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1.  FOLFOX6 and bevacizumab in non-optimally resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;104(7):1079-1084.
In patients with colorectal liver metastases (CLM) R0 resection significantly improves overall survival (OS).
In this report, we present the results of a phase II trial of FOLFOX6+bevacizumab in patients with non-optimally resectable CLM. Patients received six cycles of FOLFOX6+ five of bevacizumab. Patients not achieving resectability received six additional cycles of each. A PET-CT was performed at baseline and again within 1 month after initiating treatment.
From September 2005 to July 2009, 21 patients were enrolled (Male/Female: 15/6; median age: 65 years). An objective response (OR) was documented in 12 cases (57.1% complete responses (CRs): 3, partial response (PR): 9); one patient died from toxicity before surgery. Thirteen patients underwent radical surgery (61.9%). Three (23%) had a pathological CR (pCR). Six patients (46.1%) experienced minor postsurgical complications. After a median 38.8-month follow-up, the median OS was 22.5 months. Patients achieving at least 1 unit reduction in Standard uptake value (SUV)max on PET-CT had longer progression-free survival (PFS) (median PFS: 22 vs 14 months, P=0.001).
FOLFOX6+bevacizumab does not increase postsurgical complications, yields high rates of resectability and pCR. Early changes in PET-CT seem to be predictive of longer PFS.
PMCID: PMC3068493  PMID: 21386839
bevacizumab; liver metastases; colorectal cancer
2.  Prognostic role of EGFR gene copy number and KRAS mutation in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;103(7):1019-1024.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), evaluated by immunohistochemistry, has been shown to have prognostic significance in patients with colorectal cancer. Gene copy number (GCN) of EGFR and KRAS status predict response and outcome in patients treated with anti-EGFR therapy, but their prognostic significance in colorectal cancer patients is still unclear.
We have retrospectively reviewed the baseline EGFR GCN, KRAS status and clinical outcome of 146 locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) patients treated with preoperative chemoradiotherapy. Pathological response evaluated by Dworak's tumour regression grade (TRG), disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were analysed.
Tumour regression grade 4 and TRG3–4 were achieved in 14.4 and 30.8% of the patients respectively. Twenty-nine (19.9%) and 33 patients (19.2%) had an EGFR/nuclei ratio >2.9 and CEP7 polisomy >50% respectively; 28 patients (19.2%) had a KRAS mutation. Neither EGFR GCN nor KRAS status was statistically correlated to TRG. 5-year DFS and OS were 63.3 and 71.5%, respectively, and no significant relation with EGFR GCN or KRAS status was found.
Our data show that EGFR GCN and KRAS status are not prognostic factors in LARC treated with preoperative chemoradiation.
PMCID: PMC2965865  PMID: 20842128
rectal cancer; neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy; EGFR; KRAS
3.  All-oral combination of oral vinorelbine and capecitabine as first-line chemotherapy in HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer: an International Phase II Trial 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;101(2):232-237.
This multicentre, international phase II trial evaluated the efficacy and safety profile of a first-line combination of oral vinorelbine plus capecitabine for women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Patients with measurable, HER2-negative disease received, as a first line in metastatic setting, 3-weekly cycles of oral vinorelbine 80 mg m−2 (after a first cycle at 60) on day 1 and day 8, plus capecitabine 1000 mg m−2 (750 if ⩾65 years of age) twice daily, on days 1–14. Treatment was continued until progression or unacceptable toxicity.
A total of 55 patients were enrolled and 54 were treated (median age: 58.5 years). Most (78%) had visceral involvement and 63% had received earlier (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy. The objective response rate (RECIST) in 49 evaluable patients was 51% (95% confidence interval (CI), 36–66), including complete response in 4%. The clinical benefit rate (response or stable disease for ⩾6 months) was 63% (95% CI, 48–77). The median duration of response was 7.2 months (95% CI, 6.4–10.2). After a median follow-up of 41 months, median progression-free survival was 8.4 months (95% CI, 5.8–9.7) and median overall survival was 29.2 months (95% CI, 18.2–40.1). Treatment-related adverse events were manageable, the main grade 3–4 toxicity was neutropaenia (49%); two patients experienced febrile neutropaenia and three patients had a neutropaenic infection (including one septic death). A particularly low rate of alopaecia was observed.
These results show that the all-oral combination of oral vinorelbine and capecitabine is an effective and well-tolerated first-line regimen for MBC.
PMCID: PMC2720198  PMID: 19584872
oral therapy; first-line chemotherapy; metastatic breast cancer; HER2 negative
4.  Epirubicin/paclitaxel/etoposide in extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer: a phase I–II study 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(9):1263-1266.
The aim of this study was to evaluate feasibility and toxicity of escalating doses of epirubicin and paclitaxel plus fixed dose of etoposide and to define the activity of the triplet in extensive disease small-cell lung cancer. Thirteen patients entered the phase I study: the maximum tolerated doses were epirubicin (EpiDX) 90 mg m−2 and paclitaxel (P) 175 mg m−2 with febrile neutropenia as dose-limiting toxicity. The recommended schedule for this regimen for the phase II study was EpiDX 75 mg m−2, P 175 mg m−2, etoposide (E) 100 mg m−2 intravenous (fixed dose) days 1–3 with courses repeated every 21 days. The prophylactic use of colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) was not allowed. Twenty patients entered the phase II trial: median age was 61 years (range 50–70), median Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0 (0–2); nine patients had visceral disease and 17 had more than two metastatic sites. A total of 100 courses were administered with a median of 5 (range 1–6) per patients. Main toxicity (NCI-CTC) was myelosuppression: neutropenia grades 3 and 4 in 16 and 35% of the courses, respectively. Seven episodes of febrile neutropenia were documented and one patient required hospital admission. Nonhaematological toxicity was moderate. Seven out of 19 evaluable patients achieved a complete response (37%), nine patients (47.3%) a partial response with an overall response rate of 84.2% ((95% confidence interval=60.4–96.6)). In this poor prognostic population of patients the triplet epirubicin/paclitaxel/etoposide showed high antitumour activity with mild nonhaematological side effects. The use of CSFs should be able to improve the haematological profile.
PMCID: PMC2361402  PMID: 16622468
epirubicin; paclitaxel; etoposide; SCLC
5.  Cardiac toxicity of trastuzumab in metastatic breast cancer patients previously treated with high-dose chemotherapy: a retrospective study 
British Journal of Cancer  2006;94(7):1016-1020.
HER-2 overexpression is associated to a poor prognosis in high-risk and metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy (HDC). HER-2 status is also a predictive factor and when trastuzumab is administered in combination with or sequentially to chemotherapy, a significant disease-free and/or overall survival improvement has been observed in HER-2+ early and MBC. Unfortunately, in both settings, trastuzumab is associated with an increased risk of cardiac dysfunction (CD). We have reviewed the clinical charts of HER-2-overexpressing MBC patients treated with trastuzumab after HDC. Age, baseline left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), radiation therapy on cardiac area, exposure to anthracycline, single or multiple transplant, high-dose agents, trastuzumab treatment duration were recorded as potential risk factors. In total, 53 patients have been included in the analysis. Median LVEF at baseline was 60.5%; at the end of trastuzumab (data available for 28 patients only), it was 55% (P=0.01). Five out of the 28 (17.9%) patients experienced CD. Two out of 53 (3.8%) patients developed a congestive heart failure. Age ⩾50 years and multiple transplant procedure were potential risk factors for CD. The overall incidence of CD observed in this population of HER-2+ MBC patients treated with trastuzumab after HDC is not superior to that reported with concomitant trastuzumab and anthracyclines. However, patients with age ⩾50 years or receiving multiple course of HDC should be considered at risk for CD.
PMCID: PMC2361220  PMID: 16570045
trastuzumab; cardiac toxicity; metastatic breast cancer; high-dose chemotherapy
6.  Primary chemotherapy with gemcitabine, epirubicin and taxol (GET) in operable breast cancer: a phase II study 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;93(4):406-411.
This trial was conducted to assess the activity and tolerability of the gemcitabine, epirubicin, taxol triplet combination in patients with operable breast cancer. After core biopsy, 43 women with stage II–IIIA breast cancer were treated with gemcitabine 1000 mg m−2 over 30 min on days 1 and 4, epirubicin 90 mg m−2 as an intravenous bolus on day 1, and taxol 175 mg m−2 as a 3-h infusion on day 1, every 21 days for four cycles. The primary end point was the percentage of pathological complete responses (pCR) in the breast; secondary end points were tolerability, clinical response rates, overall and progression-free survival, tumour biomarkers before and after primary chemotherapy (PCT). All patients were included in safety and survival analyses; 41 eligible patients were evaluated for response. The overall clinical response rate was 87.8% (95% CI 77.8–97.8), with 26.8% complete responses (95% CI 13.3–40.3). A pCR in the breast was observed in six patients (14.6%; 95% CI 3.8–25.4); 15 patients (36.6%; 95% CI 21.9–51.3) had negative axillary lymph nodes. Grade 4 neutropenia was observed in 67.4% of the patients; febrile neutropenia occurred in 1.9% of cycles (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was used in 3.2% of the cycles to shorten the duration of neutropenia). A statistically significant difference between Mib-1 at baseline (⩾20% in 71.4% of the patients) and at definitive surgery (28.6%, P<0.05) was observed. The gemcitabine, epirubicin, taxol regimen is active and well tolerated as PCT for operable breast cancer. This combination allows the administration of full doses of active agents with a low incidence of febrile neutropenia.
PMCID: PMC2361588  PMID: 16052214
gemcitabine; epirubicin; taxol; breast cancer; primary chemotherapy; pathological complete response
7.  Prolonged fixed dose rate infusion of gemcitabine with autologous haemopoietic support in advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;93(1):35-40.
This study aimed to define the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of fixed dose rate (FDR) of gemcitabine (2′-2′-difluorodeoxycitidine) infusion with circulating haemopoietic progenitor support and to evaluate the activity of the treatment. Secondary end points were pharmacokinetic of gemcitabine and difluorodeoxyuridina (dFdU) measured at first course and the activity andexpression profile of cytidine deaminase (CdA) on circulating mononuclear cells. Patients with advanced pancreatic carcinoma received escalating dose of gemcitabine 10 mg m−2 min−1 every 2 weeks with circulating haemopoietic progenitor support. First dose level was 3000 mg m−2 and the doses were increased by 500 mg m−2 until MTD. In all, 23 patients were enrolled. Toxicities were mild or moderate; the only patient treated at 7000 mg m−2 died because of toxicity; therefore; the MTD was established at 6500 mg m−2. The overall response rate was 22.2%. The AUC of gemcitabine showed a dose-dependent increase, while the AUC of dFdU reached a plateau at 4500 mg m−2. A significant relationship was found between the AUC of dFdU and CdA expression and activity (P<0.05). Moreover, progression rate and survival were significantly related to CdA expression and activity levels. The activity of high-dose gemcitabine is not superior to that reported with less intensive FDR schedules. The predictive role of CdA expression and activity on outcome deserves further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2361486  PMID: 15986033
cytidine deaminase; fixed dose rate infusion; gemcitabine pharmacokinetic; pancreatic cancer
10.  Multicentric phase II trial of gemcitabine plus epirubicin plus paclitaxel as first-line chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2004;90(1):31-35.
PMCID: PMC2395340  PMID: 14710202
advanced breast cancer; epirubicin; gemcitabine; paclitaxel; chemotherapy
11.  Gemcitabine, Ifosfamide and Navelbine (GIN): activity and safety of a non-platinum-based triplet in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(10):1452-1455.
To evaluate activity and toxicity of a non platinum-based triplet including Gemcitabine, Ifosfamide and Navelbine (GIN) in advanced NSCLC. Stage IIIB/IV NSCLC patients with WHO PS < 2 and bidimensionally measurable disease entered the study. Gemcitabine 1000 mg/sqm day 1 and 1000–800 mg/sqm day 4, Ifosfamide 3 g/sqm day 1 (with Mesna), Navelbine 25 mg/sqm day 1 and 25–20 mg/sqm day 4 were administered intravenously every 3 weeks. Objective responses (ORs) were evaluated every 2 courses: a maximum of 6 courses were administered in responding patients. According to Simon's optimal two-stage design more than 18 ORs out of 54 patients were required to establish the activity of this regimen. Fifty patients entered the study. Main characteristics of the 48 evaluated patients were: median age 63 years, ECOG performance status 0 = 65%, stage IV disease 79% and non-squamous histology 71%. The total number of courses administered was 200, median per patient 4 (range 1–6). Toxicities were evaluated according to WHO criteria: neutropenia grade 3–4 occurred in 47% of the courses; thrombocytopenia grade 3–4 in 6.6%; anaemia grade 3 in 3.5%. Twelve episodes of febrile neutropenia were reported and three patients required hospital admission. No toxic death was reported. Non-haematological toxicity, including skin rash, alopecia and fatigue, were generally. Twenty-five ORs (1 complete response and 24 partial responses) were obtained for a response rate of 52% (95% CI: 37.4–66.5%). One-year survival was 46.5%. This non-platinum-based outpatient triplet showed promising activity against NSCLC with myelosuppression, in particular neutropenia, being dose-limiting. The GIN regimen may represent a valuable alternative to standard platinum-based doublets and triplets in the treatment of advanced NSCLC and further studies with this platinum-free combination are warranted. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363940  PMID: 11720427
metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer; non-platinum-based regimen
12.  Phase II study of lonidamine in metastatic breast cancer. 
British Journal of Cancer  1989;59(2):251-253.
Thirty patients with previously treated metastatic breast cancer were entered in a phase II study with oral lonidamine. Twenty-eight patients are evaluable for toxicity and 25 for response. A partial remission was obtained in four patients (16%) and disease stability in 11 (44%): 10 patients progressed (40%). Toxicity was acceptable, consisting mainly of myalgias (39% of patients) and asthenia (21.4%). No myelotoxicity was observed. The drug is active in previously treated metastatic breast cancer and, because of its peculiar pattern of action and toxicity, deserves to be evaluated in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2247009  PMID: 2930690
13.  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
14.  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

Results 1-14 (14)