25 mg/day (n = 724). The primary end point was progression-free survival. Secondary end points included overall survival, objective response rate, and safety. Safety evaluations included recording of AEs, laboratory values, dose interruptions/adjustments, and study drug discontinuations.

Results

The safety population comprised 720 patients (EVE + EXE, 482; PBO + EXE, 238). The median follow-up was 18 months. Class-effect toxicities, including stomatitis, pneumonitis, and hyperglycemia, were generally of mild or moderate severity and occurred relatively early after treatment initiation (except pneumonitis); incidence tapered off thereafter. EVE dose reduction and interruption (360 and 705 events, respectively) required for AE management were independent of patient age. The median duration of dose interruption was 7 days. Discontinuation of both study drugs because of AEs was higher with EVE + EXE (9%) versus PBO + EXE (3%).

Conclusions

Most EVE-associated AEs occur soon after initiation of therapy, are typically of mild or moderate severity, and are generally manageable with dose reduction and interruption. Discontinuation due to toxicity was uncommon. Understanding the time course of class-effect AEs will help inform preventive and monitoring strategies as well as patient education.

Trial registration number

NCT00863655.


Background

To investigate the correlation of TargetPrint with local and central immunohistochemistry/fluorescence in situ hybridization assessment of estrogen (ER), progesterone (PgR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in the first 800 patients enrolled in the MINDACT trial.

Patients and methods

Data from local (N = 800) and central (N = 626) assessments of receptor status were collected and compared with TargetPrint results.

Results

For ER, the positive agreement (the percentage of central pathology positive assessments that were also TargetPrint/local laboratory positive) for TargetPrint in comparison to centralized assessment was 98% with a negative agreement (the percentage of central pathology negative assessments that were also TargetPrint/local laboratory negative) of 96%. For PgR, the positive agreement was 83% with a negative agreement of 92%. For HER2, the positive agreement was 75% with a negative agreement of 99%. Even though the local assessment showed higher positive agreement for PgR (89%) and higher positive agreement for HER2 (85%), the range of discordant local versus central assessments were as high as 6.7% for ER, 12.9% for PgR, and 4.3% for HER2.

Conclusion

TargetPrint and local assessment of ER, PgR, and HER2 show high concordance with central assessment in the first 800 MINDACT patients. However, there are concerns about the higher discordance rates for some local sites. TargetPrint can improve the reliability of hormone receptor and HER2 testing for those centers with a lower rate of concordance with the reference laboratory, with the limitation of a positive agreement of 75% for HER2. TargetPrint consequently has important implications for treatment decisions in clinical practice and is a reliable alternative to local assessment for ER.

Clinical Trials number

NCT00433589.


Background

EndoTAG-1, composed of paclitaxel embedded in liposomal membranes targeting tumor endothelial cells, was evaluated for safety and efficacy in advanced triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

Patients and methods

One hundred and forty patients were treated with weekly EndoTAG-1 (22 mg/m2) plus paclitaxel (70 mg/m2), twice weekly EndoTAG-1 (2x 44 mg/m2), or weekly paclitaxel (90 mg/m2) for greater than or equal to four cycles (3-week treatment + 1-week rest) or until progression/toxicity. Primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS) rate evaluated centrally after four cycles of therapy (week 16). The study was not powered for intergroup comparisons.

Results

The PFS rate at week 16 was 59.1% [one-sided 95% CI: 45.6, ] on combination treatment, 34.2% [21.6, ] on EndoTAG-1, and 48.0% [30.5, ] on paclitaxel. Median PFS reached 4.2, 3.4, and 3.7 months, respectively. After complete treatment (week 41 analysis), median overall survival (OS) was 13.0, 11.9, and 13.1 months for the modified Intention-to-Treat (ITT) population and 15.1, 12.5, and 8.9 months for the per-protocol population, respectively. The clinical benefit rate was 53%, 31%, and 36% for the treatment groups. Safety analysis revealed known toxicities of the drugs with slight increases of grade 3/4 neutropenia on combination therapy.

Conclusion

Treatment of advanced TNBC with a combination of EndoTAG-1 and standard paclitaxel [Taxol® (Bristol-Myers Squibb GmbH), or equivalent generic formulation] was well tolerated and showed antitumor efficacy. The positive trend needs to be confirmed in a randomized phase III trial.

Study registration

European Clinical Trials Database: EudraCT number 2006-002221-23. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00448305.


Background

As novel treatments carry substantial price tags and are mostly cost-prohibitive in low- and middle-income countries, there is an urgent need to develop alternatives, such as off-patent drugs. Megestrol acetate (MA) has a longstanding history in the treatment of breast cancer, but recently it is being used less often due to the advent of newer agents.

Patients and methods

This two-stage phase II trial evaluated the antitumor activity and toxicity of MA in postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive advanced breast cancer who had experienced disease progression on a third-generation nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor (NSAI). Eligible patients had metastatic breast cancer treated with a NSAI with at least 6-month progression-free survival (PFS), or relapse after ≥1 year on adjuvant NSAI. Patients received MA at a single daily oral dose of 160 mg. Primary end point was clinical benefit rate (CBR).

Results

Forty-eight patients were enrolled. The CBR was 40% [95% confidence interval (CI) 25% to 55%], and the median duration of clinical benefit was 10.0 (95% CI 8.0–14.2) months. The median PFS was 3.9 (95% CI 3.0–4.8) months. The most common grade 3 adverse events were anemia (2%), dyspnea (2%), fatigue (2%), musculoskeletal pain (4%), deep vein thrombosis (10%), and weight gain (2%).

Conclusions

This is the first study to prospectively evaluate the efficacy and safety of MA in postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive disease progressing on a NSAI. MA has demonstrated activity and acceptable tolerability in this setting, and therefore remains a reasonable treatment option in a cost-sensitive environment. These results also provide the background for further evaluation of progestins in the treatment of breast cancer.

Clinical Trials

local trial number, related to the approval by the IRB: CEP 108/06


Introduction

There is dearth of literature reporting the prevalence and biological characteristics as well as the long-term clinical outcome of human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) overexpressing tumours in older women. Currently, research involving trastuzumab at large focuses on the younger population. This study aimed to analyse their biological characteristics and to compare them with their younger counterparts from a single centre with a long-term clinical follow-up.

Methods

Over 37 years (1973–2010), 1758 older (≥70 years) women with early operable (<5 cm) primary breast cancer were managed in a dedicated clinic and have complete clinical information available. Of these, 813 patients underwent primary surgery and 575 had good quality tumour samples available for tissue microarray analysis using indirect immunohistochemistry. Comparison was made with data from a well-characterised younger (<70 years) series (N = 1711) treated between 1986 and 1998 (before adjuvant trastuzumab became standard) in our institution. Forty five (7.6%) and 140 (8.2%) patients from the older and younger series, respectively, had HER2-positive tumours.

Results

HER2 overexpression was seen in 45 (7.6%) older women and 140 (8.2%) in younger patients (P = 0.56). HER2 overexpressing tumours in older women when compared with that in their younger counterparts were associated with low Ki67 and high bcl2 expression (P < 0.05). Only 26% of the younger patients and none of the older patients received adjuvant chemotherapy, and no patients at the time received trastuzumab. However, there was no significant difference in the outcome of the two age groups (5-year breast cancer-specific survival rate: <70 years = 65% versus >70 years = 70%, P = 0.51).

Conclusion

HER2 overexpressing tumours in older women showed relatively a less aggressive phenotype and did not show any inferior long-term clinical outcome despite not having received chemotherapy when compared with the younger patients. The precise role of different adjuvant systemic therapies in this population needs to be delineated.


Background

The purpose of this study was to describe the fracture incidence and bone mineral density (BMD) evolution in a large cohort of post-menopausal women with breast cancer after 3 years of aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy.

Patients and methods

A prospective, longitudinal study in real-life setting. Each woman had an extensive medical assessment, a biological evaluation, a BMD measurement, and systematic spinal X-rays at baseline and after 3 years of AI therapy. Women with osteoporosis at baseline (T-score < –2.5 and/or non-traumatic fracture history) were treated by oral weekly bisphosphonates.

Results

Among 497 women (mean age 63.8 ± 9.6 years) included in this study, 389 had a bone evaluation both at baseline and after 3 years of AI therapy: 267 women (mean age 61.2 ± 8.6) with no osteoporosis at baseline and 122 women (mean age 67.2 ± 9.1) with osteoporosis at baseline justifying a weekly oral bisphosphonate treatment. Women without bisphosphonates had a significant decrease in spine BMD (–3.5%, P < 0.01), neck BMD (–2.0%, P < 0.01), and total hip BMD (–2.1%, P < 0.01) over the 3 years but only 15 of them (5.6%) presented an incident vertebral or non-vertebral fracture. In osteoporotic women treated with bisphosphonates, spine and hip BMD were maintained at 3 years but 12 of them (9.8%) had an incident fracture. These fractured women were significantly older (74.1 ± 9.8 versus 66.5 ± 8.8) but also presented BMD loss during treatment suggesting poor adherence to bisphosphonate treatment.

Conclusion

This real-life study confirmed that AIs induced moderate bone loss and low fracture incidence in post-menopausal women without initial osteoporosis. In women with baseline osteoporosis and AI therapy, oral bisphosphonates maintain BMD but were associated with a persistent fracture risk, particularly in older women.


Background

The purpose of the study was to determine whether breast cancers (BCs) that develop in women previously irradiated for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) are biologically similar to sporadic BC.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients who developed BC after radiotherapy (RT) for HL. Tumors were classified as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or invasive carcinoma. Invasive carcinomas were further characterized according to the subtype: hormone receptor (HR)+/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)–, HR+/HER2+, HR–/HER2+, and HR–/HER2–. BCs after HL were compared with four age-matched sporadic, non-breast cancer (BRCA) I or II mutated BCs.

Results

One hundred forty-seven HL patients who were treated with RT between 1966 and 1999 and subsequently developed BCs were identified. Of these, 65 patients with 71 BCs had complete pathologic information. The median age at HL diagnosis was 23 (range, 10–48). The median age at BC diagnosis was 44 (range, 28–66). The median time to developing BC was 20 years. Twenty cancers (28%) were DCIS and 51 (72%) were invasive. Of the 51 invasive cancers, 24 (47%) were HR+/HER2–, 2 (4%) were HR+/HER2+, 5 (10%) were HR–/HER2+, and 20 (39%) were HR–/HER2–. There were no differences in BC histologic subtype according to the age at which patients were exposed to RT, the use of chemotherapy for HL treatment, or the time from RT exposure to the development of BC. In a 4 : 1 age-matched comparison to sporadic BCs, BCs after HL were more likely to be HR–/HER2– (39% versus 14%) and less likely to be HR+/HER2– (47% versus 61%) or HR+/HER2+ (4% versus 14%) (P = 0.0003).

Conclusion(s)

BCs arising in previously irradiated breast tissue were more likely to be triple negative compared with age-matched sporadic invasive cancers and less likely to be HR positive. Further studies will be important to determine the molecular pathways of carcinogenesis in breast tissue that is exposed to RT.


Background

This report examines 99mTc-etarfolatide imaging to identify the presence of folate receptor (FR) on tumors of women with recurrent/refractory ovarian or endometrial cancer and correlates expression with response to FR-targeted therapy (vintafolide).

Patients and methods

In this phase II, single-arm, multicenter study, patients with advanced ovarian cancer were imaged with 99mTc-etarfolatide before vintafolide treatment. Up to 10 target lesions (TLs) were selected based on Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors criteria using computed tomography scans. Single-photon emission computed tomography images of TLs were assessed for 99mTc-etarfolatide uptake as either FR positive or negative. Patients were categorized by percentage of TLs positive and grouped as FR(100%), FR(10%–90%), and FR(0%). Lesion and patient response were correlated with etarfolatide uptake.

Results

Forty-nine patients were enrolled; 43 were available for analysis. One hundred thirty-nine lesions were 99mTc-etarfolatide evaluable: 110 FR positive and 29 FR negative. Lesion disease control rate (DCR = stable or response) was observed in 56.4% of FR-positive lesions versus 20.7% of FR-negative lesions (P < 0.001). Patient DCR was 57%, 36%, and 33% in FR(100%), FR(10%–90%), and FR(0%) patients, respectively. Median overall survival was 14.6, 9.6, and 3.0 months in FR(100%), FR(10%–90%), and FR(0%) patients, respectively.

Conclusions

Overall response to FR-targeted therapy and DCR correlate with FR positivity demonstrated by 99mTc-etarfolatide imaging.

Clinical trial number

NCT00507741.


Background

Stage II rectal cancers comprise a heterogeneous group, and there is significant variability in practise with regards to adjuvant chemotherapy; the survival benefit of chemotherapy is perceived to be <4% in these patients. However, in recent years, the emergence of additional prognostic factors such as extramural venous invasion (EMVI) suggests that there may be sub-stratification of stage II tumours and, further, we may be under-estimating the benefit adjuvant chemotherapy provides in high-risk patients. This study examined the outcomes of patients with stage II and III rectal cancer to determine whether EMVI status influences disease-free survival (DFS).

Patients and methods

An analysis of a prospectively maintained database was conducted of patients presenting with rectal cancer between 2006 and 2012. All patients underwent curative surgery and had no evidence of metastases at presentation. Clinicopathological factors were compared between stage II and III disease. The primary end point was 3-year DFS; univariate and multivariate analysis was carried out using Cox proportional hazards regression models; hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results

Four hundred and seventy-eight patients were included: 233 stage II; 245 stage III. The prevalence of EMVI was 34.9%; 57 stage II patients (24.5%) and 110 stage III patients (44.9%). On multivariate analysis, only EMVI status was a significant factor for DFS. The adjusted HR for EMVI either alone or in combination with nodal involvement was 2.08 (95% CI 1.10–2.95) and 2.74 (95% CI 1.66–4.52), respectively.

Conclusion

EMVI is an independently poor prognostic factor for DFS for both stage II and stage III rectal cancer. These results demonstrate that there is risk-stratification within stage II tumours which affects prognosis. When discussing the use of adjuvant chemotherapy with patients that have EMVI-positive stage II tumours, these results provide evidence for a similarly increased risk of distant failure as stage III disease without venous invasion.


Background

Cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS-HIPEC) is the preferred treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) of colorectal carcinoma. Patients with positive lymph node status have worse survival after CRS-HIPEC, which is probably due to higher rates of systemic failure. In this study, we analysed the effect of administration and timing of systemic chemotherapy on the outcome of lymph node positive colorectal carcinoma patients treated with CRS-HIPEC.

Patients and Methods

A prospective database was reviewed to identify lymph node positive patients with PC treated with CRS-HIPEC within 1 year after primary tumour diagnosis between 2004 and 2012. Medical history of the patients was studied for the administration of perioperative systemic chemotherapy and follow-up. Outcome parameters were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and pattern of recurrence.

Results

Seventy-three patients treated with CRS-HIPEC for PC from lymph node positive colorectal carcinoma were identified. Fourteen patients received pre-CRS-HIPEC chemotherapy only, 32 patients underwent post-CRS-HIPEC chemotherapy only, 9 patients received chemotherapy both pre- and post-CRS-HIPEC and 16 patients did not receive any systemic chemotherapy. Of the 47 patients who did not receive pre-CRS-HIPEC chemotherapy, 11 (23%) did not receive any chemotherapy due to major postoperative complications. PFS and OS were significantly higher in patients who received systemic chemotherapy (PFS: median 15 versus 4 months, P = 0.024; OS: median 30 versus 14 months, P = 0.015), although this difference was attenuated after adjustment for major complications. Different chemotherapy timings did not differ significantly in either survival or recurrence patterns.

Conclusions

In patients with PC from lymph node positive colorectal carcinoma, perioperative systemic chemotherapy is associated with increased OS and PFS, although this difference may be partly explained by the occurrence of major postoperative complication; with no evidence of difference in PFS, OS and systemic recurrence rate by timing of systemic chemotherapy.


Background

Numerous studies indicate that the leukocyte telomere length is associated with the risk of cancers, including colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the prognostic value of leukocyte telomere length in CRC patients has not been investigated.

Patients and methods

Relative telomere length (RTL) of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBLs) from 571 CRC patients receiving surgical resection was measured using a polymerase chain reaction-based method. The Cox proportional hazards ratio model and the Kaplan–Meier curve were used to estimate the association between RTL and the clinical outcome of CRC patients in the training set (90 patients) and the testing set (86 patients). Finally, an independent cohort of 395 patients was used as an external validation set. The immunophenotype of PBLs and the plasma concentration of several immune-related cytokines were determined by flow cytometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively.

Results

Patients with shorter RTL had significantly poorer overall survival and relapse-free survival than those with longer RTL in the training, testing and validation sets. Furthermore, leukocyte RTL and Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) stage exhibited a significant joint effect in the prognosis prediction of combined CRC patients, indicating that patients with both short RTL and advanced stages had the worst prognosis, when compared with other subgroups. In addition, patients with short RTL showed the higher percentage of CD4+ T cell and the lower percentage of B cell in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, as well as the lower concentration of plasma transforming growth factor-β1, suggesting a possibility that the immune functions changed with RTL alteration.

Conclusions

Our study for the first time demonstrates that leukocyte RTL is an independent prognostic marker complementing TNM stage and associated with the immune functions in CRC patients.


Background

Muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) can be cured by radical radiotherapy (RT). We previously found tumour MRE11 expression to be predictive of survival following RT in MIBC, and this was independently validated in a separate institute. Here, we investigated germline MRE11A variants as possible predictors of RT outcomes in MIBC, using next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Patients and methods

The MRE11A gene was amplified in germline DNA from 186 prospectively recruited MIBC patients treated with RT and sequenced using bar-coded multiplexed NGS. Germline variants were analysed for associations with cancer-specific survival (CSS). For validation as a prognostic or predictive marker, rs1805363 was then genotyped in a cystectomy-treated MIBC cohort of 256 individuals. MRE11A mRNA isoform expression was measured in bladder cancer cell lines and primary tumour samples.

Results

Carriage of at least one of six (five novel) rare variants was associated with the worse RT outcome (hazard ratio [HR] 4.04, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.42–11.51, P = 0.009). The single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs1805363 (minor allele frequency 11%), was also associated with worse CSS (per-allele HR 2.10, 95% CI 1.34–3.28, Ptrend = 0.001) following RT in MIBC, with a gene-dosage effect observed, but no effect seen on CSS in the cystectomy cohort (Ptrend = 0.89). Furthermore, rs1805363 influenced relative MRE11A isoform expression, with increased isoform 2 expression with carriage of the rs1805363 minor A allele.

Conclusions

Germline MRE11A SNP rs1805363 was predictive of RT, but not of cystectomy outcome in MIBC. If successfully validated in an independent RT-treated cohort, this SNP could be a useful clinical tool for selecting patients for bladder-conserving treatment.


Background

Intensive chemotherapy (IC) used to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with toxicity, particularly in older adults. Emerging data suggest that baseline quality of life (QOL) and physical function may predict outcomes in oncology, although data in AML are limited. We investigated the association between baseline QOL and physical function with short-term treatment outcomes in adults and elderly AML patients.

Materials and methods

We conducted a prospective, longitudinal study of adults (age 18+) AML patients undergoing IC. Before starting IC, patients completed the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 30-item questionnaire (QLQ-C30) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Fatigue subscale (FACT-Fatigue) in addition to physical function tests (grip strength, timed chair stands, 2-min walk test). Outcomes included 60-day mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and achievement of complete remission (CR). Logistic regression was carried out to evaluate each outcome.

Results

Of the 239 patients (median age 57.5 years), 56.7% were male and median Charlson comorbidity score was 0. Sixty-day mortality, ICU admission and CR occurred in 9 (3.7%), 15 (6.3%) and 167 (69.9%) patients, respectively. Using univariate regression, neither QOL nor physical function at presentation was predictive of 60-day mortality (all P > 0.05), whereas ICU admission (P < 0.001) and remission status at 30 days (P = 0.007) were. Fatigue (P = 0.004) and role functioning (P = 0.003) were predictors of ICU admission; QOL and physical function were not. A higher Charlson score predicted ICU admission (P = 0.01) and remission status (P = 0.002). The cytogenetic risk group was associated with achievement of CR (P = 0.02); QOL and physical function were not (all P > 0.05). Findings were similar when patients age 60+ were examined. Relationships between fatigue and role functioning with ICU admission deserve further exploration.

Conclusions

Baseline QOL and physical function tests in this prospective study were not associated with short-term mortality, ICU admission or achievement of CR after the first cycle of chemotherapy.


Background

We assessed agreement between reported anxiety and depression levels of cancer patients using (i) single self-report items and (ii) the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). We also explored whether anxiety and depression assessment by (i) single self-report items or (ii) the HADS was most strongly associated with a preference to be offered professional assistance. The proportion of patients indicating that they would accept (or were currently using) professional support if they were experiencing anxiety or depression was also examined.

Patients and methods

A consecutive sample of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy at four metropolitan public hospitals in Australia completed a touch screen computer survey. A consecutive subsample of patients attending three of these treatment centres answered additional questions about psychological support preferences.

Results

Of 304 respondents, 54% [95% confidence interval (CI) 48% to 60%] perceived that they were currently experiencing mild to severe anxiety and depression. 22% (95% CI 18% to 27%) indicated a preference to be offered professional help. There was moderate agreement between the HADS and single-item responses for categorisation of anxiety and depression. Patient-perceived mild to severe anxiety and depression levels appeared to be the best measure for identifying those with a preference to be offered professional assistance. Of a subsample of 193 respondents, 89% (95% CI 84% to 93%) indicated that if they were experiencing anxiety or depression, they would accept (or were currently using) professional support.

Conclusions

Single-item screening in a cancer care setting may not adequately capture clinical anxiety and depression. However, single-items assessing patients' perceived levels of anxiety and depression are useful indicators of whether patients want to be offered, and are likely to accept, psychosocial care.


Background

Cancer patients need to trust their oncologist to embark in the process of oncologic treatment. Yet, it is unclear how oncologist communication contributes to such trust. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of three elements of oncologists' communication on cancer patients' trust: conferring competence, honesty, and caring.

Methods

Eight videotaped consultations, ‘vignettes’, were created, reflecting an encounter between an oncologist and a patient with colorectal cancer. All vignettes were identical, except for small variations in the oncologist's verbal communication. Cancer patients (n = 345) were randomly assigned to viewing two vignettes, asked to identify with the patient and afterwards to rate their trust in the observed oncologist. The effects of competence, honesty, and caring on trust were established with multilevel analysis.

Results

Oncologist's enhanced expression of competence (β = 0.17, 95% CI 0.08, 0.27; P < 0.001), honesty (β = 0.30, 95% CI 0.20, 0.40; P < 0.001), as well as caring (β = 0.36, 95% CI 0.26, 0.46; P < 0.001) resulted in significantly increased trust. Communication of honesty and caring also increased patients' expectation of operation success and reported willingness to recommend the oncologist.

Conclusion(s)

As hypothesized, oncologists can influence their patients' trust by enhanced conveyance of their level of competence, honesty, and caring. Caring behavior has the strongest impact on trust. These findings can be translated directly into daily clinical practice as well as in communication skills training.


Background

A number of epidemiological studies indicate an inverse association between atopy and brain tumors in adults, particularly gliomas. We investigated the association between atopic disorders and intracranial brain tumors in children and adolescents, using international collaborative CEFALO data.

Patients and methods

CEFALO is a population-based case–control study conducted in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, including all children and adolescents in the age range 7–19 years diagnosed with a primary brain tumor between 2004 and 2008. Two controls per case were randomly selected from population registers matched on age, sex, and geographic region. Information about atopic conditions and potential confounders was collected through personal interviews.

Results

In total, 352 cases (83%) and 646 controls (71%) participated in the study. For all brain tumors combined, there was no association between ever having had an atopic disorder and brain tumor risk [odds ratio 1.03; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.70–1.34]. The OR was 0.76 (95% CI 0.53–1.11) for a current atopic condition (in the year before diagnosis) and 1.22 (95% CI 0.86–1.74) for an atopic condition in the past. Similar results were observed for glioma.

Conclusions

There was no association between atopic conditions and risk of all brain tumors combined or of glioma in particular. Stratification on current or past atopic conditions suggested the possibility of reverse causality, but may also the result of random variation because of small numbers in subgroups. In addition, an ongoing tumor treatment may affect the manifestation of atopic conditions, which could possibly affect recall when reporting about a history of atopic diseases. Only a few studies on atopic conditions and pediatric brain tumors are currently available, and the evidence is conflicting.