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1.  Incidence and prognostic value of tumour cells detected by RT–PCR in peripheral blood stem cell collections from patients with Ewing tumour 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;95(10):1326-1333.
To retrospectively evaluate the incidence of tumour cell contamination of peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collections and to correlate these data with the clinical outcome after high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with stem cell rescue in patients with a high-risk Ewing tumour. Peripheral blood stem cell collections obtained from 171 patients were analysed. Tumour contamination was assessed by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR). The files of 88 patients who underwent HDCT followed by PBSC reinfusion were reviewed in detail, and their outcome compared to the PBSC RT–PCR results. Seven of 88 PBSC collections (8%) contained tumour cells as detected by RT–PCR. Peripheral blood stem cells were collected after a median of five cycles of chemotherapy. No clinical factor predictive of tumour cell contamination of PBSC harvest could be identified. Event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) of the whole study population were 45.3 % and 51.8 % at 3 years from the date of the graft, respectively. Forty-five patients relapsed with a median time of 15 months after graft, only four of whom had tumour cell contamination of the PBSC harvest. Tumour cell contamination of PBSC collection is rare and does not seem to be associated with a significantly poorer EFS or OS in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC2360590  PMID: 17088915
ewing tumour; PBSC; tumour cell contamination; RT–PCR; outcome
2.  Dose finding and O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase study of cisplatin combined with temozolomide in paediatric solid malignancies 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;93(5):529-537.
Cisplatin may have additive activity with temozolomide due to ablation of the DNA repair protein O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (MGMT). This phase I/II study determined recommended combination doses using the Continual Reassessment Method, toxicities and antitumour activity in paediatric patients, and evaluated MGMT in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in order to correlate with haematological toxicity. In total, 39 patients with refractory or recurrent solid tumours (median age ∼13 years; 14 pretreated with high-dose chemotherapy, craniospinal irradiation, or having bone marrow involvement) were treated with cisplatin, followed the next day by oral temozolomide for 5 days every 4 weeks at dose levels 80 mg m−2/150 mg m−2 day−1, 80/200, and 100/200, respectively. A total of 38 patients receiving 113 cycles (median 2, range 1–7) were evaluable for toxicity. Dose-limiting toxicity was haematological in all but one case. Treatment-related toxicities were thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, nausea-vomiting, asthenia. Hearing loss was experienced in five patients with prior irradiation to the brain stem or posterior fossa. Partial responses were observed in two malignant glioma, one brain stem glioma, and two neuroblastoma. Median MGMT activity in PBMCs decreased after 5 days of temozolomide treatment: low MGMT activity correlated with increased severity of thrombocytopenia. Cisplatin–temozolomide combinations are well tolerated without additional toxicity to single-agent treatments; the recommended phase II dosage is 80 mg m−2 cisplatin and 150 mg m−2 × 5 temozolomide in heavily treated, and 200 mg m−2 × 5 temozolomide in less-heavily pretreated children.
PMCID: PMC2361608  PMID: 16136028
cisplatin; temozolomide; paediatric phase I/II; CRM; MGMT
3.  Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for extensive unilateral retinoblastoma 
Aim: The role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy was studied when first line enucleation cannot be safely performed in unilateral extensive retinoblastoma (major buphthalmia or radiologically detectable optic nerve involvement).
Methods: Six patients, referred for unilateral retinoblastoma, presented with major buphthalmia (two) or optic nerve invasion (four): they were treated by neoadjuvant chemotherapy using etoposide and carboplatin.
Results: Good tumour response was observed in the two patients with buphthalmia and in three of four cases with optic nerve involvement. Meningeal progressive disease was observed in the last patient. The five patients without disease progression were then operated on: anterior enucleation in the patients with buphthalmia and enucleation via a double neurosurgical and ophthalmological approach with prechiasmatic optic nerve section in the other three cases. Postoperative chemotherapy was performed in these five patients. Local radiotherapy to the chiasmatic region and posterior part of the optic canal was necessary in only one patient. The non-operated patient died with disease progression 6 months after the diagnosis. The other five patients are alive with a follow up of 12, 15, 21, 36, and 40 months after stopping treatment.
Conclusion: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy can be useful in extensive unilateral retinoblastoma with buphthalmia and/or radiological optic nerve invasion at diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC1771557  PMID: 12598448
retinoblastoma; chemotherapy; enucleation
4.  Localised and unresectable neuroblastoma in infants: excellent outcome with low-dose primary chemotherapy 
British Journal of Cancer  2003;89(9):1605-1609.
PMCID: PMC2394428  PMID: 14583756
infants; neuroblastoma; unresectable; chemotherapy
5.  Treatment of stage 4s neuroblastoma – report of 10 years' experience of the French Society of Paediatric Oncology (SFOP) 
British Journal of Cancer  2003;89(3):470-476.
PMCID: PMC2394373  PMID: 12888814
neuroblastoma; stage 4s; prognosis; treatment
6.  Phase I trial and pharmacological study of a 3-hour paclitaxel infusion in children with refractory solid tumours: a SFOP study 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;84(5):604-610.
The maximum tolerated dose of paclitaxel administered by 24-hour continuous infusion in children is known. Short infusion might offer equivalent antitumour efficacy and reduced haematological toxicity, without increasing the allergic risk. Our aims were to determine the maximum tolerated dose and the pharmacokinetics of paclitaxel in children when administered in 3-h infusion every 3 weeks. Patients older than 6 months, younger than 20 years with refractory malignant solid tumours were eligible when they satisfied standard haematological, renal, hepatic and cardiologic inclusion criteria with life expectancy exceeding 8 weeks. Paclitaxel was administered as a 3-hour infusion after premedication (dexamethasone, dexchlorpheniramine). Pharmacokinetic analysis and solvent assays (ethanol, cremophor) were performed during the first course. 20 courses were studied in 17 patients; 4 dosage levels were investigated (240 to 420 mg/m2). No dose-limiting haematological toxicity was observed. Severe acute neurological and allergic toxicity was encountered. One treatment-related death occurred just after the infusion at the highest dosage. Delayed peripheral neurotoxicity and moderate allergic reactions were also encountered. Pharmacokinetic analysis showed dose-dependent clearance of paclitaxel and elevated blood ethanol and Cremophor EL levels. Although no limiting haematological toxicity was reached, we do not recommend this paclitaxel schedule in children because of its acute neurological toxicity. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363793  PMID: 11237379
paclitaxel; short-term infusion; phase 1; children
7.  Adverse outcome of infants with metastatic neuroblastoma, MYCN amplification and/or bone lesions: results of the French Society of Pediatric Oncology 
British Journal of Cancer  2000;83(8):973-979.
To assess the relevance of MYCN amplification and bone lesions in stage 4 neuroblastoma (NB) in infants aged <1 year, 51 infants with stage 4 NB were enrolled. Three groups of patients were defined according to the type of metastases and the resectability of the primary tumour. Group I comprised 21 infants with radiologically detectable bone lesions, Group II 22 patients with an unresectable primary tumour and Group III eight patients with only metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) skeletal uptake. MYCN oncogene content was assayed in 47/51 tumours and found to be amplified in 17 (37%). The 5-year event-free survival (EFS) rate of these 51 infants was 64.1% (± 7.1%). In a univariate analysis, bone lesions, MYCN amplification, urinary vanillylmandelic/homovanillic acid ratio and serum ferritin levels adversely influenced outcome. In the multivariate analysis, radiologically detectable bone lesions were the most powerful unfavourable prognostic indicator: the EFS rate was 27.2% for these infants compared to 90% for infants without bone lesions (P < 0.0001). Our data emphasize the poor prognosis of infants affected by stage 4 NB with bone lesions, especially when associated with MYCN amplification. Given the poor results in this group whatever the treatment, new therapeutic approaches need to be investigated in the future. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363565  PMID: 10993641
neuroblastoma; infants; metastasis; MYCN; bone lesions
8.  Chemotherapy for unresectable and recurrent intramedullary glial tumours in children 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;81(5):835-840.
Adjuvant treatment for intramedullary tumours is based on radiotherapy. The place of chemotherapy in this setting has yet to be determined. Between May 1992 and January 1998, eight children with unresectable or recurrent intramedullary glioma were treated with the BB SFOP protocol (a 16-month chemotherapy regimen with carboplatin, procarbazine, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, etoposide and cisplatin). Six children had progressive disease following incomplete surgery and two had a post-operative relapse. Three patients had leptomeningeal dissemination at the outset of chemotherapy. Seven of the eight children responded clinically and radiologically, while one remained stable. At the end of the BB SFOP protocol four children were in radiological complete remission. After a median follow-up of 3 years from the beginning of chemotherapy, all the children but one (who died from another cause) are alive. Five patients remain progression-free, without radiotherapy, 59, 55, 40, 35 and 16 months after the beginning of chemotherapy. The efficacy of this chemotherapy in patients with intramedullary glial tumours calls for further trials in this setting, especially in young children and patients with metastases. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2374296  PMID: 10555754
chemotherapy; child; intramedullary tumour; spinal cord tumour; glioma; astrocytoma
9.  Unresectable localized neuroblastoma: improved survival after primary chemotherapy including carboplatin-etoposide. Neuroblastoma Study Group of the Société Française d'Oncologie Pédiatrique (SFOP). 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;77(12):2310-2317.
Neuroblastomas (NBs) were assessed according to INSS recommendations including MIBG scan and extensive bone marrow staging to eliminate metastatic spread. Patients with unresectable tumour received primary chemotherapy including two courses of carboplatin-etoposide (CE) and two of vincristine-cyclophosphamide-doxorubicin (CAdO). Post-operative treatment was to be given only in children over 1 year of age at diagnosis who had residual disease or lymph node (LN) involvement. Between 1990 and 1994, 130 consecutive children were registered. In comparison with resectable primaries, these tumours were more commonly abdominal, larger and associated with N-myc amplification (NMA). Complete, very good and partial response (CR, VGPR, PR) to CE were, respectively, 1%, 7% and 44%, overall response rate (RR) to two courses of CE and two courses of CAdO was 71%, and the tumour could be removed in all but four of the children. The toxicity was manageable. The 5-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) were, respectively, 88% and 78% with a median follow-up of 38 months. In multivariate analysis, only NMA and LN involvement adversely influenced the outcome, particularly NMA. Children with unresectable NBs and no NMA fared as well as children with resectable ones as OS were, respectively, 95% and 99% and EFS 89% and 91%. Our data show encouraging results in localized but unresectable NBs as 90% of children may be considered as definitely cured, especially those without NMA.
PMCID: PMC2150389  PMID: 9649151

Results 1-9 (9)