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1.  Is pre-trial quality assurance necessary? Experiences of the CONVERT Phase III randomized trial for good performance status patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer 
The British Journal of Radiology  2014;87(1037):20130653.
This study is an analysis of the pre-trial quality assurance (QA) exercises submitted by clinicians from radiotherapy (RT) centres across Europe and Canada to qualify for participation in the CONVERT trial.
QA exercises submitted by 64 clinicians at 64 RT centres were included in this analysis. The exercises included the completion of a trial-specific questionnaire and submission of a treatment plan, for both trial arms, for a patient fitting the eligibility criteria of the trial. This article describes the QA programme set up for the CONVERT trial and identifies deviations from the trial protocol. Patient eligibility, disease and critical structure outlining and treatment planning technique were assessed.
Results from QA trial-specific questionnaires received between February 2008 and September 2011, returned as part of the QA exercise, indicated that the majority of centres (70.3%) were using 6-MV photons and type B treatment planning system algorithms (57.8%). 90.6% of clinicians assessed submitted data for patients who fitted the eligibility criteria for the trial. There were inconsistencies in outlining of gross tumour volume (GTV) and organs at risk, mainly heart and oesophagus, and in the use of margins around the GTV.
Such a QA programme helps to ensure that centres conform to trial protocol and should reduce inconsistencies in RT planning that may confound the results of the CONVERT trial.
Advances in knowledge:
Few studies reporting pre-trial QA have been published to date. This article outlines the importance of such a QA programme in the context of multicentre Phase III studies.
PMCID: PMC4075528  PMID: 24620839
2.  Clinical neurological outcome and quality of life among patients with limited small-cell cancer treated with two different doses of prophylactic cranial irradiation in the intergroup phase III trial (PCI99-01, EORTC 22003-08004, RTOG 0212 and IFCT 99-01) 
Annals of Oncology  2010;22(5):1154-1163.
Background: We recently published the results of the PCI99 randomised trial comparing the effect of a prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) at 25 or 36 Gy on the incidence of brain metastases (BM) in 720 patients with limited small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). As concerns about neurotoxicity were a major issue surrounding PCI, we report here midterm and long-term repeated evaluation of neurocognitive functions and quality of life (QoL).
Patients and methods: At predetermined intervals, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 and brain module were used for self-reported patient data, whereas the EORTC–Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Late Effects Normal Tissue–Subjective, Objective, Management, Analytic scale was used for clinicians’ assessment. For each scale, the unfavourable status was analysed with a logistic model including age, grade at baseline, time and PCI dose.
Results: Over the 3 years studied, there was no significant difference between the two groups in any of the 17 selected items assessing QoL and neurological and cognitive functions. We observed in both groups a mild deterioration across time of communication deficit, weakness of legs, intellectual deficit and memory (all P < 0.005).
Conclusion: Patients should be informed of these potential adverse effects, as well as the benefit of PCI on survival and BM. PCI with a total dose of 25 Gy remains the standard of care in limited-stage SCLC.
PMCID: PMC3082159  PMID: 21139020
limited disease; neurocognitive evaluation; phase III clinical trial; prophylactic cranial irradiation; quality of life; small-cell lung cancer
3.  Phase III randomised trial of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy compared with platinum-based chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2008;99(3):442-447.
This randomised trial compared platinum-based to anthracycline-based chemotherapy in patients with small-cell lung cancer (limited or extensive stage) and ⩽2 adverse prognostic factors. Patients were randomised to receive six cycles of either ACE (doxorubicin 50 mg/m2 i.v., cyclophosphamide 1 g/m2 i.v. and etoposide 120 mg/m2 i.v. on day 1, then etoposide 240 mg/m2 orally for 2 days) or PE (cisplatin 80 mg/m2 and etoposide 120 mg/m2 i.v. on day 1, then etoposide 240 mg/m2 orally for 2 days) given for every 3 weeks. For patients where cisplatin was not suitable, carboplatin (AUC6) was substituted. A total of 280 patients were included (139 ACE, 141 PE). The response rates were 72% for ACE and 77% for PE. One-year survival rates were 34 and 38% (P=0.497), respectively and 2-year survival was the same (12%) for both arms. For LD patients, the median survival was 10.9 months for ACE and 12.6 months for PE (P=0.51); for ED patients median survival was 8.3 months and 7.5 months, respectively. More grades 3 and 4 neutropenia (90 vs 57%, P<0.005) and grades 3 and 4 infections (73 vs 29%, P<0.005) occurred with ACE, resulting in more days of hospitalisation and greater i.v. antibiotic use. ACE was associated with a higher risk of neutropenic sepsis than PE and with a trend towards worse outcome in patients with LD, and should not be studied further in this group of patients.
PMCID: PMC2527803  PMID: 18665190
small-cell lung cancer; chemotherapy; randomised clinical trial; cisplatin; doxorubicin
4.  Colon cancer in France: evidence for improvement in management and survival 
Gut  2002;51(1):60-64.
Background: Cancer registries recording all cases diagnosed in a well defined population represent the only way to assess real changes in the management of colon cancer at the population level.
Aims: To determine trends over a 23 year period in treatment, stage at diagnosis, and prognosis of colon cancer in the Côte-d'Or region, France.
Patients: A total of 3389 patients with colon cancer diagnosed between 1976 and 1998.
Methods: Time trends in clinical presentation, surgical treatment, chemotherapy treatment, stage at diagnosis, postoperative mortality, and survival were studied. A non-conditional logistic regression was performed to obtain an odds ratio for each period adjusted for the other variables. To estimate the independent effect of the period on prognosis, a relative survival analysis was performed.
Results: Between 1976 and 1991, the resection rate increased from 69.3% to 91.9% and then remained stable. This increase was particularly marked in the older age group (56.4% to 90.5%). The proportion of stage III patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy rose from 4.1% for the 1989–1990 period to 45.7% for the 1997–1998 period. Over the 23 years of the study the proportion of stage I and II patients increased from 39.6% to 56.6%, associated with a corresponding decrease in the proportion of patients with advanced stages. Postoperative mortality decreased from 19.5% to 7.3%. This led to an improvement in five year relative survival (from 33.0% for the 1976–1979 period to 55.3% for the 1992–1995 period).
Conclusions: Advances in the management of colon cancer have resulted in improving the prognosis of this disease. However, progress is still possible, particularly in the older age group.
PMCID: PMC1773269  PMID: 12077093
colon carcinoma; survival; cancer registries; time trends

Results 1-4 (4)