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1.  Acquired Resistance to EGFR Inhibitors Is Associated with a Manifestation of Stem cell–like Properties in Cancer Cells 
Cancer research  2013;73(10):3051-3061.
Acquired resistance to EGF receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) is a critical problem in the treatment of lung cancer. Although several mechanisms have been shown to be responsible for acquired resistance, all mechanisms have not been uncovered. In this study, we investigated the molecular and cellular profiles of the acquired resistant cells to EGFR-TKI in EGFR-mutant lung cancers. Four EGFR-mutant cell lines were exposed to gefitinib by stepwise escalation and high-concentration exposure methods, and resistant sublines to gefitinib were established. The molecular profiles and cellular phenotypes of these resistant sublines were characterized. Although previously reported, alterations including secondary EGFR T790M mutation, MET amplification, and appearance of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) features were observed, these 2 drug-exposure methods revealed different resistance mechanisms. The resistant cells with EMT features exhibited downregulation of miRNA-200c by DNA methylation. Furthermore, the HCC827-derived subline characterized by the high-concentration exposure method exhibited not only EMT features but also stem cell–like properties, including aldehyde dehydrogenase isoform 1 (ALDH1A1) overexpression, increase of side-population, and self-renewal capability. Resistant sublines with stem cell–like properties were resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents but equally sensitive to histone deacetylase and proteasome inhibitors, compared with their parental cells. ALDH1A1 was upregulated in clinical samples with acquired resistance to gefitinib. In conclusion, our study indicates that the manner of EGFR-TKI exposure influences the mechanism of acquired resistance and the appearance of stem cell–like property with EGFR-TKI treatment.
PMCID: PMC4506773  PMID: 23542356
2.  A novel PI3K inhibitor iMDK suppresses non-small cell lung Cancer cooperatively with A MEK inhibitor 
Experimental cell research  2015;335(2):197-206.
The PI3K–AKT pathway is expected to be a therapeutic target for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. We previously reported that a novel PI3K inhibitor iMDK suppressed NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo without harming normal cells and mice. Unexpectedly, iMDK activated the MAPK pathway, including ERK, in the NSCLC cells. Since iMDK did not eradicate such NSCLC cells completely, it is possible that the activated MAPK pathway confers resistance to the NSCLC cells against cell death induced by iMDK. In the present study, we assessed whether suppressing of iMDK-mediated activation of the MAPK pathway would enhance anti-tumorigenic activity of iMDK. PD0325901, a MAPK inhibitor, suppressed the MAPK pathway induced by iMDK and cooperatively inhibited cell viability and colony formation of NSCLC cells by inducing apoptosis in vitro. HUVEC tube formation, representing angiogenic processes in vitro, was also cooperatively inhibited by the combinatorial treatment of iMDK and PD0325901. The combinatorial treatment of iMDK with PD0325901 cooperatively suppressed tumor growth and tumor-associated angiogenesis in a lung cancer xenograft model in vivo. Here, we demonstrate a novel treatment strategy using iMDK and PD0325901 to eradicate NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4485577  PMID: 25839409
3.  Circulating thymus and activation-regulated chemokine/CC chemokine ligand 17 is a strong candidate diagnostic marker for interstitial lung disease in patients with malignant tumors: a result from a pilot study 
Serum Krebs von den Lungen-6 (KL-6) level is an established diagnostic marker of interstitial lung disease (ILD). However, it is also elevated in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The significance of circulating thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC)/CC chemokine ligand 17 (CCL17) in malignant diseases remains unknown.
We measured circulating TARC/CCL17 and KL-6 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, respectively, in 26 patients with malignant disease and six patients with benign lung disease (BLD). The cutoff levels were 500 U/mL for KL-6 and 450 pg/mL for TARC/CCL17. The significance of the markers was evaluated in relationship to the presence of ILD (n=10). The statistical significance was set at P<0.05.
The KL-6 positive ratio was significantly higher in the patients with NSCLC (n=17) than in those with BLD. There was a significant difference in the KL-6 positive ratio between the patients with NSCLC without ILD and those with BLD without ILD. However, there were no significant differences in the TARC/CCL17 positive ratio between the patients with NSCLC and BLD or between those with NSCLC without ILD and those with BLD without ILD. The TARC/CCL17 positive ratio was significantly higher in the patients with malignancy and ILD than in those without ILD. There was also a significant difference in the TARC/CCL17 positive ratio between the patients with NSCLC without ILD and those with ILD.
TARC/CCL17 may be useful for the diagnosis of ILD in patients with malignancies. Confirmation of the results is warranted through a large-scale study.
PMCID: PMC4476489  PMID: 26124663
thymus and activation-regulated chemokine/CC chemokine ligand 17; Krebs von den Lungen-6; interstitial lung disease; biomarker
4.  Mechanisms of Acquired Resistance to ALK Inhibitors and the Rationale for Treating ALK-positive Lung Cancer 
Cancers  2015;7(2):763-783.
The discovery of an echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion gene led to improved clinical outcomes in patients with lung cancer after the development of the first ALK-targeting agent, crizotinib. Some second-generation ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which might be more potent than crizotinib or effective on crizotinib-resistant patients, have been developed. Although these ALK-TKIs show an excellent response initially, most patients eventually acquire resistance. Therefore, careful consideration of the resistance mechanisms might lead to superior therapeutic strategies. Here, we summarize the history of ALK-TKIs and their underlying resistance mechanisms in both the preclinical and clinical settings. In addition, we discuss potential future treatment strategies in ALK-TKI-naïve and -resistant patients with lung cancer harboring the EML4-ALK fusion gene.
PMCID: PMC4491683  PMID: 25941796
lung cancer; EML4-ALK; crizotinib; ceritinib; alectinib; resistance
5.  Magnitude of the Benefit of Progression-Free Survival as a Potential Surrogate Marker in Phase 3 Trials Assessing Targeted Agents in Molecularly Selected Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121211.
In evaluation of the clinical benefit of a new targeted agent in a phase 3 trial enrolling molecularly selected patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), overall survival (OS) as an endpoint seems to be of limited use because of a high level of treatment crossover for ethical reasons. A more efficient and useful indicator for assessing efficacy is needed.
Methods and Findings
We identified 18 phase 3 trials in the literature investigating EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKIs) or ALK-TKIs, now approved for use to treat NSCLC, compared with standard cytotoxic chemotherapy (eight trials were performed in molecularly selected patients and ten using an “all-comer” design). Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to identify the best threshold by which to divide the groups. Although trials enrolling molecularly selected patients and all-comer trials had similar OS-hazard ratios (OS-HRs) (0.99 vs. 1.04), the former exhibited greater progression-free survival-hazard ratios (PFS-HR) (mean, 0.40 vs. 1.01; P<0.01). A PFS-HR of 0.60 successfully distinguished between the two types of trials (sensitivity 100%, specificity 100%). The odds ratio for overall response was higher in trials with molecularly selected patients than in all-comer trials (mean: 6.10 vs. 1.64; P<0.01). An odds ratio of 3.40 for response afforded a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 90%.
The notably enhanced PFS benefit was quite specific to trials with molecularly selected patients. A PFS-HR cutoff of ∼0.6 may help detect clinical benefit of molecular targeted agents in which OS is of limited use, although desired threshold might differ in an individual trial.
PMCID: PMC4361736  PMID: 25775395
6.  Programmed cell death protein 1 and programmed death-ligand 1 are expressed on the surface of some small-cell lung cancer lines 
American Journal of Cancer Research  2015;5(4):1553-1557.
Introduction: Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) play a major role in suppressing the immune system during the formation of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, which transmits an inhibitory signal to reduce T cell activity. PD-L1 is often expressed in various malignant tumors. In contrast, PD-1 is generally observed in activated lymphocytes and myeloid-derived dendritic cells. Of the malignant cells, only Jurkat cells under special conditions and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma tissue cells express PD-1 on their surface. Methods: To clarify whether the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway participates in the immunotolerance of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells, we examined the expressions of PD-1 and PD-L1 on the cell surface of SCLC cell lines using flow cytometry and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results: Among the four SCLC cell lines examined, only SBC-3 expressed both PD-1 and PD-L1. Conclusions: We demonstrated that both PD-1 and PD-L1 molecules were co-expressed on the surface of SCLC cells. Although the biological implications of this remain unclear, we speculate that PD-1 and its ligand on the SCLC cells may participate in the growth inhibition of tumor cells as reported in cytotoxic T cells.
PMCID: PMC4473331  PMID: 26101718
Small-cell lung cancer; cell line; PD-1; PD-L1; co-expression
7.  Cisplatin-induced hyponatremia in malignancy: comparison between brand-name and generic formulation 
Widespread use of generic drugs is considered to be indispensable if reductions in total health care costs are to be achieved, but the market share of such drugs remains low. In general, generic drugs have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, but this is not always the case. Thus, toxicity profiles may vary when brand-name and generic drugs are compared. We retrospectively investigated the incidence of hyponatremia in patients receiving brand-name cisplatin (CDDP) and a generic counterpart thereof.
We reviewed the medical records of patients treated with brand-name CDDP (n=53) and a generic formulation (n=26), and compared the incidences of hyponatremia and renal toxicity. Toxicities were graded using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 4.0. Differences between groups were evaluated using the Student’s t-test, and the odds ratio for hyponatremia was estimated via logistic regression analysis.
Serum creatinine levels after chemotherapy increased significantly in both the brand-name and generic CDDP groups; no significant difference was evident between the two groups. Hyponatremia of grade 3 or above developed in 30.7% of the generic CDDP group compared to 15.1% of the brand-name CDDP group (P=0.011). Multivariate analysis showed that the use of generic CDDP increased the incidence of hyponatremia (odds ratio =5.661, 95% confidence interval =1.403–22.839; P=0.015).
Oncologists should be aware that use of a generic CDDP might be associated with more hyponatremia than would use of brand-name CDDP.
PMCID: PMC4262375  PMID: 25584019
cisplatin; hyponatremia; brand-name; generic drug
8.  Obstructive jaundice caused by intraductal metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2014;7:1847-1850.
Obstructive jaundice caused by metastases to the porta hepatis is often observed in patients with various advanced cancers; however, metastasis of lung cancer to the common bile duct with subsequent development of jaundice is rare. A 75-year-old female with lung adenocarcinoma harboring epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation (15-bp in-frame deletion in exon 19 and T790M in exon 20) developed obstructive jaundice during therapy. Obstruction of the common bile duct caused by an intraductal tumor was identified by computed tomography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and endoscopic ultrasonography. Although primary cholangiocarcinoma was highly suspected according to the imaging findings, immunohistochemical evaluation of the intraductal tumor demonstrated thyroid transcription factor-1 positive adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, peptide nucleic acid-locked nucleic acid polymerase chain reaction clamp analysis showed that the tumor contained the same EGFR mutation as that in the primary lung cancer. Thus, we confirmed intraductal metastasis from a lung adenocarcinoma. To our knowledge, this is the second report of obstructive jaundice caused by intraductal metastasis of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC4199794  PMID: 25336976
lung cancer; cholangiocarcinoma; EGFR
9.  Epiphora in lung cancer patients receiving docetaxel: a case series 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:322.
Docetaxel is a key antineoplastic drug for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. Ocular adverse events of docetaxel include epiphora (excess tearing) and conjunctivitis. Epiphora has been reported to be associated with canalicular and nasolacrimal duct stenosis, but it is not necessarily caused by lacrimal duct obstruction.
Case presentation
We encountered three Japanese non-small cell lung cancer patients who developed epiphora after the administration of docetaxel-based chemotherapy. One patient with lacrimal puncta stenosis showed improvement with probing and irrigation. The other two patients resolved following cessation of docetaxel or administration of artificial tears.
As epiphora can interfere with activities of daily life and negatively affect quality of life, it is important for thoracic oncologists to be aware of this adverse event.
PMCID: PMC4046091  PMID: 24886618
Non-small cell lung cancer; Docetaxel; Epiphora; Ocular adverse event
10.  Histological comparison between preoperative and surgical specimens of non-small cell lung cancer for distinguishing between "squamous" and "non-squamous" cell carcinoma 
Diagnostic Pathology  2014;9:103.
Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) are frequently heterogeneous and in approximately 70% of cases, NSCLCs are diagnosed and staged by small biopsies or cytology rather than by examination of surgically resected specimens. Thus, in most patients, the diagnosis is established based on examination of preoperative specimens alone. Recently, classification of NSCLC into pathologic subtypes has been shown to be important for selecting the appropriate systemic therapy, from both the point of view of treatment efficacy and prevention of toxicity.
We retrospectively reviewed the data of 225 patients to compare the preoperative classification of the NSCLC subtype on biopsy specimens with the postoperative classification based on examination of the resected specimens, in order to compare the accuracy of the two for the diagnosis of various histological subtypes of NSCLC.
In 169 of the 225 (75.1%) patients, the preoperative diagnosis was definite malignancy. Histologically, the final pathologic diagnosis made from the surgical specimens was adenocarcinoma (ADC) in 169 patients, and in 75.5% of these cases, the diagnosis was concordant with the preoperative diagnosis. Among the patients who had squamous cell carcinoma (SQC) in the preoperative specimens, the diagnosis was concordant with the preoperative diagnosis in 65.7% of cases. Misclassified preoperative biopsies included an even number of SQCs and ADCs, with all the misclassified biopsies being ADCs morphologically mimicking SQC due to solid growth. Significantly higher specificity, negative predictive value and accuracy were observed for the diagnosis of SQC.
Our study suggested that the concordance rates for diagnosis of the NSCLC subtypes, especially the "squamous" or "non-squamous" histologies, between preoperative and surgical specimens were satisfactory, as compared with previous reports. Therefore, pretreatment diagnosis of lung cancer using small samples is reasonable for selecting the optimal treatment. However, in order not to lose the opportunity for selecting an effective treatment, we should be aware that the diagnosis in preoperative small samples might be different from that based on examination of the surgical specimens.
Virtual Slides
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
PMCID: PMC4099154  PMID: 24885169
11.  Asymptomatic double aortic arch with compressed oesophagus in an adult 
BMJ Case Reports  2012;2012:bcr1220115315.
PMCID: PMC3339174  PMID: 22602836
12.  The Role of STAT3 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Cancers  2014;6(2):708-722.
Persistent phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) has been demonstrated in 22%~65% of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). STAT3 activation is mediated by receptor tyrosine kinases, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MET, cytokine receptors, such as IL-6, and non-receptor kinases, such as Src. Overexpression of total or phosphorylated STAT3 in resected NSCLC leads to poor prognosis. In a preclinical study, overexpression of STAT3 was correlated with chemoresistance and radioresistance in NSCLC cells. Here, we review the role of STAT3 and the mechanisms of treatment resistance in malignant diseases, especially NSCLC. As STAT3 is a critical mediator of the oncogenic effects of EGFR mutations, we discuss STAT3 pathways in EGFR-mutated NSCLC, referring to mechanisms of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance.
PMCID: PMC4074799  PMID: 24675568
signal transducer and activator of transcription 3; Janus kinase 2; epidermal growth factor receptor; non-small cell lung cancer; drug resistance
13.  Rapid on-site evaluation with BIOEVALUATOR® during endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration for diagnosing pulmonary and mediastinal diseases 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(1):14-17.
Rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE) is used widely during endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA). BIOEVALUATOR® is a device used for determining whether the tissues obtained by EBUS-TBNA are appropriate for a pathological diagnosis. This study describes our experience with ROSE using BIOEVALUATOR® during EBUS-TBNA for diagnosing pulmonary and mediastinal diseases.
We retrospectively evaluated the results of 35 patients who underwent EBUS-TBNA with BIOEVALUATOR® between December 2011 and February 2013. For the diagnosis, the tissue areas were appearing white and red through BIOEVALUATOR® are considered to be appropriate and inappropriate, respectively. We examined their medical records to obtain information concerning the examination of BIOEVALUATOR® results of the patient's materials (white/red), the diagnosis yield, site and size of lymph nodes and number of needle passes.
The median longest diameter of 40 lymph nodes (21 #7, 13 #4R, 4 #4L and 2 #11) from 35 patients was 27.9 (range 12.4-50.6) mm and the median number of needle passes was 2 (range 1-5). The definitive diagnosis was made by EBUS-TBNA in 28 of 35 patients, by thoracotomy in one patient and BIOEVALUATOR® results were white and lymphocytes were seen in the rest six patients. The BIOEVALUATOR® results of other patients without accurate diagnosis were left indefinitive. Finally, the six patients were judged as having benign lymphadenopathy because the lymph node size on computed tomography decreased or remained stable after for at least 8 months.
Checking aspirated samples using BIOEVALUATOR® appears useful for determining their adequacy for pathological diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3912680  PMID: 24551012
BIOEVALUATOR®; endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration; rapid on-site evaluation
14.  Novel Germline Mutation in the Transmembrane Domain of HER2 in Familial Lung Adenocarcinomas 
We encountered a family of Japanese descent in which multiple members developed lung cancer. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identified a novel germline mutation in the transmembrane domain of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) gene (G660D). A novel somatic mutation (V659E) was also detected in the transmembrane domain of HER2 in one of 253 sporadic lung adenocarcinomas. Because the transmembrane domain of HER2 is considered to be responsible for the dimerization and subsequent activation of the HER family and downstream signaling pathways, we performed functional analyses of these HER2 mutants. Mutant HER2 G660D and V659E proteins were more stable than wild-type protein. Both the G660D and V659E mutants activated Akt. In addition, they activated p38, which is thought to promote cell proliferation in lung adenocarcinoma. Our findings strongly suggest that mutations in the transmembrane domain of HER2 may be oncogenic, causing hereditary and sporadic lung adenocarcinomas.
PMCID: PMC3906987  PMID: 24317180
15.  Inhibition of the Growth Factor MDK/Midkine by a Novel Small Molecule Compound to Treat Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71093.
Midkine (MDK) is a heparin-binding growth factor that is highly expressed in many malignant tumors, including lung cancers. MDK activates the PI3K pathway and induces anti-apoptotic activity, in turn enhancing the survival of tumors. Therefore, the inhibition of MDK is considered a potential strategy for cancer therapy. In the present study, we demonstrate a novel small molecule compound (iMDK) that targets MDK. iMDK inhibited the cell growth of MDK-positive H441 lung adenocarcinoma cells that harbor an oncogenic KRAS mutation and H520 squamous cell lung cancer cells, both of which are types of untreatable lung cancer. However, iMDK did not reduce the cell viability of MDK-negative A549 lung adenocarcinoma cells or normal human lung fibroblast (NHLF) cells indicating its specificity. iMDK suppressed the endogenous expression of MDK but not that of other growth factors such as PTN or VEGF. iMDK suppressed the growth of H441 cells by inhibiting the PI3K pathway and inducing apoptosis. Systemic administration of iMDK significantly inhibited tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model in vivo. Inhibition of MDK with iMDK provides a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of lung cancers that are driven by MDK.
PMCID: PMC3745462  PMID: 23976985
16.  Long-term outcome of induction chemoradiotherapy with docetaxel and cisplatin followed by surgery for non-small-cell lung cancer with mediastinal lymph node metastasis 
The purpose of this study was to show the long-term outcome of induction chemoradiotherapy, using docetaxel and cisplatin with concurrent radiotherapy followed by surgery for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mediastinal nodal metastasis. Between January 2000 and July 2006, 22 consecutive NSCLC patients with pathologically proven mediastinal nodal metastasis were treated with tri-modality therapy. The regimen consisted of docetaxel and cisplatin plus concurrent radiation at a dose of 40–46 Gy. The induction therapy was followed by surgery 4–6 weeks later. The pulmonary resections were composed of a lobectomy in 19 patients, including 3 with a sleeve lobectomy, a bilobectomy in 2 patients and a left pneumonectomy in 1 patient. With a median follow-up duration of 8.7 years, the 3-year and 7-year overall survival (OS) rates for the entire population were 72.7 and 63.6%, respectively. Our results suggest that tri-modality therapy is promising for NSCLC patients with mediastinal nodal metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3329306  PMID: 22354091
Non-small-cell lung cancer; Induction chemoradiotherapy; N2
17.  Docetaxel for non-small-cell lung cancer harboring the activated EGFR mutation with T790M at initial presentation 
OncoTargets and therapy  2013;6:155-160.
A 72-year-old woman was referred to our hospital with Stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Chest computed tomography revealed a mass in the upper lobe of the right lung, with pleural effusion. Cytologic examination identified adenocarcinoma cells in the right pleural effusion. Furthermore, both a deletion mutation in exon 19 and a threonine–methionine substitution mutation at position 790 in exon 20 (T790M) were detected in the epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) in the malignant cells. As systemic chemotherapy consisting of carboplatin and pemetrexed or erlotinib proved ineffective, docetaxel monotherapy was initiated as a third-line treatment. Following salvage chemotherapy, her Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status improved from 3 to 1, with tumor regression over 5 months. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of successful docetaxel treatment for a patient with NSCLC harboring the T790M EGFR-activating mutation identified before treatment with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3594004  PMID: 23493804
non-small-cell lung cancer; EGFR mutation; pretreatment mutation; T790M; docetaxel
18.  Treatment-Related Death in Patients with Small-Cell Lung Cancer in Phase III Trials over the Last Two Decades 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42798.
Treatment-related death (TRD) remains a serious problem in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), despite recent improvements in supportive care. However, few studies have formally assessed time trends in the proportion of TRD over the past two decades. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and pattern of TRD over time.
We examined phase 3 trials conducted between 1990 and 2010 to address the role of systemic treatment for SCLC. The time trend was assessed using linear regression analysis.
In total, 97 trials including nearly 25,000 enrolled patients were analyzed. The overall TRD proportion was 2.95%. Regarding the time trend, while it was not statistically significant, it tended to decrease, with a 0.138% decrease per year and 2.76% decrease per two decades. The most common cause of death was febrile neutropenia without any significant time trend in its incidence over the years examined (p = 0.139). However, deaths due to febrile neutropenia as well as all causes in patients treated with non-platinum chemotherapy increased significantly (p = 0.033).
The overall TRD rate has been low, but not negligible, in phase III trials for SCLC over the past two decades.
PMCID: PMC3412813  PMID: 22880112
19.  Role of Survival Post-Progression in Phase III Trials of Systemic Chemotherapy in Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26646.
In advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with the increasing number of active compounds available in salvage settings, survival after progression to first-line chemotherapy seems to have improved. A literature survey was conducted to examine whether survival post-progression (SPP) has improved over the years and to what degree SPP correlates with overall survival (OS).
Methods and Findings
Median progression-free survival (MPFS) time and median survival time (MST) were extracted in phase III trials of first-line chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC. SPP was pragmatically defined as the time interval of MST minus MPFS. The relationship between MPFS and MST was modeled in a linear function. We used the coefficient of determination (r2) to assess the correlation between them. Seventy trials with 145 chemotherapy arms were identified. Overall, median SPP was 4.7 months, and a steady improvement in SPP was observed over the 20 years (9.414-day increase per year; p<0.001) in parallel to the increase in MST (11.253-day increase per year; p<0.001); MPFS improved little (1.863-day increase per year). Overall, a stronger association was observed between MST and SPP (r2 = 0.8917) than MST and MPFS time (r2 = 0.2563), suggesting SPP and MPFS could account for 89% and 25% of the variation in MST, respectively. The association between MST and SPP became closer over the years (r2 = 0.4428, 0.7242, and 0.9081 in 1988–1994, 1995–2001, and 2002–2007, respectively).
SPP has become more closely associated with OS, potentially because of intensive post-study treatments. Even in advanced NSCLC, a PFS advantage is unlikely to be associated with an OS advantage any longer due to this increasing impact of SPP on OS, and that the prolongation of SPP might limit the original role of OS for assessing true efficacy derived from early-line chemotherapy in future clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3219633  PMID: 22114662
20.  Variant angina pectoris associated with FOLFOX4 therapy 
The patient was a 71-year-old man who underwent a right hemicolectomy for ascending colon cancer (pT3, pN1, pM0) and who opted not to receive adjuvant chemotherapy. Eight months later, multiple liver metastases occurred. He therefore received FOLFOX4 (5-fluorouracil/leucovorin and 85 mg/m2 oxaliplatin) therapy, up to a total of 5 courses, and showed a partial response. While receiving the sixth course of FOLFOX4, he complained of chest pain and systemic itching approximately 15 min after the start of chemotherapy. An electrocardiogram revealed typical signs of ischemia. Coronary arteriography showed that the coronary arteries were intact. Believing the chest pain to be merely coincidental, we continued with the same therapy. However, he again developed the same chest pain during the seventh cycle of FOLFOX4 and treatment was stopped. We concluded that the patient’s symptoms were due to acute coronary syndrome (ACS) associated with the FOLFOX4 regimen. Variant angina as a type of ACS is a rare adverse effect of FOLFOX4. Clinicians should be aware of this potential adverse effect when monitoring patients receiving FOLFOX4.
PMCID: PMC3220725  PMID: 22110843
FOLFOX4; Acute coronary syndrome; Variant angina; Allergy
21.  An oral fluoropyrimidine agent S-1 induced interstitial lung disease: A case report 
A 66-year-old Japanese man with pancreatic cancer received eleven courses of gemcitabine monotherapy. The tumor responded to gemcitabine until metastatic liver tumors progressed. Subsequently, he was treated with S-1, an oral fluoropyrimidine anticancer agent, as salvage chemotherapy. Forty-two days after initiating S-1, he presented with dyspnea and fever. Chest computed tomography showed diffuse interstitial lesions with thickening of the alveolar septa and ground glass opacity. Serum KL-6 level was elevated to 1,230 U/mL and he did not use any other drugs except insulin. Thus, the development of interstitial lung disease (ILD) was considered to be due to S-1. Arterial blood oxygen pressure was 49.6 Torr in spite of oxygen administration (5 L/min). Steroid therapy improved his symptoms and the interstitial shadows on chest radiograph. Although S-1-induced ILD has mostly been reported to be mild, clinicians should be aware that S-1 has the potential to cause fatal ILD.
PMCID: PMC3139033  PMID: 21773080
Corticosteroid therapy; Interstitial lung disease; Pancreatic cancer; S-1
22.  Obstructive jaundice at the initial presentation in small-cell lung cancer 
Obstructive jaundice sometimes may develop in association with advanced small-cell lung cancer (SCLC); however, SCLC initially presenting with obstructive jaundice is rare. This report presents the cases of two SCLC patients with obstructive jaundice at the initial diagnosis. A 64-year-old male presented with obstructive jaundice due to a tumor at the head of the pancreas. He was diagnosed with SCLC by transbronchial biopsy from a lung tumor in the left upper lobe. Another 74-year-old male was admitted with jaundice due to a tumor in the porta hepatis. He was also diagnosed with SCLC by a fine-needle aspiration biopsy of a lung tumor in the left lower lobe. Both cases were successfully treated with systemic chemotherapy after endoscopic retrograde biliary drainage.
PMCID: PMC3658212  PMID: 23754881
small-cell lung carcinoma; jaundice; biliary obstruction; metastasis
23.  Twenty-Seven Years of Phase III Trials for Patients with Extensive Disease Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Disappointing Results 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7835.
Few studies have formally assessed whether treatment outcomes have improved substantially over the years for patients with extensive disease small-cell lung cancer (ED-SCLC) enrolled in phase III trials. The objective of the current investigation was to determine the time trends in outcomes for the patients in those trials.
Methods and Findings
We searched for trials that were reported between January 1981 and August 2008. Phase III randomized controlled trials were eligible if they compared first-line, systemic chemotherapy for ED-SCLC. Data were evaluated by using a linear regression analysis. Results: In total, 52 trials were identified that had been initiated between 1980 and 2006; these studies involved 10,262 patients with 110 chemotherapy arms. The number of randomized patients and the proportion of patients with good performance status (PS) increased over time. Cisplatin-based regimens, especially cisplatin and etoposide (PE) regimen, have increasingly been studied, whereas cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and vincristine–based regimens have been less investigated. Multiple regression analysis showed no significant improvement in survival over the years. Additionally, the use of a PE regimen did not affect survival, whereas the proportion of patients with good PS and the trial design of assigning prophylactic cranial irradiation were significantly associated with favorable outcome.
Conclusions and Significance
The survival of patients with ED-SCLC enrolled in phase III trials did not improve significantly over the years, suggesting the need for further development of novel targets, newer agents, and comprehensive patient care.
PMCID: PMC2773043  PMID: 19915681
24.  MET gene amplification or EGFR mutation activate MET in lung cancers untreated with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors 
We analyzed MET protein and copy number in NSCLC with or without EGFR mutations untreated with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). MET copy number was examined in 28 NSCLC and 4 human bronchial epithelial cell lines (HBEC) and 100 primary tumors using quantitative real-time PCR. Positive results were confirmed by array comparative genomic hybridization and fluorescence in-situ hybridization. Total and phospho-MET protein expression was determined in 24 NSCLC and 2 HBEC cell lines using Western blot. EGFR mutations were examined for exon 19 deletions, T790M, and L858R. Knockdown of EGFR with siRNA was performed to examine the relation between EGFR and MET activation. High-level MET amplification was observed in 3 of 28 NSCLC cell lines and in 2 of 100 primary lung tumors that had not been treated with EGFR-TKIs. MET protein was highly expressed and phosphorylated in all the 3 cell lines with high MET amplification. In contrast, 6 NSCLC cell lines showed phospho-MET among 21 NSCLC cell lines without MET amplification (p = 0.042). Furthermore, those 6 cell lines harboring phospho-MET expression without MET amplification were all EGFR mutant (p = 0.0039). siRNA-mediated knockdown of EGFR abolished phospho-MET expression in examined 3 EGFR mutant cell lines of which MET gene copy number was not amplified. By contrast, phospho-MET expression in 2 cell lines with amplified MET gene was not down-regulated by knockdown of EGFR. Our results indicated that MET amplification was present in untreated NSCLC and EGFR mutation or MET amplification activated MET protein in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2767331  PMID: 19117057
MET; amplification; EGFR; gefitinib; lung cancer

Results 1-24 (24)