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1.  Progression-free survival in advanced ovarian cancer: a Canadian review and expert panel perspective 
Current Oncology  2011;18(Suppl 2):S20-S27.
Ovarian cancer is leading cause of gynecologic cancer mortality in Canada. To date, overall survival (os) has been the most-used endpoint in oncology trials because of its relevance and objectivity. However, as a result of various factors, including the pattern of sequential salvage therapies, measurement of os and collection of os data are becoming particularly challenging. Phase ii and iii trials have therefore adopted progression-free survival (pfs) as a more convenient surrogate endpoint; however, the clinical significance of pfs remains unclear. This position paper presents discussion topics and findings from a pan-Canadian meeting of experts that set out to evaluate the relevance of pfs as a valid endpoint in ovarian cancer;reach a Canadian consensus on the relevance of pfs in ovarian cancer; andtry to address how pfs translates into clinical benefit in ovarian cancer.
Overall, the findings and the group consensus posit that future studies should ensure that trials are designed to evaluate pfs, os, and other clinically relevant endpoints such as disease-related symptoms or quality of life;incorporate interim futility analyses intended to stop accrual early when the experimental regimen is not active;stop trials early to declare superiority only when compelling evidence suggests that a new treatment provides benefit for a pre-specified, clinically relevant endpoint such as os or symptom relief; anddiscourage early release of secondary endpoint results when such a release might increase the frequency of crossover to the experimental intervention.
PMCID: PMC3176906  PMID: 21969808
Ovarian cancer; clinical trials; progression-free survival; overall survival
2.  The MIT D-lab electricity-free PortaTherm™ incubator for remote testing with the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube assay 
Use of the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube assay (QFT-GIT) in remote areas is limited by the need to incubate blood samples within 12 h of collection. PortaTherm™ is a portable, electricity-free, phase-change incubator previously used for field collection of microbiological samples.
To determine whether the PortaTherm can be used for the reliable incubation of QFT-GIT samples, thus enabling QFT-GIT use in settings distant from laboratory facilities.
In a prospective comparative study in Peru, blood samples were collected from 50 participants and processed in three parallel QFT-GIT tests per participant; two were incubated in a conventional incubator; the third was incubated in the PortaTherm.
All 150 QFT-GIT tests gave definitive results, and for 46 of the 50 participants all three tests were concordant, eight of which were positive. Four participants had one discordant result: two due to discordance of a conventional incubator QFT-GIT result, and two due to discordant PortaTherm QFT-GIT results.
The QFT-GIT inter-incubator variability between the PortaTherm and conventional incubator was no greater than the intra-incubator variability for the conventional incubator, indicating that the PortaTherm is a suitable tool for incubating QFT-GIT whole blood samples in remote settings where access to a laboratory or electricity is limited.
PMCID: PMC3111905  PMID: 20937189
incubator; PortaTherm; QuantiFERON®-TB Gold In-Tube; tuberculosis; inter-assay variability
3.  Chemotherapy in advanced ovarian cancer: four systematic meta-analyses of individual patient data from 37 randomized trials. Advanced Ovarian Cancer Trialists' Group. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;78(11):1479-1487.
The purpose of this systematic study was to provide an up to date and reliable quantitative summary of the relative benefits of various types of chemotherapy (non-platinum vs platinum, single-agent vs combination and carboplatin vs cisplatin) in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Also, to investigate whether well-defined patient subgroups benefit more or less from cisplatin- or carboplatin-based therapy. Meta-analyses were based on updated individual patient data from all available randomized controlled trials (published and unpublished), including 37 trials, 5667 patients and 4664 deaths. The results suggest that platinum-based chemotherapy is better than non-platinum therapy, show a trend in favour of platinum combinations over single-agent platinum, and suggest that cisplatin and carboplatin are equally effective. There is no good evidence that cisplatin is more or less effective than carboplatin in any particular subgroup of patients.
PMCID: PMC2063202  PMID: 9836481

Results 1-3 (3)