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1.  Male breast cancer: A retrospective study comparing survival with female breast cancer 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(4):642-646.
Male breast cancer is a rare disease. The aim of this study was to compare overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in a group of matched males and females with breast cancer. The clinical data and survival status of 42 operable male breast cancer (MBC) cases treated at the Central Hospital of Tai'an from 1982 to 2006 were collected. Each MBC patient recorded in the database was matched with two female breast cancer (FBC) patients. Matching was conducted based on age, year of diagnosis, stage and pathology. SPSS 16.0 software was used for statistical analysis. The Chi-square test was used for the categorical data, the Kaplan-Meier method was applied to analyze survival and the log-rank test was used to compare curves between the groups. P<0.05 was considered to indicate a statistically significant difference. The 42 MBC patients were matched with 84 FBC patients. The mean age at diagnosis was 58.0±11.3 years for males and 57.1±10.6 years for females, and the median follow-up time was 64 months (range, 5–262 months) for males and 71 months (range, 29–283 months) for females. Significant differences were identified for tumor location, hormone receptor status, adjuvant chemotherapy and hormone therapy between the two groups. Monofactorial analysis demonstrated that tumor size, lymph node status and AJCC stage were prognostic factors in MBC patients. The 5- and 10-year DFS rates were 61.2 and 40.7% for males, and 68.7 and 43.0% for females, respectively. The 5-and 10-year OS rates were 75.3 and 52.3% for males, and 82.9 and 63.2% for females, respectively. In our study, male breast carcinoma patients had a worse prognosis compared to female breast carcinoma patients which may be due to the deficiency of adjuvant chemotherapy and endocrine therapy.
PMCID: PMC3506629  PMID: 23205077
male breast cancer; female breast cancer; clinical characteristics; therapy; prognosis
2.  Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma: a clinicopathologic study and prognostic analysis of 51 cases 
Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma is a diagnostically challenging group of tumors. It’s a rare histologic subtype of non-small cell lung cancer.There are five subgroups of pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma, they are identified as pleomorphic carcinoma, spindle cell carcinoma, giant cell carcinoma, carcinosarcoma, and pulmonary blastoma. We explored the clinicopathologic features and prognostic factors of this tumor.
We analyzed retrospectively the clinicopathological data of 51 patients with pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma who were treated in the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Henan Cancer Hospital and Henan People Hospital from January 2005 to December 2012. The correlation between prognosis and age, sex, smoking history, tumor size, TNM staging, and treatment modality was analyzed by the statistical software SPSS 17.0. The survival analysis was conducted using the Kaplan-Meier method. The factors influencing survival were analyzed using univariate (Log-rank) and multivariate (Cox) models.
The overall survival rates at 1, 2, 3 and 5 years were 45.5%, 35.8%, 28.2% and 20.1%, respectively. Cox univariate analyses revealed that age, tumor size, T stage, M stage, surgery or not, and postoperative chemotherapy or not, were prognostic factors. Cox multivariate analysis found that tumor size and M stage were independent prognostic factors for PSC.
Due to its rarity and the lack of large-scale clinical trial evidence, few studies about PSC have been reported, its clinical and pathological characteristics remain unclear, and its preoperative diagnosis and investigation of novel treatment approaches are imperative. In our study, the main factors affecting the prognosis of tumor size and M staging are the crucial prognostic factors for PSC. Surgical resection and postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy might result in better prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3850921  PMID: 24088577
Pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma; Clinical characteristics; Cathological characteristics; Treatment; Prognosis
3.  Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of published literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenomics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: or at
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: An Evidence-Based and Ecopnomic Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based and Economic Analysis
To review and synthesize the available evidence regarding the laboratory performance, prognostic value, and predictive value of Oncotype-DX for the target population.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
The target population of this review is women with newly diagnosed early stage (stage I–IIIa) invasive breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor (ER) positive and/or progesterone-receptor (PR) positive. Much of this review, however, is relevant for women with early stage (I and II) invasive breast cancer that is specifically ER positive, lymph node (LN) negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/neu) negative. This refined population represents an estimated incident population of 3,315 new breast cancers in Ontario (according to 2007 data). Currently it is estimated that only 15% of these women will develop a distant metastasis at 10 years; however, a far great proportion currently receive adjuvant chemotherapy, suggesting that more women are being treated with chemotherapy than can benefit. There is therefore a need to develop better prognostic and predictive tools to improve the selection of women that may benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
Technology of Concern
The Oncotype-DX Breast Cancer Assay (Genomic Health, Redwood City, CA) quantifies gene expression for 21 genes in breast cancer tissue by performing reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumour blocks that are obtained during initial surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy, or core biopsy) of women with early breast cancer that is newly diagnosed. The panel of 21 genes include genes associated with tumour proliferation and invasion, as well as other genes related to HER-2/neu expression, ER expression, and progesterone receptor (PR) expression.
Research Questions
What is the laboratory performance of Oncotype-DX?
How reliable is Oncotype-DX (i.e., how repeatable and reproducible is Oncotype-DX)?
How often does Oncotype-DX fail to give a useable result?
What is the prognostic value of Oncotype-DX?*
Is Oncotype-DX recurrence score associated with the risk of distant recurrence or death due to any cause in women with early breast cancer receiving tamoxifen?
What is the predictive value of Oncotype-DX?*
Does Oncoytpe-DX recurrence score predict significant benefit in terms of improvements in 10-year distant recurrence or death due to any cause for women receiving tamoxifen plus chemotherapy in comparison to women receiving tamoxifen alone?
How does Oncotype-DX compare to other known predictors of risk such as Adjuvant! Online?
How does Oncotype-DX impact patient quality of life and clinical/patient decision-making?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on March 19th, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1st, 2006 to March 19th, 2010. A starting search date of January 1st, 2006 was because a comprehensive systematic review of Oncotype-DX was identified in preliminary literature searching. This systematic review, by Marchionni et al. (2008), included literature up to January 1st, 2007. All studies identified in the review by Marchionni et al. as well as those identified in updated literature searching were used to form the evidentiary base of this review. The quality of the overall body of evidence was identified as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
Any observational trial, controlled clinical trial, randomized controlled trial (RCT), meta-analysis or systematic review that reported on the laboratory performance, prognostic value and/or predictive value of Oncotype-DX testing, or other outcome relevant to the Key Questions, specific to the target population was included.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that did not report original data or original data analysis,
Studies published in a language other than English,
Studies reported only in abstract or as poster presentations (such publications were not sought nor included in this review since the MAS does not generally consider evidence that is not subject to peer review nor does the MAS consider evidence that lacks detailed description of methodology).
Outcomes of Interest
Outcomes of interest varied depending on the Key Question. For the Key Questions of prognostic and predictive value (Key Questions #2 and #3), the prospectively defined primary outcome was risk of 10-year distant recurrence. The prospectively defined secondary outcome was 10-year death due to any cause (i.e., overall survival). All additional outcomes such as risk of locoregional recurrence or disease-free survival (DFS) were not prospectively determined for this review but were reported as presented in included trials; these outcomes are referenced as tertiary outcomes in this review. Outcomes for other Key Questions (i.e., Key Questions #1, #4 and #5) were not prospectively defined due to the variability in endpoints relevant for these questions.
Summary of Findings
A total of 26 studies were included. Of these 26 studies, only five studies were relevant to the primary questions of this review (Key Questions #2 and #3). The following conclusions were drawn from the entire body of evidence:
There is a lack of external validation to support the reliability of Oncotype-DX; however, the current available evidence derived from internal industry validation studies suggests that Oncotype-DX is reliable (i.e., Oncotype-DX is repeatable and reproducible).
Current available evidence suggests a moderate failure rate of Oncotype-DX testing; however, the failure rate observed across clinical trials included in this review is likely inflated; the current Ontario experience suggests an acceptably lower rate of test failure.
In women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer (stage I–II) that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node negative:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole (the latter for postmenopausal women only),
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX can predict which women will benefit from adjuvant CMF/MF chemotherapy in women being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
In postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed early breast cancer that is estrogen-receptor positive and/or progesterone-receptor positive and lymph-node positive:
There is low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited prognostic value in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen or anastrozole,
There is very low quality evidence that Oncotype-DX has limited predictive value for predicting which women will benefit from adjuvant CAF chemotherapy in women who are being treated with adjuvant tamoxifen.
There are methodological and statistical limitations that affect both the generalizability of the current available evidence, as well as the magnitude and statistical strength of the observed effect sizes; in particular:
Of the major predictive trials, Oncotype-DX scores were only produced for a small subset of women (<40% of the original randomized population) potentially disabling the effects of treatment randomization and opening the possibility of selection bias;
Data is not specific to HER-2/neu-negative women;
There were limitations with multivariate statistical analyses.
Additional trials of observational design may provide further validation of the prognostic and predictive value of Oncotype-DX; however, it is unlikely that prospective or randomized data will become available in the near future due to ethical, time and resource considerations.
There is currently insufficient evidence investigating how Oncoytpe-DX compares to other known prognostic estimators of risk, such as Adjuvant! Online, and there is insufficient evidence investigating how Oncotype-DX would impact clinician/patient decision-making in a setting generalizable to Ontario.
PMCID: PMC3382301  PMID: 23074401
4.  Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) is an independent prognostic indicator in pseudomyxoma peritonei post cytoreductive surgery and perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy 
Pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) is characteristically divided into two histopathological subtypes; disseminated peritoneal adenomucinosis (DPAM) and peritoneal mucinous carcinomatosis (PMCA). The latter is associated with a worse prognosis. However, even within the DPAM group, there is a considerable variation in outcome. In this study we investigate the role of baseline serum tumor markers CA 19-9, CEA and CA-125 in further stratifying survival.
Over 16 years, 218 patients with PMP were treated with cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (PIC) at our institution. A CA-125 level of >35 U/L, CA 19-9 of >40 U/mL and CEA of >3 ng/mL were considered positive or elevated outside the laboratory reference range. The impact of clinicopathologic and treatment-related variables on overall survival (OS) was analyzed with the Kaplan Meier method. Survival curves were compared using the log-rank test. Variables deemed significant by univariate analyses were entered into multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model.
Within the DPAM group, the 5-year survival of patients who were CA 19-9 positive versus those with normal values were 58% and 90% respectively (P<0.001). Other variables found to negatively impact on OS in univariate analyses were completeness of cytoreduction (CC) score 2/3 (P<0.001), peritoneal cancer index (PCI) >25 (P<0.001) and male gender (P=0.017). In the Cox regression model, only CA 19-9 positivity was found to be an independent prognostic factor for OS (P=0.034). In addition to marker positivity, the absolute level of CA 19-9 was also prognostically significant. In patients with CA 19-9>1,000 U/mL, the 5-year survival was 23%, in contrast to 90% in patients with CA 19-9<100 U/mL (P<0.001).
In the PMCA cohort, only CC-score was found to be associated with OS (P<0.001).
Our study provides relevant prognostic information for the DPAM subtype in staging and prioritizing surgery; as even in apparently indolent disease, some patients have poorer survival. CA 19-9 elevation may also be useful in identifying patients who would potentially benefit from adjuvant therapy and/or closer post-operative surveillance.
The potential role of CA 19-9 in mediating tumor cell adhesion and disease progression in PMP should be further investigated to deepen our understanding of the disease’s inherent biological behavior. If a true relationship exists, CA 19-9 may be a conceivable target for immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3635178  PMID: 23730513
Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9); pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP); disseminated peritoneal adenomucinosis (DPAM); peritoneal mucinous carcinomatosis (PMCA)
5.  Impact of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Phenotype on Prognosis in Patients with Stage I Breast Cancer 
Journal of Breast Cancer  2012;15(2):197-202.
Although most patients with stage I breast cancer have a good prognosis, their clinical outcomes may vary significantly. We assessed clinical outcomes and prognostic factors in stage I breast cancer patients with and without triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) phenotype.
Of 2,489 patients undergoing breast cancer surgery between January 1998 and December 2002, 554 (22.3%) had stage I breast cancer (tumor size ≤2 cm, and lymph node-negative). TNBC was defined as a primary tumor negative for estrogen and progesterone receptors (Allred scores <3/8) and for HER2/neu (0-1+ by immunohistochemistry).
Of the 554 patients with stage I breast cancer, 78 (14.1%) had TNBC. A significant proportion of TNBC patients had histologic grade 3 tumors (47.4% vs. 34.5%, p=0.031) and tumors >1 cm (87.2% vs. 75.8%, p=0.028) and received adjuvant chemotherapy (79.5% vs. 44.7%, p<0.001). During a median follow-up time of 8.7 years, 72 patients experienced tumor recurrences; 18 (23.1%) in the TNBC group and 54 (11.3%) in the non-TNBC group (p=0.010), with cumulative 3-year rate of recurrence of 12.8% and 5.3%, respectively (p=0.010). Ten-year relapse-free survival (RFS; 75.6% vs. 87.5%, p=0.004) and overall survival (OS; 83.0% vs. 91.4%, p=0.002) rates were significantly lower in the TNBC group. Multivariate analysis showed that triple negativity and histologic grade were independent predictors of shorter RFS and OS.
TNBC had more aggressive clinicopathologic characteristics and was associated with poorer survival in patients with stage I breast cancer. More intensive adjuvant chemotherapy or a different therapeutic strategy targeting this population is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3395743  PMID: 22807937
Breast neoplasms; HER2/neu; Prognosis
6.  Subtyping of Breast Cancer by Immunohistochemistry to Investigate a Relationship between Subtype and Short and Long Term Survival: A Collaborative Analysis of Data for 10,159 Cases from 12 Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000279.
Paul Pharoah and colleagues evaluate the prognostic significance of immunohistochemical subtype classification in more than 10,000 breast cancer cases with early disease, and examine the influence of a patient's survival time on the prediction of future survival.
Immunohistochemical markers are often used to classify breast cancer into subtypes that are biologically distinct and behave differently. The aim of this study was to estimate mortality for patients with the major subtypes of breast cancer as classified using five immunohistochemical markers, to investigate patterns of mortality over time, and to test for heterogeneity by subtype.
Methods and Findings
We pooled data from more than 10,000 cases of invasive breast cancer from 12 studies that had collected information on hormone receptor status, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) status, and at least one basal marker (cytokeratin [CK]5/6 or epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR]) together with survival time data. Tumours were classified as luminal and nonluminal tumours according to hormone receptor expression. These two groups were further subdivided according to expression of HER2, and finally, the luminal and nonluminal HER2-negative tumours were categorised according to expression of basal markers. Changes in mortality rates over time differed by subtype. In women with luminal HER2-negative subtypes, mortality rates were constant over time, whereas mortality rates associated with the luminal HER2-positive and nonluminal subtypes tended to peak within 5 y of diagnosis and then decline over time. In the first 5 y after diagnosis the nonluminal tumours were associated with a poorer prognosis, but over longer follow-up times the prognosis was poorer in the luminal subtypes, with the worst prognosis at 15 y being in the luminal HER2-positive tumours. Basal marker expression distinguished the HER2-negative luminal and nonluminal tumours into different subtypes. These patterns were independent of any systemic adjuvant therapy.
The six subtypes of breast cancer defined by expression of five markers show distinct behaviours with important differences in short term and long term prognosis. Application of these markers in the clinical setting could have the potential to improve the targeting of adjuvant chemotherapy to those most likely to benefit. The different patterns of mortality over time also suggest important biological differences between the subtypes that may result in differences in response to specific therapies, and that stratification of breast cancers by clinically relevant subtypes in clinical trials is urgently required.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Each year, more than one million women discover they have breast cancer. Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast's milk-producing glands or in the tubes (ducts) that take milk to the nipples acquire genetic changes that allow them to divide uncontrollably and to move around the body (metastasize). The uncontrolled cell division leads to the formation of a lump that can be detected by mammography (a breast X-ray) or by manual breast examination. Breast cancer is treated by surgical removal of the lump or, if the cancer has started to spread, by removal of the whole breast (mastectomy). Surgery is usually followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These “adjuvant” therapies are designed to kill any remaining cancer cells but can make women very ill. Generally speaking, the outlook (prognosis) for women with breast cancer is good. In the United States, for example, nearly 90% of affected women are still alive five years after their diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because there are several types of cells in the milk ducts and glands, there are several subtypes of breast cancer. Luminal tumors, for example, begin in the cells that line the ducts and glands and usually grow slowly; basal-type tumors arise in deeper layers of the ducts and glands and tend to grow quickly. Clinicians need to distinguish between different breast cancer subtypes so that they can give women a realistic prognosis and can give adjuvant treatments to those women who are most likely to benefit. One way to distinguish between different subtypes is to stain breast cancer samples using antibodies (immune system proteins) that recognize particular proteins (antigens). This “immunohistochemical” approach can identify several breast cancer subtypes but its prognostic value and the best way to classify breast tumors remains unclear. In this study, the researchers investigate the survival over time of women with six major subtypes of breast cancer classified using five immunohistochemical markers: the estrogen receptor and the progesterone receptor (two hormone receptors expressed by luminal cells), the human epidermal growth factors receptor-2 (HER2, a protein marker used to select specific adjuvant therapies), and CK5/6 and EGFR (proteins expressed by basal cells).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers pooled data on survival time and on the expression of the five immunohistochemical markers from more than 10,000 cases of breast cancer from 12 studies. They then divided the tumors into six subtypes on the basis of their marker expression: luminal (hormone receptor-positive), HER2-positive tumors; luminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-positive tumors; luminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-negative tumors; nonluminal (hormone receptor-negative), HER2-positive tumors; nonluminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-positive tumors; and nonluminal, HER2-negative, basal marker-negative tumors. In the first five years after diagnosis, women with nonluminal tumor subtypes had the worst prognosis but at 15 years after diagnosis, women with luminal HER2-positive tumors had the worst prognosis. Furthermore, death rates (the percentage of affected women dying each year) differed by subtype over time. Thus, women with the two luminal HER2-negative subtypes were as likely to die soon after diagnosis as at later times whereas the death rates associated with nonluminal subtypes peaked within five years of diagnosis and then declined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings indicate that the six subtypes of breast cancer defined by the expression of five immunohistochemical markers have distinct biological characteristics that are associated with important differences in short-term and long-term outcomes. Because different laboratories measured the immunohistochemical markers using different methods, it is possible that some of the tumors included in this study were misclassified. However, the finding of clear differences in the behavior of the immunochemically classified subtypes suggests that the use of the five markers for tumor classification might be robust enough for routine clinical practice. The application of these markers in the clinical setting, suggest the researchers, could improve the targeting of adjuvant therapies to those women most likely to benefit. Furthermore, note the researchers, these findings strongly suggest that subtype-specific responses should be evaluated in future clinical trials of treatments for breast cancer.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Stefan Ambs
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of breast cancer (in English and Spanish)
The American Cancer Society has a detailed guide to breast cancer, which includes information on the immunochemical classification of breast cancer subtypes
The UK charities MacMillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK also provide detailed information about breast cancer
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia provides information for patients about breast cancer; Medline Plus provides links to many other breast cancer resources (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2876119  PMID: 20520800
7.  Promising treatment results of adjuvant chemotherapy following radical hysterectomy for intermediate risk stage 1B cervical cancer 
The aim of this retrospective study is to evaluate the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy following radical hysterectomy for intermediate risk stage IB cervical cancer.
From January 1993 to December 2007, a total of 100 patients of stage IB were enrolled in this study who had at least two of the following three intermediate risk factors (deep stromal invasion, lymphovascular space involvement, and large tumor size) after radical hysterectomy and all patients had no high risk factors and no radiotherapy. Of these patients, 22 patients had surgery only and 78 patients had cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy as adjuvant therapy postoperatively to improve survival. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox's proportional-hazards regression model and log-rank test were used for survival analysis and to estimate the impact of prognostic factors on survival.
The mean age was 52 years (range, 28 to 76 years). The overall survival rate of all intermediate tumors are 92% (92/100). Surgery only group is 81.8% (18/22) and adjuvant chemotherapy group is 94.9% (74/78). Comparison of survival between two groups revealed significant statistical difference in both univariant and multivariant survival analysis (P<0.05). The main toxicities of adjuvant chemotherapy were bone marrow suppression (18%), nausea and vomiting (5.2%) and alopecia in etoposide-cisplatin chemotherapy group (100%) but most side effects of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy were transient, reversible and within acceptable limits to all patients.
Cisplatin based combined adjuvant chemotherapy for intermediate risk tumors after radical hysterectomy is promising with significant improvement of overall survival and with acceptable toxicity profile.
PMCID: PMC3784105  PMID: 24327975
Uterine cervical neoplasm; Chemotherapy, Adjuvant; Cisplatin; Survival analysis
8.  Aberrant DNA Methylation of OLIG1, a Novel Prognostic Factor in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e108.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Currently, tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) staging provides the most accurate prognostic parameter for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the overall survival of patients with resectable tumors varies significantly, indicating the need for additional prognostic factors to better predict the outcome of the disease, particularly within a given TNM subset.
Methods and Findings
In this study, we investigated whether adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas could be differentiated based on their global aberrant DNA methylation patterns. We performed restriction landmark genomic scanning on 40 patient samples and identified 47 DNA methylation targets that together could distinguish the two lung cancer subgroups. The protein expression of one of those targets, oligodendrocyte transcription factor 1 (OLIG1), significantly correlated with survival in NSCLC patients, as shown by univariate and multivariate analyses. Furthermore, the hazard ratio for patients negative for OLIG1 protein was significantly higher than the one for those patients expressing the protein, even at low levels.
Multivariate analyses of our data confirmed that OLIG1 protein expression significantly correlates with overall survival in NSCLC patients, with a relative risk of 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.77–0.91, p < 0.001) along with T and N stages, as indicated by a Cox proportional hazard model. Taken together, our results suggests that OLIG1 protein expression could be utilized as a novel prognostic factor, which could aid in deciding which NSCLC patients might benefit from more aggressive therapy. This is potentially of great significance, as the addition of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy in T2N0 NSCLC patients is still controversial.
Christopher Plass and colleagues find thatOLIG1 expression correlates with survival in lung cancer patients and suggest that it could be used in deciding which patients are likely to benefit from more aggressive therapy.
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Most cases are of a type called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Like other cancers, treatment of NCSLC depends on the “TNM stage” at which the cancer is detected. Staging takes into account the size and local spread of the tumor (its T classification), whether nearby lymph nodes contain tumor cells (its N classification), and whether tumor cells have spread (metastasized) throughout the body (its M classification). Stage I tumors are confined to the lung and are removed surgically. Stage II tumors have spread to nearby lymph nodes and are treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Stage III tumors have spread throughout the chest, and stage IV tumors have metastasized around the body; patients with both of these stages are treated with chemotherapy alone. About 70% of patients with stage I or II lung cancer, but only 2% of patients with stage IV lung cancer, survive for five years after diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
TNM staging is the best way to predict the likely outcome (prognosis) for patients with NSCLC, but survival times for patients with stage I and II tumors vary widely. Another prognostic marker—maybe a “molecular signature”—that could distinguish patients who are likely to respond to treatment from those whose cancer will inevitably progress would be very useful. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells divide uncontrollably and can move around the body. These behavioral changes are caused by alterations in the pattern of proteins expressed by the cells. But what causes these alterations? The answer in some cases is “epigenetic changes” or chemical modifications of genes. In cancer cells, methyl groups are aberrantly added to GC-rich gene regions. These so-called “CpG islands” lie near gene promoters (sequences that control the transcription of DNA into mRNA, the template for protein production), and their methylation stops the promoters working and silences the gene. In this study, the researchers have investigated whether aberrant methylation patterns vary between NSCLC subtypes and whether specific aberrant methylations are associated with survival and can, therefore, be used prognostically.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used “restriction landmark genomic scanning” (RLGS) to catalog global aberrant DNA methylation patterns in human lung tumor samples. In RLGS, DNA is cut into fragments with a restriction enzyme (a protein that cuts at specific DNA sequences), end-labeled, and separated using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis to give a pattern of spots. Because methylation stops some restriction enzymes cutting their target sequence, normal lung tissue and lung tumor samples yield different patterns of spots. The researchers used these patterns to identify 47 DNA methylation targets (many in CpG islands) that together distinguished between adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, two major types of NSCLCs. Next, they measured mRNA production from the genes with the greatest difference in methylation between adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. OLIG1 (the gene that encodes a protein involved in nerve cell development) had one of the highest differences in mRNA production between these tumor types. Furthermore, three-quarters of NSCLCs had reduced or no expression of OLIG1 protein and, when the researchers analyzed the association between OLIG1 protein expression and overall survival in patients with NSCLC, reduced OLIG1 protein expression was associated with reduced survival.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that different types of NSCLC can be distinguished by examining their aberrant methylation patterns. This suggests that the establishment of different DNA methylation patterns might be related to the cell type from which the tumors developed. Alternatively, the different aberrant methylation patterns might reflect the different routes that these cells take to becoming tumor cells. This research identifies a potential new prognostic marker for NSCLC by showing that OLIG1 protein expression correlates with overall survival in patients with NSCLC. This correlation needs to be tested in a clinical setting to see if adding OLIG1 expression to the current prognostic parameters can lead to better treatment choices for early-stage lung cancer patients and ultimately improve these patients' overall survival.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Patient and professional information on lung cancer, including staging (in English and Spanish), is available from the US National Cancer Institute
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on non-small cell lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
Cancerbackup provides patient information on lung cancer
CancerQuest, provided by Emory University, has information about how cancer develops (in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian)
Wikipedia pages on epigenetics (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
The Epigenome Network of Excellence gives background information and the latest news about epigenetics (in several European languages)
PMCID: PMC1831740  PMID: 17388669
9.  Expression and prognostic value of estrogen receptor beta in breast cancer patients 
This study is to determine the expression of estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) in breast cancer patients and to evaluate its relationship with clinicopathological parameters of breast cancer and its effects on the prognosis of breast cancer patients. Paraffin-embedded primary tumor tissue sections from 490 breast cancer patients were collected consecutively from January 2000 to December 2010. They had complete clinical data and follow-up records. Immunohistochemical staining was conducted to determine ERβ expression. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis. Difference in survival was analyzed by the Log-Rank test. The Cox proportional hazard model was performed to evaluate the prognostic value of ERβ expression in breast cancer patients. The ERβ high and over expression rate in 490 breast patients was 22.4% (110/490). ERβ expression was not associated with clinicopathological parameters of breast cancer. The mean survival time in patients with ERβ negative expression, ERβ low expression, ERβ high expression and ERβ over expression was 9.9 years, 9.2 years, 8.6 years and 5.6 years. Statistically, patients with ERβ high and over expression had significantly shorter disease-free survival (DFS) time compared with the patients with ERβ negative and low expression. The Cox multivariate analysis revealed that ERβ high and over expression, the pathologic stages of tumor and chemotherapy were the independent predictors for poor DFS in breast cancer patients. ERβ expression is an independent prognostic factor of breast cancer patients and its high and over expression indicates poor prognosis of breast cancer. There was no correlation between ERβ expression and clinicopathological parameters in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4238481  PMID: 25419426
ERβ; breast cancer; prognosis
10.  Effects of young age at presentation on survival in breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:194.
Young age remains a controversial issue as a prognostic factor in breast cancer. Debate includes patients from different parts of the world. Almost 50% of patients with breast cancer seen at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) are below age 50.
We reviewed 1320 patients seen at AUBMC between 1990 and 2001. We divided them in three age groups: Below 35, 35–50, and above 50. Data and survival were analyzed using Chi-square, Cox regression analysis, and Kaplan Meier.
Mean age at presentation was 50.8 years. 107 patients were below age 35, 526 between 35–50 and 687 patients above age 50. Disease stages were as follows: stage I: 14.4%, stage II: 59.9%, stage III: 20% and stage IV: 5.7%. Hormone receptors were positive in 71.8% of patients below 35, in 67.6% of patients 35–50 and in 78.3% of patients above 50. Grade of tumor was higher as age at presentation was lower. More young patients received anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy. Of hormone receptor-positive patients, 83.8% of those below age 35 years, 87.76% of those aged 35–50 years, and 91.2% of those aged above 50 years received adjuvant tamoxifen. The mean follow up time was 3.7 +/- 2.9 years. Time to death was the only variable analyzed for survival analysis. Excluding stage IV patients, tumor size, lymph node, tumor grade and negative hormone receptors were inversely proportional to survival. Higher percentage of young patients at presentation developed metastasis (32.4% of patients below 35, as compared to 22.9% of patients 35–50 and 22.8% of patients above 50) and had a worse survival. Young age had a negative impact on survival of patients with positive axillary lymph nodes, and survival of patients with positive hormonal receptors, but not on survival of patients with negative lymph nodes, or patients with negative hormonal receptors.
Young age at presentation conferred a worse prognosis in spite of a higher than expected positive hormone receptor status, more anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy and equivalent adjuvant tamoxifen hormonal therapy in younger patients. This negative impact on survival was seen in patients with positive lymph nodes and those with positive hormonal receptors.
PMCID: PMC1555600  PMID: 16857060
11.  Topoisomerase II alpha expression and the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy for postoperative patients with non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:621.
Adjuvant chemotherapy has been shown to improve survival rates of postoperative patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Biomarkers could help select an appropriate chemotherapy for NSCLC patients or predict the efficacy of chemotherapy. The objective of this study was to explore the possible prognostic and predictive role of topoisomerase II alpha (TopIIα) expression level in postoperative NSCLC patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy.
Patients with stage I-III NSCLC, who underwent surgery in our hospital from January 2004 to December 2007 and who also received adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery, were analyzed in this study. Expression of TopIIα and Ki67 in paraffin-embedded tissues was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The relationships between clinicopathological characteristics, chemotherapy regimens, the expression of biomarkers and disease free survival (DFS) were analyzed.
TopIIα and Ki67 were highly expressed in 22.5% and 36.4% of the 151 patients, respectively. Univariate survival analysis showed that male sex (P = 0.036), non-adenocarcinoma (P = 0.004), earlier pathological TNM stage (P = 0.001) or pathological N stage (P < 0.001), and high expression of TopIIα (P = 0.012) were correlated with better DFS, whereas age, smoking history, different chemotherapy regimens, T stage and expression level of Ki67 were of no prognostic significance. Further stratified analysis showed that vinorelbine (NVB)-containing adjuvant regimens were generally associated with better DFS than regimens without NVB in patients with low TopIIα expression, though the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.065). Pairwise comparisons for patients with low TopIIα expression indicated that the NVB-containing regimen was associated with better DFS than the docetaxel (TXT)-containing regimen (P = 0.047). COX multivariate analysis showed that pathological TNM stage, histological subtype and expression level of TopIIα to be independent of risk factors affecting DFS in postoperative NSCLC patients who received chemotherapy.
High TopIIα expression was discovered to be correlated with better DFS for postoperative NSCLC patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy. The NVB-containing chemotherapy regimen was more effective than the TXT-containing regimen in improving DFS in patients with low TopIIα expression. TopIIα could be considered to be an independent prognostic biomarker of DFS in postoperative NSCLC patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2988758  PMID: 21067592
12.  Clinical characteristics and prognostic analysis of triple-negative breast cancer patients 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;2(2):245-251.
It is well-established that triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer, characterized by a poor prognosis and aggressive biological behavior. However, the available relevant data on TNBC in non-Western populations are limited. In order to analyze the clinicopathological and molecular biological characteristics and observe survival and prognostic factors, 972 breast cancer patients (156 of whom had TNBC) who received treatment at the First Affiliated Hospital of Medical School of Xi'an Jiaotong University and the First Hospital of China Medical University, between January, 2004 and January, 2007 were retrospectively evaluated. In the univariate analysis, tumor size, TNM stage, axillary lymph node status and recurrence or metastasis were identified as prognostic factors for 7-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Our multivariate Cox's regression analysis demonstrated that tumor size and axillary lymph node status were significant prognostic factors for 7-year DFS and OS. Notably, tumor subgroup (TNBC vs. non-TNBC) was a significant prognostic factor associated with 7-year DFS and OS in breast cancer. It was suggested that TNBC exhibited a worse 7-year survival compared with that in non-TNBC patients, most likely due to its more aggressive behavior and insensitivity to specific therapy.
PMCID: PMC3917786  PMID: 24649341
clinicopathological characteristics; prognostic analysis; survival analysis; triple-negative breast cancer
13.  Mucinous Carcinoma of the Breast in Comparison with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma: Clinicopathologic Characteristics and Prognosis 
Journal of Breast Cancer  2011;14(4):308-313.
Mucinous carcinoma (MC) of the breast is a rare histologic type of mammary neoplasm. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) of MC.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of all MC cases reported to a database between 1994 and 2010. Clinicopathological characteristics and survival of 268 MC cases were reviewed and compared with 2,455 invasive ductal carcinoma-not otherwise specified (IDC-NOS) cases.
The MC cases were of a younger age, involved less lymph nodes, lower stage, more expression of hormonal receptors, and less HER2 overexpression compared to the IDC-NOS cases. The 5-year DFS rate for MC was 95.2% compared to 92.0% for IDC-NOS. The 5-year OS rate for MC was 98.9% compared to 94.9% for IDC-NOS. Multivariate analysis using Cox regression revealed that the mucinous type was a significant prognostic factor for DFS with lower nodal status (N stage) and hormonal therapy. For OS, only N stage was the most significant prognostic factor followed by adjuvant chemotherapy and adjuvant hormonal therapy.
MC was shown to be associated with a better DFS than IDC-NOS, but it had a similar OS. Nodal status and adjuvant therapy appear to be more significant predictors of prognosis than histologic subtype.
PMCID: PMC3268928  PMID: 22323918
Adenocarcinoma; Breast; Invasive ductal carcinoma; Mucinous; Prognosis
14.  Prognostic factors and long term results of neo adjuvant therapy followed by surgery in stage IIIA N2 non-small cell lung cancer patients 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2009;4(4):201-207.
Prognosis of stage IIIA N2 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains poor despite the changes in therapeutic strategies.
To assess long term results of neo adjuvant therapy followed by surgery for patients with stage IIIA N2 NSCLC and to analyze factors influencing survival.
The methods adopted include: Retrospective review of medical records of 91 patients with stage IIIA N2 NSCLC, who received neo adjuvant therapy followed by surgery; collection of information on demographic information, staging procedure, preoperative therapy, clinical response, type of resection, pathologic response of tumor, status of lymph nodes and adjuvant chemotherapy; survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier and calculation of prognostic factors using log-rank and Cox regression model.
All patients received a platinum-based chemotherapy and 23 (29.1%) had an associated radiotherapy. Eighty four patients underwent thoracotomy. Median survival was 26 months (95%CI, 22.6-30.8 months) with three and five year survival rates of 31.6 and 20.9%, respectively. Prognostic factors for survival on univariate analysis was clinical response (P= 0.032), complete resection (P= 0.002), pathologic tumor response (P< 0.001), and lymph nodal down staging (P = 0.001). Multivariate analyses identified complete resection, pathologic tumor response and lymph nodal down staging as independent prognostic factors.
Survival of patients with stage IIIA N2 NSCLC who received neo adjuvant therapy is significantly influenced by clinical response, complete resection, pathologic tumor response, and lymph nodal down staging. These results can be helpful in guiding standard clinical practice and evaluating the outcome of neo adjuvant therapy followed by surgery in patients with stage IIIA N2 NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2801045  PMID: 19881166
Neo adjuvant therapy; non-small cell lung cancer; prognostic factor; stage IIIA; surgery; survival
15.  Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas: Expression of growth factor receptors, oncogenes and suppressor genes, and their relationship to pathological features, staging and survival 
Oncology Letters  2010;2(1):161-166.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma results in high short-term mortality despite recent advances in diagnostics, surgery and chemotherapy. Modern chemotherapeutic agents directed to specific tumor receptors have higher therapeutic efficacy and lower adverse effects. However, few studies exist that evaluate the clinical impact in pancreatic cancer. The expression of tumor growth factor receptors, oncogenes and tumor suppressor oncogenes in surgical pancreatic cancer specimens as related to pathological characteristics, staging and prognosis was evaluated. Data were recorded for 50 patients who underwent a pancreatic cancer resection and were suitable for immunohistochemical evaluation (32 male, mean age 61 years, range 44–78) with regard to pTN, tumor size and location, histological differentiation grade, vascular and perineural invasion, adjuvant chemotherapy and survival time. Tumor specimens and normal pancreatic tissue were deparaffinized and the expression of vascular epidermal growth factor (VEGF) receptors (R)-1 and -2, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), Her-2/neu, COX-2, p16, p21 and p53 was immunohistochemically evaluated using tissue microarrays. Associations between molecular marker expression and clinicopathological tumor characteristics were evaluated using the Chi-square test (SPSS) and the survival time was defined. The Kaplan-Meier method was utilized to analyze survival curves, verified by the log-rank test. No molecular markers evaluated were expressed in normal tissue. Tumor expression data included VEGF-R1 (74%), EGFR (52%), Her-2/neu (7.84%), COX-2 (21.5%), p16 (29.4%), p21 (21.7%) and p53 (50%). Tumors expressing VEGF-R1, EGFR and/or p53 were larger (p<0.02), frequently poorly differentiated (p<0.05) and more frequently associated with perineural and lymph node invasion (p<0.05). Marker expression did not correlate with pathological tumor characteristics. The median post-surgery survival was 15 months; 60 and 27% patients survived to 12 and 24 months, respectively, with a longer survival time in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (n=20) (median 36 vs. 15 months, p<0.02). Growth factor receptors, oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes were frequently expressed in pancreatic cancer tissue. VEGF-R1, EGFR and p53 expression were associated with poor tissue differentiation and perineural and lymph node infiltration. Only VEGF-R1 expression was associated with a longer survival time and a more favorable response to adjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3412479  PMID: 22870146
pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; vascular endothelial growth factor receptor; epidermal growth factor receptor; p53
16.  The prognostic value of ERCC1 and RRM1 gene expression in completely resected non-small cell lung cancer: tumor recurrence and overall survival 
The roles of excision repair cross-complementing group 1 gene (ERCC1) expression and ribonucleotide reductase subunit M1 gene (RRM1) expression in completely resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are still debatable. Previous studies have shown that both genes affected the overall survival and outcomes of patients who received platinum-based chemotherapy; however, some studies did not show this correlation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic values of ERCC1 and RRM1 gene expression in predicting tumor recurrence and overall survival in patients with completely resected NSCLC who received adjuvant chemotherapy and in those who did not.
Patients and methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted in 247 patients with completely resected NSCLC. All patients had been treated with anatomic resection (lobectomy or pneumonectomy) with systematic mediastinal lymphadenectomy between January 2002 and December 2011 at Chiang Mai University Hospital, Chiang Mai, Thailand. They were divided into two groups: recurrence and no recurrence. Protein expression of ERCC1 and RRM1 was determined by immunohistochemistry. Correlations between clinicopathologic variables, including ERCC1 and RRM1 expression and tumor recurrence, were analyzed. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis stratified by nodal involvement, tumor staging, intratumoral blood vessel invasion, intratumoral lymphatic invasion, and tumor necrosis was used to identify the prognostic roles of ERCC1 and RRM1.
ERCC1 and RRM1 expression did not demonstrate prognostic value for tumor recurrence and overall survival in patients with completely resected NSCLC. In patients who did not receive adjuvant chemotherapy treatment, those with high ERCC1 and high RRM1 expression seemed to have greater potential for tumor recurrence and shorter overall survival than did those who had low ERCC1 and low RRM1 (hazard ratio [HR] =1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] =0.6–4.3, P=0.292 and HR =1.6, 95% CI =0.5–4.5, P=0.411, respectively). In contrast, in patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy treatment, those with high ERCC1 and high RRM1 expression seemed to have benefited from adjuvant chemotherapy and showed good overall survival compared with those who had low ERCC1 and low RRM1 (HR =0.8, 95% CI = 0.4–1.8, P=0.612 and HR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.1–2.4, P=0.325, respectively). Subgroup analysis in patients whose first-line metastatic chemotherapy failed demonstrated that ERCC1 expression and RRM1 expression were not prognostic factors for tumor recurrence and overall survival; however, patients who had high ERCC1 and high RRM1 expression seemed to have benefited from first-line chemotherapy treatment (HR =0.7, 95% CI =0.3–1.8, P=0.458).
ERCC1 expression and RRM1 expression were not prognostic of tumor recurrence and overall survival in patients with completely resected NSCLC, either with or without adjuvant chemotherapy. Prospective studies that include a larger number of patients are needed for definite conclusions.
PMCID: PMC3794893  PMID: 24124391
ERCC1; RRM1; tumor recurrence; prognostic factor; NSCLC
17.  Clinicopathologic characteristics and prognostic factors of 63 gastric cancer patients with metachronous ovarian metastasis 
Cancer Biology & Medicine  2013;10(2):86-91.
This study aims to explore the clinicopathologic characteristics and prognostic factors of gastric cancer patients with metachronous ovarian metastasis.
Clinicopathologic data were collected from 63 post-operative gastric cancer patients with metachronous ovarian metastasis. The patients were admitted to the Cancer Institute and Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College between January 1999 and December 2011. A log-rank test was conducted for survival analysis. Possible prognostic factors that affect survival were examined by univariate analysis. A Cox regression model was used for multivariate analysis.
The incidence of ovarian metastasis was 3.4% with a mean age of 45 years. Up to 65.1% of the patients were pre-menopausal. The mean interval between ovarian metastasis and primary cancer was 16 months. Lowly differentiated carcinoma ranked first in the primary gastric cancers. The majority of lesions occurred in the serous membrane (87.3%). The metastatic sites included N2-3 lymph nodes (68.3%), bilateral ovaries (85.7%), and peritoneal membrane (73%). Total resection of metastatic sites was performed (31.7%). The overall median survival was 13.6 months, whereas the overall 1-, 2-, and 3-year survival rates were 52.5%, 22.0%, and 9.8%, respectively. The 5-year survival rate was zero. Univariate analysis showed that the patient prognosis was correlated with metastatic peritoneal seeding, vascular tumor embolus, range of lesion excision, and mode of comprehensive treatment with adjuvant chemotherapy (P<0.05). Multivariate analysis indicated that metastatic peritoneal seeding was an independent prognostic factor for gastric cancer patients with ovarian metastasis (P<0.01).
Effective control of peritoneal seeding—induced metastasis is important for improving the prognosis of gastric cancer patients with ovarian metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3719191  PMID: 23882423
Gastric neoplasms; ovary; metastasis; prognosis
18.  Characteristics and prognosis of gastric cancer in patients aged ≥ 70 years 
AIM: To elucidate the prognostic value of age for gastric cancer and identify the optimal treatment for elderly gastric cancer patients.
METHODS: We enrolled 920 patients with gastric cancer who underwent gastrectomy between January 2003 and December 2007 in our center. Patients were categorized into three groups: younger group (age < 50 years), middle-aged group (50-69 years), and elderly group (≥ 70 years). Clinicopathological features were compared among the three groups and potential prognostic factors were analyzed. The log-rank test was used to assess statistical differences between curves. Independent prognostic factors were identified by the Cox proportional hazards regression model. Stratified analysis was used to investigate the impact of age on survival at each stage. Cancer-specific survival was also compared among the three groups by excluding deaths due to reasons other than gastric cancer. We analyzed the potential prognostic factors for patients aged ≥ 70 years. Finally, the impact of extent of lymphadenectomy and postoperative chemotherapy on survival for each age group was evaluated.
RESULTS: In the elderly group, there was a male predominance. At the same time, cancers of the upper third of the stomach, differentiated type, and less-invasive surgery were more common than in the younger or middle-aged groups. Elderly patients were more likely to have advanced tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage and larger tumors, but less likely to have distant metastasis. Although 5-year overall survival (OS) rate specific to gastric cancer was not significantly different among the three groups, elderly patients demonstrated a significantly lower 5-year OS rate than the younger and middle-aged patients (elderly vs middle-aged vs younger patients = 22.0% vs 36.6% vs 38.0%, respectively). In the TNM-stratified analysis, the differences in OS were only observed in patients with II and III tumors. In multivariate analysis, only surgical margin status, pT4, lymph node metastasis, M1 and sex were independent prognostic factors for elderly patients. The 5-year OS rate did not differ between elderly patients undergoing D1 and D2 lymph node resection, and these patients benefited little from chemotherapy.
CONCLUSION: Age ≥ 70 years was an independent prognostic factor for gastric cancer after gastrectomy. D1 resection is appropriate and postoperative chemotherapy is possibly unnecessary for elderly patients with gastric cancer.
PMCID: PMC3801370  PMID: 24151383
Gastric carcinoma; Elderly patients; Prognosis; Lymphadenectomy; Chemotherapy
19.  BCL2 in breast cancer: a favourable prognostic marker across molecular subtypes and independent of adjuvant therapy received 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;103(5):668-675.
Breast cancer is heterogeneous and the existing prognostic classifiers are limited in accuracy, leading to unnecessary treatment of numerous women. B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2), an antiapoptotic protein, has been proposed as a prognostic marker, but this effect is considered to relate to oestrogen receptor (ER) status. This study aimed to test the clinical validity of BCL2 as an independent prognostic marker.
Five studies of 11 212 women with early-stage breast cancer were analysed. Individual patient data included tumour size, grade, lymph node status, endocrine therapy, chemotherapy and mortality. BCL2, ER, progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) levels were determined in all tumours. A Cox model incorporating the time-dependent effects of each variable was used to explore the prognostic significance of BCL2.
In univariate analysis, ER, PR and BCL2 positivity was associated with improved survival and HER2 positivity with inferior survival. For ER and PR this effect was time dependent, whereas for BCL2 and HER2 the effect persisted over time. In multivariate analysis, BCL2 positivity retained independent prognostic significance (hazard ratio (HR) 0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66–0.88, P<0.001). BCL2 was a powerful prognostic marker in ER− (HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.54–0.74, P<0.001) and ER+ disease (HR 0.56, 95% CI 0.48–0.65, P<0.001), and in HER2− (HR 0.55, 95% CI 0.49–0.61, P<0.001) and HER2+ disease (HR 0.70, 95% CI 0.57–0.85, P<0.001), irrespective of the type of adjuvant therapy received. Addition of BCL2 to the Adjuvant! Online prognostic model, for a subset of cases with a 10-year follow-up, improved the survival prediction (P=0.0039).
BCL2 is an independent indicator of favourable prognosis for all types of early-stage breast cancer. This study establishes the rationale for introduction of BCL2 immunohistochemistry to improve prognostic stratification. Further work is now needed to ascertain the exact way to apply BCL2 testing for risk stratification and to standardise BCL2 immunohistochemistry for this application.
PMCID: PMC2938244  PMID: 20664598
BCL2; breast cancer; prognosis
20.  Impact of established prognostic factors and molecular subtype in very young breast cancer patients: pooled analysis of four EORTC randomized controlled trials 
Young age at the time of diagnosis of breast cancer is an independent factor of poor prognosis. In many treatment guidelines, the recommendation is to treat young patients with adjuvant chemotherapy regardless of tumor characteristics. However, limited data on prognostic factors are available for young breast cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic value of established clinical and pathological prognostic factors in young breast cancer patients.
Data from four European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) clinical trials were pooled, resulting in a dataset consisting of 9,938 early breast cancer patients with a median follow-up of 11 years. For 549 patients aged less than 40 years at the time of diagnosis, including 341 node negative patients who did not receive chemotherapy, paraffin tumor blocks were processed for immunohistochemistry using a tissue microarray. Cox proportional hazard analysis was applied to assess the association of clinical and pathological factors with overall and distant metastasis free survival.
For young patients, tumor size (P = 0.01), nodal status (P = 0.006) and molecular subtype (P = 0.02) were independent prognostic factors for overall survival. In the node negative subgroup, only molecular subtype was a prognostic factor for overall survival (P = 0.02). Young node negative patients bearing luminal A tumors had an overall survival rate of 94% at 10 years' follow-up compared to 72% for patients with basal-type tumors.
Molecular subtype is a strong independent prognostic factor in breast cancer patients younger than 40 years of age. These data support the use of established prognostic factors as a diagnostic tool to assess disease outcome and to plan systemic treatment strategies in young breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3218957  PMID: 21699739
21.  Revisiting the prognostic value of preoperative 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in early-stage (I & II) non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) 
The aims were to determine if the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of the primary tumor as determined by preoperative 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) is an independent predictor of overall survival and to assess its prognostic value after stratification according to pathological staging.
A retrospective clinicopathologic review of 363 patients who had a preoperative 18F-FDG PET done before undergoing attempted curative resection for early-stage (I & II) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was performed. Patients who had received any adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapy or radiation therapy were excluded. The primary outcome measure was duration of overall survival. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves were plotted to find out the optimal cutoff values of SUVmax yielding the maximal sensitivity plus specificity for predicting the overall survival. Survival curves stratified by median SUVmax and optimal cutoff SUVmax were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and statistical differences were assessed using the log-rank test. Multivariate proportional hazards (Cox) regression analyses were applied to test the SUVmax’s independency of other prognostic factors for the prediction of overall survival.
The median duration of follow-up was 981 days (2.7 years). The median SUVmax was 5.9 for all subjects, 4.5 for stage IA, 8.4 for stage IB, and 10.9 for stage IIB. The optimal cutoff SUVmax was 8.2 for all subjects. No optimal cutoff could be established for specific stages. In univariate analyses, each doubling of SUVmax [i.e., each log (base 2) unit increase in SUVmax] was associated with a 1.28-fold [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03–1.59, p = 0.029] increase in hazard of death. Univariate analyses did not show any significant difference in survival by SUVmax when data were stratified according to pathological stage (p = 0.119, p = 0.818, and p = 0.882 for stages IA, IB, and IIB, respectively). Multivariate analyses demonstrated that SUVmax was not an independent predictor of overall survival (p > 0.05).
Each doubling of SUVmax as determined by preoperative PET is associated with a 1.28-fold increase in hazard of death in early-stage (I & II) NSCLC. Preoperative SUVmax is not an independent predictor of overall survival.
PMCID: PMC2844956  PMID: 19915840
18F-FDG PET; Non-small cell lung cancer; Prognosis; Survival; SUV
22.  The impact of chemotherapy-associated neutrophil/ lymphocyte counts on prognosis of adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:177.
Leukocytes play an important role in cancer development. However, the impact of chemotherapy-associated neutropenia/lymphopenia on the prognosis of adjuvant chemotherapy is unknown. Here, we aimed to explore the impact of chemotherapy-associated neutrophil/lymphocyte counts on prognosis of adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer (CRC) and the risk factors for developing neutropenia/lymphopenia which showed impact on the prognosis of CRC receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.
From February 2003 to January 2011, 243 stage II and III CRC patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy were enrolled in this retrospective study. The associations between neutrophil/ lymphocyte counts and disease free survival (DFS)/overall survival (OS) of CRC, and the risk factors for neutropenia/lymphopenia were investigated.
No association of chemotherapy-associated neutrophil counts and CRC recurrence (AUC = 0.474, P = 0.534), death (AUC = 0.449, P = 0.249) was found by ROC analysis. However, the chemotherapy-associated lymphocyte counts could significantly affect CRC recurrence (AUC = 0.634, P = 0.001), or death(AUC = 0.607, P = 0.015), with a optimized cut-off of 0.66 × 109/L for recurrence, and 0.91 × 109/L for death, respectively. Kaplan–Meier method showed chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.66 × 109/L was associated with shorter DFS (P < 0.0001), and chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.91 × 109/L was associated with shorter OS (P = 0.003). Cox regression model showed chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.66 × 109/L was the independent prognostic factor for DFS (HR, 3.521; 95%CI = 1.703-7.282), and chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.91 × 109/L was the independent prognostic factor for OS (HR, 2.083; 95% CI = 1.103-3.936). Multivariate logistic regression showed the risk of developing chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.66 × 109/L was found in those with pretreatment CEA ≥10 ng ml-1 (OR, 3.338; 95% CI = 1.523-7.315), and the risk of developing chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.91 × 109/L was found in those with age >60 years (OR, 2.872; 95% CI = 1.344-6.136).
Chemotherapy-associated lymphopenia <0.66 × 109/L /0.91 × 109/L has a significant impact on the prognosis of CRC receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. Pretreatment CEA ≥10 ng ml-1 is the independent risk factor for developing lymphopenia <0.66 × 109/L, and age >60 years is the independent risk factor for developing lymphopenia <0.91 × 109/L during adjuvant chemotherapy of CRC.
PMCID: PMC3621660  PMID: 23551939
Colorectal cancer; Chemotherapy; Lymphopenia; Neutropenia; Prognosis
23.  Docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil adjuvant chemotherapy following three-field lymph node dissection for stage II/III N1, 2 esophageal cancer 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2014;2(5):719-724.
To determine the efficacy of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy with docetaxel + cisplatin + 5-fluorouracil (DCF) in lymph node metastasis-positive esophageal cancer, we retrospectively analyzed 139 patients with stage II/III (non-T4) esophageal cancer with lymph node metastasis (1–6 nodes), who did not receive preoperative treatment and underwent three-field lymph node dissection in the Juntendo University Hospital between December, 2004 and December, 2009. The tumors were histologically diagnossed as squamous cell carcinoma. The patients were divided into two groups, a surgery alone group (S group, 88 patients) and a group that received postoperative DCF therapy (DCF group, 51 patients). The disease-free and overall survival were compared between the groups and a multivariate analysis of prognostic factors was performed. The same analysis was performed for cases classified as N1 and N2, according to the TNM classification. There were no significant differences between the S and DCF groups regarding clinicopathological factors other than intramural metastasis and main tumor location. The presence of intramural metastasis, blood vessel invasion and the number of lymph nodes were identified as prognostic factors. The 5-year disease-free and overall survival were 55.8 and 57.3%, respectively, in the S group and 52.8 and 63.0%, respectively, in the DCF group. These differences were not considered to be statistically significant (P=0.789 and 0.479 for disease-free and overall survival, respectively). Although there were no significant differences in disease-free and overall survival between the S and DCF groups in N1 cases, both disease-free and overall survival were found to be better in the DCF group (54.2 and 61.4%, respectively) compared to the S group (29.6 and 28.8%, respectively) in N2 cases (P=0.029 and 0.020 for disease-free and overall survival, respectively). Therefore, postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy with DCF was shown to improve disease-free and overall survival in moderate lymph node metastasis-positive cases (N2), suggesting that the DCF regimen may be effective as postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with lymph node metastasis from esophageal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4106741  PMID: 25054036
docetaxel + cisplatin + 5-fluorouracil therapy; esophageal cancer; intramural metastasis; lymph node metastasis; postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy
24.  Prognostic impact of multidrug resistance gene expression on the management of breast cancer in the context of adjuvant therapy based on a series of 171 patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(4):473-480.
Study of the prognostic impact of multidrug resistance gene expression in the management of breast cancer in the context of adjuvant therapy. This study involved 171 patients treated by surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy±radiotherapy±hormonal therapy (mean follow-up: 55 months). We studied the expression of multidrug resistance gene 1 (MDR1), multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP1), and glutathione-S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) using a standardised, semiquantitative rt–PCR method performed on frozen samples of breast cancer tissue. Patients were classified as presenting low or high levels of expression of these three genes. rt-PCR values were correlated with T stage, N stage, Scarff–Bloom–Richardson (SBR) grade, age and hormonal status. The impact of gene expression levels on 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) was studied by univariate and multivariate Cox analysis. No statistically significant correlation was demonstrated between MDR1, MRP1 and GSTP1 expressions. On univariate analysis, DFS was significantly decreased in a context of low GSTP1 expression (P=0.0005) and high SBR grade (P=0.003), size ⩾5 cm (P=0.038), high T stage (P=0.013), presence of intravascular embolus (P=0.034), and >3 N+ (P=0.05). On multivariate analysis, GSTP1 expression and the presence of ER remained independent prognostic factors for DFS. GSTP1 expression did not affect OS. The levels of MDR1 and MRP1 expression had no significant influence on DFS or OS. GSTP1 expression can be considered to be an independent prognostic factor for DFS in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2361174  PMID: 16434992
MDR1; MRP1; GSTP1; rt–PCR; breast cancer; prognosis
25.  Effect of complication grade on survival following curative gastrectomy for carcinoma 
AIM: To elucidate the potential impact of the grade of complications on long-term survival of gastric cancer patients after curative surgery.
METHODS: A total of 751 gastric cancer patients who underwent curative gastrectomy between January 2002 and December 2006 in our center were enrolled in this study. Patients were divided into four groups: no complications, Grade I, Grade II and Grade III complications, according to the following classification systems: T92 (Toronto 1992 or Clavien), Accordion Classification, and Revised Accordion Classification. Clinicopathological features were compared among the four groups and potential prognostic factors were analyzed. The Log-rank test was used to assess statistical differences between the groups. Independent prognostic factors were identified using the Cox proportional hazards regression model. Stratified analysis was used to investigate the impact of complications of each grade on survival.
RESULTS: Significant differences were found among the four groups in age, sex, other diseases (including hypertension, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), body mass index (BMI), intraoperative blood loss, tumor location, extranodal metastasis, lymph node metastasis, tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage, and chemotherapy. Overall survival (OS) was significantly influenced by the complication grade. The 5-year OS rates were 43.0%, 42.5%, 25.5% and 9.6% for no complications, and Grade I, Grade II and Grade III complications, respectively (P < 0.001). Age, tumor size, intraoperative blood loss, lymph node metastasis, TNM stage and complication grade were independent prognostic factors in multivariate analysis. With stratified analysis, lymph node metastasis, tumor size, and intraoperative blood loss were independent prognostic factors for Grade I complications (P < 0.001, P = 0.031, P = 0.030). Age and lymph node metastasis were found to be independent prognostic factors for OS of gastric cancer patients with Grade II complications (P = 0.034, P = 0.001). Intraoperative blood loss, TNM stage, and chemotherapy were independent prognostic factors for OS of gastric cancer patients with Grade III complications (P = 0.003, P = 0.005, P < 0.001). There were significant differences among patients with Grade I, Grade II and Grade III complications in TNM stage II and III cancer (P < 0.001, P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Complication grade may be an independent prognostic factor for gastric cancer following curative resection. Treatment of complications can improve the long-term outcome of gastric cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC4081699  PMID: 25009399
Gastric cancer; Complication grade; Gastrectomy; Overall survival; Prognosis

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