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1.  Local and distant recurrences in rectal cancer patients are predicted by the nonspecific immune response; specific immune response has only a systemic effect - a histopathological and immunohistochemical study 
BMC Cancer  2001;1:7.
Background
Invasion and metastasis is a complex process governed by the interaction of genetically altered tumor cells and the immunological and inflammatory host reponse. Specific T-cells directed against tumor cells and the nonspecific inflammatory reaction due to tissue damage, cooperate against invasive tumor cells in order to prevent recurrences. Data concerning involvement of individual cell types are readily available but little is known about the coordinate interactions between both forms of immune response.
Patients and methods
The presence of inflammatory infiltrate and eosinophils was determined in 1530 patients with rectal adenocarcinoma from a multicenter trial. We selected 160 patients to analyze this inflammatory infiltrate in more detail using immunohistochemistry. The association with the development of local and distant relapses was determined using univariate and multivariate log rank testing.
Results
Patients with an extensive inflammatory infiltrate around the tumor had lower recurrence rates (3.4% versus 6.9%, p = 0.03), showing the importance of host response against tumor cells. In particular, peritumoral mast cells prevent local and distant recurrence (44% versus 15%, p = 0.007 and 86% versus 21%, p < 0.0001, respectively), with improved survival as a consequence. The presence of intratumoral T-cells had independent prognostic value for the occurrence of distant metastases (32% versus 76%, p < 0.0001).
Conclusions
We showed that next to properties of tumor cells, the amount and type of inflammation is also relevant in the control of rectal cancer. Knowledge of the factors involved may lead to new approaches in the management of rectal cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-1-7
PMCID: PMC35356  PMID: 11481031
2.  Short-course radiotherapy followed by neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced rectal cancer – the RAPIDO trial 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:279.
Background
Current standard for most of the locally advanced rectal cancers is preoperative chemoradiotherapy, and, variably per institution, postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy. Short-course preoperative radiation with delayed surgery has been shown to induce tumour down-staging in both randomized and observational studies. The concept of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy has been proven successful in gastric cancer, hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer and is currently tested in primary colon cancer.
Methods and design
Patients with rectal cancer with high risk features for local or systemic failure on magnetic resonance imaging are randomized to either a standard arm or an experimental arm. The standard arm consists of chemoradiation (1.8 Gy x 25 or 2 Gy x 25 with capecitabine) preoperatively, followed by selective postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy. Postoperative chemotherapy is optional and may be omitted by participating institutions. The experimental arm includes short-course radiotherapy (5 Gy x 5) followed by full-dose chemotherapy (capecitabine and oxaliplatin) in 6 cycles before surgery. In the experimental arm, no postoperative chemotherapy is prescribed. Surgery is performed according to TME principles in both study arms. The hypothesis is that short-course radiotherapy with neo-adjuvant chemotherapy increases disease-free and overall survival without compromising local control. Primary end-point is disease-free survival at 3 years. Secondary endpoints include overall survival, local control, toxicity profile, and treatment completion rate, rate of pathological complete response and microscopically radical resection, and quality of life.
Discussion
Following the advances in rectal cancer management, increased focus on survival rather than only on local control is now justified. In an experimental arm, short-course radiotherapy is combined with full-dose chemotherapy preoperatively, an alternative that offers advantages compared to concomitant chemoradiotherapy with or without postoperative chemotherapy. In a multi-centre setting this regimen is compared to current standard with the aim of improving survival for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01558921
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-279
PMCID: PMC3680047  PMID: 23742033
Rectal cancer; Radiotherapy; Chemotherapy; Neo-adjuvant; Magnetic resonance imaging
3.  The CARTS study: Chemoradiation therapy for rectal cancer in the distal rectum followed by organ-sparing transanal endoscopic microsurgery 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:34.
Background
The CARTS study is a multicenter feasibility study, investigating the role of rectum saving surgery for distal rectal cancer.
Methods/Design
Patients with a clinical T1-3 N0 M0 rectal adenocarcinoma below 10 cm from the anal verge will receive neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy (25 fractions of 2 Gy with concurrent capecitabine). Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) will be performed 8 - 10 weeks after the end of the preoperative treatment depending on the clinical response.
Primary objective is to determine the number of patients with a (near) complete pathological response after chemoradiation therapy and TEM. Secondary objectives are the local recurrence rate and quality of life after this combined therapeutic modality. A three-step analysis will be performed after 20, 33 and 55 patients to ensure the feasibility of this treatment protocol.
Discussion
The CARTS-study is one of the first prospective multicentre trials to investigate the role of a rectum saving treatment modality using chemoradiation therapy and local excision. The CARTS study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01273051)
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-11-34
PMCID: PMC3295682  PMID: 22171697
4.  Macrodissection versus microdissection of rectal carcinoma: minor influence of stroma cells to tumor cell gene expression profiles 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:142.
Background
The molecular determinants of carcinogenesis, tumor progression and patient prognosis can be deduced from simultaneous comparison of thousands of genes by microarray analysis. However, the presence of stroma cells in surgically excised carcinoma tissues might obscure the tumor cell-specific gene expression profiles of these samples. To circumvent this complication, laser microdissection can be performed to separate tumor epithelium from the surrounding stroma and healthy tissue. In this report, we compared RNAs isolated from macrodissected, of which only surrounding healthy tissue had been removed, and microdissected rectal carcinoma samples by microarray analysis in order to determine the most reliable approach to detect the expression of tumor cell-derived genes by microarray analysis.
Results
As microdissection yielded low tissue and RNA quantities, extra rounds of mRNA amplification were necessary to obtain sufficient RNA for microarray experiments. These second rounds of amplification influenced the gene expression profiles. Moreover, the presence of stroma cells in macrodissected samples had a minor contribution to the tumor cell gene expression profiles, which can be explained by the observation that more RNA is extracted from tumor epithelial cells than from stroma.
Conclusion
These data demonstrate that the more convenient procedure of macrodissection can be adequately used and yields reliable data regarding the identification of tumor cell-specific gene expression profiles.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-6-142
PMCID: PMC1283972  PMID: 16225673

Results 1-4 (4)