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1.  Prognosis and prognostic factors of patients with mesothelioma: a population-based study 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;107(1):161-164.
It is important to regularly update survival estimates of patients with malignant mesothelioma as prognosis may vary according to epidemiologic factors and diagnostic and therapeutic management.
We assessed overall (baseline) survival as well as related prognostic variables in a large cohort of 1353 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma between 2005 and 2008.
About 50% of the patients were 70 years or older at diagnosis and the median latency time since start of asbestos exposure was 49 years. One year after diagnosis, 47% of the patients were alive, 20% after 2 years and 15% after 3 years. Prognostic variables independently associated with worse survival were: older age (HR=1.04 per year 95% CI (1.03–1.06)), sarcomatoid subtype (HR=2.45 95% CI (2.06–2.90)) and non-pleural localisation (HR=1.67 95% CI (1.26–2.22)).
Survival of patients with malignant mesothelioma is still limited and depends highly on patient age, mesothelioma subtype and localisation. In addition, a substantial part of the patients had a long latency time between asbestos exposure and diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3389430  PMID: 22644294
mesothelioma; survival; prognostic factors; population-based study
2.  Markers for the non-invasive diagnosis of mesothelioma: a systematic review 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;104(8):1325-1333.
Numerous markers have been evaluated to facilitate the non-invasive diagnostic work-up of mesothelioma. The purpose of this study was to conduct a structured review of the diagnostic performance of non-invasive marker tests for the detection of mesothelioma in patients with suspected mesothelioma.
Studies on the diagnostic accuracy of serum and cytological markers published till 31 December 2009, available in either PUBMED or Embase, to detect or exclude the presence of mesothelioma were extracted. Study quality was assessed with use of the Quadas criteria.
In total, 82 articles were included in this systemic review. Overall, quality of the incorporated studies to address our objective was poor. The most frequently studied immunohistochemical markers for cytological analysis were EMA, Ber-Ep4, CEA, and calretinin. The most frequently investigated serum marker was soluble mesothelin-related protein (SMRP). The markers CEA, Ber-EP4, and calretinin were most valuable in discriminating mesothelioma from other malignant diseases. Markers EMA and SMRP were most valuable in discriminating mesothelioma from non-malignant diseases. No marker performed well in discriminating between mesothelioma and all other diseases.
Currently, there is only limited evidence to properly assess the value of non-invasive marker tests in the diagnosis of mesothelioma. Studies were of limited value to address our objective and results showed considerable unexplained study heterogeneity.
PMCID: PMC3078590  PMID: 21448170
mesothelioma; diagnosis; biomarkers; cytology
3.  Improving the quality of health care: using international collaboration to inform guideline programmes by founding the Guidelines International Network (G-I-N)* 
Quality & safety in health care  2004;13(6):455-460.

 Clinical practice guidelines are regarded as powerful tools to achieve effective health care. Although many countries have built up experience in the development, appraisal, and implementation of guidelines, until recently there has been no established forum for collaboration at an international level. As a result, in different countries seeking similar goals and using similar strategies, efforts have been unnecessarily duplicated and opportunities for harmonisation lost because of the lack of a supporting organisational framework. This triggered a proposal in 2001 for an international guidelines network built on existing partnerships. A baseline survey confirmed a strong demand for such an entity. A multinational group of guideline experts initiated the development of a non-profit organisation aimed at promotion of systematic guideline development and implementation. The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) was founded in November 2002. One year later the Network released the International Guideline Library, a searchable database which now contains more than 2000 guideline resources including published guidelines, guidelines under development, "guidelines for guidelines", training materials, and patient information tools. By June 2004, 52 organisations from 27 countries had joined the network including institutions from Oceania, North America, and Europe, and WHO. This paper describes the process that led to the foundation of the G-I-N, its characteristics, prime activities, and ideas on future projects and collaboration.
PMCID: PMC1743909  PMID: 15576708
4.  Concurrent chemotherapy (carboplatin, paclitaxel, etoposide) and involved-field radiotherapy in limited stage small cell lung cancer: a Dutch multicenter phase II study 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(5):625-630.
To improve the prognosis of limited stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) the addition of concurrent thoracic radiotherapy to a platinum-containing regimen is important. In the Netherlands, we initiated a multicenter, phase II study, of the combination of four cycles of carboplatin (AUC 5), paclitaxel (200 mg m−2) and etoposide (2 × 50 mg orally for 5 days) combined with 45 Gy (daily fractions of 1.8 Gy). The radiation was given to the involved field and concurrently with the second and third chemotherapy cycle. Patients with a partial or complete response received prophylactic cranial irradiation to a dose of 30 Gy. From January 1999 to December 2001, 37 of the 38 patients with LS-SCLC entered were eligible for toxicity analysis and response. Grade 3 and 4 haematological toxicity occurred in 57% (21/37) with febrile neutropenia in 24% (9/37). There were no treatment-related deaths or other grade 4 toxicity. Grade 3 toxicities were oesophagitis (27%), radiation pneumonitis (6%), anorexia (14%), nausea (16%), dyspnea (19%) and lethargy (22%). The objective response rate was 92% (95% confidence interval (CI) 80–98%) with a median survival time of 19.5 months (95% CI 12.8–29.2). The 1-, 2- and 5-year survival rate was 70, 47 and 27%, respectively. In field local recurrences occurred in six patients. Distant metastases were observed in 19 patients of which 13 in the brain. This study indicates that combination chemotherapy with concurrent involved-field radiation therapy is an effective treatment for LS-SCLC. Despite PCI, the brain remained the most important site of recurrence.
PMCID: PMC2361215  PMID: 16465191
SCLC; limited stage; concurrent radiotherapy; involved field
5.  Identical chemotherapy schedules given on and off trial protocol in small cell lung cancer response and survival results 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;87(5):562-566.
Patients who are treated within clinical trials may have a survival benefit dependent on being a trial participant. A number of factors may produce such beneficial outcome including more rigorous adherence to a peer reviewed trial protocol, management by an experienced treatment team, being treated in a specialist centre etc. The current investigation compared patients treated on and off trial with the same standard arm treatment regimen. The results could then be interpreted without the confounding factors of differing treatment regimens, treatment teams or treatment hospitals. The results demonstrated given these circumstances that survival was no different for patients participating in a randomised trial compared with a group of patients similarly treated who were not eligible for trial entry or who declined randomisation. These results were obtained by the rigorous adherence to a defined protocol with the invaluable assistance of designated lung cancer staff.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 562–566. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600433
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
PMCID: PMC2376145  PMID: 12189557
randomised trial; participation; survival
6.  Multicentre phase II study of gemcitabine and cisplatin in malignant pleural mesothelioma 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;86(3):342-345.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a notoriously chemoresistant tumour. However, a recent single institution study showed an impressive activity of gemcitabine and cisplatin. Our aim is to investigate the efficacy and toxicity of a gemcitabine and cisplatin combination in selected and chemo-naive patients with histologically proven malignant pleural mesothelioma. Method: Gemcitabine 1250 mg m−2 was administered on day 1 and day 8 and cisplatin 80 mg m−2 was administered on day 1 in a 3-week cycle with a maximum of six cycles. Response and toxicity evaluations were performed according to WHO and NCIC-CTC criteria. Pathology and radiology were centrally reviewed. Results show that in 25 evaluable patients, four PR were observed (ORR 16%, 95% CI 1–31%). Responses of seven patients were unevaluable. No unexpected toxicity occurred. Time to progression was 6 months (5–7 months) with a median survival from registration of 9.6 months (95% CI 8–12 months). In conclusion this trial excludes with 90% power a response rate of greater than 30% in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma using a combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin at the proposed dose and schedule.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 342–345. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600118
© 2002 The Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2375227  PMID: 11875695
malignant pleural mesothelioma; cisplatin; gemcitabine; phase II study
7.  Primary non-Hodgkin lymphoma of the stomach: endoscopic pattern and prognosis in low versus high grade malignancy in relation to the MALT concept. 
Gut  1996;39(4):556-561.
BACKGROUND: Various histological classifications developed for nodal lymphomas failed to be of value in extranodal lymphomas. More recently, gastric lymphoma is considered to represent a distinctive group derived from mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (MALT). AIM: To study the prognostic value of malignancy grading based on the concept that most gastric lymphomas are of MALT origin, the endoscopic as well as clinical characteristics in 114 patients with primary gastric non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were evaluated. RESULTS: In univariate analysis, patients with low grade lymphoma (n = 51) were younger, had less advanced stage, and less frequently bulky disease than those with high grade lymphoma (n = 63). In multivariate analysis weight loss and increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate were significantly less frequent in low grade (45% and 22%) compared with high grade lymphoma (75% and 53%). In low grade lymphoma endoscopic findings were often interpreted as a benign condition (27 of 51), in contrast with high grade lymphoma, where carcinoma was most frequently (37 of 63) suspected. In low grade lymphoma complete remission rate was 92%, and five year survival 75%, In high grade lymphoma results were significantly less favourable (p = 0.0001): complete remission in 68%, and a five year survival of 46%. CONCLUSION: Malignancy grading was strongly correlated with treatment outcome; endoscopically low grade lymphoma was often hard to distinguish from benign conditions, whereas high grade lymphoma often revealed carcinoma-like features.
PMCID: PMC1383269  PMID: 8944565

Results 1-7 (7)