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1.  A Phase I Trial of Aminolevulinic Acid-Photodynamic Therapy for Treatment of Oral Leukoplakia 
Oral oncology  2013;49(9):970-976.
Photodynamic therapy with aminolevulinic acid (ALA PDT) for oral leukoplakia has shown promising effects in regression of oral leukoplakia. Although ALA has been extensively studied and is an ideal photosensitizer, the optimal light dose for treatment of oral leukoplakia has not been determined. We conducted a phase I study to determine MTD and DLT of PDT in patients treated with ALA for leukoplakia.
Patients with histologically confirmed oral leukoplakia received a single treatment of ALA PDT in cohorts with escalating doses of light (585 nm). Clinical, histologic, and biologic markers were assessed.
Analysis of eleven participants is reported. No significant toxicity from ALA PDT was observed in patients who received ALA with a light dose of up to 4 J/cm2. One participant experienced transient grade 3 transaminase elevation due to ALA. One participant had a partial clinical response 3 months after treatment. Biologic mucosal risk markers showed no significant associations. Determination of MTD could not be accomplished within a feasible timeframe for completion of the study.
ALA PDT could be safely administered with a light dose up to 4 J/cm2 and demonstrated activity. Larger studies are needed to fully elucidate the MTD and efficacy of ALA-PDT.
PMCID: PMC4456032  PMID: 23845699
leukoplakia; aminolevulinic acid; photodynamic therapy; phase I; laser
2.  Calreticulin inhibits commitment to adipocyte differentiation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2015;208(2):249-250.
PMCID: PMC4298684  PMID: 25583997
4.  Population Pharmacokinetic Model for Cancer Chemoprevention With Sulindac in Healthy Subjects 
Journal of clinical pharmacology  2013;53(4):403-412.
Sulindac is a prescription-based non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that continues to be actively investigated as a candidate cancer chemoprevention agent. To further current understanding of sulindac bioavailability, metabolism, and disposition, we developed a population pharmacokinetic model for the parent compound and its active metabolites, sulindac sulfide, and exisulind. This analysis was based on data from 24 healthy subjects who participated in a bioequivalence study comparing two formulations of sulindac. The complex disposition of sulindac and its metabolites was described by a seven-compartment model featuring enterohepatic recirculation and is the first reported population pharmacokinetic model for sulindac. The derived model was used to explore effects of clinical variables on sulindac pharmacokinetics and revealed that body weight, creatinine clearance, and gender were significantly correlated with pharmacokinetic parameters. Moreover, the model quantifies the relative bioavailability of the sulindac formulations and illustrates the utility of population pharmacokinetics in bioequivalence assessment. This novel population pharmacokinetic model provides new insights regarding the factors that may affect the pharmacokinetics of sulindac and the exisulind and sulindac sulfide metabolites in generally healthy subjects, which have implications for future chemoprevention trial design for this widely available agent.
PMCID: PMC4120995  PMID: 23436338
chemoprevention; exisulind; NONMEM; population pharmacokinetics; sulindac
5.  Effect of Zileuton and Celecoxib on Urinary LTE4 and PGE-M Levels in Smokers 
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) utilize arachidonic acid for the synthesis of eicosanoids that have been implicated in carcinogenesis and cardiovascular disease. The ability of celecoxib, a selective COX-2 inhibitor, to redirect arachidonic acid into the 5-LO pathway can potentially reduce its efficacy as a chemopreventive agent and increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. Levels of urinary prostaglandin E metabolite (PGE-M) and leukotriene E4 (LTE4), biomarkers of the COX and 5-LO pathways, are elevated in smokers. Here we investigated the effects of zileuton, a 5-LO inhibitor, vs. zileuton and celecoxib for 6 ± 1 days on urinary PGE-M and LTE4 levels in smokers. Treatment with zileuton led to an 18% decrease in PGE-M levels (P=0.03); the combination of zileuton and celecoxib led to a 62% reduction in PGE-M levels (P<0.001). Levels of LTE4 decreased by 61% in subjects treated with zileuton alone (P<0.001) and were unaffected by the addition of celecoxib. Although zileuton use was associated with a small overall decrease in PGE-M levels, increased PGE-M levels were found in a subset (19/52) of subjects. Notably, the addition of celecoxib to the 5-LO inhibitor protected against the increase in urinary PGE-M levels (P=0.03). In conclusion, zileuton was an effective inhibitor of 5-LO activity resulting in marked suppression of urinary LTE4 levels and possible redirection of arachidonic acid into the COX-2 pathway in a subset of subjects. Combining celecoxib and zileuton was associated with inhibition of both the COX-2 and 5-LO pathways manifested as reduced levels of urinary PGE-M and LTE4.
PMCID: PMC3707304  PMID: 23682075
smoking; inflammation; cyclooxygenase; lipoxygenase; zileuton; celecoxib
Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.)  2013;6(5):10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0322.
EGFR inhibitors are employed in therapy of lung and pancreatic cancers, and effectively prevent cancers in multiple animal models. Although daily dosing with erlotinib is effective, weekly dosing may reduce toxicity and have advantages, particularly for prevention. We tested alternative dosing regimens for preventive/therapeutic efficacy in a rat mammary cancer model. For prevention, erlotinib was administered by gavage beginning 5 days after MNU. For therapy and biomarker studies, rats with palpable mammary cancers were treated for six weeks or for 6 days, respectively.
Experiment A. Erlotinib (6 mg/Kg BW/day, i.g.): daily (7x/week); one day on/one day off; and two days on/two days off. All regimens decreased tumor incidence, increased tumor latency, and decreased cancer multiplicity vs controls (P<.01). However, intermittent dosing was less effective than daily dosing (P<.05). Experiment B. Erlotinib (6 mg/kg BW/day) daily or two days on/two days off; or 1x/week at 42 mg/kg BW. All regimens reduced cancer incidence and multiplicity vs controls (P<.01). Interestingly, daily and weekly dosing were equally effective (P>0.5). Experiment C. Erlotinib administered at 42 or 21 mg/kg BW, 1x/week, decreased tumor incidence and multiplicity (P<.01).
Erlotinib had a serum half-life of ≤8 hours, and weekly treatment yielded effective serum levels for ≤48 hours.
Daily or weekly treatment of cancer bearing rats reduced mammary tumor size 25–35%, while control cancers increased >250%.
Levels of phosphorylated ERK were strongly decreased in rats treated daily/weekly with erlotinib. Thus, altering the dosing of erlotinib retained most of its preventive and therapeutic efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3813957  PMID: 23531447
Mammary Cancer; Prevention; Therapy; Pharmacokinetics
7.  18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in the management of patients with thymic epithelial tumors 
There is limited data regarding the role of 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography ([18F]-FDG PET) imaging in management of patients with thymic epithelial tumors (TET). The primary objective of this study was to assess the usefulness of early [18F]-FDG PET to monitor treatment efficacy and its correlation with Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) in patients with TETs.
Experimental Design
[18F]-FDG PET/CT scans were performed at baseline and after six weeks of treatment in patients enrolled in two phase II and one phase I/II clinical trials. Based on data from other solid tumors, metabolic response was defined as a reduction of [18F]-FDG uptake by more than 30% as assessed by average standardized uptake values (SUV) of up to five most metabolically active lesions.
Fifty six patients with unresectable Masaoka stage III or IV TETs were included. There was a close correlation between early metabolic response and subsequent best response using RECIST (P <0.0001 to 0.0003): sensitivity and specificity for prediction of best response were 95% and 100% respectively. Metabolic responders had significantly longer progression-free survival (median 11.5 vs. 4.6 months, P = 0.044) and a trend towards longer overall survival (median 31.8 vs. 18.4 months, P = 0.14) than non-responders. [18F]-FDG uptake was significantly higher in thymic carcinoma compared with thymoma (P= 0.0004 to 0.0010).
In patients with advanced TETs, early metabolic response closely correlates with outcome of therapy. [18F]-FDG PET may be used to monitor treatment efficacy and assess histological differences in patients with advanced TETs.
PMCID: PMC3602145  PMID: 23382114
thymoma; thymic carcinoma; 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography; Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors; Metabolic response
8.  Randomized Phase II Trial of Sulindac for Lung Cancer Chemoprevention 
Sulindac represents a promising candidate agent for lung cancer chemoprevention, but clinical trial data have not been previously reported. We conducted a randomized, phase II chemoprevention trial involving current or former cigarette smokers (≥ 30 pack-years) utilizing the multi-center, inter-disciplinary infrastructure of the Cancer Prevention Network (CPN).
At least 1 bronchial dysplastic lesion identified by fluorescence bronchoscopy was required for randomization. Intervention assignments were sulindac 150 mg bid or an identical placebo bid for six months. Trial endpoints included changes in histologic grade of dysplasia (per-participant as primary endpoint and per lesion as secondary endpoint), number of dysplastic lesions (per-participant), and Ki67 labeling index.
Slower than anticipated recruitment led to trial closure after randomizing participants (n = 31 and n = 30 in the sulindac and placebo arms, respectively). Pre- and post-intervention fluorescence bronchoscopy data were available for 53/61 (87%) randomized, eligible participants. The median (range) of dysplastic lesions at baseline was 2 (1-12) in the sulindac arm and 2 (1-7) in the placebo arm. Change in dysplasia was categorized as regression:stable:progression for 15:3:8 (58%:12%:31%) subjects in the sulindac arm and 15:2:10 (56%:7%:37%) subjects in the placebo arm; these distributions were not statistically different (p=0.85). Median Ki67 expression (% cells stained positive) was significantly reduced in both the placebo (30 versus 5; p = 0.0005) and sulindac (30 versus 10; p = 0.0003) arms, but the difference between arms was not statistically significant (p = 0.92).
Data from this multi-center, phase II squamous cell lung cancer chemoprevention trial do not demonstrate sufficient benefits from sulindac 150 mg bid for 6 months to warrant additional phase III testing. Investigation of pathway-focused agents is necessary for lung cancer chemoprevention.
PMCID: PMC3566344  PMID: 23261228
lung cancer; chemoprevention; phase II clinical trial; sulindac; NSAIDs
High-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) has recently been introduced as a clinical research tool for in vivo assessment of bone quality. The utility of this technique to address important skeletal health questions requires translation to standardized multi-center data pools. Our goal was to evaluate the feasibility of pooling data in multi-center HR-pQCT imaging trials.
Reproducibility imaging experiments were performed using structure and composition-realistic phantoms constructed from cadaveric radii. Single-center precision was determined by repeat scanning over short (<72hrs), intermediate (3–5mo), and long-term intervals (28mo). Multi-center precision was determined by imaging the phantoms at nine different HR-pQCT centers. Least significant change (LSC) and root mean squared coefficient of variation (RMSCV) for each interval and across centers was calculated for bone density, geometry, microstructure, and biomechanical parameters.
Single-center short-term RMSCVs were <1% for all parameters except Ct.Th (1.1%), Ct.Th.SD (2.6%), Tb.Sp.SD (1.8%), and porosity measures (6–8%). Intermediate-term RMSCVs were generally not statistically different from short-term values. Long-term variability was significantly greater for all density measures (0.7–2.0%; p < 0.05 vs. short-term) and several structure measures: Ct.Th (3.4%; p < 0.01 vs. short-term), Ct.Po (15.4%; p < 0.01 vs. short-term), and Tb.Th (2.2%; p < 0.01 vs. short-term). Multi-center RMSCVs were also significantly higher than short-term values: 2–4% for density and µFE measures (p < 0.0001), 2.6–5.3% for morphometric measures (p < 0.001), while Ct.Po was 16.2% (p < 0.001).
In the absence of subject motion, multi-center precision errors for HR-pQCT parameters were generally less than 5%. Phantom-based multi-center precision was comparable to previously reported in vivo single-center precision errors, although this was approximately 2–5 times worse than ex vivo short-term precision. The data generated from this study will contribute to the future design and validation of standardized procedures that are broadly translatable to multi-center study designs.
PMCID: PMC3577969  PMID: 23074145
HR-pQCT; osteoporosis; precision; bone; microstructure; bone strength; multi-center studies
Although thymic epithelial tumors (TET) commonly infiltrate mediastinal structures, cardiac involvement is uncommon and has not been systematically studied. The purpose of this study was to describe our single-institution experience of the clinical presentation, treatment and follow up of cardiac involvement in patients with TETs.
A single institution retrospective review of cardiac involvement among patients with TETs from 2008 to 2012.
The frequency of cardiac involvement was 4%. All five patients with confirmed cardiac disease had left heart involvement. Only one patient was symptomatic. Myocardial invasion was the most common mode of involvement followed by trans-venous spread. Surgical resection of the involved area was attempted in three patients: in one, surgery was aborted due to extensive myocardial involvement; in the other two patients, resection was incomplete. Surgery averted a potentially catastrophic hemodynamic complication in one patient. However, cardiac tumor recurred in both patients who underwent incomplete resection. One patient underwent radiation therapy resulting in complete regression of an aortic root mass.
This study represents the most comprehensive review of cardiac involvement in patients with TETs. In contrast to previous single-case reports, we found a preponderance of asymptomatic presentation, left heart involvement and myocardial invasion. Dynamic cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging should be considered in cases when cardiac involvement is suspected. While immediate surgical resection is indicated for impending hemodynamic compromise, long-term palliation with surgery for myocardial involvement appears poor, especially when complete resection cannot be performed. Radiation therapy should be considered in selected patients.
PMCID: PMC3552332  PMID: 23328550
thymic epithelial tumors; cardiac tumors; cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging
11.  Validation of LOH Profiles for Assessing Oral Cancer Risk 
This perspective examines the report by Zhang et al. in this issue of the journal (beginning on page XiXiX) on the validation and refinement of a set of risk markers for oral premalignant lesion progression that incorporates loss of heterozygosity (LOH) markers. The perspective also discusses some of the challenges and opportunities of incorporating predictive biomarkers into monitoring and refined enrollment criteria for prevention studies.
PMCID: PMC3435466  PMID: 22911110
12.  A web-based screening and accrual strategy for a cancer prevention clinical trial in healthy smokers 
Contemporary clinical trials  2012;33(5):942-948.
Screening and recruitment of qualified subjects for clinical trials is an essential component of translational research, and it can be quite challenging if the most efficient recruitment method is not utilized. In this report, we describe a successful web-based screening and accrual method used in a randomized prospective chemoprevention clinical trial with urinary biomarker endpoints. The targeted study population was a group of at-risk healthy current smokers with no evidence of lung disease. Craigslist was used as the sole recruitment modality for this study. All interested subjects were directed to a pre-screening website, in which subject questionnaire responses were linked to the study coordinator's secure e-mail account. Of the 429 initial inquiries, 189 individuals were initially eligible based on the questionnaire response. One hundred twenty-two people were telephone-screened, of whom 98 subjects were consented, 84 were randomized and 77 subjects completed the study successfully. Utilizing this single web-based advertising strategy, accrual for the trial was completed 7 months prior to the projected date. Craigslist is a cost effective and efficient web-based resource that can be utilized in accruing subjects to some chemoprevention trials.
PMCID: PMC3460548  PMID: 22771576
Clinical trial; Accrual; Recruitment; Advertising; Craigslist; Internet
13.  Airway PI3K Pathway Activation Is an Early and Reversible Event in Lung Cancer Development 
Science translational medicine  2010;2(26):26ra25.
Although only a subset of smokers develop lung cancer, we cannot determine which smokers are at highest risk for cancer development, nor do we know the signaling pathways altered early in the process of tumorigenesis in these individuals. On the basis of the concept that cigarette smoke creates a molecular field of injury throughout the respiratory tract, this study explores oncogenic pathway deregulation in cytologically normal proximal airway epithelial cells of smokers at risk for lung cancer. We observed a significant increase in a genomic signature of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway activation in the cytologically normal bronchial airway of smokers with lung cancer and smokers with dysplastic lesions, suggesting that PI3K is activated in the proximal airway before tumorigenesis. Further, PI3K activity is decreased in the airway of high-risk smokers who had significant regression of dysplasia after treatment with the chemopreventive agent myo-inositol, and myo-inositol inhibits the PI3K pathway in vitro. These results suggest that deregulation of the PI3K pathway in the bronchial airway epithelium of smokers is an early, measurable, and reversible event in the development of lung cancer and that genomic profiling of these relatively accessible airway cells may enable personalized approaches to chemoprevention and therapy. Our work further suggests that additional lung cancer chemoprevention trials either targeting the PI3K pathway or measuring airway PI3K activation as an intermediate endpoint are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3694402  PMID: 20375364
14.  Lung Cancer Chemoprevention with Celecoxib in Former Smokers 
Ample studies suggest that the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)/prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) pathway plays a pivotal role in carcinogenesis and that COX-2 inhibition may help prevent lung cancer. Therefore, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the COX-2 selective inhibitor celecoxib (400 mg bid for 6 months) in former-smokers (age ≥45, ≥30 pack-years of smoking, ≥1 year of sustained abstinence from smoking). We assessed the impact of celecoxib on cellular and molecular events associated with lung cancer pathogenesis; the primary endpoint was bronchial Ki-67 labeling index (Ki-67 LI). Of 137 randomized subjects, 101 completed both baseline and 6-month bronchoscopies and were evaluable for the primary endpoint analysis. The beneficial effect on Ki-67 LI was greater in the celecoxib arm (versus placebo) in a mixed-effects analysis (P = 0.0006), and celecoxib significantly decreased Ki-67 LI by an average of 34%, whereas placebo increased Ki-67 LI by an average of 3.8% (P = 0.04; t-test). Participants crossed over to the other study arm at 6 months. Therefore, at 12 months all remaining participants had received 6 months of celecoxib, and their decreases in Ki-67 LI correlated with a reduction and/or resolution of lung nodules on computed tomography. Celecoxib significantly reduced plasma c-reactive protein and interleukin-6 mRNA and protein and increased 15(S)-hydroxy-eicosatetraenoic acid levels in BAL samples. The baseline ratio of COX-2 to 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase mRNA in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells was a significant predictive marker of Ki-67 response to celecoxib (P = 0.002). Our collective findings support the continued investigation of celecoxib for lung cancer chemoprevention in former smokers at a low risk of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3153413  PMID: 21733822
COX-2; 15-PGDH; PGE2; CRP; IL-6; 15-HETE
15.  Altered Histology Provides a Positive Clinical Signal in the Bronchial Epithelium 
The history of lung cancer chemoprevention trials has been uniformly disappointing in that the large phase III studies showed no effect or harm in actively smoking participants, and smaller phase II studies have also been negative. In the current issue of the journal (beginning on page XXX), Keith and colleagues report their randomized placebo-controlled trial of the oral prostacyclin analogue iloprost, the first trial to show an improvement in bronchial histology (i.e., regression), which occurred in former, but not current, smokers with sputum atypia. This Perspective discusses the strength of the clinical signal provided by this observation and its implications for further drug development.
PMCID: PMC3110761  PMID: 21636542
16.  Phase II Study of Belinostat in Patients With Recurrent or Refractory Advanced Thymic Epithelial Tumors 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(15):2052-2059.
Thymic epithelial tumors are rare malignancies, and there is no standard treatment for patients with advanced disease in whom chemotherapy has failed. Antitumor activity of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors in this disease has been documented, including one patient with thymoma treated with the pan-HDAC inhibitor belinostat.
Patients and Methods
Patients with advanced thymic epithelial malignancies in whom at least one line of platinum-containing chemotherapy had failed were eligible for this study. Other eligibility criteria included adequate organ function and good performance status. Belinostat was administered intravenously at 1 g/m2 on days 1 to 5 of a 21-day cycle until disease progression or development of intolerance. The primary objective was response rate in patients with thymoma.
Of the 41 patients enrolled, 25 had thymoma, and 16 had thymic carcinoma; patients had a median of two previous systemic regimens (range, one to 10 regimens). Treatment was well tolerated, with nausea, vomiting, and fatigue being the most frequent adverse effects. Two patients achieved partial response (both had thymoma; response rate, 8%; 95% CI, 2.2% to 25%), 25 had stable disease, and 13 had progressive disease; there were no responses among patients with thymic carcinoma. Median times to progression and survival were 5.8 and 19.1 months, respectively. Survival of patients with thymoma was significantly longer than that of patients with thymic carcinoma (median not reached v 12.4 months; P = .001). Protein acetylation, regulatory T-cell numbers, and circulating angiogenic factors did not predict outcome.
Belinostat has modest antitumor activity in this group of heavily pretreated thymic malignancies. However, the duration of response and disease stabilization is intriguing, and additional testing of belinostat in this disease is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3107761  PMID: 21502553
17.  Regulatory Approval of Cancer Risk-reducing (Chemopreventive) Drugs: Moving What We Have Learned into the Clinic 
This paper endeavors to clarify the current requirements and status of regulatory approval for chemoprevention (risk reduction) drugs and discusses possible improvements to the regulatory pathway for chemoprevention. Covering a wide range of topics in as much depth as space allows, this report is written in a style to facilitate the understanding of non-scientists and to serve as a framework for informing the directions of experts engaged more deeply with this issue. Key topics we cover here are as follows: a history of definitive cancer chemoprevention trials and their influence on the evolution of regulatory assessments; a brief review of the long-standing success of pharmacologic risk reduction of cardiovascular diseases and its relevance to approval for cancer risk reduction drugs; the use and limitations of biomarkers for developing and the approval of cancer risk reduction drugs; the identification of individuals at a high(er) risk for cancer and who are appropriate candidates for risk reduction drugs; business models that should incentivize pharmaceutical-industry investment in cancer risk reduction; a summary of scientific and institutional barriers to development of cancer risk reduction drugs; and a summary of major recommendations that should help facilitate the pathway to regulatory approval for pharmacologic cancer risk reduction drugs.
PMCID: PMC3059243  PMID: 21372031
18.  Phase 0 Clinical Chemoprevention Trial of the AKT Inhibitor SR13668 
SR13668, an orally active AKT pathway inhibitor, has demonstrated cancer chemopreventive potential in preclinical studies. To accelerate the clinical development of this promising agent, we designed and conducted the first-ever phase 0 chemoprevention trial to evaluate and compare the effects of food and formulation on SR13668 bioavailability.
Patients and Methods
Healthy adult volunteers were randomly assigned to receive a single, 38 mg oral dose of SR13668 in one of five different formulations, with or without food. Based on existing animal data, SR13668 in a PEG400/Labrasol® oral solution was defined as the reference formulation. Blood samples were obtained pre- and post-agent administration for pharmacokinetic analyses. Area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC0-∞) was defined as the primary endpoint. Data were analyzed and compared using established statistical methods for phase 0 trials with a limited sample size.
Participants (N=20) were rapidly accrued over a 5-month period. Complete pharmacokinetic data were available for 18 randomized participants. AUC0-∞ values were highest in the fed state (range = 122–439 ng/mL × hours) and were statistically significantly different across formulations (p = 0.007), with Solutol® HS15 providing the highest bioavailability. SR13668 time to peak plasma concentration (3 hours; range, 2 – 6 hours) and half-life were (11.2 ± 3.1 hours) were not formulation dependent.
Using a novel, highly efficient study design, we rapidly identified a lead formulation of SR13668 for further clinical testing. Our findings support application of the phase 0 trial paradigm to accelerate chemoprevention agent development.
PMCID: PMC3061470  PMID: 21372034
Screening-CT identifies small peripheral lung nodules, some of which may be pre- or early invasive neoplasia. Secondary endpoint analysis of a previous chemoprevention trial in individuals with bronchial dysplasia showed reduction in size of peripheral nodules by inhaled budesonide.
We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase IIb trial of inhaled budesonide in current and former smokers with CT-detected lung nodules that were persistent for at least one year. A total of 202 individuals received inhaled budesonide 800 µg twice daily or placebo for one year. The primary endpoint was the effect of treatment on target nodule size in a per-person analysis after one year.
The per-person analysis showed no significant difference between the budesonide and placebo arms (response rate 2% and 1%, respectively). Although the per-lesion analysis revealed a significant effect of budesonide on regression of existing target nodules (p=0.02), the appearance of new lesions was similar in both groups and thus the significance was lost in the analysis of all lesions. The evaluation by nodule type revealed a non-significant trend toward regression of non-solid and partially solid lesions after budesonide treatment. Budesonide was well tolerated with no unexpected side effects identified.
Treatment with inhaled budesonide for one year did not significantly affect peripheral lung nodule size. There was a trend toward regression of non-solid and partially solid nodules after budesonide treatment. Since a subset of these nodules is more likely to represent precursors of adenocarcinoma, additional follow-up is needed. ( number, NCT00321893)
PMCID: PMC3017323  PMID: 21163939
chemoprevention; lung cancer; helical CT; budesonide
Contemporary clinical trials  2010;31(6):612-619.
Screening-CT is able to discover small peripheral lung nodules. The nature of these nodules is uncertain but it is reasonable that some of them, in particular the non solid ones, could represent precancerous lesions. A previous trial showed a reduction in size of peripheral nodules by inhaled budesonide in subjects with bronchial dysplasia.
The primary objective of the study was the evaluation of the effect of Budesonide as a chemopreventive agent for lung lesions. The primary endpoint was the modification of lung lesions at ld-CT scan (according to RECIST criteria) after one year of treatment in a person-specific analysis.
We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial to evaluate whether inhaled budesonide was able to reduce size and number of persistent, undetermined CT-detected lung nodules in high-risk asymptomatic subjects currently undergoing a five-year CT scan screening program at the European Institute of Oncology.
Trial enrollment started in April 2006 and ended in July 2007 with the randomization of 202 current or former smokers with stable CT detected lung nodules set to receive budesonide 800µg or placebo twice-daily for 12 months.
Our trial represents the first phase II study of a chemopreventive intervention focusing on the peripheral lung, where the majority of lung cancers arise. The research was nested into a screening project with clear advantages in participant accrual and reduction of costs. This paper describes the rationale and design of the study, thus focusing on the methodology and operational aspects of the clinical trial. ( number. NCT00321893)
PMCID: PMC2962433  PMID: 20719253
budesonide; lung cancer; chemoprevention; low dose CT scan; screening
21.  Phase II Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials 
Seminars in oncology  2010;37(4):359-366.
The development of agents to prevent cancer requires an iterative process of target identification, preclinical testing, and early and late phase clinical trials to establish efficacy and safety. Since phase III definitive efficacy trials with cancer endpoints require a lengthy timeframe and considerable resources for completion, it is critical to first optimize agent delivery and trial design and to determine preliminary efficacy via the conduct of phase II trials. Phase II trials vary considerably in their endpoints, cohorts, and designs due to differences in the process of carcinogenesis and ability to sample tissues across different target organs. The goal of all such trials, however, is to provide evidence of interference with the development of cancer and to identify safety signals that would limit the benefit from interventions.
PMCID: PMC2935910  PMID: 20816506
22.  Cancer and Inflammation: Promise for Biological Therapy 
Cancers often arise as the end stage of inflammation in adults, but not in children. As such there is a complex interplay between host immune cells during neoplastic development, with both an ability to promote cancer as well as limit or eliminate it, most often complicit with the host. In humans, defining inflammation and the presence of inflammatory cells within or surrounding the tumor is a critical aspect of modern pathology. Groups defining staging for neoplasms are strongly encouraged to assess and incorporate measures of the presence of apoptosis, autophagy, and necrosis as well as the nature and quality of the immune infiltrate. Both environmental as well as genetic factors enhance the risk of cigarette smoking, H. pylori, hepatitis B/C, human papilloma virus, solar irradiation, asbestos, pancreatitis, or other causes of chronic inflammation. Identifying suitable genetic polymorphisms in cytokines, cytokine receptors, and Toll-like receptors among other immune response genes is also seen as high value as genomic sequencing becomes less expensive. Animal models which incorporate and assess not only the genetic anlagen but also the inflammatory cells and the presence of microbial pathogen [PAMPs] and damage associated molecular pattern molecules [DAMPs] are necessary. Identifying micro-RNAs involved in regulating the response to damage or injury are seen as highly promising. Although no therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat cancers based on insights into inflammatory pathways are currently approved for the common epithelial malignancies, there remains substantial interest in agents targeting COX2 or PPARγ, ethyl pyruvate, as well as steroids and several novel agents on the horizon.
PMCID: PMC2941912  PMID: 20386472
Chronic inflammation; damage associated molecular pattern molecules; pathogen associated molecular pattern molecules; miRNAs; cytokine polymorphisms; eosinophils; mast cells; NK cells; dendritic cells; COX2; ethyl pyruvate; steroids; HMGB1; TGFβ
23.  Assessing Efficacy in Early-phase Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials: The Case of Ki-67 in the Lung 
This perspective on Kim et al. (beginning on p. XX in this issue of the journal) examines the value of the Ki-67 proliferation index as a surrogate endpoint in early-phase clinical lung-cancer prevention trials. The clinical trial of Kim et al. demonstrates an effect of the cyclooxygenase-2–selective inhibitor celecoxib at a high dose on Ki-67 expression in the normal bronchial epithelium of current and former smokers. The critical issue of how these data can be used to further drug development is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2818869  PMID: 20103726
24.  Randomized controlled trials of the efficacy of lung cancer screening by sputum cytology revisited: a combined mortality analysis from the Johns Hopkins Lung Project and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Lung Study 
Cancer  2009;115(21):5007-5017.
Two randomized controlled trials of lung cancer screening initiated in the 1970's, the Johns Hopkins Lung Project and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Lung Study, compared one arm which received annual chest x-ray and four-monthly sputum cytology (dual-screen) to a second arm which received annual chest x-ray only. Previous publications from these trials reported similar lung cancer mortality between the two groups. However, these findings were based on incomplete follow-up, and each trial on its own was underpowered to detect a modest mortality benefit.
We estimated the efficacy of lung cancer screening with sputum cytology in an intention-to-screen analysis of lung cancer mortality, using combined data from these trials (n=20,426).
Over one-half of squamous cell lung cancers diagnosed in the dual-screen group were identified by cytology; these cancers tended to be more localized than squamous cancers diagnosed in the x-ray only arm. After nine years of follow-up, lung cancer mortality was slightly lower in the dual-screen than in the x-ray only arm (rate ratio (RR) 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74-1.05). Reductions were seen for squamous cell cancer deaths (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.54-1.14) and in the heaviest smokers (RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.67-1.00). There were also fewer deaths from large cell carcinoma in the dual-screen group, though the reason for this is unclear.
These data are suggestive of a modest benefit of sputum cytology screening, though we cannot rule out chance as an explanation for these findings.
PMCID: PMC2767423  PMID: 19637354
lung cancer; screening; sputum cytology; chest x-ray
25.  Sustained response of carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma treated with trastuzumab and capecitabine 
Head & Neck Oncology  2010;2:12.
Carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma is a rare histologic subtype of salivary gland cancer with an overall poor prognosis. Limited histopathologic analyses have shown that some such tumors exhibit significant HER2/neu immunoreactivity, suggesting a potential role for HER2-based therapy. We report here a case of a 58-year old man with metastatic carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma who achieved a sustained long term response to combination therapy with trastuzumab and capecitabine.
Case presentation
A 58 year old man presented with T1N2bM0 carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma and underwent surgery followed by adjuvant radiation therapy. Multiple metastases to bone were documented one year later. Since the original tumor was strongly HER2/neu positive by immunohistochemistry, the patient was treated with trastuzumab, capecitabine, and zoledronic acid. He experienced total resolution of symptoms and repeat FDG-PET scan after three cycles revealed interval disease resolution. Continued treatment has resulted in maintenance of disease control for over 2 years.
This case illustrates the successful long term treatment of carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma with targeted therapy with trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy. In the absence of definitive clinical trials which are unlikely to be performed due to the rarity of this tumor, case reports such as this one suggest potential utility for trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy in the treatment of HER2/neu-overexpressing carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma.
PMCID: PMC2889991  PMID: 20504363

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