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1.  Brachytherapy for cervix cancer: low-dose rate or high-dose rate brachytherapy – a meta-analysis of clinical trials 
Background
The literature supporting high-dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) in the treatment of cervical carcinoma derives primarily from retrospective series. However, controversy still persists regarding the efficacy and safety of HDR brachytherapy compared to low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy, in particular, due to inadequate tumor coverage for stage III patients. Whether LDR or HDR brachytherapy produces better results for these patients in terms of survival rate, local control rate and the treatment complications remain controversial.
Methods
A meta-analysis of RCT was performed comparing LDR to HDR brachytherapy for cervix cancer treated for radiotherapy alone. The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CANCERLIT and Cochrane Library databases, as well as abstracts published in the annual proceedings were systematically searched. We assessed methodological quality for each outcome by grading the quality of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. We used "recommend" for strong recommendations, and "suggest" for weak recommendations.
Results
Pooled results from five randomized trials (2,065 patients) of HDR brachytherapy in cervix cancer showed no significant increase of mortality (p = 0.52), local recurrence (p = 0.68), or late complications (rectal; p = 0.7, bladder; p = 0.95 or small intestine; p = 0.06) rates as compared to LDR brachytherapy. In the subgroup analysis no difference was observed for overall mortality and local recurrence in patients with clinical stages I, II and III. The quality of evidence was low for mortality and local recurrence in patients with clinical stage I, and moderate for other clinical stages.
Conclusion
Our meta-analysis shows that there are no differences between HDR and LDR for overall survival, local recurrence and late complications for clinical stages I, II and III. By means of the GRADE system, we recommend the use of HDR for all clinical stages of cervix cancer.
doi:10.1186/1756-9966-28-47
PMCID: PMC2673206  PMID: 19344527
2.  Adjuvant trastuzumab in the treatment of her-2-positive early breast cancer: a meta-analysis of published randomized trials 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:153.
Background
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S. and Western Europe. Amplification of the her-2/neu gene occurs in approximately 25% of invasive ductal carcinomas of the breast. The first HER-2/neu-targeted approach to reach the clinic was trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against the extracellular domain of the HER-2/neu protein. Trastuzumab therapy prolongs the survival of patients with metastático HER-2/neu-overexpressing breast cancer when combined with chemotherapy and has recently been demonstrated to lead to dramatic improvements in disease-free survival when used in the adjuvant therapy setting in combination with or following chemotherapy. Here, we performed a meta-analysis of completed clinical trials of adjuvant trastuzumab in the adjuvant setting. Survival, recurrence, brain metastases, cardiotoxicity and directions for future research are discussed.
Methods
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCT) was performed comparing adjuvant trastuzumab treatment for HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) to observation. The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CANCERLIT and Cochrane Library databases, and abstracts published in the annual proceedings were systematically searched for evidence. Relevant reports were reviewed by two reviewers independently and the references from these reports were searched for additional trials, using guidelines set by QUOROM statement criteria.
Results
Pooled results from that five randomized trials of adjuvant Trastuzumab showed a significant reduction of mortality (p < 0.00001), recurrence (p < 0.00001), metastases rates (p < 0.00001) and second tumors other than breast cancer (p = 0.007) as compared to no adjuvant Trastuzumab patients. There were more grade III or IV cardiac toxicity after trastuzumab (203/4555 = 4.5%) versus no trastuzumab (86/4562 = 1.8%). The likelihood of cardiac toxicity was 2.45-fold higher (95% CI 1.89 – 3.16) in trastuzumab arms, however that result was associated with heterogeneity. The likelihood of brain metastases was 1.82-fold higher (95% CI 1.16 – 2.85) in patients who received trastuzumab.
Conclusion
The results from this meta-analysis are sufficiently compelling to consider 1 year of adjuvant trastuzumab treatment for women with HER-2-positive EBC based on the risk: benefit ratio demonstrated in these studies. Adequate assessment of HER-2/neu status is critical, and careful cardiac monitoring is warranted because of cardiac toxicity. Clinical trials should be designed to answer unsolved questions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-153
PMCID: PMC1959236  PMID: 17686164

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