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1.  Development of cabozantinib for the treatment of prostate cancer [Corrigendum] 
Core Evidence  2014;9:69.
PMCID: PMC4032185  PMID: 24868191
2.  Development of cabozantinib for the treatment of prostate cancer 
Core Evidence  2014;9:61-67.
Cabozantinib (XL184) is a multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase with predominantly MET and vascular endothelial growth factor inhibition properties. It is currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of progressive metastatic medullary thyroid cancer. The agent has a convenient once-daily oral dosing schedule and has demonstrated encouraging activity in metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). A Phase I/II trial demonstrated responses in soft tissue, visceral disease, and bone metastases in CRPC. An objective response rate of 5%, a stable disease rate of 75%, and a median progression-free survival of 6 months was observed. As compared with the 140 mg daily dose used in thyroid cancer, a lower dose of 60 mg daily is currently being utilized in prostate cancer studies due to the fact that toxicity could be reduced without compromising efficacy. Randomized trials are ongoing in comparison with prednisone or with mitoxantrone and prednisone in pretreated metastatic CRPC. Cabozantinib has demonstrated a unique mechanism of action and preliminary efficacy in the crowded therapeutic field of prostate cancer. Since multiple therapies have recently demonstrated overall survival benefit in metastatic CRPC, cabozantinib will likely face some challenges in clinical application. At present, in this rapidly evolving field, it is unclear what proportion of patients with prostate cancer will be eligible to receive this therapy. The cost of cabozantinib is likely to be another deterrent, especially if it remains more expensive than other oral therapies, such as abiraterone and enzalutamide. Defining the role of MET overexpression and RET mutations as biomarkers in prostate cancer may help to guide patient selection, and enrich and enhance the future applications of this targeted novel agent.
PMCID: PMC4003147  PMID: 24790591
XL184; castrate-resistant; vascular endothelial growth factor; MET; tyrosine kinase; metastasis
3.  Ocriplasmin for symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion: an evidence-based review of its potential 
Core Evidence  2014;9:51-59.
Vitreomacular traction is a multicategory entity that may cause substantial visual loss due to the formation of a macular hole or traction-induced tissue distortion. The advent of optical coherent tomography (OCT) has demonstrated the anatomic features of persistent vitreomacular attachment (VMA) more definitively, including in many asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic patients. The indications for intervention are unclear, since it is not possible to predict which eyes might be likely to develop progressive visual loss. This has been especially important since for many years, the only treatment option involved surgical intervention (vitrectomy) to release the persistent VMA. Recently, a pharmacolytic agent, ocriplasmin, has become available after many years of development and investigation, and may offer a feasible alternative to surgery, or even a risk/benefit ratio sufficiently favorable to offer intervention at an earlier stage of VMA. Several studies, including a large, prospective clinical trial, have established the foundation of its rationale and efficacy, providing the basis of its approval. The role for ocriplasmin in clinical practice is in the process of being determined. This paper summarizes current knowledge and status of investigations regarding ocriplasmin-induced pharmacologic vitreolysis, and offers some evidence-based considerations for its use.
PMCID: PMC3968080  PMID: 24711777
macular edema; microplasmin; pharmacologic vitreolysis; posterior vitreous detachment
5.  Mavrilimumab: an evidence based review of its potential in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis 
Core Evidence  2014;9:41-48.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management has greatly improved with the development of biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs, but a proportion of patients do not improve despite the biologic drugs currently available. We need new biologic agents with novel mechanisms of action for the treatment of refractory patients. Recent evidence has shown that granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is involved in the pathogenesis of RA. GM-CSF can exacerbate RA and elevated levels of this cytokine have been observed in synovial fluid from RA patients. Antagonism of GM-CSF can strikingly reduce established disease in mouse models of arthritis. Mavrilimumab, a human monoclonal antibody to GM-CSF receptor α, is a competitive antagonist of GM-CSF signaling. Phase I and II studies have shown good clinical response with a good safety profile in patients with mild to moderate RA, suggesting encouraging effects of mavrilimumab for the treatment of RA. This paper reviews the preclinical and clinical data evaluating the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of mavrilimumab in the treatment of RA.
PMCID: PMC3958547  PMID: 24648832
rheumatoid arthritis; GM-CSF; mavrilimumab
6.  Micafungin: an evidence-based review of its place in therapy 
Core Evidence  2014;9:27-39.
Invasive fungal infections have increased throughout the world. Many of these infections occur in patients with multiple comorbidities who are receiving medications with the potential for interactions with antifungal therapy that could lead to renal and hepatic dysfunction. The second marketed echinocandin, micafungin, was approved in 2005 for the treatment of esophageal candidiasis and prophylaxis of invasive Candida infections in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The indication for use was later expanded to include candidemia, acute disseminated candidiasis, Candida abscesses, and peritonitis. Like other echinocandins it is fungicidal against Candida species, including those that are polyene- and azole-resistant and fungistatic against Aspergillus species. Its formulation is by the intravenous route only and it is dosed once daily without a loading dose as 85% of the steady state concentration is achieved after three daily doses. It has a favorable tolerability profile with no significant drug interactions and does not need adjustment for renal or hepatic insufficiency.
PMCID: PMC3940642  PMID: 24596542
echinocandin; micafungin; Candida; Aspergillus; prophylaxis
7.  Ceftazidime–avibactam: an evidence-based review of its pharmacology and potential use in the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections 
Core Evidence  2014;9:13-25.
Avibactam (NXL104, AVE1330A) is a semi-synthetic, non-β-lactam, β-lactamase inhibitor that is active against Ambler class A, class C, and some class D serine β-lactamases. In this review, we summarize the in vitro data, pharmacology, mechanisms of action and resistance, and clinical trial data relating to the use of this agent combined with ceftazidime for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. The addition of avibactam to ceftazidime improves its in vitro activity against Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Avibactam does not improve the activity of ceftazidime against Acinetobacter spp., Burkholderia spp., or most anaerobic Gram-negative rods. Pharmacodynamic data indicate that ceftazidime—avibactam is bactericidal at concentrations achievable in human serum. Animal studies demonstrate that ceftazidime–avibactam is effective in ceftazidime-resistant Gram-negative septicemia, meningitis, pyelonephritis, and pneumonia. Limited clinical trials published to date have reported that ceftazidime–avibactam is as effective as therapy with a carbapenem in complicated urinary tract infection and complicated intra-abdominal infection (combined with metronidazole) including infection caused by cephalosporin-resistant Gram-negative isolates. Safety and tolerability of ceftazidime–avibactam in clinical trials has been excellent, with few serious drug-related adverse events reported. Given the abundant clinical experience with ceftazidime and the significant improvement that avibactam provides in its activity against contemporary β-lactamase-producing Gram-negative pathogens, it is likely this new combination agent will play a role in the empiric treatment of complicated urinary tract infections (monotherapy) and complicated intra-abdominal infections (in combination with metronidazole) caused or suspected to be caused by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens (eg, extended spectrum beta-lactamase-, AmpC-, or Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae and multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa). Potential future uses also include hospital-acquired pneumonia (in combination with antistaphylococcal and antipneumococcal agents) or treatment of skin and soft tissue infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative pathogens (eg, diabetic foot infections), but further clinical trials are required.
PMCID: PMC3908787  PMID: 24493994
β-lactamase; microbiology; pharmacokinetics; NXL-104; clinical trials; review
8.  Targeted therapy in triple-negative metastatic breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Core Evidence  2014;9:1-11.
To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared the efficacy of targeted therapy to conventional chemotherapy (CT) in patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Several databases were searched, including Medline, Embase, LILACS, and CENTRAL. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). We performed a meta-analysis of the published data. The results are expressed as hazard ratio (HR) or risk ratio, with their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).
The final analysis included twelve trials comprising 2,054 patients with TNBC, which compared conventional CT alone against CT combined with targeted therapy (bevacizumab [Bev], sorafenib [Sor], cetuximab, lapatinib, and iniparib). PFS was superior in previously untreated patients with TNBC who received Bev plus CT compared to CT alone (fixed effect, HR 0.62, 95% CI 0.51–0.75; P<0.00001). Also, PFS was higher in one study that tested Bev plus CT combination in previously treated patients (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.33–0.74; P=0.0006). Sor plus CT was also tested as first-line and second-line treatments. The pooled data of PFS favored the combination CT plus Sor (fixed effect, HR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49–0.98; P=0.04). Comparisons of iniparib plus CT also had a better PFS than CT alone (fixed effect, HR 0.75, 95% CI 0.62–0.90; P=0.002).
Targeted therapy, when associated with conventional CT, demonstrated gains in the PFS of patients with TNBC.
PMCID: PMC3891489  PMID: 24476748
triple-negative; chemotherapy; breast cancer; systematic review
9.  Lapatinib plus chemotherapy or endocrine therapy (CET) versus CET alone in the treatment of HER-2-overexpressing locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Core Evidence  2013;8:69-78.
This paper reports a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy of lapatinib plus chemotherapy or endocrine therapy (CET) versus CET alone in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-overexpressing (HER-2+) locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
Several databases were searched, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, and CENTRAL. The primary endpoints were progression-free survival and overall survival. The side effects of each treatment were analyzed. The data extracted from the studies were combined by using the hazard ratio or risk ratio with their corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).
A total of 113 references were identified and screened. The final analysis included four trials comprising 1,073 patients with HER-2+. The overall response rate was higher in patients who received the combination of CET plus lapatinib (risk ratio 0.78; 95% CI 0.71–0.85; P < 0.00001) but with significant heterogeneity (χ2 = 15.61, df = 3; P = 0.001; I2 = 81%). This result remained favorable to the use of lapatinib when a random-effects model analysis was performed (risk ratio 0.76; 95% CI 0.62–0.94; P = 0.01). Progression-free survival was also higher in patients who received CET plus lapatinib (hazard ratio 0.57; 95% CI 0.49–0.66; P < 0.00001) with no heterogeneity detected on this analysis (χ2 = 3.05; df = 3; P = 0.38; I2 = 1%). Overall survival was significantly longer in patients who received CET plus lapatinib (hazard ratio 0.80; 95% CI 0.69–0.92; P = 0.002) without heterogeneity on this analysis (χ2 = 1.26; df = 3; P = 0.74; I2 = 0%). Regarding adverse events and severe toxicities (grade ≥3), the group receiving CET plus lapatinib had higher rates of neutropenia (risk ratio 2.08; 95% CI 1.64–2.62; P < 0.00001), diarrhea (risk ratio 4.82; 95% CI 3.14–7.41; P < 0.00001), and rash (risk ratio 8.03; 95% CI 2.46–26.23; P = 0.0006).
The combination of CET plus lapatinib increased the overall response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival in patients with HER-2+ locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3793631  PMID: 24115917
chemotherapy; lapatinib; breast cancer; meta-analysis
10.  Sugammadex as a reversal agent for neuromuscular block: an evidence-based review 
Core Evidence  2013;8:57-67.
Sugammadex is the first clinical representative of a new class of drugs called selective relaxant binding agents. It has revolutionized the way anesthesiologists think about drug reversal. Sugammadex selectively binds rocuronium or vecuronium, thereby reversing their neuromuscular blocking action. Due to its 1:1 binding of rocuronium or vecuronium, it is able to reverse any depth of neuromuscular block. So far, it has been approved for use in adult patients and for pediatric patients over 2 years. Since its approval in Europe, Japan, and Australia, further insight on its use in special patient populations and specific diseases have become available. Due to its pharmacodynamic profile, sugammadex, in combination with rocuronium, may have the potential to displace succinylcholine as the “gold standard” muscle relaxant for rapid sequence induction. The use of rocuronium or vecuronium, with the potential of reverse of their action with sugammadex, seems to be safe in patients with impaired neuromuscular transmission, ie, neuromuscular diseases, including myasthenia gravis. Data from long-term use of sugammadex is not yet available. Evidence suggesting an economic advantage of using sugammadex and justifying its relatively high cost for an anesthesia-related drug, is missing.
PMCID: PMC3789633  PMID: 24098155
reversal agent; cyclodextrin; PORC; SRBAs
11.  Lixivaptan – an evidence-based review of its clinical potential in the treatment of hyponatremia 
Core Evidence  2013;8:47-56.
Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte abnormality seen in clinical practice. Most cases of euvolemic or hypervolemic hyponatremia involve arginine vasopressin (AVP). AVP leads to a concentrated urine and negative free water clearance. Given this primary role of AVP, antagonizing its effect through blockade of its receptor in the distal tubule is an attractive therapeutic target. Lixivaptan is a newer, non-peptide, vasopressin type 2 receptor antagonist. Recent studies have demonstrated efficacy. This review summarizes the clinical pharmacology and data for this new agent.
PMCID: PMC3712664  PMID: 23874242
vasopressin; hyponatremia; heart failure; lixivaptan; therapy; outcomes
12.  Ibrutinib: an evidence-based review of its potential in the treatment of advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia 
Core Evidence  2013;8:37-45.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a heterogeneous disease with a variable course, and remains an incurable disease. Frequent relapses and eventual resistance to fludarabine characterize symptomatic CLL and portends a dismal prognosis for patients. Growing evidence has shown that signaling pathways such as the B cell receptor and NFkB are implicated in the survival and proliferation of the CLL cells which are ultimately associated with persistence of the disease. The Bruton’s tyrosine kinase pathway regulates downstream activation of the B cell receptor and has emerged as an attractive target. Ibrutinib inhibits the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase pathway, and consequently induces apoptosis of B cells. Phase I and II studies have shown impressive response rates with an excellent safety profile in patients with refractory/relapsed CLL and elderly treatment-naïve CLL patients. This paper reviews the preclinical and clinical data for ibrutinib when used in the treatment of CLL. Recent studies showing the benefit of combination therapy using ibrutinib, monoclonal antibodies, and chemoimmunotherapy are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3662532  PMID: 23717217
ibrutinib; B-cell receptor; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Bruton’s tyrosine kinase
13.  Enzalutamide: an evidence-based review of its use in the treatment of prostate cancer 
Core Evidence  2013;8:27-35.
Enzalutamide is an oral androgen receptor (AR) signaling inhibitor that was specifically engineered to overcome castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) harboring AR amplification or overexpression. Enzalutamide has demonstrated significant activity in men with metastatic CRPC.
To update the evidence and provide an overview of the available data on enzalutamide.
Evidence review
Peer reviewed articles published and listed in Medline Search were reviewed. In addition, relevant ASCO and ESMO abstracts were searched. The activity of enzalutamide is mediated by potently antagonizing the full-length AR, impairing translocation of the AR from the cytoplasm into the nucleus, and inhibiting the transcriptional activity of the AR by modulating the interaction of the AR with androgen-response elements in gene promoter regions. Enzalutamide has a favorable safety profile and the most common adverse events include fatigue, hot flashes and headache; 1% of patients experienced seizure.
Place in Therapy
The AFFIRM phase III study evaluated the clinical utility of treatment with enzalutamide in men with docetaxel-refractory metastatic CRPC. Enzalutamide improved overall survival compared to placebo, with a median overall survival of 18.4 months versus 13.6 months respectively.
Enzalutamide has demonstrated impressive efficacy in men with metastatic CRPC, moving swiftly from a phase I/II study to two pivotal phase III trials testing this agent in both chemotherapy-pretreated as well as chemotherapy-naïve CRPC patients. Ongoing studies are aiming to explore the utility of enzalutamide in earlier stages of the disease, and to investigate the optimal sequencing and combination of enzalutamide with other standard and novel therapies for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3622394  PMID: 23589709
castration-resistant prostate cancer; enzalutamide; MDV3100; antiandrogen; androgen receptor
14.  An evidence-based review of obatoclax mesylate in the treatment of hematological malignancies 
Core Evidence  2013;8:15-26.
Obatoclax mesylate is an intravenously-administered drug under investigation in Phase I and II clinical trials as a novel anticancer therapeutic for hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Obatoclax was developed as a pan-inhibitor of antiapoptotic members of the B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family of proteins, which control the intrinsic or mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Resistance to apoptosis through dysregulation of BCL-2 family members is commonly observed in hematological malignancies, and can be linked to therapeutic resistance and poor clinical outcomes. By inhibiting pro-survival BCL-2 family proteins, including MCL-1, obatoclax is proposed to (1) trigger cell death as a single agent, and (2) potentiate the anticancer effects of other therapeutics. Preclinical investigations have supported these proposals and have provided evidence suggestive of a promising therapeutic index for this drug. Phase I trials of obatoclax mesylate in leukemia and lymphoma have defined well-tolerated regimens and have identified transient neurotoxicity as the most common adverse effect of this drug. In these studies, a limited number of objective responses were observed, along with hematological improvement in a larger proportion of treated patients. Published Phase II evaluations in lymphoma and myelofibrosis, however, have not reported robust single-agent activity. Emerging evidence from ongoing preclinical and clinical investigations suggests that the full potential of obatoclax mesylate as a novel anticancer agent may be realized (1) in rational combination treatments, and (2) when guided by molecular predictors of therapeutic response. By understanding the molecular underpinnings of obatoclax response, along with optimal therapeutic regimens and indications, the potential of obatoclax mesylate for the treatment of hematological malignancies may be further clarified.
PMCID: PMC3601645  PMID: 23515850
obatoclax; leukemia; lymphoma; myelofibrosis; BCL-2; BH3 mimetic
15.  Hypofractionated external-beam radiation therapy (HEBRT) versus conventional external-beam radiation (CEBRT) in patients with localized prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Core Evidence  2013;8:1-13.
The purpose of this work was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy and side effect profile of hypofractionated versus conventional external-beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer.
Several databases were searched, including Medline, EmBase, LiLACS, and Central. The endpoints were freedom from biochemical failure and side effects. We performed a meta-analysis of the published data. The results are expressed as the hazard ratio (HR) or risk ratio (RR), with the corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).
The final analysis included nine trials comprising 2702 patients. Freedom from biochemical failure was reported in only three studies and was similar in patients who received hypofractionated or conventional radiotherapy (fixed effect, HR 1.03, 95% CI 0.88–1.20; P = 0.75), with heterogeneity [χ2 = 15.32, df = 2 (P = 0.0005); I2 = 87%]. The incidence of acute adverse gastrointestinal events was higher in the hypofractionated group (fixed effect, RR 2.02, 95% CI 1.45–2.81; P < 0.0001). We also found moderate heterogeneity on this analysis [χ2 = 7.47, df = 5 (P = 0.19); I2 = 33%]. Acute genitourinary toxicity was similar among the groups (fixed effect, RR 1.19, 95% CI 0.95–1.49; P = 0.13), with moderate heterogeneity [χ2 = 5.83, df = 4 (P = 0.21); I2 = 31%]. The incidence of all late adverse events was the same in both groups (fixed effect, gastrointestinal toxicity, RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.79–1.72, P = 0.44; and acute genitourinary toxicity, RR 1.16, 95% CI 0.80–1.68, P = 0.44).
Hypofractionated radiotherapy in localized prostate cancer was not superior to conventional radiotherapy and showed higher acute gastrointestinal toxicity in this meta-analysis. Because the number of published studies is still small, future assessments should be conducted to clarify better the true role of hypofractionated radiotherapy in patients with prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3596128  PMID: 23526383
hypofractionated; radiotherapy; prostate cancer; systematic review; acute radiation effects
16.  An evidence-based review of linezolid for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): place in therapy 
Core Evidence  2012;7:131-143.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), including community-associated and hospital-associated strains, is a major cause of human morbidity and mortality. Treatment options have become limited due to the emergence of MRSA strains with decreased sensitivity to vancomycin, which has long been the first-line therapy for serious infections. This has prompted the search for novel antibiotics that are efficacious against MRSA. Linezolid, an oxazolidinone class of antibiotic, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 for treatment of MRSA infections. Since then, there have been a multitude of clinical trials and research studies evaluating the effectiveness of linezolid against serious infections, including pneumonia (both community- and hospital-acquired), skin and soft-tissue infections such as diabetic foot ulcers, endocarditis, osteomyelitis, prosthetic devices, and others. The primary aim of this review is to provide an up-to-date evaluation of the clinical evidence for using linezolid to treat MRSA infections, with a focus on recently published studies, including those on nosocomial pneumonia. Other objectives are to analyze the cost-effectiveness of linezolid compared to other agents, and to review the pharmokinetics and pharmacodynamics of linezolid, emphasizing the most current concepts.
PMCID: PMC3526863  PMID: 23271985
linezolid; MRSA; clinical trials; pneumonia; skin infections
17.  Polifeprosan 20, 3.85% carmustine slow-release wafer in malignant glioma: evidence for role in era of standard adjuvant temozolomide 
Core Evidence  2012;7:115-130.
The Polifeprosan 20 with carmustine (BCNU, bis-chloroethylnitrosourea, Gliadel®) polymer implant wafer is a biodegradable compound containing 3.85% carmustine which slowly degrades to release carmustine and protects it from exposure to water with resultant hydrolysis until the time of release. The carmustine implant wafer was demonstrated to improve survival in blinded placebo-controlled trials in selected patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent malignant glioma, with little increased risk of adverse events. Based on these trials and other supporting data, US and European regulatory authorities granted approval for its use in recurrent and newly diagnosed malignant glioma, and it remains the only approved local treatment. The preclinical and clinical data suggest that it is optimally utilized primarily in the proportion of patients who may have total or near total removal of gross tumor. The aim of this work was to review the evidence for the use of carmustine implants in the management of malignant astrocytoma (World Health Organization grades III and IV), including newly diagnosed and recurrent disease, especially in the setting of a standard of care that has changed since the randomized trials were completed. Therapy has evolved such that patients now generally receive temozolomide chemotherapy during and after radiotherapy treatment. For patients undergoing repeat resection for malignant glioma, a randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled trial demonstrated a median survival for 110 patients who received carmustine polymers of 31 weeks compared with 23 weeks for 122 patients who only received placebo polymers. The benefit achieved statistical significance only on analysis adjusting for prognostic factors rather than for the randomized groups as a whole (hazard ratio = 0.67, P = 0.006). A blinded, placebo-controlled trial has also been performed for carmustine implant placement in newly diagnosed patients prior to standard radiotherapy. Median survival was improved from 11.6 to 13.9 months (P = 0.03), with a 29% reduction in the risk of death. When patients with glioblastoma multiforme alone were analyzed, the median survival improved from 11.4 to 13.5 months, but this improvement was not statistically significant. When a Cox’s proportional hazard model was utilized to account for other potential prognostic factors, there was a significant 31% reduction in the risk of death (P = 0.04) in this subgroup. Data from other small reports support these results and confirm that the incidence of adverse events does not appear to be increased meaningfully. Given the poor prognosis without possibility of cure, these benefits from a treatment with a favorable safety profile were considered meaningful. There is randomized evidence to support the use of carmustine wafers placed during resection of recurrent disease. Therefore, although there is limited specific evidence, this treatment is likely to be efficacious in an environment when nearly all patients receive temozolomide as part of initial management. Given that half of the patients in the randomized trial assessing the value of carmustine implants in recurrent disease had received prior chemotherapy, it is likely that this remains a valuable treatment at the time of repeat resection, even after temozolomide. There are data from multiple reports to support safety. Although there is randomized evidence to support the use of this therapy in newly diagnosed patients who will receive radiotherapy alone, it is now standard to administer both adjuvant temozolomide and radiotherapy. There are survival outcome reports for small cohorts of patients receiving temozolomide with radiotherapy, but this information is not sufficient to support firm recommendations. Based on the rationale and evidence of safety, this approach appears to be a reasonable option as more information is acquired. Available data support the safety of using carmustine wafers in this circumstance, although special attention to surgical guidelines for implanting the wafers is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3484478  PMID: 23118709
carmustine; Polifeprosan 20; malignant glioma
18.  An evidence-based review of the potential role of icatibant in the treatment of acute attacks in hereditary angioedema type I and II 
Core Evidence  2012;7:105-114.
Icatibant, a first-in-class B2 bradykinin receptor antagonist, appears to have a favorable efficacy and safety profile for the treatment of acute attacks of hereditary angioedema in adults.
To update the evidence and provide an overview of the available data on icatibant.
Evidence review
Peer reviewed articles published and listed in Medline Search and published updated guidelines for the treatment of acute attacks in hereditary angioedema type I and II in adults were reviewed. The validity and quality of evidence were evaluated.
Place in therapy
Clinical evidence for the treatment of acute hereditary angioedema attacks with icatibant is strong. Approximately 10% of the patients require a second dose. No serious adverse reactions have been reported. The only significant side effects consistently registered by 90% of patients are transient local pain, swelling, and erythema at the local injection site.
Subcutaneously administered 30 mg icatibant has been shown to be a safe and efficacious treatment in clinical trials. It is the only specific treatment authorized for self-administration by the subcutaneous route offering increased patient independence.
PMCID: PMC3467996  PMID: 23055948
icatibant; hereditary angioedema; self-administration; acute attacks
19.  Rindopepimut: an evidence-based review of its therapeutic potential in the treatment of EGFRvIII-positive glioblastoma 
Core Evidence  2012;7:93-103.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor in adults and is universally fatal. Despite surgical resection, radiotherapy, and systemic chemotherapy, the median overall survival is less than 15 months. As current therapies are not tumor-specific, treatment commonly results in toxicity. The epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII) is a naturally occurring mutant of EGFR and is expressed on approximately 20% to 30% of GBMs. As it is not expressed on normal cells, it is an ideal therapeutic target. Rindopepimut is a peptide vaccine which elicits EGFRvIII-specific humoral and cellular immune responses. Phase I and II clinical trials have demonstrated significantly higher progression-free and overall survival times in vaccinated patients with EGFRvIII-expressing GBM tumors. Side effects are minimal and mainly consist of hypersensitivity reactions. Due to the efficacy and safety of rindopepimut, it is a promising therapy for patients with GBM. Currently, rindopepimut is undergoing clinical testing in an international Phase III trial for newly diagnosed GBM and a Phase II trial for relapsed GBM.
PMCID: PMC3459544  PMID: 23055947
CDX-110; EGFRvIII; glioblastoma; immunotherapy; PEPvIII
20.  Pancrelipase: an evidence-based review of its use for treating pancreatic exocrine insufficiency 
Core Evidence  2012;7:77-91.
Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) is often observed in patients with pancreatic diseases, including chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and tumors, or after surgical resection. PEI often results in malnutrition, weight loss and steatorrhea, which together increase the risk of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, nutritional interventions, such as low-fat diets and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), are needed to improve the clinical symptoms, and to address the pathophysiology of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. PERT with delayed-release pancrelipase is now becoming a standard therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency because it significantly improves the coefficients of fat and nitrogen absorption as well as clinical symptoms, without serious treatment-emergent adverse events. The major adverse events were tolerable gastrointestinal tract symptoms, such as stomach pain, nausea, and bloating. Fibrosing colonopathy, a serious complication, is associated with high doses of enzymes. Several pancrelipase products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in recent years. Although many double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of pancrelipase products have been conducted in recent years, these studies have enrolled relatively few patients and have often been less than a few weeks in duration. Moreover, few studies have addressed the issue of pancreatic diabetes, a type of diabetes that is characterized by frequent hypoglycemia, which is difficult to manage. In addition, it is unclear whether PERT improves morbidity and mortality in such settings. Therefore, large, long-term prospective studies are needed to identify the optimal treatment for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. The studies should also examine the extent to which PERT using pancrelipase improves mortality and morbidity. The etiology and severity of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency often differ among patients with gastrointestinal diseases or diabetes (type 1 and type 2), and among elderly subjects. Finally, although there is currently limited clinical evidence, numerous extrapancreatic diseases and conditions that are highly prevalent in the general population may also be considered potential targets for PERT and related treatments.
PMCID: PMC3426252  PMID: 22936895
pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; chronic pancreatitis; pancreatic diabetes; steatorrhea; pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy; extrapancreatic diseases
21.  Colesevelam hydrochloride: evidence for its use in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and type 2 diabetes mellitus with insights into mechanism of action 
Core Evidence  2012;7:61-75.
Colesevelam hydrochloride is a molecularly engineered, second-generation bile acid sequestrant demonstrating enhanced specificity for bile acids which has been approved for use as adjunctive therapy to diet and exercise as monotherapy or in combination with a β-hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitor for the reduction of elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia. It is also the only lipid-lowering agent currently available in the United States which has been approved for use as adjunctive therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus whose glycemia remains inadequately controlled on therapy with metformin, sulfonylurea, or insulin. With the recent emphasis upon drug safety by the Food and Drug Administration and various consumer agencies, it is fitting that the role of nonsystemic lipid-lowering therapies such as bile acid sequestrants – with nearly 90 years of in-class, clinically safe experience – should be reexamined. This paper presents information on the major pharmacologic effects of colesevelam, including a discussion of recent data derived from both in vitro and in vivo rodent and human studies, which shed light on the putative mechanisms involved.
PMCID: PMC3426253  PMID: 22936894
colesevelam; bile acid sequestrants; cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein
22.  An evidence-based review of apixaban and its potential in the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation 
Core Evidence  2012;7:49-59.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia, especially in the elderly population. It is associated with cardioembolic complications, particularly strokes, resulting in severe functional deficit or death. AF patients are first stratified into low, intermediate, and high risk for thromboembolic events using the CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc score systems. Depending on their risks, patients are treated with either therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin or acetylsalicylic acid for stroke prevention. Although warfarin is the recommended therapy, it is underutilized clinically due to concern for narrow therapeutic window, drug-to-drug and drug-to-food interactions, and hemorrhagic complications. Newer anticoagulant agents such as dabigatran (a direct thrombin inhibitor) and rivaroxaban (a direct factor Xa inhibitor) have already been approved by US Food and Drug Administration for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Apixaban is the newest oral direct factor Xa inhibitor and it has been extensively studied in the AVERROES and ARISTOTLE trials. Apixaban demonstrated reduced incidence of primary outcome of stroke and bleeding events when compared with warfarin. Apixaban is currently being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration as a stroke prophylactic agent. In addition, there are several other indirect factor Xa inhibitors and vitamin K antagonists under study presently. Results from these studies will provide us with information about possible alternatives to warfarin.
PMCID: PMC3402013  PMID: 22826692
atrial fibrillation; stroke prevention; apixaban
23.  Linaclotide: evidence for its potential use in irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation 
Core Evidence  2012;7:39-47.
Both irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), characterized by chronic and recurrent abdominal pain and altered bowel habits, and functional constipation are highly prevalent gastrointestinal problems for which many patients seek medical advice. A diverse number of treatment approaches are currently recommended to treat persons with chronic constipation as well as patients with IBS in which constipation is the main gastrointestinal symptom (IBS-C). These approaches have had somewhat limited success, and many patients remain dissatisfied with available therapy. Recently, linaclotide, a novel intestinal secretagogue, which works by activating the guanylate cyclase C receptor on the luminal surface of the intestinal epithelium, has been demonstrated to be efficacious in patients with both chronic functional constipation and with IBS-C in a series of randomized, placebo-controlled studies in these populations. Evidence for this assertion is provided in this systematic review of the pharmacologic properties of this novel agent and the published pivotal studies which support the efficacy of this agent in targeted populations.
PMCID: PMC3396047  PMID: 22807692
linaclotide; constipation; irritable bowel syndrome; safety; efficacy
24.  Dapagliflozin: an evidence-based review of its potential in the treatment of type-2 diabetes 
Core Evidence  2012;7:21-28.
Dapagliflozin is a sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor that lowers plasma glucose by decreasing its renal reabsorption. The resulting excretion of glucose in the urine (glucosuria) has transformed what was once solely regarded as an adverse facet of diabetes into a potential novel therapeutic strategy. Glucosuria leads to weight loss, due to a reduction in calories, which is thought to rehabilitate insulin sensitivity, at least partially. By acting independently of insulin action or secretion, dapagliflozin appears to avert or minimize two key barriers to optimal glycemic control: hypoglycemia and weight gain. From the clinical studies conducted thus far in patients with type 2 diabetes, dapagliflozin significantly decreases HbA1c (by ~0.5%–1%, from a baseline of 8%–9%), as well as body weight (~2–3 kg), without increased risk of hypoglycemia. Dapagliflozin thus represents a paradigm shift in the treatment of diabetes. While long-term data on safety and efficacy are forthcoming, the results published to date suggest that this agent has the potential to be another option in the treatment of diabetes treatments. This article examines the evidence currently available on the efficacy and safety of dapagliflozin.
PMCID: PMC3373192  PMID: 22701099
dapagliflozin; SGLT2 inhibitors; type 2 diabetes mellitus; kidney
25.  Mipomersen: evidence-based review of its potential in the treatment of homozygous and severe heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia 
Core Evidence  2012;7:29-38.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal-dominant inherited disease with a prevalence of one in 500 (heterozygous) to one in 1,000,000 (homozygous). Mutations of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor gene, the apolipoprotein B100 gene, or the PCSK9 gene may be responsible for the disease. The resulting LDL hypercholesterolemia results in premature atherosclerosis as early as childhood (homozygous FH) or in adulthood (heterozygous FH). Current treatment modalities include lifestyle modification, combination drug therapy (statin-based), and apheresis. Mipomersen is an antisense oligonucleotide which inhibits apolipoprotein B production independent of LDL receptor function and thus works in homozygous FH, heterozygous FH, and other forms of hypercholesterolemia. Mipomersen is given 200 mg/week subcutaneously. Phase III studies indicate that the LDL cholesterol concentration can be reduced by 25%–47%, lipoprotein(a) levels by 20%–40%, and triglyceride concentrations by approximately 10%. In general, mipomersen has no effect on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. Although there is considerable interindividual variability, the observed lipid effects are largely independent of age, gender, concomitant statin therapy, and underlying dyslipoproteinemia. The most common side effects are injection site reactions (70%–100%), flu-like symptoms (29%–46%), and elevated transaminases associated with an increased liver fat content (6%–15%). Mipomersen may be an interesting addon drug in patients with heterozygous or homozygous FH not reaching treatment goals, either because baseline values are very high or because high-dose statins are not tolerated.
PMCID: PMC3373191  PMID: 22701100
antisense oligonucleotide; statin intolerance; apolipoprotein B

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