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1.  Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging as a Predictor of Outcome in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Patients with Nodal Metastases 
Dynamic contrast-enhanced-MRI (DCE-MRI) can provide information regarding tumor perfusion and permeability and has shown prognostic value in certain tumors types. The goal of the present study was to assess the prognostic value of pretreatment DCE-MRI in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients with nodal disease undergoing chemoradiation therapy or surgery.
Methods and Materials
Seventy-four patients with histologically proven squamous cell carcinoma and neck nodal metastases were eligible for the study. Pretreatment DCE-MRI was performed on a 1.5T MRI. Clinical follow-up was a minimum of 12 months. DCE-MRI data were analyzed using Tofts model. DCE-MRI parameters were related to treatment outcome (progression free survival [PFS] and overall survival [OS]). Patients were grouped as no evidence of disease (NED), alive with disease (AWD), dead with disease (DOD) or dead of other causes (DOC). Prognostic significance was assessed using the log rank test for single variables and Cox proportional hazards regression for combinations of variables.
At last clinical follow-up, for stage III, all 12 pts were NED, for stage IV, 43 patients were NED, 4 were AWD, 11 were DOD, and 4 were DOC. Ktrans is volume transfer constant. In a stepwise Cox regression skewness of Ktrans was the strongest predictor for stage IV patients (PFS and OS: p<0.001).
Our study shows that skewness of Ktrans was the strongest predictor of PFS and OS in stage IV HNSCC patients with nodal disease. This study suggests an important role for pretreatment DCE-MRI parameter Ktrans as a predictor of outcome in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3177034  PMID: 21601373
Dynamic Contrast Enhanced-MRI (DCE-MRI); head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC); volume transfer constant (Ktrans)
2.  Cognitive functions in primary CNS lymphoma after single or combined modality regimens 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;14(1):101-108.
The standard treatment for primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) involves high-dose methotrexate-based chemotherapy (HD-MTX) alone or in combination with whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). The combined modality regimen carries a substantial risk for cognitive impairment, and HD-MTX alone has been used more often recently in part to reduce neurotoxicity. In this study, we assessed cognitive functioning and quality of life in PCNSL survivors treated with WBRT + HD-MTX or HD-MTX alone. Fifty PCNSL patients in disease remission underwent a posttreatment baseline neuropsychological evaluation, and a subset of patients completed a follow-up evaluation. Quality of life and extent of white matter disease and atrophy on MRI were assessed. Comparisons according to treatment type after controlling for age and time since treatment completion showed that patients treated with HD-MTX alone had significantly higher scores on tests of selective attention and memory than patients treated with the combined modality regimen. Patients treated with WBRT + HD-MTX had impairments across most cognitive domains, and these were of sufficient severity to interfere with quality of life, as over 50% were not working due to their illness. Patients treated with HD-MTX alone did not meet criteria for cognitive impairment but scored within 1 SD below the normative sample on most tests. Patients with more extensive white matter disease had lower scores on tests of set-shifting and memory. Cognitive dysfunction was more prevalent in PCNSL survivors treated with WBRT + HD-MTX compared with patients treated with HD-MTX alone.
PMCID: PMC3245999  PMID: 22013168
cognitive; methotrexate; neuropsychology; primary CNS lymphoma; radiation
3.  Phase II Study of Intraperitoneal Paclitaxel Plus Cisplatin and Intravenous Paclitaxel Plus Bevacizumab As Adjuvant Treatment of Optimal Stage II/III Epithelial Ovarian Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(35):4662-4668.
Intraperitoneal (IP) cisplatin and intravenous (IV) or IP paclitaxel constitute a standard therapy for optimally debulked ovarian cancer. Bevacizumab prolongs progression-free survival (PFS) when included in first-line IV chemotherapy. In this study, the safety and feasibility of adding bevacizumab to a first-line IP regimen were assessed.
Patients and Methods
Treatment was as follows: paclitaxel 135 mg/m2 IV over 3 hours day 1, cisplatin 75 mg/m2 IP day 2, and paclitaxel 60 mg/m2 IP day 8. Bevacizumab 15 mg/kg IV was given after paclitaxel on day 1 beginning in cycle 2. After six cycles of chemotherapy, bevacizumab was given every 3 weeks for 17 additional treatments. The primary end point was safety and tolerability determined by whether 60% of patients completed six cycles of IV/IP chemotherapy.
Of 41 treated patients, 30 (73%) received six cycles of IV/IP chemotherapy and 35 (85%) received at least four cycles. Three (27%) of those who discontinued chemotherapy did so because of complications related to bevacizumab (hypertension, n = 2; perforation, n = 1). Grades 3 to 4 toxicities included neutropenia (34%), vasovagal syncope (10%), hypertension (7%), nausea/vomiting (7%), hypomagnesemia (7%), and abdominal pain (7%). There were three grade 3 small bowel obstructions (7%) during cycles 3, 9, and 15. One patient died following rectosigmoid anastomotic dehiscence during cycle 4. Estimated median PFS is 28.6 months (95% CI, 19.1 to 38.9 months). Three patients (7%) had IP port malfunction.
The addition of bevacizumab to this IP regimen is feasible; however, bevacizumab may increase the risk of bowel obstruction/perforation. The observed median PFS is similar to that seen with IP/IV chemotherapy alone.
PMCID: PMC3667619  PMID: 22067389
4.  Comparison of Corticotropin-Releasing Factor, Dexamethasone and Temozolomide: Treatment Efficacy and Toxicity in U87 and C6 Intracranial Gliomas 
Treatment of cerebral tumors and peritumoral brain edema remains a clinical challenge and is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Dexamethasone (DEX) is an effective drug to treat brain edema, but is associated with well-described side effects. Corticorelin acetate (Xerecept) or human corticotrophin releasing factor (hCRF) is a comparatively new drug and was evaluated in two orthotopic glioma models (U87 and C6), by a direct comparison with dexamethasone and temozolomide.
In vitro mono- and combination-treatments showed a variable response in 6 different glioma cell lines. In vivo studies showed a dose-dependent effect of hCRF (0.03 and 0.1 mg/kg/q12h) on survival of U87 intracranial xenograft-bearing animals [median survival: control 41 days (95% CI 25–61 d); “low-hCRF” 74.5 d (95% CI 41–88 d); “high-hCRF” >130 d (95% CI not reached)]. Dexamethasone treatment had no effect on survival, but significant toxicity was observed. A survival benefit was observed with TMZ and TMZ + hCRF - treated animals, but with significant TMZ toxicity. C6-bearing animals showed no survival benefit, but similar treatment toxicities. The difference in hCRF-treatment response between U87- and C6-intracranial gliomas can be explained by a difference in receptor expression. RT-PCR identified CRF2r mRNA in U87-xenografts; no CRF-receptors were identified in C6-xenografts.
HCRF was more effective than either dexamethasone or temozolomide in the treatment of U87 xenografts, with long-term survivors and only mild toxicity. HCRF therapeutic efficacy appears to be dependent on tumor hCRF-receptor expression. These results support further clinical assessment hCRF therapeutic efficacy and levels of CRFr expression in different human gliomas.
PMCID: PMC3131845  PMID: 21385926
glioma; corticotropin-releasing factor; dexamethasone
5.  Advance Directives in an Oncologic Intensive Care Unit: A Contemporary Analysis of their Frequency, Type, and Impact 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2011;14(4):483-489.
Our objective was to provide a contemporary analysis of the prevalence, types, and impact of advance health care directives in critically ill cancer patients.
We retrospectively reviewed all intensive care unit (ICU) admissions (January 1, 2006 to April 25, 2008) at an oncologic center and identified all patients who completed a living will (LW), or health care proxy (HCP), or neither prior to ICU admission. Demographics, clinical data, end-of-life (EOL) parameters and outcomes were compared among three groups: LWs, HCPs, and no LW or HCP.
Of 1,333 ICU admissions, 1,121 patients (84%) were included for analysis: 176 patients (15.7%) had LW, 534 (47.6%) had HCP and 411 (36.7%) had no LW or HCP. Patients with LW were significantly more likely to be older and white as compared to patients with HCP alone, or no LW or HCP. There were no significant demographic differences between patients with HCP or no LW or HCP. Patients with HCP alone, or no LW or HCP, were significantly more likely to have Medicaid than patients with LW. There were no differences noted in ICU care, EOL management, or outcomes among the three groups.
The prevalence of LWs in patients admitted to our oncologic ICU is low. More than half of the remaining patients had designated HCPs. Older age and white race were associated with the presence of LWs. However, the presence of LWs or HCPs did not influence ICU care, EOL management or outcomes at our institution.
PMCID: PMC3678563  PMID: 21417740
6.  Identifying Clinical Improvement in Consolidation Single-arm Phase II Trials in Ovarian Cancer Patients in Second or Greater Clinical Remission 
Estimates of Progression-Free Survival (PFS) from single-arm Phase II consolidation/maintenance trials for recurrent ovarian cancer are usually interpreted in the context of historical controls. We illustrate how the duration of second-line therapy (SLT), the time on the investigational therapy (IT) and patient enrollment plan can affect efficacy measures from maintenance trials and might result in underpowered studies.
Efficacy data from three published single-arm consolidation therapies in second remission in ovarian cancer were used for illustration. The studies were designed to show an increase in estimated median PFS from 9 to 13.5 months. We partitioned PFS as the sum of the duration of SLT, treatment-free interval (TFI), and duration of IT. We calculated the statistical power when IT is given concurrently with SLT or following SLT by varying the start of IT. We compared the sample sizes required when PFS includes the time on SLT vs PFS that starts following SLT at initiation of IT.
Required sample sizes varied with duration of SLT. If IT starts with initiation of SLT, only 34 patients are needed to provide 80% power to detect a 33% hazard reduction. In contrast, 104 patients are required for a single arm study for 80% power, if IT begins 7.5 months after SLT initiation.
Designs of non-randomized consolidation trials that aim to prolong PFS must consider the effect of the duration of SLT on the endpoint definition and on required sample size. If IT is given concurrently with SLT, and following SLT, then SLT duration must be restricted per protocol eligibility, so that a comparison with historical data from other single-arm Phase II studies is unbiased. If IT is given following SLT, duration of SLT should be taken into account in the design stage since it will affect statistical power and sample size.
PMCID: PMC3296556  PMID: 22080877
maintenance; consolidation; ovarian cancer; second line chemotherapy; endpoint; design
7.  Tumor associated endothelial expression of B7-H3 predicts survival in ovarian carcinomas 
B7-H3 and B7x are members of the B7 family of immune regulatory ligands that are thought to attenuate peripheral immune responses through co-inhibition. Previous studies have correlated their overexpression with poor prognosis and decreased tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in various carcinomas including uterine endometrioid carcinomas, and mounting evidence supports an immuno-inhibitory role in ovarian cancer prognosis. We sought to examine the expression of B7-H3 and B7x in 103 ovarian borderline tumors and carcinomas and study associations with clinical outcome. Using immunohistochemical tissue microarray analysis on tumor specimens, we found that 93 and 100% of these ovarian tumors express B7-H3 and B7x, respectively, with expression found predominantly on cell membranes and in cytoplasm. In contrast, only scattered B7-H3- and B7x-positive cells were detected in non-neoplastic ovarian tissues. B7-H3 was also expressed in the endothelium of tumor-associated vasculature in 44% of patients, including 78% of patients with high-stage tumors (FIGO stages III and IV), nearly all of which were high-grade serous carcinomas, and 26% of patients with low-stage tumors (FIGO stages I and II; P<0.001), including borderline tumors. Analysis of cumulative survival time and recurrence incidence revealed that carcinomas with B7-H3-positive tumor vasculature were associated with a significantly shorter survival time (P=0.02) and a higher incidence of recurrence (P=0.03). The association between B7-H3-positive tumor vasculature and poor clinical outcome remained significant even when the analysis was limited to the high-stage subgroup. These results show that ovarian borderline tumors and carcinomas aberrantly express B7-H3 and B7x, and that B7-H3-positive tumor vasculature is associated with high-grade serous histological subtype, increased recurrence and reduced survival. B7-H3 expression in tumor vasculature may be a reflection of tumor aggressiveness and has diagnostic and immunotherapeutic implications in ovarian carcinomas.
PMCID: PMC2976590  PMID: 20495537
B7; co-inhibition; co-stimulation; endothelium; ovarian cancer; serous carcinoma; T cell; tumor vasculature
8.  Average arterial input function for quantitative dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of neck nodal metastases 
The present study determines the feasibility of generating an average arterial input function (Avg-AIF) from a limited population of patients with neck nodal metastases to be used for pharmacokinetic modeling of dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) data in clinical trials of larger populations.
Twenty patients (mean age 50 years [range 27–77 years]) with neck nodal metastases underwent pretreatment DCE-MRI studies with a temporal resolution of 3.75 to 7.5 sec on a 1.5T clinical MRI scanner. Eleven individual AIFs (Ind-AIFs) met the criteria of expected enhancement pattern and were used to generate Avg-AIF. Tofts model was used to calculate pharmacokinetic DCE-MRI parameters. Bland-Altman plots and paired Student t-tests were used to describe significant differences between the pharmacokinetic parameters obtained from individual and average AIFs.
Ind-AIFs obtained from eleven patients were used to calculate the Avg-AIF. No overall significant difference (bias) was observed for the transfer constant (Ktrans) measured with Ind-AIFs compared to Avg-AIF (p = 0.20 for region-of-interest (ROI) analysis and p = 0.18 for histogram median analysis). Similarly, no overall significant difference was observed for interstitial fluid space volume fraction (ve) measured with Ind-AIFs compared to Avg-AIF (p = 0.48 for ROI analysis and p = 0.93 for histogram median analysis). However, the Bland-Altman plot suggests that as Ktrans increases, the Ind-AIF estimates tend to become proportionally higher than the Avg-AIF estimates.
We found no statistically significant overall bias in Ktrans or ve estimates derived from Avg-AIF, generated from a limited population, as compared with Ind-AIFs.
However, further study is needed to determine whether calibration is needed across the range of Ktrans. The Avg-AIF obtained from a limited population may be used for pharmacokinetic modeling of DCE-MRI data in larger population studies with neck nodal metastases. Further validation of the Avg-AIF approach with a larger population and in multiple regions is desirable.
PMCID: PMC2679707  PMID: 19351382
9.  Real-Time Imaging of HIF-1α Stabilization and Degradation 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(4):e5077.
HIF-1α is overexpressed in many human cancers compared to normal tissues due to the interaction of a multiplicity of factors and pathways that reflect specific genetic alterations and extracellular stimuli. We developed two HIF-1α chimeric reporter systems, HIF-1α/FLuc and HIF-1α(ΔODDD)/FLuc, to investigate the tightly controlled level of HIF-1α protein in normal (NIH3T3 and HEK293) and glioma (U87) cells. These reporter systems provided an opportunity to investigate the degradation of HIF-1α in different cell lines, both in culture and in xenografts. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we observed different patterns of subcellular localization of HIF-1α/FLuc fusion protein between normal cells and cancer cells; similar differences were observed for HIF-1α in non-transduced, wild-type cells. A dynamic cytoplasmic-nuclear exchange of the fusion protein and HIF-1α was observed in NIH3T3 and HEK293 cells under different conditions (normoxia, CoCl2 treatment and hypoxia). In contrast, U87 cells showed a more persistent nuclear localization pattern that was less affected by different growing conditions. Employing a kinetic model for protein degradation, we were able to distinguish two components of HIF-1α/FLuc protein degradation and quantify the half-life of HIF-1α fusion proteins. The rapid clearance component (t1/2 ∼4–6 min) was abolished by the hypoxia-mimetic CoCl2, MG132 treatment and deletion of ODD domain, and reflects the oxygen/VHL-dependent degradation pathway. The slow clearance component (t1/2 ∼200 min) is consistent with other unidentified non-oxygen/VHL-dependent degradation pathways. Overall, the continuous bioluminescence readout of HIF-1α/FLuc stabilization in vitro and in vivo will facilitate the development and validation of therapeutics that affect the stability and accumulation of HIF-1α.
PMCID: PMC2660410  PMID: 19347037

Results 1-9 (9)