We assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of reduced-dose craniospinal (CS) radiotherapy (RT) followed by tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT) in reducing late adverse effects without jeopardizing survival among children with high-risk medulloblastoma (MB).
From October 2005 through September 2010, twenty consecutive children aged >3 years with high-risk MB (presence of metastasis and/or postoperative residual tumor >1.5 cm2) were assigned to receive 2 cycles of pre-RT chemotherapy, CSRT (23.4 or 30.6 Gy) combined with local RT to the primary site (total 54.0 Gy), and 4 cycles of post-RT chemotherapy followed by tandem HDCT/autoSCT. Carboplatin-thiotepa-etoposide and cyclophosphamide-melphalan regimens were used for the first and second HDCT, respectively.
Of 20 patients with high-risk MB, 17 had metastatic disease and 3 had a postoperative residual tumor >1.5 cm2 without metastasis. The tumor relapsed/progressed in 4 patients, and 2 patients died of toxicities during the second HDCT/autoSCT. Therefore, 14 patients remained event-free at a median follow-up of 46 months (range, 23−82) from diagnosis. The probability of 5-year event-free survival was 70.0% ± 10.3% for all patients and 70.6% ± 11.1% for patients with metastases. Late adverse effects evaluated at a median of 36 months (range, 12−68) after tandem HDCT/autoSCT were acceptable.
In children with high-risk MB, CSRT dose might be reduced when accompanied by tandem HDCT/autoSCT without jeopardizing survival. However, longer follow-up is needed to evaluate whether the benefits of reduced-dose CSRT outweigh the long-term risks of tandem HDCT/autoSCT.
autologous stem cell transplantation; high-dose chemotherapy; late effect; medulloblastoma; radiotherapy
In order to clarify the optimal timing for peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection, PBSC collection records of 323 children who were scheduled to undergo autologous stem cell transplantation from two study periods differing in the timing of PBSC collection were analyzed. In the early study period (March 1998 to August 2007, n=198), PBSC collection was initiated when the peripheral WBC count exceeded 1,000/µL during recovery from chemotherapy. Findings in this study period indicated that initiation of PBSC collection at a higher WBC count might result in a greater CD34+ cell yield. Therefore, during the late study period (September 2007 to December 2012, n=125), PBSC collection was initiated when the WBC count exceeded 4,000/µL. Results in the late study period validated our conclusion from the early study period. Collection of a higher number of CD34+ cells was associated with a faster hematologic recovery after transplant in the late study period. Initiation of PBSC collection at WBC count > 4,000/µL was an independent factor for a greater CD34+ cell yield. In conclusion, PBSC collection at a higher WBC count is associated with a greater CD34+ cell yield, and consequently a faster hematologic recovery after transplant.
High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation; Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection
Although the number of studies using tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT) for the treatment of high-risk pediatric solid tumors has been increasing, documentation of hematologic recovery after tandem HDCT/autoSCT is very limited. For this reason, we retrospectively analyzed the hematologic recovery of 236 children with high-risk solid tumors who underwent tandem HDCT/autoSCT. The median numbers of CD34+ cells transplanted during the first and second HDCT/autoSCT were 4.3 × 106/kg (range 0.6-220.2) and 4.1 × 106/kg (range 0.9-157.6), respectively (P = 0.664). While there was no difference in neutrophil recovery between the first and second HDCT/autoSCT, platelet and RBC recoveries were significantly delayed in the second HDCT/autoSCT (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Delayed recovery in the second HDCT/autoSCT was more prominent when the number of transplanted CD34+ cells was lower, especially if it was < 2 × 106/kg. A lower CD34+ cell count was also associated with increased RBC transfusion requirements and a higher serum ferritin level after tandem HDCT/autoSCT. More CD34+ cells need to be transplanted during the second HDCT/autoSCT in order to achieve the same hematologic recovery as the first HDCT/autoSCT.
High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation; CD34+ Cells; Hematologic Recovery; Iron Overload
Multiple RBC transfusions inevitably lead to a state of iron overload before and after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT). Nonetheless, iron status during post-SCT follow-up remains unknown. Therefore, we investigated post-SCT ferritin levels, factors contributing to its sustained levels, and organ functions affected by iron overload in 49 children with high-risk neuroblastoma who underwent tandem HDCT/autoSCT. Although serum ferritin levels gradually decreased during post-SCT follow-up, 47.7% of the patients maintained ferritin levels above 1,000 ng/mL at 1 yr after the second HDCT/autoSCT. These patients had higher serum creatinine (0.62 vs 0.47 mg/mL, P = 0.007) than their counterparts (< 1,000 ng/mL). Post-SCT transfusion amount corresponded to increased ferritin levels at 1 yr after the second HDCT/autoSCT (P < 0.001). A lower CD34+ cell count was associated with a greater need of RBC transfusion, which in turn led to a higher serum ferritin level at 1 yr after HDCT/autoSCT. The number of CD34+ cells transplanted was an independent factor for ferritin levels at 1 yr after the second HDCT/autoSCT (P = 0.019). Consequently, CD34+ cells should be transplanted as many as possible to prevent the sustained iron overload after tandem HDCT/autoSCT and consequent adverse effects.
High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation; Iron Overload; Deferasirox; Iron Chelation Treatment; Neuroblastoma
Although high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT) have improved the prognosis for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (NB), event-free survival rates remain in the range of 30 to 40%, which is unsatisfactory. To further improve outcomes, several clinical trials, including tandem HDCT/autoSCT, high-dose 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine treatment, and immunotherapy with NB specific antibody, have been undertaken and pilot studies have reported encouraging results. Nonetheless, about half of high-risk NB patients still experience treatment failure and have no realistic chance for cure with conventional treatment options alone after relapse. Therefore, a new modality of treatment is warranted for these patients. In recent years, several groups of investigators have examined the feasibility and effectiveness of reduced-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplantation (RI alloSCT) for the treatment of relapsed/progressed NB. Although a graft-versus-tumor effect has not yet been convincingly demonstrated in the setting of relapsed NB, the strategy of employing RI alloSCT has provided hope that treatment-related mortality will be reduced and a therapeutic benefit will emerge. However, alloSCT for NB is still investigational and there remain many issues to be elucidated in many areas. At present, alloSCT is reserved for specific clinical trials testing the immunomodulatory effect against NB.
Neuroblastoma; High-dose chemotherapy; Allogeneic stem cell transplantation
The feasibility and effectiveness of tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT) were evaluated in children younger than 3 yr of age with atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRT). Tandem HDCT/autoSCT was administered following six cycles of induction chemotherapy. Radiotherapy (RT) was administered if the tumor relapsed or progressed, otherwise, it was administered after 3 yr of age. Tumors relapsed or progressed during induction chemotherapy in 5 of 9 patients enrolled; 3 of these 5 received tandem HDCT/autoSCT as a salvage treatment. One patient died from sepsis during induction chemotherapy. The remaining 3 patients proceeded to tandem HDCT/autoSCT; however, 2 of these patients showed tumor relapse/progression after tandem HDCT/autoSCT. All 7 relapses/progressions occurred at primary sites even in patients with leptomeningeal seeding. Toxicities during tandem HDCT/autoSCT were manageable. A total of 5 patients were alive with a median follow-up of 20 (range 16-70) months from diagnosis. Four of 5 patients who received RT after relapse/progression are alive. The probability of overall survival at 3 yr from diagnosis was 53.3% ± 17.3%. Our tandem HDCT/autoSCT is feasible; however, early administration of RT prior to tandem HDCT/autoSCT should be considered to improve the outcome after tandem HDCT/autoSCT.
Rhabdoid Tumor; Central Nervous System; Drug Therapy; Stem Cell Transplantation; Radiotherapy; Child
The risk of invasive fungal infection is greater for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) than for autologous transplantation. Therefore, many transplantation centers use antifungal prophylaxis for allogeneic HSCT, however, there exists no standard guidelines or consensus regarding autologous HSCT.
Materials and Methods
A prospective double-blind randomized study was conducted in autologous HSCT recipients who were divided into prophylaxis and empirical treatment groups, and we investigated the efficacy of itraconazole prophylaxis in pediatric autologous HSCT.
Total 87 autologous HSCT episodes in 55 children with high-risk solid tumors were studied. No invasive fungal infections occurred in either group. However, patients in the prophylaxis group had a significantly shorter duration of fever (p < 0.05) and received antibacterial treatment of shorter duration (p < 0.05) with fewer numbers of antibiotics (p < 0.05 for the use of second line antibiotics) than those in the empirical group. No significant additional adverse events were found with itraconazole prophylaxis.
Although beneficial effects such as a shorter duration of fever and reduced need for antibiotic use were observed in the prophylaxis group, the results were not sufficient to draw a definite recommendation about the routine use of antifungal prophylaxis in pediatric autologous HSCT recipients with high-risk solid tumors (Trial registration: NCT00336531).
Itraconazole; autologous transplantation; antifungal prophylaxis; solid tumor
High-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell rescue (HDCT/ASCR) was applied to improve the prognosis of patients with high-risk stage 3 neuroblastoma. From January 1997 to December 2006, 28 patients were newly diagnosed as stage 3 neuroblastoma. Nine of 11 patients with N-myc amplification and 5 of 17 patients without N-myc amplification (poor response in 2 patients, persistent residual tumor in 2 and relapse in 1) underwent single or tandem HDCT/ASCR. Patients without high-risk features received conventional treatment modalities only. While 8 of 9 patients underwent single HDCT/ASCR and the remaining one patient underwent tandem HDCT/ASCR during the early study period, all 5 patients underwent tandem HDCT/ASCR during the late period. Toxicities associated with HDCT/ASCR were tolerable and there was no treatment-related mortality. While the tumor relapsed in two of eight patients in single HDCT/ASCR group, all six patients in tandem HDCT/ASCR group remained relapse free. The 5-yr event-free survival (EFS) from diagnosis, in patients with N-myc amplification, was 71.6±14.0%. In addition, 12 of 14 patients who underwent HDCT/ASCR remained event free resulting in an 85.1±9.7% 5-yr EFS after the first HDCT/ASCR. The present study demonstrates that HDCT/ASCR may improve the survival of patients with high-risk stage 3 neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma; High-dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Rescue; Prognosis; N-myc
Previous studies conducted cell expansion ex vivo using low initial plating densities for optimal expansion and subsequent differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). However, MSC populations are heterogeneous and culture conditions can affect the characteristics of MSCs. In this study, differences in gene expression profiles of adipose tissue (AT)-derived MSCs were examined after harvesting cells cultured at different densities. AT-MSCs from three different donors were plated at a density of 200 or 5,000 cells/cm2. After 7 days in culture, detailed gene expression profiles were investigated using a DNA chip microarray, and subsequently validated using a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. Gene expression profiles were influenced primarily by the level of cell confluence at harvest. In MSCs harvested at ∼90% confluence, 177 genes were up-regulated and 102 genes down-regulated relative to cells harvested at ∼50% confluence (P<0.05, FC>2). Proliferation-related genes were highly expressed in MSCs harvested at low density, while genes that were highly expressed in MSCs harvested at high density (∼90% confluent) were linked to immunity and defense, cell communication, signal transduction and cell motility. Several cytokine, chemokine and growth factor genes involved in immunosuppression, migration, and reconstitution of damaged tissues were up-regulated in MSCs harvested at high density compared with MSCs harvested at low density. These results imply that cell density at harvest is a critical factor for modulating the specific gene-expression patterns of heterogeneous MSCs.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the histologic features of metastatic neuroblastic tumors (NTs) in bone marrow (BM) before and after chemotherapy in comparison with those of primary NTs.
A total of 294 biopsies from 48 children diagnosed with NTs with BM metastasis were examined. There were 48 primary neoplasm biopsies, 48 BM biopsies before chemotherapy, 36 primary neoplasm excisional biopsies after chemotherapy, and 162 BM biopsies after chemotherapy.
Metastatic NTs in BM before chemotherapy were composed of undifferentiated and/or differentiating neuroblasts, but had neither ganglion cells nor Schwannian stroma. Metastatic foci of BM after chemotherapy were found to have differentiated into ganglion cells or Schwannian stroma, which became more prominent after further cycles of chemotherapy. Persistence of NTs or tumor cell types in BM after treatment did not show statistically significant correlation to patients' outcome. However, three out of five patients who newly developed poorly differentiated neuroblasts in BM after treatment expired due to disease progression.
Metastatic NTs in BM initially consist of undifferentiated or differentiating neuroblasts regardless of the primary tumor subtype, and become differentiated after chemotherapy. Newly appearing poorly differentiated neuroblasts after treatment might be an indicator for poor prognosis.
Neuroblastoma; Bone marrow; Drug therapy; Neoplasm metastasis; Histology
A microarray analysis was performed to investigate whether ex vivo culture conditions affect the characteristics of MSCs. Gene expression profiles were mainly influenced by the level of cell confluence rather than initial seeding density. The analysis showed that 276 genes were upregulated and 230 genes downregulated in MSCs harvested at ~90% versus ~50% confluence (P < 0.05, FC > 2). The genes that were highly expressed in MSCs largely corresponded to chemotaxis, inflammation, and immune responses, indicating direct or indirect involvement in immunomodulatory functions. Specifically, PTGES and ULBP1 were up-regulated in MSCs harvested at high density. Treatment of MSCs with PTGES or ULBP1 siRNA reversed their inhibition of T-cell proliferation in vitro. The culture conditions such as cell confluence at harvest seem to be important for gene expression profile of MSCs; therefore, the results of this study may provide useful guidelines for the harvest of MSCs that can appropriately suppress the immune response.
Because of the heterogeneity of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), methods for cell expansion in culture and the effects on gene expression are critical factors that need to be standardized for preparing MSCs. We investigated gene expression patterns of MSCs with different seeding densities and culture times.
Bone marrow-derived MSCs were plated at densities from 200 cells/cm2 to 5,000 cells/cm2, and the gene expression patterns were evaluated over time using a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assay.
The mRNA levels of factors that play a critical role in cell migration and tissue regeneration, such as podocalyxin-like protein (PODXL), α4-integrin, α6-integrin, and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), were higher in MSCs plated at 200 cells/cm2 than in MSCs plated at 5,000 cells/cm2. The mRNA levels of these factors gradually increased for 10 days and then decreased by day 15 in culture. MSCs seeded at 200 cells/cm2 that were cultured for 10 days expressed high levels of Oct-4 and Nanog. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, cyclooxygenase-1, and hepatocyte growth factor expression were upregulated in the presence of the proinflammatory cytokine interferon-γ in these cells.
We found differences in the gene expression patterns of MSCs under different culture conditions. MSCs from 10-day cultures seeded at a low density were efficiently expanded, expressed PODXL, α6-integrin, α4-integrin, and LIF, and maintained properties like stemness and immunomodulation. Therefore, ex vivo expansion of MSCs maintained for an adequate culture time after plating at low cell density can provide an effective regenerative medicinal strategy for cell therapies using MSCs.
Mesenchymal stem cell; Gene expression pattern; Seeding density; Culture time; Cell therapy
Our study aimed to examine the relationship between intelligence and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children (6-13 years old) diagnosed as having a brain tumor.
Materials and Methods
We administered a Korean version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III, the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, version 4.0 (PedsQL), the Korean version of the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, and the Korean Version of the Parenting Sense of Competence (K-PSOC) scale before or after initial radiotherapy (T1) and after treatment termination (T2). In total, 13 patients completed both the T1 and T2 interviews.
Scores significantly declined between T1 and T2 on the full-scale intelligence quotients (FIQ), verbal intelligence quotients (VIQ), performance intelligence quotients (PIQ), similarity and coding tests, as well as the K-PSOC, which measures parental anxiety. FIQ scores at T1 were correlated with the self-reported PedsQL total scores (r=0.739) and the parent proxy-report PedsQL scores for school functioning (r=0.706) at T2. Also, the FIQ scores at T2 were correlated with the self-reported PedsQL total scores (r=0.748) and scores for physical health (r=0.728) at T2.
The cognitive ability and intelligence level of the patients significantly declined between on and off treatment periods, and higher intelligence functioning at both on and off treatment was correlated with long-term higher HRQOL. Further investigations that monitor intelligence, HRQOL and parenting stress over a longer period, using a greater number of participants, are needed.
Childhood brain tumors; intelligence; heath-related quality of life; parenting stress; prospective longitudinal study
Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN) occur as late complications of cytotoxic therapy. This study reviewed clinical and cytogenetic characteristics of patients with t-MN at a single institution in Korea.
The study subjects included 39 consecutive patients diagnosed with t-MN. Each subject's clinical history of previous diseases, treatments, and laboratory data was reviewed, including cytogenetics. The primary diagnosis was hematologic malignancy in 14 patients and solid tumor in 25 patients.
Therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML, 66.7%) was found to be more common than therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome (t-MDS). Primary hematologic malignancies that were commonly implicated included mature B-cell neoplasm and acute leukemia. Breast cancer was the most common primary solid tumor. The mean time interval from cytotoxic therapy initiation to t-MN detection was 49 months. Chromosomal aberrations were observed in 35 patients, and loss of chromosome 5, 7, or both accounted for 41% of all cases. Balanced rearrangements occurred in 13 patients; these patients showed shorter latency intervals (mean, 38 months) than patients with loss of chromosome 5 or 7 (mean, 61 months).
In this study, we determined the clinical and cytogenetic characteristics of Korean patients with t-MN. Although our results were generally consistent with those of previous reports, we found that t-MN resulting from de novo leukemia was common and that t-AML was more common than t-MDS at presentation. Multi-institutional studies involving a larger number of patients and additional parameters are required to investigate the epidemiology, genetic predisposition, and survival rate of t-MN in Korea.
Therapy-related neoplasms; Myelodysplastic syndrome; Acute myeloid leukemia; Cytogenetics; Korea
TRAIL [TNF (tumour necrosis factor)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand] is a promising agent for clinical use since it kills a wide range of tumour cells without affecting normal cells. We provide evidence that pretreatment with etoposide significantly enhanced TRAIL-mediated apoptosis via up-regulation of DR5 (death receptor 5 or TRAIL-R2) expression in the caspase 8 expressing neuroblastoma cell line, SK-N-MC. In addition, sequential treatment with etoposide and TRAIL increased caspases 8, 9 and 3 activation, Mcl-1 cleavage and Bid truncation, which suggests that the ability of etoposide and TRAIL to induce apoptosis is mediated through activation of an intrinsic signalling pathway. Although TRAIL-R2 expression increased in IMR-32 cells in response to etoposide treatment, cell death was not increased by concurrent treatment with TRAIL compared with etoposide alone, because the cells lacked caspase 8 expression. Restoration of caspase 8 expression by exposure to IFNγ (interferon γ) sensitizes IMR-32 cells to TRAIL. Moreover, pretreatment with etoposide increased TRAIL-induced apoptosis in caspase 8 restored IMR-32 cells through activation of a caspase cascade that included caspases 8, 9 and 3. These results indicate that the etoposide-mediated sensitization of neuroblastoma cells to TRAIL is associated with an increase in TRAIL-R2 expression and requires caspase 8 expression. These observations support the potential use of a combination of etoposide and TRAIL in future clinical trials.
caspase 8; death receptor; etoposide; inferferon γ; mitochondrial cascade; TRAIL; AzaC, 5-aza-2′ deoxycytidine; BCA, bicinchoninic acid; DD, death domain; DcR, decoy receptor; DR5, death receptor 5; FADD, Fas-associated death domain; FBS, fetal bovine serum; IFNγ, interferon γ; NF-κB, nuclear factor κB; PARP, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; TNF, tumour necrosis factor; TRAIL, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA), characterized by impaired red cell production, is a rare condition that is usually symptomatic in early infancy. The purpose of this study was to assess nationwide experiences of DBA encountered over a period of 20 years.
The medical records of 56 patients diagnosed with DBA were retrospectively reviewed from November 1984 to July 2010. Fifteen institutions, including 13 university hospitals, participated in this study.
The male-to-female ratio of patients with DBA was 1.67:1. The median age of diagnosis was 4 months, and 74.1% were diagnosed before 1 year of age. From 2000 to 2009, annual incidence was 6.6 cases per million. Excluding growth retardation, 38.2% showed congenital defects: thumb deformities, ptosis, coarctation of aorta, ventricular septal defect, strabismus, etc. The mean hemoglobin concentration was 5.1±1.9 g/dL, mean corpuscular volume was 93.4±11.6 fL, and mean number of reticulocytes was 19,700/mm3. The mean cellularity of bone marrow was 75%, with myeloid:erythroid ratio of 20.4:1. After remission, 48.9% of patients did not need further steroids. Five patients with DBA who received hematopoietic transplantation have survived. Cancer developed in 2 cases (3.6%).
The incidence of DBA is similar to data already published, but our study had a male predilection. Although all patients responded to initial treatment with steroids, about half needed further steroids after remission. It is necessary to collect further data, including information regarding management pathways, from nationwide DBA registries, along with data on molecular analyses.
Diamond Blackfan anemia; Anemia; Congenital defects
This study compared outcomes in children with acute leukemia who underwent transplantations with umbilical cord blood (UCB), bone marrow, or peripheral blood stem cells from a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related donor (MRD) or an unrelated donor (URD).
This retrospective study included consecutive acute leukemia patients who underwent their first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) at Samsung Medical Center between 2005 and 2010. Patients received stem cells from MRD (n=33), URD (n=46), or UCB (n=41).
Neutrophil and platelet recovery were significantly longer after HSCT with UCB than with MRD or URD (P<0.01 for both). In multivariate analysis using the MRD group as a reference, the URD group had a significantly higher risk of grade III to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; relative risk [RR], 15.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 186.2; P=0.03) and extensive chronic GVHD (RR, 6.9; 95% CI, 1.9 to 25.2; P<0.01). For all 3 donor types, 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival were similar. Extensive chronic GVHD was associated with fewer relapses (RR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.6; P<0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that lower EFS was associated with advanced disease at transplantation (RR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.3 to 7.8; P<0.01) and total body irradiation (RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0 to 4.3; P=0.04).
Survival after UCB transplantation was similar to survival after MRD and URD transplantation. For patients lacking an HLA matched donor, the use of UCB is a suitable alternative.
Umbilical cord blood; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Stem cell donor
C-C chemokine receptor type 7 (CCR7) plays an important role in chemotactic and metastatic responses in various cancers, including breast cancer. In the present study, the authors demonstrated that microRNA (miRNA) let-7a downregulates CCR7 expression and directly influences the migration and invasion of breast cancer cells.
The expression of CCR7, its ligand CCL21, and let-7a was detected in breast cancer cell lines and in breast cancer patient tissues. Synthetic let-7a and an inhibitor of let-7a were transfected into MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells, respectively, and cell proliferation, cell migration, and invasion assays were performed. To confirm the fact that 3'UTR of CCR7 is a direct target of let-7a, a luciferase assay for the reporter gene expressing the let-7a binding sites of CCR7 3'UTR was used. An in vivo invasion animal model system using transparent zebrafish embryos was also established to determine the let-7a effect on breast cancer cell invasion.
First, a higher expression of both CCR7 and CCL21 in malignant tissues than in their normal counterparts from breast cancer patients was observed. In addition, a reverse correlation in the expression of CCR7 and let-7a in breast cancer cell lines and breast cancer patient tissues was detected. Synthetic let-7a decreased breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, as well as CCR7 protein expression in MDA-MB-231 cells. The let-7a inhibitor reversed the let-7a effects on the MCF-7 cells. The 3'UTR of CCR7 was confirmed as a direct target of let-7a by using the luciferase assay for the reporter gene expressing let-7a CCR7 3'UTR binding sites. Notably, when analyzing in vivo invasion, MDA-MB 231 cells after synthetic let-7a transfection were unable to invade the vessels in zebrafish embryos.
The results from the present study suggest that targeting of CCL21-CCR7 signaling is a valid approach for breast cancer therapy and that let-7a directly binds to the 3'UTR of CCR7 and blocks its protein expression, thereby suppressing migration and invasion of human breast cancer cells. Furthermore, the present study underscores the therapeutic potential of let-7a as an antitumor and antimetastatic manager in breast cancer patients.
To compare health-related quality of life (HRQOL), activities of daily living (ADL), and parenting stress between children with brain tumors and those of normal control (NC).
Participants were 31 brain tumor patients who had received chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation after surgical resection and 125 NC subjects. We administered the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, version 4.0 (PedsQL), to assess HRQOL; the Korean version of the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (K-PSI-SF), to assess parenting stress; and examined ADL.
The mean self-report PedsQL scores for physical health, emotional functioning, social functioning, school functioning, and total scores in the patients were significantly lower than those of the NC group. The mean parent proxy-report PedsQL scores for all scales except emotional functioning in the patient group were significantly lower than those of the NC group. The ADL impairment for the patients was significantly more than that of the NC group. The K-PSI-SF mean scores for stress related to having a difficult child and for stress related to parent-child interaction in the patient group tended to be higher than those of the NC group (p=0.09).
The children with brain tumors had lower HRQOL and difficulties in performing ADL. The parents of children with brain tumors tended to experience stress related to having a difficult child and to parent-child interaction. We suggest that long-term monitors for the child's HRQOL and ADL, and parenting stress in children with brain tumors are needed.
ADL; Childhood brain tumor; HRQOL; Parenting stress
Long-term survivors of childhood cancer appear to have an increased risk for the metabolic syndrome, subsequent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adulthood compared to healthy children. The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency of the metabolic syndrome and associated factors in childhood cancer survivors at a single center in Korea.
We performed a retrospective review of medical records of 98 childhood cancer survivors who were diagnosed and completed anticancer treatment at Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea between Jan. 1996 and Dec. 2007. Parameters of metabolic syndrome were evaluated between Jan. 2008 and Dec. 2009. Clinical and biochemical findings including body fat percentage were analyzed.
A total of 19 (19.4%) patients had the metabolic syndrome. The median body fat percentage was 31.5%. The body mass index and waist circumference were positively correlated with the cranial irradiation dose (r=0.38, P<0.001 and r=0.44, P<0.00, respectively). Sixty-one (62.2%) patients had at least one abnormal lipid value. The triglyceride showed significant positive correlation with the body fat percentage (r=0.26, P=0.03). The high density lipoprotein cholesterol showed significant negative correlation with the percent body fat (r=-0.26, P=0.03).
Childhood cancer survivors should have thorough metabolic evaluation including measurement of body fat percentage even if they are not obese. A better understanding of the determinants of the metabolic syndrome during adolescence might provide preventive interventions for improving health outcomes in adulthood.
Cancer survivor; Metabolic syndrome; Body composition; Fat percentage
The impact of HLA matching on outcomes of unrelated donor (URD) hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) varies in different racial or ethnic groups. Since little is known about the impact of such matching on URD HSCT in Korean children, we analyzed this issue.
We analyzed the outcomes of 142 patients who underwent URD HSCT at 4 Korean medical centers. All patient donor pairs were fully typed for HLA-A, -B, -C, and -DR alleles.
At a median follow-up of 22 months, 3-year survival rates for patients with 8, 7, and ≤6 matched alleles were 88.4%, 70.7%, and 53.6%, respectively. A single mismatch (Mm) at HLA-B or -C was associated with lower survival compared with that associated with 8 matched alleles. No significant differences were observed between single-allele and single-antigen Mms with respect to survival rate or acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) incidence rates. HLA disparity had a greater impact on the survival of patients with high-risk malignancy than of those with low-risk malignancy. Among pairs with a single Mm, only locus A showed a significant association and higher risk of grade III-IV aGVHD compared to those in patients with 8 matched alleles.
Disparity in HLA class I, regardless of antigen or allele Mm, adversely affected both survival and grade III-IV aGVHD development. An increased number of HLA Mms was associated with a higher risk of post-transplantation complications. Further investigations using larger cohorts are required to confirm the effects of HLA mismatching on URD HSCT patient outcomes.
URD HSCT; HLA; Korean children
Cisplatin-based chemotherapy has been commonly used for the treatment of intracranial germ cell tumors (IC-GCTs). However, this treatment exhibits some adverse effects such as renal problems and hearing difficulty. Carboplatin-based chemotherapy was administered to pediatric patients with IC-GCTs from August 2004 at the Samsung Medical Center. In this study, we assessed the responses and adverse effects of carboplatin-based chemotherapy in pediatric IC-GCTs patients according to the risk group, and compared the results with those of the previous cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
We examined 35 patients (27 men and 8 women) diagnosed with IC-GCTs between August 2004 and April 2008 and received risk-adapted carboplatin-based chemotherapy at the Samsung Medical Center. Patients were divided into either low-risk (LR) or high-risk (HR) groups and a retrospective analysis was performed using information from the medical records.
Although hematological complications were common, hearing difficulties or grade 3 or 4 creatinine level elevation were not observed in patients who underwent carboplatin-based chemotherapy. The frequency of febrile neutropenia did not differ between the risk groups. The overall survival was 100% and event-free survival (EFS) was 95.7%. The EFS rate was 100% in the LR group and 90% in the HR group, respectively.
Despite their common occurrence in high-risk patients, no lethal hematological complications were associated with carboplatin-based treatment. The current carboplatin-based chemotherapy protocol is safe and effective for the treatment of pediatric patients with IC-GCTs.
Intracranial germ cell tumor; Carboplatin; Adverse effects
The efficacy and toxicity of high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/ASCT) were investigated for improving the outcomes of patients with relapsed medulloblastoma. A total of 15 patients with relapsed medulloblastoma were enrolled in the KSPNO-S-053 study from May 2005 to May 2007. All patients received approximately 4 cycles of salvage chemotherapy after relapse. Thirteen underwent HDCT/ASCT; CTE and CM regimen were employed for the first HDCT (HDCT1) and second HDCT (HDCT2), respectively, and 7 underwent HDCT2. One transplant related mortality (TRM) due to veno-occlusive disease (VOD) occurred during HDCT1 but HDCT2 was tolerable with no further TRM. The 3-yr overall survival probability and event-free survival rates ±95% confidence intervals (CI) were 33.3±12.2% and 26.7% ±11.4%, respectively. When analysis was confined to only patients who had a complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) prior to HDCT, the probability of 3-yr overall survival rates ±95% CI was 40.0±15.5%. No patients with stable disease (SD) or progressive disease (PD) survived. Survival rates from protocol KSPNO-S-053 are encouraging and show that tumor status prior to HDCT/ASCT is an important factor to consider for improving survival rates of patients with relapsed medulloblastoma.
Recurrence; Medulloblastoma; Transplantation, Autologous; Tandem; Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
In this study, we investigated the effects of reduced-dose craniospinal radiotherapy (CSRT) followed by tandem high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with autologous stem cell rescue (ASCR) in children with a newly diagnosed high-risk medulloblastoma (MB) or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (sPNET).
Between March 2005 and April 2007, patients older than 3 years with a newly diagnosed high-risk MB or sPNET were enrolled. The patients received two cycles of pre-RT chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, etoposide, vincristine, and cyclophosphamide (cycle A), and carboplatin, etoposide, vincristine, and ifosphamide (cycle B), followed by CSRT with 23.4 Gy and local RT with 30.6 Gy. After four cycles of post-RT chemotherapy (cycles A, B, A, and B), tandem double HDCT with ASCR was performed.
A total of 13 patients (MB=11, sPNET=2) were enrolled. Of these, one patient progressed, one patient died of septic shock after the second cycle of B, and one patient relapsed after the third cycle of B. The 3-year event-free survival (EFS) rate of the patients intended for HDCT was 76.9%, whereas the 3-year EFS rate of the patients who received HDCT was 100%. No treatment-related mortality occurred during HDCT.
Although the follow-up period was short and the patient cohort was small in size, the results of this study are encouraging. The limited toxicity and favorable EFS rate observed in children treated with reduced-dose CSRT followed by HDCT and ASCR warrant further exploration in a larger study population.
Radiotherapy; High-dose chemotherapy; Autologous stem cell transplantation; Medulloblastoma; Supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor; Children