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author:("aim, Hamdy A")
1.  Analysis of PI3K/mTOR Pathway Biomarkers and Their Prognostic Value in Women with Hormone Receptor–Positive, HER2-Negative Early Breast Cancer1 
Translational Oncology  2016;9(2):114-123.
BACKGROUND: The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway alterations have been shown to play significant roles in the development, progression, and metastatic spread of breast cancer. Furthermore, they have been implicated in the process of drug resistance, especially endocrinal therapies. In this study, we aimed to define the correlation between the PI3K mutations and the expression of the phosphorylated forms of different downstream molecules in women with estrogen receptor (ER)–positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative (luminal) early breast cancer treated at Cairo university hospitals. METHODS: Next-generation sequencing was used to detect mutations in the PIK3CA hotspots (in exons 9 and 20). Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarray blocks prepared from samples of 35 Egyptian luminal breast cancer patients in the pathology department of Centre Léon Bérard (CLB). The intensity and the percentage of stained tumor cells were integrated to define high versus low biomarker expression. The cytoplasmic and nuclear stainings were graded separately. Patients were followed for a median of 4.7 years (2.1 to 6.9 years). Correlation was done between PI3K mutations and the immunohistochemistry expression of pAKT, LKB1, p4EBP1, and pS6 ribosomal protein (pS6RP) with the clinicopathologic features and disease free survival (DFS) of the patients. RESULTS: Median age at diagnosis was 51.3 years (range, 25 to 82 years). Tumors were larger than 20 mm in 79.2% of the cases, whereas 57.9% had axillary lymph node deposits. Only 12.3% of the patients had SBR grade I tumors, 50.8% had grade II, and 36.8% had grade III. ERs were negative in 6 patients (17%) after pathology review. Thirty-two cases were assessable for LKB1 and pAKT, 33 for p4EBP1 and pS6RP, and 24 for PI3K mutations. Nuclear LKB1, cytoplasmic LKB1, nuclear pAKT, cytoplasmic pAKT, nuclear p4EBP1, and cytoplasmic pS6RP expression was high in 65.6%, 62.5%, 62.5%, 68.8%, 42.4%, and 57.6%, respectively. PIK3CA mutations were found in 7 patients (29.2%). PI3K mutations were correlated with nuclear localization of pAKT (i.e., decreased cytoplasmic pAKT, P = .04; and increased nuclear pAKT, P = .10). There was a tendency toward an inverse correlation between PI3K mutations and the expression of pS6RP (P = .10) and p4EBP1 (P = .19). Nuclear LKB1 expression was a marker of good prognosis. It was associated with smaller tumors (P = .05), more ER (P = .08) and progesteron receptor (PgR) positivity (P = .002). In the Kaplan Meier (KM) model, patients with high nuclear LKB1 had longer DFS (hazard ratio = 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.15-1.10; P = .08). Nuclear pAKT high expression also carried a tendency toward longer DFS (hazard ratio = 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.11-1.16; P = .13). The expression of p4EBP1, pS6RP, and the PI3K mutational status did not show any prognostic significance in our cohort. CONCLUSION: Among the studied biomarkers, only nuclear expression of LKB1 and pAKT tended to predict better survival in breast cancer patients. PI3K mutation was correlated with the expression of nuclear pAKT but not pS6RP or p4EBP1.
PMCID: PMC4833894  PMID: 27084427
2.  A multicenter, phase II study of the RAF-kinase inhibitor sorafenib in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2015;3(5):1099-1102.
The treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has advanced significantly over the last two decades. This multicenter study was designed with the primary objective to evaluate the efficacy and safety of sorafenib as first-line treatment in patients with advanced or metastatic RCC in the Middle East, who were considered to be ineligible for other approved first-line therapies. A total of 75 eligible patients from 8 centers in the Middle East were included in this study. The patients comprised 48 men and 27 women, with a median age of 52 years (range, 19–78 years). A total of 50 patients had clear cell carcinoma, 17 had papillary carcinoma and 8 had other pathological subtypes. At enrollment, 55 of the 75 patients had undergone previous nephrectomy. A total of 67 patients presented with metastatic disease, while 8 patients had regional residual lesions or local recurrence. The patients were treated with 400 mg oral sorafenib twice daily on a continuous basis as a single agent. Treatment was discontinued upon disease progression, prohibitive toxicity, surgical complications, loss to follow-up, or refusal to continue therapy. The median treatment duration was 21 weeks (range, 1–137 weeks). Sorafenib was tolerated by the majority of the patients. Grade 3/4 hand-foot syndrome occurred in 17 patients; diarrhea, elevated liver enzymes and fatigue were observed in 3 patients each; and grade 3/4 vomiting, hypertension and anemia, in 1 patient each. Of the 75 patients included in this study, 60 were evaluable for response. One patient achieved a complete response for 91 weeks and 6 patients exhibited a partial response (median duration of 23 weeks) with an overall response rate of 11.7%. Disease stabilization occurred in 37 patients (61.7%). Thus, disease control was achieved in 44 of the 60 patientrs (73%). At a median follow-up period of 53.5 weeks (range, 8.5–192 weeks), an intention-to-treat analysis demonstrated a median time-to-disease progression of 25.7 weeks, with a median overall survival of 54.8 weeks. In conclusion, sorafenib was found to be tolerable and effective as first-line therapy in patients with advanced RCC.
PMCID: PMC4534833  PMID: 26623058
renal cell carcinoma; sorafenib; phase II study
3.  Breast cancer in Egypt, China and Chinese: statistics and beyond 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2014;6(7):864-866.
PMCID: PMC4120163  PMID: 25093081
4.  One for the road! A study to assess the efficacy of single low-dose regimen of rasburicase in controlling hyperuricaemia in patients with tumour lysis syndrome due to haematological malignancies 
ecancermedicalscience  2013;7:378.
We conducted a retrospective audit of six patients with various haematological malignancies (two acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, one acute myeloid leukaemia, and three non-Hodgkin lymphoma); these patients were eligible to receive rasburicase, being at high risk of development of tumour lysis syndrome (TLS). They received a fixed single low-dose regimen of rasburicase (7.5 mg) mainly due to financial restriction, as patients were not supported by the National Health Service and did not have health insurance. We compared uric acid, creatinine levels, and electrolytes (i.e. phosphate, potassium, and calcium) before and after rasburicase administration and also assessed the need for renal replacement therapy after treatment.
All six patients had a significant reduction in uric acid levels on the first day, achieving a response rate of 100% (p = 0.008994); creatinine, phosphate, and potassium were reduced significantly as well, with the p values of 0.0439, 0.014326, and 0.002008, respectively; only one patient needed renal replacement therapy in the form of haemodialysis, due to concerns about hyperphosphataemia.
Financial difficulties faced either because patients lacked insurance or because of the restricted National Health Service budget in Egypt have resulted in the unavailability of certain modalities of treatment in cancer care and the need to consider more economic yet efficient approaches. Our experience suggests that a single low-dose rasburicase injection (7.5 mg) is an efficient and cost-effective method to control hyperuricaemia in patients with a high risk of developing TLS when compared with the more expensive and extended standard regimen and doses recommended.
PMCID: PMC3855003  PMID: 24324529
tumour lysis syndrome; hyperuricaemia; single dose of rasburicase; haemological malignancies
5.  Bisphosphonates in the adjuvant treatment of young women with breast cancer: the estrogen rich is a poor candidate! 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(Suppl 1):S27-S35.
During the last 2 decades the role of bisphosphonates (BPs) to reduce skeletal-related events from bone metastases in breast cancer has been well defined. Several preclinical studies have strongly suggested that BPs may also provide an anti-cancer effect in early breast cancer. Indeed, the use of adjuvant BPs represents a unique approach that attempts at eradicating occult tumor micro-metastases residing in the bone marrow via targeting the bone microenvironment to render it less favorable for cancer cell growth. Although, this concept has been tested clinically for more than 15 years, no final consensus has been reached as for the routine use of BPs in the adjuvant phase of breast cancer, owing to conflicting results of randomized studies. Nevertheless, accumulating evidence from recent trials has indicated a therapeutic benefit of adjuvant BPs—particularly zoledronic acid—in women with established menopause, with no or perhaps detrimental effects in premenopausal women. Indeed, this hypothesis has opened a new chapter on the role of estrogen-poor microenvironment as a potential pre-requisite for the anti-tumor effects of BPs in the adjuvant phase of breast cancer. In this review, we will emphasize the biological rational of using BPs to target bone microenvironment in patients with early breast cancer and we will explore mechanistic differences; related to bisphosphonates effects in premenopausal versus postmenopausal women and how the endocrine environment would influence the anticancer potential of these compounds.
PMCID: PMC3695537  PMID: 23819025
Adjuvant; bisphosphonates (BPs); anti-tumor activity; premeopausal; breast cancer
6.  A randomized, phase 2 study comparing pemetrexed plus best supportive care versus best supportive care as maintenance therapy after first-line treatment with pemetrexed and cisplatin for advanced, non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:423.
Maintenance therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) aims to extend disease control after first-line chemotherapy with active and well-tolerated agents. The utility of continuation maintenance therapy requires further research.
This multicenter, randomized, phase 2 study compared continuation maintenance therapy with pemetrexed (500 mg/m2 every 21 days) and best supportive care (BSC) versus BSC alone in patients with advanced, non-squamous NSCLC who had not progressed after 4 cycles of induction chemotherapy with pemetrexed (500 mg/m2) and cisplatin (75 mg/m2). The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) from randomization, was analyzed using a Cox model, stratified for the tumor response at the end of induction therapy, at a one-sided alpha of 0.2. Secondary endpoints: response and disease control rates, overall survival (OS), one year survival rates, and treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs).
A total of 106 patients commenced induction therapy, of whom 55 patients were randomized to maintenance pemetrexed/BSC (n = 28) or BSC (n = 27). Although the median PFS time for maintenance phase for both arms was 3.2 months, the one-sided p-value for the PFS HR comparison was less than the prespecified limit of 0.2 (HR = 0.76, two-sided 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.42 to 1.37; one-sided p-value = 0.1815), indicating that PFS was sufficiently long in the pemetrexed/BSC arm to warrant further investigation. Similar PFS results were observed for the overall study period (induction plus maintenance) and when the PFS analysis was adjusted for sex, baseline disease stage, and the ECOG PS prior to randomization. The median OS for the maintenance phase was 12.2 months (95%CI: 5.6 to 20.6) for the pemetrexed/BSC arm and 11.8 months (95% CI: 6.3 to 25.6) for BSC arm. The one-year survival probabilities were similar for both arms for the maintenance phase and the overall study period. Both the induction and continuation maintenance therapies were generally well-tolerated, and similar proportion of patients in each arm experienced at least 1 grade 3/4 TEAE (pemetrexed/BSC, 17.9%; BSC, 18.5%).
Continuation pemetrexed maintenance therapy resulted in promising PFS with an acceptable safety profile in a Middle Eastern population with advanced non-squamous NSCLC and is worthy of further investigation.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3477017  PMID: 23006447
Non-squamous; Non-small cell lung cancer; Pemetrexed; Cisplatin; Induction; Maintenance
7.  Case Study in Refractory Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Successful Treatment with Plerixafor 
Case Reports in Oncology  2011;4(3):467-469.
The present case study describes our experience in treating a young woman diagnosed with a relapsing case of diffuse large cell lymphoma, who was heavily pre-treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Our only chance to improve her survival was by using high-dose chemotherapy, followed by peripheral stem cell rescue. Unfortunately, in this patient, collecting sufficient stem cells for bone marrow transplantation proved to be very difficult since she had already been heavily treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Currently, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) alone or G-CSF plus chemotherapy are the most commonly used treatments for stem cell mobilization. However, 5–30% of patients do not respond to these agents. Plerixafor is a new hematopoietic stem cell-mobilizing drug that antagonizes the binding of chemokine stromal cell-derived factor-1α to CXC chemokine receptor 4. It is indicated in combination with G-CSF to mobilize hematopoietic stem cells to the peripheral blood for collection and subsequent autologous transplantation in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma [Kessans et al.: Pharmacotherapy 2010;30:485–492; Jantunen: Expert Opin Biol Ther 2011;11:1241–1248]. Based on our findings, we consider plerixafor to be a very efficient and practical solution to mobilize and collect stem cells among all patients in such a situation, enabling us to proceed to autologous bone marrow transplantation and peripheral stem cell rescue in order to improve the patients’ overall survival.
PMCID: PMC3220898  PMID: 22114571
Diffuse large cell lymphoma; Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; Chemotherapy; Plerixafor; Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor; Stem cell mobilization

Results 1-7 (7)