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1.  Androgen Deprivation Therapy and the Re-emergence of Parenteral Estrogen in Prostate Cancer 
Oncology & hematology review  2014;10(1):42-47.
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) resulting in testosterone suppression is central to the management of prostate cancer (PC). As PC incidence increases, ADT is more frequently prescribed, and for longer periods of time as survival improves. Initial approaches to ADT included orchiectomy or oral estrogen (diethylstilbestrol [DES]). DES reduces PC-specific mortality, but causes substantial cardiovascular (CV) toxicity. Currently, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists (LHRHa) are mainly used; they produce low levels of both testosterone and estrogen (as estrogen in men results from the aromatization of testosterone), and many toxicities including osteoporosis, fractures, hot flashes, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, increased risk for diabetes, changes in body composition, and CV toxicity. An alternative approach is parenteral estrogen, it suppresses testosterone, appears to mitigate the CV complications of oral estrogen by avoiding first-pass hepatic metabolism, and avoids complications caused by estrogen deprivation. Recent research on the toxicity of ADT and the rationale for revisiting parenteral estrogen is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4052190  PMID: 24932461
Prostate cancer; estrogen; testosterone; LHRH agonist; PATCH trial; androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)
2.  Laboratory and Clinical Predictors of Disease Progression following Initiation of Combination Therapy in HIV-Infected Adults in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43375.
Background
Data on determinants of long-term disease progression in HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) are limited in low and middle-income settings.
Methods
Effects of current CD4 count, viral load and haemoglobin and diagnosis of AIDS-defining events (ADEs) after start of combination ART (cART) on death and new ADEs were assessed using Poisson regression, in patient aged ≥18 years within a multi-centre cohort in Thailand.
Results
Among 1,572 patients, median follow-up from cART initiation was 4.4 (IQR 3.6–6.3) years. The analysis of death was based on 60 events during 6,573 person-years; 30/50 (60%) deaths with underlying cause ascertained were attributable to infections. Analysis of new ADE included 192 events during 5,865 person-years; TB and Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia were the most commonly presented first new ADE (35% and 20% of cases, respectively). In multivariable analyses, low current CD4 count after starting cART was the strongest predictor of death and of new ADE. Even at CD4 above 200 cells/mm3, survival improved steadily with CD4, with mortality rare at ≥500 cells/mm3 (rate 1.1 per 1,000 person-years). Haemoglobin had a strong independent effect, while viral load was weakly predictive with poorer prognosis only observed at ≥100,000 copies/ml. Mortality risk increased following diagnosis of ADEs during cART. The decline in mortality rate with duration on cART (from 21.3 per 1,000 person-years within first 6 months to 4.7 per 1,000 person-years at ≥36 months) was accounted for by current CD4 count.
Conclusions
Patients with low CD4 count or haemoglobin require more intensive diagnostic and treatment of underlying causes. Maintaining CD4≥500 cells/mm3 minimizes mortality. However, patient monitoring could potentially be relaxed at high CD4 count if resources are limited. Optimal ART monitoring strategies in low-income settings remain a research priority. Better understanding of the aetiology of anaemia in patients on ART could guide prevention and treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043375
PMCID: PMC3419679  PMID: 22905264
3.  Use of Zidovudine-Sparing HAART in Pregnant HIV-Infected Women in Europe: 2000–2009 
Background
Increasing numbers of women in resource-rich settings are prescribed zidovudine (ZDV)-sparing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in pregnancy. We compare ZDV-sparing with ZDV-containing HAART in relation to maternal viral load at delivery, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, and congenital abnormality.
Methods
This is an analysis of data from the National Study of HIV in Pregnancy and Childhood and the European Collaborative Study. Data on 7573 singleton births to diagnosed HIV-infected women between January 2000 and June 2009 were analyzed. Logistic regression models were fitted to estimate adjusted odds ratios (AORs).
Results
Overall, 15.8% (1199 of 7573) of women received ZDV-sparing HAART, with increasing use between 2000 and 2009 (P < 0.001). Nearly a fifth (18.4%) of women receiving ZDV-sparing HAART in pregnancy had a detectable viral load at delivery compared with 28.6% of women on ZDV-containing HAART [AOR 0.90; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.72 to 1.14, P = 0.4]. MTCT rates were 0.8% and 0.9% in the ZDV-sparing and ZDV-containing groups, respectively (AOR 1.81; 95% CI: 0.77 to 4.26, P = 0.2). The congenital abnormality rate was the same in both groups (2.7%, AOR 0.98; 95% CI: 0.66 to 1.45, P = 0.9), with no significant difference between the groups in a subanalysis of pregnancies with first trimester HAART exposure (AOR 0.79; 95% CI: 0.48 to 1.30, P = 0.4).
Conclusions
We found no difference in risk of detectable viral load at delivery, MTCT, or congenital abnormality when comparing ZDV-sparing with ZDV-containing HAART. With increasing use of ZDV-sparing HAART, continued monitoring of pregnancy outcomes and long-term consequences of in utero exposure to these drugs is required.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31821d34d0
PMCID: PMC3319104  PMID: 21499113
antiretroviral agents; highly active antiretroviral therapy; HIV; pregnancy outcome; viral load; congenital abnormalities
4.  Optimising the dichotomy limit for left ventricular ejection fraction in selecting patients for defibrillator therapy after myocardial infarction 
Heart  2007;93(7):832-836.
Background
The selection of patients for prophylactic implantable cardioverter‐defibrilator (ICD) treatment after myocardial infarction (MI) remains controversial.
Aim
To determine the optimum left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) dichotomy limit for ICD treatment in patients with a history of MI.
Methods and results
Data from the placebo arms of four randomised trials were pooled to create a cohort of 2828 patients (2206 men, mean (SD) age 65 (11) years) with reduced left ventricular function after MI. The median LVEF was 33% (range 6–40%). LVEF significantly predicted mortality. Each 10% reduction in LVEF <40% conferred a 42% increase in all‐cause mortality, a 39% increase in arrhythmic cardiac mortality and a 49% increase in non‐arrhythmic cardiac mortality over the 2‐year period of follow‐up (p<0.001 for all modes of mortality). As the LVEF progressively decreased from ⩽40% to ⩽10%, the data show a U‐shaped relationship between the dichotomy limit for LVEF used and the number of patients who must be treated to prevent one arrhythmic death in 2 years. At an LVEF of 16–20%, more patients are likely to die from arrhythmic than non‐arrhythmic cardiac deaths, whereas in those with LVEF ⩽10% all deaths were non‐arrhythmic. However, the total number of deaths substantially decreased with lower LVEF.
Conclusion
A trade‐off exists between the sensitivity and positive predictive accuracy across a range of LVEF, and no single dichotomy limit is completely satisfactory. In patients with LVEF ⩽10% ICD treatment was not beneficial as all patients in this subgroup died from non‐arrhythmic causes. The use of a single dichotomy limit for LVEF alone is not sufficient in selecting patients for ICD treatment in the primary prevention of cardiac arrest.
doi:10.1136/hrt.2006.102186
PMCID: PMC1994461  PMID: 17237132
5.  Effect of praziquantel treatment during pregnancy on cytokine responses to schistosome antigens: results of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;198(12):1870-1879.
Background:
Praziquantel treatment of schistosomiasis boosts anti-schistosome responses, with ‘type 2 helper T-cell’ bias that may contribute to immunologically mediated killing and to protection against re-infection. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy was recommended in 2002 but immunological effects of the treatment had not been investigated.
Methods:
A cohort of 387 S. mansoni infected women was recruited within a larger trial of de-worming during pregnancy (ISRCTN32849447; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN32849447/elliott). Women were randomised to receive either praziquantel or placebo during pregnancy. Six weeks after delivery all women received praziquantel. Whole blood culture cytokine responses to S. mansoni worm and egg antigens were measured before and six weeks after each treatment.
Results:
Schistosome specific cytokine responses were suppressed during pregnancy. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy caused significant boosts in gamma interferon (IFNγ), interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-5 IL-13 and IL-10 responses to schistosome worm antigen and IFNγ, IL-5 and IL-13 to schistosome egg antigen; but these boosts were not as substantial as those seen for treatment after delivery.
Conclusion:
Pregnancy suppresses potentially beneficial boost in cytokine responses associated with praziquantel treatment. Further studies are needed on the long term effect of treating schistosomiasis during pregnancy on morbidity and resistance to reinfection among treated women and their offspring.
doi:10.1086/593215
PMCID: PMC2892302  PMID: 18983246
Schistosomiasis; Schistosoma mansoni; human; praziquantel; treatment; pregnancy; cytokines; immunology; immune responses
6.  Effect of praziquantel treatment of Schistosoma mansoni during pregnancy on intensity of infection and antibody responses to schistosome antigens: results of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial 
Background
Praziquantel treatment of schistosomiasis during pregnancy was only recommended in 2002; hence the effects of treatment during pregnancy are not fully known. We have therefore evaluated the effects on infection intensity and the immunological effects of praziquantel treatment against Schistosoma mansoni during pregnancy, compared with treatment after delivery.
Methods
A nested cohort of 387 Schistosoma mansoni infected women was recruited within a larger trial of de-worming during pregnancy. Women were randomised to receive praziquantel or placebo during pregnancy. All women were treated after delivery. Infection intensity after treatment was assessed by a single Kato-Katz examination of stool samples with duplicate slides and categorised as undetected, light (1–99 eggs per gram (epg)), moderate (100–399 epg) or heavy (≥400 epg). Antibodies against S. mansoni worm and egg antigens were measured by ELISA. Results were compared between women first treated during pregnancy and women first treated after delivery.
Results
At enrolment, 252 (65.1%) of the women had light infection (median (IQR) epg: 35 (11, 59)), 75 (19.3%) moderate (median (IQR) epg: 179(131, 227)) and 60 (15.5%) had heavy infection (median (IQR) epg: 749 (521, 1169)) with S. mansoni. At six weeks after praziquantel treatment during pregnancy S. mansoni infection was not detectable in 81.9% of the women and prevalence and intensity had decreased to 11.8% light, 4.7% moderate and 1.6% heavy a similar reduction when compared with those first treated after delivery (undetected (88.5%), light (10.6%), moderate (0.9%) and heavy (0%), p = 0.16). Parasite specific antibody levels were lower during pregnancy than after delivery. Praziquantel treatment during pregnancy boosted anti-worm IgG isotypes and to a lesser extent IgE, but these boosts were less pronounced than in women whose treatment was delayed until after delivery. Praziquantel had limited effects on antibodies against egg antigens.
Conclusion
S mansoni antigen-specific antibody levels and praziquantel-induced boosts in antibody levels were broadly suppressed during pregnancy, but this was not associated with major reduction in the efficacy of praziquantel. Long-term implications of these findings in relation to resistance to re-infection remain to be explored.
Trial registration
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number for the current study: ISRCTN32849447 http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN32849447/elliott
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-32
PMCID: PMC2666740  PMID: 19296834
7.  Vertical transmission rates for HIV in the British Isles: estimates based on surveillance data 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;319(7219):1227-1229.
Objective
To estimate and interpret time trends in vertical transmission rates for HIV using data from national obstetric and paediatric surveillance registers.
Design
Prospective study of HIV infected women reported through obstetric surveillance. HIV infection status of the child and onset of AIDS were reported through paediatric surveillance. Rates of vertical transmission and progression to AIDS rate were estimated by methods that take account of incomplete follow up of children with indeterminate infection status and delay in AIDS reporting.
Setting
British Isles.
Subjects
Pregnant women infected with HIV whose infection was diagnosed before delivery, and their babies.
Main outcome measures
Mother to child transmission of infection and progression to AIDS in children.
Results
By January 1999, 800 children born to diagnosed HIV infected women who had not breast fed had been reported. Vertical transmission rates rose to 19.6% (95% confidence interval 8.0% to 32.5%) in 1993 before falling to 2.2% (0% to 7.8%) in 1998. Between 1995 and 1998 use of antiretroviral treatment increased significantly each year, reaching 97% of live births in 1998. The rate of elective caesarean section remained constant, at around 40%, up to 1997 but increased to 62% in 1998. Caesarean section and antiretroviral treatment together were estimated to reduce risk of transmission from 31.6% (13.6% to 52.2%) to 4.2% (0.8% to 8.5%). The proportion of infected children developing AIDS in the first 6 months fell from 17.7% (6.8% to 30.8%) before 1994 to 7.2% (0% to 15.7%) after, coinciding with increased use of prophylaxis against Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.
Conclusions
In the British Isles both HIV related morbidity and vertical transmission are being reduced through increased use of interventions.
Key messagesReliable estimates of HIV vertical transmission rates can be derived from surveillance dataInfected pregnant women are increasingly taking up elective caesarean section and antiretroviral treatment to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to their babiesVertical transmission rates have fallen greatly over the past four years and progression to AIDS among infected children may also have slowedThese benefits can occur only if infected women are diagnosed before or during pregnancy
PMCID: PMC28270  PMID: 10550082

Results 1-7 (7)