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Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology

Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology - RSS feed of current issue

Objective

Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is one of the major obligations for all adult Muslims. We performed a survey of Turkish Muslim cancer patients to examine the extent of their fasting status and to compare various clinical characteristics of fasting and non-fasting cancer patients during the month of Ramadan.

Methods

This study was conducted on 701 adult cancer patients who attended ambulatory patient care units answered the questionnaires.

Results

The population comprised 445 women (63.5%), and the median age was 54 years. Before diagnosis of cancer, 93.1% of the patients used fast consists of completely (78.3%) and partial (14.8%). However, 15% of cases were fasting on the day of interview, either partially (7.4%) or completely (7.6%) with equal distributions. Patients who were females, those with good performance status, those without any comorbid disease, who had non-metastatic disease, those with history of surgery, those treated with radiotherapy and those being treated with oral chemotherapeutic agents were more likely to be fasting than others. The fasting ones had more prevalent among patients with lymphoma, urogenital cancer and breast cancer; conversely, the rate of fasting status among patients with lung and gastrointestinal cancer was quite low. Only 20.8% of all patients asked their physician whether it was alright for them to fast and physicians generally had a negative attitude towards fasting (83.2%).

Conclusions

Majority of cancer patients are not fasting during the month of Ramadan, and a small part of patients consult this situation to their physician.


Objective

Clinical trials suggest that combining transcatheter arterial chemoembolization with sorafenib in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma shows a superior safety and tolerability profile. Our study aimed to retrospectively analyze the utility and prognostic factors of this combined therapy in these patients.

Methods

Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, treated by transcatheter arterial chemoembolization and sorafenib subsequently, between February 2010 and September 2012 in our hospital, were retrospectively analyzed. After sorafenib treatment for 12 weeks, abdominal enhanced computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging was used to evaluate short-term outcomes and clinical benefit rate. Overall survival and adverse events were recorded during follow-up. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify relationships between baseline characteristics and overall survival.

Results

Fifty-one advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients were included. Common adverse events for sorafenib were hand–foot skin reaction, alopecia, diarrhea, anorexia and fatigue. The clinical benefit rate was 64% and the median survival time was 7.5 months. Median survival of patients with and without portal vein tumor thrombi was 6.0 months and 10.3 months (P < 0.001), respectively. Median survival of patients with cholinesterase ≥5000 U/l and < 5000 U/l was 10.6 months and 6.1 months (P < 0.001), respectively. Multivariate analysis identified the presence of portal vein tumor thrombi and low cholinesterase level as independent negative predictors of survival.

Conclusions

Combining sorafenib and transcatheter arterial chemoembolization was safe and effective for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients with extrahepatic spread but without portal vein tumor thrombi. Portal vein tumor thrombi and cholinesterase level are independent predictors of prognosis following this combined therapy.


Objective

We investigated palliative care knowledge, difficulty and self-reported practice among a region-wide sample of nurses who cared for cancer patients in Japan.

Methods

A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was distributed to 9 designated cancer centers, 17 community hospitals and 73 district nurse services across 4 regions in 2008. We used the Palliative Care Knowledge Test, the Palliative Care Difficulty Scale (five-point Likert scale) and the Palliative Care Self-Reported Practices Scale (five-point Likert scale).

Results

In total, 2378 out of 3008 nurses (79%) responded. The knowledge, difficulty and self-reported practice scores were 51 ± 20%, 3.2 ± 0.7 and 3.7 ± 0.6, respectively. In the knowledge test, philosophy scored highest (88 ± 26%) and psychiatric problems scored lowest (37 ± 29%). In the difficulty test, alleviating symptoms scored most difficult (3.5 ± 0.8) and providing expert support scored least difficult (2.9 ± 1.3). In the self-reported practice questionnaire, pain and delirium relief were most frequently (4.0 ± 0.8) and least frequently (3.1 ± 0.9) provided, respectively. Knowledge was significantly poorer in community hospitals (P = 0.035); difficulty scores were significantly higher in community hospitals (P < 0.001) and district nurse services (P = 0.013); and self-reported practice scores were significantly poorer in community hospitals (P < 0.001) but superior in district nurse services (P < 0.001) than in designated cancer centers.

Conclusions

Knowledge, difficulty and self-reported practice for symptom management, particularly psychological symptoms, were insufficient, particularly in community hospitals. Education, expert support and adequate clinical experiences would help provide quality palliative care.


Objective

End-of-life discussions with patients can be one of the most difficult and stressful tasks for the oncologist. However, little is known about the discussions that healthcare providers have with patients in such situations and the difficulties they face. The primary end points of this study were to describe the contents of end-of-life discussion in the pediatric setting and the barriers to end-of-life discussion for pediatric patients, as perceived by pediatric healthcare providers.

Methods

Participants were 10 healthcare providers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the KJ method was performed to analyze the data.

Results

We found 23 barriers against end-of-life discussion with pediatric cancer patients. These barriers were classified as follows: healthcare provider factors, patient factors, parent factors and institutional or cultural factors. In addition to barriers found in previous studies, some unique barriers were uncovered such as, ‘Lack of confidence to face the patient after the discussion’, ‘Uncertain responsibility for treatment decision-making’ and ‘No compelling reason to discuss’. Healthcare providers actively discussed the purpose of treatment and the patients' wishes and concerns; however, they were reluctant to deal with the patients' own impending death and their estimated prognosis.

Conclusions

End-of-life discussion with pediatric patients differs from that with adult patients. Further studies are required to analyze pediatric cases associated with end-of-life discussion and carefully discuss its adequacy, pros and cons.


Objective

Radiation-induced brachial plexus injury is a devastating complication that occurs after radiotherapy in the vicinity of the brachial plexus. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, the most common type of cancer in Guangdong Province, is primarily treated with radiotherapy with subsequent side effects. However, radiation-induced brachial plexus injury is rarely reported in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. To draw attention to this correlation, we analyzed the clinical characteristics including the imaging findings of 10 patients suffering from radiation-induced brachial plexus injury for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Methods

We considered the patients' medical histories, analyzed their clinical characteristics, and monitored the long-term efficacy of treatment.

Results

The total irradiation dose of the nasopharynx ranged from 66.6 to 74 Gy, and that of the supraclavicular fossa ranged from 60 to 70 Gy. The mean latency was 8.2 ± 5.5 years. Seven patients initially complained of bilateral weakness, and three patients complained of isolated pain. The injuries of eight patients reached Grade 3 or worse. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a low signal on T1-weighted images and a high signal on short tau inversion recovery sequences in all cases. Swollen nerve fibers were clearly displayed in magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging. Electromyography showed myokymia in three patients. With conservative therapy, only one patient was temporarily relieved of pain, while the conditions of others were not ameliorated.

Conclusions

Radiation-induced brachial plexus injury is a late but catastrophic complication in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Clinicians should be aware of radiation-induced brachial plexus injury when deciding on treatment and should give them regular follow-up post radiotherapy.


Objective

The optimal treatment for elderly patients with limited-disease small cell lung cancer has not been defined. We therefore performed a Phase I study for split-dose cisplatin plus etoposide combined with early concurrent accelerated hyperfractionated thoracic radiotherapy in elderly (70 years of age or older) patients with limited-disease small cell lung cancer.

Methods

Chemotherapy consisted of cisplatin at 20 or 25 mg/m2 and etoposide at 80 mg/m2, both administered on Days 1–3 of a 28-day cycle. Radiotherapy was initiated at the onset of chemotherapy and administered at a dose of 1.5 Gy twice daily over 3 weeks up to a total dose of 45 Gy.

Results

Twelve patients with a median age of 76 years (range, 70–85) were enrolled. Dose-limiting toxicities occurred in two (hyponatremia of Grade 4 or cardiac ischemia of Grade 3) of the six patients treated at dose Level 1 as well as in three (perforation of the sigmoid colon of Grade 3, febrile neutropenia of Grade 3, or hyponatremia of Grade 3) of the six patients treated at dose Level 2. The most frequent non-hematologic adverse events included anorexia, fatigue, esophagitis and pneumonitis, but most of these events were of Grade 1 or 2.

Conclusions

The recommended dose for cisplatin and etoposide chemotherapy administered on Days 1–3 was determined to be 20 and 80 mg/m2, respectively. Our results indicate that split-dose cisplatin plus etoposide chemotherapy combined with early concurrent accelerated hyperfractionated thoracic radiotherapy is well tolerated by elderly patients with limited-disease small cell lung cancer.

Clinical trials registration no

UMIN Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR) C000000143.


Objective

Medical thoracoscopy using a flex-rigid pleuroscope under local anesthesia is a recent diagnostic procedure for malignant pleural disease. Although most previous studies have reported its usefulness, especially in wet pleural dissemination, the feasibility of flex-rigid pleuroscopy in patients with dry pleural dissemination is not well established.We assessed the diagnostic performance of flex-rigid pleuroscopy under local anesthesia in patients suspected of dry pleural dissemination on radiography.

Methods

The pleuroscopic parameters of all patients (n = 56) who underwent flex-rigid pleuroscopy at the National Cancer Center Hospital from October 2011 to September 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. Those with computed tomography findings of asymmetric pleural thickening or pleural nodules without pleural effusion (dry group, n = 16) were compared with the remaining patients with pleural effusion (wet group).

Results

The dry group consisted of eight men and eight women, with a median age of 61 years (range, 48–79 years). The definitive diagnoses were adenocarcinoma (n = 10), mesothelioma (n = 2) and chronic inflammation (n = 3). The diagnostic accuracy was 93.8% (15/16). Only two minor complications were observed: mild chest pain (n = 1) and transient hypoxia (n = 1). No major complications such as pneumothorax were observed. The mean duration of post-operative chest tube drainage in the dry group was 2.31 ± 2.26 days. Complications, operation duration and diagnostic accuracy did not statistically differ between the two groups.

Conclusions

Flex-rigid pleuroscopy under local anesthesia can be a well-tolerated diagnostic procedure for radiographic dry pleural dissemination with respect to diagnostic yield and complications.


Objective

The aim of this study is to identify the pre-operative prognostic factors and create a risk stratification model for patients with renal cell carcinoma with extension into the renal vein or inferior vena cava.

Methods

The study cohort included 61 patients with renal cell carcinoma extending into the renal vein or inferior vena cava that underwent operations between 1993 and 2012. Cancer-specific survival rates were estimated, and univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to determine the prognostic factors. A simple risk stratification model was developed for these patients.

Results

The median follow-up period of the current patient cohort was 33.7 months. Their 1, 3 and 5-year cancer-specific survival were 89, 70 and 65%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, the level of tumor thrombus extension (extension into the supradiaphragm), presence of distant metastasis and elevation of lactate dehydrogenase and C-reactive protein were independent negative prognostic factors for cancer-specific survival. Cancer-specific survival rates were clearly discriminated by the stratification according to the scoring model (P < 0.001). The concordance index of the new model was 0.80.

Conclusions

We demonstrated a simple risk stratification model with four pre-operative independent prognostic factors for patients with renal cell carcinoma with venous involvement. This may be a useful decision-making model in the management of such patients.


We report the case of a 70-year-old Japanese male diagnosed with advanced lung adenocarcinoma harboring the echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4-anaplastic lymphoma kinase fusion gene. As soon as crizotinib was administered, tumor shrank immediately. On Day 25, he developed interstitial lung disease. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid analysis demonstrated elevated lymphocytes fractionation. A drug lymphocyte stimulating test for crizotinib with the bronchoalveolar lavage lymphocytes was negative. Crizotinib administration was discontinued, but a life-threatening flare of tumor growth occurred. Since there was no alternative treatment for the lung cancer, we restarted crizotinib in combination with prednisolone. The patient experienced neither disease progression nor recurrence of interstitial lung disease at 6 months. In cases in which no alternate treatment is known, crizotinib retreatment combined with steroid therapy after crizotinib-induced interstitial lung disease could be considered after a careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits.


A randomized Phase II/III trial was planned to commence in March 2014. Perioperative chemotherapy with adriamycin plus ifosfamide is the current standard treatment for T2bN0M0 high-grade non-round cell soft tissue sarcoma. The purpose of this study is to confirm the non-inferiority of perioperative chemotherapy with gemcitabine and docetaxel to adriamycin plus ifosfamide for patients with T2bN0M0 or any TN1M0 non-round cell soft tissue sarcoma in the extremities and body wall. A total of 140 patients will be accrued from 28 Japanese institutions over 6 years. The primary endpoint in the Phase II part is the proportion of completion of pre-operative chemotherapy without progressive disease and overall survival in the Phase III part. The secondary endpoints are progression-free survival, response rate of pre-operative chemotherapy, pathological response rate, proportion of preservation of diseased limbs, disease control rate and proportion of adverse events. This trial has been registered in the UMIN Clinical Trials Registry as UMIN000013175 [http://www.umin.ac.jp/ctr/index.htm].


A randomized Phase II/III study was launched in Japan to evaluate the non-inferiority of concurrent chemoradiotherapy with weekly cisplatin (40 mg/m2) compared with concurrent chemoradiotherapy with 3-weekly cisplatin (100 mg/m2) for post-operative high-risk patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck. This study began in October 2012, and a total of 260 patients will be accrued from 18 institutions within 5 years. The primary endpoint of the Phase II part is proportion of treatment completion and that of the Phase III part is overall survival. The secondary endpoints are relapse-free survival, local relapse-free survival, nutrition-support-free survival, non-hospitalized treatment period during permissible treatment period and adverse events. This trial was registered at the UMIN Clinical Trials Registry as UMIN 000009125 [http://www.umin.ac.jp/ctr/].