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1.  Survival outcomes for men with mediastinal germ-cell tumors: The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center experience✩ 
Urologic oncology  2010;30(6):879-885.
Primary mediastinal germ-cell tumors are rare, and the effect of newer drugs and treatment strategies in this disease on overall survival is not known. We retrospectively assessed treatment outcomes at a single institution.
Materials and methods
We identified men seen at our institution from 1998 through 2005 for mediastinal germ-cell tumors. Medical records were reviewed for patient characteristics, histology, tumor markers, treatment, and survival outcome.
Thirty-four patients met study criteria, of whom 27 had nonseminomatous germ-cell tumor (NSGCT) and 7 had pure seminoma. Eleven patients (41%) with NSGCT were alive at last contact with a median overall survival time of 33.5 months. Among 13 patients with NSGCT referred to us at initial diagnosis, 7 (54%) were alive and recurrence-free at a median follow-up of 56.5 months. Progression-free survival was associated with absence of risk factors (any histology other than endodermal sinus tumor, β-hCG > 1000 mIU/mL, or disease outside the mediastinum). For the patients whose disease progressed (n = 5) or who had been referred to us for salvage treatment (n = 14), the 3-year overall survival from the date of first progression was 23%. Conversely, patients with seminoma did uniformly well with platinum-based chemotherapy; most did not undergo radiation or surgery.
Chemotherapy given to maximum effect followed by surgical consolidation resulted in long-term progression-free survival for 54% of patients with mediastinal NSGCT. The number of risk factors present at diagnosis may be associated with survival outcome and should be studied in a larger test group.
PMCID: PMC3956468  PMID: 20933444
Mediastinal neoplasms; Germ-cell neoplasms; Seminoma; Tumor markers; Resection; Outcome
3.  Phase III Trial of Androgen Ablation With or Without Three Cycles of Systemic Chemotherapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(36):5936-5942.
We conducted a phase III trial in patients with previously untreated metastatic prostate cancer to test the hypothesis that three 8-week cycles of ketoconazole and doxorubicin alternating with vinblastine and estramustine, given in addition to standard androgen deprivation, would delay the appearance of castrate-resistant disease.
Patients and Methods
Eligible patients had metastatic prostate cancer threatening enough to justify sustained androgen ablation and were fit enough for chemotherapy. The primary end point was time to castrate-resistant progression as shown by increasing prostate-specific antigen, new radiographic lesions, worsening cancer-related symptoms, or receipt of any other systemic therapy.
Three hundred six patients were registered; 286 are reported. Median time to progression was 24 months (95% CI, 18 to 39 months) in the standard therapy arm, and 35 months (95% CI, 26 to 44 months) in the chemohormonal group (P = .39). At median follow-up of 6.4 years, overall survival was 5.4 years (95% CI, 4.7 to 7.8 years) in the standard therapy arm versus 6.1 years (95% CI, 5.1 to 10.1 years; P = .41). Prostate-specific antigen kinetics at the time of androgen ablation and the nadir after hormone treatment were strongly correlated with survival. Chemotherapy significantly increased the burden of therapy, with 51% of patients experiencing an adverse event of grade 3 or worse, especially thromboembolic events.
There is no role for ketoconazole and doxorubicin alternating with vinblastine and estramustine before emergence of a castrate-resistant phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3864402  PMID: 19029421
4.  Evaluation of Viable Dynamic Treatment Regimes in a Sequentially Randomized Trial of Advanced Prostate Cancer 
We present new statistical analyses of data arising from a clinical trial designed to compare two-stage dynamic treatment regimes (DTRs) for advanced prostate cancer. The trial protocol mandated that patients were to be initially randomized among four chemotherapies, and that those who responded poorly were to be rerandomized to one of the remaining candidate therapies. The primary aim was to compare the DTRs’ overall success rates, with success defined by the occurrence of successful responses in each of two consecutive courses of the patient’s therapy. Of the one hundred and fifty study participants, forty seven did not complete their therapy per the algorithm. However, thirty five of them did so for reasons that precluded further chemotherapy; i.e. toxicity and/or progressive disease. Consequently, rather than comparing the overall success rates of the DTRs in the unrealistic event that these patients had remained on their assigned chemotherapies, we conducted an analysis that compared viable switch rules defined by the per-protocol rules but with the additional provision that patients who developed toxicity or progressive disease switch to a non-prespecified therapeutic or palliative strategy. This modification involved consideration of bivariate per-course outcomes encoding both efficacy and toxicity. We used numerical scores elicited from the trial’s Principal Investigator to quantify the clinical desirability of each bivariate per-course outcome, and defined one endpoint as their average over all courses of treatment. Two other simpler sets of scores as well as log survival time also were used as endpoints. Estimation of each DTR-specific mean score was conducted using inverse probability weighted methods that assumed that missingness in the twelve remaining drop-outs was informative but explainable in that it only depended on past recorded data. We conducted additional worst-best case analyses to evaluate sensitivity of our findings to extreme departures from the explainable drop-out assumption.
PMCID: PMC3433243  PMID: 22956855
Causal inference; Efficiency; Informative dropout; Inverse probability weighting; Marginal structural models; Optimal regime; Simultaneous confidence intervals

Results 1-4 (4)