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1.  Consolidative high-dose chemotherapy after conventional-dose chemotherapy as first salvage treatment for male patients with metastatic germ cell tumours 
Introduction:
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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
doi:10.5489/cuaj.11233
PMCID: PMC3328550  PMID: 22511417
2.  Deletion of the thrombin cleavage domain of osteopontin mediates breast cancer cell adhesion, proteolytic activity, tumorgenicity, and metastasis 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:25.
Background
Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted phosphoprotein often overexpressed at high levels in the blood and primary tumors of breast cancer patients. OPN contains two integrin-binding sites and a thrombin cleavage domain located in close proximity to each other.
Methods
To study the role of the thrombin cleavage site of OPN, MDA-MB-468 human breast cancer cells were stably transfected with either wildtype OPN (468-OPN), mutant OPN lacking the thrombin cleavage domain (468-ΔTC) or an empty vector (468-CON) and assessed for in vitro and in vivo functional differences in malignant/metastatic behavior.
Results
All three cell lines were found to equivalently express thrombin, tissue factor, CD44, αvβ5 integrin and β1 integrin. Relative to 468-OPN and 468-CON cells, 468-ΔTC cells expressing OPN with a deleted thrombin cleavage domain demonstrated decreased cell adhesion (p < 0.001), decreased mRNA expression of MCAM, maspin and TRAIL (p < 0.01), and increased uPA expression and activity (p < 0.01) in vitro. Furthermore, injection of 468-ΔTC cells into the mammary fat pad of nude mice resulted in decreased primary tumor latency time (p < 0.01) and increased primary tumor growth and lymph node metastatic burden (p < 0.001) compared to 468-OPN and 468-CON cells.
Conclusions
The results presented here suggest that expression of thrombin-uncleavable OPN imparts an early tumor formation advantage as well as a metastatic advantage for breast cancer cells, possibly due to increased proteolytic activity and decreased adhesion and apoptosis. Clarification of the mechanisms responsible for these observations and the translation of this knowledge into the clinic could ultimately provide new therapeutic opportunities for combating breast cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-25
PMCID: PMC3034707  PMID: 21247495

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