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author:("weyer, Joost")
1.  Work-related health symptoms among compost facility workers: a cross-sectional study 
Archives of Public Health  2012;70(1):13.
Industrial composting is a relatively new and expanding activity. Several studies indicate that compost workers are at risk to develop health symptoms. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of work-related health symptoms among compost workers compared with control subjects.
A questionnaire was distributed among 62 workers (31 exposed and 31 non-exposed workers). Data were analyzed using simple and multiple logistic regression analyses.
Workers exposed to organic dust reported significantly more often respiratory, irritation (e.g., eyes, nose and throat), gastrointestinal, and skin symptoms than the non-exposed group. Moreover, all work-related symptoms were significantly more often reported by exposed than non-exposed workers. After adjustment for smoking status and age, the associations between exposure and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin symptoms remained statistically significant, in particular if these symptoms were work-related.
This study confirms that workers at compost facilities are at risk to develop occupational health problems, most likely related to organic dust exposure.
PMCID: PMC3436713  PMID: 22958275
Belgium; Compost; Industry; Occupational health; Organic dust; Workers
2.  Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes: an intriguing player in the survival of colorectal cancer patients 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:19.
There is growing evidence that both local and systemic inflammatory responses play an important role in the progression of a variety of solid tumors. Colorectal cancer results from the cumulative effect of sequential genetic alterations, leading to the expression of tumor associated antigens possibly inducing a cellular anti-tumor immune response. It is well recognized that cytotoxic lymphocytes constitute one of the most important effector mechanisms of anti-tumor-immunity. However, their potential prognostic influence in colorectal cancer remains controversial. Aim of the study was to examine infiltration of CD3+ and CD8+ lymphocytes in colorectal cancer and their prognostic potential.
Two-hundred-fifteen colorectal cancer cases, previously analyzed for microsatellite instability (MSI), were selected for immunohistochemical detection of CD3+, CD8+ infiltration and the expression of granzyme B. Prognostic relevance was assessed by survival analysis.
Strong correlations were found between the infiltration of lymphocytes and several clinicopathological variables. Survival analysis revealed that intra-epithelial infiltration of CD3+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes and stromal infiltration of CD3+ lymphocytes had a major impact on the patients' overall survival in the univariate analysis, however independent of their association with MSI-status. In addition, it was also demonstrated that there was an important disease specific survival advantage for patients with microsatellite stable (MSS) tumors containing intraepithelial CD8+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. When samples were analyzed for colon cancer and rectal cancer separately, the results of the overall population were confirmed in colon cancer only. When entered into a multiple Cox regression analysis adjusting for other possible important confounding factors, the strong impact of lymphocyte infiltration on overall survival was not maintained. Only early stage and young age (borderline significant for overall population only) were associated with a better overall survival (early disease with disease-free survival also).
In conclusion our results suggest a role for infiltrating CD3+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in colorectal cancer whereby tumor infiltration could reflect a general principle of antitumor immunity, irrespective of the MSI-status.
PMCID: PMC2864219  PMID: 20385003
3.  A non-randomized comparison of gemcitabine-based chemoradiation with or without induction chemotherapy for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:273.
Concomitant chemotherapy and radiotherapy (chemoradiation; CRT) is the standard treatment for locoregionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LA-SCCHN). CRT improves local control and overall survival (OS) when compared to radiotherapy (RT) alone. Induction chemotherapy (IC) reduces the risk of distant metastases (DM) and improves OS by 5% with the use of cisplatin/infusional 5 fluorouracil (PF) in meta-analysis. Adding a taxane to PF in the IC regimen confers a better outcome. Sequential treatment (ST) of IC followed by CRT is therefore under active investigation in multiple phase III trials.
We compared the outcome of two cohorts of patients (pts) with LA-SCCHN treated at our institution with CRT (n = 27) or ST (n = 31), respectively. CRT consisted of GEM 100 mg/m2 weekly + conventional RT (70 Gy); ST consisted of the same CRT preceded by platinum-based IC.
Response to IC: complete 8 (26%), partial 20 (65%), stable 1, progressive 1, not evaluable 1. Median follow up of the surviving pts: for CRT 73 months, for ST 51 months. Median time to distant metastasis (TDM) was for CRT 23.6 months, for ST not reached. Median OS was for CRT 20.2 months, for ST 40.2 months. Cox regression analysis, taking into account age, T and N stage and tumor site, showed a hazard ratio with ST of 1.190 for time to locoregional failure (p = 0.712), 0.162 for TDM (p = 0.002), and 0.441 for overall survival (OS) (p = 0.026).
TDM and OS were found significantly longer in the ST cohort without a reduced locoregional control. Notwithstanding the limitations of a non-randomized single-center comparison, the results are in line with very preliminary data of randomized comparisons suggesting an improved outcome with ST.
PMCID: PMC2732923  PMID: 19660134
4.  Relative microvessel area of the primary tumour, and not lymph node status, predicts the presence of bone marrow micrometastases detected by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in patients with clinically non-metastatic breast cancer 
Breast Cancer Research  2005;7(2):R210-R219.
About 50% of patients with breast cancer have no involvement of axillary lymph nodes at diagnosis and can be considered cured after primary locoregional treatment. However, about 20–30% will experience distant relapse. The group of patients at risk is not well characterised: recurrence is probably due to the establishment of micrometastases before treatment. Given the early steps of metastasis in which tumour cells interact with endothelial cells of blood vessels, and, given the independent prognostic value in breast cancer of both the quantification of tumour vascularisation and the detection of micrometastases in the bone marrow, the aim of this study was to determine the relationship between vascularisation, measured by Chalkley morphometry, and the bone marrow content of cytokeratin-19 (CK-19) mRNA, quantified by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, in a series of 68 patients with localised untreated breast cancer. The blood concentration of factors involved in angiogenesis (interleukin-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor) and of factors involved in coagulation (D-dimer, fibrinogen, platelets) was also measured. When bone marrow CK-19 relative gene expression (RGE) was categorised according to the cut-off value of 0.77 (95th centile of control patients), 53% of the patients had an elevated CK-19 RGE. Patients with bone marrow micrometastases, on the basis of an elevated CK-19 RGE, had a mean Chalkley count of 7.5 ± 1.7 (median 7, standard error [SE] 0.30) compared with a mean Chalkley count of 6.5 ± 1.7 in other patients (median 6, SE 0.3) (Mann–Whitney U-test; P = 0.04). Multiple regression analysis revealed that Chalkley count, not lymph node status, independently predicted CK-19 RGE status (P = 0.04; odds ratio 1.38; 95% confidence interval 1.009–1.882). Blood parameters reflecting angiogenesis and coagulation were positively correlated with Chalkley count and/or CK-19 RGE. Our data are in support of an association between elevated relative microvessel area of the primary tumour and the presence of bone marrow micrometastases in breast cancer patients with operable disease, and corroborate the paracrine and endocrine role of interleukin-6 and the involvement of coagulation in breast cancer growth and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC1064134  PMID: 15743502
angiogenesis; bone marrow; breast cancer; Chalkley; micrometastasis.

Results 1-4 (4)