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1.  Gene Expression Classification of Colon Cancer into Molecular Subtypes: Characterization, Validation, and Prognostic Value 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001453.
Background
Colon cancer (CC) pathological staging fails to accurately predict recurrence, and to date, no gene expression signature has proven reliable for prognosis stratification in clinical practice, perhaps because CC is a heterogeneous disease. The aim of this study was to establish a comprehensive molecular classification of CC based on mRNA expression profile analyses.
Methods and Findings
Fresh-frozen primary tumor samples from a large multicenter cohort of 750 patients with stage I to IV CC who underwent surgery between 1987 and 2007 in seven centers were characterized for common DNA alterations, including BRAF, KRAS, and TP53 mutations, CpG island methylator phenotype, mismatch repair status, and chromosomal instability status, and were screened with whole genome and transcriptome arrays. 566 samples fulfilled RNA quality requirements. Unsupervised consensus hierarchical clustering applied to gene expression data from a discovery subset of 443 CC samples identified six molecular subtypes. These subtypes were associated with distinct clinicopathological characteristics, molecular alterations, specific enrichments of supervised gene expression signatures (stem cell phenotype–like, normal-like, serrated CC phenotype–like), and deregulated signaling pathways. Based on their main biological characteristics, we distinguished a deficient mismatch repair subtype, a KRAS mutant subtype, a cancer stem cell subtype, and three chromosomal instability subtypes, including one associated with down-regulated immune pathways, one with up-regulation of the Wnt pathway, and one displaying a normal-like gene expression profile. The classification was validated in the remaining 123 samples plus an independent set of 1,058 CC samples, including eight public datasets. Furthermore, prognosis was analyzed in the subset of stage II–III CC samples. The subtypes C4 and C6, but not the subtypes C1, C2, C3, and C5, were independently associated with shorter relapse-free survival, even after adjusting for age, sex, stage, and the emerging prognostic classifier Oncotype DX Colon Cancer Assay recurrence score (hazard ratio 1.5, 95% CI 1.1–2.1, p = 0.0097). However, a limitation of this study is that information on tumor grade and number of nodes examined was not available.
Conclusions
We describe the first, to our knowledge, robust transcriptome-based classification of CC that improves the current disease stratification based on clinicopathological variables and common DNA markers. The biological relevance of these subtypes is illustrated by significant differences in prognosis. This analysis provides possibilities for improving prognostic models and therapeutic strategies. In conclusion, we report a new classification of CC into six molecular subtypes that arise through distinct biological pathways.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cancer of the large bowel (colorectal cancer) is the third most common cancer in men and the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Despite recent advances in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of colorectal cancer, an estimated 608,000 people die every year from this form of cancer—8% of all cancer deaths. The prognosis and treatment options for colorectal cancer depend on five pathological stages (0–IV), each of which has a different treatment option and five year survival rate, so it is important that the stage is correctly identified. Unfortunately, pathological staging fails to accurately predict recurrence (relapse) in patients undergoing surgery for localized colorectal cancer, which is a concern, as 10%–20% of patients with stage II and 30%–40% of those with stage III colorectal cancer develop recurrence.
Why Was This Study Done?
Previous studies have investigated whether there are any possible gene expression profiles (identified through microarray techniques) that can help predict prognosis of colorectal cancer, but so far, there have been no firm conclusions that can aid clinical practice. In this study, the researchers used genetic information from a French multicenter study to identify a standard, reproducible molecular classification based on gene expression analysis of colorectal cancer. The authors also assessed whether there were any associations between the identified molecular subtypes and clinical and pathological factors, common DNA alterations, and prognosis.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used genetic information from a cohort of 750 patients with stage I to IV colorectal cancer who underwent surgery between 1987 and 2007 in seven centers in France. The researchers identified relevant clinical and pathological staging information for each patient from the medical records and calculated recurrence-free survival (the time from surgery to the first recurrence) for patients with stage II or III disease. In the genetic analysis, 566 tumor samples were suitable—443 were used in a discovery set, to create the classification, and the remainder were used in a validation set, to test the classification. The researchers also used information from eight public datasets to validate their findings.
Using these methods, the researchers classified the colon cancer samples into six molecular subtypes (based on gene expression data) and, on further analysis and validation, were able to distinguish the main biological characteristics and deregulated pathways associated with each subtype. Importantly, the researchers found that that these six subtypes were associated with distinct clinical and pathological characteristics, molecular alterations, specific gene expression signatures, and deregulated signaling pathways. In the prognostic analysis based on recurrence-free survival, the researchers found that patients whose tumors were classified in one of two clusters (C4 and C6) had poorer recurrence-free survival than the other patients.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that it is possible to classify colorectal cancer into six robust molecular subtypes that might help identify new prognostic subgroups and could provide a basis for developing robust prognostic genetic signatures for stage II and III colorectal cancer and for identifying specific markers for the different subtypes that might be targets for future drug development. However, as this study was retrospective and did not include some known predictors of colorectal cancer prognosis, such as tumor grade and number of nodes examined, the significance and robustness of the prognostic classification requires further confirmation with large prospective patient cohorts.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001453.
The American Cancer Society provides information about colorectal cancer and also about how colorectal cancer is staged
The US National Cancer Institute also provides information on colon and rectal cancer and colon cancer stages
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001453
PMCID: PMC3660251  PMID: 23700391
2.  Evaluating Letrozole and Tamoxifen Alone and in Sequence for Postmenopausal Women with Steroid Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: the BIG 1-98 Randomized Clinical Trial at 8.1 years Median Follow-Up 
The lancet oncology  2011;12(12):1101-1108.
Background
Postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer have persistent, long-term risk of breast cancer recurrence and death. Therefore, trials evaluating endocrine therapies for this patient population require extended follow-up. We present an update of efficacy outcomes in the Breast International Group (BIG) 1-98 study at 8.1 years median follow-up.
Methods
BIG 1-98 is a randomized, phase III, double-blind trial of 8010 postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer that compares five years of tamoxifen or letrozole monotherapy or sequential treatment with two years of one of these agents followed by three years of the other. The primary efficacy endpoint is disease-free survival (DFS: events comprise invasive breast cancer relapse, second primaries [contralateral breast and non-breast], or death without prior cancer event), and secondary endpoints are overall survival (OS), distant recurrence-free interval (DRFI) and breast cancer-free interval (BCFI). The monotherapy comparison includes patients randomized to tamoxifen × 5 years (n=2459) or letrozole × 5 years (n=2463). In 2005, after significant DFS benefit was reported for letrozole as compared with tamoxifen, a protocol amendment facilitated the crossover to letrozole of patients who were still receiving tamoxifen alone; Cox models and Kaplan-Meier estimates with inverse probability of censoring weighting (IPCW) are used to account for selective crossover to letrozole of 619 patients in the tamoxifen arm. The comparison of sequential treatments to letrozole monotherapy includes patients enrolled in the four-arm option of the trial and randomized to letrozole × 5 years (n=1546), letrozole × 2 years followed by tamoxifen × 3 years (n=1540), or tamoxifen × 2 years followed by letrozole × 3 years (n=1548). All patients have completed study treatment; follow up is continuing for those enrolled in the four-arm option. BIG 1-98 is registered at clinicaltrials.gov NCT00004205.
Findings
At a median follow-up of 8.7 years from randomization (range 0–12.4), letrozole monotherapy is significantly better than tamoxifen, whether using IPCW or intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis [IPCW: DFS HR 0.82 (95% CI 0.74–0.92), OS HR 0.79 (0.69–0.900, DRFI HR 0.79 (0.68–0.92), BCFI HR 0.80 (0.70–0.92); ITT: DFS HR 0.86 (0.78–0.96), OS HR 0.87 (0.77–0.999), DRFI HR 0.86 (0.74–0.998), BCFI HR 0.86 (0.76–0.98)]. At a median follow-up of 8.0 years from randomization (range 0–11.2), there were no statistically significant differences in any of the four endpoints for either sequence compared with letrozole monotherapy. Eight-year ITT estimates [each with SE ≤ 1.1%] for letrozole monotherapy, letrozole followed by tamoxifen, and tamoxifen followed by letrozole were 78.6%, 77.8%, 77.3% for DFS; 87.5%, 87.7%, 85.9% for OS; 89.9%, 88.7%, 88.1% for DRFI; and 86.1%, 85.3%, 84.3% for BCFI.
Interpretation
For postmenopausal women with endocrine-responsive early breast cancer, a reduction in breast cancer recurrence and mortality is obtained by letrozole monotherapy when compared to tamoxifen. Sequential treatments involving tamoxifen and letrozole do not improve outcome compared with letrozole monotherapy, but may represent useful strategies considering individual patient’s risk of recurrence and treatment tolerability: more thromboembolic events, vaginal bleeding, hot flushes and night sweats with tamoxifen, while more vaginal dryness, bone fractures, osteoporosis, arthralgia/myalgia, and higher grade cardiac events with letrozole.
Funding
Novartis, United States National Cancer Institute, International Breast Cancer Study Group.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70270-4
PMCID: PMC3235950  PMID: 22018631
aromatase inhibitor; letrozole; breast cancer; adjuvant therapy; endocrine therapy; tamoxifen
3.  LICC: L-BLP25 in patients with colorectal carcinoma after curative resection of hepatic metastases--a randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter, multinational, double-blinded phase II trial 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:144.
Background
15-20% of all patients initially diagnosed with colorectal cancer develop metastatic disease and surgical resection remains the only potentially curative treatment available. Current 5-year survival following R0-resection of liver metastases is 28-39%, but recurrence eventually occurs in up to 70%. To date, adjuvant chemotherapy has not improved clinical outcomes significantly. The primary objective of the ongoing LICC trial (L-BLP25 In Colorectal Cancer) is to determine whether L-BLP25, an active cancer immunotherapy, extends recurrence-free survival (RFS) time over placebo in colorectal cancer patients following R0/R1 resection of hepatic metastases. L-BLP25 targets MUC1 glycoprotein, which is highly expressed in hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. In a phase IIB trial, L-BLP25 has shown acceptable tolerability and a trend towards longer survival in patients with stage IIIB locoregional NSCLC.
Methods/Design
This is a multinational, phase II, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a sample size of 159 patients from 20 centers in 3 countries. Patients with stage IV colorectal adenocarcinoma limited to liver metastases are included. Following curative-intent complete resection of the primary tumor and of all synchronous/metachronous metastases, eligible patients are randomized 2:1 to receive either L-BLP25 or placebo. Those allocated to L-BLP25 receive a single dose of 300 mg/m2 cyclophosphamide (CP) 3 days before first L-BLP25 dose, then primary treatment with s.c. L-BLP25 930 μg once weekly for 8 weeks, followed by s.c. L-BLP25 930 μg maintenance doses at 6-week (years 1&2) and 12-week (year 3) intervals unless recurrence occurs. In the control arm, CP is replaced by saline solution and L-BLP25 by placebo. Primary endpoint is the comparison of recurrence-free survival (RFS) time between groups. Secondary endpoints are overall survival (OS) time, safety, tolerability, RFS/OS in MUC-1 positive cancers. Exploratory immune response analyses are planned. The primary endpoint will be assessed in Q3 2016. Follow-up will end Q3 2017. Interim analyses are not planned.
Discussion
The design and implementation of such a vaccination study in colorectal cancer is feasible. The study will provide recurrence-free and overall survival rates of groups in an unbiased fashion.
Trial Registration
EudraCT Number 2011-000218-20
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-144
PMCID: PMC3342924  PMID: 22494623
4.  Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of published literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenomics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Ecopnomic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Objective
To review and synthesize the available evidence regarding the laboratory performance, prognostic value, and predictive value of Oncotype-DX for the target population.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
The target population of this review is women with newly diagnosed early stage (stage I–IIIa) invasive breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor (ER) positive and/or progesterone-receptor (PR) positive. Much of this review, however, is relevant for women with early stage (I and II) invasive breast cancer that is specifically ER positive, lymph node (LN) negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) negative. This refined population represents an estimated incident population of 3,315 new breast cancers in Ontario (according to 2007 data). Currently it is estimated that only 15% of these women will develop a distant metastasis at 10 years; however, a far great proportion currently receive adjuvant chemotherapy, suggesting that more women are being treated with chemotherapy than can benefit. There is therefore a need to develop better prognostic and predictive tools to improve the selection of women that may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
Technology of Concern
The Oncotype-DX Breast Cancer Assay (Genomic Health, Redwood City, CA) quantifies gene expression for 21 genes in breast cancer tissue by performing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumour blocks that are obtained during initial surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy, or core biopsy) of women with early breast cancer that is newly diagnosed. The panel of 21 genes include genes associated with tumour proliferation and invasion, as well as other genes related to HER-2/neu expression, ER expression, and progesterone receptor (PR) expression.
Research Questions
What is the laboratory performance of Oncotype-DX?
How reliable is Oncotype-DX (i.e., how repeatable and reproducible is Oncotype-DX)?
How often does Oncotype-DX fail to give a useable result?
What is the prognostic value of Oncotype-DX?*
Is Oncotype-DX recurrence score associated with the risk of distant recurrence or death due to any cause in women with early breast cancer receiving tamoxifen?
What is the predictive value of Oncotype-DX?*
Does Oncoytpe-DX recurrence score predict significant benefit in terms of improvements in 10-year distant recurrence or death due to any cause for women receiving tamoxifen plus chemotherapy in comparison to women receiving tamoxifen alone?
How does Oncotype-DX compare to other known predictors of risk such as Adjuvant! Online?
How does Oncotype-DX impact patient quality of life and clinical/patient decision-making?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on March 19th, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1st, 2006 to March 19th, 2010. A starting search date of January 1st, 2006 was because a comprehensive systematic review of Oncotype-DX was identified in preliminary literature searching. This systematic review, by Marchionni et al. (2008), included literature up to January 1st, 2007. All studies identified in the review by Marchionni et al. as well as those identified in updated literature searching were used to form the evidentiary base of this review. The quality of the overall body of evidence was identified as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
Any observational trial, controlled clinical trial, randomized controlled trial (RCT), meta-analysis or systematic review that reported on the laboratory performance, prognostic value and/or predictive value of Oncotype-DX testing, or other outcome relevant to the Key Questions, specific to the target population was included.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that did not report original data or original data analysis,
Studies published in a language other than English,
Studies reported only in abstract or as poster presentations (such publications were not sought nor included in this review since the MAS does not generally consider evidence that is not subject to peer review nor does the MAS consider evidence that lacks detailed description of methodology).
Outcomes of Interest
Outcomes of interest varied depending on the Key Question. For the Key Questions of prognostic and predictive value (Key Questions #2 and #3), the prospectively defined primary outcome was risk of 10-year distant recurrence. The prospectively defined secondary outcome was 10-year death due to any cause (i.e., overall survival). All additional outcomes such as risk of locoregional recurrence or disease-free survival (DFS) were not prospectively determined for this review but were reported as presented in included trials; these outcomes are referenced as tertiary outcomes in this review. Outcomes for other Key Questions (i.e., Key Questions #1, #4 and #5) were not prospectively defined due to the variability in endpoints relevant for these questions.
Summary of Findings
A total of 26 studies were included. Of these 26 studies, only five studies were relevant to the primary questions of this review (Key Questions #2 and #3). The following conclusions were drawn from the entire body of evidence:
There is a lack of external validation to support the reliability of Oncotype-DX; however, the current available evidence derived from internal industry validation studies suggests that Oncotype-DX is reliable (i.e., Oncotype-DX is repeatable and reproducible).
Current available evidence suggests a moderate failure rate of Oncotype-DX testing; however, the failure rate observed across clinical trials included in this review is likely inflated; the current Ontario experience suggests an acceptably lower rate of test failure.
In women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer (stage I–II) that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node negative:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole (the latter for postmenopausal women only),
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX can predict which women will benefit from adjuvant CMF/MF chemotherapy in women being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
In postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node positive:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole,
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited predictive value for predicting which women will benefit from adjuvant CAF chemotherapy in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
There are methodological and statistical limitations that affect both the generalizability of the current available evidence, as well as the magnitude and statistical strength of the observed effect sizes; in particular:
Of the major predictive trials, Oncotype-DX scores were only produced for a small subset of women (<40% of the original randomized population) potentially disabling the effects of treatment randomization and opening the possibility of selection bias;
Data is not specific to HER-2/neu-negative women;
There were limitations with multivariate statistical analyses.
Additional trials of observational design may provide further validation of the prognostic and predictive value of Oncotype-DX; however, it is unlikely that prospective or randomized data will become available in the near future due to ethical, time and resource considerations.
There is currently insufficient evidence investigating how Oncoytpe-DX compares to other known prognostic estimators of risk, such as Adjuvant! Online, and there is insufficient evidence investigating how Oncotype-DX would impact clinician/patient decision-making in a setting generalizable to Ontario.
PMCID: PMC3382301  PMID: 23074401
5.  Bifractionated CPT-11 with LV5FU2 infusion (FOLFIRI-3) in combination with bevacizumab: clinical outcomes in first-line metastatic colorectal cancers according to plasma angiopoietin-2 levels 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:611.
Background
Optimization of chemotherapy effectiveness in metastatic colorectal cancers (mCRC) is a major endpoint to enhance the possibility of curative intent surgery. FOLFIRI3 has shown promising results as second-line chemotherapy for mCRC patients previously exposed to oxaliplatin. The clinical efficacy of FOLFIRI3 was never determined in association with bevacizumab in non-previously treated mCRC patients.
Methods
We conducted a phase II clinical trial to characterize the response rate and toxicity profile of FOLFIRI3-bevacizumab as initial treatment for mCRC. Sixty-one patients enrolled in 3 investigation centers were treated with FOLFIRI3-bevacizumab (median of 10 cycles) followed by a maintenance therapy combining bevacizumab and capecitabine. Levels of plasma angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at baseline.
Results
Overall response rate (ORR) was 66.7% (8% of complete and 58% of partial responses). The disease control rate was 91.7%. After a median time of follow-up of 46.7 months, 56 patients (92%) had progressed or died. The median progression free survival (PFS) was 12.7 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 9.7-15.8 months). The median overall survival (OS) was 24.5 months (95% CI: 10.6-38.3 months). Twenty-one patients underwent curative intent-surgery including 4 patients with disease initially classified as unresectable. Most common grade III-IV toxicities were diarrhea (15%), neutropenia (13%), asthenia (10%), and infections (4%). Hypertension-related medications needed to be increased in 3 patients. In multivariate analysis, surgery of metastases and Ang-2 levels were the only independent prognostic factors for PFS and OS. Indeed, baseline level of Ang-2 above 5 ng/mL was confirmed as an independent prognostic factor for progression free survival (HR = 0.357; 95% CI: 0.168-0.76, p = 0.005) and overall survival (HR = 0.226; 95% CI: 0.098-0.53, p = 0.0002).
Conclusions
As front-line therapy, FOLFIRI-3-bevacizumab is associated with an acceptable toxicity and induced promising objective response rates. However, unfavorable clinical outcomes were observed in patients with high levels of angiopoietin-2.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-611
PMCID: PMC3877948  PMID: 24373251
Colorectal cancer; Bevacizumab; FOLFIRI3; Irinotecan; Angiopoietin-2
6.  KRAS Testing for Anti-EGFR Therapy in Advanced Colorectal Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of the literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenomics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: www.health.gov.on.ca/mas or at www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/mas/mas_about.html
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis.
Objective
The objective of this systematic review is to determine the predictive value of KRAS testing in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) with two anti-EGFR agents, cetuximab and panitumumab. Economic analyses are also being conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of KRAS testing.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) is usually defined as stage IV disease according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer tumour node metastasis (TNM) system or stage D in the Duke’s classification system. Patients with advanced colorectal cancer (mCRC) either present with metastatic disease or develop it through disease progression.
KRAS (Kristen-RAS, a member of the rat sarcoma virus (ras) gene family of oncogenes) is frequently mutated in epithelial cancers such as colorectal cancer, with mutations occurring in mutational hotspots (codons 12 and 13) of the KRAS protein. Involved in EGFR-mediated signalling of cellular processes such as cell proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, enhanced cell motility and neoangiogenesis, a mutation in the KRAS gene is believed to be involved in cancer pathogenesis. Such a mutation is also hypothesized to be involved in resistance to targeted anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor with tyrosine kinase activity) treatments such as cetuximab and panitumumab, hence, the important in evaluating the evidence on the predictive value of KRAS testing in this context.
KRAS Mutation Testing in Advanced Colorectal Cancer
Both cetuximab and panitumumab are indicated by Health Canada in the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose tumours are WT for the KRAS gene. Cetuximab may be offered as monotherapy in patients intolerant to irinotecan-based chemotherapy or in patients who have failed both irinotecan and oxaliplatin-based regimens and who received a fluoropyrimidine. It can also be administered in combination with irinotecan in patients refractory to other irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimens. Panitumumab is only indicated as a single agent after failure of fluoropyrimidine-, oxaliplatin-, and irinotecan-containing chemotherapy regimens.
In Ontario, patients with advanced colorectal cancer who are refractory to chemotherapy may be offered the targeted anti-EGFR treatments cetuximab or panitumumab. Eligibility for these treatments is based on the KRAS status of their tumour, derived from tissue collected from surgical or biopsy specimens. It is believed that KRAS status is not affected by treatments, therefore, for patients for whom surgical tissue is available for KRAS testing, additional biopsies prior to treatment with these targeted agents is not necessary. For patients that have not undergone surgery or for whom surgical tissue is not available, a biopsy of either the primary or metastatic site is required to determine their KRAS status. This is possible as status at the metastatic and primary tumour sites is considered to be similar.
Research Question
To determine if there is predictive value of KRAS testing in guiding treatment decisions with anti-EGFR targeted therapies in advanced colorectal cancer patients refractory to chemotherapy.
Research Methods
Literature Search
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and on May 18, 2010, searched the following electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment database.
The subject headings and keywords searched included colorectal cancer, cetuximab, panitumumab, and KRAS testing. The search was further restricted to English-language articles published between January 1, 2009 and May 18, 2010 resulting in 1335 articles for review. Excluded were case reports, comments, editorials, nonsystematic reviews, and letters. Studies published from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2008 were identified in a health technology assessment conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), published in 2010. In total, 14 observational studies were identified for inclusion in this EBA: 4 for cetuximab monotherapy, 7 for the cetuximab-irinotecan combination therapy, and 3 to be included in the review for panitumumab monotherapy
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles, and English or French-language HTAs published from January 2005 to May 2010, inclusive.
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or observational studies, including single arm treatment studies that include KRAS testing.
Studies with data on main outcomes of interest, overall and progression-free survival.
Studies of third line treatment with cetuximab or panitumumab in patients with advanced colorectal cancer refractory to chemotherapy.
For the cetuximab-irinotecan evaluation, studies in which at least 70% of patients in the study received this combination therapy.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies whose entire sample was included in subsequent publications which have been included in this EBA.
Studies in pediatric populations.
Case reports, comments, editorials, or letters.
Outcomes of Interest
Overall survival (OS), median
Progression-free-survival (PFS), median.
Response rates.
Adverse event rates.
Quality of life (QOL).
Summary of Findings of Systematic Review
Cetuximab or Panitumumab Monotherapy
Based on moderate GRADE observational evidence, there is improvement in PFS and OS favouring patients without the KRAS mutation (KRAS wildtype, or KRAS WT) compared to those with the mutation.
Cetuximab-Irinotecan Combination Therapy
There is low GRADE evidence that testing for KRAS may optimize survival benefits in patients without the KRAS mutation (KRAS wildtype, or KRAS WT) compared to those with the mutation.
However, cetuximab-irinotecan combination treatments based on KRAS status discount any effect of cetuximab in possibly reversing resistance to irinotecan in patients with the mutation, as observed effects were lower than for patients without the mutation. Clinical experts have raised concerns about the biological plausibility of this observation and this conclusion would, therefore, be regarded as hypothesis generating.
Economic Analysis
Cost-effectiveness and budget impact analyses were conducted incorporating estimates of effectiveness from this systematic review. Evaluation of relative cost-effectiveness, based on a decision-analytic cost-utility analysis, assessed testing for KRAS genetic mutations versus no testing in the context of treatment with cetuximab monotherapy, panitumumab monotherapy, cetuximab in combination with irinotecan, and best supportive care.
Of importance to note is that the cost-effectiveness analysis focused on the impact of testing for KRAS mutations compared to no testing in the context of different treatment options, and does not assess the cost-effectiveness of the drug treatments alone.
Conclusions
KRAS status is predictive of outcomes in cetuximab and panitumumab monotherapy, and in cetuximab-irinotecan combination therapy.
While KRAS testing is cost-effective for all strategies considered, it is not equally cost-effective for all treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3377508  PMID: 23074403
7.  Liver resection for colorectal cancer metastases 
Current Oncology  2013;20(3):e255-e265.
Questions
Should surgery be considered for colorectal cancer (crc) patients who have liver metastases plus (a) pulmonary metastases, (b) portal nodal disease, or (c) other extrahepatic metastases (ehms)?
What is the role of chemotherapy in the surgical management of crc with liver metastases in (a) patients with resectable disease in the liver, or (b) patients with initially unresectable disease in the liver that is downsized with chemotherapy (“conversion”)?
What is the role of liver resection when one or more crc liver metastases have radiographic complete response (rcr) after chemotherapy?
Perspectives
Advances in chemotherapy have improved survival in crc patients with liver metastases. The 5-year survival with chemotherapy alone is typically less than 1%, although two recent studies with folfox or folfoxiri (or both) reported rates of 5%–10%. However, liver resection is the treatment that is most effective in achieving long-term survival and offering the possibility of a cure in stage iv crc patients with liver metastases. This guideline deals with the role of chemotherapy with surgery, and the role of surgery when there are liver metastases plus ehms. Because only a proportion of patients with crc metastatic disease are considered for liver resection, and because management of this patient population is complex, multidisciplinary management is required.
Methodology
Recommendations in the present guideline were formulated based on a prepublication version of a recent systematic review on this topic. The draft methodology experts, and external review by clinical practitioners. Feedback was incorporated into the final version of the guideline.
Practice Guideline
These recommendations apply to patients with liver metastases from crc who have had or will have a complete (R0) resection of the primary cancer and who are being considered for resection of the liver, or liver plus specific and limited ehms, with curative intent.
1(a). Patients with liver and lung metastases should be seen in consultation with a thoracic surgeon. Combined or staged metastasectomy is recommended when, taking into account anatomic and physiologic considerations, the assessment is that all pulmonary metastases can also be completely removed. Furthermore, liver resection may be indicated in patients who have had a prior lung resection, and vice versa.
1(b). Routine liver resection is not recommended in patients with portal nodal disease. This group includes patients with radiologically suspicious portal nodes or malignant portal nodes found preoperatively or intraoperatively. Liver plus nodal resection, together with perioperative systemic therapy, may be an option—after a full discussion with the patient—in cases with limited nodal involvement and with metastases that can be completely resected.
1(c). Routine liver resection is not recommended in patients with nonpulmonary ehms. Liver plus extrahepatic resection, together with perioperative systemic therapy, may be an option—after a full discussion with the patient—for metastases that can be completely resected.
2(a). Perioperative chemotherapy, either before and after resection, or after resection, is recommended in patients with resectable liver metastatic disease. This recommendation extends to patients with ehms that can be completely resected (R0). Risks and potential benefits of perioperative chemotherapy should be discussed for patients with resectable liver metastases. The data on whether patients with previous oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy or a short interval from completion of adjuvant therapy for primary crc might benefit from perioperative chemotherapy are limited.
2(b). Liver resection is recommended in patients with initially unresectable metastatic liver disease who have a sufficient downstaging response to conversion chemotherapy. If complete resection has been achieved, postoperative chemotherapy should be considered.
3. Surgical resection of all lesions, including lesions with rcr, is recommended when technically feasible and when adequate functional liver can be left as a remnant. When a lesion with rcr is present in a portion of the liver that cannot be resected, surgery may still be a reasonable therapeutic strategy if all other visible disease can be resected. Postoperative chemotherapy might be considered in those patients. Close follow-up of the lesion with rcr is warranted to allow localized treatment or further resection for an in situ recurrence.
doi:10.3747/co.20.1341
PMCID: PMC3671032  PMID: 23737695
Colorectal cancer metastases; liver resection; hepatic resection; chemotherapy; complete response; downstaging
8.  Surrogate endpoints for overall survival in chemotherapy and radiotherapy trials in operable and locally advanced lung cancer: a re-analysis of meta-analyses of individual patients' data 
The Lancet Oncology  2013;14(7):619-626.
Summary
Background
The gold standard endpoint in clinical trials of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for lung cancer is overall survival. Although reliable and simple to measure, this endpoint takes years to observe. Surrogate endpoints that would enable earlier assessments of treatment effects would be useful. We assessed the correlations between potential surrogate endpoints and overall survival at individual and trial levels.
Methods
We analysed individual patients' data from 15 071 patients involved in 60 randomised clinical trials that were assessed in six meta-analyses. Two meta-analyses were of adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer, three were of sequential or concurrent chemotherapy, and one was of modified radiotherapy in locally advanced lung cancer. We investigated disease-free survival (DFS) or progression-free survival (PFS), defined as the time from randomisation to local or distant relapse or death, and locoregional control, defined as the time to the first local event, as potential surrogate endpoints. At the individual level we calculated the squared correlations between distributions of these three endpoints and overall survival, and at the trial level we calculated the squared correlation between treatment effects for endpoints.
Findings
In trials of adjuvant chemotherapy, correlations between DFS and overall survival were very good at the individual level (ρ2=0·83, 95% CI 0·83–0·83 in trials without radiotherapy, and 0·87, 0·87–0·87 in trials with radiotherapy) and excellent at trial level (R2=0·92, 95% CI 0·88–0·95 in trials without radiotherapy and 0·99, 0·98–1·00 in trials with radiotherapy). In studies of locally advanced disease, correlations between PFS and overall survival were very good at the individual level (ρ2 range 0·77–0·85, dependent on the regimen being assessed) and trial level (R2 range 0·89–0·97). In studies with data on locoregional control, individual-level correlations were good (ρ2=0·71, 95% CI 0·71–0·71 for concurrent chemotherapy and ρ2=0·61, 0·61–0·61 for modified vs standard radiotherapy) and trial-level correlations very good (R2=0·85, 95% CI 0·77–0·92 for concurrent chemotherapy and R2=0·95, 0·91–0·98 for modified vs standard radiotherapy).
Interpretation
We found a high level of evidence that DFS is a valid surrogate endpoint for overall survival in studies of adjuvant chemotherapy involving patients with non-small-cell lung cancers, and PFS in those of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for patients with locally advanced lung cancers. Extrapolation to targeted agents, however, is not automatically warranted.
Funding
Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique, Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, British Medical Research Council, Sanofi-Aventis.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70158-X
PMCID: PMC3732017  PMID: 23680111
9.  Adjuvant Chemotherapy Using the FOLFOX Regimen in Colon Cancer 
Purpose
Great progress has been made in the adjuvant treatment of colon cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy using the FOLFOX regimen in patients with stage III and high-risk stage II colon cancer.
Methods
Eighty-two patients who underwent a potentially curative resection for stage III or high-risk stage II colon cancer were enrolled in this retrospective study. They received FOLFOX4 or modified FOLFOX6. The primary endpoint was disease-free survival.
Results
During the median follow-up of 37 months (range, 21 to 61 months), 14 patients experienced disease relapse. The disease-free survival rate at 3 years was 82.9%: 84.6% for stage II and 82.6% for stage III. At the time of the analysis, 8 patients were dead from recurrence. The probability of overall survival at 5 years was 74.5%: 90% for stage II and 74.6% for stage III. Grade 3 or 4 hematologic adverse events included neutropenia (40.2%), anemia (2.4%), and thrombocytopenia (1.2%). Gastrointestinal toxicities included grade 3 or 4 nausea (4.9%) and stomatitis (2.4%). Peripheral sensory neuropathy was observed in 81.7% of the patients during treatment. Of the 11 patients (13.4%) who had grade 3 peripheral sensory neuropathy during treatment, grade 3 symptoms were persistent in 3 patients with gait disturbance at the time of analysis. No treatment-related deaths were recorded.
Conclusion
Postoperative chemotherapy using the FOLFOX regimen, oxaliplatin in combination with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin, is effective and tolerable in patients with stage III and high-risk stage II colon cancer.
doi:10.3393/jksc.2011.27.3.140
PMCID: PMC3145885  PMID: 21829769
Colonic neoplasms; Adjuvant chemotherapy; Oxaliplatin; FOLFOX protocol
10.  Pathological serosa and node-based classification accurately predicts gastric cancer recurrence risk and outcome, and determines potential and limitation of a Japanese-style extensive surgery for Western patients: A prospective with quality control 10-year follow-up study 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;84(12):1602-1609.
UICC classification accurately predicts overall survival but not recurrence-risk. We report here data of overall and first site-specific recurrence following curative surgery useful for the development of recurrence-oriented preventive target therapies. Patients who underwent resection for gastric cancer were stratified according to curability of surgery [curative (R0) vs non-curative resection], extent of surgery [limited (D1) vs extended (D2) node dissection] and pathological nodal/serosal status. The intent-to-treat principle, log-rank test and Cox regression analysis were used for statistical analysis of time-to-event (recurrence, death) endpoints. Curative resection only produced a chance of cure whereas survival was very poor following non-curative resection (P < 0.0001). For D2 R0 subgroup of patients, a pathological serosa and a node state-based classification into three groups, proved to be of clinical implication. Risk of recurrence after a median follow-up of 92 months was low among patients with both serosa and node-negative cancer (first group; 11%), moderate among those with either serosa or node-positive cancer (second group; 53%) and very high among those with both serosa and node-positive cancer (third group; 83%). In multivariate analysis, the relative risks of recurrence and death from gastric cancer among patients in the second and third groups, as compared to those in the first, were 7.07 (95% CI, 2.36–21.17;P  = 0.0002) and 16.19 (95% CI, 5.76–45.54;P < 0.0001) respectively. First site-specific recurrence analysis revealed: low rate of loco-regional recurrence alone (12%), serosa state determinant factor of the site-recurrence (peritoneal for serosa-positive and haematogenous for serosa-negative cancers) and dramatic increase of all types of recurrence by the presence of nodal metastases. Our findings demonstrate that a pathological serosa- and node-based classification is very simple and predicts accurately site-specific recurrence-risks. Furthermore they reveal that risk of recurrence following curative D2 surgery alone is low for serosa- and node-negative cancers, but very high in serosa- and node-positive cancers suggesting the need for new therapeutic strategies in this subgroup of patients. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
doi:10.1054/bjoc.2001.1720
PMCID: PMC2363675  PMID: 11401312
gastric cancer; extensive surgery; recurrence; survival; prognostic factors
11.  Study protocol of the SACURA trial: a randomized phase III trial of efficacy and safety of UFT as adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II colon cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:281.
Background
Adjuvant chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer is internationally accepted as standard treatment with established efficacy, but the usefulness of adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II colon cancer remains controversial. The major Western guidelines recommend adjuvant chemotherapy for “high-risk stage II” cancer, but this is not clearly defined and the efficacy has not been confirmed.
Methods/design
SACURA trial is a multicenter randomized phase III study which aims to evaluate the superiority of 1-year adjuvant treatment with UFT to observation without any adjuvant treatment after surgery for stage II colon cancer in a large population, and to identify “high-risk factors of recurrence/death” in stage II colon cancer and predictors of efficacy and adverse events of the chemotherapy. Patients aged between 20 and 80 years with curatively resected stage II colon cancer are randomly assigned to a observation group or UFT adjuvant therapy group (UFT at 500–600 mg/day as tegafur in 2 divided doses after meals for 5 days, followed by 2-day rest. This 1-week treatment cycle is repeated for 1 year). The patients are followed up for 5 years until recurrence or death. Treatment delivery and adverse events are entered into a web-based case report form system every 3 months. The target sample size is 2,000 patients. The primary endpoint is disease-free survival, and the secondary endpoints are overall survival, recurrence-free survival, and incidence and severity of adverse events. In an additional translational study, the mRNA expression of 5-FU-related enzymes, microsatellite instability and chromosomal instability, and histopathological factors including tumor budding are assessed to evaluate correlation with recurrences, survivals and adverse events.
Discussion
A total of 2,024 patients were enrolled from October 2006 to July 2010. The results of this study will provide important information that help to improve the therapeutic strategy for stage II colon cancer.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00392899.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-281
PMCID: PMC3459783  PMID: 22769569
Colon cancer; Stage II; Adjuvant chemotherapy; UFT; Risk factor; Predictive factor; Prognostic factor; Surgery-alone; Randomized controlled trial; Japan
12.  Human Papillomavirus-16 Infection in Advanced Oral Cavity Cancer Patients Is Related to an Increased Risk of Distant Metastases and Poor Survival 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40767.
Background
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an oncogenic virus causing oropharyngeal cancers and resulting in a favorable outcome after the treatment. The role of HPV in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remains ambiguous.
Objective
This study aimed to examine the effect of HPV infection on disease control among patients with OSCC following radical surgery with radiation-based adjuvant therapy.
Patients and Method
We prospectively followed 173 patients with advanced OSCC (96% were stage III/IV) who had undergone radical surgery and adjuvant therapy between 2004 and 2006. They were followed between surgery and death or up to 60 months. Surgical specimens were examined using a PCR-based HPV blot test. The primary endpoints were the risk of relapse and the time to relapse; the secondary endpoints were disease-free survival, disease-specific survival, and overall survival.
Results
The prevalence of HPV-positive OSCC was 22%; HPV-16 (9%) and HPV-18 (7%) were the genotypes most commonly encountered. Solitary HPV-16 infection was a poor predictor of 5-year distant metastases (hazard ratio, 3.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.4–8.0; P = 0.005), disease-free survival (P = 0.037), disease-specific survival (P = 0.006), and overall survival (P = 0.010), whereas HPV-18 infection had no impact on 5-year outcomes. The rate of 5-year distant metastases was significantly higher in the HPV-16 or level IV/V metastasis group compared with both the extracapsular spread or tumor depth ≥11-mm group and patients without risk factors (P<0.001).
Conclusions
HPV infections in advanced OSCC patients are not uncommon and clinically relevant. Compared with HPV-16-negative advanced OSCC patients, those with a single HPV-16 infection are at higher risk of distant metastases and poor survival despite undergoing radiation-based adjuvant therapy and require a more aggressive adjuvant treatment and a more thorough follow-up.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040767
PMCID: PMC3395633  PMID: 22808258
13.  Predicting survival after pulmonary metastasectomy for colorectal cancer: previous liver metastases matter 
BMC Surgery  2010;10:17.
Background
Few patients with lung metastases from colorectal cancer (CRC) are candidates for surgical therapy with a curative intent, and it is currently impossible to identify those who may benefit the most from thoracotomy. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of various parameters on survival after pulmonary metastasectomy for CRC.
Methods
We performed a retrospective analysis of 40 consecutive patients (median age 63.5 [range 33-82] years) who underwent resection of pulmonary metastases from CRC in our institution from 1996 to 2009.
Results
Median follow-up was 33 (range 4-139) months. Twenty-four (60%) patients did not have previous liver metastases before undergoing lung surgery. Median disease-free interval between primary colorectal tumor and development of lung metastases was 32.5 months. 3- and 5-year overall survival after thoracotomy was 70.1% and 43.4%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, the following parameters were correlated with tumor recurrence after thoracotomy; a history of previous liver metastases (HR = 3.8, 95%CI 1.4-9.8); and lung surgery other than wedge resection (HR = 3.0, 95%CI 1.1-7.8). Prior resection of liver metastases was also correlated with an increased risk of death (HR = 5.1, 95% CI 1.1-24.8, p = 0.04). Median survival after thoracotomy was 87 (range 34-139) months in the group of patients without liver metastases versus 40 (range 28-51) months in patients who had undergone prior hepatectomy (p = 0.09).
Conclusion
The main parameter associated with poor outcome after lung resection of CRC metastases is a history of liver metastases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-17
PMCID: PMC2887792  PMID: 20525275
14.  Sequential surgical resection of hepatic and pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer 
Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery  2010;395(8):1129-1138.
Background
Resection of isolated hepatic or pulmonary metastases from colorectal cancer is widely accepted and associated with a 5-year survival rate of 25–40%. The value of aggressive surgical management in patients with both hepatic and pulmonary metastases still remains a controversial area.
Materials and methods
A retrospective review of 1,497 patients with colorectal carcinoma (CRC) was analysed. Of 73 patients identified with resection of CRC and, at some point in time, both liver and lung metastases, 17 patients underwent metastasectomy (resection group). The remaining 56 patients comprised the non-resection group. Primary tumour, hepatic and pulmonary metastases of all patients were surgically treated in our department of surgery, and the results are that of a single institution.
Results
The resection group had a 3-year survival of 77%, a 5-year survival of 55% and a 10-year survival of 18%; median survival was 98 months. The longest overall survival was 136 months; six patients are still alive. In the resection group, overall survival was significantly higher than in the non-resection group (p < 0.01). Independent from the chronology of metastasectomy, 5-year survival was 55% with respect to the primary resection, 28% with respect to the first metastasectomy and 14% with respect to the second metastasectomy. A disease-free interval (>18 months), stage III (UICC) and age (<70 years) were found to be significant prognostic factors for overall survival.
Conclusion
Our report strongly supports aggressive surgical therapy in patients with both hepatic and pulmonary metastases from CRC. Overall survival for surgically treated selected patients with both hepatic and pulmonary metastases from CRC is comparable to hepatic or pulmonary metastasectomy. Simultaneous metastases tend to have a poorer outcome than metachronous metastases.
doi:10.1007/s00423-010-0595-4
PMCID: PMC2974188  PMID: 20165954
Colorectal cancer; Lung metastases; Hepatic metastases; Metastasectomy
15.  Optimal schedule of adjuvant chemotherapy with S-1 for stage III colon cancer: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:17.
Background
Although, in Western countries, oxaliplatin-based regimens have been established as a gold standard treatment for patients with stage III or high risk stage II colon cancer after curative resection, in Japan fluorouracil-based regimens have been widely accepted and recommended in the guidelines for adjuvant settings in patients with stage III colon cancer. S-1, an oral preparation evolved from uracil and tegafur, has equivalent efficacy to uracil and tegafur/leucovorin for treating patients with advanced colorectal cancer and might be a suitable regimen in an adjuvant setting. However, the completion rate of the standard six-week cycle of the S-1 regimen is poor and the establishment of an optimal treatment schedule is critical. Therefore, we will conduct a multicenter randomized phase II trial to compare six-week and three-week cycles to establish the optimal schedule of S-1 adjuvant therapy for patients with stage III colon cancer after curative resection.
Methods/Design
The study is an open-label, multicenter randomized phase II trial. The primary endpoint of this study is three-year disease-free survival rate. Secondary endpoints are the completion rate of the treatment, relative dose intensity, overall survival, disease-free survival, and incidence of adverse events. The sample size was 200, determined with a significance level of 0.20, power of 0.80, and non-inferiority margin of a 10% absolute difference in the primary endpoint.
Discussion
Although S-1 has not been approved yet as a standard treatment of colon cancer in an adjuvant setting, it is a promising option. Moreover, in Japan S-1 is a standard treatment for patients with stage II/III gastric cancer after curative resection and a promising option for patients with colorectal liver metastases in an adjuvant setting. However, a six-week cycle of treatment is not considered to be the best schedule, and some clinicians use a modified schedule, such as a three-week cycle to keep a sufficient dose intensity with few adverse events. Therefore, it will be useful to determine whether a three-week cycle has an equal or greater efficacy and tolerance to side-effects compared with the standard six-week cycle schedule, and thus may be the most suitable treatment schedule for S-1 treatment.
Trial registration
The University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN) Clinical Trials Registry UMIN000006750.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-17
PMCID: PMC3564899  PMID: 23320901
Colon cancer; Stage III; Adjuvant chemotherapy; S-1
16.  Circulating tumor cells are associated with diffuse spread in stage IV colorectal cancer patients 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;14(12):1174-1181.
Background
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when combining both genders. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are a prognostic marker for stage IV CRC patients. We hypothesized that CTC quantity varies among stage IV CRC populations.
Methods
Blood (7.5 ml) was prospectively collected from 90 stage IV CRC patients. EpCAM+ CTCs were analyzed with the FDA-approved CellSearch® system. CRC tumors were immunohistochemically stained for EpCAM expression. Imaging and clinicopathological data were collected. Statistical analysis was performed using correlation analysis, Kruskal–Wallis, Fisher exact, and log-rank test.
Results
CTCs were detectable in 36/90 (40%) patients. Diffuse CRC metastases were associated with the highest CTC prevalence (24/40 [60%]), in contrast to limited lung (2/19 [11%]) or liver (10/31 [32%]) metastases (P = 0.027). The overall mean CTC number was 2.0 (range 0–56.3). The mean CTC number in patients with diffuse metastases was significantly higher (3.7 [SEM ± 1.7, range 0–56.3]) than with limited lung metastases (0.1 [± 0.1; range 0–1]) or liver metastases (0.9 [± 0.3, range 0–7.0]) (P = 0.001). CRC tumors were consistently expressing EpCAM. CTC numbers did not correlate with serum CEA levels or other routine clinical parameters (P = N.S.). Patients with diffuse metastases had the poorest overall survival (P = 0.0042).
Conclusions
CRC patients with diffuse metastases have the highest number of CTCs, in contrast to limited metastases to the liver or lungs. Future studies should correlate CTCs with recurrence patterns in patients with resected CRC lung or liver metastases to investigate whether CTCs represent micrometastatic disease causing early relapses.
doi:10.4161/cbt.26884
PMCID: PMC3912041  PMID: 24153154
colorectal cancer; circulating tumor cells; metastasis
17.  Outcomes Among Black Patients With Stage II and III Colon Cancer Receiving Chemotherapy: An Analysis of ACCENT Adjuvant Trials 
Background
Among patients with resected colon cancer, black patients have worse survival than whites. We investigated whether disparities in survival and related endpoints would persist when patients were treated with identical therapies in controlled clinical trials.
Methods
We assessed 14 611 patients (1218 black and 13 393 white) who received standardized adjuvant treatment in 12 randomized controlled clinical trials conducted in North America for resected stage II and stage III colon cancer between 1977 and 2002. Individual patient data on covariates and outcomes were extracted from the Adjuvant Colon Cancer ENdpoinTs (ACCENT) database. The endpoints examined in this meta-analysis were overall survival (time to death), recurrence-free survival (time to recurrence or death), and recurrence-free interval (time to recurrence). Cox models were stratified by study and controlled for sex, stage, age, and treatment to determine the effect of race. Kaplan–Meier estimates were adjusted for similar covariates to control for confounding. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results
Black patients were younger than whites (median age, 58 vs 61 years, respectively; P < .001) and more likely to be female (55% vs 45%, respectively; P < .001). Overall survival was worse in black patients than whites (hazard ratio [HR] of death = 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11 to 1.34, P < .001). Five-year overall survival rates for blacks and whites were 68.2% and 72.8%, respectively. When subsets defined by sex, stage, and age were analyzed, overall survival was consistently worse in black patients. Recurrence-free survival was worse in black patients than whites (HR of recurrence or death = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.24, P = .0045). Three-year recurrence-free survival rates in blacks and whites were 68.4% and 72.1%, respectively. In contrast, recurrence-free interval was similar in black and white patients (HR of recurrence = 1.08, 95% CI = 0.97 to 1.19, P = .15). Three-year recurrence-free interval rates in blacks and whites were 71.3% and 74.2%, respectively.
Conclusions
Black patients with resected stage II and stage III colon cancer who were treated with the same therapy as white patients experienced worse overall and recurrence-free survival, but similar recurrence-free interval, compared with white patients. The differences in survival may be mostly because of factors unrelated to the patients’ adjuvant colon cancer treatment.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djr310
PMCID: PMC3196480  PMID: 21997132
18.  Downregulation of miR-193a-5p correlates with lymph node metastasis and poor prognosis in colorectal cancer 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(34):12241-12248.
AIM: To investigate the correlation of miR-193a-5p with lymph node metastasis and postoperative survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.
METHODS: A total of 304 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens (69 paired cancer and normal tissues, 55 primary tumors of stage III CRC and matched lymph nodes, and 56 primary tumors of stage II CRC) were included in this study. The relative expression levels of miR-193a-5p in the normal mucosa, primary cancer, and metastatic lymph node lesions were measured by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. We evaluated the association of its expression with colorectal cancer lymph node metastasis, clinicopathological factors, and patient survival.
RESULTS: The relative expression level of miR-193a-5p was significantly lower in CRC tissues than in the normal mucosa (P = 0.0060). The expression levels of miR-193a-5p were lower in primary CRC tissues with lymph node metastases than in those without metastases (P = 0.0006), and decreased expression of miR-193a-5p correlated with advanced lymph node metastatic stage (P = 0.0007). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that patients with low miR-193a-5p expression had decreased disease-free survival (DFS) (P = 0.0026) and poor overall survival (OS) (P = 0.0003). Interestingly, for the group of patients with lymph node metastases, miR-193a-5p expression was also related to survival. Patients with low miR-193a-5p expression had decreased DFS (P = 0.0262) and poor OS (P = 0.0230). Moreover, multivariate analysis indicated that downregulation of miR-193a-5p was an independent predictor of poor OS.
CONCLUSION: Downregulation of miR-193a-5p correlates with lymph node metastasis and poor survival of CRC. miR-193a-5p may be a useful biomarker for CRC diagnosis, metastasis and prognosis prediction.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i34.12241
PMCID: PMC4161809  PMID: 25232258
miR-193a-5p; Colorectal cancer; Lymph node metastasis; Prognosis; Biomarker
19.  Surrogate endpoints for overall survival in digestive oncology trials: which candidates? A questionnaires survey among clinicians and methodologists 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:277.
Background
Overall survival (OS) is the gold standard for the demonstration of a clinical benefit in cancer trials. Replacement of OS by a surrogate endpoint allows to reduce trial duration. To date, few surrogate endpoints have been validated in digestive oncology. The aim of this study was to draw up an ordered list of potential surrogate endpoints for OS in digestive cancer trials, by way of a survey among clinicians and methodologists. Secondary objective was to obtain their opinion on surrogacy and quality of life (QoL).
Methods
In 2007 and 2008, self administered sequential questionnaires were sent to a panel of French clinicians and methodologists involved in the conduct of cancer clinical trials. In the first questionnaire, panellists were asked to choose the most important characteristics defining a surrogate among six proposals, to give advantages and drawbacks of the surrogates, and to answer questions about their validation and use. Then they had to suggest potential surrogate endpoints for OS in each of the following tumour sites: oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, biliary tract, lymphoma, colon, rectum, and anus. They finally gave their opinion on QoL as surrogate endpoint. In the second questionnaire, they had to classify the previously proposed candidate surrogates from the most (position #1) to the least relevant in their opinion.
Frequency at which the endpoints were chosen as first, second or third most relevant surrogates was calculated and served as final ranking.
Results
Response rate was 30% (24/80) in the first round and 20% (16/80) in the second one. Participants highlighted key points concerning surrogacy. In particular, they reminded that a surrogate endpoint is expected to predict clinical benefit in a well-defined therapeutic situation. Half of them thought it was not relevant to study QoL as surrogate for OS.
DFS, in the neoadjuvant settings or early stages, and PFS, in the non operable or metastatic settings, were ranked first, with a frequency of more than 69% in 20 out of 22 settings. PFS was proposed in association with QoL in metastatic primary liver and stomach cancers (both 81%). This composite endpoint was ranked second in metastatic oesophageal (69%), colorectal (56%) and anal (56%) cancers, whereas QoL alone was also suggested in most metastatic situations.
Other endpoints frequently suggested were R0 resection in the neoadjuvant settings (oesophagus (69%), stomach (56%), pancreas (75%) and biliary tract (63%)) and response. An unexpected endpoint was metastatic PFS in non operable oesophageal (31%) and pancreatic (44%) cancers. Quality and results of surgical procedures like sphincter preservation were also cited as eligible surrogate endpoints in rectal (19%) and anal (50% in case of localized disease) cancers. Except for alpha-FP kinetic in hepatocellular carcinoma (13%) and CA19-9 decline (6%) in pancreas, few endpoints based on biological or tumour markers were proposed.
Conclusion
The overall results should help prioritise the endpoints to be statistically evaluated as surrogate for OS, so that trialists and clinicians can rely on endpoints that ensure relevant clinical benefit to the patient.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-277
PMCID: PMC2904280  PMID: 20537166
20.  Results of emergency Hartmann's operation for obstructive or perforated left-sided colorectal cancer 
Background
Up to 15% of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients present with obstructive or perforated tumours, and require emergency surgery. The Hartmann's procedure (HP) provides the opportunity to achieve a potentially curative (R0) resection, while minimizing surgical trauma in poor-risk patients. The aim of this study was to assess the surgical (operative mortality), and oncological (long-term survival after curative resection) results of emergency HP for obstructive or perforated left-sided CRC.
Methods
A retrospective review of 50 patients who underwent emergency HP for perforated/obstructive CRC in our institution between 1995 and 2006.
Results
Median age of patients was 75 (range 22–95) years and the indications for HP were obstruction (32) and perforation (18 patients). Operative mortality and morbidity were 8% and 26% respectively. 35 patients (70%) were operated with a curative intent; in this group, overall 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates were 80%, 54% and 40%. In univariate analysis, the presence of lymph node metastases was associated with poor 5-year survival (62% [Stage II] vs. 27% [Stage III], log-rank test, p = 0.02). Eleven patients (22%) had their operation reversed with a median delay of 225 (range 94–390) days. In this subgroup, two patients died from distant metastases, but there were no instances of loco-regional recurrence.
Conclusion
Hartmann's operation remains a good option to palliate symptoms in 30% of patients with left-sided CRC who are not candidates to a curative resection. For those who have a curative resection, the oncological outcome is acceptable, especially stage II patients, who appear to benefit the most from this surgical strategy.
doi:10.1186/1477-7819-6-90
PMCID: PMC2546403  PMID: 18721476
21.  Celecoxib plus hormone therapy versus hormone therapy alone for hormone-sensitive prostate cancer: first results from the STAMPEDE multiarm, multistage, randomised controlled trial 
The Lancet Oncology  2012;13(5):549-558.
Summary
Background
Long-term hormone therapy alone is standard care for metastatic or high-risk, non-metastatic prostate cancer. STAMPEDE—an international, open-label, randomised controlled trial—uses a novel multiarm, multistage design to assess whether the early additional use of one or two drugs (docetaxel, zoledronic acid, celecoxib, zoledronic acid and docetaxel, or zoledronic acid and celecoxib) improves survival in men starting first-line, long-term hormone therapy. Here, we report the preplanned, second intermediate analysis comparing hormone therapy plus celecoxib (arm D) with hormone therapy alone (control arm A).
Methods
Eligible patients were men with newly diagnosed or rapidly relapsing prostate cancer who were starting long-term hormone therapy for the first time. Hormone therapy was given as standard care in all trial arms, with local radiotherapy encouraged for newly diagnosed patients without distant metastasis. Randomisation was done using minimisation with a random element across seven stratification factors. Patients randomly allocated to arm D received celecoxib 400 mg twice daily, given orally, until 1 year or disease progression (including prostate-specific antigen [PSA] failure). The intermediate outcome was failure-free survival (FFS) in three activity stages; the primary outcome was overall survival in a subsequent efficacy stage. Research arms were compared pairwise against the control arm on an intention-to-treat basis. Accrual of further patients was discontinued in any research arm showing safety concerns or insufficient evidence of activity (lack of benefit) compared with the control arm. The minimum targeted activity at the second intermediate activity stage was a hazard ratio (HR) of 0·92. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00268476, and with Current Controlled Trials, number ISRCTN78818544.
Findings
2043 patients were enrolled in the trial from Oct 17, 2005, to Jan 31, 2011, of whom 584 were randomly allocated to receive hormone therapy alone (control group; arm A) and 291 to receive hormone therapy plus celecoxib (arm D). At the preplanned analysis of the second intermediate activity stage, with 305 FFS events (209 in arm A, 96 in arm D), there was no evidence of an advantage for hormone therapy plus celecoxib over hormone therapy alone: HR 0·98 (95% CI 0·90–1·06). 2-year FFS was 51% (95% CI 46–56) in arm A and 51% (95% CI 43–58) in arm D. There was no evidence of differences in the incidence of adverse events between groups (events of grade 3 or higher were noted at any time in 123 [23%, 95% CI 20–27] patients in arm A and 64 [25%, 19–30] in arm D). The most common grade 3–5 events adverse effects in both groups were endocrine disorders (55 [11%] of patients in arm A vs 19 [7%] in arm D) and musculoskeletal disorders (30 [6%] of patients in arm A vs 15 [6%] in arm D). The independent data monitoring committee recommended stopping accrual to both celecoxib-containing arms on grounds of lack of benefit and discontinuing celecoxib for patients currently on treatment, which was endorsed by the trial steering committee.
Interpretation
Celecoxib 400 mg twice daily for up to 1 year is insufficiently active in patients starting hormone therapy for high-risk prostate cancer, and we do not recommend its use in this setting. Accrual continues seamlessly to the other research arms and follow-up of all arms will continue to assess effects on overall survival.
Funding
Cancer Research UK, Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis, Medical Research Council (London, UK).
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70088-8
PMCID: PMC3398767  PMID: 22452894
22.  Outcomes of rectal cancer with liver oligometastases 
Purpose
In patients with oligometastatic colorectal cancer to the liver, long term survival is possible and a multi-modality treatment approach may be considered. This is a report of a single institution experience of oligometastatic rectal cancer patients after treatment of the primary tumor and pelvic lymph nodes with extended course chemoradiation therapy.
Methods
Between 2004 and 2013, 26 oligometastatic rectal cancer patients with liver metastases were treated with extended course chemoradiation at our institution followed by total mesorectal excision (TME). Amongst these there were 17 men and 9 women. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 59.8 years, with a range from 36 to 87 years of age. Eleven patients had metastases in other sites in addition to liver, and one patient in our cohort had lung metastasis with no liver metastasis. Kaplan-Meier method was used to generate overall survival (OS), progression free survival (PFS), distant metastases (DM) and local control (LC).
Results
OS rates were 95%, and 70% at 12 and 24 months respectively, with a mean survival time of 40.5 months. PFS rates were 91% and 36% at 12 and 24 months respectively, with a mean PFS time of 23.1 months. LC rates were 91% and 66% at 12 and 24 months respectively. DM rates were 0% and 61% at 12 and 24 months respectively. Finally, when censoring deaths, progression of liver metastases and distant progression, Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated five events of local failure.
Conclusions
This series demonstrated an OS of 70% at 24 months, with a mean survival of 40.5 months. Significantly, LC was only 66% despite the use of extended course chemoradiation and TME. This data suggests that many patients with oligometastatic rectal cancer will survive past 2 years, and that a substantial number will fail locally as well as distantly. Therefore, a multimodality approach is reasonable. Recent data suggests that a hypofractionated radiation regiment of 25 Gy in 5 Gy fractions allows an equivalent LC compared to extended course chemoradiation with 50.4 Gy in 1.8 Gy fractions. A short course of radiation may be more consistent with the goals of care of the oligometastatic rectal cancer patient who is at high risk of recurrence.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2078-6891.2014.078
PMCID: PMC4226821  PMID: 25436119
Chemotherapy; radiation therapy; rectal cancer; oligometastases
23.  Survival-Related Profile, Pathways, and Transcription Factors in Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(2):e1000024.
Background
Ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis due to advanced stage at presentation and either intrinsic or acquired resistance to classic cytotoxic drugs such as platinum and taxoids. Recent large clinical trials with different combinations and sequences of classic cytotoxic drugs indicate that further significant improvement in prognosis by this type of drugs is not to be expected. Currently a large number of drugs, targeting dysregulated molecular pathways in cancer cells have been developed and are introduced in the clinic. A major challenge is to identify those patients who will benefit from drugs targeting these specific dysregulated pathways.The aims of our study were (1) to develop a gene expression profile associated with overall survival in advanced stage serous ovarian cancer, (2) to assess the association of pathways and transcription factors with overall survival, and (3) to validate our identified profile and pathways/transcription factors in an independent set of ovarian cancers.
Methods and Findings
According to a randomized design, profiling of 157 advanced stage serous ovarian cancers was performed in duplicate using ∼35,000 70-mer oligonucleotide microarrays. A continuous predictor of overall survival was built taking into account well-known issues in microarray analysis, such as multiple testing and overfitting. A functional class scoring analysis was utilized to assess pathways/transcription factors for their association with overall survival. The prognostic value of genes that constitute our overall survival profile was validated on a fully independent, publicly available dataset of 118 well-defined primary serous ovarian cancers. Furthermore, functional class scoring analysis was also performed on this independent dataset to assess the similarities with results from our own dataset. An 86-gene overall survival profile discriminated between patients with unfavorable and favorable prognosis (median survival, 19 versus 41 mo, respectively; permutation p-value of log-rank statistic = 0.015) and maintained its independent prognostic value in multivariate analysis. Genes that composed the overall survival profile were also able to discriminate between the two risk groups in the independent dataset. In our dataset 17/167 pathways and 13/111 transcription factors were associated with overall survival, of which 16 and 12, respectively, were confirmed in the independent dataset.
Conclusions
Our study provides new clues to genes, pathways, and transcription factors that contribute to the clinical outcome of serous ovarian cancer and might be exploited in designing new treatment strategies.
Ate van der Zee and colleagues analyze the gene expression profiles of ovarian cancer samples from 157 patients, and identify an 86-gene expression profile that seems to predict overall survival.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Ovarian cancer kills more than 100,000 women every year and is one of the most frequent causes of cancer death in women in Western countries. Most ovarian cancers develop when an epithelial cell in one of the ovaries (two small organs in the pelvis that produce eggs) acquires genetic changes that allow it to grow uncontrollably and to spread around the body (metastasize). In its early stages, ovarian cancer is confined to the ovaries and can often be treated successfully by surgery alone. Unfortunately, early ovarian cancer rarely has symptoms so a third of women with ovarian cancer have advanced disease when they first visit their doctor with symptoms that include vague abdominal pains and mild digestive disturbances. That is, cancer cells have spread into their abdominal cavity and metastasized to other parts of the body (so-called stage III and IV disease). The outlook for women diagnosed with stage III and IV disease, which are treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, is very poor. Only 30% of women with stage III, and 5% with stage IV, are still alive five years after their cancer is diagnosed.
Why Was This Study Done?
If the cellular pathways that determine the biological behavior of ovarian cancer could be identified, it might be possible to develop more effective treatments for women with stage III and IV disease. One way to identify these pathways is to use gene expression profiling (a technique that catalogs all the genes expressed by a cell) to compare gene expression patterns in the ovarian cancers of women who survive for different lengths of time. Genes with different expression levels in tumors with different outcomes could be targets for new treatments. For example, it might be worth developing inhibitors of proteins whose expression is greatest in tumors with short survival times. In this study, the researchers develop an expression profile that is associated with overall survival in advanced-stage serous ovarian cancer (more than half of ovarian cancers originate in serous cells, epithelial cells that secrete a watery fluid). The researchers also assess the association of various cellular pathways and transcription factors (proteins that control the expression of other proteins) with survival in this type of ovarian carcinoma.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the gene expression profiles of tumor samples taken from 157 patients with advanced stage serous ovarian cancer and used the “supervised principal components” method to build a predictor of overall survival from these profiles and patient survival times. This 86-gene predictor discriminated between patients with favorable and unfavorable outcomes (average survival times of 41 and 19 months, respectively). It also discriminated between groups of patients with these two outcomes in an independent dataset collected from 118 additional serous ovarian cancers. Next, the researchers used “functional class scoring” analysis to assess the association between pathway and transcription factor expression in the tumor samples and overall survival. Seventeen of 167 KEGG pathways (“wiring” diagrams of molecular interactions, reactions and relations involved in cellular processes and human diseases listed in the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) were associated with survival, 16 of which were confirmed in the independent dataset. Finally, 13 of 111 analyzed transcription factors were associated with overall survival in the tumor samples, 12 of which were confirmed in the independent dataset.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings identify an 86-gene overall survival gene expression profile that seems to predict overall survival for women with advanced serous ovarian cancer. However, before this profile can be used clinically, further validation of the profile and more robust methods for determining gene expression profiles are needed. Importantly, these findings also provide new clues about the genes, pathways and transcription factors that contribute to the clinical outcome of serous ovarian cancer, clues that can now be exploited in the search for new treatment strategies. Finally, these findings suggest that it might eventually be possible to tailor therapies to the needs of individual patients by analyzing which pathways are activated in their tumors and thus improve survival times for women with advanced ovarian cancer.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000024.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Simon Gayther and Kate Lawrenson
See also a related PLoS Medicine Research Article by Huntsman and colleagues
The US National Cancer Institute provides a brief description of what cancer is and how it develops, and information on all aspects of ovarian cancer for patients and professionals (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Cancerbackup provides general information about cancer, and more specific information about ovarian cancer
MedlinePlus also provides links to other information about ovarian cancer (in English and Spanish)
The KEGG Pathway database provides pathway maps of known molecular networks involved in a wide range of cellular processes
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000024
PMCID: PMC2634794  PMID: 19192944
24.  Adjuvant therapy after resection of colorectal liver metastases: the predictive value of the MSKCC clinical risk score in the era of modern chemotherapy 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:174.
Background
Despite introduction of effective chemotherapy protocols, it has remained uncertain, if patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) liver metastases should receive adjuvant therapy. Clinical or molecular predictors may help to select patients at high risk for disease recurrence and death who obtain a survival advantage by adjuvant chemotherapy.
Methods
A total of 297 patients with potentially curative resection of CRC liver metastases were analyzed. These patients had no neoadjuvant therapy, no extrahepatic disease and negative resection margins. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Patients’ risk status was evaluated using the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center clinical risk score (MSKCC-CRS). Multivariable analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazard models.
Results
A total of 137 (43%) patients had a MSKCC-CRS > 2. Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 116 (37%) patients. Patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy were of younger age (p = 0.03) with no significant difference in the presence of multiple metastases (p = 0.72) or bilobar metastases (p = 0.08). On multivariate analysis adjuvant chemotherapy was associated with improved survival in the entire cohort (Hazard ratio 0.69; 95% confidence interval 0.69–0.98). It improved survival markedly in high-risk patients with a MSKCC-CRS > 2 (HR 0.40; 95% CI 0.23–0.69), whereas it was of no benefit in patients with a MSKCC-CRS ≤ 2 (HR 0.90; 95% CI 0.57–1.43).
Conclusions
The MSKCC-CRS offers a tool to select patients for adjuvant therapy after resection of CRC liver metastases. Validation in independent patient cohorts is required.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-174
PMCID: PMC4008001  PMID: 24612620
Colorectal cancer; FOLFOX; FOLFIRI; 5-FU; Leucovorin; Liver resection
25.  A Gene Expression Signature Predicts Survival of Patients with Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e467.
Background
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Nearly 50% of patients with stages I and II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will die from recurrent disease despite surgical resection. No reliable clinical or molecular predictors are currently available for identifying those at high risk for developing recurrent disease. As a consequence, it is not possible to select those high-risk patients for more aggressive therapies and assign less aggressive treatments to patients at low risk for recurrence.
Methods and Findings
In this study, we applied a meta-analysis of datasets from seven different microarray studies on NSCLC for differentially expressed genes related to survival time (under 2 y and over 5 y). A consensus set of 4,905 genes from these studies was selected, and systematic bias adjustment in the datasets was performed by distance-weighted discrimination (DWD). We identified a gene expression signature consisting of 64 genes that is highly predictive of which stage I lung cancer patients may benefit from more aggressive therapy. Kaplan-Meier analysis of the overall survival of stage I NSCLC patients with the 64-gene expression signature demonstrated that the high- and low-risk groups are significantly different in their overall survival. Of the 64 genes, 11 are related to cancer metastasis (APC, CDH8, IL8RB, LY6D, PCDHGA12, DSP, NID, ENPP2, CCR2, CASP8, and CASP10) and eight are involved in apoptosis (CASP8, CASP10, PIK3R1, BCL2, SON, INHA, PSEN1, and BIK).
Conclusions
Our results indicate that gene expression signatures from several datasets can be reconciled. The resulting signature is useful in predicting survival of stage I NSCLC and might be useful in informing treatment decisions.
Meta-analysis of several lung cancer gene expression studies yields a set of 64 genes whose expression profile is useful in predicting survival of patients with early-stage lung cancer and possibly informing treatment decisions.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Most cases are of a type called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and are mainly caused by smoking. Like other cancers, how NSCLC is treated depends on the “stage” at which it is detected. Stage IA NSCLCs are small and confined to the lung and can be removed surgically; patients with slightly larger stage IB tumors often receive chemotherapy after surgery. In stage II NSCLC, cancer cells may be present in lymph nodes near the tumor. Surgery plus chemotherapy is the usual treatment for this stage and for some stage III NSCLCs. However, in this stage, the tumor can be present throughout the chest and surgery is not always possible. For such cases and in stage IV NSCLC, where the tumor has spread throughout the body, patients are treated with chemotherapy alone. The stage at which NSCLC is detected also determines how well patients respond to treatment. Those who can be treated surgically do much better than those who can't. So, whereas only 2% of patients with stage IV lung cancer survive for 5 years after diagnosis, about 70% of patients with stage I or II lung cancer live at least this long.
Why Was This Study Done?
Even stage I and II lung cancers often recur and there is no accurate way to identify the patients in which this will happen. If there was, these patients could be given aggressive chemotherapy, so the search is on for a “molecular signature” to help identify which NSCLCs are likely to recur. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells divide uncontrollably and can move around the body. These behavioral differences are caused by changes in their genetic material that alter their patterns of RNA transcription and protein expression. In this study, the researchers have investigated whether data from several microarray studies (a technique used to catalog the genes expressed in cells) can be pooled to construct a gene expression signature that predicts the survival of patients with stage I NSCLC.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers took the data from seven independent microarray studies (including a new study of their own) that recorded gene expression profiles related to survival time (less than 2 years and greater than 5 years) for stage I NSCLC. Because these studies had been done in different places with slightly different techniques, the researchers applied a statistical tool called distance-weighted discrimination to smooth out any systematic differences among the studies before identifying 64 genes whose expression was associated with survival. Most of these genes are involved in cell adhesion, cell motility, cell proliferation, and cell death, all processes that are altered in cancer cells. The researchers then developed a statistical model that allowed them to use the gene expression and survival data to calculate risk scores for nearly 200 patients in five of the datasets. When they separated the patients into high and low risk groups on the basis of these scores, the two groups were significantly different in terms of survival time. Indeed, the gene expression signature was better at predicting outcome than routine staging. Finally, the researchers validated the gene expression signature by showing that it predicted survival with more than 85% accuracy in two independent datasets.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The 64 gene expression signature identified here could help clinicians prepare treatment plans for patients with stage I NSCLC. Because it accurately predicts survival in patients with adenocarcinoma or squamous cell cancer (the two major subtypes of NSCLC), it potentially indicates which of these patients should receive aggressive chemotherapy and which can be spared this unpleasant treatment. Previous attempts to establish gene expression signatures to predict outcome have used data from small groups of patients and have failed when tested in additional patients. In contrast, this new signature seems to be generalizable. Nevertheless, its ability to predict outcomes must be confirmed in further studies before it is routinely adopted by oncologists for treatment planning.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030467.
US National Cancer Institute information on lung cancer for patients and health professionals.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entries on small-cell and non-small-cell lung cancer.
Cancer Research UK, information on patients about all aspects of lung cancer.
Wikipedia pages on DNA microarrays and expression profiling (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit).
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030467
PMCID: PMC1716187  PMID: 17194181

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