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1.  Surgical and radiation therapy management of recurrent anal melanoma 
Melanoma of the anorectal mucosa is a rare but highly aggressive tumor. Its presenting symptoms are frequently confused with hemorrhoids, thereby causing a delay in diagnosis. Anorectal melanoma carries with it a very poor prognosis. There is a paucity of data investigating management options for anorectal melanoma, and even fewer data reporting recurrent or refractory cases.
Case presentation
This case documents a 41-year-old female with a long history of hemorrhoids presenting with anorectal discharge. She was incidentally found have anorectal melanoma following surgical resection. Systemic diagnostic work-up demonstrated PET-avid lymphadenopathy in her right groin. She underwent right groin dissection. However, seven months later she recurred in her right groin and a new recurrent mass was found in her pelvis. She underwent a second groin dissection and resection of the pelvic recurrence. This was followed by a course of hypofractionated radiation therapy then systemic immunotherapy.
Surgery has been the mainstay of treatment. However, the extent of surgery has been the topic of investigation. Historically, radical resections have been performed but they result in high rates of post-operative morbidity. Newer studies have compared radical resection with wide local excisions and found comparable outcomes. Anorectal melanoma is frequently a systemic disease. The ideal systemic therapy regimen has not yet been determined but numerous studies show a benefit to multi-agent treatments. Radiation therapy is typically given in the post-operative or palliative setting.
Anorectal mucosal melanoma is a very rare but aggressive disease with a poor prognosis. The overall treatment goal should strive to optimize quality of life and tumor control while minimizing treatment-related morbidities.
PMCID: PMC3904033  PMID: 24490051
Anorectal; recurrent anal melanoma; surgery; radiation treatment
2.  Factors Predictive of the Status of Sentinel Lymph Nodes in Melanoma Patients from a Large Multicenter Database 
Annals of surgical oncology  2011;18(13):3593-3600.
Numerous predictive factors for cutaneous melanoma metastases to sentinel lymph nodes have been identified; however, few have been found to be reproducibly significant. This study investigated the significance of factors for predicting regional nodal disease in cutaneous melanoma using a large multicenter database.
Seventeen institutions submitted retrospective and prospective data on 3463 patients undergoing sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy for primary melanoma. Multiple demographic and tumor factors were analyzed for correlation with a positive SLN. Univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were performed.
Of 3445 analyzable patients, 561 (16.3%) had a positive SLN biopsy. In multivariate analysis of 1526 patients with complete records for 10 variables, increasing Breslow thickness, lymphovascular invasion, ulceration, younger age, the absence of regression, and tumor location on the trunk were statistically significant predictors of a positive SLN.
These results confirm the predictive significance of the well-established variables of Breslow thickness, ulceration, age, and location, as well as consistently reported but less well-established variables such as lymphovascular invasion. In addition, the presence of regression was associated with a lower likelihood of a positive SLN. Consideration of multiple tumor parameters should influence the decision for SLN biopsy and the estimation of nodal metastatic disease risk.
PMCID: PMC3461951  PMID: 21647761
3.  Papillary Carcinoma of the Breast: An Overview 
Papillary carcinoma of the breast represents approximately 0.5% of all newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer. The prevalence of both invasive and in situ papillary carcinoma seems to be greater older postmenopausal women, and -in relative terms-in males. Histologic features of the tumor include cellular proliferations surrounding fibrovascular cores, with or without invasion. In this review, characteristics of both in situ and invasive disease are outlined. Immunohistochemical analyses of papillary carcinoma suggest the utility of markers such as smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, calponin, p63 and high molecular weight keratins, which can characterize the myoepithelial cell layer. With respect to radiographic evaluation of papillary carcinoma, ultrasonography is the most extensively studied imaging modality, though magnetic resonance mammography has potential utility. Available data suggest improved outcome for papillary carcinoma as compared to invasive ductal carcinoma. Treatment-related information for patients with papillary carcinoma is limited, and patterns noted in available series suggest a variable approach to this disease. The scarcity of information underscores the need for further treatment- and outcome-related studies in papillary carcinoma of the breast.
PMCID: PMC3244819  PMID: 20524058
papillary; breast carcinoma; male breast cancer; breast ultrasonography; breast magnetic resonance mammography
4.  A cultural research approach to instrument development: the case of breast and cervical cancer screening among Latino and Anglo women 
Health Education Research  2010;25(6):991-1007.
To illustrate the implementation of a bottom-up approach to the study of culture in health disparities, this article describes the development of a cultural cancer screening scale (CCSS) using mixed methodologies. The aim was to identify cultural factors relevant to breast and cervical cancer screening, develop an instrument to assess them and examine its preliminary psychometric properties among Latin American (Latino) and non-Latino White (Anglo) women in Southern California. Seventy-eight Latino and Anglo women participated in semi-structured interviews, which were content coded based on Triandis' methods for the analysis of subjective culture. Based on the emerging cultural elements, items relevant to cancer screening were developed and pilot tested with 161 participants. After the instrument was refined, 314 Latino and Anglo women from various socioeconomic backgrounds completed the CCSS and data were factor analyzed resulting in five cultural factors: cancer screening fatalism, negative beliefs about health professionals, catastrophic disease expectations, symptomatic deterrents and sociocultural deterrents. The instrument demonstrated measurement equivalence, adequate reliability and predictive validity. The research and the CCSS are discussed in terms of implications for the study of culture in relation to health disparities and the development of evidence-based interventions with culturally diverse populations and their health professionals.
PMCID: PMC2974838  PMID: 20864605
5.  Pathological complete response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy with trastuzumab-containing regimen in gastric cancer: a case report 
We report a 49-year-old Chinese male with locally advanced gastric adenocarcinoma achieving pathological complete response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy with trastuzumab-containing regimen. He underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy in September 2009, which revealed a 2-cm gastric ulcer on the lesser curvature proximal to angularis. Biopsy of gastric ulcer showed moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma with overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) by immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Further workups with endoscopic ultrasound, computed tomography and positron emission tomography staged his cancer as T3N1M0. He received 3 cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy consisting of trastuzumab, oxaliplatin, docetaxel and capecitabine without severe toxicities except grade 2 diarrhea near the completion of cycle 3 requiring discontinuation of capecitabine. Afterwards, he received total gastrectomy with extended D2 lymph node dissections showing pathological complete response. He went on to receive 3 more cycles of chemotherapy postoperatively. The role of trastuzumab as a part of perioperative therapy in gastric cancer overexpressing HER2 is worth further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2944145  PMID: 20828403
6.  Association of Reactive Oxygen Species Levels and Radioresistance in Cancer Stem Cells 
Nature  2009;458(7239):780-783.
Metabolism of oxygen, while central to life, also produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) that have been implicated in processes as diverse as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging. It has recently been shown that central nervous system stem cells1, 2 and hematopoietic stem cells and early progenitors3-6 contain lower levels of ROS than their more mature progeny and that these differences appear to be critical for maintaining stem cell function. We hypothesized that epithelial tissue stem cells and their cancer stem cell (CSC) counterparts may also share this property. Here we show that normal mammary epithelial stem cells contain lower concentrations of ROS than their more mature progeny cells. Congruently, subsets of CSCs in some human and murine breast tumors contain lower ROS levels than corresponding non-tumorigenic cells (NTCs). Consistent with ROS being critical mediators of ionizing radiation-induced cell killing7, 8, CSCs in these tumors develop less DNA damage and are preferentially spared after irradiation compared to NTCs. Lower ROS levels in CSCs are associated with increased expression of free radical scavenging systems. Pharmacologic depletion of ROS scavengers in CSCs significantly decreases their clonogenicity and results in radiosensitization. These results indicate that, similar to normal tissue stem cells, subsets of CSCs in some tumors contain lower ROS levels and enhanced ROS defenses compared to their non-tumorigenic progeny, which may contribute to tumor radioresistance.
PMCID: PMC2778612  PMID: 19194462

Results 1-6 (6)