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1.  Neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy with gemcitabine/cisplatin and surgery versus immediate surgery in resectable pancreatic cancer 
Background
In nonrandomized trials, neoadjuvant treatment was reported to prolong survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. As neoadjuvant chemoradiation is established for the treatment of rectal cancer we examined the value of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic cancer in a randomized phase II trial. Radiological staging defining resectability was basic information prior to randomization in contrast to adjuvant therapy trials resting on pathological staging.
Patients and methods
Patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head were randomized to primary surgery (Arm A) or neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery (Arm B), which was followed by adjuvant chemotherapy in both arms. A total of 254 patients were required to detect a 4.33-month improvement in median overall survival (mOS).
Results
The trial was stopped after 73 patients; 66 patients were eligible for analysis. Twenty nine of 33 allocated patients received chemoradiotherapy. Radiotherapy was completed in all patients. Chemotherapy was changed in 3 patients due to toxicity. Tumor resection was performed in 23 vs. 19 patients (A vs. B). The R0 resection rate was 48 % (A) and 52 % (B, P = 0.81) and (y)pN0 was 30 % (A) vs. 39 % (B, P = 0.44), respectively. Postoperative complications were comparable in both groups. mOS was 14.4 vs. 17.4 months (A vs. B; intention-to-treat analysis; P = 0.96). After tumor resection, mOS was 18.9 vs. 25.0 months (A vs. B; P = 0.79).
Conclusion
This worldwide first randomized trial for neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic cancer showed that neoadjuvant chemoradiation is safe with respect to toxicity, perioperative morbidity, and mortality. Nevertheless, the trial was terminated early due to slow recruiting and the results were not significant. ISRCTN78805636; NCT00335543.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi: 10.1007/s00066-014-0737-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00066-014-0737-7
PMCID: PMC4289008  PMID: 25252602
Adenocarcinoma; Chemoradiation; Pancreas; Surgical procedures; operative; Survival; Adenokarzinom; Radiochemotherapie; Pankreas; Operative chirurgische Verfahren; Überleben
2.  Detection of Methylated SEPT9 in Plasma Is a Reliable Screening Method for Both Left- and Right-Sided Colon Cancers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46000.
Background
Methylated Septin 9 (SEPT9) is a sensitive biomarker for colorectal cancer (CRC) from peripheral blood. However, its relationship to cancer localization, guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) have not been described.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Plasma samples were collected for SEPT9 analysis from patients with no evidence of disease (NED) (n = 92) before colonoscopy and CRC (n = 92) before surgical treatment. DNA was isolated and bisulfite-converted using Epi proColon kit 2.0. Qualitative determination was performed using Epi proColon 2.0 RT-PCR assay. Samples for gFOBT and CEA analysis were collected from NED (n = 17 and 27, respectively) and CRC (n = 22 and 27, respectively). SEPT9 test was positive in 15.2% (14/92) of NED and 95.6% (88/92) of CRC, including 100% (67/67) from stage II to stage IV CRC and 84% (21/25) of stage I CRC when a sample was called positive if 1 out of 3 PCR replicates was positive. In a second analysis (2 out of 3 PCR replicates) specificity improved to 99% (91/92) of NEDs, at a sensitivity of 79.3% (73/92) of SEPT9 positives in CRC. gFOBT was positive in 29.4% (5/17) of NED and 68.2% (15/22) of CRC and elevated CEA levels were detected in 14.8% (4/27) of NED and 51.8% (14/27) of CRC. Both SEPT9 (84.8%) and CEA (85.2%) showed higher specificity than gFOBT (70.6%). SEPT9 was positive in 96.4% (54/56) of left-sided colon cancer (LSCC) cases and 94.4% (34/36) of right-sided colon cancer (RSCC) cases. gFOBT was positive in 83.3% (10/12) of cases with LSCC and 50% (5/10) of cases with RSCC, elevated CEA was detected 60% (9/15) of LSCC and 41.7% (5/12) of RSCC.
Conclusions/Significance
The high degree of sensitivity and specificity of SEPT9 in plasma makes it a better method to detect CRC than gFOBT and CEA, even for the more difficult to detect RSCC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046000
PMCID: PMC3457959  PMID: 23049919
3.  To whom do the results of the multicenter, randomized, controlled INSECT trial (ISRCTN 24023541) apply? - assessment of external validity 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:2.
A response to Seiler et al: Interrupted or continuous slowly absorbable sutures for closure of primary elective midline abdominal incisions: a multicenter randomized trial (INSECT: ISRCTN24023541). Ann Surg 2009, 249(4):576-582.
Background
Existing evidence suggests that the transfer of results of randomized controlled trials into clinical practice may be limited. Potential reasons can be attributed to aspects of external validity. The aim of this study is to investigate issues related to the external validity of the INSECT trial.
Methods
All participating surgical departments were categorized and the clinical and baseline characteristics of randomized patients were evaluated. In addition, demographic and clinical data of all screened and randomized patients at the Departments of Surgery in Heidelberg and Erlangen were analyzed.
Results
Twenty-five centers enrolled a total of 625 patients. These centers included eight primary, 11 secondary, and six tertiary care centers. The tertiary care centers enrolled the most patients (n = 237, 38%) followed by the primary care centers (n = 199, 32%) and the secondary care centers (n = 189 patients; 30%). The mean number and baseline data of randomized patients did not differ between the three types of care centers (p = 0.09). Overall, the treatment according to protocol was at least 92%. At the Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, 307 patients were screened and 60 out of 130 eligible patients were randomized. There were no differences in demographic and clinical baseline data between included and non-included patients. In Erlangen, 351 patients were screened and 57 out of 106 eligible patients randomized.
Conclusions
Results of the INSECT trial are applicable to a broad spectrum of patients treated at different hospital levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-12-2
PMCID: PMC3328288  PMID: 22316122
4.  Palliative first-line therapy with weekly high-dose 5-fluorouracil and sodium folinic acid as a 24-hour infusion (AIO regimen) combined with weekly irinotecan in patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the stomach or esophagogastric junction followed by secondary metastatic resection after downsizing 
Summary
Background
The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of weekly high-dose 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/folinic acid (FA) as 24-h infusion (AIO regimen) plus irinotecan in patients with histologically proven metastatic gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma (UICC stage IV).
Material/Methods
From 08/1999 to 12/2008, 76 registered, previously untreated patients were evaluable. Treatment regimen: irinotecan (80 mg/m2) as 1-h infusion followed by 5-FU (2000 mg/m2) combined with FA (500 mg/m2) as 24-h infusion (d1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 36, qd 57).
Results
Median age: 59 years; male/female: 74%/26%; ECOG ≤1: 83%; response: CR: 1%, PR: 16%, SD: 61%, PD: 17%, not evaluable in terms of response: 5%; tumor control: 78%; median OS: 11.2 months; median time-to-progression: 5.3 months; 1-year survival rate: 49%; 2-year survival rate: 17%; no evidence of disease: 6.6%; higher grade toxicities (grade 3/4): anemia: 7%, leucopenia: 1%, ascites: 3%, nausea: 3%, infections: 12%, vomiting: 9%, GI bleeding of the primary tumor: 4%, diarrhea: 17%, thromboembolic events: 4%; secondary metastatic resection after downsizing: 16 patients (21%), R-classification of secondary resections: R0/R1/R2: 81%/6%/13%, median survival of the 16 patients with secondary resection: 23.7 months.
Conclusions
Combined 5-FU/FA as 24-h infusion plus irinotecan may be considered as an active palliative first-line treatment accompanied by tolerable toxicity; thus offering an alternative to cisplatin-based treatment regimens. Thanks to efficient interdisciplinary teamwork, secondary metastatic resections could be performed in 16 patients. In total, the patients who had undergone secondary resection had a median survival of 23.7 months, whereas the median survival of patients without secondary resection was 10.1 months (p≤0.001).
doi:10.12659/MSM.881764
PMCID: PMC3539586  PMID: 21525806
gastroesophageal cancer; palliative chemotherapy; irinotecan; 5-fluorouracil
5.  Primary resection versus neoadjuvant chemoradiation followed by resection for locally resectable or potentially resectable pancreatic carcinoma without distant metastasis. A multi-centre prospectively randomised phase II-study of the Interdisciplinary Working Group Gastrointestinal Tumours (AIO, ARO, and CAO) 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:41.
Background
The disappointing results of surgical therapy alone of ductal pancreatic cancer can only be improved using multimodal approaches. In contrast to adjuvant therapy, neoadjuvant chemoradiation is able to facilitate resectability with free margins and to lower lymphatic spread. Another advantage is better tolerability which consecutively allows applying multimodal treatment in a higher number of patients. Furthermore, the synopsis of the overall survival results of neoadjuvant trials suggests a higher rate compared to adjuvant trials.
Methods/Design
As there are no prospectively randomised studies for neoadjuvant therapy, the Interdisciplinary Study Group of Gastrointestinal Tumours of the German Cancer Aid has started such a trial. The study investigates the effect of neoadjuvant chemoradiation in locally resectable or probably resectable cancer of the pancreatic head without distant metastasis on median overall survival time compared to primary surgery. Adjuvant chemotherapy is integrated into both arms.
Discussion
The protocol of the study is presented in condensed form after an introducing survey on adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy in pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-41
PMCID: PMC1821337  PMID: 17338829

Results 1-5 (5)