The Carney triad is a rare syndrome of unknown aetiology, with synchronous or metachronous appearance of rare neoplasms: gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs), pulmonary chondromas and extra‐adrenal paragangliomas. In most cases, the Carney triad is incomplete. The combination encountered typically, GISTs and pulmonary chondromas, was also seen in our patient, a 22‐year‐old woman. She was diagnosed with the triad after Billroth II gastrectomy for histologically proved gastric GISTs. The diagnosis of pulmonary chondromas was confirmed by transthoracic, computed tomography‐guided needle biopsy. An oesophageal leiomyoma was resected 2 years after the initial diagnosis, on suspicion of paraganglioma. The clinical course of the patient has been uneventful since. The last follow‐up was carried out 6 years after the initial diagnosis. On histological examination, the cells of gastric GIST were partly positive for CD34, whereas CD117 was expressed in all areas in variable intensity and S‐100 protein was negative. The oesophageal tumour was classified as leiomyoma due to strong immunopositivity for smooth muscle actin and desmin, being negative for CD34 and CD117. Two different gastric GIST lesions as well as the oesophageal leiomyoma and normal tissue were analysed for activating mutations in common hot spots of KIT (exon 9 and 11) and platelet‐derived growth factor receptor α (exon 18), but in all probes wild‐type sequences were found. These results are in accordance with the first published analyses of GIST lesions from Carney patients.
seminoma; carboplatin; cisplatin; metastatic
advanced gastrointestinal cancer; colorectal carcinoma; gastric cancer; mitomycin C; continuous infusional 5-flourouracil; phase I/II study
extragonadal germ cell tumours; mediastinal primary; high-dose chemotherapy; autologous transplantation; nonseminomatous histology
First-line sequential high dose chemotherapy is under investigation in patients with ‘poor prognosis’ metastatic germ cell tumours in order to improve survival. Despite the use of autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation and granulocyte colony stimulating factor chemotherapy dose intensification is associated with severe haematotoxicity including anaemia, which may significantly affect quality of life and tolerability of chemotherapy. This study investigates the frequency and degree of anaemia in patients receiving first-line sequential high dose chemotherapy for metastatic testicular cancer and the impact of anaemia on treatment outcome. A total of 101 newly diagnosed patients with ‘poor prognosis’ metastatic nonseminomatous germ cell tumours were treated with one cycle of standard VIP followed by three cycles of HD-VIP-chemotherapy (etoposide, ifosfamide, cisplatin) within a large phase I/II study. Differential blood cell counts were taken prior, during and after every cycle of chemotherapy. Additionally, the numbers of red blood cell and platelet transfusions were recorded. Kaplan–Meier analyses were performed to correlate pre-treatment and post-treatment haemoglobin values to response and overall survival. Forty-eight per cent of the patients were classified anaemic (haemoglobin <12 g dl−1) prior to the start of chemotherapy. The application of sequential HD-VIP resulted in median haemoglobin nadirs between 7.8 g dl−1 (range 5.5–11.1 g dl−1) in the first cycle and 7.6 g dl−1 (range 6.0–11.4 g dl−1) in the third cycle despite the frequent use of red blood cell transfusions. Almost all patients (99%) had haemoglobin levels <10 g dl−1 at some timepoint during first-line sequential high dose chemotherapy. Overall, 97 patients received red blood cell transfusions with a median of 10 units (range 2–25) per patient during the four consecutive cycles of therapy. The time to first transfusion was shortest in patients with the lowest initial haemoglobin values. While there was no prediction of response or outcome by baseline haemoglobin-levels, a significant survival difference in favour of patients with a haemoglobin value >10.5 g dl−1 after completion of four cycles of therapy (at leukocyte recovery after the last cycle) compared to those with haemoglobin values <10.5 g dl−1 was found with 3-year overall survival rates of 87% vs 68%, respectively (P<0.05). Severe anaemia is a very frequent side effect of sequential dose intensive therapy in patients with germ cell cancer, with almost all patients becoming transfusion dependent. Despite the frequent use of red blood cell transfusions, median haemoglobin nadirs remained about 7.5–8 g dl−1 during therapy. A correlation of haemoglobin-values after completion of therapy to overall treatment outcome was found.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 1066–1071. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600629 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
germ cell tumour; anaemia; prognostic factors; autologous blood stem cell transplantation; chemotherapy; cisplatin
Despite generally high cure rates in patients with metastatic germ cell cancer, patients with progressive disease on first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy or with relapsed disease following high-dose salvage therapy exhibit a very poor prognosis. Irinotecan has shown antitumour activity in human testicular tumour xenografts in nude mice. We have performed a phase II study examining the single agent activity of irinotecan in patients with metastatic relapsed or cisplatin-refractory germ cell cancer. Refractory disease was defined as progression or relapse within 4 weeks after cisplatin-based chemotherapy or relapse after salvage high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell support. Irinotecan was administered at a dose of 300 (−350) mg m−2 every 3 weeks. Response was evaluated every 4 weeks. Fifteen patients have been enrolled. Median age was 35 (19–53) years. Primary tumour localisation was gonadal/mediastinal in 12/3 patients. Patients had been pretreated with a median of six (4–12) cisplatin-containing cycles and 13 out of 15 patients had previously failed high-dose chemotherapy with blood stem cell support. Median number of irinotecan applications was two (1–3). Fourteen patients are assessable for response and all for toxicity. In one patient, no adequate response evaluation was performed. Toxicity was generally acceptable and consisted mainly of haematological side effects with common toxicity criteria 3° anaemia (two patients), common toxicity criteria 3° leukocytopenia (one patient) and common toxicity criteria 3° thrombocytopenia (three patients). Common toxicity criteria 3/4° non-haematological toxicity occurred in five patients (33%): 1×diarrhoea, 2×alopecia, 1×fever and in one patient worsening of pre-existing peripheral polyneuropathy from 1° to 4°. No response was observed to irinotecan therapy. Currently, 13 patients have died of the disease and two patients are alive with the disease. The patients included in our study exhibit similar prognostic characteristics as patients treated in previous trials evaluating new drugs in this setting. Irinotecan at a dose of 300–350 mg m−2 every 3 weeks appears to have no antitumour activity in patients with cisplatin-refractory germ cell cancer and, thus, further investigation in this disease is not justified.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 729–732. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600524 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
germ cell cancer (GCT); irinotecan; cisplatin-refractory; relapse; palliative chemotherapy
To assess the ability of [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for the early prediction of response in patients with relapsed metastatic germ cell tumours undergoing salvage high-dose chemotherapy. The role of positron emission tomography was compared with established means of tumour response assessment such as CT scans/MRI and serum tumour marker changes. In addition, positron emission tomography was compared with a current prognostic score which differentiates three prognostic groups with failure-free survival rates ranging from 5–50%. [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose uptake of metastases from germ cell tumours as well as CT scans and serum tumour marker were acquired after 2–3 cycles of induction chemotherapy but before the start of high-dose chemotherapy and CT scans/serum tumour marker were compared with the baseline examinations in 23 patients with relapsed germ cell tumours. To evaluate the validity of early response prediction by positron emission tomography, radiological monitoring and serum tumour marker decline, histopathologic response after resection of residual masses and/or the clinical course over 6 months after the end of treatment (relapse vs freedom of progression) were used. Overall, 10 patients (43%) achieved a marker-negative partial remission, three (13%) a marker-positive partial remission, five (22%) a disease stabilization and five (22%) progressed during treatment. Nine patients (39%) remained progression-free over 6 months following treatment, whereas 14 (61%) progressed. The outcome of high-dose chemotherapy was correctly predicted by positron emission tomography/CT scan/serum tumour marker in 91/59/48%. Eight patients with a favourably predicted outcome by CT scans plus serum tumour marker but a positive positron emission tomography prior to high-dose chemotherapy, failed treatment. This results in the following sensitivities/specificities for the prediction of failure of high-dose chemotherapy: positron emission tomography 100/78%; radiological monitoring 43/78%; serum tumour marker 15/100%. The positive and negative predictive values of positron emission tomography were 88 and 100%, respectively. As compared with the prognostic score, positron emission tomography was correctly positive in all patients of the three risk groups who failed treatment. In addition, a negative positron emission tomography correctly predicted a favourable outcome in the good and intermediate group. [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography imaging can be used to assess response to chemotherapy in patients with relapsed germ cell tumours early in the course of treatment and may help to identify patients most likely to achieve a favourable response to subsequent high-dose chemotherapy. In patients with response to induction chemotherapy according to CT scans or serum tumour marker evaluation, positron emission tomography seems to add information to detect patients with an overall unfavourable outcome. It may also be a valuable addition to the prognostic model particularly in the good and intermediate group for further selection of patients who will profit from high-dose chemotherapy.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 506–511. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600122 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
germ cell cancer; response monitoring; PET; tumour markers; high-dose chemotherapy
This pilot study evaluates the degree of side effects during high-dose chemotherapy (HD-VIC) plus autologous bone marrow transplant (HDCT) and its possible prevention by the cytoprotective thiol-derivate amifostine. Additionally, the in-patient medical costs of both treatment arms were compared. 40 patients with solid tumours were randomized to receive HD-VIC chemotherapy with or without amifostine (910 mg/m2 at day 1–3) given as a short infusion prior to carboplatin and ifosfamide. Patients were stratified according to pretreatment. HDCT consisted of an 18 h infusion of carboplatin (500 mg/m2/d over 18 h), ifosfamide (4 g/m2/d over 4 h) and etoposide (500 mg/m2/d) all given for 3 consecutive days. All patients received prophylactic application of G-CSF (5 μg kg−1 subcutaneously) to ameliorate neutropenia after treatment. Patients were monitored for nephrotoxicity, gastrointestinal side effects, haematopoietic recovery, as well as frequency of fever and infections. The median fall of the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was 10% from baseline in the amifostine group (105 to 95 ml min−1) and 37% in the control patient group (107 to 67 ml min−1) (P< 0.01). Amifostine-treated patients revealed a less pronounced increase in albumine and low molecular weight protein urinary excretion. Stomatitis grade III/IV occurred in 25% without versus 0% of patients with amifostine (P = 0.01). Acute nausea/vomiting was frequently observed immediately during or after the application of amifostine despite intensive antiemetic prophylaxis consisting of 5-HT3-receptor antagonists/dexamethasone/trifluorpromazine. However, delayed emesis occurred more often in the control patients. Engraftment of neutrophil (> 500 μl−1) and thrombocytes (> 25 000 μl−1)were observed at days 9 versus 10 and 10 versus 12, respectively, both slightly in favour of the amifostine arm. In addition, a lower number of days with fever and a shortened duration of hospital stay were observed in the amifostine arm. The reduction of acute toxicity observed in the amifostine arm resulted in 30% savings in costs for supportive care (Euro 4396 versus Euro 3153 per patient). Taking into account the drug costs of amifostine, calculation of in-patient treatment costs from the start of chemotherapy to discharge revealed additional costs of Euro 540 per patient in the amifostine arm. This randomized pilot study indicates that both organ and haematotoxicity of HD-VIC chemotherapy can be ameliorated by the use of amifostine. Additionally, a nearly complete preservation of GFR was observed in amifostine-treated patients which may be advantageous if repetitive cycles of HDCT are planned. Larger randomized trials evaluating amifostine cytoprotection during high-dose chemotherapy are warranted. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
toxicity; high-dose chemotherapy; PBSC transplantation; cytoprotection; amifostine; pharmacoeconomics
To evaluate the toxicity and efficacy of combination chemotherapy with paclitaxel, cisplatin and 24 h continuous infusion of 5-FU/folinic acid in patients (pts) with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma. Forty-five chemotherapy-naive pts (28 male and 17 female) with a median age of 60 years (range 35–74) were enrolled. 5-FU 2 g/m2was given weekly over 24 h i.v. preceded by folinic acid 500 mg/m2as a 2 h infusion. Paclitaxel 175 mg/m2was administered as a 3 h-infusion on days 1 and 22 and cisplatin 50 mg/m2as 1 h infusion on days 8 and 29. Six weeks of therapy (days 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 36) followed by 2 weeks rest were considered one cycle. A median of 3 cycles (range 1–4) were administered to 45 pts assessable for response, survival and toxicity. Five pts (11%) obtained a CR and 18 pts (40%) a PR (ORR 51%; 95% Cl: 35.8–66.3%). Responses were achieved in the liver, lymph nodes, lungs and at the site of the primary tumour. Nine pts (20%) had stable disease. Thirteen pts (29%) were considered to have failed treatment, 8 pts (18%) due to progressive disease and 5 pts (11%) who did not receive one complete cycle of therapy due to acute non-haematologic toxicity. The median progression-free and overall survival times were 9 months (range 1–36+) and 14 months (range 2–36+), respectively. Neutropenia WHO III°/IV° occurred in 7 pts (15%) with only 1 pt having grade IV. Additional non-haematologic WHO III°/IV° toxicities included nausea/vomiting in 5 (11%), alopecia in 22 (49%), and diarrhoea in 1 patient each (2%). Dose reductions or treatment delays were necessary in 8 pts (17%), mainly due to neutropenia. All pts were treated on an outpatient basis. The combination of paclitaxel, cisplatin and continuously infused 5-FU/folinic acid appears to be a highly active regimen for the treatment of pts with advanced gastric cancer. While the overall acceptable toxicity allows its use in the palliative setting, it may also be an attractive option to be tested for neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
gastric cancer; metastatic; chemotherapy; paclitaxel; continuous infusion
This study evaluates the degree and relevance of persisting ototoxicity after cisplatin-based standard-dose chemotherapy for testicular cancer, with emphasis on identification of potential factors for an increased risk of this late sequel. Hearing thresholds of 86 patients with a median age of 31 years (range 21-53 years) and a median follow-up time of 58 months (range 15-159 months) were assessed by conventional pure-tone audiometry. Interviews were conducted evaluating the patients' history with special regard to audiological risk factors, as well as circumstances of ototoxic symptoms. Details concerning treatment and patient variables were extracted retrospectively from the patients' charts. An additional screening programme assessed current body functions, blood parameters and other late toxicities. Symptomatic ototoxicity persisted in 20% of patients (59% tinnitus, 18% hearing loss, 23% both), while 10% had experienced completely reversible ototoxic symptoms for a duration of 1-18 months after treatment. Symptoms were bilateral in 81% of patients. Hearing thresholds were compatible with cisplatin-induced hearing loss in 42% of audiograms performed. Subjective (history) and objective (audiogram) findings were not always consistent. The following statistically significant risk factors for ototoxicity were established: high cumulative dose of cisplatin (P < 0.0001); history of noise exposure (P = 0.006). Additionally, high doses of vincristine (P = 0.001) seemed to result in reversible ototoxic symptoms. No other independent risk factors were identified. In conclusion, persisting ototoxicity represents a clinical sequel for approximately 20% of testicular cancer patients treated at standard dose but may affect more than 50% of patients receiving cumulative doses of cisplatin > 400 mg m(-2). Previous noise exposure may also result in a threefold increased risk for cisplatin ototoxicity. Future studies should use these risk factors as important stratification criteria for trials aiming at the evaluation and prevention of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity.
A PCR assay was developed for the detection and identification of Candida and Aspergillus species. The design of the oligonucleotide primer pair as well as the species-specific probes used for species identification was derived from a comparison of the sequences of the 18S rRNA genes of various fungal pathogens. The primers targeted a consensus sequence for a variety of fungal pathogens. The assay was tested for sensitivity and specificity with 134 fungal and 85 nonfungal isolates. To assess clinical applicability, 601 blood samples from four defined groups were tested: group A (n = 35), controls; groups B to D (n = 86), patients with febrile neutropenia, without fungal colonization (group B; n = 29) and with fungal colonization (group C; n = 36); and patients with documented invasive fungal infection (IFI) (group D; n = 21). The assay detected and, by species-specific hybridization, identified most of the clinically relevant Candida and Aspergillus species at 1 CFU/ml of blood. Amplification was 100% sensitive for all molds and yeasts tested, with Histoplasma capsulatum being the only non-Aspergillus species hybridizing with the Aspergillus spp. probe. None of 35 group A patients and only 3 of 65 group B and C patients were PCR positive. The sensitivity of the assay for specimens from patients with IFI (21 patients in group D) was 100% if two specimens were tested. For specificity, 3 of 189 specimens from patients at risk but with negative cultures were positive by the assay, for a specificity of 98%. PCR preceded radiological signs by a median of 4 days (range, 4 to 7 days) for 12 of 17 patients with hepatosplenic candidiasis or pulmonary aspergillosis. For the 10 patients with IFI responding to antifungal therapy, PCR assays became persistently negative after 14 days of treatment, in contrast to the case for 11 patients, who remained PCR positive while not responding to antifungal therapy. Thus, the described PCR assay allows for the highly sensitive and specific detection and identification of fungal pathogens in vitro and in vivo. Preliminary data from the screening of a selected group of patients revealed some value in the early diagnosis and monitoring of antifungal therapy.
Bone marrow cells from a patient with Ph' positive chronic myelogenous leukemia in chronic phase were cultured for multilineage hematopoietic colonies (CFU-GEMMT), erythroid bursts, and granulocytic colonies. With CFU-GEMMT colonies, T lymphocytes were identified by reaction with monoclonal antibodies Leu-5 and OKT-3; B cells were identified by reaction with B1. All CFU-GEMMT colonies examined contained the Ph' chromosome. Recloned secondary colonies of T cells reacted with Leu-5 and OKT-3 and were Ph' positive. This demonstrates that Ph' positive T lymphocytes were generated from the pluripotential stem cell of this patient. The presence of B cells in the mixed colonies indicates that these may also be derived from the neoplastic clone.