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1.  Gefitinib in patients with progressive high-grade gliomas: a multicentre phase II study by Gruppo Italiano Cooperativo di Neuro-Oncologia (GICNO) 
British Journal of Cancer  2007;96(7):1047-1051.
To investigate the role of gefitinib in patients with high-grade gliomas (HGGs), a phase II trial (1839IL/0116) was conducted in patients with disease recurrence following surgery plus radiotherapy and first-line chemotherapy. Adult patients with histologically confirmed recurrent HGGs following surgery, radiotherapy and first-line chemotherapy, were considered eligible. Patients were treated with gefitinib (250 mgday−1) continuously until disease progression. The primary end point was progression-free survival at 6 months progression-free survival at 6 months (PFS-6). Tissue biomarkers (epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene status and expression, phosphorylated Akt (p-Akt) expression) were assessed. Twenty-eight patients (median age, 55 years; median ECOG performance status, 1) were enrolled; all were evaluable for drug activity and safety. Sixteen patients had glioblastoma, three patients had anaplastic oligodendrogliomas and nine patients had anaplastic astrocytoma. Five patients (17.9%, 95% CI 6.1–36.9%) showed disease stabilisation. The overall median time to progression was 8.4 (range 2–104+) weeks and PFS-6 was 14.3% (95% CI 4.0–32.7%). The median overall survival was 24.6 weeks (range 4–104+). No grade 3–4 gefitinib-related toxicity was found. Gefitinib showed limited activity in patients affected by HGGs. Epidermal growth factor receptor expression or gene status, and p-Akt expression do not seem to predict activity of this drug.
PMCID: PMC2360116  PMID: 17353924
high-grade gliomas; gefitinib; EGFR; Akt
2.  HER3 genomic gain and sensitivity to gefitinib in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients 
British Journal of Cancer  2005;93(12):1334-1340.
In non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), sensitivity to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) is associated with activating mutations and genomic gain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Preclinical data suggested that HER3 overexpression increases sensitivity to TKIs. A total of 82 NSCLC patients treated with gefitinib (250 mg), and previously evaluated for EGFR and HER2 status by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and DNA sequencing, and for Phospho-Akt status by immunohistochemistry, were investigated for HER3 genomic gain by FISH. Patients with high polysomy and gene amplification were considered as HER3 FISH positive (+). HER3 FISH+ pattern was significantly associated with female gender (P=0.02) and never smoking history (P=0.02). Patients with HER3+ tumours (26.8%) had a significantly longer time to progression (3.7 vs 2.7, P=0.04) than patients with HER3− tumours, but not a significantly better response rate or survival. Patients with EGFR+/HER3+ tumours had higher objective response rate (36.4 vs 9.9%, P=0.03) and time to progression (7.7 vs 2.7 months, P=0.03) than patients with EGFR− and/or HER3− tumours, but no significantly longer survival. No difference in response was observed according to HER3 status in patients with EGFR+ tumours. Patients with HER2+/HER3+ tumours had similar outcome as patients with HER2− and/or HER3− tumours. Significantly different clinical end points were not observed between patients with HER3+/P-Akt+ and HER3− and/or P-Akt− tumours. Genomic gain for HER3 is not a marker for response or resistance to TKI therapy in advanced NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC2361531  PMID: 16288303
HER3; EGFR; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; gefitinib; non-small-cell lung cancer
3.  Phase II trial of carboplatin and etoposide for patients with recurrent high-grade glioma 
British Journal of Cancer  2004;91(6):1038-1044.
We present the results of a phase II trial of carboplatin and etoposide (CE) combination as first-line chemotherapy in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) after surgery and radiotherapy. We assess the activity and the tolerability of this combination. 30 patients with GBM (25) and AA (5) were treated with VP-16 (etoposide) 120 mg m−2 and CBCDA (carboplatin) 100 mg m−2 for 3 days every 4 weeks. Moreover, we performed a retrospective analysis of topoisomerase IIα gene status using chromogenic in situ hybridisation. The median age was 54 years (21–73 years); Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance score was 0-1 in 25 patients and 2 in five patients. All patients had been previously treated with surgical resection (21 radical resections) followed by radiation therapy (40–60 Gy). We observed six (20%) complete responses, three (10%) partial responses and 12 (40%) stable diseases, with a response rate of 30%. The median time to progression was 4 months, while progression-free survival at 6 months was 33.3%. The median survival time was 10 months. Neutropenia occurred in 9 patients: four patients had grade 4, two patients grade 3 and three patients grade 2. In the conclusion of this clinical trial, the CE combination has shown activity in recurrent GBM and AA, with a good toxicity profile. Alterations in the copy number of topoisomerase IIα gene seem to be a rare event and in our series do not influence response to the CE combination.
PMCID: PMC2747702  PMID: 15305187
high-grade gliomas; chemotherapy; carboplatin; etoposide; topoisomerase IIα
4.  Immunotherapy with low-dose recombinant interleukin 2 after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation in neuroblastoma. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;78(4):528-533.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate in a phase I-II trial whether low doses of recombinant human interleukin 2 (rHuIL-2) over a prolonged period of time are safe and effective in eradicating or controlling minimal residual disease in children with neuroblastoma given high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). From January 1992 to July 1996, 17 consecutive patients, with either stage IV or relapsed neuroblastoma, were enrolled. Patients received rHuIL-2 after a median time interval (min-max) of 105 days (56-153) after HDCT and ASCT. The protocol consisted of 2 'priming' courses of rHuIL-2 at escalating doses administered intravenously at 72-h intervals, followed by 'maintenance' with 11 monthly and six bimonthly boosting 5-day courses administered subcutaneously on an outpatient basis. At April 1997, 7 out of the 17 patients had completed the treatment schedule, four had discontinued treatment because of toxicity and four because of relapse; the remaining two patients are still on treatment, having completed 15 courses. Expansion of T lymphocytes, together with an increase in both natural killer cells and in activated T lymphocytes was evidenced. After a median (min-max) follow-up time of 30 (16-64) months, 12 out of 17 patients are alive and well. Two patients relapsed and died 14 and 35 months after transplant. Three patients are alive after having relapsed at 41, 21 and 13 months. The actuarial 2-year event-free survival and overall survival are 67% and 92% respectively. Intermittent administration of low doses of rHuIL-2 given for a long period of time is well tolerated and seems capable of controlling minimal residual disease after HDCT and ASCT in children with high-risk neuroblastoma.
PMCID: PMC2063104  PMID: 9716039

Results 1-4 (4)