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1.  Optimal chemotherapy treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer 
Current Oncology  2007;14(5):195-208.
What is the optimal chemotherapy treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer who have previously received platinum-based chemotherapy?
Currently, standard primary therapy for advanced disease involves a combination of maximal cytoreductive surgery and chemotherapy with carboplatin plus paclitaxel or with carboplatin alone. Despite initial high response rates, a large proportion of patients relapse, resulting in a therapeutic challenge. Because these patients are not curable, the goal of therapy becomes improvement in both quality and length of life. The search has therefore been to find active agents for women with recurrent disease following platinum-based chemotherapy.
Outcomes of interest included any combination of tumour response rate, progression-free survival, overall survival, adverse events, and quality of life.
The medline, embase, and Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched for primary articles and practice guidelines. The resulting evidence informed the development of clinical practice recommendations. The systematic review and recommendations were approved by the Report Approval Panel of the Program in Evidence-Based Care, and by the Gynecology Cancer Disease Site Group (dsg). The practice guideline was externally reviewed by a sample of practitioners from Ontario, Canada.
Thirteen randomized trials compared various chemotherapy regimens for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.
In five of the thirteen trials in which 100% of patients were considered sensitive to platinum-containing chemotherapy, further platinum-based combination chemotherapy significantly improved response rates (two trials), progression-free survival (four trials), and overall survival (three trials) when compared with single-agent chemotherapy involving carboplatin or paclitaxel. Only two of these randomized trials compared the same chemotherapy regimens: carboplatin alone versus the combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel. Both trials were consistent in reporting improved survival outcomes with the combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel. In one trial, the combination of carboplatin and gemcitabine resulted in significantly higher response rates and improved progression-free survival when compared with carboplatin alone. Median survival with carboplatin alone ranged from 17 months to 24 months in four trials.
In eight of the thirteen trials in which 35%–100% of patients had platinum-refractory or -resistant disease, one trial reported a statistically significant 2-month improvement in overall survival with liposomal doxorubicin as compared with topotecan (15 months vs. 13 months, p = 0.038; hazard ratio: 1.23; 95% confidence interval: 1.01 to 1.50). In that trial, because of the limited clinical benefit and the unusual finding that a survival difference emerged only after a year of treatment with no corresponding improvement in the rate of response or of progression-free survival, the authors concluded that further confirmation by results from randomized trials were needed to establish the superiority of one agent over another in their trial. In one trial, topotecan was superior to treosulphan in patient progression-free survival by a span of approximately 2 months (5.4 months vs. 3.0 months, p < 0.001).
Toxicity was reported in all of the randomized trials, and although data on adverse events varied by treatment regimen, the observed adverse events correlated with known toxicity profiles. As expected, combination chemotherapy was associated with higher rates of adverse events.
Practice Guideline
Target Population
This clinical recommendation applies to women with recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer who have previously received platinum-based chemotherapy. Of specific interest are women who have previously shown sensitivity to platinum therapy and those who previously were refractory or resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. As a general categorization within what is actually a continuum, “platinum sensitivity” refers to disease recurrence 6 months or more after prior platinum-containing chemotherapy, and “platinum resistance” refers to a response to platinum-based chemotherapy followed by relapse less than 6 months after chemotherapy is stopped. “Platinum-refractory disease” refers to a lack of response or to progression while on platinum-based chemotherapy.
Although the body of evidence that informs the clinical recommendations is based on randomized trial data, those data are incomplete. Based on the available data and expert consensus opinion, the Gynecology Cancer dsg makes these recommendations:
Systemic therapy for recurrent ovarian cancer is not curative. It is therefore recognized that each patient must be individually assessed to determine optimal therapy in terms of recurrence, sensitivity to platinum, toxicity, ease of administration, and patient preference. All suitable patients should be offered the opportunity to participate in randomized trials, if available.
In the absence of contraindications, combination platinum-based chemotherapy should be considered for patients with prior sensitivity to platinum-containing chemotherapy. As compared with carboplatin alone, the combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel significantly improved both progression-free and overall survival.
If combination platinum-based chemotherapy is not indicated, then a single platinum agent should be considered. Carboplatin has demonstrated efficacy across trials and has a manageable toxicity profile.
If a single platinum agent is not being considered, then monotherapy with paclitaxel, topotecan, or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin are seen as reasonable treatment options.
Some patients may be repeatedly sensitive to treatment and may benefit from multiple lines of chemotherapy.
For patients with platinum-refractory or platinum-resistant disease, the goals of treatment should be to improve quality of life by extending the symptom-free interval, by reducing symptom intensity, and by increasing progression-free interval, and, if possible, to prolong life.
With non-platinum agents, monotherapy should be considered because no advantage appears to accrue to the use of non-platinum-containing combination chemotherapy in this group of patients. Single-agent paclitaxel, topotecan, or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin have demonstrated activity in this patient population and are reasonable treatment options.
No evidence either supports or refutes the use of more than one line of chemotherapy in patients with platinum-refractory or platinum-resistant recurrence. Many treatment options have shown modest response rates, but their benefits over best supportive care have not been studied in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2002482  PMID: 17938703
Chemotherapy; drug therapy; ovarian cancer; ovarian neoplasms; practice guideline; systematic review
Cancer  2009;115(14):3243-3253.
A carboplatin-based chemotherapy regimen was used as primary post-operative therapy in infants with central nervous system tumors to limit renal and ototoxicity and to target systemic exposure.
Patients and Methods
53 patients ≤ age 3 years with embryonal CNS tumor medulloblastoma (MB, n=20), ependymoma (EP, n=21), choroid plexus carcinoma (CPCA, n=5), and primitive embryonal neoplasms including atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (n=7) were treated with cyclophosphamide, etoposide, and carboplatin. Radiation therapy was utilized only for residual disease at the end of chemotherapy or disease progression.
The response rate after two cycles of chemotherapy was 34% (complete response [CR] 13.8%, partial response [PR] 20.7%). Myelosuppression was the dominant toxicity; 2 patients had toxic deaths related to thrombocytopenia with trauma. The five-year overall survival (OS) was 49 ± 7%, and the progression-free survival (PFS) was 31 ± 7% with a median follow-up of 11.4 yrs (range: 5.2–15.0 years). For medulloblastoma, the five-year PFS is 26% ± 9%; for EP 33 ± 10%; for CPCA, 80 ± 18%; for PNET and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) 0%. Localized ependymoma patients with GTR who did not undergo radiotherapy had a 5-year PFS of 57 ±17% and OS of 71 ± 16%. Two patients developed late second malignancies; one associated with germline p53 mutation.
The results confirm that carboplatin has similar activity to cisplatin in otherwise similar regimens. Five-year survival data are comparable to those reported in other recent studies, including high-dose chemotherapy studies. Of note, is the marked activity in CPCA and gross totally resected ependymoma
PMCID: PMC4307774  PMID: 19484793
Brain tumor; infants; chemotherapy; carboplatin
3.  Prognostic factors in patients progressing after cisplatin-based chemotherapy for malignant non-seminomatous germ cell tumours 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;80(9):1392-1399.
The aim of this study was to define prognostic parameters for survival in patients with malignant germ cell tumours progressing after platinum-based induction chemotherapy with or without surgery. A total of 164 progressing patients (testicular: 83%, extragonadal: 17%) were identified out of 795 patients treated with platinum-based induction chemotherapy for metastatic germ cell malignancy with or without surgery. ‘Progressive disease’ included patients who had progressed after a previous partial or complete remission as well as patients who failed primary therapy. Salvage chemotherapy consisted of ‘conventional’ platinum-based chemotherapy. Prognostic factors for survival were assessed by uni- and multivariate analyses. The resulting prognostic model was validated in an independent data set of 66 similar patients. For all 164 patients the median time from start of induction chemotherapy to progression was 10 months (range: 0–99). Thirty-eight (23%) patients relapsed after 2 years. The 5-year survival rate for all progressing patients was 30% (95% confidence interval 23–38%). In the univariate analysis the following factors most importantly predicted a poor prognosis: progression-free interval < 2 years: initial poor prognosis category (MRC criteria), < CR to induction chemotherapy, initial treatment early in the 1980s and treatment given at a ‘small’ centre. Three prognostic factors remained in the multivariate analysis: progression-free interval, response to induction treatment and the level of serum human chronic gonadotrophin (hCG) and alpha fetoprotein (AFP) at relapse. One hundred and twenty-four patients could be classified on the basis of these characteristics, Those patients with progression-free interval < 2 years, < CR to induction chemotherapy and high markers at relapse (AFP >100 kU l−1 or hCG >100 IU l−1) formed a poor prognosis group of 30 patients, none of whom survived after 3 years. Patients with at most two of these three risk factors formed a good prognosis group of 94 patients (76%) with a 47% (37–56%) 5-year survival. Thirty-eight patients from the good prognosis group with a progression-free interval of >2 years had a 2-year survival of 74% (60–88%) and 5-year survival of 61%. These prognostic groups were validated in the independent data set, in which 5-year survival rates in the good and poor risk groups were 51% and 0% respectively. One-third of patients progressing during or after platinum-based induction chemotherapy for metastatic germ cell malignancy may be cured by repeated ‘conventional’ platinum-based chemotherapy. Good prognosis parameters are: progression-free interval of > 2 years, CR to induction treatment and normal or low serum markers at relapse (hCG < 100 IU l−1 and AFP < 100 kU l−1). The results of high-dose salvage chemotherapy should be interpreted on the background of these prognostic factors. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363071  PMID: 10424741
germ cell malignancy; relapse; cisplatin-based chemotherapy; survival
4.  Isolated pineal region metastasis from lung adenocarcinoma with obstructive hydrocephalus: a case report 
Although the brain is a common site of metastasis from lung cancer, pineal region metastasis from lung adenocarcinoma is rare. Most cases of pineal metastases are asymptomatic, and are diagnosed by autopsy. Therefore, the management of pineal region tumors remains controversial. Here, we present a rare case of lung carcinoma presenting with pineal region metastasis and obstructive hydrocephalus as the first manifestation of the lung adenocarcinoma.
Case presentation
A 63-year-old Japanese woman was referred to our hospital for treatment of a tumor of the pineal region associated with hydrocephalus. On admission, she was found to have a mass in her right lung on a chest radiograph. During the preoperative investigation, the patient began to show a progressively worsening level of altered consciousness. Therefore, neuroendoscopic surgery was performed as an emergency procedure, which resulted in improvement of the hydrocephalus and diagnosis of adenocarcinoma. A systematic investigation revealed adenocarcinoma of her right lung as the primary lesion. She was treated by a platinum-based chemotherapy regime. Stereotactic radiation to the pineal region was undertaken concurrently. After completion of the chemotherapy, the primary lesion and pineal region metastasis showed good partial response.
The prognosis of pineal region metastasis is extremely poor, and only three patients with metastatic pineal region metastasis from lung cancer who were treated by chemotherapy have been reported. We performed neuroendoscopic surgery to obtain resolution of the obstructive hydrocephalus and the definite histological diagnosis. This resulted in improvement of the general condition of the patient, and the patient could be treated by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We strongly believe that neuroendoscopic surgery was a good option in this case. This case report suggests that in the presence of an isolated pineal region tumor, metastasis should be considered a possible diagnosis, and careful examination for systemic malignant disease will be needed.
PMCID: PMC3621212  PMID: 23497480
Chemotherapy; Hydrocephalus; Lung adenocarcinoma; Neuroendoscopic surgery; Pineal region metastasis; Stereotactic radiotherapy
5.  'JEB'--a carboplatin based regimen for malignant germ cell tumours in children. 
British Journal of Cancer  1990;62(2):257-262.
Between February 1986 and July 1988 a total of 21 children aged 1 to 16 years with malignant germ cell tumours (MGCT), 18 with either metastatic disease or unresectable primary tumour, received the JEB regimen - carboplatin dosage calculated from the EDTA glomerular filtration rate (approximately 600 mg m-2), etoposide 120 mg m-2 daily x 3, and bleomycin 15 mg m-2 weekly. Primary sites were: testis (6), ovary (8), sacrococcyx (4), pineal gland (2) and vagina (1). AFP levels were elevated in 19, beta-HCG in 8. Complete marker response was achieved in 19 out of 19 evaluable patients and complete remission of measurable tumour in 16 out of 19, 12 with chemotherapy alone and 4 with the addition of surgery. A reduction in glomerular filtration rate greater than 10% occurred in 3 of 12 evaluable patients; in none greater than 20%. Sequential audiography was normal in 11 out of 12 evaluated. The regimen was myelosuppressive with WHO grade III or IV myelosuppression occurring in 12 patients. Three patients have relapsed; one with a pineal germinoma who relapsed in the abdomen six months after diagnosis, and two with sacrococcygeal teratomas and lung metastases. Two of these remain in second complete remission after further treatment. There was one death from probable bleomycin pulmonary toxicity. We conclude that this regimen is simple to administer and, apart from myelosuppression, it is well tolerated. It appears to have comparable efficacy to cisplatin-based regimens but with much less nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity and avoids the use of alkylating agents and anthracyclines.
PMCID: PMC1971831  PMID: 1696831
6.  A phase II trial of a multi-agent oral antiangiogenic (metronomic) regimen in children with recurrent or progressive cancer 
Pediatric Blood & Cancer  2013;61(4):636-642.
Preclinical models show that an antiangiogenic regimen at low-dose daily (metronomic) dosing may be effective against chemotherapy-resistant tumors. We undertook a prospective, open-label, single-arm, multi-institutional phase II study to evaluate the efficacy of a “5-drug” oral regimen in children with recurrent or progressive cancer.
Patients ≤21 years old with recurrent or progressive tumors were eligible. Treatment consisted of continuous oral celecoxib, thalidomide, and fenofibrate, with alternating 21-day cycles of low-dose cyclophosphamide and etoposide. Primary endpoint was to assess, within eight disease strata, activity of the 5-drug regimen over 27 weeks. Blood and urine angiogenesis markers were assessed.
One hundred one patients were enrolled; 97 began treatment. Median age was 10 years (range: 191 days–21 years); 47 (49%) were female. Disease strata included high-grade glioma (HGG, 21 patients), ependymoma (19), low-grade glioma (LGG, 12), bone tumors (12), medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET, 8), leukemia (4), neuroblastoma (3), and miscellaneous tumors (18). Treatment was generally well tolerated; most common toxicities were hematologic. Twenty-four (25%) patients completed 27 weeks therapy without progression, including HGG: 1 (5%), ependymoma: 7 (37%), LGG: 7 (58%), medulloblastoma/PNET: 1, neuroblastoma: 1, and miscellaneous tumors: 7 (39%). Best response was complete response (one patient with medulloblastoma), partial response (12), stable disease (36), progressive disease (47), and inevaluable (1). Baseline serum thrombospondin levels were significantly higher in patients successfully completing therapy than in those who progressed (P = 0.009).
The 5-drug regimen was well tolerated. Clinical activity was demonstrated in some but not all tumor strata. Pediatric Blood Cancer 2014;61:636–642. © 2013 The Authors Pediatric Blood & Cancer Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PMCID: PMC4285784  PMID: 24123865
angiogenesis; drug resistance; pediatric oncology; phase II clinical trials
7.  Phase II study of irinotecan (CPT-11) in children with high-risk malignant brain tumors: the Duke experience. 
Neuro-Oncology  2002;4(2):102-108.
A phase II study of irinotecan (CPT-11) was conducted at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, to evaluate the activity of this agent in children with high-risk malignant brain tumors. A total of 22 children were enrolled in this study, including 13 with histologically verified recurrent malignant brain tumors (glioblastoma multiforme [GBM] 4, anaplastic astrocytoma 1, ependymoma 5, and medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor 3), 5 with recurrent diffuse pontine glioma, and 4 with newly diagnosed GBM. All patients with recurrent tumor had prior chemotherapy and/or irradiation. Each course of CPT-11 consisted of 125 mg/m ( 2 ) per week given i.v. for 4 weeks followed by a 2-week rest period. Patients with recurrent tumors received therapy until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients with newly diagnosed tumors initially received 3 cycles of treatment to assess tumor response and then were allowed radiotherapy at physician's choice; patients who demonstrated a response to CPT-11 prior to radiotherapy were allowed to continue the drug after radiation until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. A 25% to 50% dose reduction was made for grade III-IV toxicity. Responses were assessed after every course by gadolinium-enhanced MRI of the brain and spine. Twenty-two patients received a median of 2 courses of CPT-11 (range, 1-16). Responses were seen in 4 of 9 patients with GBM or anaplastic astrocytoma (44%; 95% confidence interval, 11%-82%) (complete response in 2 patients with recurrent GBM lasting 9 months and 48+ months; partial response in one patient with a newly diagnosed midbrain GBM lasting 18 months prior to radiotherapy; and partial response lasting 11 months in 1 patient with recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma), 1 of 5 patients with recurrent ependymoma (partial response initially followed by stable disease lasting 11 months), and none of 5 patients with recurrent diffuse pontine glioma. Two of 3 patients with medulloblastoma/primitive neuroectodermal tumor had stable disease for 9 and 13 months. Toxicity was mainly myelosuppression, with 12 of 22 patients (50%) suffering grade II-IV neutropenia. Seven patients required dose reduction secondary to neutropenia. CPT-11, given in this schedule, appears to be active in children with malignant glioma, medulloblastoma, and ependymoma with acceptable toxicity. Ongoing studies will demonstrate if activity of CPT-11 can be enhanced when combined with alkylating agents, including carmustine and temozolomide.
PMCID: PMC1920653  PMID: 11916501
8.  Mitomycin-ifosfamide-cisplatinum (MIP) vs MIP-interferon vs cisplatinum-carboplatin in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer: a FONICAP randomised phase II study. Italian Lung Cancer Task Force. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;71(1):115-119.
The FONICAP group is screening, with randomised phase II studies, the activity of new chemotherapy programmes for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) looking for regimens with > 30% activity. In the present study, three regimens were tested: MIP (mitomycin 6 mg m-2, ifosfamide 3 g m-2, cisplatinum 80 mg m-2 on day 1 every 28 days); MIP-IFN (MIP and interferon alpha-2b 3 MU s.c. three times a week); and PC (cisplatinum 60 mg m-2 and carboplatin 400 mg m-2 on day 1 every 28 days). Overall 93 chemotherapy-naive patients were enrolled: 23 received MIP, 27 received MIP-IFN and 43 received PC. Eighty per cent of the patients had stage IV and 20% stage IIIb disease (positive pleural effusion or supraclavicular nodes). Response rates were as follows: MIP = 9% (95% CI 1-28%), MIP-IFN = 7% (95% CI 1-24%) and PC = 14% (95% CI 5-28%). The overall median survival was 183 days. Grade III-IV leucopenia was observed in 36% of patients treated with MIP-IFN vs 10% in the other two arms, and thrombocytopenia grade III-IV was reported in nearly 10% of patients overall. In conclusion, (1) all three regimens investigated have poor activity (< 30%); (2) when tested in multicentre randomised phase II trials, MIP displays lower activity than in phase II trials; (3) PC has similar activity to other platinum-containing regimens; (4) randomised phase II studies are a reliable and quick method of determining the anti-tumour activity of novel chemotherapeutic regimens in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2033450  PMID: 7529522
9.  Epidermal growth factor receptor targeted therapy in stages III and IV head and neck cancer 
Current Oncology  2010;17(3):37-48.
What are the benefits associated with the use of anti–epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-egfr) therapies in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (hnscc)? Anti-egfr therapies of interest included cetuximab, gefitinib, lapatinib, zalutumumab, erlotinib, and panitumumab.
Head-and-neck cancer includes malignant tumours arising from a variety of sites in the upper aerodigestive tract. The most common histologic type is squamous cell carcinoma, and most common sites are the oral cavity, the oropharynx, the hypopharynx, and the larynx. Worldwide, hnscc is the sixth most common neoplasm, and despite advances in therapy, long-term survival in hnscc patients is poor. Primary surgery followed by chemoradiation, or primary chemoradiation, are the standard treatment options for patients with locally advanced (stages iii–ivb) hnscc; however, meta-analytic data indicate that the benefit of concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy disappears in patients over the age of 70 years.
Cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody approved for use in combination with radiation in the treatment of patients with untreated locally advanced hnscc and as monotherapy for patients with recurrent or metastatic (stage ivc) hnscc who have progressed on platinum-based therapy.
Given the interest in anti-egfr agents in advanced hnscc, the Head and Neck Cancer Disease Site Group (dsg) of Cancer Care Ontario’s Program in Evidence-Based Care (pebc) chose to systematically review the literature pertaining to this topic so as to develop evidence-based recommendations for treatment.
Outcomes of interest included overall and progression-free survival, quality of life, tumour response rate and duration, and the toxicity associated with the use of anti-egfr therapies.
The medline, embase, and Cochrane Library databases, the American Society of Clinical Oncology online conference proceedings, the Canadian Medical Association InfoBase, and the National Guidelines Clearinghouse were systematically searched to locate primary articles and practice guidelines. The reference lists from relevant review articles were searched for additional trials. All evidence was reviewed, and that evidence informed the development of the clinical practice guideline. The resulting recommendations were approved by the Report Approval Panel of the pebc, and by the Head and Neck Cancer dsg. An external review by Ontario practitioners completed the final phase of the review process. Feedback from all parties was incorporated to create the final practice guideline.
The electronic search identified seventy-four references that were reviewed for inclusion. Only four phase iii trials met the inclusion criteria for the present guideline. No practice guidelines, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses were found during the course of the literature search.
The randomized controlled trials (rcts) involved three distinct patient populations: those with locally advanced hnscc being treated for cure, those with incurable advanced recurrent or metastatic hnscc being treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, and those with incurable advanced recurrent or metastatic hnscc who had disease progression despite, or who were unsuitable for, first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
Practice Guideline
These recommendations apply to adult patients with locally advanced (nonmetastatic stages iii–ivb) or recurrent or metastatic (stage ivc) hnscc.
Platinum-based chemoradiation remains the current standard of care for treatment of locally advanced hnscc.
In patients with locally advanced hnscc who are medically unsuitable for concurrent platinumbased chemotherapy or who are over the age of 70 years (because concurrent chemotherapy does not appear to improve overall survival in this patient population), the addition of cetuximab to radical radiotherapy should be considered to improve overall survival, progression-free survival, and time to local recurrence.
Cetuximab in combination with platinum-based combination chemotherapy is superior to chemotherapy alone in patients with recurrent or metastatic hnscc, and is recommended to improve overall survival, progression-free survival, and response rate.
The role of anti-egfr therapies in the treatment of locally advanced hnscc is currently under study in large randomized trials, and patients with hnscc should continue to be offered clinical trials of novel agents aimed at improving outcomes.
Qualifying Statements
Chemoradiation is the current standard of care for patients with locally advanced hnscc, and to date, there is no evidence that compares cetuximab plus radiotherapy with chemoradiation, or that examines whether the addition of cetuximab to chemoradiation is of benefit in these patients. However, five ongoing trials are investigating the effect of the addition of egfr inhibitors concurrently with, before, or after chemoradiotherapy; those trials should provide direction about the best integration of cetuximab into standard treatment.
In patients with recurrent or metastatic hnscc who experience progressive disease despite, or who are unsuitable for, first-line platinum-based chemotherapy, gefitinib at doses of 250 mg or 500 mg daily, compared with weekly methotrexate, did not increase median overall survival [hazard ratio (hr): 1.22; 96% confidence interval (ci): 0.95 to 1.57; p = 0.12 (for 250 mg daily vs. weekly methotrexate); hr: 1.12; 95% ci: 0.87 to 1.43; p = 0.39 (for 500 mg daily vs. weekly methotrexate)] or objective response rate (2.7% for 250 mg and 7.6% for 500 mg daily vs. 3.9% for weekly methotrexate, p > 0.05). As compared with methotrexate, gefitinib was associated with an increased incidence of tumour hemorrhage (8.9% for 250 mg and 11.4% for 500 mg daily vs. 1.9% for weekly methotrexate).
PMCID: PMC2880902  PMID: 20567625
Head-and-neck cancer; epidermal growth factor receptor; egfr inhibitors; overall survival; progression-free survival; tumour response rate
10.  Ectopic intracranial retinoblastoma in childhood. 
Twelve out of a series of 630 children with retinoblastoma, treated in the ocular oncology units at St Bartholomew's and Moorfields Eye Hospitals during the past 30 years, have developed ectopic intracranial retinoblastoma. The ectopic tumour occurred in the pineal region in eight children and in the suprasellar region in four. Ten patients had bilateral retinoblastoma, one unilateral disease, and one child presented with an isolated suprasellar tumour but no evidence of retinal disease. The interval from the initial diagnosis of retinoblastoma to the development of ectopic intracranial disease ranged from 4 to 70 months, median 34 months. Methods of treatment for the ectopic tumour varied, but all 12 children died with a median survival of only 8 months following the diagnosis of ectopic retinoblastoma. Subsequent spread of tumour to other sites within the central nervous system proved to be the most frequent cause of death. Ectopic intracranial retinoblastoma is a potentially curable neoplasm, but it requires adequate therapy to the whole neuraxis as well as high dose equivalent radiotherapy to the primary tumour.
PMCID: PMC1040731  PMID: 4052359
11.  Individuality in FGF1 expression significantly influences platinum resistance and progression-free survival in ovarian cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(8):1327-1336.
Ovarian cancer is frequently advanced at presentation when treatment is rarely curative. Response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy significantly influences survival, but clinical response is unpredictable and is frequently limited by the development of drug-resistant disease.
We used qRT–PCR analysis to assess intertumour differences in the expression of fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) and additional candidate genes in human ovarian tumours (n=187), and correlated individuality in gene expression with tumour histology, chemotherapy response and survival. We used MTT assays to assess platinum chemosensitivity in drug-sensitive and drug-resistant ovarian cell lines.
Marked intertumour differences in gene expression were observed, with each tumour having a unique gene expression profile. Nine genes, including FGF1 (P=1.7 × 10−5) and FGFR2 (P=0.003), were differentially expressed in serous and nonserous tumours. MDM2 (P=0.032) and ERBB2 (P=0.064) expression was increased in platinum-sensitive patients, and FGF1 (adjusted log-rank test P=0.006), FGFR2 (P=0.04) and PDRFRB expression (P=0.037) significantly inversely influenced progression-free survival. Stable FGF1 gene knockdown in platinum-resistant A2780DPP cells re-sensitised cells to both cisplatin and carboplatin.
We show for the first time that FGF1 is differentially expressed in high-grade serous ovarian tumours, and that individuality in FGF1 expression significantly influences progression-free survival and response to platinum-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3494420  PMID: 22990650
fibroblast growth factors; ovarian cancer; survival; chemotherapy; platinum drugs
12.  p18Ink4cand p53 act as tumor suppressors in Cyclin D1-driven primitive neuroectodermal tumor 
Cancer research  2009;69(2):440-448.
The RB tumor suppressor pathway is likely important in primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) of the brain. In fact, 10-15% of children born with RB mutations develop brain PNETs, commonly in the pineal gland. Cyclin D1, which in association with Cyclin-dependent kinases (Cdk) 4 and 6 phosphorylates and inactivates the RB protein, is expressed in 40% of sporadic medulloblastoma, a PNET of the cerebellum. To understand tumorigenic events cooperating with RB pathway disruption in brain PNET, we generated a transgenic mouse where Cyclin D1 was expressed in pineal cells. Cyclin D1 enhanced pinealocyte proliferation, causing pineal gland enlargement. However, proliferation ceased beyond 2 weeks of age with reversal of Cdk4-mediated Rb phosphorylation despite continued expression of the transgene, and the pineal cells showed heterochromatin foci suggestive of a senescent-like state. In the absence of the p53 tumor suppressor, cell proliferation continued, resulting in pineal PNET that limited mouse survival to ~ 4 months. Interestingly, the Cdk-inhibitor p18Ink4c was induced in the transgenic pineal glands independently of p53, and transgenic mice that lacked Ink4c developed invasive PNET, though at an older age than those lacking p53. Analogous to our mouse model, we found that children with heritable retinoblastoma often had asymptomatic pineal gland enlargement that only rarely progressed to PNET. Our finding that the Cdk4-inhibitor p18Ink4c is a tumor suppressor in Cyclin D1-driven PNET suggests that pharmacological interventions to inhibit Cdk4 activity may be a useful chemoprevention or therapeutic strategy in cancer driven by primary Rb pathway disruption.
PMCID: PMC2629408  PMID: 19147556
Cyclin D1; p53; Ink4c; PNET; brain
13.  Consolidative high-dose chemotherapy after conventional-dose chemotherapy as first salvage treatment for male patients with metastatic germ cell tumours 
Some men with metastatic germ cell tumours that have progressed after response to initial cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy are cured with conventional dose first salvage chemotherapy (CDCT) – however, many are not. High-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue (HDCT) may be of value in these patients. Prognosis has recently been better defined by International Prognostic Factor Study Group (IPFSG) prognostic factors. HDCT after response to CDCT has been offered at our institution over the past two decades. We retrospectively assessed the validity of the IPFSG prognostic factors in our patients and evaluated the value of HDCT.
We identified eligible men with metastatic germ cell tumour progressed after at least 3 cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy and treated with cisplatin-based CDCT alone or with carboplatin-based HDCT. We also collected their clinical data. Patients were classified into risk groups using IPFSG factors, and progression-free and overall survival factors were analyzed and compared in patients treated with CDCT alone and with HDCT.
We identified 38 eligible first salvage patients who had received a median of 4 cycles (range, 1 to 7 cycles) of CDCT. Twenty patients received CDCT alone and 18 patients received CDCT plus HDCT. The overall median progression- free survival was 24.6 months (95%CI, 7.3 to 28.7 months) and overall median overall survival was 34.6 months (95%CI, 17.2 to 51.3 months). Distribution by IPFSG category and 2-year progression- free survival and 3-year overall survival rates within each risk category were very similar to the IPFSG results. There were two toxic deaths with CDCT and none with HDCT. Overall, patients treated with CDCT plus HDCT had improved progression- free survival and overall survival.
The IPFSG prognostic risk factors appeared valid in our patient population. The safety of HDCT with etoposide and carboplatin was confirmed. HDCT was associated with improved progression- free survival and overall survival outcomes, consistent with observations of the IPFSG group. Ideally, the value of optimal HDCT should be determined in comparison to optimal CDCT as first salvage therapy in men with metastatic germ cell tumour with a randomized trial.
PMCID: PMC3328550  PMID: 22511417
14.  Rapid palliation of symptoms with platinum-based chemotherapy plus cetuximab in recurrent oral cancer: a case report 
Symptom control is an important consideration in the choice of treatment for patients with recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Patients who demonstrate objective tumour responses to platinum-based chemotherapy are more likely to have symptom relief than those who do not have such responses. A phase III trial (EXTREME) showed that adding the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeting IgG1 monoclonal antibody cetuximab to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy significantly prolongs progression-free and overall survival and increases response rate compared with platinum-based chemotherapy alone. We report here the case of a 60-year old female with recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the gum who had rapid palliation of symptoms and reduction of facial disease mass following treatment with a combination of carboplatin/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and cetuximab.
Case presentation
The patient was diagnosed with T4N0 M0 disease of the oral cavity in November 2006 and underwent surgery, with R0 resection, followed by adjuvant radiotherapy and concomitant cisplatin chemotherapy. Around 3 months later, the disease recurred and the patient had severe pain (9/10 on a visual pain scale), marked facial oedema and a palpable facial mass of 89 mm. The patient received 4 21-day cycles of carboplatin (AUC 5), 5-FU (1,000 mg/m2/day for 4 days) and cetuximab (400 mg/m2 initial dose followed by subsequently weekly doses of 250 mg/m2), with continuation of cetuximab monotherapy at the end of this time, and pain relief with topical fentanyl and oral morphine. After 7 days of treatment, pain had reduced to 2/10, with discontinuation of morphine after 4 days, and the facial mass had reduced to 70 mm. After 2 cycles of treatment, the facial mass had decreased to 40 mm. After 3 cycles of treatment, pain and facial oedema had resolved completely and a cervical computed tomography scan showed a marked reduction in tumour mass. Cetuximab monotherapy was continued uninterrupted for 7 months.
This case illustrates the rapid reduction of tumour mass and disease-associated pain and oedema that can be achieved with a combination of platinum-based chemotherapy and cetuximab in recurrent and/or metastatic SCCHN.
PMCID: PMC2832769  PMID: 20181021
15.  Human germ cell tumours: expression of γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and sensitivity to cisplatin 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;81(1):75-79.
Previous studies have shown that the enzyme γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is essential for the nephrotoxicity of cisplatin. This study was designed to determine whether GGT activity is necessary for the therapeutic effect of the drug. The relationship between GGT expression and clinical response to platinum-based chemotherapy was examined in 41 human germ cell tumours. Sections of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumours were immunohistochemically stained with an antibody directed against human GGT. There was no expression of GGT in any of the 17 seminomas or four dysgerminomas; whereas, 12/12 ovarian yolk sac tumours and 4/4 embryonal carcinomas of the testis were GGT-positive. In stage I tumours fewer tumour cells expressed GGT than in later stage tumours. In four germ cell tumours of mixed histology, the seminomatous and dysgerminoma areas were GGT-negative while the areas of the tumour with yolk sac or embryonal histology contained GGT-positive tumour cells. The patients with seminomas or dysgerminomas who were treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy, all had a complete response despite the absence of GGT expression in these tumours. Fifteen of the 16 patients with yolk sac or embryonal carcinomas received cisplatin-based chemotherapy following surgery. Twelve had a complete response, while three failed to respond to platinum-based therapy. There was no correlation between the level of GGT-expression and response to therapy in this group. Three of the four patients with tumours of mixed histology were treated with cisplatin-based therapy, and had a complete response. Therefore, expression of GGT is not necessary for the therapeutic effect of cisplatin in germ cell tumours. The results from this study suggest that systemic inhibition of GGT would inhibit the nephrotoxic side-effect of cisplatin without interfering with its activity towards germ cell tumours. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2374348  PMID: 10487615
glutathione; human tumours; platinum-based therapy; chemotherapy
16.  Rationale and design of LUX-Head & Neck 1: a randomised, Phase III trial of afatinib versus methotrexate in patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma who progressed after platinum-based therapy 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:473.
Patients with recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) receiving platinum-based chemotherapy as their first-line treatment have a dismal prognosis, with a median overall survival (OS) of ~7 months. Methotrexate is sometimes used following platinum failure or in patients not fit enough for platinum therapy, but this agent has not demonstrated any OS improvement. Targeted therapies are a novel approach, with the EGFR-targeting monoclonal antibody cetuximab (plus platinum-based chemotherapy) approved in the US and Europe in the first-line R/M setting, and as monotherapy following platinum failure in the US. However, there is still a high unmet medical need for new treatments that improve outcomes in the second-line R/M setting following failure on first-line platinum-containing regimens. Afatinib, an irreversible ErbB family blocker, was recently approved for the first-line treatment of EGFR mutation-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Afatinib has also shown clinical activity similar to cetuximab in a Phase II proof-of-concept HNSCC trial. Based on these observations, the Phase III, LUX-Head & Neck 1 study is evaluating afatinib versus methotrexate in R/M HNSCC patients following progression on platinum-based chemotherapy in the R/M setting.
Patients with progressive disease after one first-line platinum-based chemotherapy are randomised 2:1 to oral afatinib (starting dose 40 mg once daily) or IV methotrexate (starting dose 40 mg/m2 once weekly) administered as monotherapy with best supportive care until progression or intolerable adverse events. Efficacy of afatinib versus methotrexate will be assessed in terms of progression-free survival (primary endpoint). Disease progression will be evaluated according to RECIST v1.1 by investigator and independent central review. Secondary endpoints include OS, tumour response and safety. Health-related quality of life and biomarker assessments will also be performed.
If the LUX-Head & Neck 1 trial meets its primary endpoint, it will demonstrate the ability of afatinib to elicit an improved treatment benefit versus a commonly used chemotherapy agent in the second-line treatment of R/M HNSCC patients who have failed on first-line platinum-based therapy, confirm the clinical efficacy of afatinib observed in the Phase II proof-of-concept study, and establish a new standard of care for this patient population.
PMCID: PMC4079914  PMID: 24973959
Afatinib; Methotrexate; Head and neck; Phase III; Recurrent; Metastatic
17.  Phase 2 Trial of Pemetrexed in Children and Adolescents with Refractory Solid Tumors: a Children’s Oncology Group Study 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;60(2):237-241.
Pemetrexed is a multi-targeted antifolate that inhibits key enzymes involved in nucleotide biosynthesis. We performed a phase 2 trial of pemetrexed in children with refractory or recurrent solid tumors, including CNS tumors, to estimate the response rate and further define its toxicity profile.
Pemetrexed, at a dose of 1910 mg/m2, was administered as a 10-minute intravenous infusion every 21 days. Patients also received vitamin B12, daily multivitamin supplementation, and dexamethasone. A two-stage design (10 + 10) was employed in each of the following disease strata: osteosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma/peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET), rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, ependymoma, medulloblastoma/supratentorial PNET, and non-brainstem high-grade glioma.
Seventy-two eligible subjects (39 males) were enrolled. Median age was 11 years (range 3–23). Sixty-eight were evaluable for response. The median number of cycles administered was 2 (range 1–13). No complete or partial responses were observed. Stable disease, for a median of 5 (range 4–13) cycles, was observed in 5 patients (ependymoma, Ewing sarcoma, medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma, osteosarcoma; n=1 each). Neutropenia (44%), anemia (35%), and elevated alanine transaminase (35%) attributable to pemetrexed were the most commonly recurring toxicities observed in patients receiving multiple cycles. Other toxicities attributed to pemetrexed occurring in ≥10% of cycles included thrombocytopenia (30%), fatigue (18%), nausea (14), hyperglycemia (13%), rash (11%), vomiting (13%), and hypophosphatemia (11%).
Pemetrexed, administered as an intravenous infusion every 21 days, was tolerable in children and adolescents with refractory solid tumors, including CNS tumors, but did not show evidence of objective anti-tumor activity in the childhood tumors studied.
PMCID: PMC3463652  PMID: 22745043
pemetrexed; phase 2; antifolate
18.  Magnetic resonance imaging of pineal region tumours 
Insights into Imaging  2013;4(3):369-382.
Pineal lesions can present as a heterogeneous collection of benign and malignant disease conditions. Pineal lesions include germ cell tumours, neoplasms arising from the pineal parenchyma, as well as other pineal region masses.
A variety of cases of pineal lesions are presented. The important clinical features and typical imaging findings of each pineal lesion are described with emphasis on their morphological appearance and signal intensity characteristics on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Knowledge of the imaging characteristics and clinical features of varying pineal lesions can assist in narrowing the differential diagnosis for more accurate and rational therapeutic planning.
Teaching Points
• Pineal parenchymal tumours show an “explosion” of normal pineal calcifications towards the periphery.
• Pineoblastomas often have restricted diffusion, with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values lower than germinomas.
• Pineal teratomas and pineal lipomas display fat signal characteristics and fat saturation on MRI.
• Pineal lesions in patients with known malignancy should raise suspicion of metastatic involvement.
• Pineal cysts and arachnoid cysts show MRI signal characteristics similar to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
PMCID: PMC3675249  PMID: 23640020
Pineal gland; Pineal tumors; Pineal neoplasm; Pineal parenchyma tumors; MRI
19.  Late deaths after treatment for childhood cancer. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1990;65(12):1356-1363.
An investigation of 749 deaths occurring among 4082 patients surviving at least five years after the diagnosis of childhood cancer in Britain before 1971 has been undertaken. Of the 738 with sufficient information the numbers of deaths attributable to the following causes were: recurrent tumour, 550 (74%), a second primary tumour, 61 (8%), a medical condition related to treatment of the tumour, 49 (7%), an traumatic death unrelated to the tumour or its treatment, 34 (5%), finally, any other cause unrelated to the tumour or its treatment, 44 (6%). Less than 10% of five year survivors of non-Hodgkin lymphomas, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, Wilms' tumour, or a soft tissue sarcoma died of recurrent tumour during the next 15 years, while more than 25% of five year survivors of Hodgkin's disease, ependymoma, medulloblastoma, and Ewing's tumour died of recurrent tumour during the corresponding period. Almost 50% of five year survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia died of recurrent disease during the corresponding 15 years, a large proportion of deaths being due to central nervous system relapse in an era before central nervous system prophylaxis was routinely given. Comparison of the mortality observed with that expected from mortality rates in the general population indicated three times the expected number of deaths from non-neoplastic causes. Five times the expected number of deaths from cardiovascular causes were observed, these were predominantly myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents. There was no evidence of an excess in the number of suicides observed, but there were three times the expected number of deaths from accidents observed after central nervous system tumours. Two groups of patients were identified whose deaths were potentially avoidable. Seven patients with craniopharyngioma and panhypopituitarism presented with addisonian crises during periods of stress not adequately covered by exogenous corticosteroids. In the other group were children who received radiotherapy and later developed problems related to radiation fibrosis. We emphasize that our investigation relates to patients diagnosed with childhood cancer before 1971. The pattern of mortality that will emerge after recent treatment regimens, in which chemotherapy is being used more extensively, is likely to be different from that observed in our study.
PMCID: PMC1793098  PMID: 2270944
20.  A phase II study of tamoxifen plus melatonin in metastatic solid tumour patients. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;74(9):1466-1468.
Preliminary data would suggest that the pineal hormone, melatonin (MLT), may enhance tamoxifen (TMX) anti-tumour efficacy. Both MLT and TMX have been used as single agents in the palliative treatment of metastatic neoplasms, other than the classical hormone-dependent tumours, without, however, any clear efficacy. On this basis, a phase II study with TMX plus MLT has been performed in untreatable metastatic solid tumour patients. The study included 25 metastatic solid tumour patients other than breast cancer and prostate cancer (six unknown primary tumour; four melanoma; four uterine cervix carcinoma; five pancreatic cancer; three hepatocarcinoma; two ovarian cancer; one non-small-cell lung cancer), for whom no other effective standard therapy was available, because of poor clinical conditions, no response to previous chemotherapies and/or chemotherapy-resistant tumours. Both drugs were given orally every day until disease progression (TMX, 20 mg day-1 at noon; MLT, 20 mg day-1 in the evening). Three patients had a partial response (PR) (12%; 95% confidence limits 2-24%) (one cervix carcinoma; one melanoma; one unknown primary tumour). A stable disease (SD) was achieved in 13 other patients, whereas the remaining nine patients progressed. Performance status (PS) improved in 9/25 patients, whose median score increased from 50% to 70%. Finally, a survival longer than 1 year was observed in 7/25 (28%) patients. This phase II study would suggest that the neuroendocrine combination with TMX plus MLT may have some benefit in untreatable metastatic solid tumour patients, either in controlling cancer cell proliferation or improving the PS.
PMCID: PMC2074765  PMID: 8912546
21.  Platinum drugs in the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;87(8):825-833.
The use of chemotherapy is considered standard therapy in patients with locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer that cannot be treated with radiotherapy and in those with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer and good performance status. This approach is also accepted in patients with earlier stage disease, when combined with radiotherapy in those with non-resectable locally advanced disease, or in the preoperative setting. Randomised clinical studies and meta-analyses of the literature have confirmed the beneficial survival effect of platinum-based chemotherapy. Cisplatin and carboplatin have been successfully used with other drugs in a wide variety of well-established two-drug combinations while three-drug combinations are still under investigation. Cisplatin and carboplatin use is limited by toxicity and inherent resistance. These considerations have prompted research into new platinum agents, such as the trinuclear platinum agent BBR3464, the platinum complex ZD0473 and oxaliplatin. These compounds could be developed in combination with agents such as paclitaxel, gemcitabine or vinorelbine in patients with advanced and/or refractory solid tumours.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 825–833. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600540
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
PMCID: PMC2376170  PMID: 12373594
cisplatin; carboplatin; ZD0473; BBR3464; oxaliplatin; non-small-cell lung cancer
Gynecologic oncology  2007;108(1):90-94.
Because debate continues over the role of combination, platinum-based chemotherapy for platinum sensitive (PS), recurrent ovarian cancer (OC), we compared overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), confirmed complete response rate and time to treatment failure in this population.
Patients with recurrent stage III or IV OC, a progression-free and platinum-free interval of 6- 24 months after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy and up to 12 courses of a non-platinum containing consolidation treatment were eligible. Patients were randomized to IV pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) (30 mg/m2) plus IV carboplatin (AUC=5 mg/mL × min) once every 4 weeks (PLD arm) or IV carboplatin alone (AUC=5mg/mL × min) once every 4 weeks.
The PLD arm enrolled 31 patients and the carboplatin alone arm 30 for a total of 61 patients out of 900 planned. Response rates were 67% for the PLD arm and 32% for the carboplatin only arm (Fisher’s exact p=0.02). The estimated median PFS was 12 and 8 months for PLD versus carboplatin alone. The estimated median OS on the PLD arm was 26 months and 18 months on the carboplatin only arm (p=0.02). Twenty-six percent of the patients on the PLD arm reported grade 4 toxicities, all hematological in nature.
This study was closed early because of slow patient accrual. The response rate, median PFS and OS results are intriguing. These data suggest that there may be an advantage to the PLD plus carboplatin combination treatment in patients with PS, recurrent OC. The regimen should be further tested.
PMCID: PMC2276605  PMID: 17949799
23.  A PDGFRA promoter polymorphism, which disrupts the binding of ZNF148, is associated with primitive neuroectodermal tumours and ependymomas 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2005;42(1):31-37.
Background: Platelet derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα) expression is typical for a variety of brain tumours, while in normal adult brain PDGFRα expression is limited to a small number of neural progenitor cells. The molecular mechanisms responsible for the PDGFRα expression in tumours are not known, but in the absence of amplification, changes in transcriptional regulation might be an important factor in this process.
Methods and results: We have investigated the link between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the PDGFRα gene promoter and the occurrence of brain tumours (medulloblastomas, supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNETs), ependymal tumours, astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and mixed gliomas). These SNPs give rise to five different promoter haplotypes named H1 and H2α–δ. It is apparent from the haplotype frequency distribution that both PNET (10-fold) and ependymoma (6.5-fold) patient groups display a significant over-representation of the H2δ haplotype. The precise functional role in PDGFRα gene transcription for the H2δ haplotype is not known yet, but we can show that the H2δ haplotype specifically disrupts binding of the transcription factor ZNF148 as compared to the other promoter haplotypes.
Conclusions: The specific over-representation of the H2δ haplotype in both patients with PNETs and ependymomas suggests a functional role for the ZNF148/PDGFRα pathway in the pathogenesis of these tumours.
PMCID: PMC1735903  PMID: 15635072
24.  Aberrant DNA Damage Response Pathways May Predict the Outcome of Platinum Chemotherapy in Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117654.
Ovarian carcinoma (OC) is the most lethal gynecological malignancy. Despite the advances in the treatment of OC with combinatorial regimens, including surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy, patients generally exhibit poor prognosis due to high chemotherapy resistance. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that DNA damage response (DDR) pathways are involved in resistance of OC patients to platinum chemotherapy. Selected DDR signals were evaluated in two human ovarian carcinoma cell lines, one sensitive (A2780) and one resistant (A2780/C30) to platinum treatment as well as in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from OC patients, sensitive (n = 7) or resistant (n = 4) to subsequent chemotherapy. PBMCs from healthy volunteers (n = 9) were studied in parallel. DNA damage was evaluated by immunofluorescence γH2AX staining and comet assay. Higher levels of intrinsic DNA damage were found in A2780 than in A2780/C30 cells. Moreover, the intrinsic DNA damage levels were significantly higher in OC patients relative to healthy volunteers, as well as in platinum-sensitive patients relative to platinum-resistant ones (all P<0.05). Following carboplatin treatment, A2780 cells showed lower DNA repair efficiency than A2780/C30 cells. Also, following carboplatin treatment of PBMCs ex vivo, the DNA repair efficiency was significantly higher in healthy volunteers than in platinum-resistant patients and lowest in platinum-sensitive ones (t1/2 for loss of γH2AX foci: 2.7±0.5h, 8.8±1.9h and 15.4±3.2h, respectively; using comet assay, t1/2 of platinum-induced damage repair: 4.8±1.4h, 12.9±1.9h and 21.4±2.6h, respectively; all P<0.03). Additionally, the carboplatin-induced apoptosis rate was higher in A2780 than in A2780/C30 cells. In PBMCs, apoptosis rates were inversely correlated with DNA repair efficiencies of these cells, being significantly higher in platinum-sensitive than in platinum-resistant patients and lowest in healthy volunteers (all P<0.05). We conclude that perturbations of DNA repair pathways as measured in PBMCs from OC patients correlate with the drug sensitivity of these cells and reflect the individualized response to platinum-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4320060  PMID: 25659114
25.  Ovarian cancer (advanced) 
Clinical Evidence  2009;2009:0816.
Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK. The 5-year relative survival rate in the UK at diagnosis for women aged 15-39 years is nearly 70%. In comparison, it is only 12% for women diagnosed aged over 80 years.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of surgical treatments for ovarian cancer that is advanced at first presentation? What are the effects of platinum-based chemotherapy for ovarian cancer that is advanced at first presentation? What are the effects of taxane-based chemotherapy for ovarian cancer that is advanced at first presentation? What are the effects of intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer that is advanced at first presentation? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to September 2007 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 31 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adding taxanes to platinum-based chemotherapy, carboplatin plus a taxane, cisplatin plus a taxane, combination or single-agent platinum-based chemotherapy, docetaxel, intravenous and intraperitoneal chemotherapy, interval debulking, paclitaxel, primary surgery, and second-look surgery.
Key Points
Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Incidence rises with age, and peaks in the seventh and eighth decades of life.Risk factors include family history of ovarian cancer, increasing age, and low parity. Risks are reduced by using the oral contraceptive pill for more than 5 years, tubal ligation, hysterectomy, breastfeeding, increased age at menarche, decreased age at menopause, and use of NSAIDs.In the UK, the 5-year relative survival rate at diagnosis for women aged 15-39 years is nearly 70%. In comparison, it is only 12% for women diagnosed over 80 years of age.
Standard treatment for advanced ovarian cancer is primary surgical debulking, followed by chemotherapy. We found no direct evidence on the effects of primary surgery versus no surgery, or primary surgery plus chemotherapy versus surgery or chemotherapy alone.Although we found no direct evidence, subgroup analysis comparing groups by the degree to which maximal surgical debulking was acheived or not, suggests that maximal surgical cytoreduction at primary surgery is strongly associated with improved survival in advanced ovarian cancer.Subsequent debulking and second-look surgery seem unlikely to improve survival, especially if initial surgery achieved optimal cytoreduction.
Platinum-based regimens are now standard first-line chemotherapy and have been shown to be beneficial in prolonging survival compared with non-platinum-based regimens. Platinum compounds seem to be the main beneficial agent, with little additional survival benefit from adding non-platinum (excluding taxanes) chemotherapeutic agents to platinum. Carboplatin is as effective as cisplatin in prolonging survival, but with less-severe adverse effects.
Taxanes may increase survival if added to platinum chemotherapy compared with platinum-based regimens alone, but studies have given conflicting results. One RCT suggests paclitaxel is as effective at prolonging survival as docetaxel when combined with a platinum drug.
Platinum-based chemotherapy can also be delivered directly into the intraperitoneal cavity, as well as by the intravenous route.
We found limited evidence that intraperitoneal platinum-based chemotherapy may increase survival compared with intravenous administration but at the cost of increased adverse effects, both those associated with the use of an intraperitoneal catheter and from increased doses of chemotherapy. Any benefit seen with intraperitoneal rather than intravenous administration may be due to different chemotherapy doses, rather than the route of administration.
Limited evidence suggests that consolidation treatment given intraperitoneally does not confer any survival benefit compared with no further treatment in women who have undergone primary surgery and chemotherapy and who have no disease at second-look laparotomy. However, consolidation treatment may be associated with increased adverse effects.
PMCID: PMC2907795  PMID: 19445772

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