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1.  Photodynamic therapy vs radiofrequency ablation for Barrett’s dysplasia: Efficacy, safety and cost-comparison 
AIM: To compare effectiveness, safety, and cost of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in treatment of Barrett’s dysplasia (BD).
METHODS: Consecutive case series of patients undergoing either PDT or RFA treatment at single center by a single investigator were compared. Thirty-three patients with high-grade dysplasia (HGD) had treatment with porfimer sodium photosensitzer and 630 nm laser (130 J/cm), with maximum of 3 treatment sessions. Fifty-three patients with BD (47 with low-grade dysplasia -LGD, 6 with HGD) had step-wise circumferential and focal ablation using the HALO system with maximum of 4 treatment sessions. Both groups received proton pump inhibitors twice daily. Endoscopic biopsies were acquired at 2 and 12 mo after enrollment, with 4-quadrant biopsies every 1 cm of the original BE extent. A complete histological resolution response of BD (CR-D) was defined as all biopsies at the last endoscopy session negative for BD. Fisher’s exact test was used to assess differences between the two study groups for primary outcomes. For all outcomes, a two-sided P value of less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance.
RESULTS: Thirty (91%) PDT patients and 39 (74%) RFA were men (P = 0.05). The mean age was 70.7 ± 12.2 and 65.4 ± 12.7 (P = 0.10) year and mean length of BE was 5.4 ± 3.2 cm and 5.7 ± 3.2 cm (P = 0.53) for PDT and RFA patients, respectively. The CR-D was (18/33) 54.5% with PDT vs (47/53) 88.7% with RFA (P = 0.001). One patient with PDT had an esophageal perforation and was managed with non-surgical measures and no perforation was seen with RFA. PDT was five times more costly than RFA at our institution. The two groups were not randomized and had different BD grading are the limitations of the study.
CONCLUSION: In our experience, RFA had higher rate of CR-D without any serious adverse events and was less costly than PDT for endoscopic treatment of BD.
PMCID: PMC3819546  PMID: 24222954
Barrett’s esophagus; Dysplasia; Photodynamic therapy; Radiofrequency ablation; Cost comparison
2.  A nomogram that predicts pathologic complete response to neoadjuvant chemoradiation also predicts survival outcomes after definitive chemoradiation for esophageal cancer 
Pathologic complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant chemoradiation for esophageal cancer is associated with improved outcomes. We evaluated whether a nomogram designed to predict who would have a pCR after trimodality therapy could also predict outcome after definitive chemoradiation.
Patients in this retrospective, single-institution analysis had received chemoradiation without surgery for esophageal cancer from 1998 through 2010; 333 such patients had complete information on all variables required for the pCR nomogram: sex; T status (by endoscopic sonography); tumor grade; tumor avidity on positron emission tomography (PET); and esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)-directed biopsy results after chemoradiation. We used multivariate Cox regression to test potential associations between clinical outcomes [overall survival (OS), locoregional recurrence, and distant metastasis] and patient or treatment factors and the pCR nomogram score; the component variables of the nomogram were not reintroduced into the multivariate analysis.
The median follow-up time for all patients (median age 66 years) was 18.2 months (30.7 months for those alive at the time of analysis). Patients with nomogram scores ≤125 (median for all patients) had significantly worse outcomes than patients with scores >125: median OS time 19.7 vs. 48.2 months; disease-free survival (DFS) time 6.1 vs. 31.1 months; locoregional failure-free survival time 17.7 months vs. not reached; and distant metastasis-free survival time 11.7 months vs. not reached (all P<0.001). Multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that nomogram score independently predicted each survival outcome, along with other patient and disease factors.
The pCR nomogram score predicted survival outcomes in patients receiving definitive chemoradiation for esophageal cancer. Although this nomogram requires further validation, it may prove useful for stratifying patients for clinical trials designed to intensify treatments for patients at the highest risk of relapse.
PMCID: PMC4294819  PMID: 25642337
Pathologic complete response (pCR); nomogram score; esophageal cancer; chemoradiation
3.  Locoregional Failure Rate After Preoperative Chemoradiation of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma and the Outcomes of Salvage Strategies 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(34):4306-4310.
The primary purpose of surveillance of patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and/or esophagogastric junction adenocarcinoma after local therapy (eg, chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery or trimodality therapy [TMT]) is to implement a potentially beneficial salvage therapy to overcome possible morbidity/mortality caused by locoregional failure (LRF). However, the benefits of surveillance are not well understood. We report on LRFs and salvage strategies in a large cohort.
Patients and Methods
Between 2000 and 2010, 518 patients with EAC who completed TMT were analyzed for the frequency of LRF over time and salvage therapy outcomes. Standard statistical techniques were used.
For 518 patients, the median follow-up time was 29.3 months (range, 1 to 149 months). Distant metastases (with or without LRF) occurred in 188 patients (36%), and LRF only occurred in 27 patients (5%). Eleven of 27 patients had lumen-only LRF. Most LRFs (89%) occurred within 36 months of surgery. Twelve patients had salvage chemoradiotherapy, but only five survived more than 2 years. Four patients needed salvage surgery, and three who survived more than 2 years developed distant metastases. The median overall survival of 27 patients with LRF was 17 months, and 10 patients (37%) survived more than 2 years. Thus, only 2% of all 518 patients benefited from surveillance/salvage strategies.
Our surveillance strategy, which is representative of many others currently being used, raises doubts about its effectiveness and benefits (along with concerns regarding types and times of studies and costs implications) to patients with EAC who have LRF only after TMT. Fortunately, LRFs are rare after TMT, but the salvage strategies are not highly beneficial. Our data can help develop an evidence-based surveillance strategy.
PMCID: PMC3837091  PMID: 24145339
4.  Preoperative chemotherapy prior to pulmonary metastasectomy in surgically resected primary colorectal carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(16):6584-6593.
The benefit of preoperative chemotherapy prior to pulmonary metastasectomy for patients with colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is unknown. Here, we identify outcomes of preoperative chemotherapy in patients with resected primary CRC who then underwent pulmonary metastasectomy.
We queried a prospective database to identify treatment characteristics. Multivariate analyses identified predictors of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS).
229 patients underwent lung metastasectomy, of whom 115 proceeded to surgery without chemotherapy while 114 received preoperative regimen based on oxaliplatin (32%), irinotecan (46%), capecitabine (16%), or other (6%). Median PFS in preoperative chemotherapy vs. surgery alone arms were comparable (p=0.004). Patients on oxaliplatin-based therapy had an improved OS vs. an irinotecan, capecitabine, or alternate regimen (p=.019). On multivariate analysis, the irinotecan subset had a worse OS (HR 1.846; 95% CI 1.070, 3.185) vs. surgery alone arm (p=0.028). The OS of an oxaliplatin-based regimen vs. no chemotherapy was inconclusive (HR 0.57; 95% CI 0.237 to 1.389, p=0.218). Multivariate analysis demonstrated a worse PFS and OS for the male gender and an incomplete resection (R2).
Prospective trials on specific preoperative regimens and criteria for patient selection may identify a role for preoperative chemotherapy prior to a curative pulmonary metastasectomy.
PMCID: PMC4196147  PMID: 25051371
colorectal; carcinoma; neoadjuvant; chemotherapy; metastasectomy
5.  Does the Timing of Esophagectomy after Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation Affect Outcome? 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2011;93(1):207-213.
After neoadjuvant chemoradiation (CXRT) for esophageal cancer, surgery has traditionally been recommended to be performed within 8 weeks. However, surgery is often delayed for various reasons. Data from other cancers suggests that delaying surgery may increase the pathologic complete response rate. However, there are theoretical concerns that waiting longer after radiation may lead to a more difficult operation and more complications. The optimal timing of esophagectomy after CXRT is unknown.
From a prospective database, we analyzed 266 patients with resected esophageal cancer who were treated with neoadjuvant CXRT from 2002–2008. Salvage resections were excluded from this analysis. We compared patients who had surgery within 8 weeks of CXRT and those who had surgery after 8 weeks. We used multivariable analysis to determine whether increased interval between chemoradiation and surgery was independently associated with perioperative complication, pathologic response, or overall survival.
150 patients were resected within 8 weeks and 116 were resected greater than 8 weeks after completing CXRT. Mean length of operation, intraoperative blood loss, anastomotic leak rate, and perioperative complication rate were similar for the two groups. Pathologic complete response rate and overall survival were also similar for the two groups (p=NS). In multivariable analysis, timing of surgery was not an independent predictor of perioperative complication, pathologic complete response, or overall survival.
The timing of esophagectomy after neoadjuvant CXRT is not associated with perioperative complication, pathologic response, or overall survival. It may be reasonable to delay esophagectomy beyond 8 weeks for patients who have not yet recovered from chemoradiation.
PMCID: PMC4041623  PMID: 21962263
Adjuvant/neoadjuvant therapy; Esophageal Cancer; Radiation Therapy; Esophageal Surgery
6.  Prognostic Significance of Combinations of RNA-Dependent Protein Kinase and EphA2 Biomarkers for NSCLC 
RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) is an independent prognostic variable in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the present study, we investigated the correlation between PKR and 25 other biomarkers for NSCLC, identified the markers that could further improve the prognostic significance of PKR, and elucidated the mechanisms of interaction between these markers and PKR.
Tissue microarray samples obtained from 218 lung cancer patients were stained with an anti-PKR antibody and antibodies against 25 biomarkers. Immunohistochemical expression was scored and used for Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. The interaction between PKR and EphA2 in NSCLC cell lines was examined.
We found that PKR was associated with EphA2 and that the prognostic information regarding NSCLC provided by the combination of PKR and EphA2 (P/E) was significantly more accurate than that provided by either marker alone. The 5-year overall survival rate in PKRlow/EphA2high patients (20%) was significantly lower than that of PKRhigh/EphA2low patients (74%), PKRhigh/EphA2high patients (55%), and PKRlow/EphA2low patients (55%) (p< 0.0001). We also found that the PKR:EphA2 (P/E) ratio was significantly associated with prognosis (p< 0.0001). Univariate and multivariate Cox analyses revealed that this P/E combination or ratio was an independent predictor of overall survival. In addition, induction of PKR expression reduced EphA2 protein expression levels in NSCLC cell lines.
PKR/EphA2 is a significant predictor of prognosis for NSCLC. PKR/EphA2 may be a promising approach to improving screening efficiency and predicting prognosis in NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC3573252  PMID: 23370317
PKR; EphA2; Biomarker; Lung cancer
7.  Computed Tomography RECIST Assessment of Histopathologic Response and Prediction of Survival in Patients with Resectable Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer after Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy 
This study’s objectives were to determine whether tumor response measured by CT and evaluated using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) correlated with overall survival (OS) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and surgical resection.
We measured primary tumor size on CT before and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in 160 NSCLC patients who underwent surgical resection. The relationship between CT-measured response (RECIST) and histopathologic response (≤10% viable tumor) and OS were assessed by Kaplan Meier survival, univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression.
There was a statistically significant association between CT-measured response (RECIST) and OS (p=0.03). However, histopathologic response was a stronger predictor of OS (p=0.002), with a more pronounced separation of the survival curves when compared to CT-measured response. In multivariable Cox regression analysis, only pathologic stage and histopathologic response were significant predictors of OS. A 41% overall discordance rate was noted between CT RECIST response and histopathologic response. CT RECIST classified as non-responders a subset of patients with histopathologic response (8/30 pts, 27%) who demonstrated prolonged survival after neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
We were unable to show that CT RECIST is a reliable predictor of OS in patients with NSCLC undergoing surgical resection after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The failure of CT RECIST to predict long-term outcome may be due to the inability of CT imaging to consistently identify patients with histopathologic response. CT RECIST may have only a limited role as an efficacy endpoint after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resectable NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3549050  PMID: 23287849
8.  Outcome of Trimodality-Eligible Esophagogastric Cancer Patients Who Declined Surgery after Preoperative Chemoradiation 
Oncology  2012;83(5):10.1159/000341353.
For patients with localized esophageal cancer (EC) who can withstand surgery, the preferred therapy is chemoradiation followed by surgery (trimodality). However, after achieving a clinical complete response [clinCR; defined as both post-chemoradiation endoscopic biopsy showing no cancer and physiologic uptake by positron emission tomography (PET)], some patients decline surgery. The literature on the outcome of such patients is sparse.
Between 2002 and 2011, we identified 622 trimodality-eligible EC patients in our prospectively maintained databases. All patients had to be trimodality eligible and must have completed preoperative staging after chemoradiation that included repeat endoscopic biopsy and PET among other routine tests.
Out of 622 trimodality-eligible patients identified, 61 patients (9.8%) declined surgery. All 61 patients had a clinCR. The median age was 69 years (range 47–85). Males (85.2%) and Caucasians (88.5%) were dominant. Baseline stage was II (44.2%) or III (52.5%), and histology was adenocarcinoma (65.6%) or squamous cell carcinoma (29.5%). Forty-two patients are alive at a median follow-up of 50.9 months (95% CI 39.5–62.3). The 5-year overall and relapse-free survival rates were 58.1 ± 8.4 and 35.3 ± 7.6%, respectively. Of 13 patients with local recurrence during surveil-lance, 12 had successful salvage resection.
Although the outcome of 61 EC patients with clinCR who declined surgery appears reasonable, in the absence of a validated prediction/prognosis model, surgery must be encouraged for all trimodality-eligible patients.
PMCID: PMC3832345  PMID: 22964903
Esophageal cancer; Trimodality; Surgery; Chemoradiation; Outcomes
9.  A Novel Technique for the Assessment of Preoperative Cardiovascular Risk: Reactive Hyperemic Response to Short-Term Exercise 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:837130.
Background. Perioperative vascular function has been widely studied using noninvasive techniques that measure reactive hyperemia as a surrogate marker of vascular function. However, studies are limited to a static setting with patients tested at rest. We hypothesized that exercise would increase reactive hyperemia as measured by digital thermal monitoring (DTM) in association to patients' cardiometabolic risk. Methods. Thirty patients (58 ± 9 years) scheduled for noncardiac surgery were studied prospectively. Preoperatively, temperature rebound (TR) following upper arm cuff occlusion was measured before and 10 minutes after exercise. Data are presented as means ± SD. Statistical analysis utilized ANOVA and Fisher's exact test, with P values <0.05 regarded as significant. Results. Following exercise, TR-derived parameters increased significantly (absolute: 0.53 ± 0.95 versus 0.04 ± 0.42°C, P=0.04, and % change: 1.78 ± 3.29 versus 0.14 ± 1.27 %, P=0.03). All patients with preoperative cardiac risk factors had a change in TR (after/before exercise, ΔTR) with values falling in the lower two tertiles of the study population (ΔTR <1.1%). Conclusion. Exercise increased the reactive hyperemic response to ischemia. This dynamic response was blunted in patients with cardiac risk factors. The usability of this short-term effect for the preoperative assessment of endothelial function warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC3652140  PMID: 23691513
10.  Predictors for Locoregional Recurrence for Clinical Stage III-N2 Non-small Cell Lung Cancer with Nodal Downstaging After Induction Chemotherapy and Surgery 
Annals of Surgical Oncology  2012;20(6):1934-1940.
Pathologic downstaging following chemotherapy for stage III-N2 NSCLC is a well-known positive prognostic indicator. However, the predictive factors for locoregional recurrence (LRR) in these patients are largely unknown.
Between 1998 and 2008, 153 patients with clinically or pathologically staged III-N2 NSCLC from two cancer centers in the United States were treated with induction chemotherapy and surgery. All had pathologic N0-1 disease, and none received postoperative radiotherapy. LRR were defined as recurrence at the surgical site, lymph nodes (levels 1–14 including supraclavicular), or both.
Median follow-up was 39.3 months. Pretreatment N2 status was confirmed pathologically (18.2 %) or by PET/CT (81.8 %). Overall, the 5-year LRR rate was 30.8 % (n = 38), with LRR being the first site of failure in 51 % (22/+99877943). Five-year overall survival for patients with LRR compared with those without was 21 versus 60.1 % (p < 0.001). Using multivariate analysis, significant predictors for LRR were pN1 disease at time of surgery (p < 0.001, HR 3.43, 95 % CI 1.80–6.56) and a trend for squamous histology (p = 0.072, HR 1.93, 95 % CI 0.94–3.98). Five-year LRR rate for pN1 versus pN0 disease was 62 versus 20 %. Neither single versus multistation N2 disease (p = 0.291) nor initial staging technique (p = 0.306) were predictors for LRR. N1 status also was predictive for higher distant recurrence (p = 0.021, HR 1.91, 95 % CI 1.1–3.3) but only trended for poorer survival (p = 0.123, HR 1.48, 95 % CI 0.9–2.44).
LRR remains high in resected stage III-N2 NSCLC patients after induction chemotherapy and nodal downstaging, particularly in patients with persistent N1 disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1245/s10434-012-2800-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3656229  PMID: 23263700
11.  The Role of Consolidation Therapy for Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer With Persistent N2 Disease After Induction Chemotherapy 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2012;94(3):914-920.
Persistent pathologic mediastinal nodal involvement after induction chemotherapy and surgical resection is a negative prognostic factor for stage III-N2 non-small cell lung cancer patients. This population has high rates of local-regional failure and distant failure, yet the effectiveness of additional therapies is not clear. We assessed the role of consolidative therapies (postoperative radiation therapy and chemotherapy) for such patients.
In all, 179 patients with stage III-N2 non-small cell lung cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center were treated with induction chemotherapy followed by surgery from 1998 through 2008; 61 patients in this cohort had persistent, pathologically confirmed, mediastinal nodal disease, and were treated with postoperative radiation therapy. Local-regional failure was defined as recurrence at the surgical site or lymph nodes (levels 1 to 14, including supraclavicular), or both. Overall survival was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and survival outcomes were assessed by log rank tests. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to identify factors influencing local-regional failure, distant failure, and overall survival.
All patients received postoperative radiation therapy after surgery, but approximately 25% of the patients also received additional chemotherapy: 9 (15%) with concurrent chemotherapy, 4 (7%) received adjuvant sequential chemotherapy, and 2 (3%) received both. Multivariate analysis indicated that additional postoperative chemotherapy significantly reduced distant failure (hazard ratio 0.183, 95% confidence interval: 0.052 to 0.649, p = 0.009) and improved overall survival (hazard ratio 0.233, 95% confidence interval: 0.089 to 0.612, p = 0.003). However, additional postoperative chemotherapy had no affect on local-regional failure.
Aggressive consolidative therapies may improve outcomes for patients with persistent N2 disease after induction chemotherapy and surgery.
PMCID: PMC3468148  PMID: 22819472
12.  Histopathologic Response Criteria Predict Survival of Patients with Resected Lung Cancer After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy 
We evaluated the ability of histopathologic response criteria to predict overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with surgically resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with or without neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Tissue specimens from 358 patients with NSCLC were evaluated by pathologists blinded to the patient treatment and outcome. The surgical specimens were reviewed for various histopathologic features in the tumor including percentage of residual viable tumor cells, necrosis, and fibrosis. The relationship between the histopathologic findings and OS was assessed.
The percentage of residual viable tumor cells and surgical pathologic stage were associated with OS and DFS in 192 patients with NSCLC receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy in multivariate analysis (p = 0.005 and p = 0.01, respectively). There was no association of OS or DFS with percentage of viable tumor cells in 166 patients with NSCLC who did not receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.31 and p = 0.45, respectively). Long-term OS and DFS were significantly prolonged in patients who had ≤10% viable tumor compared with patients with >10% viable tumor cells (5 years OS, 85% versus 40%, p < 0.0001 and 5 years DFS, 78% versus 35%, p < 0.001).
The percentages of residual viable tumor cells predict OS and DFS in patients with resected NSCLC after neoadjuvant chemotherapy even when controlled for pathologic stage. Histopathologic assessment of resected specimens after neoadjuvant chemotherapy could potentially have a role in addition to pathologic stage in assessing prognosis, chemotherapy response, and the need for additional adjuvant therapies.
PMCID: PMC3465940  PMID: 22481232
Lung cancer; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Histopathology
13.  Variations in the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Pathway Predict Pulmonary Complications 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2012;94(4):1079-1085.
Clinical factors predicting pulmonary complications after lung resection have been well described, whereas the role of genetics is unknown. The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathway has been linked to acute lung injury. We hypothesized that genetic variations in this pathway may be associated with postoperative pulmonary complications after lung resection.
One hundred ninety-six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 17 genes in the VEGF pathway were genotyped in a discovery set of 264 patients and a replication set of 264 patients who underwent lobectomy for lung cancer. Multivariable analysis adjusting for baseline clinical factors was used to identify SNPs associated with pulmonary complications. Cumulative and classification and regression tree (CART) analyses were used to further stratify risk groups.
The overall number of pulmonary complications was 164/528 (31%). The effects of 6 SNPs were consistent in the discovery and replication sets (pooled p value < 0.05). The rs9319425 SNP in the VEGF receptor gene FLT1 resulted in a 1.50-fold increased risk (1.15–1.96; p = 0.003). A cumulative effect for the number of risk genotypes and complications was also evident (p < 0.01). Patients carrying 5 risk genotypes had a 5.76-fold increase in risk (2.73–12.16; p = 4.44 × 10−6). Regression tree analysis identified potential gene-gene interactions between FLT1:rs9319425 and RAF1:rs713178. The addition of the 6 SNPs to the clinical model increased the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve by 6.8%.
Genetic variations in the VEGF pathway are associated with risk of pulmonary complications after lobectomy. This may offer insight into the underlying biological mechanisms of pulmonary complications.
PMCID: PMC3466075  PMID: 22795057
14.  Aberrant Expression of Proteins Involved in Signal Transduction and DNA Repair Pathways in Lung Cancer and Their Association with Clinical Parameters 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31087.
Because cell signaling and cell metabolic pathways are executed through proteins, protein signatures in primary tumors are useful for identifying key nodes in signaling networks whose alteration is associated with malignancy and/or clinical outcomes. This study aimed to determine protein signatures in primary lung cancer tissues.
Methodology/ Principal Findings
We analyzed 126 proteins and/or protein phosphorylation sites in case-matched normal and tumor samples from 101 lung cancer patients with reverse-phase protein array (RPPA) assay. The results showed that 18 molecules were significantly different (p<0.05) by at least 30% between normal and tumor tissues. Most of those molecules play roles in cell proliferation, DNA repair, signal transduction and lipid metabolism, or function as cell surface/matrix proteins. We also validated RPPA results by Western blot and/or immunohistochemical analyses for some of those molecules. Statistical analyses showed that Ku80 levels were significantly higher in tumors of nonsmokers than in those of smokers. Cyclin B1 levels were significantly overexpressed in poorly differentiated tumors while Cox2 levels were significantly overexpressed in neuroendocrinal tumors. A high level of Stat5 is associated with favorable survival outcome for patients treated with surgery.
Conclusions/ Significance
Our results revealed that some molecules involved in DNA damage/repair, signal transductions, lipid metabolism, and cell proliferation were drastically aberrant in lung cancer tissues, and Stat5 may serve a molecular marker for prognosis of lung cancers.
PMCID: PMC3277494  PMID: 22348039
15.  Prognostic significance of differentially expressed miRNAs in esophageal cancer 
Altered microRNA (miRNA) expression has been found to promote carcinogenesis, but little is known about the role of miRNAs in esophageal cancer. In this study, we selected 10 miRNAs and analyzed their expression in 10 esophageal cancer cell lines and 158 tissue specimens using Northern blotting and in situ hybridization, respectively. We found that Let-7g, miR-21, and miR-195p were expressed in all 10 cell lines, miR-9 and miR-20a were not expressed in any of the cell lines, and miR-16-2, miR-30e, miR-34a, miR-126, and miR-200a were expressed in some of the cell lines but not others. In addition, transient transfection of miR-34a inhibited c-Met and cyclin D1 expression and esophageal cancer cell proliferation, whereas miR-16-2 suppressed RAR-β2 expression and increased tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, we found that miR-126 expression was associated with tumor cell de-differentiation and lymph node metastasis, miR-16-2 was associated with lymph node metastasis, and miR-195p was associated with higher pathologic disease stages in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that miR-16-2 expression and miR-30e expression were associated with shorter overall and disease-free survival in all esophageal cancer patients. In addition, miR-16-2, miR-30e, and miR-200a expression were associated with shorter overall and disease-free survival in esophageal adenocarcinoma patients; however, miR-16-2, miR-30e, and miR-200a expression was not associated with overall or disease-free survival in squamous cell carcinoma patients. Our data indicate that further evaluation of miR-30e and miR-16-2 as prognostic biomarkers is warranted in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. In addition, the role of miR-34a in esophageal cancer also warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC2937084  PMID: 20309880
miRNA; cell viability; gene regulation; prognosis; esophageal cancer
16.  Prognostic significance of RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) on non-small cell lung cancer patients 
The role of RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) in antiviral defence mechanisms and in cellular differentiation, growth, and apoptosis is well known, but the role of PKR in human lung cancer remains poorly understood. To explore the role of PKR in human lung cancer, we evaluated PKR’s expression in tissue microarray specimens from both non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and normal human bronchial epithelium tissue.
Experimental Design
Tissue microarray samples (TMA-1) from 231 lung cancers were stained with PKR antibody and validated on TMA-2 from 224 lung cancers. Immunohistochemical expression score was quantified by three pathologists independently. Survival probability was computed by the Kaplan-Meier method.
The NSCLC cells showed lower levels of PKR expression than normal bronchial epithelium cells did. We also found a significant association between lower levels of PKR expression and lymph node metastasis. We found that loss of PKR expression is correlated with a more aggressive behavior, and that a high PKR expression predicts a subgroup of patients with a favorable outcome. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models showed that a lower level of PKR expression was significantly associated with shorter survival in NSCLC patients. We further validated and confirmed that PKR to be a powerful prognostic factor in TMA-2 lung cancer (HR=0.22, P<0.0001).
Our findings first indicate that PKR expression is an independent prognostic variable in NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC3070287  PMID: 20930042
PKR; Biomarker; Lung cancer
17.  The Role of PKR/eIF2α Signaling Pathway in Prognosis of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e24855.
In this study, we investigated whether PKR protein expression is correlated with mRNA levels and also evaluated molecular biomarkers that are associated with PKR, such as phosphorylated PKR (p-PKR) and phosphorylated eIF2α (p-eIF2α).
Methodology and Findings
We determined the levels of PKR protein expression and mRNA in 36 fresh primary lung tumor tissues by using Western blot analysis and real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), respectively. We used tissue microarrays for immunohistochemical evaluation of the expression of p-PKR and p-eIF2α proteins. We demonstrated that PKR mRNA levels are significantly correlated with PKR protein levels (Spearman's rho = 0.55, p<0.001), suggesting that PKR protein levels in tumor samples are regulated by PKR mRNA. We also observed that the patients with high p-PKR or p-eIF2α expression had a significantly longer median survival than those with little or no p-PKR or p-eIF2α expression (p = 0.03 and p = 0.032, respectively). We further evaluated the prognostic effect of combined expression of p-PKR plus PKR and p-eIF2α plus PKR and found that both combinations were strong independent prognostic markers for overall patient survival on stage I and all stage patients.
Our findings suggest that PKR protein expression may controlled by transcription level. Combined expression levels of PKR and p-PKR or p-eIF2α can be new markers for predicting the prognosis of patients with NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3213082  PMID: 22102852
18.  EGFR-Targeted Hybrid Plasmonic Magnetic Nanoparticles Synergistically Induce Autophagy and Apoptosis in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e25507.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in 80% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and is associated with poor survival. In recent years, EGFR-targeted inhibitors have been tested in the clinic for NSCLC. Despite the emergence of novel therapeutics and their application in cancer therapy, the overall survival rate of lung cancer patients remains 15%. To develop more effective therapies for lung cancer we have combined the anti-EGFR antibody (Clone 225) as a molecular therapeutic with hybrid plasmonic magnetic nanoparticles (NP) and tested on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Cell viability was determined by trypan-blue assay. Cellular protein expression was determined by Western blotting. C225-NPs were detected by electron microscopy and confocal microscopy, and EGFR expression using immunocytochemistry. C225-NP exhibited a strong and selective antitumor effect on EGFR-expressing NSCLC cells by inhibiting EGFR-mediated signal transduction and induced autophagy and apoptosis in tumor cells. Optical images showed specificity of interactions between C225-NP and EGFR-expressing NSCLC cells. No binding of C225-NP was observed for EGFR-null NSCLC cells. C225-NP exhibited higher efficiency in induction of cell killing in comparison with the same amount of free C225 antibody in tumor cells with different levels of EGFR expression. Furthermore, in contrast to C225-NP, free C225 antibody did not induce autophagy in cells. However, the therapeutic efficacy of C225-NP gradually approached the level of free antibodies as the amount of C225 antibody conjugated per nanoparticle was decreased. Finally, attaching C225 to NP was important for producing the enhanced tumor cell killing as addition of mixture of free C225 and NP did not demonstrate the same degree of cell killing activity.
We demonstrated for the first time the molecular mechanism of C225-NP induced cytotoxic effects in lung cancer cells that are not characteristic for free molecular therapeutics thus increasing efficacy of therapy against NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3210119  PMID: 22087216
19.  The Influence of Pretreatment Body Mass Index on Long-Term Prognosis of Patients With Esophageal Carcinoma After Surgery 
Obesity, which is one of the most serious health problems in United States, is considered a risk factor for lower esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma. However, the influence of obesity on esophageal cancer survival has not been determined. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of obesity on the long-term mortality outcomes for patients with esophageal cancer after surgery.
A retrospective review was performed of 243 consecutive esophageal cancer patients undergoing surgery who did not receive neoadjuvant therapy. Patients were grouped according to pretreatment body mass index, as normal/underweight (<25 kg/m2) and overweight (≥25 kg/m2). Overall and recurrence-free survivals were investigated using Kaplan-Meier method, and Cox regression model was used to determine the significant prognostic factors on univariate and multivariate analysis.
There were 67 patients (28%) who were classified as normal/underweight and 176 patients (72%) as overweight. In the overweight group, the numbers of patients who were male (P < .001), with adenocarcinoma (P < .001), and pathologic stage I (p=0.003) were significantly higher than in the normal/underweight group. There was no significant difference in postoperative morbidity rates between the two groups. Both local/regional and distant recurrence rates were significantly higher in the normal/underweight group (P = .027 and P = .039, respectively). The 5-year overall survival rates were 41% in the normal/underweight group, and 67% in the overweight group (P = .002). The 5-year disease free survival rates were 37% in the normal/underweight group, and 65% in the overweight group (P = .001). In univariate analysis, BMI ≥25 and lower esophagus tumor were factors associated with longer survival. Factors including older age, weight loss before treatment, smoking history, squamous cell carcinoma, tumor size>3 cm, pathologic stage III, and poorly differentiated carcinoma were significantly associated with shorter patient survival. In multivariate analysis, age, pathologic stage and tumor location ultimately remained as prognostic factors. Lower esophageal tumor (P = .015; HR, 0.386; 95% CI, 0.179–0.833) was related with better survival, and older age (P = .014; HR, 1.032; 95% CI, 1.006–1.057) and stage III disease (P = .015; HR, 6.162; 95% CI, 1.744–21.766) were related with poor survival.
Pretreatment BMI cannot be recognized as an independent predictor of long-term prognosis in esophageal cancer patients after surgery. However, high BMI tends to be associated with better prognosis.
This work was supported in part by grants from UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dallas, Park, Cantu, Smith, and Myers families and by the River Creek Foundation.
PMCID: PMC3056311
20.  Application of the revised lung cancer staging system (IASLC Staging Project) to a cancer center population 
The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) proposed a revision to the Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC-6) staging system for non–small cell lung cancer. The goal of our study was to compare these systems in patients undergoing surgery for non–small cell lung cancer to determine whether one system is superior in staging operable disease.
Pathologic stages in 1154 patients undergoing complete resection over a 9-year period were analyzed. Patients were assigned a stage based on both IASLC and UICC-6 systems. We tested for statistically meaningful differences between the two staging systems using the Wilcoxon signed rank test and the permutation test.
The IASLC system is more effective than the UICC-6 system at ordering and differentiating patients (P = .009). Application of the IASLC system resulted in 202 (17.5%) patients being reassigned to a different stage (P = .012), with the most common shifts occurring from IB to IIA and IIIB to IIIA. The 5-year and median survivals of the IASLC IIIA patients including those shifted from the UICC-6 IIIB were 37% and 35 months, respectively. Reclassifying UICC-6 IIIB to IASLC IIIA did not reduce survival for the newly characterized IIIA cohort.
Our data confirm that the proposed IASLC staging system is more effective at differentiating stage than the UICC-6 system. Reclassifying patients from UICC-6 IIIB to IASLC IIIA will shift some patients from a stage previously considered unresectable to a stage frequently offered surgical resection. Further study and validation of the IASLC system are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2731793  PMID: 19619787
21.  A Semantic Web Management Model for Integrative Biomedical Informatics 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2946.
Data, data everywhere. The diversity and magnitude of the data generated in the Life Sciences defies automated articulation among complementary efforts. The additional need in this field for managing property and access permissions compounds the difficulty very significantly. This is particularly the case when the integration involves multiple domains and disciplines, even more so when it includes clinical and high throughput molecular data.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The emergence of Semantic Web technologies brings the promise of meaningful interoperation between data and analysis resources. In this report we identify a core model for biomedical Knowledge Engineering applications and demonstrate how this new technology can be used to weave a management model where multiple intertwined data structures can be hosted and managed by multiple authorities in a distributed management infrastructure. Specifically, the demonstration is performed by linking data sources associated with the Lung Cancer SPORE awarded to The University of Texas MDAnderson Cancer Center at Houston and the Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. A software prototype, available with open source at, was developed and its proposed design has been made publicly available as an open source instrument for shared, distributed data management.
The Semantic Web technologies have the potential to addresses the need for distributed and evolvable representations that are critical for systems Biology and translational biomedical research. As this technology is incorporated into application development we can expect that both general purpose productivity software and domain specific software installed on our personal computers will become increasingly integrated with the relevant remote resources. In this scenario, the acquisition of a new dataset should automatically trigger the delegation of its analysis.
PMCID: PMC2491554  PMID: 18698353
22.  Lymphovascular Invasion as a Tool to Further Subclassify T1b Esophageal Adenocarcinoma 
Lymphovascular invasion (LVI) and/or lymph node metastases (LNM) adversely influence overall survival (OS) of T1 esophageal adenocarcinoma patients. While endoscopic therapy may be adequate for T1a cancer, T1b cancer requires esophagectomy/lymphadenectomy. We hypothesized that the LVI status would subclassify T1b cancers and facilitate new therapeutic strategies.
We analyzed 99 consecutive patients with T1 adenocarcinoma after esophagectomy/lymphadenectomy. LNM was assessed in all patients and LVI in 89 patients. OS was correlated with pathologic cancer stage in association with LVI and LNM.
The 5-year OS rate for T1a (88%) was superior to that for T1b (62%; P = .001). The 5-year OS rate for cancers without LVI (85%) was superior to cancers with LVI (36%; P = .0001). Importantly, the 5-year OS rate of patients with T1b cancer without LVI (77%) was similar to that for T1a cancer (90%; P = .08), but was superior to that for T1b cancer with LVI (27%; P = .006). Presence of LVI and/or LNM resulted in worse OS at 5 years (≤ 37%) compared with lack of LVI or LNM (88%; P < .001). The rate of LNM for T1b without LVI was still 19% and relapse rate was 16%.
We demonstrate that LVI distinguishes the biologic behavior of early esophageal cancer, and patients with T1b cancer without LVI have a similar clinical biology as patients with T1a cancer. If LNM before surgery can be diagnosed with high sensitivity by better endoscopic techniques and/or molecular biomarkers, a new therapeutic paradigm for T1b cancers could emerge. Further research is needed on T1b esophageal adenocarcinoma patients.
PMCID: PMC2645509
23.  Cardiac Autotransplantation for Malignant or Complex Primary Left-Heart Tumors 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2008;35(3):296-300.
Malignant or complex benign tumors of the left heart can present a formidable challenge for complete resection, due to anatomic inaccessibility. Cardiac autotransplantation (cardiac explantation, ex-vivo tumor resection, reconstruction, and reimplantation) was introduced for complex benign primary left-heart cardiac tumors by Cooley and for malignant left-heart tumors by Reardon. Herein, we update our previously reported experience.
From April 1998 through July 2008, 20 patients underwent 21 cardiac autotransplantations for complex left-sided cardiac tumors that were nonresectable by traditional means. Demographics, tumor histology, operative data, and mortality rates were analyzed. Follow-up was complete in all patients.
Of the 20 patients, 17 had malignant lesions, and 3 had benign disease. Two patients had left ventricular lesions and the rest had left atrial lesions. Histology showed 7 malignant fibrous histiocytomas, 5 undifferentiated sarcomas, 3 leiomyosarcomas, 1 malignant osteosarcoma, 1 myxoid sarcoma, 2 paragangliomas, and 1 myxoma. Fourteen patients had previous resection of their cardiac tumors, and 1 patient had repeat autotransplantation for recurrent disease. There were no operative deaths in patients undergoing autotransplantation alone (0/15), and 3 operative deaths in patients undergoing combined cardiac autotransplantation and pneumonectomy (3/6, 50%). All 3 patients with benign disease survived surgery and are alive without recurrent disease. Local recurrence occurred in 3/18 patients with malignant disease: 1 underwent successful repeat autotransplantation and 2 are receiving chemotherapy. The mean survival for all patients with sarcoma is 22 months.
Cardiac autotransplantation enables complete resection and accurate reconstruction in many primary malignant and complex benign left-heart tumors.
PMCID: PMC2565530  PMID: 18941651
Heart neoplasms/mortality/surgery; heart transplantation/methods; replantation/methods; sarcoma/surgery; transplantation, autologous
24.  Emerging Molecular Targets in Esophageal Cancers 
Gastrointestinal Cancer Research : GCR  2007;1(4 Suppl 2):S3-S6.
The phenotypic progression to esophageal cancer is driven by an ongoing process of genomic instability constituting a number of clonal variants and leading to outgrowth of the “fittest” abnormal cell clones. Factors contributing to this process include exposure to chronic tissue damage, host susceptibilities, and alterations of molecular circuitries implicated in tissue homeostasis. Characterization of the host modifiers and molecular alterations will likely lead to the discovery of biomarkers useful for constructing stratified models defining cancer risk, allowing early detection, prediction of response to primary or secondary intervention, and prognostic evaluation of the disease. In addition, identification of key biologic pathways driving esophageal tumorigenesis will lead to development of new targeted interventions. The advent of increasingly sophisticated “omics” (ie, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, kinomics, pharmacogenomics), integration of systems biology, and expansion of biologic platforms bridging developmental physio-biology to cancer pathology constitute the backbone of novel tumor classifications and tailored therapies based on molecular signatures and profiles. Promising molecular targets, particularly those implicated in tissue homeostasis and stem cell maintenance, and their potential use in predictive models will be discussed.
PMCID: PMC2666833  PMID: 19360144

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