Despite improvements in brain surgery and radiotherapy, patients with brain metastases (BM) from breast cancer still have a poor prognosis. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the outcome of a multimodal therapeutic strategy in an unselected cohort of patients.
We retrospectively reviewed 24 breast cancer patients who developed BM and were treated with brain surgery, radiotherapy, and/or systemic therapy in the same institutions.
Primary treatment for BM was surgery in the whole cohort, radiotherapy in 11 patients, radiotherapy combined with systemic therapy in nine patients, and systemic therapy as single treatment in six patients (chemo/targeted therapy n= 4; hormonal therapy n=2). The median time from breast cancer diagnosis to brain surgery was 57.6 months (range 1.8–130.7 months). The overall survival from surgery for BM was 22 months and the overall survival from BM surgery by presence of other metastatic sites at surgery was 25 months for patients with BM only and 11 months for patients with other metastatic sites (p=0.046).
Although this study is retrospective and limited by the small number of patients, the overall survival of 22 months from the time of brain surgery represents an excellent outcome. The multidisciplinary approach that combines the efforts of specialists from different disciplines leads to satisfactory results for patients in terms of survival in the current clinical practice and prospective subtype-oriented trials are urgently required in this category of patients.
breast cancer; brain metastases; surgery; medical treatments; survival outcomes
Locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) is associated with dire prognosis despite progress in multimodal treatments. We evaluated several clinical and pathological features of patients with either noninflammatory (NIBC, cT4a-c) or inflammatory (IBC, cT4d) breast cancer to identify subset groups of patients with high risk of early treatment failure. Clinical and pathological features of 248 patients with LABC, who were treated with multimodality treatments including neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical surgery and radiotherapy were reassessed. Tumour samples obtained at surgery were evaluated using standard immunohistochemical methods. Overall, 141 patients (57%) presented with NIBC (cT4a-c, N0-2, M0) and 107 patients (43%) with IBC (cT4d, N0-2, M0). Median follow-up time was 27.5 months (range: 1.6–87.8). No significant difference in terms of recurrence-free survival (RFS) (P=0.72), disease-free survival (DFS) (P=0.98) and overall survival (OS) (P=0.35) was observed between NIBC and IBC. At the multivariate analysis, patients with ER- and PgR-negative diseases had a significantly worse RFS than patients with ER- and/or PgR-positive diseases (hazard ratio: 2.47, 95% CI: 1.33–4.59 for overall). The worst RFS was observed for the subgroup of patients with endocrine nonresponsive and HER2-negative breast cancer (2-year RFS: 57% in NIBC and 57% in IBC) A high Ki-67 labelling index (>20% of the invasive tumour cells) and the presence of peritumoral vascular invasion (PVI) significantly correlated with poorer RFS in overall (HR 2.69, 95% CI: 1.61–4.50 for Ki-67>20% and HR 2.27, 95% CI: 1.42–3.62 for PVI). Patients with endocrine nonresponsive LABC had the most dire treatment outcome. High degree of Ki-67 staining and presence of PVI were also indicators of higher risk of early relapse. These factors should be considered in therapeutic algorithms for LABC.
prognostic factors; preoperative therapy; surgery; locally advanced breast cancer
Radiation therapy is an essential modality in the treatment of breast cancer. Addition of radiotherapy to surgery has significantly increased local control and survival rates of the disease. However, radiotherapy is also associated with side effects, such as tissue fibrosis or enhanced vascular morbidity. Modern radiotherapy strategies, such as intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), can shorten the overall treatment time by integration of the additional tumor bed boost significantly. To what extent this might be possible without impairing treatment outcome and cosmetic results remains to be clarified.
The IMRT-MC2 study is a prospective, two armed, multicenter, randomized phase-III-trial comparing intensity modulated radiotherapy with integrated boost to conventional radiotherapy with consecutive boost in patients with breast cancer after breast conserving surgery. 502 patients will be recruited and randomized into two arms: patients in arm A will receive IMRT in 28 fractions delivering 50.4 Gy to the breast and 64.4 Gy to the tumor bed by integrated boost, while patients in arm B will receive conventional radiotherapy of the breast in 28 fractions to a dose of 50.4 Gy and consecutive boost in 8 fractions to a total dose of 66.4 Gy.
Primary objectives of the study are the evaluation of the cosmetic results 6 weeks and 2 years post treatment and the 2- and 5-year local recurrence rates for the two different radiotherapy strategies. Secondary objectives are long term overall survival, disease free survival and quality of life.
ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol ID: NCT01322854.
Traditionally, patients with high-risk localized prostate cancer have been an extremely challenging group to manage due to a significant likelihood of treatment failure and prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM). The results of multiple large, prospective, randomized trials have demonstrated that men with high-risk features who are treated in a multimodal fashion at the time of initial diagnosis have improved overall survival. Advances in local treatments such as dose-escalated radiotherapy in conjunction with androgen suppression and postprostatectomy adjuvant radiotherapy have also demonstrated benefits to this subset of patients. However, therapeutic enhancement with the addition of chemotherapy to the primary treatment regimen may help achieve optimal disease control.
The incorporation of radiotherapy into multimodality treatment plans has led to significant improvements in glioma patient survival. However, local recurrence from glioma resistance to ionizing radiation remains a therapeutic challenge. The tumoricidal effect of radiation therapy is largely attributed to the induction of dsDNA breaks (DSBs). In the past decade, there have been tremendous strides in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying DSB repair. The identification of gene products required for DSB repair has provided novel therapeutic targets. Recent studies revealed that many US FDA-approved cancer agents inhibit DSB repair by interacting with repair proteins. This article will aim to provide discussion of DSB repair mechanisms to provide molecular targets for radiation sensitization of gliomas and a discussion of FDA-approved cancer therapies that modulate DSB repair to highlight opportunities for combination therapy with radiotherapy for glioma therapy.
chemotherapy; DNA damage response; DNA double strand break repair; glioblastoma; radiosensitization; radiotherapy
To compare organ specific cancer incidence risks for standard and complex external beam radiotherapy including cone beam CT verification following breast conservation surgery for early breast cancer.
Doses from breast radiotherapy and kilovoltage cone beam CT (CBCT) exposures were obtained from thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) measurements in an anthropomorphic phantom in which the positions of radiosensitive organs were delineated. Five treatment deliveries were investigated : (i) conventional tangential field whole breast radiotherapy (WBRT), (ii) non-coplanar conformal delivery applicable to accelerated partial beast irradiation (APBI), (iii) two-volume simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) treatment, (iv) forward planned three-volume SIB, (v) inverse-planned three volume SIB. Conformal and intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) methods were used to plan the complex treatments. Techniques spanned the range from simple methods appropriate for patient cohorts with a low local cancer recurrence risk to complex plans relevant to cohorts with high recurrence risk. Delineated organs at risk included brain, salivary glands, thyroid, contra-lateral breast, left and right lung, oesophagus, stomach, liver, colon and bladder. Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation (BEIR) VII cancer incidence models were applied to the measured mean organ doses to determine Lifetime Attributable Risk (LAR) for ages at exposure from 35 to 80 years according to radiotherapy techniques, and included dose from the CBCT imaging.
All LAR decreased with age at exposure and were lowest for brain, thyroid, liver and bladder (< 0.1%). There was little dependence of LAR on radiotherapy technique for these organs and for colon and stomach. LAR values for the lungs for the three SIB techniques were two to three times those from WBRT and APBI. Uncertainties in the LAR models outweigh any differences in lung LAR between the SIB methods. Constraints in the planning of the SIB methods ensured that contra-lateral breast doses and LAR were comparable to WBRT, despite their added complexity. The smaller irradiated volume of the ABPI plan contributed to a halving of LAR for contralateral breast compared with the other plan types. Daily image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) for a left breast protocol using kilovoltage CBCT contributed <10% to LAR for the majority of organs, and did not exceed 22% of total organ dose.
Phantom measurements and calculations of LAR from the BEIR VII models predict that complex breast radiotherapy techniques do not increase the theoretical risk of second cancer incidence for organs distant from the treated breast, or the contralateral breast where appropriate plan constraints are applied. Complex SIB treatments are predicted to increase the risk of second cancer incidence in the lungs compared to standard whole breast radiotherapy ; this is outweighed by the threefold reduction in 5 year local recurrence risk for patients of high risk of recurrence, and young age, from the use of radiotherapy. APBI may have a favourable impact on risk of second cancer in the contra-lateral breast and lung for older patients at low risk of recurrence. Intensive use of IGRT increased the estimated values of LAR but these are dominated by the effect of the dose from the radiotherapy, and any increase in LAR from IGRT is much lower than the models’ uncertainties.
second cancer incidence; breast radiotherapy; image-guided radiotherapy; partial breast
Despite broad advances in multimodal treatment of locally advanced breast cancer (LABC), 30 to 40% of patients develop loco-regional relapse. The aim of this study was to analyze in a retrospective manner the effectiveness of concurrent chemo-radiotherapy (CCRTh) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) in patients with LABC.
One hundred twelve patients with LABC (stage IIB-IIIB) were treated with NCT (5-fluorouracil 500 mg/m2, doxorubicin 50 mg/m2, and cyclophosphamide 500 mg/m2 (FAC), or doxorubicin 50 mg/m2 and cyclophosphamide 500 mg/m2 (AC) IV in four 21-day courses) followed by CCRTh (60 Gy breast irradiation and weekly mitomycin 5 mg/m2, 5-fluorouracil 500 mg/m2, and dexamethasone 16 mg, or cisplatin 30 mg/m2, gemcitabine 100 mg/m2 and dexamethasone 16 mg), and 6–8 weeks later, surgery and two additional courses of FAC, AC, or paclitaxel 90 mg/m2 weekly for 12 weeks, and in case of estrogen-receptor positive patients, hormonal therapy.
Stages IIB, IIIA and -B were 21.4, 42.9, and 35.7%, respectively. Pathological complete response (pCR) in the breast was 42% (95% CI, 33.2–50.5%) and, 29.5% (95% CI, 21.4–37.5%) if including both the breast and the axillary nodes. Multivariate analysis showed that the main determinant of pCR was negative estrogen-receptor status (HR = 3.8; 95% CI, 1.5–9; p = 0.016). The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) was 76.9% (95% CI, 68.2–84.7%). No relationship between pCR and DFS was found. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the main DFS determinant was clinical stage (IIB and IIIA vs. IIIB, HR = 3.1; 95% CI, 1.02–9.74; p = 0.04). Only one patient had local recurrence. Five-year overall survival was 84.2% (95% CI, 75–93.2%). The toxicity profile was acceptable.
This non-conventional multimodal treatment has good loco-regional control for LABC. Randomized clinical trials of preoperative CCRTh following chemotherapy, in patients with LABC are warranted.
Breast cancer radiotherapy can be an emotionally difficult experience. Despite this, few studies have examined the effectiveness of psychological interventions to reduce negative affect, and none to date have explicitly examined interventions to improve positive affect among breast cancer radiotherapy patients. The present study examined the effectiveness of a multimodal psychotherapeutic approach, combining cognitive-behavioral therapy and hypnosis (CBTH), to reduce negative affect and increase positive affect in 40 women undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either CBTH or standard care. Participants completed weekly self-report measures of positive and negative affect. Repeated and univariate analyses of variance revealed that the CBTH approach reduced levels of negative affect [F (1, 38) = 13.49; p = .0007], and increased levels of positive affect [F (1, 38) = 9.67; p = .0035, ω2 = .48], during the course of radiotherapy. Additionally, relative to control group, the CBTH group demonstrated significantly more intense positive affect [F (1,38) = 7.09; p = .0113, d = .71] and significantly less intense negative affect [F (1,38) = 10.30; p = .0027, d = .90] during radiotherapy. The CBTH group also had a significantly higher frequency of days where positive affect was greater than negative affect (85% of days assessed for the CBTH group versus 43% of the Control group) [F (1,38) = 18.16; p = .0001, d = 1.16]. Therefore, the CBTH intervention has the potential to improve the affective experience of women undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy.
breast cancer; radiotherapy; cognitive-behavioral therapy; hypnosis; positive affect; negative affect
Metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) is a malignant disease without curative treatment. These patients are usually symptomatic and desperate for effective palliative treatment. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy are not effective in these patients. A multimodal approach consisting of cytoreductive nephrectomy, systemic therapy (which includes cytokines or targeted molecules), and metastasectomy have been shown to be useful in prolonging the survival and improving the quality of life in a select group of patients with metastatic renal cancer. Patients with oligometastatic disease, good performance status, and delayed presentation of the secondaries have better results following this integrated approach. Although there is some controversy regarding the order in which nephrectomy and systemic therapy are to be instituted, well-controlled studies like the South West Oncology Group and European organization research and treatment of cancer have shown that upfront nephrectomy gives better survival compared to neoadjuvant systemic therapy followed by nephrectomy. This order is the standard presently. Of late, with better understanding of the genetic basis and the biology of the various subtypes of renal cell carcinoma, targeted molecular therapies have emerged as an equally effective alternative therapy to cytokines. Recent reports have proven that targeted therapy is more effective with comparable side effects. Metastasectomy in a subgroup of patients improves survival and quality of life specifically in those with lung secondaries and painful bone metastases.
Cytoreductive nephrectomy; immunotherapy; metastasectomy; metastatic renal cancer; targeted molecular therapy
Multimodal approaches are nowadays successfully applied in cancer therapy. Primary locally acting therapies such as radiotherapy (RT) and surgery are combined with systemic administration of chemotherapeutics. Nevertheless, the therapy of cancer is still a big challenge in medicine. The treatments often fail to induce long-lasting anti-tumor responses. Tumor recurrences and metastases result. Immunotherapies are therefore ideal adjuncts to standard tumor therapies since they aim to activate the patient's immune system against malignant cells even outside the primary treatment areas (abscopal effects). Especially cancer vaccines may have the potential both to train the immune system against cancer cells and to generate an immunological memory, resulting in long-lasting anti-tumor effects. However, despite promising results in phase I and II studies, most of the concepts finally failed. There are some critical aspects in development and application of cancer vaccines that may decide on their efficiency. The time point and frequency of medication, usage of an adequate immune adjuvant, the vaccine's immunogenic potential, and the tumor burden of the patient are crucial. Whole tumor cell vaccines have advantages compared to peptide-based ones since a variety of tumor antigens (TAs) are present. The master requirements of cell-based, therapeutic tumor vaccines are the complete inactivation of the tumor cells and the increase of their immunogenicity. Since the latter is highly connected with the cell death modality, the inactivation procedure of the tumor cell material may significantly influence the vaccine's efficiency. We therefore also introduce high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) as an innovative inactivation technology for tumor cell-based vaccines and outline that HHP efficiently inactivates tumor cells by enhancing their immunogenicity. Finally studies are presented proving that anti-tumor immune responses can be triggered by combining RT with selected immune therapies.
immunotherapy; vaccination; cancer therapy; multimodal; anti-tumor immunity; whole cell-based vaccines; high hydrostatic pressure; radiotherapy
To relate the development of post-treatment hypothyroidism with the dose distribution within the thyroid gland in breast cancer (BC) patients treated with loco-regional radiotherapy (RT).
Methods and materials
In two groups of BC patients postoperatively irradiated by computer tomography (CT)-based RT, the individual dose distributions in the thyroid gland were compared with each other; Cases developed post-treatment hypothyroidism after multimodal treatment including 4-field RT technique. Matched patients in Controls remained free for hypothyroidism. Based on each patient's dose volume histogram (DVH) the volume percentages of the thyroid absorbing respectively 20, 30, 40 and 50 Gy were then estimated (V20, V30, V40 and V50) together with the individual mean thyroid dose over the whole gland (MeanTotGy). The mean and median thyroid dose for the included patients was about 30 Gy, subsequently the total volume of the thyroid gland (VolTotGy) and the absolute volumes (cm3) receiving respectively < 30 Gy and ≥ 30 Gy were calculated (Vol < 30 and Vol ≥ 30) and analyzed.
No statistically significant inter-group differences were found between V20, V30, V40 and V50Gy or the median of MeanTotGy. The median VolTotGy in Controls was 2.3 times above VolTotGy in Cases (ρ = 0.003), with large inter-individual variations in both groups. The volume of the thyroid gland receiving < 30 Gy in Controls was almost 2.5 times greater than the comparable figure in Cases.
We concluded that in patients with small thyroid glands after loco-radiotherapy of BC, the risk of post-treatment hypothyroidism depends on the volume of the thyroid gland.
Breast cancer; Radiotherapy; hypothyroidism
Treatment strategy for locally advanced primary breast cancer(LAPC) remains mainly multimodal involving neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery followed by radiotherapy and endocrine therapy, all given upfront. There have been few studies comparing this with a sequential treatment approach, for instance, using endocrine therapy as initial treatment. Based on small randomised clinical trials and local experience in Nottingham, primary endocrine therapy has been shown to produce very good early (response) and late (survival) outcome when used in ER positive, noninflammatory LAPC. This could be considered as a viable therapeutic option in appropriately selected patients.
Locally advanced primary breast cancer; Treatment; Endocrine therapy
Use of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the adjuvant setting has improved survival for many patients with malignancy. Unfortunately multimodality treatment can come at a price, in particular therapy-related malignancies. This has importance in that patients must be made aware of this potential detriment from therapy and doctors must consider this diagnosis in those patients who are cancer survivors and presenting with health problems. We present a case report and brief overview of the literature regarding chemotherapy-induced acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) following therapy for early stage breast cancer.
therapy-related leukaemia; breast cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy
This study compares the effects of an integrated yoga program with brief supportive therapy on distressful symptoms in breast cancer outpatients undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy.
Materials and Methods:
Eighty-eight stage II and III breast cancer outpatients were randomly assigned to receive yoga (n = 44) or brief supportive therapy (n = 44) prior to their radiotherapy treatment. Intervention consisted of yoga sessions lasting 60 min daily while the control group was imparted supportive therapy once in 10 days during the course of their adjuvant radiotherapy. Assessments included Rotterdam Symptom Check List and European Organization for Research in the Treatment of Cancer—Quality of Life (EORTC QoL C30) symptom scale. Assessments were done at baseline and after 6 weeks of radiotherapy treatment.
A GLM repeated-measures ANOVA showed a significant decrease in psychological distress (P = 0.01), fatigue (P = 0.007), insomnia (P = 0.001), and appetite loss (P = 0.002) over time in the yoga group as compared to controls. There was significant improvement in the activity level (P = 0.02) in the yoga group as compared to controls. There was a significant positive correlation between physical and psychological distress and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, dyspnea, insomnia, appetite loss, and constipation. There was a significant negative correlation between the activity level and fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, dyspnea, insomnia, and appetite loss.
The results suggest beneficial effects with yoga intervention in managing cancer-and treatment-related symptoms in breast cancer patients.
Breast cancer; meditation; stress; symptom distress; yoga
Only 4.4% of patients with inflammatory carcinomas of the breast survive 5 years. The incidence of the disease is fortunately low at less than 2% of all mammary malignancies, and there is no relationship to pregnancy or lactation. Clinical diagnosis should be supplemented by searches for microscopic metastases in dermal lymphatics and for distant metastases before a therapeutic programme is planned. Combinations of local and systemic treatments best suited to each individual should be devised. The grave outlook justifies the prescription of multimodal regimens incorporating radiotherapy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and endocrine therapy from the outset. This may be regarded as providing the best chance of controlling the heterogeneous assortment of cellular types with different therapeutic responsivities within each cancer. Further collaboration between disciplines and centres is essential for the accumulation of expertise in treating this grave disease.
Esophageal cancer continues to represent a formidable challenge for both patients and clinicians. Relative 5-year survival rates for patients have improved over the past three decades, probably linked to a combination of improved surgical outcomes, progress in systemic chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and the increasing acceptance of multimodality treatment. Surgical treatment remains a fundamental component of the treatment of localized esophageal adenocarcinoma. Multiple approaches have been described for esophagectomy, which can be thematically grouped under two major categories: either transthoracic or transhiatal. The main controversy rests on whether a more extended resection through thoracotomy provides superior oncological outcomes as opposed to resection with relatively limited morbidity and mortality through a transhiatal approach. After numerous trials have addressed these issues, neither approach has consistently proven to be superior to the other one, and both can provide excellent short-term results in the hands of experienced surgeons. Moreover, the available literature suggests that experience of the surgeon and hospital in the surgical management of esophageal cancer is an important factor for operative morbidity and mortality rates, which could supersede the type of approach selected. Oncological outcomes appear to be similar after both procedures.
Esophageal cancer; Transhiatal esophageal resection; Transthoracic esophageal resection
Despite progress achieved in diagnosis and therapy in recent years, locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) remains a major clinical issue. Biological characteristics and clinical behavior varies widely, ranging from indolent to locally aggressive or generalized disease. In depth knowledge of biology of cancer progression and cancer could lead to the identification of tumor characteristics associated with outcome. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) integrated into a multimodality program is nowadays the established treatment in LABC. Although our efforts in this research task are ongoing, of special clinical interest is the integration of anti-HER2 and other biological therapies, as anti-angiogenesis targeted treatments, that may further improve the long term control of LABC. Clinical management of LABC could be modified based on molecular biology and an approach tailored to each patient will optimize therapy.
locally advanced breast cancer; multimodality approach; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; biological therapy
The management of cutaneous metastases often represents a challenge because they may be widespread and may recur after radiotherapy or chemotherapy; breast cancer accounts for 51% of the total cases of cutaneous metastases. When surgical excision of chest wall recurrences is not possible and other local treatments such as radiotherapy or radiotherapy with hyperthermia fail, topical chemotherapy and electrochemotherapy (ECT) might be taken into account.
ECT is a new local treatment of solid tumors which can be defined as the local potentiation, by means of permeabilizing electric pulses, of the antitumor activity of a non permeating anticancer drug with high intrinsic cytotoxicity.
This prospective observational study took place throughout March 2010 to October 2011. Twelve consecutive elderly patients (1 man and 11 women, median age of 76 years) with regional or distant skin or subcutaneous metastases from breast cancer, with or without visceral disease, were included in the study. Patient enrollment was carried out according to the ESOPE criteria. Bleomycin administration was followed by the application of brief electric pulses to each tumor nodule within 8 min after intravenous infusion of the drug. Electric currents were delivered by means of a 2–3 cm long needle electrode according to lesion size. All treatments were performed using the CliniporatorTM device.
We observed Complete Response(CR) in 75.3% (107 metastases), Partial Response(PR) in 17% (24 metastases), no change in 7.7% (11 metastases) . No serious ECT-related adverse events were reported; adverse events consisted of pain in the treated area one to two days after treatment (1 patient, 8.3%) and ulceration of treated area (1 patient, 8.3%).
ECT could be suggested as a primary local therapy in patients not suitable for surgical removal of the primary tumor, and clinicians should not hesitate to use it even in the elderly.
Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) assessment is a key component of clinical oncology trials. However, few breast cancer trials comparing adjuvant conventional radiotherapy (CR) and hypofractionated tomotherapy (TT) have investigated HRQOL. We compared HRQOL in stage I-II breast cancer patients who were randomized to receive either CR or TT. Tomotherapy uses an integrated computed tomography scanner to improve treatment accuracy, aiming to reduce the adverse effects of radiotherapy.
A total of 121 stage I–II breast cancer patients who had undergone breast conserving surgery (BCS) or mastectomy (MA) were randomly assigned to receive either CR or TT. CR patients received 25 × 2 Gy over 5 weeks, and BCS patients also received a sequential boost of 8 × 2 Gy over 2 weeks. TT patients received 15 × 2.8 Gy over 3 weeks, and BCS patients also received a simultaneous integrated boost of 15 × 0.6 Gy over 3 weeks. Patients completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 and BR23 questionnaires. The mean score (± standard error) was calculated at baseline, the end of radiotherapy, and at 3 months and 1, 2, and 3 years post-radiotherapy. Data were analyzed by the 'intention-to-treat' principle.
On the last day of radiotherapy, patients in both treatment arms had decreased global health status and functioning scores; increased fatigue (clinically meaningful in both treatment arms), nausea and vomiting, and constipation; decreased arm symptoms; clinically meaningful increased breast symptoms in CR patients and systemic side effects in TT patients; and slightly decreased body image and future perspective.
At 3 months post-radiotherapy, TT patients had a clinically significant increase in role- and social-functioning scores and a clinically significant decrease in fatigue. The post-radiotherapy physical-, cognitive- and emotional-functioning scores improved faster in TT patients than CR patients. TT patients also had a better long-term recovery from fatigue than CR patients. ANOVA with the Bonferroni correction did not show any significant differences between groups in HRQOL scores.
TT patients had a better improvement in global health status and role- and cognitive-functioning, and a faster recovery from fatigue, than CR patients. These results suggest that a shorter fractionation schedule may reduce the adverse effects of treatment.
Health-related quality of life; Breast cancer; Hypofractionated radiotherapy; Adjuvant treatment; Randomized trial
The role of surgeons in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) of the skin is reviewed, with respect to diagnosis and treatment. Most of the data in the literature are case reports. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment. A wide local excision, with sentinel node (SLN) biopsy, is the recommended treatment of choice. If SLN is involved, nodal dissection should be performed; unless patient is unfit, then regional radiotherapy can be given. Surgeons should always refer patients for assessment of the need for adjuvant treatments. Adjuvant radiotherapy is well tolerated and effective to minimize recurrence. Adjuvant chemotherapy may be considered for selected node-positive patients, as per National Comprehensive Cancer Network guideline. Data are insufficient to assess whether adjuvant chemotherapy improves survival. Recurrent disease should be treated by complete surgical resection if possible, followed by radiotherapy and possibly chemotherapy. Generally results of multimodality treatment for recurrent disease are better than lesser treatments. Future research should focus on newer chemotherapy and molecular targeted agents in the adjuvant setting and for gross disease.
Cachexia is a complex metabolic syndrome associated with many chronic or end-stage diseases, especially cancer, and is characterized by loss of muscle with or without loss of fat mass. The management of cachexia is a complex challenge that should address the different causes underlying this clinical event with an integrated or multimodal treatment approach targeting the different factors involved in its pathophysiology. The purpose of this article was to review the current medical treatment of cancer-related cachexia, in particular focusing on combination therapy and ongoing research. Among the treatments proposed in the literature for cancer-related cachexia, some proved to be ineffective, namely, cyproheptadine, hydrazine, metoclopramide, and pentoxifylline. Among effective treatments, progestagens are currently considered the best available treatment option for cancer-related cachexia, and they are the only drugs approved in Europe. Drugs with a strong rationale that have failed or have not shown univocal results in clinical trials so far include eicosapentaenoic acid, cannabinoids, bortezomib, and anti-TNF-alpha MoAb. Several emerging drugs have shown promising results but are still under clinical investigation (thalidomide, selective cox-2 inhibitors, ghrelin mimetics, insulin, oxandrolone, and olanzapine). To date, despite several years of coordinated efforts in basic and clinical research, practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of cancer-related muscle wasting are lacking, mainly because of the multifactorial pathogenesis of the syndrome. From all the data presented, one can speculate that one single therapy may not be completely successful in the treatment of cachexia. From this point of view, treatments involving different combinations are more likely to be successful.
Cachexia; Oncology; Treatment
Tumor hypoxia triggers signaling cascades that significantly affect biologic outcomes such as resistance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy in breast cancer. Hypoxic regions in solid tumor are spatially heterogeneous. Therefore, delineating the origin and extent of hypoxia in tumors is critical. In this study, we have investigated the effect of hypoxia on different metabolic pathways, such as lipid and choline metabolism, in a human breast cancer model. Human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and tumors, which were genetically engineered to express red fluorescent tdTomato protein under hypoxic conditions, were used to investigate hypoxia. Our data were obtained with a novel three-dimensional multimodal molecular imaging platform that combines magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), and optical imaging of hypoxia and necrosis. A higher concentration of noninvasively detected total choline-containing metabolites (tCho) and lipid CH3 localized in the tdTomato-fluorescing hypoxic regions indicated that hypoxia can upregulate tCho and lipid CH3 levels in this breast tumor model. The increase in tCho under hypoxia was primarily due to elevated phosphocholine levels as shown by in vitro MR spectroscopy. Elevated lipid CH3 levels detected under hypoxia were caused by an increase in mobile MR-detectable lipid droplets, as demonstrated by Nile Red staining. Our findings demonstrate that noninvasive MRSI can help delineate hypoxic regions in solid tumors by means of detecting the metabolic outcome of tumor hypoxia, which is characterized by elevated tCho and lipid CH3.
Radiotherapy is a critical component of treatment for the majority of women with breast cancer, particularly those who receive breast conserving surgery. Although medically beneficial, radiotherapy can take a physical and psychological toll on patients. However, little is known about the specific thoughts and feelings experienced by women undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy. Therefore, the study aim was to use qualitative research methods to develop an understanding of these thoughts and feelings based on 180 diary entries, completed during radiotherapy by 15 women with Stage 0-III breast cancer. Thematic analysis identified four primary participant concerns: (a) a preoccupation with time; (b) fantasies (both optimistic and pessimistic) about life following radiotherapy; (c) the toll their side-effect experience takes on their self-esteem; and (d) feeling mystified by radiotherapy. These themes are consistent with previous literature on illness and identity. These findings have implications for the treatment and care of women undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy.
breast cancer; cancer; psychosocial aspects; distress; qualitative methods; general; women’s health; women’s issues
Although much has been learned about the complication of fatigue during breast cancer treatment, the possibility that there are differences across treatment modalities in breast cancer patients’ experience of fatigue has not yet been established. In this study, fatigue was assessed in 134 women receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy or radiotherapy only for early stage breast cancer. Comparisons of fatigue during initial treatment indicated that women who received chemotherapy reported greater fatigue severity and disruptiveness than women receiving radiotherapy. Women not pre-treated with chemotherapy experienced increased fatigue over the course of radiotherapy. Results confirmed predictions that fatigue in women with early stage breast cancer differs as a function of the type of treatment and sequencing of treatment. Findings indicating increases in fatigue during radiotherapy only among women not pretreated with chemotherapy suggest a response shift, or a change in internal standards, in women’s perceptions of fatigue as a function of prior chemotherapy treatment.
Fatigue; breast cancer; chemotherapy; radiotherapy
Gastric cancer and cancer of the gastro-oesophageal junction (GOJ) are the 4th most common cancer diagnoses worldwide with regional differences in incidence rates. The treatment of gastric and GOJ cancers is complex and requires multimodality treatment including chemotherapy treatment, surgery, and radiotherapy. During the past decade considerable improvements were achieved by advanced surgical techniques, tailored chemotherapies/radiotherapy and technical innovations in clinical diagnostics. In patients with advanced or metastatic gastric/GOJ cancer systemic chemotherapy with fluoropyrimidine/platinum-based regimens (+/-human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 antibody) is the mainstay of treatment. Despite these improvements, the clinical outcome for patients with advanced or metastatic disease is generally poor with 5-year survival rates ranging between 5%-15%. These poor survival rates may to some extent be related that standard therapies beyond first-line therapies have never been defined. Considering that this patient population is often not fit enough to receive further treatments there is an increasing body of evidence from phase-2 studies that in fact second-line therapies may have a positive impact in terms of overall survival. Moreover two recently published phase-3 studies support the use of second-line chemotherapy. A South Korean study compared either, irinotecan or docetaxel with best supportive care and a German study compared irinotecan with best supportive care-both studies met their primary endpoint overall survival. In this “Field of Vision” article, we review these recently published phase-3 studies and put them into the context of clinical prognostic factors helping to guide treatment decisions in patients who most likely benefit.
Gastric cancer; Cancer of the gastro-esophageal junction; Second-line chemotherapy; Best supportive care; Survival