Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is one of the most common and distressing side effects of cancer and its treatment. During and after radiotherapy breast cancer patients often suffer from CRF which frequently impairs quality of life (QoL). Despite the high prevalence of CRF in breast cancer patients and the severe impact on the physical and emotional well-being, effective treatment methods are scarce.
Physical activity for breast cancer patients has been reported to decrease fatigue, to improve emotional well-being and to increase physical strength. The pathophysiological and molecular mechanisms of CRF and the molecular-biologic changes induced by exercise, however, are poorly understood.
In the BEST trial we aim to assess the effects of resistance training on fatigue, QoL and physical fitness as well as on molecular, immunological and inflammatory changes in breast cancer patients during adjuvant radiotherapy.
The BEST study is a prospective randomized, controlled intervention trial investigating the effects of a 12-week supervised progressive resistance training compared to a 12-week supervised muscle relaxation training in 160 patients with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant radiotherapy. To determine the effect of exercise itself beyond potential psychosocial group effects, patients in the control group perform a group-based progressive muscle relaxation training. Main inclusion criterion is histologically confirmed breast cancer stage I-III after lumpectomy or mastectomy with indication for adjuvant radiotherapy. Main exclusion criteria are acute infectious diseases, severe neurological, musculosceletal or cardiorespiratory disorders. The primary endpoint is cancer-related fatigue; secondary endpoints include immunological and inflammatory parameters analyzed in peripheral blood, saliva and urine. In addition, QoL, depression, physical performance and cognitive capacity will be assessed.
The BEST study is the first randomized controlled trial comparing progressive resistance training with muscle relaxation training in breast cancer patients during adjuvant radiotherapy. Based on the analysis of physiological, immunological and inflammatory parameters it will contribute to a better understanding of the physiological and psychosocial effects and the biological mechanisms of resistance training. The ultimate goal is the implementation of optimized intervention programs to reduce fatigue, improve quality of life and potentially the prognosis after breast cancer.
We report our experience in 49 consecutive patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma who were treated by Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) combined with simultaneous but not adjuvant chemotherapy (CHT).
The medical records of 49 patients with histologically proven primary nasopharygeal carcinoma treated with IMRT and concurrent platin-based CHT (predominantly cisplatin weekly) were retrospectively reviewed. The majority of patients showed advanced clinical stages (stage III/IV:72%) with undifferentiated histology (82%). IMRT was performed in step-and-shoot technique using an integrated boost concept in 84%. In this concept, the boost volume covered the primary tumor and involved nodes with doses of 66–70.4 Gy (single dose 2.2 Gy). Uninvolved regional nodal areas were covered with doses of 54–59.4 Gy (median single dose 1.8 Gy). At least one parotid gland was spared. None of the patients received adjuvant CHT.
The median follow-up for the entire cohort was 48 months. Radiation therapy was completed without interruption in all patients and 76% of the patients received at least 80% of the scheduled CHT. Four local recurrences have been observed, transferring into 1-, 3-, and 5-year Local Control (LC) rates of 98%, 90% and 90%. One patient developed an isolated regional nodal recurrence, resulting in 1-, 3-, and 5-year Regional Control (RC) rates of 98%. All locoregional failures were located inside the radiation fields. Distant metastases were found in six patients, transferring into 1-, 3, and 5-year Distant Control (DC) rates of 92%, 86% and 86%. Progression free survival (PFS) rates after 1, 3 and 5 years were 86%, 70% and 69% and 1-, 3- and 5-year Overall Survival (OS) rates were 96%, 82% and 79%. Acute toxicity ≥ grade III mainly consisted of dysphagia (32%), leukopenia (24%), stomatitis (16%), infection (8%) and nausea (8%). Severe late toxicity (grade III) was documented in 18% of the patients, mainly as xerostomia (10%).
Concurrent chemoradiation without the addition of adjuvant chemotherapy cycles using IMRT with an integrated boost concept yielded good disease control and overall survival in patients suffering from primary nasopharyngeal cancer with acceptable acute side effects and limited rates of late toxicity.
Nasopharyngeal cancer; IMRT; Concurrent chemotherapy
To evaluate disease control, overall survival and prognostic factors in patients with locally recurrent rectal cancer after IOERT-containing multimodal therapy.
Between 1991 and 2006, 97 patients with locally recurrent rectal cancer have been treated with surgery and IOERT. IOERT was preceded or followed by external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) in 54 previously untreated patients (median dose 41.4 Gy) usually combined with 5-Fluouracil-based chemotherapy (89%). IOERT was delivered via cylindric cones with doses of 10–20 Gy. Adjuvant CHT was given only in a minority of patients (34%). Median follow-up was 51 months.
Margin status was R0 in 37%, R1 in 33% and R2 in 30% of the patients. Neoadjuvant EBRT resulted in significantly increased rates of free margins (52% vs. 24%). Median overall survival was 39 months. Estimated 5-year rates for central control (inside the IOERT area), local control (inside the pelvis), distant control and overall survival were 54%, 41%, 40% and 30%. Resection margin was the strongest prognostic factor for overall survival (3-year OS of 80% (R0), 37% (R1), 35% (R2)) and LC (3-year LC 82% (R0), 41% (R1), 18% (R2)) in the multivariate model. OS was further significantly affected by clinical stage at first diagnosis and achievement of local control after treatment in the univariate model. Distant failures were found in 46 patients, predominantly in the lung. 90-day postoperative mortality was 3.1%.
Long term OS and LC can be achieved in a substantial proportion of patients with recurrent rectal cancer using a multimodality IOERT-containing approach, especially in case of clear margins. LC and OS remain limited in patients with incomplete resection. Preoperative re-irradiation and adjuvant chemotherapy may be considered to improve outcome.
Recurrent; Rectal cancer; IOERT
Helical Tomotherapy (HT) has unique capacities for the radiotherapy of large and complicated target volumes. Next generation Dynamic Jaw/Dynamic Couch HT delivery promises faster treatments and reduced exposure of organs at risk due to a reduced dose penumbra.
Three challenging clinical situations were chosen for comparison between Regular HT delivery with a field width of 2.5 cm (Reg 2.5) and 5.0 cm (Reg 5.0) and DJDC delivery with a maximum field width of 5.0 cm (DJDC 5.0): Hemithoracic Irradiation, Whole Abdominal Irradiation (WAI) and Total Marrow Irradiation (TMI). For each setting, five CT data sets were chosen, and target coverage, conformity, integral dose, dose exposure of organs at risk (OAR) and treatment time were calculated.
Both Reg 5.0 and DJDC 5.0 achieved a substantial reduction in treatment time while maintaining similar dose coverage. Treatment time could be reduced from 10:57 min to 3:42 min / 5:10 min (Reg 5.0 / DJDC 5.0) for Hemithoracic Irradiation, from 18:03 min to 8:02 min / 8:03 min for WAI and to 18:25 min / 18:03 min for TMI. In Hemithoracic Irradiation, OAR exposure was identical in all modalities. For WAI, Reg 2.5 resulted in lower exposure of liver and bone. DJDC plans showed a small but significant increase of ∼ 1 Gy to the kidneys, the parotid glans and the thyroid gland. While Reg 5.0 and DJDC were identical in terms of OAR exposure, integral dose was substantially lower with DJDC, caused by a smaller dose penumbra.
Although not clinically available yet, next generation DJDC HT technique is efficient in improving the treatment time while maintaining comparable plan quality.
Dynamic jaw/dynamic couch; Helical tomotherapy; Large volumes; Hemithoracic irradiation; Whole abdominal irradiation; Total marrow irradiation
While evidence on safety and efficacy of primary hypofractionated radiotherapy in prostate cancer is accumulating, data on postoperative hypofractionated treatment of the prostate bed and of the pelvic lymph nodes is still scarce. This phase II trial was initiated to investigate safety and feasibility of hypofractionated treatment of the prostate bed alone or with the pelvic lymph nodes.
A total of 80 prostate cancer patients with the indication for adjuvant radiotherapy will be enrolled, where 40 patients with a low risk of lymph node involvement (arm 1) and another 40 patients with a high risk of lymph node involvement (arm 2) will each receive 54 Gy in 18 fractions to the prostate bed. Arm 2 will be given 45 Gy to the pelvic lymph nodes additionally. Helical Tomotherapy and daily image guidance will be used.
This trial was initiated to substantiate data on hypofractionated treatment of the prostate bed and generate first data on adjuvant hypofractionated radiotherapy of the pelvic lymph nodes.
Prostate cancer; Radiotherapy; Hypofractionation; Helical tomotherapy; Prostate bed; Pelvic lymph nodes
To evaluate the use of intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) in the multimodality treatment of patients with isolated local recurrences of pancreatic cancer.
We retrospectively analyzed 36 patients with isolated local recurrences of pancreatic cancer who have been treated with a combination of surgery, IORT and EBRT. Median time from initial treatment to recurrence was 20 months. All patients were surgically explored. In 18 patients a gross total resection was achieved, whereas the other half received only debulking or no resection at all. All patients received IORT with a median dose of 15 Gy. Additional EBRT was applied to 31 patients with a median dose of 45 Gy, combined with concurrent, mainly gemcitabine-based chemotherapy.
Median follow-up in surviving patients was 23 months. Local progression was found in 6 patients after a median time of 17 months, resulting in estimated 1- and 2-year local control rates of 91% and 67%, respectively. Distant failure was observed in 23 patients, mainly in liver or peritoneal space. The median estimated progression-free survival was 9 months with 1- and 2-year rates of 40% and 26%, respectively. We found an encouraging estimated median overall survival of 19 months, transferring into 1- and 2-year rates of 66% and 45%. Notably 6 of 36 patients (17%) lived for more than 3 years. Severe postoperative complications were found in 3 and chemoradiation-related grade III toxicity in 6 patients. No severe IORT related toxicity was observed.
Combination of surgery, IORT and EBRT in patients with isolated local recurrences of pancreatic cancer resulted in encouraging local control and overall survival in our cohort with acceptable toxicity. Our approach seems to be superior to palliative chemotherapy or chemoradiation alone and should be further investigated in a prospective setting specifically addressing isolated local recurrences of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer; Isolated local recurrence; IORT
Local control rates in patients with retroperitoneal soft tissue sarcoma (RSTS) remain disappointing even after gross total resection, mainly because wide margins are not achievable in the majority of patients. In contrast to extremity sarcoma, postoperative radiation therapy (RT) has shown limited efficacy due to its limitations in achievable dose and coverage. Although Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) has been introduced in some centers to overcome the dose limitations and resulted in increased outcome, local failure rates are still high even if considerable treatment related toxicity is accepted. As postoperative administration of RT has some general disadvantages, neoadjuvant approaches could offer benefits in terms of dose escalation, target coverage and reduction of toxicity, especially if highly conformal techniques like intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are considered.
The trial is a prospective, one armed, single center phase I/II study investigating a combination of neoadjuvant dose-escalated IMRT (50–56 Gy) followed by surgery and IORT (10–12 Gy) in patients with at least marginally resectable RSTS. The primary objective is the local control rate after five years. Secondary endpoints are progression-free and overall survival, acute and late toxicity, surgical resectability and patterns of failure. The aim of accrual is 37 patients in the per-protocol population.
The present study evaluates combined neoadjuvant dose-escalated IMRT followed by surgery and IORT concerning its value for improved local control without markedly increased toxicity.
Carbonic anhydrase IX (CA IX) is a hypoxia-regulated transmembrane protein over-expressed in various types of human cancer. Recently, a new peptide with affinity for human carbonic anhydrase IX (CaIX-P1) was identified using the phage display technology. Aim of the present study is to characterize the binding site in the sequence of CaIX-P1, in order to optimize the binding and metabolic properties and use it for targeting purposes.
Various fragments of CaIX-P1 were synthesized on solid support using Fmoc chemistry. Alanine scanning was performed for identification of the amino acids crucial for target binding. Derivatives with increased binding affinity were radiolabeled and in vitro studies were carried out on the CA IX positive human renal cell carcinoma cell line SKRC 52 and the CA IX negative human pancreatic carcinoma cell line BxPC3. Metabolic stability was investigated in cell culture medium and human serum. Organ distribution and planar scintigraphy studies were performed in Balb/c nu/nu mice carrying subcutaneously transplanted SKRC 52 tumors.
The results of our studies clearly identified amino acids that are important for target binding. Among various fragments and derivatives the ligand CaIX-P1-4-10 (NHVPLSPy) was found to possess increased binding potential in SKRC 52 cells, whereas no binding capacity for BxPC3 cells was observed. Binding of radiolabeled CaIX-P1-4-10 on CA IX positive cells could be inhibited by both the unlabeled and the native CaIX-P1 peptide but not by control peptides. Stability experiments indicated the degradation site in the sequence of CaIX-P1-4-10. Biodistribution studies showed a higher in vivo accumulation in the tumor than in most healthy tissues.
Our data reveal modifications in the sequence of the CA IX affine ligand CaIX-P1 that might be favorable for improvement of target affinity and metabolic stability, which are necessary prior to the use of the ligand in clinical approaches.
The current standard treatment, at least in Europe, for patients with primarily resectable tumors, consists of surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. But even in this prognostic favourable group, long term survival is disappointing because of high local and distant failure rates. Postoperative chemoradiation has shown improved local control and overalls survival compared to surgery alone but the value of additional radiation has been questioned in case of adjuvant chemotherapy. However, there remains a strong rationale for the addition of radiation therapy considering the high rates of microscopically incomplete resections after surgery. As postoperative administration of radiation therapy has some general disadvantages, neoadjuvant and intraoperative approaches theoretically offer benefits in terms of dose escalation, reduction of toxicity and patients comfort especially if hypofractionated regimens with highly conformal techniques like intensity-modulated radiation therapy are considered.
The NEOPANC trial is a prospective, one armed, single center phase I/II study investigating a combination of neoadjuvant short course intensity-modulated radiation therapy (5 × 5 Gy) in combination with surgery and intraoperative radiation therapy (15 Gy), followed by adjuvant chemotherapy according to the german treatment guidelines, in patients with primarily resectable pancreatic cancer. The aim of accrual is 46 patients.
The primary objectives of the NEOPANC trial are to evaluate the general feasibility of this approach and the local recurrence rate after one year. Secondary endpoints are progression-free survival, overall survival, acute and late toxicity, postoperative morbidity and mortality and quality of life.
To access the long-time outcome and patterns of failure in patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Methods and materials
Between 1992 and 2005 127 patients (median age 55 years, UICC stage III n = 6, stage IV n = 121) with primarily inoperable, advanced HNSCC were treated with definite platinum-based radiochemotherapy (median dose 66.4 Gy). Analysed end-points were overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), loco-regional progression-free survival (LPFS), development of distant metastases (DM), prognostic factors and causes of death.
The mean follow-up time was 34 months (range, 3-156 months), the 3-, 5- and 10-year OS rates were 39%, 28% and 14%, respectively. The median OS was 23 months. Forty-seven patients achieved a complete remission and 78 patients a partial remission. The median LPFS was 17 months, the 3-, 5- and 10-year LPFS rates were 41%, 33% and 30%, respectively. The LPFS was dependent on the nodal stage (p = 0.029). The median DFS was 11 months (range, 2-156 months), the 3-, 5- and 10-year DFS rates were 30%, 24% and 22%, respectively. Prognostic factors in univariate analyses were alcohol abuse (n = 102, p = 0.015), complete remission (n = 47, p < 0.001), local recurrence (n = 71, p < 0.001), development of DM (n = 45, p < 0.001; median OS 16 months) and borderline significance in nodal stage N2 versus N3 (p = 0.06). Median OS was 26 months with lung metastases (n = 17). Nodal stage was a predictive factor for the development of DM (p = 0.025). Cause of death was most commonly tumor progression.
In stage IV HNSCC long-term survival is rare and DM is a significant predictor for mortality. If patients developed DM, lung metastases had the most favourable prognosis, so intensified palliative treatment might be justified in DM limited to the lungs.
HNSCC; head and neck cancer; radiotherapy; radiochemotherapy; irradiation; long-term follow-up
The efficiencies of T cell based immunotherapies are affected by insufficient migration and activation of tumor specific effector T cells in the tumor. Accumulating evidence exists on the ability of ionizing radiation to modify the tumor microenvironment and generate inflammation. The aim of this phase I/II clinical trial is to evaluate whether low dose single fraction radiotherapy can improve T cell associated antitumor immune response in patients with pancreatic cancer.
This trial has been designed as an investigator initiated; prospective randomised, 4-armed, controlled Phase I/II trial. Patients who are candidates for resection of pancreatic cancer will be randomized into 4 arms. A total of 40 patients will be enrolled. The patients receive 0 Gy, 0.5 Gy, 2 Gy or 5 Gy radiation precisely targeted to their pancreatic carcinoma. Radiation will be delivered by external beam radiotherapy using a 6 MV Linac with IMRT technique 48 h prior to the surgical resection. The primary objective is the determination of an active local external beam radiation dose, leading to tumor infiltrating T cells as a surrogate parameter for antitumor activity. Secondary objectives include local tumor control and recurrence patterns, survival, radiogenic treatment toxicity and postoperative morbidity and mortality, as well as quality of life. Further, frequencies of tumor reactive T cells in blood and bone marrow as well as whole blood cell transcriptomics and plasma-proteomics will be correlated with clinical outcome. An interim analysis will be performed after the enrolment of 20 patients for safety reasons. The evaluation of the primary endpoint will start four weeks after the last patient's enrolment.
This trial will answer the question whether a low dose radiotherapy localized to the pancreatic tumor only can increase the number of tumor infiltrating T cells and thus potentially enhance the antitumor immune response. The study will also investigate the prognostic and predictive value of radiation-induced T cell activity along with transcriptomic and proteomic data with respect to clinical outcome.
ClinicalTrials.gov - NCT01027221
pancreatic cancer; immune therapy; low dose radiation; T-cells
To report our experience with intensity-modulated or stereotactic reirradiation in patients suffering from recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Patients and Methods
The records of 17 patients with recurrent nasopharygeal carcinoma treated by intensity-modulated (n = 14) or stereotactic (n = 3) reirradiation in our institution were reviewed. Median age was 53 years and most patients (n = 14) were male. The majority of tumors showed undifferentiated histology (n = 14) and infiltration of intracranial structures (n = 12). Simultaneous systemic therapy was applied in 8 patients. Initial treatment covered the gross tumor volume with a median dose of 66 Gy (50-72 Gy) and the cervical nodal regions with a median dose of 56 Gy (50-60 Gy). Reirradiation was confined to the local relapse region with a median dose of 50.4 Gy (36-64Gy), resulting in a median cumulative dose of 112 Gy (91-134 Gy). The median time interval between initial and subsequent treatment was 52 months (6-132).
The median follow up for the entire cohort was 20 months and 31 months for survivors (10-84). Five patients (29%) developed isolated local recurrences and three patients (18%) suffered from isolated nodal recurrences. The actuarial 1- and 2-year rates of local/locoregional control were 76%/59% and 69%/52%, respectively. Six patients developed distant metastasis during the follow up period. The median actuarial overall survival for the entire cohort was 23 months, transferring into 1-, 2-, and 3-year overall survival rates of 82%, 44% and 37%. Univariate subset analyses showed significantly increased overall survival and local control for patients with less advanced rT stage, retreatment doses > 50 Gy, concurrent systemic treatment and complete response. Severe late toxicity (Grad III) attributable to reirradiation occurred in five patients (29%), particularly as hearing loss, alterations of taste/smell, cranial neuropathy, trismus and xerostomia.
Reirradiation with intensity-modulated or stereotactic techniques in recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma is feasible and yields encouraging results in terms of local control and overall survival in patients with acceptable toxicity in patients with less advanced recurrences. However, the achievable outcome is limited in patients with involvement of intracranial structures, emphasising the need for close monitoring after primary therapy.
The prognosis for patients with advanced FIGO stage III epithelial ovarian cancer remains poor despite the aggressive standard treatment, consisting of maximal cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. The median time to recurrence is less than 2 years, with a 5-years survival rate of -20-25%. Recurrences of the disease occur mostly intraperitoneally.
Ovarian cancer is a radiosensitive tumor, so that the use of whole abdominal radiotherapy (WAR) as a consolidation therapy would appear to be a logical strategy. WAR used to be the standard treatment after surgery before the chemotherapy era; however, it has been almost totally excluded from the treatment of ovarian cancer during the past decade because of its high toxicity. Modern intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) has the potential of sparing organs at risk like kidneys, liver, and bone marrow while still adequately covering the peritoneal cavity with a homogenous dose.
Our previous phase I study showed for the first time the clinical feasibility of intensity-modulated WAR and pointed out promising results concerning treatment tolerance. The current phase-II study succeeds to the phase-I study to further evaluate the toxicity of this new treatment.
The OVAR-IMRT-02 study is a single-center one arm phase-II trial. Thirty seven patients with optimally debulked ovarian cancer stage FIGO III having a complete remission after chemotherapy will be treated with intensity-modulated WAR as a consolidation therapy.
A total dose of 30 Gy in 20 fractions of 1.5 Gy will be applied to the entire peritoneal cavity including the liver surface and the pelvic and para-aortic node regions. Organ at risk are kidneys, liver (except the 1 cm-outer border), heart, vertebral bodies and pelvic bones.
Primary endpoint is tolerability; secondary objectives are toxicity, quality of life, progression-free and overall survival.
Intensity-modulated WAR provides a new promising option in the consolidation treatment of ovarian carcinoma in patients with a complete pathologic remission after adjuvant chemotherapy. Further consequent studies will be needed to enable firm conclusions regarding the value of consolidation radiotherapy within the multimodal treatment of advanced ovarian cancer.
Recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), insensitive against most therapeutic interventions, has low response and survival rates. Temozolomide (TMZ) was approved for second-line therapy of recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma. However, TMZ therapy in GBM patients reveals properties such as reduced tolerability and inauspicious hemogram. The solution addressed here concerning GBM therapy consolidates and uses the potential of organic and peptide chemistry with molecular medicine. We enhanced the pharmacologic potency with simultaneous reduction of unwanted adverse reactions of the highly efficient chemotherapeutic TMZ. The TMZ connection to transporter molecules (TMZ-BioShuttle) was investigated, resulting in a much higher pharmacological effect in glioma cell lines and also with reduced dose rate. From this result we can conclude that a suitable chemistry could realize the ligation of pharmacologically active, but sensitive and highly unstable pharmaceutical ingredients without functional deprivation. The TMZ-BioShuttle dramatically enhanced the potential of TMZ for the treatment of brain tumors and is an attractive drug for combination chemotherapy.
drug delivery; carrier molecules; facilitated transport; glioblastoma multiforme; temozolomide
There is a large number of effective cytotoxic drugs whose side effect profile, efficacy, and
long-term use in man are well understood and documented over decades of use in clinical routine
e.g. in the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and the hormone-refractory
prostate cancer (HRPC). Both cancers are insensitive against most chemotherapeutic
interventions; they have low response rates and poor prognoses. Some cytotoxic agents can be
significantly improved by using modern technology of drug delivery or formulation. We succeeded
to enhance the pharmacologic potency with simultaneous reduction of unwanted adverse reactions
of the highly efficient chemotherapeutic temozolomide (TMZ) as an example. The TMZ connection
to transporter molecules (TMZ-BioShuttle) resulted in a much higher pharmacological effect in
glioma cell lines while using reduced doses. This permits the conclusion that a suitable
chemistry could realize the ligation of pharmacologically active, but sensitive and highly
unstable pharmaceutical ingredients without functional deprivation. The re-formulation of TMZ
to TMZ-BioShuttle achieved a nearly 10-fold potential of the established pharmaceutic TMZ far
beyond the treatment of brain tumors cells and results in an attractive reformulated drug with
enhanced therapeutic index.
BioShuttle; Carrier Molecules; Drug Delivery; facilitated Transport; Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM); Reformulation; Temozolomide (TMZ)
The prognosis for patients with advanced epithelial ovarian cancer remains poor despite aggressive surgical resection and platinum-based chemotherapy. More than 60% of patients will develop recurrent disease, principally intraperitoneal, and die within 5 years. The use of whole abdominal irradiation (WAI) as consolidation therapy would appear to be a logical strategy given its ability to sterilize small tumour volumes. Despite the clinically proven efficacy of whole abdominal irradiation, the use of radiotherapy in ovarian cancer has profoundly decreased mainly due to high treatment-related toxicity. Modern intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) could allow to spare kidneys, liver, and bone marrow while still adequately covering the peritoneal cavity with a homogenous dose.
The OVAR-IMRT-01 study is a single center pilot trial of a phase I/II study. Patients with advanced ovarian cancer stage FIGO III (R1 or R2< 1 cm) after surgical resection and platinum-based chemotherapy will be treated with whole abdomen irradiation as consolidation therapy using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to a total dose of 30 Gy in 1.5 Gy fractions. A total of 8 patients will be included in this trial. For treatment planning bone marrow, kidneys, liver, spinal cord, vertebral bodies and pelvic bones are defined as organs at risk. The planning target volume includes the entire peritoneal cavity plus pelvic and para-aortic node regions.
The primary endpoint of the study is the evaluation of the feasibility of intensity-modulated WAI and the evaluation of the study protocol. Secondary endpoint is evaluation of the toxicity of intensity modulated WAI before continuing with the phase I/II study. The aim is to explore the potential of IMRT as a new method for WAI to decrease the dose to kidneys, liver, bone marrow while covering the peritoneal cavity with a homogenous dose, and to implement whole abdominal intensity-modulated radiotherapy into the adjuvant multimodal treatment concept of advanced ovarian cancer FIGO stage III.
An efficient gene transfer into target tissues and cells is needed for safe and effective treatment of genetic diseases like cancer. In this paper, we describe the development of a transport system and show its ability for transporting plasmids. This non-viral peptide-based BioShuttle-mediated transfer system consists of a nuclear localization address sequence realizing the delivery of the plasmid phNIS-IRES-EGFP coding for two independent reporter genes into nuclei of HeLa cells. The quantification of the transfer efficiency was achieved by measurements of the sodium iodide symporter activity. EGFP gene expression was measured with Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and quantified with biostatistical methods by analysis of the frequency of the amplitude distribution in the CLSM images. The results demonstrate that the “BioShuttle”-Technology is an appropriate tool for an effective transfer of genetic material carried by a plasmid.
Quantification of gene transfer; non-viral vectors; nucleus-addressed delivery; gene targeting
The purpose of the study was the clinical implementation of a kV cone beam CT (CBCT) for setup correction in radiotherapy.
Patients and methods
For evaluation of the setup correction workflow, six tumor patients (lung cancer, sacral chordoma, head-and-neck and paraspinal tumor, and two prostate cancer patients) were selected. All patients were treated with fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy, five of them with intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). For patient fixation, a scotch cast body frame or a vacuum pillow, each in combination with a scotch cast head mask, were used. The imaging equipment, consisting of an x-ray tube and a flat panel imager (FPI), was attached to a Siemens linear accelerator according to the in-line approach, i.e. with the imaging beam mounted opposite to the treatment beam sharing the same isocenter. For dose delivery, the treatment beam has to traverse the FPI which is mounted in the accessory tray below the multi-leaf collimator. For each patient, a predefined number of imaging projections over a range of at least 200 degrees were acquired. The fast reconstruction of the 3D-CBCT dataset was done with an implementation of the Feldkamp-David-Kress (FDK) algorithm. For the registration of the treatment planning CT with the acquired CBCT, an automatic mutual information matcher and manual matching was used.
Results and discussion
Bony landmarks were easily detected and the table shifts for correction of setup deviations could be automatically calculated in all cases. The image quality was sufficient for a visual comparison of the desired target point with the isocenter visible on the CBCT. Soft tissue contrast was problematic for the prostate of an obese patient, but good in the lung tumor case. The detected maximum setup deviation was 3 mm for patients fixated with the body frame, and 6 mm for patients positioned in the vacuum pillow. Using an action level of 2 mm translational error, a target point correction was carried out in 4 cases. The additional workload of the described workflow compared to a normal treatment fraction led to an extra time of about 10–12 minutes, which can be further reduced by streamlining the different steps.
The cone beam CT attached to a LINAC allows the acquisition of a CT scan of the patient in treatment position directly before treatment. Its image quality is sufficient for determining target point correction vectors. With the presented workflow, a target point correction within a clinically reasonable time frame is possible. This increases the treatment precision, and potentially the complex patient fixation techniques will become dispensable.
Several small receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (RTKI) have entered clinical cancer trials alone and in combination with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The inhibitory spectrum of these compounds is often not restricted to a single target. For example Imatinib/Gleevec (primarily a bcr/abl kinase inhibitor) or SU11248 (mainly a VEGFR inhibitor) are also potent inhibitors of PDGFR and other kinases. We showed previously that PDGF signaling inhibition attenuates radiation-induced lung fibrosis in a mouse model. Here we investigate effects of SU9518, a PDGFR inhibitor combined with ionizing radiation in human primary fibroblasts and endothelial cells in vitro, with a view on utilizing RTKI for antifibrotic therapy.
Protein levels of PDGFR-α/-β and phosphorylated PDGFR in fibroblasts were analyzed using western and immunocytochemistry assays. Functional proliferation and clonogenic assays were performed (i) to assess PDGFR-mediated survival and proliferation in fibroblasts and endothelial cells after SU9518 (small molecule inhibitor of PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase); (ii) to test the potency und selectivity of the PDGF RTK inhibitor after stimulation with PDGF isoforms (-AB, -AA, -BB) and VEGF+bFGF. In order to simulate in vivo conditions and to understand the role of radiation-induced paracrine PDGF secretion, co-culture models consisting of fibroblasts and endothelial cells were employed.
In fibroblasts, radiation markedly activated PDGF signaling as detected by enhanced PDGFR phosphorylation which was potently inhibited by SU9518. In fibroblast clonogenic assay, SU9518 reduced PDGF stimulated fibroblast survival by 57%. Likewise, SU9518 potently inhibited fibroblast and endothelial cell proliferation. In the co-culture model, radiation of endothelial cells and fibroblast cells substantially stimulated proliferation of non irradiated fibroblasts and vice versa. Importantly, the RTK inhibitor significantly inhibited this paracrine radiation-induced fibroblast and endothelial cell activation.
Radiation-induced autocrine and paracrine PDGF signaling plays an important role in fibroblast and endothelial cell proliferation. SU9518, a PDGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, reduces radiation-induced fibroblast and endothelial cell activation. This may explain therapeutic anticancer effects of Imatinib/Gleevec, and at the same time it could open a way of attenuating radiation-induced fibrosis.