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1.  MicroRNA-206 expression levels correlate with clinical behaviour of rhabdomyosarcomas 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;102(12):1769-1777.
Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMSs) are primarily paediatric sarcomas that resemble developing skeletal muscle. Our aim was to determine the effects of microRNAs (miRNA) that have been implicated in muscle development on the clinical behaviour of RMSs.
Expression levels of miR-1, miR-206, miR-133a and miR-133b were quantified by RT–PCR in 163 primary paediatric RMSs, plus control tissues, and correlated with clinico-pathological features. Correlations with parallel gene expression profiling data for 84 samples were used to identify pathways associated with miR-206. Synthetic miR-206 was transfected into RMS cell lines and phenotypic responses assessed.
Muscle-specific miRNAs levels were lower in RMSs compared with skeletal muscle but generally higher than in other normal tissues. Low miR-206 expression correlated with poor overall survival and was an independent predictor of shorter survival in metastatic embryonal and alveolar cases without PAX3/7-FOXO1 fusion genes. Low miR-206 expression also significantly correlated with high SIOP stage and the presence of metastases at diagnosis. High miR-206 expression strongly correlated with genes linked to muscle differentiation and low expression was associated with genes linked to MAPkinase and NFKappaB pathway activation. Increasing miR-206 expression in cell lines inhibited cell growth and migration and induced apoptosis that was associated with myogenic differentiation in some, but not all, cell lines.
miR-206 contributes to the clinical behaviour of RMSs and the pleiotropic effects of miR-206 supports therapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC2883695  PMID: 20502458
rhabdomyosarcoma; microRNA; overall survival; expression profile; cell line
2.  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
3.  Prognostic factors in localized Ewing's tumours and peripheral neuroectodermal tumours: the third study of the French Society of Paediatric Oncology (EW88 study) 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(11):1646-1654.
Purpose: (1) To improve survival rates in patients with Ewing's sarcoma (ES) or peripheral neuroectodermal tumours (PNET) using semi-continuous chemotherapy and aiming to peform surgery in all; (2) To identify early prognostic factors to tailor therapy for future studies. Patients and methods One hundred and forty-one patients were entered onto the trial between January 1988 and December 1991. Induction therapy consisted of five courses of Cytoxan, 150 mg/m2 × 7 days, followed by Doxorubicin, 35 mg/m2 i.v on day 8 given at short intervals. Surgery was recommended whenever possible. The delivery of radiation therapy was based on the quality of resection and the histological response to CT. Maintenance chemotherapy consisted of vincristine + actinomycin and cytoxan + doxorubicin. The total duration of therapy was 10 months. Results After a median follow-up of 8.5 years, the projected overall survival at 5 years was 66% and disease-free survival (DFS) was 58%. In patients treated by surgery, only the histological response to CT had an influence on survival: 75% DFS for patients with a good histological response (less than 5% of cells), 48% for intermediate responders and only 20% for poor responders (≥ 30% of cells), P < 0.0001. The initial tumor volume by itself had no influence on DFS in these patients. In contrast, the tumour volume had a strong impact on DFS in patients treated by radiation therapy alone. Age had no impact on outcome. Conclusion Therapeutic trials for localized Ewing's sarcoma should be based on the histological response to chemotherapy or on the tumour volume according to the modality used for local therapy. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2363978  PMID: 11742482
Ewing's tumour; chemotherapy; prognostic factors
4.  Second malignant neoplasms after a first cancer in childhood: temporal pattern of risk according to type of treatment 
British Journal of Cancer  1999;79(11-12):1884-1893.
The variation in the risk of solid second malignant neoplasms (SMN) with time since first cancer during childhood has been previously reported. However, no study has been performed that controls for the distribution of radiation dose and the aggressiveness of past chemotherapy, which could be responsible for the observed temporal variation of the risk. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of the treatment on the long-term pattern of the incidence of solid SMN after a first cancer in childhood. We studied a cohort of 4400 patients from eight centres in France and the UK. Patients had to be alive 3 years or more after a first cancer treated before the age of 17 years and before the end of 1985. For each patient in the cohort, the complete clinical, chemotherapy and radiotherapy history was recorded. For each patient who had received external radiotherapy, the dose of radiation received by 151 sites of the body were estimated. After a mean follow-up of 15 years, 113 children developed a solid SMN, compared to 12.3 expected from general population rates. A similar distribution pattern was observed among the 1045 patients treated with radiotherapy alone and the 2064 patients treated with radiotherapy plus chemotherapy; the relative risk, but not the excess absolute risk, of solid SMN decreased with time after first treatment; the excess absolute risk increased during a period of at least 30 years after the first cancer. This pattern remained after controlling for chemotherapy and for the average dose of radiation to the major sites of SMN. It also remained when excluding patients with a first cancer type or an associated syndrome known to predispose to SMN. When compared with radiotherapy alone, the addition of chemotherapy increases the risk of solid SMN after a first cancer in childhood, but does not significantly modify the variation of this risk during the time after the first cancer. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
PMCID: PMC2362818  PMID: 10206309
5.  Sensitive detection of occult Ewing's cells by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;72(1):96-100.
Recently, Ewing's tumours have been shown to carry specific hybrid transcripts resulting from the fusion of the EWS gene with FLI-1 or ERG genes. Based on the sensitivity and specificity of the detection of these alterations by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction technique, we have developed an assay to search for small numbers of Ewing cells in various sites from patients with Ewing's tumour. This method enables the detection of fewer than one tumour cell per million blood mononuclear cells. A total of 28 primary sites and 51 peripheral samples from 36 patients were investigated. Tumour cells could be detected in 4/18 blood samples, 4/15 bone marrow aspirates and 2/18 peripheral stem cell harvests. EWS/FLI-1 and EWS/ERG transcripts being observed in eight and two cases respectively. The type of fusion transcript detected in peripheral site(s) was identical to that observed in the primary site. At diagnosis 5/16 patients (31%) demonstrated either circulating tumour cells or/and occult bone marrow metastasis. After induction therapy, tumour cells were detected in 3/21 patients. This highly sensitive method should be a relevant tool to allow a more accurate clinical assessment of the dissemination of Ewing's tumours.
PMCID: PMC2034130  PMID: 7599072
6.  Epidemiological evidence for a common mechanism for neuroblastoma and differentiated thyroid tumour. 
British Journal of Cancer  1992;65(3):425-428.
Because genetic predisposition probably plays an important role in the aetiology of most of childhood cancers, studies of second primaries occurring after these cancers may be particularly informative about possible common genetic mechanisms in both of these cancers. We have studied the incidence of thyroid tumours occurring after cancer in childhood in a cohort of 592 children treated before 1970. Among these children, six later developed a thyroid carcinoma, and 18 developed a thyroid adenoma. Radiation doses received to the thyroid by each of the irradiated children have been estimated using individual radiotherapeutic technical records. Thyroid carcinomas and thyroid adenomas were five times more frequent after irradiation for neuroblastoma than after irradiation for any other first cancer. This ratio did not depend on sex, nor on time elapsed since irradiation, nor on dose of radiation received for the thyroid gland. This result suggests that there is a common mechanism for the occurrence of neuroblastoma and of differentiated thyroid tumour.
PMCID: PMC1977620  PMID: 1558799
7.  Role of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in the risk of second malignant neoplasms after cancer in childhood. 
British Journal of Cancer  1989;59(5):792-796.
Of a cohort of 634 children treated from 1942 to 1969 at the Gustave Roussy Institute for a first cancer and alive 5 years after treatment, 32 later developed second malignant neoplasms (SMN). A case-control study was performed to determine the relationship between the dose of radiotherapy received on a given anatomical site for the treatment of a first cancer, and the risk of SMN development at the same anatomical site. Another aim of the study was to analyse the effects of the association of radiotherapy with chemotherapy on the risk of SMN. The 32 cases of second malignant neoplasms were individually matched with one to nine patients of the cohort (a total of 162) who did not develop a SMN after a first cancer, matching on age, sex, type of first cancer and follow-up duration. The doses of radiotherapy delivered for the treatment of the first cancer were retrospectively estimated at the 26 anatomical sites of SMN. When the SMN was a leukaemia, the mean active bone-marrow dose was estimated as a weighted mean of the doses received by 20 bone sites. As compared to anatomical sites in children who had not received radiotherapy, the sites which had received 50 Gy or more had a relative risk of SMN of 5.8 (P less than 0.05). When taking into account the dose received at the site of the SMN, neither the number of fractions nor the type of radiations were related to the risk of SMN. Children who had received chemotherapy had a relative risk of SMN of 2.7 (95% CI: 1.2-6.4), adjusted for the dose of radiotherapy, as compared to those who had not. The relative risk of SMN did not vary with the dose nor the duration of the chemotherapy. Dactinomycin was found to increase the relative risk of second soft tissue and bone sarcomas. Cyclophosphamide was found to be less carcinogenic than the other alkylants. The relative risk of SMN was equal to 2.0 (n.s.) after radiotherapy of more than 25 Gy, to 4.4 (n.s.) after chemotherapy, and to 21.4 (P less than 0.01) after the combination of these two treatments modalities, as compared to patients treated by surgery alone. This study suggests that the oncogenic effect of radiations might be increased by chemotherapy, and that the combination of the two treatment modalities might be one of the major factors responsible for overall risk of SMN.
PMCID: PMC2247246  PMID: 2736215
8.  Long-term risk of second malignant neoplasm after a cancer in childhood. 
British Journal of Cancer  1989;59(3):448-452.
The risk of subsequent second malignant neoplasm was studied in a cohort of 634 patients, treated for a childhood cancer at the Gustave Roussy Institute between 1942 and 1969, and in complete remission five years after diagnosis. The most frequent types of first primary cancers (FPC) were Wilms' tumours (28% of the children), neuroblastomas (16%), lymphomas (12%) and soft tissue sarcomas (11%). Median follow-up duration after FPC was 19 years. Thirty-two patients (obs = 32) developed a total of 35 second cancers. Bone, thyroid, connective tissues and skin were the most frequent types of second cancer, with six patients for each type. The average annual incidence of second cancer was 0.36%. The average annual incidence for the periods 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24 and 25+ years after FPC was respectively 0.16%, 0.34%, 0.36%, 0.71% and 1.18%. The cumulative incidence of second cancer for the periods 5-20, 5-25 and 5-30 years after FPC was, respectively, 4.3% (95% CI: 2.8-6.6%), 7.8% (95% CI: 5.1-11.8%) and 13.0% (95% CI: 8.2-20.0%). The expected number of cancers in the cohort, computed from Danish cancer incidence data, was exp = 2.2. When compared to this expected number, the average annual excess incidence of second cancer, defined as obs-exp divided by the number of person years of observation, was 0.33%. This rose from 0.15% for the period 5-9 years after FPC to 1.09% for the period beginning 25 years after FPC. The standardised incidence ratio of second cancer (i.e. obs/exp) was 15 (95% CI: 10-21), and was fairly constant in the period extending from 15 to 20 years after FPC diagnosis. Obs/exp was equal to 25 for the patients who had had chemotherapy and equal to 9 for those who had not. Cyclophosphamide seemed less carcinogenic than the other alkylating agents. Obs/exp was similar for the patients who had received radiotherapy and for those who had not. The risk of cancer increased with age in the reference population and increased faster in the cohort, because the standardised incidence ratio is constant over a long period.
PMCID: PMC2247084  PMID: 2930714

Results 1-8 (8)