To identify clinicopathological features and outcomes in patients with late relapse (LR) of testicular germ cell tumours (GCTs) in order to guide follow-up policy.
Materials and Methods
The Edinburgh Cancer Centre (ECC) database identified all patients diagnosed with testicular GCT between 1988 and 2002. Of 703 patients, six relapsed more than 24 months after their initial treatment. A retrospective casenote review was performed to extract clinical, pathological, treatment and outcome data.
Six patients (0.85%) underwent late relapse. All patients presented initially with stage I disease and five were classified as good risk (International Germ Cell Consensus Classification, IGCCC). Median time to LR was 31 months. Two patients had previously relapsed less than 24 months from initial diagnosis. Markers at the time of relapse were normal in all patients. In all cases of late relapse disease was confined to axial lymphadenopathy. Three patients were treated with chemotherapy alone, two patients underwent surgical resection and one patient received combined treatment. All patients obtained a complete response and all remain disease free with a median follow-up of 52 months.
The incidence of late relapse in this series is low. Chemo-naive patients with LR were successfully salvaged with chemotherapy alone and patients previously exposed to cisplatin-based chemotherapy were salvaged with complete surgical excision. The optimal length of follow-up in patients with testicular germ cell tumours is not known and practice varies widely. In this cohort of 703 patients, only one patient who relapsed was picked up by additional clinic follow-up between 5 and 10 years. Thus, on the basis of this small series, the authors suggest that follow-up after five years may not be justified.
follow-up; germ cell tumors; late relapse
To develop a more appropriate therapeutic strategy for treatment of nonpulmonary visceral metastatic testicular seminoma based on the International Germ Cell Consensus Classification, we reviewed the medical records of patients with nonpulmonary visceral metastatic testicular seminoma who were treated over a 20-year period. Only 15 (2.2%) of the 686 cases of testicular seminoma were nonpulmonary visceral metastatic seminoma. The median age of patients was 38 years (range, 22-53 years). Ten (67%) of the patients had an initial diagnosis of supradiaphragmatic or visceral metastatic disease. In addition to nonpulmonary visceral metastasis, all patients had lymph node metastasis as well, the majority of which involved the retroperitoneal lymph nodes. The median and mean progression-free survival durations after chemotherapy for advanced disease were 19 months and 63.7 months, respectively. Six patients (40%) survived, five relapsed after radiation therapy and four died of chemorefractory disease not dependent on the specific regimen. Although the number of cases reviewed in this study was small, we conclude that the choice of chemotherapeutic regimen among the current treatments for nonpulmonary visceral metastatic seminoma of testis primary does not present a different outcome. Therefore, multimodality therapies using new strategies or new agents are well indicated.
The Third International Central Nervous System (CNS) Germ Cell Tumour (GCT) Symposium brought together over 100 delegates from all over the world to learn about the latest developments in these tumours and discuss future strategies for their management. Some areas of consensus were agreed upon, and controversies were discussed. Among these, the classification of GCTs and the surgical approach to their management were among the greatest areas of difference between different parts of the world. The need for radiotherapy (RT) as a part of standard first-line management for all malignant CNS GCTs was agreed, as well as the need for additional chemotherapy to maximise the cure in nongerminomatous malignant GCTs; the benefit of the addition of chemotherapy in localised germinoma to reduce the RT burden was also accepted as a good practice. The potential of biological parameters to assist the future diagnosis, treatment stratification, and disease monitoring for CNS GCTs was discussed. Such biological parameters may also represent targets for the development of novel therapies. The need for further collaboration between groups engaged in biological studies was agreed. The merits of proton beam RT were debated, and the importance of mitigating the long-term side effects of the treatment was underlined by a session on late effects.
Third International CNS GCT Symposium; central nervous system; germ cell tumour; germinoma; nongerminoma
The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of thrombo-embolic events (TEE) in patients with germ-cell tumours (GCT) who receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy, to compare this risk to that of a matched control group of non-GCT cancer patients, and to identify risk factors of TEE. The rate of TEE during the 6 months following the initiation of chemotherapy was assessed in 100 consecutive patients with GCT and in 100 controls with various neoplasms who were matched on sex and age, and who received first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy during the same period of time at Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France. Data were subsequently tested on a validation group of 77 GCT patients treated in Lyon, France. A total of 19 patients (19%) (95% confidence interval (CI): 13–28) and six patients (6%) (95% CI: 3–13) had a TEE in the GCT group and the non-GCT control group, respectively (relative risk (RR): 3.4; P<0.01). Three patients from the GCT group died of pulmonary embolism. In multivariate analysis, two factors had independent predictive value for TEE: a high body surface area (>1.9 m2) (RR: 5 (1.8–13.9)) and an elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (RR: 6.4 (2.3–18.2)). Patients with no risk factor (n=26) and those with at least one risk factor (n=71) had a probability of having a TEE of 4% (95% CI: 1–19) and 26% (95% CI: 17–37), respectively. In the GCT validation set, 10 (13%) patients had a TEE; patients with no risk factor and those with at least one risk factor had a probability of having a TEE of 0 and 17% (95% CI: 10–29), respectively. Patients with GCT are at a higher risk for TEE than patients with non-GCT cancer while on cisplatin-based chemotherapy. This risk can be accurately predicted by serum LDH and body surface area. This predictive index may help to study prospectively the impact of thromboprophylaxis in GCT patients.
cancer of the testis; chemotherapy; cisplatin; germ-cell tumour; thrombosis
Metastatic germ cell tumours (GCTs) are usually cured with cisplatin based chemotherapy and standard treatment algorithms are established. However when this treatment fails and the disease relapses, standard treatment is much more uncertain. Both conventional dose therapy (CDT) and high dose therapy (HDT) are widely used, due to the lack of conclusive data supporting one specific approach. A recent retrospective analysis focusing on this population suggested a significant benefit for HDT. Retrospective analyses are prone to bias, and therefore while this data is provocative it is by no mean conclusive. For this reason the international community is supporting a prospective randomised trial in this area comparing CDT(TIP) with sequential HDT (TICE). The planned open labelled randomised phase III study (TIGER) is due to open in 2011 and will recruit 390 patients to detect a 13% difference in 2 year progression free survival (primary endpoint). It is hoped that this large study will conclusively resolve the uncertainty which currently exists.
Metastatic germ cell tumours; dose therapy; relapses
Intracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) are relatively rare. Their incidence has been considered to be higher in East Asia than in the United States. This study estimates the incidence of CNS GCTs in Japan and the United States, investigates gender discrepancies in each country, and describes treatment outcomes. Data on primary CNS GCTs from 4 databases were utilized: population-based malignant incidence data from (1) the Japan Cancer Surveillance Research Group (2004–2006; 14 registries), malignant and nonmalignant incidence data from (2) the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (2004–2008; 17 registries), and hospital-based observed survival data from (3) the Brain Tumor Registry of Japan (1984–2000) and (4) the US National Cancer Data Base (1990–2003). Incidence rates per 100 000 for malignant GCTs were not statistically significantly different between Japan (males = 0.143, females = 0.046) and the United States (males = 0.118, females = 0.030). The malignant incidence-rate ratio was higher for pineal GCTs versus nonpineal (ie, the rest of the brain) GCTs in Japan (11.5:1 vs 1.9:1, respectively) and the United States (16.0:1 vs 1.7:1, respectively). In general, 5-year survival estimates were high: over 75% for all GCTs, and over 81% for germinomas, regardless of the type of treatment in either Japan or the United States. The incidence of primary GCTs is similar between Japan and the United States and has the same gender-based patterns by location. High rates of survival were observed in both countries.
brain tumor; epidemiology; germ cell tumors; germinoma; mixed germ cell tumors; pineal gland; teratoma; tumor registry
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy in Nova Scotia and to identify women at high risk of smoking during pregnancy. DESIGN: Population-based descriptive study. SETTING: All hospitals providing obstetric services in Nova Scotia. PATIENTS: All 60 754 women residing in Nova Scotia who had a baby in hospital between 1988 and 1992; smoking data were available for 57,750 (95.1%) of them. OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of women who smoked during pregnancy and the maternal smoking rates by age, marital status, parity, attendance at prenatal classes and residence. RESULTS: Overall, 32.4% of the women smoked at some point during their pregnancy. The rate was highest among the women less than 20 years of age (47.0%) and decreased with each increasing 5-year age interval. Overall, the unmarried women were 2.1 times as likely to smoke as the married women. The smoking rates were highest among the women who were para 3 or greater regardless of age (women less than 20 were excluded here, since very few had such a parity). Of the nulliparous women, those who attended prenatal classes were less likely to smoke during pregnancy than those who did not attend. There was no relation between urban or rural residence and smoking rates. The smoking rates decreased little between 1988 and 1992 and in fact increased among the women 35 and over and among those who were para 3 or greater. CONCLUSIONS: The smoking rates among pregnant women in Nova Scotia changed little between 1988 and 1992. Therefore, it seems that current strategies for smoking cessation have not been successful. Since prenatal classes are more likely to attract nonsmokers than smokers, other avenues for education and cessation are necessary.
Between January 1981 and December 1985, 122 patients with non-seminomatous germ cell tumours (NSGT) were seen at a regional referral centre. Of these, a total of 98 patients received chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Treatment was given within collaborative EORTC Urology group studies, all of which involved cis-platin-containing schedules. Ninety patients had tumours of testicular origin, and their 2 year actuarial survival rate is 91%; 8 had tumours of extragonadal origin and their 2 year actuarial survival is 25%. Patients with testicular tumours were subdivided by volume of metastatic disease using the recommendations of the Testicular Cancer Subgroup of the MRC Urological Cancer Working Party and survival was significantly worse in the group with very large volume metastatic disease (VLVM, 57%) compared with the groups with large volume metastases (LVM, 100%) and small volume metastases (SVM, 98%). There were 31 patients with Stage I disease at presentation; of these 6 were treated by prophylactic abdominal radiotherapy and 25 were managed by a policy of surveillance only. Seven of these Stage I patients (23%) relapsed with metastatic disease (median 8 months); all have been successfully treated with chemotherapy. These data confirm that the majority of patients now presenting with metastatic NSGCT are curable with chemotherapy, but that a small proportion with very large volume metastases or extragonadal tumours require alternative chemotherapy schedules.
Late relapse (LR) of germ cell tumor (GCT) is a well recognized entity associated with poor survival. We report on our experience with LR and determine predictors of survival.
Patients and Methods
From 1990 to 2004, 75 patients were managed for LR of GCT at our institution. Clinical and pathologic parameters were reviewed. Estimates of cancer-specific survival were generated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and a Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess potential predictors of outcome.
The median time to LR was 6.9 years (range, 2.1 to 37.7 years). Overall, 56 patients (75%) had LR in the retroperitoneum, including 25 (93%) of 27 patients initially managed without retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. The 5-year cancer-specific survival (CSS) was 60% (95% CI, 46% to 71%). Patients who underwent complete surgical resection at time of LR (n = 45) had a 5-year CSS of 79% versus 36% for patients without complete resection (n = 30; P < .0001). The 5-year CSS for chemotherapy-naive patients was significantly greater than patients with a prior history of chemotherapy as part of their initial management (5-year CSS, 93% v 49%, respectively). In multivariable analysis of pretreatment parameters available at the time of LR, the presence of symptoms (hazard ratio [HR] = 4.9) and multifocal disease (HR = 3.0) were associated with an inferior CSS.
The data suggest that meticulous control of the retroperitoneum is critical to prevent LR in the retroperitoneum. In multivariable analysis, patients with a symptomatic presentation and those with multifocal disease have a significantly decreased survival. Survival is greatly improved if complete surgical excision of disease is attained.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are widely used agents that can cause serious gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. For patients at increased risk of NSAID-related GI complications, prophylaxis with either a nonselective NSAID plus gastroprotective agent (GPA) or, alternatively, therapy with a cyclooxygenase-2 selective inhibitor with or without a GPA such as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), is recommended.
To describe the rate, timing and duration of GI prophylaxis in Nova Scotia seniors receiving nonselective NSAIDs.
The Nova Scotia Seniors’ Pharmacare Program beneficiaries for the years 1998 to 2002 were studied. A cohort of incident NSAID and GPA users was selected from all nonselective NSAID users (no prescribed NSAID dispensed 12 months before the index month and no GPA dispensed two months before the index prescription). Monthly coprescribing rates were calculated by dividing the number of patients in the cohort using GPAs by the number of NSAID users. GI prophylactic coprescribing was defined as the coprescribing rate present at the first month (index month) of prescribing an NSAID.
The cohort consisted of 12,906 patients. Seventy-five per cent of the nonselective NSAID prescriptions dispensed were for up to two months duration, with only 2.3% longer than one year. GI prophylaxis was given to only 3.8% of patients starting NSAIDs who were not on a GPA in the two months before starting NSAIDs. Of this 3.8%, 92.7% of the patients received H2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs), and 7% received PPIs. The rate of H2RA coprescribing increased with the number of consecutive months on an NSAID from 3.5% in the first month to 24.1% at 48 months. For PPIs, the coprescribing rate increased from 0.3% to 1.9% of all NSAID users in the cohort. The rate of gastroprophylaxis coprescribing for patients receiving NSAIDs did not rise with increasing age.
In Nova Scotian seniors using nonselective NSAIDs, the rate of GI prophylaxis was low. Most patients received H2RAs as GPAs despite evidence that they offer insufficient protection.
Cohort study; Cyclooxygenase-2 selective inhibitor; Drug utilization; Gastrointestinal prophylaxis; Histamine-2 receptor antagonist; Misoprostol; Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; NSAIDs; Proton pump inhibitor; Prescribing; Seniors
Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is associated with social, psychological and physical benefits. Barriers to breast reconstruction in the United States include age, stage of disease, socioeconomic status and geographic location; however, little is known about the effects of these factors in the Canadian context of a universal health care system. We sought to determine the rate of breast reconstruction in Nova Scotia, identify characteristics influencing access to the procedure and describe the rates of different reconstructive options.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study involving all women in Nova Scotia who received diagnoses of breast cancer and had mastectomies between 1991 and 2001. We linked data from 2 administrative databases and performed analyses for each year in the study period. We followed the women until the end of the study period (2001). We used logistic regression to evaluate potential barriers to reconstruction.
A total of 3717 women had mastectomies during the 10-year study period; of these women, 142 (3.8%) had breast reconstruction. The reconstruction rate increased to more than 5% in 3 of the last 4 years. Factors affecting the rate of breast reconstruction included patient age, stage of disease and year of mastectomy. Household income did not significantly affect the likelihood of women seeking breast reconstruction.
The rate of breast reconstruction in Nova Scotia (3.8%) is considerably lower than rates reported in the United States (8%–45%). The fact that household income did not influence the breast reconstruction rate may reflect the universal nature of Canada's public health care system.
The objective of this study was to determine the rate of blood pressure control according to 4 sets of Canadian guidelines published over a decade in patients with diabetes mellitus attending Diabetes Centres in the province of Nova Scotia.
One hundred randomly selected charts from each of 13 Diabetes Centres audited between 1997 and 2001 were extracted from the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia Registry. Multivariate logistic regression analyses examined the relationship between individual characteristics and self-reported antihypertensive use. Included were 1132 adults, mean age 63 years (48% male), with 9 years mean time since diagnosis of diabetes.
According to the 1992 guidelines, 63% of the patients and according to the 2003 guidelines, 84% of patients were above target blood pressure or receiving antihypertensive medications. Forty-seven percent of patients are considered to be hypertensive and not on treatment according to 2003 guidelines. The results of the multivariate analyses showed that the only factors independently associated with anti-hypertensive use was oral anti-hyperglycemic use.
Hypertension is an additional risk factor in those with diabetes mellitus for macrovascular and microvascular complications. The health and budgetary impacts of addressing the treatment gap need to be further explored.
We reviewed the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) experience with salvage high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) in paediatric patients with extragonadal germ-cell tumour (GCT). A total of 23 children with extragonadal GCT, median age 12 years (range 1–20), were treated with salvage HDC with haematopoietic progenitor cell support. The GCT primary location was intracranial site in nine cases, sacrococcyx in eight, retroperitoneum in four, and mediastinum in two. In all, 22 patients had a nongerminomatous GCT and one germinoma. Nine patients received HDC in first- and 14 in second- or third-relapse situation. No toxic deaths occurred. Overall, 16 of 23 patients (70%) achieved a complete remission. With a median follow-up of 66 months (range 31–173 months), 10 (43%) are continuously disease-free. Of six patients who had a disease recurrence after HDC, one achieved a disease-free status with surgical resection followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In total, 11 patients (48%) are currently disease-free. Eight of 14 patients (57%) with extracranial primary and three of nine patients (33%) with intracranial primary GCT are currently disease-free. HDC induced impressive long-term remissions as salvage treatment in children with extragonadal extracranial GCTs. Salvage HDC should be investigated in prospective trials in these patients.
extragonadal germ cell tumour; high-dose chemotherapy; salvage therapy; children
Following chemotherapy for metastatic nonseminomatous testicular cancer, 86 patients with normal serum markers AFP and HCG underwent resection of residual tumour masses (63 laparotomy, 11 thoracotomy, 12 both). Prognostic factors for relapse and survival were analysed with Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression analysis. Putative prognostic factors included age, the primary histology, prechemotherapy level of the tumour markers AFP and HCG, the extent of disease (lymph nodes, lung and hepatic metastases) before and after chemotherapy, the histology of the resected material and the completeness of the surgical procedure. Eleven patients relapsed during follow-up (median 47 months), accounting for a 5 year relapse free percentage of 87.4%. Adverse prognostic factors were (1) prechemotherapy level of HCG (> or = 10,000 IU l-1; (2) incomplete resection; and (3) the extent of disease, especially of lung metastases (prechemotherapy number < or = 3,4-19, > or = 20; or size after chemotherapy > 1 cm; or presence of any residual lung metastasis after chemotherapy without residual abdominal metastases). The histology found at resection was not associated with the risk of relapse, which might be explained by the effectiveness of postresection chemotherapy, which in the majority of these patients was a salvage regimen rather than two further cycles of the initial cytostatics. A good and a poor risk group were formed, based on HCG level and completeness of resection. The effect of salvage chemotherapy after resection of viable cancer cells needs further investigation.
A program to reduce the incidence of erythroblastosis fetalis was started in Nova Scotia in 1964. Up to the end of 1984, 120 fetuses received 247 intrauterine transfusions. The survival rate was 45.6% in the first 10 years of the program and 66.7% in the next 11 years. For fetuses at or over 26 weeks' gestation the figures were 51.5% and 73.7% respectively. Postpartum prevention was started in 1968, with administration of Rh immune globulin (RhIG) to Rh-negative unimmunized women within 72 hours after the birth of an Rh-positive infant. Antepartum prevention, started in 1979, consisted of administration of RhIG at 28 weeks' gestation to Rh-negative unimmunized women. The effectiveness of the prevention program was evaluated by enumerating the known cases of Rh(D) alloimmunization in the province from 1982 to 1984: 55 cases were identified, a rate of 1.5 per 1000 births instead of the expected rate of about 10 per 1000.
The pathogenesis of testicular germ cell tumours (GCTs) is potentially influenced by high-energy nutrition during infancy. As adult height is a proxy for childhood nutrition, we investigated the role of nutrition in GCT pathogenesis by comparing stature of patients with healthy men. In a matched case–control study, 6415 patients with GCT were compared with healthy army conscripts (1:6 matching modus) with regard to height (cm) and body mass index (BMI; kg/m2). Statistical analysis involved tabulation of descriptive height measures and BMI. Conditional logistic regression models were used to quantify the association of GCT with height, with odds ratios (OR) adjusted for BMI. The literature was searched for studies on stature in GCT patients. Body size is significantly associated with risk of GCT, very tall men (>195 cm) having a GCT risk of OR=3.35 (95% confidence intervals (CI): 2.88–3.90; adjusted). Short stature is protective (OR=0.798; 95% CI: 0.68–0.93). Both histologic subgroups are associated with tallness. Of 16 previous reports, 7 were confirmative, 5 had null and 4 equivocal results. The association of stature with GCT risk accords with the nutrition hypothesis of GCT. This study expands the current view of GCT tumorigenesis by suggesting that high-calorie intake in childhood promotes GCT precursors originating in utero.
testicular cancer; body size; childhood nutrition; seminoma; non-seminoma; BMI
Cisplatin-based chemotherapy has been commonly used for the treatment of intracranial germ cell tumors (IC-GCTs). However, this treatment exhibits some adverse effects such as renal problems and hearing difficulty. Carboplatin-based chemotherapy was administered to pediatric patients with IC-GCTs from August 2004 at the Samsung Medical Center. In this study, we assessed the responses and adverse effects of carboplatin-based chemotherapy in pediatric IC-GCTs patients according to the risk group, and compared the results with those of the previous cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
We examined 35 patients (27 men and 8 women) diagnosed with IC-GCTs between August 2004 and April 2008 and received risk-adapted carboplatin-based chemotherapy at the Samsung Medical Center. Patients were divided into either low-risk (LR) or high-risk (HR) groups and a retrospective analysis was performed using information from the medical records.
Although hematological complications were common, hearing difficulties or grade 3 or 4 creatinine level elevation were not observed in patients who underwent carboplatin-based chemotherapy. The frequency of febrile neutropenia did not differ between the risk groups. The overall survival was 100% and event-free survival (EFS) was 95.7%. The EFS rate was 100% in the LR group and 90% in the HR group, respectively.
Despite their common occurrence in high-risk patients, no lethal hematological complications were associated with carboplatin-based treatment. The current carboplatin-based chemotherapy protocol is safe and effective for the treatment of pediatric patients with IC-GCTs.
Intracranial germ cell tumor; Carboplatin; Adverse effects
von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) disease is an autosomal dominant condition characterized by the development of benign and malignant tumours, including cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Early detection of RCC through routine surveillance can lead to decreased morbidity and mortality. Data on the number of patients in Nova Scotia (NS) who have VHL disease, disease manifestations and the frequency and mode of the surveillance have not previously been collected or reported. This project was designed to obtain that information.
The number and management of patients with VHL disease was determined by multiple sources: the Maritime Medical Genetics Service, patient charts, and pathology, radiology and laboratory data. The actual surveillance being performed was compared with that recommended in the literature.
Twenty-one patients from 11 families in NS were identified. Manifestations included cases of RCC (31.6%), central nervous system (CNS) hemangioblastoma (73.7%), retinal hemangioma (47.4%), renal cyst (47.4%) and pheochromocytoma (10.5%). Of the 6 patients with RCC, 4 had bilateral tumours, 2 required kidney transplants and 1 developed metastatic disease. Routine surveillance was being done for the CNS in 62.5% of patients, retina in 47.4%, abdomen in 43.8% and urine catecholamines in only 10.5%. Only 1 of the 6 patients who developed RCC was undergoing routine abdominal imaging. Surveillance investigations were ordered by a number of different specialists.
Patients with VHL disease in NS have a number of manifestations associated with their disease, including RCC, in a similar frequency to that reported in the literature. The surveillance of these patients is suboptimal in frequency and coordination. von Hippel–Lindau disease is a complex condition that requires a coordinated approach to care to ensure proper surveillance and treatment. Our study highlights current deficiencies and offers an enormous opportunity for improvement.
Of 297 patients with metastatic testicular and extragonadal germ cell tumours (GCT), bone involvement was detected clinically in 3% (7/251) of those at first presentation and in 9% (4/46) of relapsed cases. This difference was not statistically significant (95% confidence limits -2%; +14%). Concurrent systemic metastases, commonly involving lung (7/11 cases) and para-aortic lymph nodes (6/11), were present in all patients with bone disease. All affected patients had localized bone pain and lumbar spine was the most frequent site involved (9/11). Spinal cord compression occurred in two patients while a third developed progressive vertebral collapse after chemotherapy and required extensive surgical reconstruction. At median follow-up of 4 years, survival among patients presenting with bone disease (6/7) was similar to overall survival in the whole group (84%) and appeared better than in those with liver (18/26, 69%) or central nervous system (6/9) metastases at presentation. Back pain in metastatic germ cell tumours is often due to retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy but lumbar spine osseus metastases must be recognized early if severe potential complications, such as spinal cord compression, are to be avoided. In this series, bone metastases were not seen in the absence of widespread systemic disease suggesting all solitary bony lesions in GCT patients should be biopsied.
After a diagnosis of lung carcinoma, survival is poor for all patients. We sought to assess 10-year survival and predictors of outcome after surgery for lung cancer in Nova Scotia.
We identified all patients n = 130) undergoing resection for lung cancer in Nova Scotia in 1994 from the Nova Scotia Cancer Registry and hospital charts and followed them prospectively for 10 years. We used Cox proportional hazards modelling to identify predictors of survival.
The patients' mean age at operation was 67.7 (standard deviation [SD] 8.2) years, and 70% of the patients were men. Most of the operations n = 80, 61.5%) were performed in Halifax, and adenocarcinoma n = 55, 42.3%) was the most common histologic type. At the time of surgery, 66.9% of the cases were stage 1, 20.0% were stage 2 and 13.1% were stage 3. Survival at 5 and 10 years was 34% and 13%, respectively. Age of 70 years or older (hazard ratio [HR] 1.79, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20–2.68), large cell carcinoma (HR 2.27, 95% CI 1.31–3.94) and stage 3 cancer (HR 2.21, 95% CI 1.25–3.90) were significant independent predictors of survival. Hospital site was not associated with any difference in survival (p = 0.66), although there was a trend toward differential rates of lymph node sampling across sites (p = 0.06). The presence of node sampling was associated with improved survival in a separate multivariate model (HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.29–0.89).
Actuarial survival after resection of lung carcinoma in Nova Scotia in 1994 was 34% at 5 years and 13% after 10 years. Age, stage and histology are independent predictors of survival; lymph node sampling was associated with greater survival.
We used bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin (BEP), the most effective regimen in the treatment of germ cell tumours (GCTs) and increased dose-density by using pegfilgrastim to shorten cycle length. Our aim was to assess safety and tolerability.
Sixteen male patients with intermediate or poor prognosis metastatic GCT were treated with four cycles of 3-day BEP with G-CSF on a 14-day cycle for a planned relative dose-density of 1.5 compared with standard BEP.
Eleven intermediate and five poor prognosis patients were treated. In all, 14 of 16 patients completed the study treatment. Toxicities were comparable to previous studies using standard BEP, except for mucositis and haematological toxicity that were more severe. The overall relative dose-density for all 16 patients was mean 1.38 (range 0.72–1.5; median 1.46). Complete response was achieved after chemotherapy alone in two patients (13%) and following chemotherapy plus surgery in nine additional patients (56%). Four patients (25%) had a partial response and normalised their marker levels. At a median follow-up of 4.4 years (range 2.1–6.8) the estimated 5-year progression-free survival probability is 81% (95% CI 64–100%).
Accelerated BEP is tolerable without major additional toxicity. A randomised controlled trial will be required to obtain comparative efficacy data.
accelerated; chemotherapy; growth factors; germ cell tumours; dose-density; bleomycin
Sediments in Sydney Harbour, Nova Scotia, are highly contaminated by polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals. Histopathologic and histochemical evaluations were made on the Baltic clam, Macoma balthica, exposed to 11 Sydney Harbour sediment samples. Histologic lesions in digestive gland (tubular dilation or atrophy, macrophage aggregates, tubular cell necrosis, and tissue inflammation) and gonads (macrophage aggregates, supporting cell, germ cell, and ovarian cell necroses) were frequently detected in clams exposed to the most contaminated sediments from the harbor. Clams exposed to these contaminated sediments also had the highest acid phosphatase activity. The average scores of tubular dilation or atrophy, ovarian cell necrosis, and the sums of mean digestive gland lesions correlated significantly with sediment PCBs, and the activities of acid phosphatase correlated significantly with sediment heavy metals, PAHs, and PCBs. Among the lesions, digestive gland tubular dilation or atrophy, tubular cell, germ cell, and ovarian cell necroses, and the activity of acid phosphatase are the best sublethal effect indicators in Macoma exposed to Sydney Harbour sediments. Key words: biomarkers, chronic biologic effects, clams, histology, histochemistry, Macoma balthica, marine sediment, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls.
Germ cell tumor (GCT) is the most common malignancy in young adult men. Currently, patients are risk-stratified on the basis of clinical presentation and serum tumor markers. The introduction of molecular markers could improve outcome prediction.
Patients and Methods
Expression profiling was performed on 74 nonseminomatous GCTs (NSGCTs) from cisplatin-treated patients (ie, training set) and on 34 similarly treated patients with NSGCTs (ie, validation set). A gene classifier was developed by using prediction analysis for microarrays (PAM) for the binary end point of 5-year overall survival (OS). A predictive score was developed for OS by using the univariate Cox model.
In the training set, PAM identified 140 genes that predicted 5-year OS (cross-validated classification rate, 60%). The PAM model correctly classified 90% of patients in the validation set. Patients predicted to have good outcome had significantly longer survival than those with poor predicted outcome (P < .001). For the OS end point, a 10-gene model had a predictive accuracy (ie, concordance index) of 0.66 in the training set and a concordance index of 0.83 in the validation set. Dichotomization of the samples on the basis of the median score resulted in significant differences in survival (P = .002). For both end points, the gene-based predictor was an independent prognostic factor in a multivariate model that included clinical risk stratification (P < .01 for both).
We have identified gene expression signatures that accurately predict outcome in patients with GCTs. These predictive genes should be useful for the prediction of patient outcome and could provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Malignant germ cell tumours (MGCTs) of childhood are a rare group of neoplasms that comprise many histological subtypes and arise at numerous different sites. Genomic imbalances have been described in these tumours but, largely because of the paucity of cases reported in the literature, it is unclear how they relate to abnormalities in adult MGCTs and impact on potential systems for classifying GCTs. We have used metaphase-based comparative genomic hybridisation to analyse the largest series of paediatric MGCTs reported to date, representing 34 primary tumours (22 yolk sac tumours (YSTs), 11 germinomatous tumours and one metastatic embryonal carcinoma) occurring in children from birth to age 16, including 17 ovarian MGCTs. The large dataset enabled us to undertake statistical analysis, with the aim of identifying associations worthy of further investigation between patterns of genomic imbalance and clinicopathological parameters. The YSTs showed an increased frequency of 1p- (P=0.003), 3p+ (P=0.02), 4q− (P=0.07) and 6q− (P=0.004) compared to germinomatous tumours. Gain of 12p, which is invariably seen in adult MGCTs, was present in 53% of primary MGCTs of children aged 5–16 and was also observed in four of 14 YSTs affecting children less than 5. Two of these cases (14% of MGCTs in children less than 5) showed gain of the 12p11 locus considered to be particularly relevant in adult MGCTs. Gain of 12p showed a significant association with gain of 12q. Conversely, MGCTs without 12p gain displayed a significantly increased frequency of loss on 16p (P=0.04), suggesting that this imbalance may contribute to tumour development in such cases. This data provides new insight into the biology of this under-investigated tumour group and will direct future studies on the significance of specific genetic abnormalities.
neoplasms; germ cell; child; gonadal; extragonadal; comparative genomic hybridisation
Transitioning routine follow-up to primary care could potentially increase guideline adherence by improving access to and continuity of care.
The purpose of this study was to examine colorectal cancer (CRC) follow-up care in Nova Scotia, Canada. More specifically, the objectives were to describe adherence to two elements of follow-up guidelines (colonoscopies and physician visits) and to identify factors associated with receiving at least guideline-recommended care.
All patients with stage II or III CRC undergoing curative-intent surgery in Nova Scotia, Canada, were identified through the provincial cancer registry and anonymously linked to additional administrative health databases. For a 3-year follow-up period, beginning 1 year after the diagnosis date, descriptive statistics were calculated for physician visits and colonoscopies. Factors associated with receiving at least guideline-recommended care were identified using logistic regression.
Most patients received follow-up care from multiple physician specialties. In year 3, 58.1% of patients received oncologist follow-up care. Guideline adherence for colonoscopies was 52.4%, whereas guideline adherence for physician visits decreased from 41.9% to 25.4%. Receipt of at least guideline-recommended care was inversely associated with age and comorbidity for colonoscopy and inversely associated with age for physician visits.
Receipt of follow-up care from oncologists and primary care physicians, prolonged oncologist care, and receipt of care inconsistent with guideline recommendations suggest there may be potential issues with inefficient use of cancer system resources and integration of guidelines into follow-up care practices in Nova Scotia. Transitioning routine follow-up to primary care could potentially increase guideline adherence by improving access to and continuity of care. CRC may be well suited to targeted knowledge translation strategies to improve guideline adherence.