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1.  RIPK3 expression in cervical cancer cells is required for PolyIC-induced necroptosis, IL-1α release, and efficient paracrine dendritic cell activation 
Oncotarget  2015;6(11):8635-8647.
Previous studies have shown that cervical cancer cells only release low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines owing to infection with human papillomaviruses. This results in low immunogenicity of the cancer cells. The viral dsRNA analog PolyIC has been suggested as a promising adjuvant for cervical cancer immunotherapy. However, little is known about the molecular requirements resulting in successful immune activation. Here, we demonstrate that stimulation of cervical cancer cells with PolyIC induced necroptotic cell death, which was strictly dependent on the expression of the receptor-interacting protein kinase RIPK3. Necroptotic cancer cells released interleukin-1α (IL-1α), which was required for powerful activation of dendritic cells (DC) to produce IL-12, a cytokine critical for anti-tumor responses. Again both, IL-1α release and DC activation, were strictly dependent on RIPK3 expression in the tumor cells. Of note, our in situ analyses revealed heterogeneous RIPK3 expression patterns in cervical squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. In summary, our study identified a novel RIPK3-dependent mechanism that explains how PolyIC-treatment of cervical cancer cells leads to potent DC activation. Our findings suggest that the RIPK3 expression status in cervical cancer cells might critically influence the outcome of PolyIC-based immunotherapeutic approaches and should therefore be assessed prior to immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4496172  PMID: 25888634
cervical cancer; human papilloma virus; dendritic cells; RIPK3
2.  A Novel Operative Procedure for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Utilizing a MRI-Visible Mesh Implant: Safety and Outcome of Modified Laparoscopic Bilateral Sacropexy 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:860784.
Introduction. Sacropexy is a generally applied treatment of prolapse, yet there are known possible complications of it. An essential need exists for better alloplastic materials. Methods. Between April 2013 and June 2014, we performed a modified laparoscopic bilateral sacropexy (MLBS) in 10 patients using a MRI-visible PVDF mesh implant. Selected patients had prolapse POP-Q stages II-III and concomitant OAB. We studied surgery-related morbidity, anatomical and functional outcome, and mesh-visibility in MRI. Mean follow-up was 7.4 months. Results. Concomitant colporrhaphy was conducted in 1/10 patients. Anatomical success was defined as POP-Q stage 0-I. Apical success rate was 100% and remained stable. A recurrent cystocele was seen in 1/10 patients during follow-up without need for intervention. Out of 6 (6/10) patients with preoperative SUI, 5/6 were healed and 1/6 persisted. De-novo SUI was seen in 1/10 patients. Complications requiring a relaparoscopy were seen in 2/10 patients. 8/10 patients with OAB were relieved postoperatively. The first in-human magnetic resonance visualization of a prolapse mesh implant was performed and showed good quality of visualization. Conclusion. MLBS is a feasible and safe procedure with favorable anatomical and functional outcome and good concomitant healing rates of SUI and OAB. Prospective data and larger samples are required.
PMCID: PMC4417564  PMID: 25961042
3.  Misoprostol for pre-term labor induction in the second trimester: Role of medical history and clinical parameters for prediction of time to delivery 
Serious fetal malformations and/or chromosome aberrations detected by modern diagnostic tools in early pregnancy require discussions on induced abortion with pregnant women. Competent counseling includes prediction of the time needed for the whole abortion process. In an attempt to refine our predictions, we evaluated the impact of 11 medical history and clinical variables on time to delivery.
Material and Methods
We performed a retrospective chart analysis on 79 women submitted for pre-term abortion because of fetal anomalies. Abortion was induced by vaginal application of misoprostol (prostaglandine E1, Cytotec™, Pfizer, New York, USA). We investigated 11 medical history and clinical variables for their impact on the percentage of women delivering within 24 hours (primary endpoint) and on the mean induction-delivery time interval (secondary endpoint).
Fifty-three percent (42/79) of women delivered within 24 hours; 83.6% (66/79) delivered within 48 hours. A total of 83.3% of women with a history of late abortion delivered within 24 hours, whereas 50.7% without this history did. Mean induction-delivery time interval was 12.3 hours versus 35.5 hours, respectively. For history of early abortion, the figures were 65.2% versus 48.2% for delivery within 24 hours and 15.6 hours versus 32.5 hours for mean induction-delivery time interval. Current weight of fetus >500 g, weight of last previous newborn of ≤3500 g, previous pregnancies, premature rupture of membranes, and an elevated CRP of >0.5 mg/dL also cut time to delivery. Surprisingly, maternal and gestational age had no remarkable or consistent impact on the mean induction-delivery time interval. None of the differences reached statistical significance. Eighty-three percent of women needed 1000 μg or less for successful delivery.
Neither variables of medical history nor specific clinical variables allow for precise prediction of time to delivery in the second trimester. Certain parameters, however, show a trend to reduce the induction-delivery time interval. Our results might serve as initial guidance for patient counseling.
PMCID: PMC4195320  PMID: 25317038
Misoprostol; labor induction; time to delivery; patient counseling
4.  Influence of zoledronic acid on disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow and survival: results of a prospective clinical trial 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:480.
The presence of disseminated tumor cells (DTC) in bone marrow (BM) of breast cancer patients is associated with reduced clinical outcome. Bisphosphonate treatment was shown to eradicate DTC from BM in several studies. This controlled randomized open-label multi-center study aimed to investigate the influence of zoledronic acid (ZOL) on DTC and survival of breast cancer patients (Clinical Trial Registration Number: NCT00172068).
Patients with primary breast cancer and DTC-positive bone marrow were randomized to treatment with ZOL plus adjuvant systemic therapy (n = 40) or adjuvant systemic therapy alone (n = 46) between 03/2002 and 12/2004. DTC were identified by immunocytochemistry using the pancytokeratin antibody A45B/B3 and by cytomorphology. The change in DTC numbers at 12 months and 24 months versus baseline, as well as patient outcomes were evaluated.
86 patients could be included into survival analysis (median follow-up: 88 months, range: 8–108 mths). Patients in the control group were more likely to die during follow-up than those in the ZOL-group (11% vs. 2%, p = 0.106). 15% of patients in the control group presented with relapse whereas only 8% of ZOL group patients developed metastatic or recurrent disease during follow-up (p = 0.205). At 24 months, 16% of patients from the control group were still DTC positive, whereas all patients treated with ZOL became DTC negative (p = 0.032). Patients presenting with persistent DTC 12 months after diagnosis had significantly shorter overall survival (p = 0.011).
Bisphosphonate therapy contributes to eradication of disseminated tumor cells. The positive influence of bisphosphonates on survival in the adjuvant setting may be due to their effects on DTC.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT00172068 [Zoledronic Acid in the Treatment of Breast Cancer With Minimal Residual Disease in the Bone Marrow (MRD-1)].
PMCID: PMC4015285  PMID: 24128322
Breast cancer; Bisphosphonates; Zoledronate; Disseminated tumor cells; Survival
5.  Prenatal diagnosis of giant cardiac rhabdomyoma with fetal hydrops in tuberous sclerosis 
Journal of Prenatal Medicine  2013;7(3):39-41.
fetal rhabdomyoma is the most common fetal cardiac tumor and is often associated with tuberous sclerosis. Usually the tumors are relatively small and show no mediastinal shift. Fetal hydrops and pericardial effusion are rarely seen.
in this case report we present the neonatal clinical course of a case of prenatal diagnosis of giant cardiac rhabdomyomas.
an early prenatal diagnosis may help for an adequate planning of perinatal monitoring and treatment with involvement of a multidisciplinary team.
PMCID: PMC3808940  PMID: 24175016
fetal cardiac tumor; rhabdomyoma; tuberous sclerosis
6.  Axillary Ultrasound for Breast Cancer Staging: an Attempt to Identify Clinical/Histopathological Factors Impacting Diagnostic Performance 
To assess the diagnostic value of pre-surgery axillary ultrasound for nodal staging in patients with primary breast cancer and to identify clinical/histopathological factors impacting diagnostic performance.
Study design:
Single-center, retrospective chart analysis. We assessed sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive value of clinical examination as well as axillary ultrasound vs. clinical examination alone. The histopathological results were the standard of truth. In addition, we analyzed clinical and histopathological factors regarding their potential to impact sensitivity and specificity.
We enrolled a total of 172 women in the study. Sensitivity of clinical examination plus ultrasound was significantly higher than for clinical examination alone (58% vs. 31.6%). Specificity and positive predictive value were similar while the negative predictive value increased from 63.4% to 73% when additionally applying ultrasound. Sensitivity and specificity of axillary ultrasound were impacted by tumor size (P = 0.2/0.04), suspicious axillary palpation (P < 0.01/<0.01), number of affected lymph nodes (P < 0.01/−) and distant metastases (P = 0.04/<0.01). All other factors had no impact.
Since pre-surgery axillary nodal staging is currently used to determine disease management, axillary ultrasound is a useful add-on tool in the diagnostic armamentarium for breast cancer patients. Tumor size, suspicious axillary palpation, number of affected lymph nodes and distant metastases increase diagnostic performance of this diagnostic modality.
PMCID: PMC3595984  PMID: 23515655
breast cancer; axillary ultrasound; staging
7.  Genetic polymorphism of the OPG gene associated with breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:40.
The receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK), its ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG) have been reported to play a role in the pathophysiological bone turnover and in the pathogenesis of breast cancer. Based on this we investigated the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within RANK, RANKL and OPG and their possible association to breast cancer risk.
Genomic DNA was obtained from Caucasian participants consisting of 307 female breast cancer patients and 396 gender-matched healthy controls. We studied seven SNPs in the genes of OPG (rs3102735, rs2073618), RANK (rs1805034, rs35211496) and RANKL (rs9533156, rs2277438, rs1054016) using TaqMan genotyping assays. Statistical analyses were performed using the χ2-tests for 2 x 2 and 2 x 3 tables.
The allelic frequencies (OR: 1.508 CI: 1.127-2.018, p=0.006) and the genotype distribution (p=0.019) of the OPG SNP rs3102735 differed significantly between breast cancer patients and healthy controls. The minor allele C and the corresponding homo- and heterozygous genotypes are more common in breast cancer patients (minor allele C: 18.4% vs. 13.0%; genotype CC: 3.3% vs. 1.3%; genotype CT: 30.3% vs. 23.5%). No significantly changed risk was detected in the other investigated SNPs. Additional analysis showed significant differences when comparing patients with invasive vs. non-invasive tumors (OPG rs2073618) as well as in terms of tumor localization (RANK rs35211496) and body mass index (RANKL rs9533156 and rs1054016).
This is the first study reporting a significant association of the SNP rs3102735 (OPG) with the susceptibility to develop breast cancer in the Caucasian population.
PMCID: PMC3563620  PMID: 23369128
Breast cancer; Case control study; OPG; Polymorphism; RANK; RANKL; rs3102735
8.  Prognostic impact of circulating tumor cells assessed with the CellSearch System™ and AdnaTest Breast™ in metastatic breast cancer patients: the DETECT study 
Breast Cancer Research : BCR  2012;14(4):R118.
There is a multitude of assays for the detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) but a very limited number of studies comparing the clinical relevance of results obtained with different test methods. The DETECT trial for metastatic breast cancer patients was designed to directly compare the prognostic impact of two commercially available CTC assays that are prominent representatives of immunocytochemical and RT-PCR based technologies.
In total, 254 metastatic breast cancer patients were enrolled in this prospective multicenter trial. CTCs were assessed using both the AdnaTest Breast Cancer and the CellSearch system according to the manufacturers' instructions.
With the CellSearch system, 116 of 221 (50%) evaluable patients were CTC-positive based on a cut-off level at 5 or more CTCs. The median overall survival (OS) was 18.1 months in CTC-positive patients. (95%-CI: 15.1-22.1 months) compared to 27 months in CTC-negative patients (23.5-30.7 months; p<0.001). This prognostic impact for OS was also significant in the subgroups of patients with triple negative, HER2-positive and hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative primary tumors. The progression free survival (PFS) was not correlated with CTC status in our cohort receiving different types and lines of systemic treatment (p = 0.197). In multivariate analysis, the presence of CTCs was an independent predictor for OS (HR: 2.7, 95%-CI: 1.6-4.2). When the AdnaTest Breast was performed, 88 of 221 (40%) patients were CTC-positive. CTC-positivity assessed by the AdnaTest Breast had no association with PFS or OS.
The prognostic relevance of CTC detection in metastatic breast cancer patients depends on the test method. The present results indicate that the CellSearch system is superior to the AdnaTest Breast Cancer in predicting clinical outcome in advanced breast cancer.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials Registry number ISRCTN59722891.
PMCID: PMC3680931  PMID: 22894854
9.  Knock down of p53 or its ubiquitin ligase E6AP does not affect the sensitivity of human papillomavirus-positive cervical cancer cells to cisplatin 
The persistent infection with high risk human papillomaviruses (hrHPV) is a necessary risk factor for the development of cervical cancer, which is the second most frequent cancer in women worldwide. Cisplatin-based radiotherapy represents the current treatment regimen. However, the results for advanced and recurrent disease are far from optimal. Since almost all cervical cancers contain wild type (wt) p53, which is degraded by the complex of hrHPV E6 and the ubiquitin ligase E6AP, we addressed if the reconstitution of p53 via silencing of E6AP sensitizes cervical cancer cells towards cisplatin treatment. For this we established and characterized two novel cervical cancer cell lines that contain integrated HPV16 genomes. Long-term established HeLa and SiHa cells and the novel cervical cancer cell lines at low passage numbers were treated with different concentrations of cisplatin. Cell viability was measured by the WST-1 assay. In addition, single cisplatin treatment was combined with the silencing of E6AP or p53. The comparison to HeLa and SiHa cells revealed a higher sensitivity of the novel cell lines to cisplatin treatment, which caused p53 accumulation and transcriptional induction of p21. Silencing of E6AP further increased p53 protein levels, but had no effect on cell viability when combined with cisplatin treatment. Interestingly, silencing of p53 had also no effect. We therefore conclude that reactivation of p53 via silencing of E6AP does not increase the sensitivity of cervical cancer cells towards cisplatin treatment.
PMCID: PMC3365809  PMID: 22679561
Cervical cancer; HPV; cisplatin; p53; E6AP; chemoresistance
10.  The PACOVAR-trial: A phase I/II study of pazopanib (GW786034) and cyclophosphamide in patients with platinum-resistant recurrent, pre-treated ovarian cancer 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:453.
The prognosis of patients with recurrent, platinum-resistant epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is poor. There is no standard treatment available. Emerging evidence suggests a major role for antiangiogenic treatment modalities in EOC, in particular in combination with the metronomic application of low dose chemotherapy. The novel, investigational oral antiangiogenic agent pazopanib targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) and c-kit is currently being studied in different tumour types and is already used as first line therapy in recurrent renal cell carcinoma. A combined therapy consisting of pazopanib and metronomic oral cyclophosphamide may offer a well-tolerable treatment option to patients with recurrent, pretreated EOC.
This study is designed as a multicenter phase I/II trial evaluating the optimal dose for pazopanib (phase I) as well as activity and tolerability of a combination regimen consisting of pazopanib and metronomic cyclophosphamide in the palliative treatment of patients with recurrent, platinum-resistant, pre-treated ovarian cancer (phase II). The patient population includes patients with histologically or cytologically confirmed diagnosis of EOC, cancer of the fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer which is platinumresistant or -refractory. Patients must have measurable disease according to RECIST criteria and must have failed available standard chemotherapy. Primary objectives are determination of the optimal doses for pazopanib (phase I) and the overall response rate according to RECIST criteria (phase II). Secondary objectives are time to progression, overall survival, safety and tolerability. The treatment duration is until disease progression or intolerability of study drug regimen (with a maximum of 13 cycles up to 52 weeks per subject).
The current phase I/II trial shall clarify the potential of the multitargeting antiangiogenic tyrosinkinaseinhibitor GW 786034 (pazopanib) in combination with oral cyclophosphamide as salvage treatment in patients with recurrent, pretreated ovarian cancer.
Trial registration NCT01238770
PMCID: PMC3224456  PMID: 22014006
11.  Metastatic breast carcinoma mimicking a sebaceous gland neoplasm: a case report 
Breast cancer is common in women and its metastases involve the skin in approximately one quarter of patients. Accordingly, metastatic breast cancer shown to be cutaneous through histology must be distinguished from a wide variety of other neoplasms as well as the diverse morphologic variants of breast cancer itself.
Case presentation
We report the case of a 61-year-old Caucasian woman with cutaneous metastases of a bilateral ductal breast carcinoma that in histopathological examination mimicked an adnexal neoplasm with sebaceous differentiation.
Against the background of metastatic breast carcinoma, dermatopathological considerations of sebaceous differentiation of skin lesions are presented and discussed focusing on the rare differential diagnosis of sebaceous carcinoma of the breast.
PMCID: PMC3180416  PMID: 21888625
12.  Prospective evaluation of serum tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 and carbonic anhydrase IX in correlation to circulating tumor cells in patients with metastatic breast cancer 
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) reflect aggressive tumor behavior by hematogenous tumor cell dissemination. The tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1) plays a role in tissue invasion and is also involved in angiogenesis, abrogation of apoptosis and in chemoresistance. Carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is a metalloenzyme involved in cell adhesion, growth and survival of tumor cells. The aim of the study was to investigate whether serum concentrations of TIMP-1 and CAIX are associated with the detection of CTC in metastatic breast cancer.
Blood was obtained in a prospective multicenter setting from 253 patients with metastatic breast cancer at the time of disease progression. Serum TIMP-1 and CAIX were determined using commercial ELISA-kits (Oncogene Science). CTC were detected with the CellSearch™ system (Veridex).
Five or more CTCs were detected in 122 patients out of 245 evaluable patients (49.8%). Out of 253 metastatic patients 70 (28%) had serum TIMP-1 levels above 454 ng/mL. Serum CAIX was elevated above 506 ng/mL in 90 (35%) patients. Both serum markers had prognostic significance. Median progression free survival (PFS) was 7.2 months with elevated TIMP-1 vs. 11.4 months with non-elevated levels (p < 0.01). OS was 11.5 vs. 19.1 months (p < 0.01). Median PFS was 7.5 months with elevated CAIX vs. 11.7 months with non-elevated levels (p < 0.01), overall survival (OS) was 13.4 months vs. 19.1 months (p < 0.01). In patients with five or more CTCs, serum levels were above the cut-off for CAIX in 47% vs. 25% in those with less than five CTCs (p = 0.01). For TIMP-1, 37% patients with five or more CTCs had elevated serum levels and 17% of patients with less than five CTCs (p = 0.01). Including TIMP-1, CAIX, CTC and established prognostic factors in the multivariate analysis, the presence of CTCs, the therapy line and elevated CAIX remained independent predictors of OS.
Elevated serum levels of the invasion markers TIMP-1 and CAIX in metastatic breast cancer are prognostic markers and are associated with the presence of CTCs. Whether increased secretion of TIMP-1 and/or CAIX might directly contribute to tumor cell dissemination remains to be elucidated in further investigations.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN59722891
PMCID: PMC3236335  PMID: 21745383
13.  Detection and characterization of circulating tumor cells in blood of primary breast cancer patients by RT-PCR and comparison to status of bone marrow disseminated cells 
The role of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in blood of primary breast cancer patients is still under investigation. We evaluated the incidence of CTCs in blood, we evaluated the correlation between CTCs and disseminated tumor cells (DTCs) in the bone marrow (BM), and we characterized CTCs for the expression of HER2, the estrogen receptor (ER) and the progesterone receptor (PR).
Blood of 431 patients with primary breast cancer were analyzed for EpCAM, MUC1 and HER2 transcripts with the AdnaTest BreastCancer™ (AdnaGen AG, Germany). Expression of the ER and PR was assessed in an additional RT-PCR. BM aspirates from 414 patients were analyzed for DTCs by immunocytochemistry using the pan-cytokeratin antibody A45-B/B3.
DTCs were found in 107/414 patients (24%), CTCs were detected in 58/431 (13%) patients. DTCs were associated with PR status of the primary tumor (P = 0.04) and CTCs significantly correlated with nodal status (P = 0.04), ER (P = 0.05), and PR (P = 0.01). DTCs in the BM weakly correlated with CTCs (P = 0.05) in blood. Interestingly, the spread of CTCs was mostly found in triple-negative tumors (P = 0.01) and CTCs in general were mostly found to be triple-negative regardless of the ER, PR and HER2 status of the primary tumor.
(1) Due to the weak concordance between CTCs and DTCs the clinical relevance may be different. (2) The biology of the primary tumor seems to direct the spread of CTCs. (3) Since the expression profile between CTCs and the primary tumor differs, the consequence for the selection of adjuvant treatment has to be evaluated.
PMCID: PMC2750121  PMID: 19664291
14.  ERalpha-status of disseminated tumour cells in bone marrow of primary breast cancer patients 
Isolated disseminated tumour cells (DTC) are regarded as surrogate markers for minimal residual disease in breast cancer. Characterisation of these cells could help understand the known limitations of adjuvant therapy. Of particular interest is their oestrogen-receptor (ER) status because endocrine adjuvant therapy remains a cornerstone of breast cancer treatment.
Bone marrow (BM) aspirates from 254 patients with primary breast cancer were included in this study. A double immunofluorescence staining procedure was established for the identification of cytokeratin (CK) positive/Erα-positive cells. ERα status of the primary tumour was assessed immunohistochemically using the same antibody against ERα.
In 107 of 254 (42%) breast cancer patients, CK-positive cells could be detected in the BM. More than one DTC in the BM was observed in 38 of the 107 patients. The number of detected cells ranged between 1 and 55 cells per 2 × 106 mononuclear cells. DTCs demonstrated ERα positivity in 12% of the patients. The ERα expression was heterogeneous in 10 of the 38 (26%) patients with more than one DTC. The concordance rate of ERα status between primary tumour and DTC was 28%. Only 12 of 88 patients with ERα-positive tumours also had ERα-positive DTCs.
Primary tumours and DTCs displayed a concordant ERα status in only 28% of cases. Most of the DTCs were ERα negative despite the presence of an ERα-positive primary tumour. These findings further underline the distinct nature of DTCs and may explain the failure rates seen in conventional endocrine adjuvant therapy.
PMCID: PMC2614509  PMID: 18793387
15.  Determination of HER2 status using both serum HER2 levels and circulating tumor cells in patients with recurrent breast cancer whose primary tumor was HER2 negative or of unknown HER2 status 
At the time when metastatic disease is identified, assessment of human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)2 status might help to optimize treatment decisions if HER2 status was not determined at first diagnosis and if HER2 positivity has been acquired during disease progression. Within this context, determination of serum HER2 or evaluation of HER2 status in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may be of clinical relevance because metastatic tissue may be difficult to obtain for analysis as a result of its localization. The aim of this study was therefore to determine the HER2 status in serum and corresponding CTCs in patients with metastatic breast cancer whose primary tumors were HER2 negative or of unknown HER2 status.
Blood samples were obtained from 77 metastatic breast cancer patients with negative (n = 44) or unknown (n = 33) HER2 status. Serum HER2 was determined using a commercial HER2/neu ELISA kit. CTCs were detected by slide-based assay using immunomagnetic enrichment and characterized by phenotyping and genotyping. Alternatively, a commercial kit, based on RT-PCR, was used to detect and characterize CTCs.
Twenty out of 77 patients with metastatic disease had elevated serum levels of HER2. Blood samples could be analyzed for the presence of CTCs in 67 patients. Eight out of 21 patients with detectable CTCs exhibited HER2 amplification. Twenty-three out of 77 patients were HER2 positive using at least one method. Concordance between HER2 status of CTCs and serum HER2 was observed in 15 of 21 patients (71%). In six patients conflicting results were obtained. Three patients with elevated serum HER2 status had HER2-negative CTCs, whereas three patients with HER2-positive CTCs had normal serum HER2 levels.
A subgroup of patients with initially negative or unknown HER2 status can have elevated serum HER2 levels and/or HER2-positive CTCs at the time of development of metastatic disease. Although only a small number of patients were studied, our observations are of clinical relevance because, currently, these patients do not have access to HER2-targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC2242672  PMID: 17963511
16.  Presence of apoptotic and nonapoptotic disseminated tumor cells reflects the response to neoadjuvant systemic therapy in breast cancer 
Breast Cancer Research  2006;8(5):R60.
Neoadjuvant systemic therapy (NST) is an established strategy to reduce tumor size in breast cancer patients prior to breast-conserving therapy. The effect of NST on tumor cell dissemination in these patients is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of disseminated tumor cells (DTC), including apoptotic DTC, in breast cancer patients after NST, and to investigate the correlation of DTC status with therapy response.
Bone marrow aspiration was performed in 157 patients after NST. DTC were detected by immunocytochemistry using the A45–B/B3 anticytokeratin antibody. To detect apoptotic DTC the antibody M30 (Roche Diagnostics, Germany) was used, which detects a neo-epitope expressed only after caspase cleavage of cytokeratin 18 during early apoptosis.
The incidence of DTC in breast cancer patients was 53% after completion of NST. Tumor dissemination was observed more frequently in patients with no change/progressive disease (69%) than in patients with partial remission or complete remission of the primary tumor (46%) (P < 0.05). Ten out of 24 patients with complete remission, however, were still bone marrow positive. Apoptotic DTC were present in 36 of 157 (23%) breast cancer patients. Apoptotic cells only were detected in 14% of the patients with partial remission or complete remission, but were detected in just 5% of the patients with stable disease. Apoptotic DTC were detectable in none of the patients with tumor progression.
The pathological therapy response in breast cancer patients is reflected by the presence of apoptotic DTC. Patients with complete remission, however, may still have nonapoptotic DTC. These patients may also benefit from secondary adjuvant therapy.
PMCID: PMC1779490  PMID: 17062129
17.  State of the art of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer: rationale, results and recent developments 
Aims, results, advantages and possible disadvantages of preoperative chemotherapy (pCHT) for breast cancer are discussed in this review. Established chemotherapeutic regimens are described with respect to new drugs that are added to combinations now and in the future. Illustrating the potential of new components, trastuzumab and cytotoxic chemotherapy, were combined in neoadjuvant trials for the first time. This approach yielded impressing and unprecedented high pathological response rates. An overview regarding current neoadjuvant cytostatic and immunotherapy trials is given.
Established prognostic factors like axillary lymph-nodal status are altered during pCHT, which causes the need for new prognostic markers. The consequences of these changes for clinical decision making are demonstrated. It seems possible that the advances of gene array and protein expression profile technologies will lead to improved prognostic and predictive statements. Tumor tissue can be analyzed before during and after treatment in this regard recent studies investigating the response to specific, chemotherapeutics in correlation to molecular markers are reviewed. These approaches might enable us to identify chemoresistance of specific tumors. Furthermore pCHT allows testing of chemosensitivity in vivo in an early stage, which might lead to a more individualized cancer therapy.
We discuss radiotherapy after neoadjuvant therapy and the risk of local relapse after breast conserving surgery, which was made feasible by pCHT. It is shown how the evaluation of efficacy of new cancer drugs, using the neoadjuvant situation, can be done more rapidly than in the metastatic and adjuvant setting.
PMCID: PMC2703246  PMID: 19675725
preoperative/neoadjuvant chemotherapy; breast cancer; local recurrence; prognostic factors; cancer biology

Results 1-17 (17)