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1.  Pulmonary Tumor Thrombotic Microangiopathy Induced by Ureteral Carcinoma: A Necropsy Case Report 
Case Reports in Oncology  2014;7(2):605-610.
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is a fatal cancer-related pulmonary complication with rapidly progressing dyspnea and pulmonary hypertension that occasionally induces sudden death. We report the first case of PTTM induced by ureter carcinoma.
Case Presentation
The patient was an 80-year-old Japanese female with chief complaints of dry cough and dyspnea. An echocardiogram revealed severe pulmonary hypertension. A chest radiograph showed ground glass opacity of bilateral lower lung field predominance, and an abdominal computed tomography scan revealed a left ureter mass suggestive of ureter carcinoma. The patient died of respiratory failure on the eighth day of hospitalization. Postmortem examination indicated that the primary lesion was a left ureter cancer with tumor microemboli extending to both lungs through the right side of the heart. The final diagnosis of this case was PTTM induced by ureter carcinoma.
The pathogenesis and pathophysiology of PTTM remains obscure with no effective management available. In cases of rapidly progressing respiratory failure with pulmonary hypertension, it is necessary to consider PTTM in the differential diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC4178320  PMID: 25298767
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy; Ureter carcinoma; Pulmonary hypertension; Respiratory failure
2.  Occult Gastric Cancer Presenting as Hypoxia from Pulmonary Tumor Thrombotic Microangiopathy 
Journal of Gastric Cancer  2014;14(2):142-146.
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) causing fatal pulmonary hypertension is a rare presentation of malignancy. In general, patients with PTTM rapidly succumb to death due to severe hypoxia. To date, very few cases of PTTM have been reported in the literature; and most of these cases were from gastric cancer and were diagnosed on post mortem autopsy, as it is extremely challenging to make an ante mortem diagnosis. We here report on a case of undiagnosed diffuse gastric cancer, presenting as worsening hypoxia. The clinical, radiographic, and echocardiographic features, and laboratory and pathological results were consistent with PTTM from gastric cancer. The patient was started on anticoagulation therapy, corticosteroids, and high-flow oxygen. However, her hypoxia worsened to the extent that she required ventilator support, and she died soon after intubation due to cardiac arrest. Since diffuse gastric cancer is associated with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome, cadherin 1 gene mutation analysis was performed to estimate the risk to her daughters. The test came back negative.
PMCID: PMC4105381  PMID: 25061544
Stomach neoplasms; Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy; Hypertension, pulmonary
3.  The diagnostic challenge of pulmonary tumour thrombotic microangiopathy as a presentation for metastatic gastric cancer: a case report and review of the literature 
BMC Cancer  2015;15:450.
Pulmonary tumour thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is a rare complication of metastatic cancer with a distinct histological appearance which presents with dyspnoea and pulmonary arterial hypertension and leads to death in hours to days. It is a challenging diagnosis to make ante mortem, in part due to the rapid clinical decline. Herein, we report a case of a young woman initially felt to have pulmonary sarcoidosis but who then died eight days later from what was found at post mortem to be PTTM.
Case presentation
A 41 year old Caucasian woman presented with progressive dyspnoea. Computed tomography of her thorax showed diffuse tiny centrilobular nodules in a tree-in-bud appearance along with small volume mediastinal lymphadenopathy. A presumptive diagnosis of pulmonary sarcoidosis was made; bronchoscopy with transbronchial lung biopsy was arranged to confirm the diagnosis. However, she rapidly deteriorated and died eight days later. Post mortem examination revealed metastatic poorly differentiated gastric adenocarcinoma with PTTM being the final cause of death.
This case demonstrates the diagnostic difficulties in such a rare and rapidly fatal oncological complication; a greater awareness amongst clinicians may help make a positive diagnosis in the short window of time available. Little is known about its pathogenesis, and even less about optimal management strategies. We review the literature to demonstrate the clinical characteristics that might provide clues towards an ante mortem diagnosis, and highlight how imatinib may provide the key to treating PTTM.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12885-015-1467-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4451732  PMID: 26036321
Pulmonary tumour thrombotic microangiopathy; Gastric adenocarcinoma; Metastatic complications; Progressive dyspnoea
4.  Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy caused by lung adenocarcinoma: Case report with review of the literature 
Oncology Letters  2011;2(3):435-437.
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is an uncommon cancer-related complication characterized by intimal proliferation in pulmonary small arteries and arterioles with or without tumor emboli. In the majority of cases, the causative lesion is gastric poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma. In the present study, an autopsy case of PTTM caused by lung adenocarcinoma is reported and the pathogenesis of this complication is discussed. Multiple nodular lesions in the bilateral lungs were found in a 62-year-old Japanese man. Transbronchial biopsy revealed non-small cell carcinoma. Chemotherapy was performed; however, the patient succumbed to sudden dyspnea. Autopsy revealed poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma with multiple intrapulmonary metastases and intimal proliferation of pulmonary small arteries and arterioles with or without tumor emboli, which were characteristic of PTTM. Tumor cells were immunohistochemically positive for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and osteopontin (OPN), which are endothelial proliferative factors. This case indicates the possible involvement of VEGF and OPN in the pathogenesis of PTTM caused by lung adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3410503  PMID: 22866100
lung cancer; osteopontin; pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy; vascular endothelial growth factor
5.  Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy induced by gastric carcinoma: Morphometric and immunohistochemical analysis of six autopsy cases 
Diagnostic Pathology  2011;6:27.
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) has been known as a rare and serious cancer-related pulmonary complication. However, the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of this debilitating condition still remains obscure and no effective management was recommended. The present study aims to elucidate the pathophysiology of PTTM.
Autopsy records were searched to extract cases of pulmonary tumor embolism induced by metastasis of gastric carcinoma in the Toho University Omori Medical Center from 2000 to 2006. And then, tissue sections of extracted cases were prepared for not only light microscopic observation but morphometric analysis with the use of selected PTTM cases.
Six autopsies involved PTTM and clinicopathological data of them were summarized. There was a significant negative association between pulmonary arterial diameter and stenosis rate in four cases. Although all cases showed an increase of stenosis rate to some degree, the degree of stenosis rate varied from case to case. Significant differences were found for average stenosis rate between the under 100 micrometer group or the 100 to 300 micrometer group and the 300 micrometer group in four cases. However, no significant differences were found for average stenosis rate between the under 100 micrometer group and the 100 to 300 micrometer group in all cases. Meanwhile, all cases showed positive reactivity for tissue factor (TF), five showed positive reactivity for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and three showed positive reactivity for osteopontin (OPN).
In the present study, we revealed that the degree of luminal narrowing of the pulmonary arteries varied from case to case, and our results suggested that pulmonary hypertension in PTTM occurs in selected cases which have a widespread pulmonary lesion with severe luminal narrowing in the smaller arteries. Furthermore, our immunohistochemical examination indicated that gastric carcinoma indicating PTTM shows a higher TF-positive rate than typical gastric carcinoma. However, it remains still obscuring whether gastric carcinoma indicating PTTM shows a higher VEGF or OPN-positive rate as determined by immunohistochemistry.
PMCID: PMC3072924  PMID: 21450103
6.  Fatal Acute Right Heart Failure in Gastric Cancer Patients 
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is a rare condition causing pulmonary artery hypertension and acute right heart failure in patients with cancer. However, chest computer tomography shows negative finding of pulmonary thromboembolism. Serum D-dimer level may be elevated. Echocardiography reveals a dilated right ventricle and feature of pulmonary artery hypertension. Establishing this diagnosis can be very difficult, and most cases are diagnosed during autopsy, although a history of cancer may be a predictor. PTTM should be considered in all patients with apparent pulmonary artery hypertension and elevated D-dimer level, particularly when the patient is known to have an underlying malignancy, especially adenocarcinoma and most of all, the clinical manifestation is very rapidly progressive.
PMCID: PMC3970374  PMID: 24696760
D-dimer; gastric cancer; right heart failure
7.  Pulmonary thrombotic microangiopathy caused by gastric carcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2010;63(4):367-369.
Pulmonary tumour thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is characterised by wide spread tumour emboli along with fibrocellular intimal proliferation and thrombus formation in small pulmonary arteries and arterioles. PTTM is a rare but fatal complication of carcinoma, but the pathogenesis remains to be clarified. An autopsy case of PTTM caused by gastric adenocarcinoma is described, in which tumour cells in the PTTM lesion had positive immunoreactivity for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and PDGF receptor (PDGFR), and proliferating fibromuscular intimal cells also showed expression of PDGFR. In addition, the overexpression of PGDF was detected in the alveolar macrophages. These findings suggest that PDGF derived from alveolar macrophages and from tumour cells may act together in promoting fibrocellular intimal proliferation. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the possible involvement of activated alveolar macrophages in PTTM has not been previously reported.
PMCID: PMC2921276  PMID: 20354211
Pulmonary thrombotic microangiopathy; gastric cancer; immunohistochemistry; platelet-derived growth factor; macrophages; arteries; gastric cancer; immunocytochemistry; lung; molecular pathology
8.  Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy in an unknown primary cancer 
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is a highly fatal complication of cancer leading to acute cor pulmonale and pulmonary hypertension. We present a case of 47-year-old male patient who developed acute breathlessness and died suddenly. The pulmonary vessels at autopsy on histopathologic examination showed the presence of fibrocellular intimal proliferation, fibrin thrombi and few tumor emboli consisting of malignant adenocarcinoma cells. There was associated lymphangiosis carcinomatosis. No primary visceral tumor was found despite extensive search. The patient had died following acute cor pulmonale with sudden pulmonary hypertension due to PTTM. This entity (PTTM) must be kept as a differential diagnosis in patients presenting with acute breathlessness especially in cases of cancers.
PMCID: PMC4220330  PMID: 25378856
Acute cor pulmonale; adenocarcinoma; carcinomatosis endarteritis; pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy
9.  A Case of Locally Advanced Breast Cancer Complicated by Pulmonary Tumor Thrombotic Microangiopathy 
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) is a rare, malignancy-related complication that causes marked pulmonary hypertension, right heart failure, and death. We report on a patient with locally advanced breast cancer whose course was complicated by fatal PTTM based on clinical and laboratory findings.
PMCID: PMC3546274  PMID: 23341791
Breast neoplasms; Pulmonary hypertension; Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy
10.  Diffuse bronchiolitis pattern on a computed tomography scan as a presentation of pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy: a case report 
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy is a rare complication of malignant diseases. The diagnosis is extremely difficult and is most often performed after death. Invariably, patients develop acute pulmonary hypertension causing right heart failure, shortness of breath and death in a few days. We describe the clinical and radiological findings of a patient who presented with this complication.
Case presentation
A 28-year-old Caucasian woman with a previous history of pelvic tumor resection two months previously, suggestive of metastatic adenocarcinoma, presented with intense shortness of breath. A computed tomography scan showed signs of acute cor pulmonale and diffuse nodular opacities associated with a tree-in-bud pattern disseminated through her lungs, suggestive of bronchiolitis. Our patient's condition worsened and she underwent a surgical biopsy. Pathologic analysis of the biopsied specimens revealed pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy. Our patient's tumor evolved from a gastric origin (Krukenberg tumor). She underwent progressive clinical deterioration and died less than 24 hours after the biopsy. None of the cases described previously in the literature had diffuse centrilobular nodular opacities associated with a tree-in-bud pattern disseminated through the lungs, as in our case.
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy should be considered in cancer patients with rapidly progressing dyspnea, chest computed tomography findings compatible with pulmonary hypertension and typical findings of inflammatory bronchiolitis.
PMCID: PMC3266655  PMID: 22151903
11.  Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy associated with urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder: antemortem diagnosis by pulmonary microvascular cytology 
Clinical Case Reports  2015;3(9):735-739.
Key Clinical Message
PTTM (Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy) is very difficult to diagnose before death. We report a case of urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder associated with PTTM in which an antemortem diagnosis by PMC (pulmonary microvascular cytology). PMC may represent the only chance for diagnosis and achievement of remission in PTTM.
PMCID: PMC4574788  PMID: 26401277
Pulmonary microvascular cytology; pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy; urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder
12.  A Case of Pulmonary Tumor Thrombotic Microangiopathy Diagnosed by Transbronchial Lung Biopsy and Treated with Chemotherapy and Long-Term Oxygen and Anticoagulation Therapies 
Case Reports in Pulmonology  2013;2013:259080.
A 41-year-old woman, who underwent breast resection for cancer of the right breast and adjuvant chemotherapy 2 years ago, was admitted to our hospital due to shortness of breath upon exertion. High-resolution computed tomography of the chest showed small nodular opacities in the peribronchiolar area in both lungs, as well as mediastinal and hilar lymphadenopathy. A transbronchial lung biopsy revealed breast cancer metastasis and pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM). Treatment of PTTM is rarely reported due to the difficulty of antemortem diagnosis; however, the patient was effectively treated with chemotherapy and oxygen and anticoagulation therapies for 3 months.
PMCID: PMC3773459  PMID: 24069542
13.  Pulmonary Tumor Thrombotic Microangiopathy from Metastatic Prostate Carcinoma 
Case Reports in Pulmonology  2015;2015:286962.
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy is a rare but serious malignancy-related respiratory complication. The most common causative neoplasm is gastric adenocarcinoma. We report a case caused by metastatic prostate adenocarcinoma, diagnosed postmortem in a 58-year-old male. To our knowledge, this is the second reported case from metastatic prostate adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4302364  PMID: 25632366
14.  Postpartum thrombotic microangiopathy revealed as atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome successfully treated with eculizumab: a case report 
Differential diagnosis of thrombotic microangiopathies can be difficult. Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome is a rare, life-threatening disease caused by uncontrolled chronic activation of alternative complement pathway, resulting in microvascular thrombosis, organ ischemia and damage. Prognosis is poor: up to 65 percent of patients require dialysis or have kidney damage of varying severity or die despite plasma exchange/plasma infusion treatment.
Case presentation
We describe the case of a 23-year-old woman of Hellenic origin who, after a preeclampsia-induced premature delivery, developed thrombotic microangiopathy with renal failure, tonicoclonic seizures, anasarca edema and hypertension. Intensive plasma exchange was initiated twice daily, in parallel to dialysis for one month. Three months later, our patient was discharged with nondialysis-dependent renal failure and without signs of hemolysis. Three months after discharge our patient was readmitted with cardiomyopathy (left ventricular ejection fraction of 25 percent) and signs and symptoms of thrombotic microangiopathy. Our patient was diagnosed with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome and was started on eculizumab (a complement inhibitor), which improved clinical and laboratory parameters. However, a transient pause in treatment resulted in thrombotic microangiopathy relapse, which was rapidly blocked with reintroduction of eculizumab treatment. During long-term eculizumab treatment, thrombotic microangiopathy manifestations were inhibited and renal and cardiac function restored, with no need for other invasive treatments.
Establishing the diagnosis of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome in patients presenting with thrombotic microangiopathy is challenging since common symptoms are shared with other conditions like Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli hemolytic uremic syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. The described case illustrates the complexity and importance of rapid diagnosis in a rare disease and the need for appropriate and specific treatment for best long-term outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4170201  PMID: 25219386
15.  Renal thrombotic microangiopathy and podocytopathy associated with the use of carfilzomib in a patient with multiple myeloma 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:156.
Proteasome inhibitors are a relatively new class of chemotherapeutic agents. Bortezomib is the first agent of this class and is currently being used for the treatment of multiple myeloma. However, recent reports have linked exposure to bortezomib with the development of thrombotic microangiopathy. A new agent in this class, carfilzomib, has been recently introduced as alternative therapy for relapsing and refractory multiple myeloma. We report a case of renal thrombotic microangiopathy associated with the use of carfilzomib in a patient with refractory multiple myeloma.
Case presentation
A 62 year-old Caucasian man with hypertension and a 4-year history of multiple myeloma, had been previously treated with lenalidomide, bortezomib and two autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants. After the second hematopoietic stem cell transplant, he developed acute kidney injury secondary to septic shock and required dialysis for 4 weeks. Subsequently, his serum creatinine stabilized at 2.1 mg/dL (185.64 μmol/L). Seventeen months after the second hematopoietic stem cell transplant, he was initiated on carfilzomib for relapse of multiple myeloma. Six weeks later, he developed abrupt worsening of lower extremity edema and hypertension, and new onset proteinuria. His kidney function remained stable. Kidney biopsy findings were consistent with thrombotic microangiopathy. Eight weeks after discontinuation of carfilzomib, proteinuria and hypertension improved. Due to progression of multiple myeloma, he died a few months later.
In view of the previously reported association of bortezomib with thrombotic microangiopathy, the temporal association of the clinical picture with the initiation of carfilzomib, and the partial resolution of symptoms after discontinuation of the drug, we conclude that carfilzomib may have precipitated a case of clinically evident renal thrombotic microangiopathy in our patient.
PMCID: PMC4190298  PMID: 25267524
Thrombotic microangiopathy; Malignant hypertension; Proteasome inhibitor; Proteinuria
16.  A case report of pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy (PTTM) caused by esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Esophagus  2013;10(4):247-251.
A 67-year-old male was referred to our hospital after being diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma of the middle thoracic esophagus. The clinical stage was T1b(sm)N4M1 cStage IVb, so he was admitted to our hospital for systemic chemotherapy. He had sustained fever and a dry cough. Chest computed tomography showed the presence of irregular shadows, and unidentified respiratory insufficiency had progressed. A transbronchial lung biopsy revealed a pulmonary artery tumor embolus of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. He developed DIC and died of respiratory failure on the 19th hospital day. The postmortem autopsy detected pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy accompanied by esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3851705  PMID: 24319402
Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy; PTTM; Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
17.  Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients with Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at:
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website:
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website:
The objective of this analysis was to determine the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in reducing the incidence of influenza-related illness or pneumococcal pneumonia.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Influenza Disease
Influenza is a global threat. It is believed that the risk of a pandemic of influenza still exists. Three pandemics occurred in the 20th century which resulted in millions of deaths worldwide. The fourth pandemic of H1N1 influenza occurred in 2009 and affected countries in all continents.
Rates of serious illness due to influenza viruses are high among older people and patients with chronic conditions such as COPD. The influenza viruses spread from person to person through sneezing and coughing. Infected persons can transfer the virus even a day before their symptoms start. The incubation period is 1 to 4 days with a mean of 2 days. Symptoms of influenza infection include fever, shivering, dry cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose, muscle ache, and sore throat. Other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur.
Complications of influenza infection include viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and other secondary bacterial infections such as bronchitis, sinusitis, and otitis media. In viral pneumonia, patients develop acute fever and dyspnea, and may further show signs and symptoms of hypoxia. The organisms involved in bacterial pneumonia are commonly identified as Staphylococcus aureus and Hemophilus influenza. The incidence of secondary bacterial pneumonia is most common in the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as congestive heart disease and chronic bronchitis.
Healthy people usually recover within one week but in very young or very old people and those with underlying medical conditions such as COPD, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, influenza is associated with higher risks and may lead to hospitalization and in some cases death. The cause of hospitalization or death in many cases is viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. Influenza infection can lead to the exacerbation of COPD or an underlying heart disease.
Streptococcal Pneumonia
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is an encapsulated Gram-positive bacterium that often colonizes in the nasopharynx of healthy children and adults. Pneumococcus can be transmitted from person to person during close contact. The bacteria can cause illnesses such as otitis media and sinusitis, and may become more aggressive and affect other areas of the body such as the lungs, brain, joints, and blood stream. More severe infections caused by pneumococcus are pneumonia, bacterial sepsis, meningitis, peritonitis, arthritis, osteomyelitis, and in rare cases, endocarditis and pericarditis.
People with impaired immune systems are susceptible to pneumococcal infection. Young children, elderly people, patients with underlying medical conditions including chronic lung or heart disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, sickle cell disease, and people who have undergone a splenectomy are at a higher risk for acquiring pneumococcal pneumonia.
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccines
Trivalent Influenza Vaccines in Canada
In Canada, 5 trivalent influenza vaccines are currently authorized for use by injection. Four of these are formulated for intramuscular use and the fifth product (Intanza®) is formulated for intradermal use.
The 4 vaccines for intramuscular use are:
Fluviral (GlaxoSmithKline), split virus, inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months;
Vaxigrip (Sanofi Pasteur), split virus inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months;
Agriflu (Novartis), surface antigen inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months; and
Influvac (Abbott), surface antigen inactivated vaccine, for use in persons ≥ 18 years of age.
FluMist is a live attenuated virus in the form of an intranasal spray for persons aged 2 to 59 years. Immunization with current available influenza vaccines is not recommended for infants less than 6 months of age.
Pneumococcal Vaccine
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines were developed more than 50 years ago and have progressed from 2-valent vaccines to the current 23-valent vaccines to prevent diseases caused by 23 of the most common serotypes of S pneumoniae. Canada-wide estimates suggest that approximately 90% of cases of pneumococcal bacteremia and meningitis are caused by these 23 serotypes. Health Canada has issued licenses for 2 types of 23-valent vaccines to be injected intramuscularly or subcutaneously:
Pneumovax 23® (Merck & Co Inc. Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA), and
Pneumo 23® (Sanofi Pasteur SA, Lion, France) for persons 2 years of age and older.
Other types of pneumococcal vaccines licensed in Canada are for pediatric use. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is injected only once. A second dose is applied only in some conditions.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination compared with no vaccination in COPD patients?
What is the safety of these 2 vaccines in COPD patients?
What is the budget impact and cost-effectiveness of these 2 vaccines in COPD patients?
Research Methods
Literature search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on July 5, 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 1, 2000 to July 5, 2010. The search was updated monthly through the AutoAlert function of the search up to January 31, 2011. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Articles with an unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. Data extraction was carried out by the author.
Inclusion Criteria
studies comparing clinical efficacy of the influenza vaccine or the pneumococcal vaccine with no vaccine or placebo;
randomized controlled trials published between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2011;
studies including patients with COPD only;
studies investigating the efficacy of types of vaccines approved by Health Canada;
English language studies.
Exclusion Criteria
non-randomized controlled trials;
studies investigating vaccines for other diseases;
studies comparing different variations of vaccines;
studies in which patients received 2 or more types of vaccines;
studies comparing different routes of administering vaccines;
studies not reporting clinical efficacy of the vaccine or reporting immune response only;
studies investigating the efficacy of vaccines not approved by Health Canada.
Outcomes of Interest
Primary Outcomes
Influenza vaccination: Episodes of acute respiratory illness due to the influenza virus.
Pneumococcal vaccination: Time to the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia either due to pneumococcus or of unknown etiology.
Secondary Outcomes
rate of hospitalization and mechanical ventilation
mortality rate
adverse events
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses. The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Efficacy of the Influenza Vaccination in Immunocompetent Patients With COPD
Clinical Effectiveness
The influenza vaccination was associated with significantly fewer episodes of influenza-related acute respiratory illness (ARI). The incidence density of influenza-related ARI was:
All patients: vaccine group: (total of 4 cases) = 6.8 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 17 cases) = 28.1 episodes per 100 person-years, (relative risk [RR], 0.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06−0.70; P = 0.005).
Patients with severe airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] < 50% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 1 case) = 4.6 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 7 cases) = 31.2 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.003−1.1; P = 0.04).
Patients with moderate airflow obstruction (FEV1 50%−69% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 2 cases) = 13.2 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 4 cases) = 23.8 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.05−3.8; P = 0.5).
Patients with mild airflow obstruction (FEV1 ≥ 70% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 1 case) = 4.5 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 6 cases) = 28.2 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.003−1.3; P = 0.06).
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the vaccinated group and the placebo group regarding the probability of not acquiring influenza-related ARI (log-rank test P value = 0.003). Overall, the vaccine effectiveness was 76%. For categories of mild, moderate, or severe COPD the vaccine effectiveness was 84%, 45%, and 85% respectively.
With respect to hospitalization, fewer patients in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group were hospitalized due to influenza-related ARIs, although these differences were not statistically significant. The incidence density of influenza-related ARIs that required hospitalization was 3.4 episodes per 100 person-years in the vaccine group and 8.3 episodes per 100 person-years in the placebo group (RR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.04−2.5; P = 0.3; log-rank test P value = 0.2). Also, no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups were observed for the 3 categories of severity of COPD.
Fewer patients in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group required mechanical ventilation due to influenza-related ARIs. However, these differences were not statistically significant. The incidence density of influenza-related ARIs that required mechanical ventilation was 0 episodes per 100 person-years in the vaccine group and 5 episodes per 100 person-years in the placebo group (RR, 0.0; 95% CI, 0−2.5; P = 0.1; log-rank test P value = 0.4). In addition, no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups were observed for the 3 categories of severity of COPD. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in preventing influenza-related ARIs and influenza-related hospitalization was not related to age, sex, severity of COPD, smoking status, or comorbid diseases.
Overall, significantly more patients in the vaccine group than the placebo group experienced local adverse reactions (vaccine: 17 [27%], placebo: 4 [6%]; P = 0.002). Significantly more patients in the vaccine group than the placebo group experienced swelling (vaccine 4, placebo 0; P = 0.04) and itching (vaccine 4, placebo 0; P = 0.04). Systemic reactions included headache, myalgia, fever, and skin rash and there were no significant differences between the 2 groups for these reactions (vaccine: 47 [76%], placebo: 51 [81%], P = 0.5).
With respect to lung function, dyspneic symptoms, and exercise capacity, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups at 1 week and at 4 weeks in: FEV1, maximum inspiratory pressure at residual volume, oxygen saturation level of arterial blood, visual analogue scale for dyspneic symptoms, and the 6 Minute Walking Test for exercise capacity.
There was no significant difference between the 2 groups with regard to the probability of not acquiring total ARIs (influenza-related and/or non-influenza-related); (log-rank test P value = 0.6).
Summary of Efficacy of the Pneumococcal Vaccination in Immunocompetent Patients With COPD
Clinical Effectiveness
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed no significant differences between the group receiving the penumoccocal vaccination and the control group for time to the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia due to pneumococcus or of unknown etiology (log-rank test 1.15; P = 0.28). Overall, vaccine efficacy was 24% (95% CI, −24 to 54; P = 0.33).
With respect to the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia, the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the 2 groups (vaccine: 0/298; control: 5/298; log-rank test 5.03; P = 0.03).
Hospital admission rates and median length of hospital stays were lower in the vaccine group, but the difference was not statistically significant. The mortality rate was not different between the 2 groups.
Subgroup Analysis
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed significant differences between the vaccine and control groups for pneumonia due to pneumococcus and pneumonia of unknown etiology, and when data were analyzed according to subgroups of patients (age < 65 years, and severe airflow obstruction FEV1 < 40% predicted). The accumulated percentage of patients without pneumonia (due to pneumococcus and of unknown etiology) across time was significantly lower in the vaccine group than in the control group in patients younger than 65 years of age (log-rank test 6.68; P = 0.0097) and patients with a FEV1 less than 40% predicted (log-rank test 3.85; P = 0.0498).
Vaccine effectiveness was 76% (95% CI, 20−93; P = 0.01) for patients who were less than 65 years of age and −14% (95% CI, −107 to 38; P = 0.8) for those who were 65 years of age or older. Vaccine effectiveness for patients with a FEV1 less than 40% predicted and FEV1 greater than or equal to 40% predicted was 48% (95% CI, −7 to 80; P = 0.08) and −11% (95% CI, −132 to 47; P = 0.95), respectively. For patients who were less than 65 years of age (FEV1 < 40% predicted), vaccine effectiveness was 91% (95% CI, 35−99; P = 0.002).
Cox modelling showed that the effectiveness of the vaccine was dependent on the age of the patient. The vaccine was not effective in patients 65 years of age or older (hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% CI, 0.61−a2.17; P = 0.66) but it reduced the risk of acquiring pneumonia by 80% in patients less than 65 years of age (hazard ratio, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.06−0.66; P = 0.01).
No patients reported any local or systemic adverse reactions to the vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3384373  PMID: 23074431
18.  The Preclinical Natural History of Serous Ovarian Cancer: Defining the Target for Early Detection 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(7):e1000114.
Pat Brown and colleagues carry out a modeling study and define what properties a biomarker-based screening test would require in order to be clinically useful.
Ovarian cancer kills approximately 15,000 women in the United States every year, and more than 140,000 women worldwide. Most deaths from ovarian cancer are caused by tumors of the serous histological type, which are rarely diagnosed before the cancer has spread. Rational design of a potentially life-saving early detection and intervention strategy requires understanding the lesions we must detect in order to prevent lethal progression. Little is known about the natural history of lethal serous ovarian cancers before they become clinically apparent. We can learn about this occult period by studying the unsuspected serous cancers that are discovered in a small fraction of apparently healthy women who undergo prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (PBSO).
Methods and Findings
We developed models for the growth, progression, and detection of occult serous cancers on the basis of a comprehensive analysis of published data on serous cancers discovered by PBSO in BRCA1 mutation carriers. Our analysis yielded several critical insights into the early natural history of serous ovarian cancer. First, these cancers spend on average more than 4 y as in situ, stage I, or stage II cancers and approximately 1 y as stage III or IV cancers before they become clinically apparent. Second, for most of the occult period, serous cancers are less than 1 cm in diameter, and not visible on gross examination of the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. Third, the median diameter of a serous ovarian cancer when it progresses to an advanced stage (stage III or IV) is about 3 cm. Fourth, to achieve 50% sensitivity in detecting tumors before they advance to stage III, an annual screen would need to detect tumors of 1.3 cm in diameter; 80% detection sensitivity would require detecting tumors less than 0.4 cm in diameter. Fifth, to achieve a 50% reduction in serous ovarian cancer mortality with an annual screen, a test would need to detect tumors of 0.5 cm in diameter.
Our analysis has formalized essential conditions for successful early detection of serous ovarian cancer. Although the window of opportunity for early detection of these cancers lasts for several years, developing a test sufficiently sensitive and specific to take advantage of that opportunity will be a challenge. We estimated that the tumors we would need to detect to achieve even 50% sensitivity are more than 200 times smaller than the clinically apparent serous cancers typically used to evaluate performance of candidate biomarkers; none of the biomarker assays reported to date comes close to the required level of performance. Overcoming the signal-to-noise problem inherent in detection of tiny tumors will likely require discovery of truly cancer-specific biomarkers or development of novel approaches beyond traditional blood protein biomarkers. While this study was limited to ovarian cancers of serous histological type and to those arising in BRCA1 mutation carriers specifically, we believe that the results are relevant to other hereditary serous cancers and to sporadic ovarian cancers. A similar approach could be applied to other cancers to aid in defining their early natural history and to guide rational design of an early detection strategy.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year about 190,000 women develop ovarian cancer and more than 140,000 die from the disease. Ovarian cancer occurs when a cell on the surface of the ovaries (two small organs in the pelvis that produce eggs) or in the Fallopian tubes (which connect the ovaries to the womb) acquires genetic changes (mutations) that allow it to grow uncontrollably and to spread around the body (metastasize). For women whose cancer is diagnosed when it is confined to the site of origin—ovary or Fallopian tube—(stage I disease), the outlook is good; 70%–80% of these women survive for at least 5 y. However, very few ovarian cancers are diagnosed this early. Usually, by the time the cancer causes symptoms (often only vague abdominal pain and mild digestive disturbances), it has spread into the pelvis (stage II disease), into the space around the gut, stomach, and liver (stage III disease), or to distant organs (stage IV disease). Patients with advanced-stage ovarian cancer are treated with surgery and chemotherapy but, despite recent treatment improvements, only 15% of women diagnosed with stage IV disease survive for 5 y.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most deaths from ovarian cancer are caused by serous ovarian cancer, a tumor subtype that is rarely diagnosed before it has spread. Early detection of serous ovarian cancer would save the lives of many women but no one knows what these cancers look like before they spread or how long they grow before they become clinically apparent. Learning about this occult (hidden) period of ovarian cancer development by observing tumors from their birth to late-stage disease is not feasible. However, some aspects of the early natural history of ovarian cancer can be studied by using data collected from healthy women who have had their ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed (prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy [PBSO]) because they have inherited a mutated version of the BRCA1 gene that increases their ovarian cancer risk. In a few of these women, unsuspected ovarian cancer is discovered during PBSO. In this study, the researchers identify and analyze the available reports on occult serous ovarian cancer found this way and then develop mathematical models describing the early natural history of ovarian cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first estimated the time period during which the detection of occult tumors might save lives using the data from these reports. Serous ovarian cancers, they estimated, spend more than 4 y as in situ (a very early stage of cancer development), stage I, or stage II cancers and about 1 y as stage III and IV cancers before they become clinically apparent. Next, the researchers used the data to develop mathematical models for the growth, progression, and diagnosis of serous ovarian cancer (the accuracy of which depends on the assumptions used to build the models and on the quality of the data fed into them). These models indicated that, for most of the occult period, serous cancers had a diameter of less than 1 cm (too small to be detected during surgery or by gross examination of the ovaries or Fallopian tubes) and that more than half of serous cancers had advanced to stage III/IV by the time they measured 3 cm across. Furthermore, to enable the detection of half of serous ovarian cancers before they reached stage III, an annual screening test would need to detect cancers with a diameter of 1.3 cm and to halve deaths from serous ovarian cancer, an annual screening test would need to detect 0.5-cm diameter tumors.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the time period over which the early detection of serous ovarian cancer would save lives is surprisingly long. More soberingly, the authors find that a test that is sensitive and specific enough to take advantage of this “window of opportunity” would need to detect tumors hundreds of times smaller than clinically apparent serous cancers. So far no ovarian cancer-specific protein or other biomarker has been identified that could be used to develop a test that comes anywhere near this level of performance. Identification of truly ovarian cancer-specific biomarkers or novel strategies will be needed in order to take advantage of the window of opportunity. The stages prior to clinical presentation of other lethal cancers are still very poorly understood. Similar studies of the early natural history of these cancers could help guide the development of rational early detection strategies.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
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. It also provides a fact sheet on BRCA1 mutations and cancer risk (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Cancerbackup also provides information about all aspects of ovarian cancer
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to additional information about ovarian cancer (in English and Spanish)
The Canary Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to development of effective strategies for early detection of cancers including ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC2711307  PMID: 19636370
19.  P39. Management of respiratory symptoms in patients with advanced lung cancer 
Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide in terms of both incidence and mortality. Prognosis is generally poor. Of all patients with lung cancer, approximately 15% survive for 5 years after diagnosis while 80% die within 1 year.
Respiratory symptoms observed in patients with lung cancer (dyspnea, cough, haemoptysis) are determined by cancer’s histologic type, biological properties, and anatomic location. They may be caused either by the primary tumour itself or by locoregional metastases within the thorax. Respiratory symptoms can result from immediate mechanical effects of cancer spread, such as localized obstruction of large airways, postobstructive pneumonia, formation of fistulae between airways and other intrathoracic structures, pleural effusion, and paresis of diaphragm or vocal cords due to encroachment upon respective nerves. In such patients, noninvasive therapies may be insufficient to palliate respiratory symptoms. Invasive techniques are available to benefit this group of patients. Respiratory symptoms can be caused by chemotherapy, or complications of radiotherapy (airway stenosis and necrosis, fistula formation, haemoptysis). Moreover, comorbid conditions such as chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), heart failure, pulmonary embolism, previous lung resection or malnutrition likewise contribute to respiratory symptoms.
Dyspnea is the most frequently reported symptom in lung cancer patients: over of 65% patients have this symptom at some time during the course of their illness. In management of cancer-related dyspnea, opioids will remain the mainstay of therapy for the foreseeable future. Further studies will also be needed to identify the target populations who would benefit from oxygen, benzodiazepines, and the wide spectrum nonpharmacological interventions to relieve dyspnea. The design of these studies should respect the difference between cancer-related dyspnea and dyspnea from other causes. Suppression of cancer-related cough should also be addressed in future randomized studies.
Current recommendations for palliative care in patients with advanced lung cancer, organized according to salient respiratory symptoms: Dyspnea: opioids; supplemental oxygen; other pharmacological interverventions; nonpharmacological interventions; dyspnea due to comorbidities and its treatment. Cough: opioids, non-opioid cough supressants, chemotherapy. Haemoptysis: pharmacologic treatment, bronchoscopic management, palliative thoracic radiotherapy. Malignant pleural effusion: thoracocentesis, chest tube dranaige, pleurodesis, and pleuroperitoneal shunting.
PMCID: PMC4367764
Symptoms; palliation; dyspnea; cough; haemoptysis
20.  The Impact of Adjuvant Brachytherapy with Sublobar Resection on Pulmonary Function and Dyspnea in High-risk Operable Patients; Preliminary results from the ACOSOG Z4032 Trial 
Z4032 is a randomized clinical trial conducted by the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group that compared sublobar resection alone (SR) to sublobar resection with brachytherapy (SRB) for high-risk operable patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This current report evaluate the early impact that adjuvant brachytherapy has on pulmonary function tests (PFT), dyspnea and perioperative (30-day) respiratory complications on this impaired patient population.
Eligible stage I NSCLC patients with tumors 3cm or less were randomized to SR or SRB. The outcomes measured included the % predicted forced expiratory volume (FEV1%), % predicted carbon monoxide diffusion capacity (DLCO%), dyspnea score using the UC San Diego Shortness of Breath Questionnaire. Pulmonary morbidity was assessed using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (AE) Version 3.0 (CTCAE). Outcomes were measured at baseline, and at 3-months. A 10% change in PFT or a 10-point change in dyspnea score was deemed clinically meaningful.
Z4032 permanently closed to patient accrual in January 2010 with a total of 224 patients. At 3-month follow-up, PFT data is currently available on 148 (74 SR/74 SRB) patients described in this report. There were no differences in baseline characteristics between the arms. In the SR arm, 9 (12%) patients reported grade-3 respiratory AE compared to 12 (16%) in the SRB arm (p=0.49). There was no significant change in the percent change in DLCO%, or dyspnea score from baseline to 3-month within either arm. In the case of FEV1%, the percent change from baseline to 3-month was significant within SR arm (p=0.03), with patients reporting an improvement in the FEV1% at month 3. Multivariable regression analysis (adjusted for baseline values) showed no significant impact of treatment arm, tumor location (upper versus other lobe), or surgical approach (VATS versus thoracotomy) on the 3-month values for FEV1%, DLCO% and dyspnea scores. There was no significant difference in the incidence of clinically meaningful (10% PFT change, or 10-point dyspnea score) change between the two arms. Twenty-two percent of patients with lower lobe tumors compared to 9% with upper lobe tumors demonstrated a 10% decline in FEV1% (odds ratio 2.79; 95 CI=1.07 – 7.25; p=0.04).
Adjuvant intraoperative brachytherapy performed in conjunction with sublobar resection does not significantly worsen pulmonary function, or dyspnea at 3-months in a high-risk population with NSCLC. SRB was not associated with increased perioperative pulmonary AE. Lower-lobe resection was the only factor that was significantly associated with a clinically meaningful decline in FEV1%.
PMCID: PMC3156868  PMID: 21724195
21.  The effects of Eculizumab on the pathology of malignant atrophic papulosis 
Degos disease is a frequently fatal and incurable occlusive vasculopathy most commonly affecting the skin, gastrointestinal tract and brain. Vascular C5b-9 deposition and a type I interferon (IFN) rich microenvironment are held to be pathogenetically important in the evolution of the vascular changes. We recently discovered the use of eculizumab as a salvage drug in the treatment of near fatal Malignant atrophic papulosis (MAP). The effects of eculizumab on the pathology of MAP are explored.
Archival skin and gastrointestinal biopsy material was procured over a 2.5-year period before and after eculizumab therapy in our index case. Routine light microscopy and immunohistochemical assessment for C3d, C4d, C5b-9, MxA and caspase 3 were examined. Direct immunofluorescent studies were also conducted on select biopsy material.
The patient had received eculizumab as a emergent life saving measure and following rapid improvement he continued with biweekly infusions for 4 years. Although improved he continues to have signs and symptoms of persistent abdominal disease. Pre-Eculizumab biopsies showed an active thrombotic microangiopathy associated with a high type I interferon signature and extensive vascular deposits of C5b-9 in skin and gastrointestinal biopsies. Endothelial cell apoptosis as revealed by Caspase 3 expression was noted. Inflammation comprising lymphocytes and macrophages along with mesenchymal mucin was observed as well. Post-eculizumab biopsies did not show active luminal thrombosis but only chronic sequelae of prior episodes of vascular injury. There was no discernible caspase 3 expression. After 12 months of therapy, C5b-9 was no longer detectable in tissue. The high type I IFN signature and inflammation along with mucin deposition was not altered by the drug. In addition, there was little effect of the drug on the occlusive fibrointimal arteriopathy which appears to be one characterized by extensive myofibroblastic expansion of the intima potentially as revealed by staining for smooth muscle actin without immunoreactivity for desmin and myogenin.
Complement activation and enhanced endothelial cell apoptosis play an important role in the thrombotic complications of MAP. However, the larger vessel proliferative intimal changes appear to be independent of complement activation and may be on the basis of other upstream mechanisms. Monitoring C5b-9 deposition in tissue is likely not of great value in assessing treatment response to eculizumab given the persistence of C5b-9 in tissue for several months despite clinically effective C5 blocking therapy. A more integrated approach addressing upstream and downstream pathways in addition to those attributable to complement activation are critical for the successful treatment of MAP. Eculizumab may be used as salvage therapy in critically ill patients with thrombotic microangiopathy.
PMCID: PMC3879088  PMID: 24279613
Eculizumab; Degos disease; Complement; C3d; C5b-9; Caspase 3
22.  309 Difficult-to-treat Asthma with Idiopathic Chronic Eosinophilic Pneumonia 
Idiopathic chronic eosinophilic pneumonia (ICEP) is a rare disorder of unknown cause characterised by subacute or chronic respiratory and general symptoms, alveolar and /or blood eosinophilia, and peripheral pulmonary infiltrates on chest imaging. Interestingly, some but not all patients diagnosed with ICEP have a history of asthma, whilst others may develop asthma after a dignosis of ICEP has been made.
We present this rare and interesting case, because ICEP is a rare complication of asthma, although it is seldom mentioned in reviews ant textbooks on asthma. Asthma in patients with ICEP is relatively severe and get worse after diagnosis of ICEP.
A 70-year-old woman with a history of asthma and chronic rhinitis with polyps (diagnosed in 2003), nonsmoker, history of allergies negative. She suffered from frequent exacerbations of asthma (7 times a year with repeated courses of oral corticosteroids). In 2006 she had sudden fever, weight loss, malaise and impaired dyspnea with productive cough, mild chest pain on sternum and respiratory failure. A chest radiograph demonstrated bibasilar infiltrates. Peripheral blood smear showed a newly developed, marked eosinophilia, and a chest X-rays and HRCT scan revealed a diffuse patchy nodular infiltrate in all lung fields. Serum-precipitating antibodies against Aspergillus antigens negative, no cutaneous reactivity to Aspergillus antigen, negative findings for parasitic infections, no central bronchiectasis on previous HRCT, ANCA, ANA, ENA negative. She received an intensive course of corticosteroids with complete resolution of symptoms and the eosinophilia, as well as decreased infiltrates on chest radiograph. Doses of corticosteroids slowly reduced a maintained until June 2009. Her asthma often exacerbates so far and needs intermittent courses of corticosteroids, is difficult- to-treat, but without any relapses of ICEP.
Clinicians should consider pulmonary eosinophilia in the differential diagnosis of patients treated for asthma who develop pulmonary infiltrates with dyspnea.
PMCID: PMC3512619
23.  Inflammatory Myofibroblastic Tumor on Intercostal Nerve Presenting as Paraneoplastic Pemphigus with Fatal Pulmonary Involvement 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2007;22(4):735-739.
Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMTs) are benign neoplasms that can occur at different anatomic sites with nonspecific clinical symptoms. A 48-yr-old woman presented with a 2-month history of a relapsed oral ulcer, progressive dyspnea, and a thoracic pain induced by breathing. A tumorous mass was noticed in the right costodiaphragmatic recess on chest computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, and the patient underwent a right costotransversectomy with excision of the tumor, which originated from the 12th intercostal nerve. Histology and immunohistochemistry showed that the tumor was an IMT of the intercostal nerve. The patient's postoperative course was not favorable; dyspnea persisted after surgery, and a progressive pulmonary compromise developed. The cause of the respiratory failure was found to be bronchiolitis obliterans, which in this case proved to be a fatal complication of paraneoplastic pemphigus associated with an IMT. This case of IMT of the spinal nerve in the paravertebral region is unique in terms of its location and presentation in combination with paraneoplastic pemphigus, which is rare. A brief review of the heterogeneous theories concerning the pathogenesis, clinicopathological features, and differential diagnosis of this disease entity is presented.
PMCID: PMC2693830  PMID: 17728520
Inflammatory Myofibroblastic Tumor; Intercostal Nerves; Paraneoplastic Pemphigus
24.  Analysis of longitudinal changes in dyspnea of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: an observational study 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):85.
Guidelines recommend that symptoms as well as lung function should be monitored for the management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, limited data are available regarding the longitudinal change in dyspnea, and it remains unknown which of relevant measurements might be used for following dyspnea.
We previously consecutively recruited 137 male outpatients with moderate to very severe COPD, and followed them every 6 months for 5 years. We then reviewed and reanalyzed the data focusing on the relationships between the change in dyspnea and the changes in other clinical measurements of lung function, exercise tolerance tests and psychological status. Dyspnea with activities of daily living was assessed with the Oxygen Cost Diagram (OCD) and modified Medical Research Council dyspnea scale (mMRC), and two dimensions of disease-specific health status questionnaires of the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (CRQ) and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) were also used. Dyspnea at the end of exercise tolerance tests was measured using the Borg scale.
The mMRC, CRQ dyspnea and SGRQ activity significantly worsened over time (p < 0.001), but the OCD did not (p = 0.097). Multiple regression analyses revealed that the changes in the OCD, mMRC, CRQ dyspnea and SGRQ activity were significantly correlated to changes in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (correlation of determination (r2) = 0.05-0.19), diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (r2 = 0.04-0.08) and psychological status evaluated by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (r2 = 0.14-0.17), although these correlations were weak. Peak Borg score decreased rather significantly, but was unrelated to changes in clinical measurements.
Dyspnea worsened over time in patients with COPD. However, as different dyspnea measurements showed different evaluative characteristics, it is important to follow dyspnea using appropriate measurements. Progressive dyspnea was related not only to progressive airflow limitation, but also to various factors such as worsening of diffusing capacity or psychological status. Changes in peak dyspnea at the end of exercise may evaluate different aspects from other dyspnea measurements.
PMCID: PMC3519563  PMID: 23006638
COPD; Dyspnea; Airflow limitation; Diffusing capacity; Exercise; Psychological status; Disease progression
25.  Advanced Gastric Cancer Associated with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Successfully Treated with 5-fluorouracil and Oxaliplatin 
Journal of Gastric Cancer  2013;13(2):121-125.
Gastric cancer patients with acute disseminated intravascular coagulation experiences a rare but severe complication resulting in a dismal prognosis. We report a case of advanced gastric cancer complicated with disseminated intravascular coagulation with intractable tumor bleeding which was successfully treated with chemotherapy consisting of 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin. The patient was a 63-year-old man who complained of abdominal pain, melena, and dyspnea on 24 November 2010. We diagnosed stage IV gastric cancer complicated by disseminated intravascular coagulation. Gastric tumor bleeding was not controlled after procedures were repeated three times using gastrofiberscopy. With the patient's consent, we selected the 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin combination chemotherapy for treatment. After one cycle of 5-fluorouracil and oxaliplatin therapy, symptoms of bleeding improved and the disseminated intravascular coagulation process was successfully controlled. The primary tumor and multiple metastatic bone lesions were remarkably shrunken and metabolically remitted after eight cycles of chemotherapy. In spite of progression, systemic chemotherapy is effective in disease control; further, the patient gained the longest survival time among cases of gastric cancer with disseminated intravascular coagulation.
PMCID: PMC3705133  PMID: 23844328
Stomach neoplasms; Disseminated intravascular coagulation; Fluorouracil; Oxaliplatin

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