MicroRNAs in solid malignancies can behave as predictors of either good or poor outcome. This is the case with members of the miR-200 family, which are the primary regulators of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition and have been reported to act as both oncogenes and tumor suppressors. This study assessed the role of miR-200c as regulator of class III β-tubulin (TUBB3), a factor associated with drug-resistance and poor prognosis in ovarian cancer.
Expression of miR-200c was assessed in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines with inherent or acquired drug-resistance. Stable overexpression of miR-200c was obtained in A2780 and Hey cell lines. Crosslinking-coupled affinity purification method and ribonucleic-immunoprecipitation assay were used to characterise the complexes between miR-200c, HuR and 3′UTR region of TUBB3 mRNA. Nanofluidic technology and immunohistochemistry were used to analyze the expression of HuR, TUBB3 and miR-200c in 220 ovarian cancer patients.
In a panel of ovarian adenocarcinoma cell lines, we observed a direct correlation between miR-200c expression and chemoresistance. In A2780 cells miR-200c targeted TUBB3 3′UTR, while a positive correlation was observed between miR-200c and TUBB3 expression in most of the other cell lines. Through the analysis of 3′UTR-associated complexes, we found that the miR-200c can increase the association of the RNA binding protein HuR with TUBB3 mRNA, whereas HuR binding enhanced TUBB3 mRNA translation. Most importantly, in our analysis on 220 ovarian cancer patients we observed that overexpression of miR-200c correlated with poor or good outcome depending on the cellular localization of HuR.
This study suggests a model for the combined regulatory activity of miR-200c and HuR on TUBB3 expression in ovarian cancer. When HuR is nuclear, high expression of miR-200c inhibits TUBB3 expression and results in a good prognosis, whereas when HuR occurs in cytoplasm, the same miRNA enhances TUBB3 expression and produces a poor outcome. These findings reveal the usefulness of multidimensional analysis in the investigation of the prognostic role of miRNA expression.
Ovarian cancer; miR-200c; Class III beta-tubulin; HuR; Predictive biomarkers
Objective. To assess the prevalence of obesity, overweight, and thinness among children in an Italian school. Methods. Five hundred ninety-five children (289 males and 306 females) were enrolled, aged between 6 and 19 years old, in Italian school in Rome. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated according to International Obesity Task Force (IOFT) cut-off points. By age criterion all participants have been classified in age classes. Results. A normal BMI was recorded in 73.6% of all cases. Obesity, overweight, and thinness prevalence was 5.9%, 9.6%, and 10.9%, respectively, without statistical differences in both genders, except the prevalence of overweight that resulted statistically significant (13.1% males versus 6.2% females, P < 0.05). Differences in the age groups have been found. About 23.4% of children between 7 to 11 years were defined obese and about 42.3% between 6 to 8 years thin grade 2, respectively. Conclusion. The study reports the low prevalence of overweight and obesity, in contrast to the unexpected thinness prevalence. The identification of specific age groups with abnormal nutritional status could be the first step to address future epidemiological investigations in order to plan strategic approach in selected age periods.
Endometrial cancer patients with high grade tumours, deep myometrial invasion, or advanced stage disease have a poor prognosis. Randomized studies have demonstrated prevention of loco-regional relapses with radiotherapy with no effect on overall survival. The possible additive effect of chemotherapy remains unclear. Two randomized clinical trials (NSGO-EC-9501/EORTC-55991 and MaNGO ILIADE-III) were undertaken to clarify if sequential combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy improves progression-free survival in high-risk endometrial cancer. The two studies were pooled.
Patients (n=540; 534 evaluable) with operated endometrial cancer FIGO stage I-III with no residual tumour and prognostic factors implying high-risk were randomly allocated to adjuvant radiotherapy with or without sequential chemotherapy.
In the NSGO/EORTC study, combined modality treatment was associated with a 36 % reduction in the risk for relapse or death (HR 0.64, 95 % CI 0.41-0.99; P=0.04); two-sided tests were used. The result from the MaNGO-study pointed in the same direction (HR 0.61), but was not significant. In combined analysis, the estimate of risk for relapse or death was similar but with narrower confidence limits (HR 0.63, CI 0.44-0.89; P=0.009). Neither study showed significant differences in overall survival. In combined analysis, overall survival approached statistical significance (HR 0.69, CI 0.46-1.03; P = 0.07) and cancer-specific survival was significant (HR 0.55, CI 0.35-0.88; p=0.01).
Addition of adjuvant chemotherapy to radiation improves progression-free survival in operated endometrial cancer patients with no residual tumour and high risk profile. A remaining question for future studies is if addition of radiotherapy to chemotherapy improves the results.
adjuvant therapy; chemotherapy; radiotherapy; chemoradiotherapy; endometrial cancer; randomised clinical trial
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell malignancy with a multifaceted immune dysfunction. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) degrades tryptophan into kynurenine (KYN), which inhibits effector T cells and promote regulatory T-cell (Treg) differentiation. It is presently unknown whether MM cells express IDO1 and whether IDO1 activity correlates with immune system impairment.
We investigated IDO1 expression in 25 consecutive patients with symptomatic MM and in 7 patients with either monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS; n=3) or smoldering MM (SMM; n=4). IDO1-driven tryptophan breakdown was correlated with the release of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and with the frequency of Treg cells and NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ T cells.
KYN was increased in 75% of patients with symptomatic MM and correlated with the expansion of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ Treg cells and the contraction of NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ T cells. In vitro, primary MM cells promoted the differentiation of allogeneic CD4+ T cells into bona fide CD4+CD25hiFoxP3hi Treg cells and suppressed IFN-γ/IL-2 secretion, while preserving IL-4 and IL-10 production. Both Treg expansion and inhibition of Th1 differentiation by MM cells were reverted, at least in part, by d,l-1-methyl-tryptophan, a chemical inhibitor of IDO. Notably, HGF levels were higher within the BM microenvironment of patients with IDO+ myeloma disease compared with patients having IDO- MM. Mechanistically, the antagonism of MET receptor for HGF with SU11274, a MET inhibitor, prevented HGF-induced AKT phosphorylation in MM cells and translated into reduced IDO protein levels and functional activity.
These data suggest that IDO1 expression may contribute to immune suppression in patients with MM and possibly other HGF-producing cancers.
Stromal elements within a tumor interact with cancer cells to create a microenvironment that supports tumor growth and survival. Adrenomedullin (ADM) is an autocrine/paracrine factor produced by both stromal cells and cancer cells to create such a microenvironment. During differentiation of macrophages, ADM is produced in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli and hypoxia. In this study we investigated the role of ADM as a growth factor for ovarian cancer cells and as a modulator of macrophages. We also analyzed ADM expression levels in a retrospective clinical study using nanofluidic technology and assessment of ADM at the gene level in 220 ovarian cancer patients. To study the effects of ADM, ovarian cancer cell lines A2780, OVCAR-3, and HEY and their drug-resistant counterparts were used for proliferation assays, while monocytes from healthy donors were differentiated in vitro. ADM was a weak growth factor, as revealed by proliferation assays and cell cycle analysis. After culturing cancer cells under stressing conditions, such as serum starvation and/or hypoxia, ADM was found to be a survival factor in HEY but not in other cell lines. In macrophages, ADM showed activity on proliferation/differentiation, primarily in type 2 macrophages (M2). Unexpectedly, the clinical study revealed that high expression of ADM was linked to positive outcome and to cancer with low Ca125. In conclusion, although in vitro ADM was a potential factor in biological aggressiveness, this possibility was not confirmed in patients. Therefore, use of an ADM antagonist would be inappropriate in managing ovarian cancer patients.
Congenital syphilis is still a cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality. Untreated maternal infection leads to adverse pregnancy outcomes, including early fetal loss, stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight, neonatal and infant death, and congenital disease among newborns. Clinical manifestations of congenital syphilis are influenced by gestational age, stage of maternal syphilis, maternal treatment, and immunological response of the fetus. It has been traditionally classified in early congenital syphilis and late congenital syphilis. Diagnosis of maternal infection is based on clinical findings, serological tests, and direct identification of treponemes in clinical specimens. Adequate treatment of maternal infection is effective for preventing maternal transmission to the fetus and for treating fetal infection. Prenatal diagnosis of congenital syphilis includes noninvasive and invasive diagnosis. Serological screening during pregnancy and during preconception period should be performed to reduce the incidence of congenital syphilis.
Infection with herpes simplex is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.
Because the infection is common in women of reproductive age it can be contracted and transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy and the newborn. Herpes simplex virus is an important cause of neonatal infection, which can lead to death or long-term disabilities. Rarely in the uterus, it occurs frequently during the transmission delivery.
The greatest risk of transmission to the fetus and the newborn occurs in case of an initial maternal infection contracted in the second half of pregnancy. The risk of transmission of maternal-fetal-neonatal herpes simplex can be decreased by performing a treatment with antiviral drugs or resorting to a caesarean section in some specific cases. The purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations on management of herpes simplex infections in pregnancy and strategies to prevent transmission from mother to fetus.
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by vascular thrombosis and/or pregnancy morbidity in the presence of circulating antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL). Different pathogenic mechanisms for aPL-mediated pregnancy failure have been proposed. In particular a direct effect of aPL on both maternal and fetal side of the placental tissue has been reported, since their reactivity with β2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI) makes them adhere to trophoblast and human endometrial endothelial cell (HEEC) membranes. β2GPI can be recognized by aPL that, once bound, interfere with both trophoblast functions and with the HEEC differentiation.
APS patients can be successfully treated with Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH). Recent reports suggest that LMWH acts through mechanisms alternative to its well known anticoagulant effect, because of its ability to bind β2GPI. In our previous studies, we showed that LMWH is able to reduce the aPL binding to trophoblasts and restore cell invasiveness and differentiation. So far, however, no study has described its effects on endometrial angiogenesis.
The aim of our research was to evaluate whether two LMWHs, tinzaparin and enoxaparin, have an effect on the aPL-inhibited endometrial angiogenesis. This prompted us to investigate: (i) in vitro HEEC angiogenesis through a Matrigel assay; (ii) VEGF secretion by ELISA; (iii) matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) activity by gelatin zymography; (iv) Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) DNA binding activity by colorimetric assay; (v) STAT-3 activation by a sandwich-ELISA kit. Furthermore, using an in vivo murine model we investigated the LMWHs effects on angiogenesis.
We demonstrated that the addition of LMWHs prevents aPL-inhibited HEEC angiogenesis, both in vitro and in vivo, and is able to restore the aPL inhibited NF-κB and/or STAT-3 activity, the VEGF secretion and the MMPs activity.
The demonstration of a beneficial role for LMWHs on the aPL-inhibited HEEC angiogenesis might provide additional mechanisms whereby this treatment protects early pregnancy in APS.
Cyclooxygenase-2 overexpression is associated with poor outcome and resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. We evaluated the antitumor activity and safety of the combination carboplatin plus the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib in recurrent heavily-treated OC patients.
Patients were administered oral celecoxib (400 mg/day) in combination with intravenous carboplatin (AUC5, q28). A Simon's two-stage design was employed.
45 patients were enrolled: 23 (51.1%) presented platinum-resistance, and 27 (60%) had received at least 3 prior regimens for recurrence. The response rate was 28.9% with 3 complete and 10 partial responses (median duration of response = 6 months). Only one (0.4%) G4 non-febrile neutropenia was observed; G3 neutropenia, anemia, or thrombocytopenia, were observed in 2.5%, 1.7%, and 1.7% of the cycles, respectively. G3-4 vomiting was reported in only 1.7%, and 0.4% of the cycles were associated with G3 dyspepsia or diarrhea or constipation. Only one patient experienced G3 hypertension associated to G2 hypersensitivity reaction. No differences in baseline versus post-treatment Quality of Life scores were observed. Median progression free survival and overall survival were 5 and 13 months, respectively.
Celecoxib combined with carboplatin showed promising activity and it is well tolerated in heavily-treated recurrent ovarian cancer patients.
Trial registration number
NCT01124435 (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier) and 935/03 (study ID numbers).
Cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells are typically differentiated in vitro with interferon (IFN)-γ and αCD3 monoclonal antibodies (mAb), followed by the repeated provision of interleukin (IL)-2. It is presently unknown whether thymoglobulin (TG), a preparation of polyclonal rabbit γ immunoglobulins directed against human thymocytes, can improve the generation efficiency of CIK cells compared with αCD3 mAb in a clinical-grade culture protocol.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 10 healthy donors and 4 patients with solid cancer were primed with IFN-γ on day 0 and low (50 ng/ml), intermediate (250 ng/ml) and high (500 ng/ml) concentrations of either αCD3 mAb or TG on day 1, and were fed with IL-2 every 3 days for 21 days. Aliquots of cells were harvested weekly to monitor the expression of representative members of the killer-like immunoglobulin receptor (KIR), NK inhibitory receptor, NK activating receptor and NK triggering receptor families. We also quantified the frequency of bona fide regulatory T cells (Treg), a T-cell subset implicated in the down-regulation of anti-tumor immunity, and tested the in vitro cytotoxic activity of CIK cells against NK-sensitive, chronic myeloid leukaemia K562 cells.
CIK cells expanded more vigorously in cultures supplemented with intermediate and high concentrations of TG compared with 50 ng/ml αCD3 mAb. TG-driven CIK cells expressed a constellation of NK activating/inhibitory receptors, such as CD158a and CD158b, NKp46, NKG2D and NKG2A/CD94, released high quantities of IL-12p40 and efficiently lysed K562 target cells. Of interest, the frequency of Treg cells was lower at any time-point compared with PBMC cultures nurtured with αCD3 mAb. Cancer patient-derived CIK cells were also expanded after priming with TG, but they expressed lower levels of the NKp46 triggering receptor and NKG2D activating receptor, thus manifesting a reduced ability to lyse K562 cells.
TG fosters the generation of functional CIK cells with no concomitant expansion of tumor-suppressive Treg cells. The culture conditions described herein should be applicable to cancer-bearing individuals, although the differentiation of fully functional CIK cells may be hindered in patients with advanced malignancies.
Pegylated granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF; pegfilgrastim) is a longer-acting form of G-CSF, whose effects on dendritic cell (DC) and regulatory T cell (Treg) mobilization, and on the in vivo and ex vivo release of immune modulating cytokines remain unexplored.
Twelve patients with gynecological cancers received carboplatin/paclitaxel chemotherapy and single-dose pegfilgrastim as prophylaxis of febrile neutropenia. Peripheral blood was collected prior to pegfilgrastim administration (day 0) and on days +7, +11 and +21, to quantify immunoregulatory cytokines and to assess type 1 DC (DC1), type 2 DC (DC2) and Treg cell mobilization. In vitro-differentiated, monocyte-derived DC were used to investigate endocytic activity, expression of DC maturation antigens and ability to activate allogeneic T-cell proliferation.
Pegfilgrastim increased the frequency of circulating DC1 and DC2 precursors. In contrast, CD4+FoxP3+ bona fide Treg cells were unchanged compared with baseline. Serum levels of hepatocyte growth factor and interleukin (IL)-12p40, but not transforming growth factor-β1 or immune suppressive kynurenines, significantly increased after pegfilgrastim administration. Interestingly, pegfilgrastim fostered in vitro monocytic secretion of IL-12p40 and IL-12p70 when compared with unconjugated G-CSF. Finally, DC populations differentiated in vitro after clinical provision of pegfilgrastim were phenotypically mature, possessed low endocytic activity, and incited a robust T-cell proliferative response.
Pegfilgrastim induced significant changes in immune cell number and function. The enhancement of monocytic IL-12 secretion portends favorable implications for pegfilgrastim administration to patients with cancer, a clinical context where the induction of immune deviation would be highly undesirable.
Among the pharmaceutical options available for treatment of ovarian cancer, much attention has been progressively focused on pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD), whose unique formulation, which entraps conventional doxorubicin in a bilayer lipidic sphere surrounded by a polyethylene glycol layer, prolongs the persistence of the drug in the circulation and potentiates intratumor drug accumulation. These properties enable this drug to sustain its very favorable toxicity profile and to be used safely in combination with other drugs. PLD has been already approved for treatment of advanced ovarian cancer patients failing first-line platinum-based treatment. Moreover, phase III trials have been already completed, and results are eagerly awaited, which hopefully will expand the range of PLD clinical application in this neoplasia both in front-line treatment, and in the salvage setting in combination with other drugs. Moreover, attempts are continuing to enable this drug to be combined with novel cytotoxic drugs and target-based agents. This review aims at summarizing the available evidence and the new perspectives for the clinical role of PLD in the management of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.
pegylated liposomal doxorubicin; ovarian cancer; clinical trials
Infection with high-risk (HR) human papillomavirus (HPV) is the major cause of cervical cancer. However, relatively few infections progress to malignant disease. Progression to malignancy requires the overexpression of the E6 and E7 genes in the integrated HPV genome. It follows that the E6 and E7 transcripts could be useful markers of disease progression. The study presented here tests this possibility, using data from colposcopy and from cytological and histological tests to compare RNA assays for the E6 and E7 genes with DNA testing. A total of 180 women underwent colposcopy, cytology, and biopsy of suspected lesions (143 cases). Cervical brush specimens were analyzed for HPV DNA and for E6 and E7 mRNA. DNA from HR HPV was found in 57.8% of the specimens; E6 and E7 transcripts were found in 45%. The rates of detection of HPV DNA and of E6 and E7 transcripts were 33.3% and 25%, respectively, for specimens with normal findings; 51.4% and 31.9%, respectively, for specimens with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 1 (CIN1); and 61.1% and 44.2% for specimens with CIN2, respectively. All specimens with CIN3 and 95.5% of specimens from patients with squamous cell carcinoma were positive by both assays. Thirty-seven patients with normal colposcopy findings did not undergo biopsy. HPV DNA and mRNA transcripts were found in 32.4% and 18.9% of these cases, respectively. Comparisons with cytological tests produced similar results. Overall, the mRNA tests showed a higher specificity than the DNA tests for high-grade lesions (72.7% and 56.2%, respectively) and a higher positive predictive value (59.3% and 49.0%, respectively). These findings suggest that mRNA assays could be more powerful than DNA testing for predicting the risk of progression and offer a strong potential as a tool for triage and patient follow-up.
We report the first case of isolated pancreatic lymph node recurrence in a locally advanced breast cancer patient.
A 41-year old woman underwent radical mastectomy according to Madden and removal of axillary lymph nodes for multicentric infiltrating ductal carcinoma pathologically staged as pT2N2M0. After six years from primary diagnosis, and four years from the diagnosis of lung recurrence, she developed an isolated metastatic lesion to pancreatic lymph node. After surgical excision of metastasis, hormone therapy with Exemestane was begun. At 16 months of follow-up, the patient appears free of disease.
Because metastatization to visceral organ carries a very unfavorable prognosis, we think that the clinical significance of the elevation of CA 15.3 serum levels in the early detection of recurrence and in monitoring metastatic disease during follow-up, should be not underestimated.
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the second most common genital malignancy in women and is the most lethal gynecological malignancy, with an estimated five-year survival rate of 39%. Despite efforts to develop an effective ovarian cancer screening method, 60% of patients still present with advanced disease. Comprehensive management using surgical cytoreduction to decrease the tumor load to a minimum, and intraperitoneal chemotherapy to eliminate microscopic disease on peritoneal surface, has the potential to greatly improve quality of life and to have an impact on survival in ovarian cancer patients. Despite achieving clinical remission after completion of initial treatment, most patients (60%) with advanced EOC will ultimately develop recurrent disease or show drug resistance; the eventual rate of curability is less than 30%. Given the poor outcome of women with advanced EOC, it is imperative to continue to explore novel therapies.
Peritoneal carcinosis; Ovarian cancer; Intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy; Cytoreduction
Background. To validate feasibility, efficacy, and safeness of laparoscopic treatment of benign adnexal diseases through a single transumbilical access (LESS) in a prospective series of patients. Methods. A prospective clinical trial including 30 women has been conducted at the Division of Gynecology of Catholic University of Sacred Hearth of Rome. Patients underwent different laparoscopic procedures by LESS utilizing a multiport trocar and conventional straight laparoscopic instrumentation. Intra and perioperative outcome has been reported. Results. Ten mono/bilateral adnexectomies and 20 cystectomies have been performed by LESS approach. Laparoscopic procedures were completed through a single access in 28 cases (93.4%). No major intra- or postoperative complications were observed. Mean hospital stay was 1.3 days. Conclusions. LESS approach is feasible to treat benign adnexal disease with a very low conversion rate and no early or late complications. More clinical data are needed to confirm these advantages compared to standard laparoscopic technique.
We report the first case of isolated femur metastasis in a locally advanced cervical cancer (LACC) patients.
A 40-year-old woman presenting with carcinoma of the uterine cervix, FIGO stage IIb was administered concomitant chemo-radiation and achieved clinical partial response. Before the planned surgery, she developed an isolated metastatic lytic lesion of the left femur. After surgical excision of metastasis, she refused palliative chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, and died 3 months later because of progression of the disease.
Bone metastasis is not so infrequent in patients with LACC. Because the prognosis of these patients is poor and most of them die within 1 year after the diagnosis of metastatic disease, the policy of treatment should be directed to maintain their quality of life.
Cervical cancer; Bone metastasis; Femur
Umbilical cord blood (UCB) is enriched with transplantable CD34+ cells. In addition to CD34-expressing haematopoietic stem cells (HSC), human UCB contains a rare population of CD34-lineage- cells endowed with the ability to differentiate along the T/NK pathway in response to interleukin (IL)-15 and a stromal cell support. IL-21 is a crucial regulator of NK cell function, whose influence on IL-15-induced differentiation of CD34-lineage- cells has not been investigated previously. The present study was designed and conducted to address whether IL-21 might replace the stromal cell requirements and foster the IL-15-induced NK differentiation of human UCB CD34-lineage- cells.
CD34-lineage- cells were maintained in liquid culture with Flt3-L and SCF, with the addition of IL-15 and IL-21, either alone or in combination. Cultures were established in the absence of feeder cells or serum supplementation. Cytokine-treated cells were used to evaluate cell surface phenotype, expression of molecular determinants of lymphoid/NK cell differentiation, secretion of IFN-γ, GM-CSF, TNF-α and CCL3/MIP-1α, and cytolytic activity against NK-sensitive tumour cell targets. CD34-lineage- cells proliferated vigorously in response to IL-15 and IL-21 but not to IL-21 alone, and up-regulated phosphorylated Stat1 and Stat3 proteins. CD34-lineage- cells expanded by IL-21 in combination with IL-15 acquired lymphoid morphology and killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR)-CD56+CD16-/+ phenotype, consistent with pseudo-mature NK cells. IL-21/IL-15-differentiated cells expressed high levels of mRNA for Bcl-2, GATA-3 and Id2, a master switch required for NK-cell development, and harboured un-rearranged TCRγ genes. From a functional standpoint, IL-21/IL-15-treated cells secreted copious amounts of IFN-γ, GM-CSF and CCL3/MIP-1α, and expressed cell surface CD107a upon contact with NK-sensitive tumour targets, a measure of exocytosis of NK secretory granules.
This study underpins a novel role for IL-21 in the differentiation of pseudo-mature lytic NK cells in a synergistic context with IL-15, and identifies a potential strategy to expand functional NK cells for immunotherapy.
Much attention has been recently focused on the role of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the initiation and progression of solid malignancies. Since CSCs are able to proliferate and self-renew extensively, thus sustaining tumor growth, the identification of CSCs through their antigenic profile might have relevant clinical implications. In this context, CD133 antigen has proved to be a marker of tumor cells with stemness features in several human malignancies.
The aim of the study was to investigate the clinical role of the immunohistochemically assessed expression of CD133 in a large single Institution series of ovarian cancer patients.
The study included 160 cases admitted to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit, Catholic University of Campobasso and Rome. CD133 antigen was identified by the monoclonal mouse anti-CD133-1 antibody (clone CD133 Miltenyi biotec).
In the overall series CD133 positive tumor cells were observed in 50/160 (31.2%) cases. A diffuse cytoplasmic pattern was identified in 30/50 (60.0%), while an apical cytoplasmic pattern was found in 20/50 (40.0%) of CD133 positive tumors.
As of September 2008, the median follow up was 37 months (range: 2–112). During the follow up period, progression and death of disease were observed in 123 (76.9%), and 88 (55.0%) cases, respectively. There was no difference in TTP between cases with negative (median TTP = 23 months) versus positive CD133 expression (median TTP = 24 months) (p value = 0.3). Similar results were obtained for OS. When considering the TTP and OS curves according to the pattern of CD133 expression, a trend to a worse prognosis for cases with diffuse cytoplasmic versus the apical cytoplasmic pattern was documented, although the statistical significance was not reached.
The immunohistochemical assessment of CD133 expression seems not to provide additional prognostic information in ovarian cancer patients. The role of the different pattern of CD133 immunoreaction deserves further investigation in a larger series.
Several evidences suggested that ovarian cancer (OC) patients showing isolated lymph node recurrence (ILNR) have an indolent evolution. The aim of the study was to retrospectively review ILNR observed in our Institution over the past 11 years in order to investigate: the pattern of disease progression after the first diagnosis of ILNR, and their clinical outcome.
Between September 1995 and September 2006, 523 epithelial OC were diagnosed in our centers, and 301 of these relapsed. Cases with a diagnosis of ILNR, and at least 12 months of follow up after the diagnosis of ILNR were included. Post-relapse survival (PRS) was recorded from the date of the diagnosis of ILNR to the date of death or date last seen. Survival probabilities were estimated according to the method of Kaplan and Meier and compared by the log rank test. Cox's regression model with stepwise variable selection was used to analyse the role of clinico-pathological parameters as prognostic factors for PRS.
Thirty-two cases were identified as ILNR (10.6% of the recurrences, and 6.1% of the OC population). Most of the patients continued to exhibit the same pattern of progression during follow up, with 75% of the patients free from peritoneal disease after 2 years from the diagnosis of ILNR. Median Post-Relapse Survival (PRS) was 37 months, and median Overall Survival (OS) was 109 months, with all patients surviving more than 2 years after the initial diagnosis. In multivariate analysis only Platinum-Free Interval (PFI) retained a prognostic role for PRS (p value = 0.033).
ILNR represents a less aggressive pattern of OC relapse which keeps progressing in the lymph nodes in a relatively high percentage of cases. On the other hand, the occurrence of peritoneal spreading after ILNR is associated with a rapidly fatal outcome.
Very little data about the conservative treatment of early stage glassy cell cervical cancer have been reported.
A 30-year old patient, nulligravida was admitted to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit of the Catholic University of Campobasso for irregular post-coital vaginal bleeding. The patients was staged as having FIGO stage IB1 (tumor diameter = 2 cm) squamous cervical cancer. After extensive counseling of the patient and her family, laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy and cold knife conization were performed. The final diagnosis was FIGO Stage IB1 glassy cell carcinoma. Currently, after a follow-up of 38 months, she has no evidence of disease.
We reported a case of early stage glassy cell cancer patient, who was conservatively treated by conization and laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy.
The MITO-2 (Multicentre Italian Trials in Ovarian cancer) study is a randomized phase III trial comparing carboplatin plus paclitaxel to carboplatin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in first-line chemotherapy of patients with ovarian cancer. Due to the paucity of published phase I data on the 3-weekly experimental schedule used, an early safety analysis was planned.
Patients with ovarian cancer (stage Ic-IV), aged < 75 years, ECOG performance status ≤ 2, were randomized to carboplatin AUC 5 plus paclitaxel 175 mg/m2, every 3 weeks or to carboplatin AUC 5 plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin 30 mg/m2, every 3 weeks. Treatment was planned for 6 cycles. Toxicity was coded according to the NCI-CTC version 2.0.
The pre-planned safety analysis was performed in July 2004. Data from the first 50 patients treated with carboplatin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin were evaluated. Median age was 60 years (range 34–75). Forty-three patients (86%) completed 6 cycles. Two thirds of the patients had at least one cycle delayed due to toxicity, but 63% of the cycles were administered on time. In most cases the reason for chemotherapy delay was neutropenia or other hematological toxicity. No delay due to palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE) was recorded. No toxic death was recorded. Reported hematological toxicities were: grade (G) 3 anemia 16%, G3/G4 neutropenia 36% and 10% respectively, G3/4 thrombocytopenia 22% and 4% respectively. Non-haematological toxicity was infrequent: pulmonary G1 6%, heart rhythm G1 4%, liver toxicity G1 6%, G2 4% and G3 2%. Complete hair loss was reported in 6% of patients, and G1 neuropathy in 2%. PPE was recorded in 14% of the cases (G1 10%, G2 2%, G3 2%).
This safety analysis shows that the adopted schedule of carboplatin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin given every 3 weeks is feasible as first line treatment in ovarian cancer patients, although 37% of the cycles were delayed due to haematological toxicity. Toxicities that are common with standard combination of carboplatin plus paclitaxel (neurotoxicity and hair loss) are infrequent with this experimental schedule, and skin toxicity appears manageable.
Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2), the key enzyme in the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins, is involved in critical steps of tumor onset and progression, and is a strong predictor of chemotherapy resistance and poor outcome in advanced ovarian cancer. To our knowledge, no data has been reported until now about the association between COX-2 status and response to different chemotherapy regimens.
A retrospective study was performed to investigate the association of COX-2 with outcome and response to platinum versus platinum/paclitaxel in 68 primary ovarian cancer. COX-2 immunoreaction was performed on paraffin-embedded sections by using rabbit polyclonal antiserum against COX-2.
In the overall series, COX-2 positivity was found in a statistically significant higher percentage of not responding cases than in patients responding to chemotherapy (n = 15/21; 71.4% versus n = 17/47; 36.1%; p value = 0.0072). A higher percentage of COX-2 positivity was found in patients unresponsive (n = 11/13; 84.6%) versus patients responsive to platinum-based chemotherapy (n = 9/26; 34.6%). In cases administered platinum/paclitaxel, COX-2 positivity was found in 4 out of 8 (50%) of un responsive versus 8 out of 21 (38.1%) of responsive cases. Logistic regression analysis of parameters likely to affect response to treatment resulted in a p value = 0.17 for the interaction COX-2/type of treatment.
Although these findings need to be confirmed in a larger series, our study suggests a possible indication that there is a difference in the influence of COX-2 on response depending on treatment regimen.
The occurrence of skeletal muscle metastases is a very rare event. Only two cases of late skeletal muscle recurrence from cervical cancer have been documented until now.
A 38-year old patient, submitted to radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy for a squamous FIGO stage IB1 cervical carcinoma, presented after 76 months with a palpable, and painless swelling on the left hemithorax. MRI showed a nodule located in the context of the intercostal muscles. Pathology revealed the presence of metastasis of squamous cell carcinoma of similar morphology as the primary. On the basis of FDG-PET findings, which excluded other sites of disease, surgical excision of the lesion was performed. The patient was triaged to chemotherapy plus external radiotherapy.
A case of skeletal muscle recurrence from cervical cancer after a very long interval from primary diagnosis is reported. Muscular pain or weakness, or just a palpable mass in a patient with a history of cancer has always to raise the suspicion of muscle metastasis.
Carboplatin/paclitaxel is the chemotherapy of choice for advanced ovarian cancer, both in first line and in platinum-sensitive recurrence. Although a significant proportion of patients have some neurotoxicity during treatment, the long-term outcome of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy has been scantly studied. We retrospectively assessed the prevalence of residual neuropathy in a cohort of patients in clinical remission after first-line carboplatin/paclitaxel for advanced ovarian cancer.
120 patients have been included in this study (101 participating in a multicentre phase III trial evaluating the efficacy of consolidation treatment with topotecan, and 19 treated at the National Cancer Institute of Naples after the end of the trial). All patients received carboplatin (AUC 5) plus paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) every 3 weeks for 6 cycles, completing treatment between 1998 and 2003. Data were collected between May and September 2004. Residual sensory and motor neurotoxicity were coded according to the National Cancer Institute – Common Toxicity Criteria.
55 patients (46%) did not experience any grade of neurological toxicity during chemotherapy and of these none had signs of neuropathy during follow-up. The other 65 patients (54%) had chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity during treatment and follow-up data are available for 60 of them. Fourteen out of 60 patients (23%) referred residual neuropathy at the most recent follow-up visit, after a median follow up of 18 months (range, 7–58 months): 12 patients had grade 1 and 2 patients grade 2 peripheral sensory neuropathy; 3 patients also had grade 1 motor neuropathy. The remaining 46/60 patients (77%) had no residual neuropathy at the moment of interview: recovery from neurotoxicity had occurred in the first 2 months after the end of chemotherapy in 22 (37%), between 2 and 6 months in 15 (25%), or after more than 6 months in 9 patients (15%). Considering all 120 treated patients, there was a 15% probability of persistent neurological toxicity 6 months after the end of chemotherapy.
A significant proportion of patients with advanced ovarian cancer treated with first-line carboplatin/paclitaxel suffer long-term residual neuropathy. This issue should be carefully taken into account before considering re-treatment with the same agents in sensitive recurrent disease.