In November 2011, the Third European Consensus Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment of Germ-Cell Cancer (GCC) was held in Berlin, Germany. This third conference followed similar meetings in 2003 (Essen, Germany) and 2006 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [Schmoll H-J, Souchon R, Krege S et al. European consensus on diagnosis and treatment of germ-cell cancer: a report of the European Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus Group (EGCCCG). Ann Oncol 2004; 15: 1377–1399; Krege S, Beyer J, Souchon R et al. European consensus conference on diagnosis and treatment of germ-cell cancer: a report of the second meeting of the European Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus group (EGCCCG): part I. Eur Urol 2008; 53: 478–496; Krege S, Beyer J, Souchon R et al. European consensus conference on diagnosis and treatment of germ-cell cancer: a report of the second meeting of the European Germ-Cell Cancer Consensus group (EGCCCG): part II. Eur Urol 2008; 53: 497–513]. A panel of 56 of 60 invited GCC experts from all across Europe discussed all aspects on diagnosis and treatment of GCC, with a particular focus on acute and late toxic effects as well as on survivorship issues.
The panel consisted of oncologists, urologic surgeons, radiooncologists, pathologists and basic scientists, who are all actively involved in care of GCC patients. Panelists were chosen based on the publication activity in recent years. Before the meeting, panelists were asked to review the literature published since 2006 in 20 major areas concerning all aspects of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of GCC patients, and to prepare an updated version of the previous recommendations to be discussed at the conference. In addition, ∼50 E-vote questions were drafted and presented at the conference to address the most controversial areas for a poll of expert opinions. Here, we present the main recommendations and controversies of this meeting. The votes of the panelists are added as online supplements.
consensus conference; diagnosis; germ-cell cancer; late toxic effects; long-term follow-up; treatment
Background: To compare the efficacy of one cycle of standard dose cisplatin, etoposide, and ifosfamide (VIP) plus three cycles of high-dose VIP followed by stem-cell infusion [high-dose chemotherapy (HD-CT arm)] to four cycles of standard cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin (BEP) in patients with poor-prognosis germ-cell cancer (GCC).
Patient and methods: Patients with poor-prognosis GCC were assigned to receive either BEP or VIP followed by HD-CT. To show a 15% improvement in a 1-year failure-free survival (FFS), the study aimed to recruit 222 patients but closed with 137, due to slow accrual.
Results: One hundred thirty-one patients were included in this analysis. The complete response rates in the HD-CT and in the BEP arm did not differ: (intention to treat) 44.6% versus 33.3% (P = 0.18). There was no difference in FFS between the two treatment arms (P = 0.057, 66 events). At 2 years, the FFS rate was 44.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 32.5–56.4] and 58.2%, respectively (95% CI 48.0–71.9); but this 16.3% (standard deviation 7.5%) difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.060). Overall survival did not differ between the two groups (log-rank P > 0.1, 47 deaths).
Conclusion: This study could not demonstrate that high-dose chemotherapy given as part of first-line therapy improves outcome in patients with poor-prognosis GCC.
germ-cell tumor; high-dose chemotherapy; phase III
Transitional cell carcinoma of the urothelial tract is the second most common cancer of the genitourinary system and the fifth most common cancer in Western countries with more than 300,000 new cases per year worldwide. Following the introduction of cisplatin-based chemotherapy, median overall survival in patients with metastatic disease has doubled, demonstrating chemotherapy as an important treatment modality in advanced or metastatic disease. Patients ‘unfit’ to receive cisplatin-based chemotherapy are characterized by impaired renal function, impaired performance status, and/or comorbidity that preclude the use of cisplatin. In this review we summarize the different chemotherapeutic schemes, focusing on treatment options in cisplatin ‘unfit’ patients.
bladder cancer; chemotherapy; cisplatin; treatment options
Background / Objectives. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very frequent and complex disease often associated with other medical conditions. The Euro Heart Survey (EHS) on AF showed that adherence to guidelines may reduce morbidity and mortality in AF patients. Therefore a nurse-driven, guideline-based, ICT-supported integrated chronic care program (ICCP) was developed and implemented in daily practice. The objective of this study is to evaluate the clinical feasibility of the ICCP, with guideline adherence as the endpoint.
Methods. 111 ambulant patients referred for treatment of their AF were enrolled in the ICCP. In this group, patients underwent standardised clinical testing and were subsequently managed by a nurse, supported by a dedicated ICT program and supervised by cardiologists. For comparison, we used a recent historical control group of 102 patients who participated in the Maastricht part of the Euro Heart Survey (EHS) on AF.
Results. Guideline adherence was excellent within the ICCP and compared favourably with the EHS-AF data concerning both clinical testing (trigger factors recorded in 100 vs. 44%; echocardiogram performed in 99 vs. 88%; thyroid-stimulating hormone level recorded in 96% vs. 63%) as well as treatment (antithrombotic therapy in 90 vs. 78%; rhythm control avoided in completely asymptomatic patients in 100 vs. 54%; class I drugs avoided in patients with structural heart disease in 90 vs. 95%; rhythm control avoided in permanent AF patients in 100 vs. 92%).
Conclusion. The high level of guideline adherence suggests that a nurse-driven, guideline-based, ICT-supported ICCP for AF patients is feasible. (Neth Heart J 2010;18:471–7.20978591)
Atrial Fibrillation; Computer-Assisted Decision Support System; Disease Management; Guidelines; Long-term Care; Nursing
With docetaxel as effective chemotherapy for hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC), the number of new treatment combinations for HRPC is expanding demanding a fast-track screening system. This review elaborates on the use of xenograft models to select the most promising combination therapies for entering into phase II clinical trials.
hormone refractory prostate cancer; xenografts; novel therapeutics; PSA biomarker
New chemotherapy regimens are continuously explored in patients with high-risk malignant germ cell tumours (MGCTs). This multicentre phase II trial assessed the efficacy and toxicity of C-BOP/BEP chemotherapy in intermediate and poor prognosis MGCT (IGCCCG criteria). C-BOP/BEP treatment consisted of cycles of cisplatin, vincristine, bleomycin and carboplatin, followed by one cycle of vincristine and bleomycin and three cycles of BEP (bleomycon, etoposide, cisplatin). The trial was designed to demonstrate a 1-year progression-free survival rate of 80%, that is, to exclude a 1-year rate of 70% or less, with a one-sided significance level of 5%. Secondary end points included toxicity, overall survival and the postchemotherapy complete response rate. In total, 16 European hospitals entered 66 eligible patients (intermediate prognosis group: 37; poor prognosis group: 29). A total of 45 patients (68.2%, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 56.9–79.4%) achieved a complete response (intermediate prognosis: 30; poor prognosis: 15). After a median observation time of 40.4 months (range: 13.7–66.3), the 1-year progression-free survival rate was 81.8% 95% CI: 72.5–91.1%). The 2-year overall survival was 84.5% (95% CI: 75.6–93.3%). In all, 51 patients experienced at least one episode of WHO grade 3/4 leucopenia, and at least one event of grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia occurred in 30 patients. There was no toxic death. With an 82% 1-year progression-free survival and a lower limit of the 95% CI above 70%, the efficacy of C-BOP/BEP is comparable to that of published alternative chemotherapy schedules in high-risk MGCT patients. The treatment's toxicity is manageable in a multicentre setting. In poor prognosis patients, C-BOP/BEP should be compared to standard chemotherapy of four cycles of BEP.
intermediate and poor prognosis metastatic germ cell tumours; bleomycin; carboplatin; vincristine; cisplatin; etoposide
Antiemetics; 5HT3 antagonists; NK1 antagonists; neurokinine receptor antagonists; substance P
In the present study we describe the toxicity of weekly high-dose (70–85 mg m−2) cisplatin in 400 patients (203 men, 197 women; median age 54 years) with advanced solid tumours treated in the period 1990–2001 who took part in phase I/II trials, investigating the feasibility and efficacy of weekly cisplatin alone, or in combination with paclitaxel or etoposide. Cisplatin was administered in 250 ml NaCl 3% over 3 h, for six intended administrations. The mean number of administrations was 5.3 (range, 1–6 administrations). Reasons not to complete six cycles were disease progression (7.5%), haematological toxicity (9%), nephrotoxicity (7%), ototoxicity (2.5%), neurotoxicity (1%), gastrointestinal toxicity (1%), cardiovascular complications (0.5%) or a combination of reasons including noncompliance and patient's request (5.5%). Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate baseline parameters for prognostic value regarding toxicity. Leukopenia correlated with etoposide cotreatment, and thrombocytopenia with cisplatin dose and prior (platinum-based) chemotherapy. Risk factors for nephrotoxicity were older age, female gender, smoking, hypoalbuminaemia and paclitaxel coadministration. Neurotoxicity >grade 1 (11% of patients) was associated with prior chemotherapy and paclitaxel coadministration. Symptomatic hearing loss occurred in 15% with anaemia as the predisposing factor. We conclude that weekly high-dose cisplatin administered in hypertonic saline is a feasible treatment regimen.
cisplatin; chemotherapy; toxicity; prognostic factors
testis; residual neoplasms; histology; statistical models; validity
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 1664–1664. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600314 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
We investigated the potential of weekly cisplatin and daily oral etoposide followed by oral etoposide maintenance therapy in patients with platinum-refractory ovarium cancer. One hundred and seven patients were entered on the study, 98 patients completed the induction therapy consisting of cisplatin at either 50 or 70 mg m−2 weekly for six administrations plus oral etoposide at a dose of 50 mg daily. Of these 98 patients, 38 had a platinum treatment-free interval of more than 12 months, 32 had an interval between 4 and 12 months, and 28 had progressed during or within 4 months after last platinum therapy. We assessed response rates and time to progression, and also response duration and survival. Analyses were done on the 98 evaluable patients. All 107 patients were considered evaluable for toxicity. Of the 38 patients with a treatment-free interval of more than 12 months, 92% responded, with 63% complete responses. The median progression-free survival in these patients was 14 months, and the median survival was 26 months. Of the 32 patients with an interval of 4–12 months, 91% responded, with 31% complete responses, a median progression-free interval of 8 and a median overall survival of 16 months. Of the 28 patients with platinum-refractory disease, 46% as yet responded, with 29% complete responses, median progression-free interval of 5 and an overall survival of 13 months. Haematologic and non-haematologic, particularly renal toxicity and neurotoxicity, were notably mild. We conclude that this intensive regimen of weekly cisplatin plus daily etoposide is highly effective and well tolerated in patients with ovarian cancer relapsing after conventional platinum-based combination chemotherapy, including patients who have progressed during or within 4 months after platinum treatment.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 19–25. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600002 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 The Cancer Research Campaign
ovarian cancer; chemotherapy; cisplatin; etoposide
In view of the similarity in chemical structure of the available 5HT3-receptor antagonists it is assumed, whilst these agents all act at the same receptor, that failure to one agent would predict subsequent failure to all 5HT3-receptor antagonists. We conducted a randomized double blind trial of granisetron 3 mg plus dexamethasone 10 mg versus continued treatment with ondansetron 8 mg plus dexamethasone 10 mg in patients with protection failure on ondansetron 8 mg plus dexamethasone 10 mg during the first 24 hours following highly emetogenic chemotherapy. Of 40 eligible patients, 21 received ondansetron + dexamethasone and 19 received granisetron + dexamethasone. We found a significant benefit from crossing-over to granisetron after failure on ondansetron. Of the 19 patients who crossed over to granisetron, 9 patients obtained complete protection, whereas this was observed in 1 of the 21 patients continuing ondansetron, P = 0.005. These results indicate that there is no complete cross-resistance between 5HT3-receptor antagonists, and that patients who have acute protection failure on one 5HT3-receptor antagonist should be offered cross-over to another 5HT3-receptor antagonist. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
We investigated the prognostic value of the serum half-life of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) during induction chemotherapy and the relative prognostic importance of initial marker concentrations and marker half-life. Marker half-lives were calculated using two abnormal values observed between day 8 and day 22 of the first chemotherapy cycle. Moreover, analyses were carried out using day 43 as the second measurement point. Treatment failure at any time was chosen as the end point. The relative prognostic influence of marker half-lives and initial marker concentrations was tested in univariate and multivariate analyses. Half-lives were considered to be prolonged if > 3 days for HCG and > 6 days for AFP. In addition, we separated patients into those with half-lives > 6 days for HCG and those with half-lives > 10 days for AFP to examine whether these long half-lives were associated with a poor prognosis. A group of 669 patients treated with cisplatin combination chemotherapy was studied. Forty-two per cent of the patients had normal HCG and 37% had normal AFP at the start of chemotherapy. At day 22, HCG was still elevated in 138 patients and AFP in 211. At day 43, the numbers of these patients were 35 and 80 respectively. Based on the measurements obtained on day 8 and day 22, a half-life of HCG > 3 days or > 6 days and/or a half-life AFP > 6 days or > 10 days did not accurately predict treatment failure (P=0.413 and P=0.851, respectively; values obtained using tests for trend). However, initial marker concentrations of HCG and/or AFP > 1000 IU l(-1) were highly significant prognosticators for treatment failure (P=0.001 and P < 0.001 respectively), independent of half-life values. Half-lives calculated with the values obtained on day 43 did not contribute to the accuracy of the prediction of treatment failure. We conclude that half-lives of HCG and AFP during induction chemotherapy are inaccurate parameters for the prediction of treatment failure. In contrast, initial serum concentrations of HCG and AFP are highly significant in the prediction of unfavourable treatment outcome.
It has been recognized that the tumour markers alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) may show a transient elevation after the initiation of chemotherapy in non-seminomatous testicular cancer. We investigated the prognostic importance of these so-called marker surges in a cohort of patients treated with cisplatin combination chemotherapy between 1983 and 1991. A total of 669 patients were studied. Of 352 patients who had an elevated AFP at the start of treatment and for whom we had data at both day 1 and day 8, 101 (29%) had a surge. Of 317 patients for whom we had data for HCG, 80 patients (25%) had a surge. It was found that an AFP surge was a strong adverse prognostic factor for progression [hazard ratio (HR) 2.28, P=0.005]. There was no statistically significant difference in survival (HR 1.65, P=0.13). There was no prognostic significance of a HCG surge, either for progression or for survival. To investigate whether a surge was an independent prognostic factor for progression and survival, multivariate Cox regression models were fitted using the independent prognostic factors for progression and survival and the surge/decline variable. An AFP surge was retained in the final model for progression. A HCG surge was of no prognostic importance for progression or survival. We conclude that an AFP surge has an adverse prognostic significance, independent of pretreatment characteristics.
The semisynthetic taxoid docetaxel was investigated in a phase II study in non-chemotherapy pretreated patients with metastatic urothelial cell cancer. Thirty patients (median age 61, range 45-72) were treated with docetaxel 100 mg m(-2) administered as a 1-h infusion every 3 weeks. Of 29 evaluable patients, four achieved a complete response and five a partial response, for an overall response rate of 31%. The median duration of response was 6 months (range 4-51+). A total of 104 cycles were administered. The median number of cycles given was three (range 1-9). Toxic effects of docetaxel mainly consisted of neutropenia, which, however, rarely caused infectious complications (5%). Fluid retention or neuropathy necessitated treatment cessation in two patients. We conclude that docetaxel is an effective agent in urothelial cell cancer, and should be further tested in combination chemotherapy.
We investigated the efficacy and toxicity of induction chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide with either bleomycin or ifosfamide in patients with intermediate-prognosis testicular non-seminoma. A total of 84 eligible patients were randomized to receive four cycles of etoposide, ifosfamide, cisplatin (VIP), or four cycles of bleomycin, etoposide, cisplatin (BEP). Intermediate prognosis was defined as any of the following: lymph node metastases 5-10 cm in diameter, lung metastases more than four in number or > 3 cm, HCG 5000-50,000 IU l(-1), AFP > 1000 IU l(-1). The complete response (CR) rates to VIP and BEP were similar, 74% and 79% respectively (P = 0.62). Including the cases in whom viable cancer was completely resected with post-chemotherapy debulking surgery, the percentages of patients who achieved a no-evidence-of-disease status were 80% on VIP and 82% on BEP (P = 0.99). In addition, there were no differences in relapse rate, disease-free and overall survival after a median follow-up of 7.7 years. The 5-year progression-free survival was 85% (95% CI 74-96%) in the VIP arm and 83% (95% CI 71-96%) in the BEP arm, hazard ratio (VIP/BEP) 0.83 (95% CI 0.30-2.28). The VIP regimen was more toxic with regard to bone marrow function; the frequency of leucocytes below 2000 microl(-1) throughout four cycles was 89% on VIP and 37% on BEP (P < 0.001). Our study does not indicate that ifosfamide is superior to bleomycin in combination with cisplatin and etoposide. The sample size in this study is small as the study was prematurely discontinued when data became available from a competing study that showed no improved effectiveness of VIP compared with BEP. Taken together with these data, bleomycin should not be replaced by conventional-dose ifosfamide.
We investigated the reconstitutive potential of haematopoietic progenitor cells collected in autologous whole blood during multicycle dose-intensified chemotherapy. Forty patients with metastatic solid tumours were treated with up to six cycles of cisplatin and escalating doses of ifosfamide every 14 days. Cisplatin was administered in 3% sodium chloride over 3 h, followed by ifosfamide over 24 h and mesna over 36 h. The first cohort of patients received granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) days 4-14. Once dose-limiting toxicity was reached in cohort 1, the study continued with a second cohort of patients, in whom, in addition to G-CSF on days 4-14, 500 ml of G-CSF and chemotherapy-'primed' whole blood was collected on day 15, i.e. on day 1 of treatment cycles two to six, before cisplatin administration. This volume of blood was kept unprocessed at 4 degrees C and reinfused 20-24 h after the completion of ifosfamide. In cohort 1, dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was reached at ifosfamide 6.0 g m(-2) with two out of six of the patients developing neutropenic fever. Although in cohort 2 no neutropenic fever was encountered, neither the frequency nor the duration of grade 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were reduced. Cumulative asthenia resulted in DLT at 7.0 g m(-2). The median number of CD34+ cells in 500 ml of whole blood after the first cycle (i.e. at start of cycle 2) was 1.15 x 10(6) kg(-1). This number was significantly greater after the second cycle (2.06 x 10(6) kg(-1), P = 0.01) and then gradually decreased after cycles three to six. After storing whole blood, the number of CD34+ cells had not decreased (median + 10%). We conclude that the method of combined bone marrow support by G-CSF and haematopoietic progenitor cells in autologous whole blood collected before each cycle of a 2-weekly regimen of cisplatin-ifosfamide does not result in clinically measurable reduced bone marrow toxicity compared with what can be expected by the use of G-CSF alone.
We have reported previously that the anti-emetic efficacy of single agent 5HT3 antagonists is not maintained when analysed with the measurement of cumulative probabilities. Presently, the most effective anti-emetic regimen is a combination of a 5HT3 antagonist plus dexamethasone. We, therefore, assessed the sustainment of efficacy of such a combination in 125 patients, scheduled to receive cisplatin > or = 70 mg m(-2) either alone or in combination with other cytotoxic drugs. Anti-emetic therapy was initiated with 10 mg of dexamethasone and 3 mg of granisetron intravenously, before cisplatin. On days 1-6, patients received 8 mg of dexamethasone and 1 mg of granisetron twice daily by oral administration. Protection was assessed during all cycles and calculated based on cumulative probability analyses using the method of Kaplan-Meier and a model for transitional probabilities. Irrespective of the type of analysis used, the anti-emetic efficacy of granisetron/dexamethasone decreased over cycles. The initial complete acute emesis protection rate of 66% decreased to 30% according to the method of Kaplan-Meier and to 39% using the model for transitional probabilities. For delayed emesis, the initial complete protection rate of 52% decreased to 21% (Kaplan-Meier) and to 43% (transitional probabilities). In addition, we observed that protection failure in the delayed emesis period adversely influenced the acute emesis protection in the next cycle. We conclude that the anti-emetic efficacy of a 5HT3 antagonist plus dexamethasone is not maintained over multiple cycles of highly emetogenic chemotherapy, and that the acute emesis protection is adversely influenced by protection failure in the delayed emesis phase.
In 1983, Coates conducted a survey that ranked the side-effects perceived by patients receiving chemotherapy in the order of their severity. Vomiting and nausea were found to be the two most distressing side-effects. They have an impact on quality of life and compliance with treatment. The development of 5HT3 antagonists has been a major step forward in the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Presently, these antiemetics are routinely used as concomitant therapy in emetogenic chemotherapy regimens. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of 5HT3 antagonists on patient perceptions of the side-effects of chemotherapy. Coates' survey was replicated in patients who received 5HT3 antagonists for acute nausea and vomiting resulting from emetogenic chemotherapy. Patients received the survey to identify those physical and non-physical side-effects that they attributed to chemotherapy and were asked to rank the five most distressing side-effects. Of the 197 patients who consented to take part in the study, 181 were evaluable. Nausea, hair loss and vomiting were described as the three most distressing side-effects of chemotherapy. Eighty per cent of all the patients actually experienced nausea and 57% experienced vomiting. Hair loss appeared to be more distressing to women (P < 0.001) but, in other aspects, gender, age and marital status did not influence the ranking of the three most distressing side-effects. Constipation was ranked as 6th and was not identified as a distressing side-effect in 1983. Nausea and vomiting remain to be the first and third most distressing side-effects of chemotherapy, even though the incidence and severity of acute nausea and vomiting are now significantly reduced.
We investigated the pharmacokinetic profile and the efficacy of ondansetron (day 1) given as 16 mg suppository once a day, as compared with ondansetron 8 mg tablets twice daily, in patients receiving moderately emetogenic chemotherapy. The study was primarily aimed at investigating the pharmacokinetics and was part of a large multinational, randomised, double-blind, double-dummy efficacy trial. Pharmacokinetic data were obtained in a total of 20 patients, 11 of whom had received a suppository containing ondansetron, and nine patients had received the oral formulation. The median area under the plasma concentration curve (AUC) obtained with the oral formulation was 226 ng ml-1h-1 (range 91-750), and the median maximum plasma level (Cmax) was 50.5 ng ml-1 (range 24.7-199.6) after a dose of 8 mg. For the ondansetron suppository the median AUC was 140 ng ml-1h-1 range (77-405) and the median Cmax was 17.1 ng ml-1 (range 13-48.3) after a dose of 16 mg. The systemic exposure after correction for the dose difference after the suppository was on average 70% lower than after the tablet. The median time to reach the maximum level (Tmax) was 60 min (range 28-120) with the oral formulation and 209 min (range 90-420) with the suppository. For both the tablet and suppository, there was no apparent relationship between either Cmax or AUC, and efficacy. Although the patient numbers were too small for a formal exposure-response relationship to be derived, the slightly poorer pharmacokinetic performance of the suppository did not appear to be associated with a lessening of control of emesis following chemotherapy. The study demonstrates that the pharmacokinetic analysis of a once-daily 16 mg ondansetron suppository results in appropriate plasma concentrations and AUC, and that this rectal formulation is effective in the protection against nausea and vomiting associated with cyclophosphamide chemotherapy. This formulation will provide a useful alternative to the currently available oral formulation.
We have investigated whether an alternating induction chemotherapy regimen of PVB/BEP is superior to BEP in patients with poor-prognosis testicular non-seminoma. A total of 234 eligible patients were randomised to receive an alternating schedule of PVB/BEP for a total of four cycles or four cycles of BEP. Poor prognosis was defined as any of the following: lymph node metastases larger than 5 cm, lung metastases more than four in number or larger than 2 cm, haematogenic spread outside the lungs, such as in liver and bone, human chorionic gonadotrophin > 10,000 IU l-1 or alphafetoprotein > 1000 IU l-1. The complete response (CR) rates to PVB/BEP and BEP were similar, 76% and 72% respectively (P = 0.58). In addition, there was no significant difference in relapse rate, disease-free and overall survival at an average follow-up of 6 years. The 5-year progression-free and survival rates in both treatment groups were approximately 80%. The PVB/BEP regime was more toxic with regard to bone marrow function; the frequencies of leucocytes below 1000 microliters-1, leucocytopenic fever and platelets below 25,000 microliters-1, throughout four cycles were 28% vs 5% (P < 0.001), 16% vs 5% (P = 0.006), and 10% vs 1% (P = 0.001) respectively. Neuropathy also occurred more often in the PVB/BEP arm: 47% vs 25% (P = 0.001). This study shows that an alternating regimen of PVB/BEP is not superior to BEP and that it is more myelo- and neurotoxic.
In vitro and in vivo studies have suggested synergistic anti-tumour activity of combined hyperthermia and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). However, some studies indicated an increased systemic toxicity of TNF by additional hyperthermia. The aim of this study was to obtain starting dosages for a clinical phase I study on the application of deep local hyperthermia and systemic TNF. We investigated the effect of local hyperthermia on the toxicity and efficacy of systemic TNF. Rats (Wag/Rij) carrying a subcutaneously transplanted osteosarcoma in the hind leg received a single intravenous dose of recombinant human (rh) TNF-alpha, either at normothermia or at hyperthermia, by positioning the tumour bearing hind leg in a water bath of 43 degrees C. Dose-effect curves for lethality and tumour cure were established and LD50 and TCD50 values were calculated. Systemic toxicity was increased by local hyperthermia. The LD50 values (+/- s.e.) were 1088 (+/- 61) micrograms kg-1 at normothermia and 205 (+/- 23) micrograms kg-1 at hyperthermia, resulting in a thermal enhancement ratio (TER) of 5.3. Following normothermia, tumour cures were observed at TNF concentrations of 1000-1300 micrograms kg-1, while this was observed at doses of 50-300 micrograms kg-1 when combined with hyperthermia (TCD50 values of 1211 and 188 micrograms kg-1 respectively), resulting in a TER of 6.4. Systemic toxicity and anti-tumour activity of TNF are both increased by local hyperthermia. A safe starting dose for the combined clinical treatment would be 10% of the dose of TNF-alpha that has been recommended for phase II studies on intravenous bolus administration of TNF-alpha at normothermia. In view of the large variability in tumour sensitivity for TNF-alpha, the clinical usefulness of this combined treatment modality has to be determined.
Piritrexim is a lipid-soluble inhibitor of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) that enters tumour cells rapidly by passive diffusion, cannot be polyglutamated, and is as effective as methotrexate in inhibiting DHFR. Bioavailability after oral dosing is approximately 75%. We performed a phase II study with oral piritrexim in non-chemotherapy pretreated patients with metastatic urothelial cancer. Thirty-three patients were treated with 25 mg three times daily for 5 consecutive days, repeated weekly, with provision for dose escalation or reduction according to the toxicity observed. Of 29 evaluable patients, one patient achieved a complete response of 19+ weeks duration, and ten patients achieved a partial response with a median duration of 22 weeks (range 16-48), for a total response rate of 38%. Piritrexim was generally well tolerated, with myelosuppression as the major toxicity, that frequently required dose modification. We conclude that piritrexim appears to be an active agent in patients with metastatic urothelial cancer when administered as a 5-day, low-dose oral schedule. It would be attractive to investigate the combination of piritrexim and cisplatin.
Folic acid is a chemoattractant for the slime mold Dictyostelium minutum V3. The activity of extracellular folic acid is regulated by a folic acid C9-N10 splitting enzyme (FAS). The products were identified as pterin-6-aldehyde and p-amino-benzoylglutamic acid. The enzyme was stabilized by EDTA. For the extracellular enzyme, the Km was 10(-7) M, and the optimal pH was 4.0. During starvation, FAS activity was mainly secreted into the medium; after 3 h, a plateau was reached. The membrane-bound activity was constant, but only 12% of the extracellular activity at 3 h. Intracellular activity also increased up to 3 h to a level of 23% of the extracellular FAS. The substrate recognition of FAS was found to be based on 4-O or N3 or both, N5 or N8 or both, N10, and the p-aminobenzoic acid moiety, whereas 2-NH2, N1, and the glutamic acid moiety were not recognized. Other slime mold species were found to secrete FAS with 20-fold or more reduced activity than D. minutum V3.
Folic acid attracts vegetative amoebae of Dictyostelium discoideum. Secreted by bacteria, it may act as a food-seeking device. The inactivation of this attractant is catalyzed by a deaminase. As assay has been developed to measure the folic acid deaminase activity. In addition to cell-surface an intracellular deaminase, the amoebae of D. discoideum release the enzyme into the medium. The pH optimum of the extracellular enzyme was 6.0, and higher for the cell-associated deaminases. The extracellular enzyme was secreted maximally by vegetative amoebae, and its activity diminished during cell differentiation. The cell-surface bound enzyme was less active than the extracellular enzyme, and its activity decreased twofold during a 6-h starvation period. The enzyme activity of homogenates and 48,000 x g pellets diminished during this period 35 to 40%. The supernatant of a homogenate had a higher deaminase activity than the homogenate itself or its pellet; this suggests the presence of an inhibitor in the particulate fraction. The underlying mechanism for inactivation of folic acid has similar characteristics as that for inactivation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate.