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1.  SUBMIT: Systemic therapy with or without up front surgery of the primary tumor in breast cancer patients with distant metastases at initial presentation 
BMC Surgery  2012;12:5.
Five percent of all patients with breast cancer have distant metastatic disease at initial presentation. Because metastatic breast cancer is considered to be an incurable disease, it is generally treated with a palliative intent. Recent non-randomized studies have demonstrated that (complete) resection of the primary tumor is associated with a significant improvement of the survival of patients with primary metastatic breast cancer. However, other studies have suggested that the claimed survival benefit by surgery may be caused by selection bias. Therefore, a randomized controlled trial will be performed to assess whether breast surgery in patients with primary distant metastatic breast cancer will improve the prognosis.
Randomization will take place after the diagnosis of primary distant metastatic breast cancer. Patients will either be randomized to up front surgery of the breast tumor followed by systemic therapy or to systemic therapy, followed by delayed local treatment of the breast tumor if clinically indicated.
Patients with primary distant metastatic breast cancer, with no prior treatment of the breast cancer, who are 18 years or older and fit enough to undergo surgery and systemic therapy are eligible. Important exclusion criteria are: prior invasive breast cancer, surgical treatment or radiotherapy of this breast tumor before randomization, irresectable T4 tumor and synchronous bilateral breast cancer. The primary endpoint is 2-year survival. Quality of life and local tumor control are among the secondary endpoints.
Based on the results of prior research it was calculated that 258 patients are needed in each treatment arm, assuming a power of 80%. Total accrual time is expected to take 60 months. An interim analysis will be performed to assess any clinically significant safety concerns and to determine whether there is evidence that up front surgery is clinically or statistically inferior to systemic therapy with respect to the primary endpoint.
The SUBMIT study is a randomized controlled trial that will provide evidence on whether or not surgery of the primary tumor in breast cancer patients with metastatic disease at initial presentation results in an improved survival.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3348008  PMID: 22469291
Primary metastatic breast cancer; surgery; randomised controlled trial
2.  Behavioral and psychosocial effects of rapid genetic counseling and testing in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients: Design of a multicenter randomized clinical trial 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:6.
It has been estimated that between 5% and 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a hereditary form of the disease, primarily caused by a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Such women have an increased risk of developing a new primary breast and/or ovarian tumor, and may therefore opt for preventive surgery (e.g., bilateral mastectomy, oophorectomy). It is common practice to offer high-risk patients genetic counseling and DNA testing after their primary treatment, with genetic test results being available within 4-6 months. However, some non-commercial laboratories can currently generate test results within 3 to 6 weeks, and thus make it possible to provide rapid genetic counseling and testing (RGCT) prior to primary treatment. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of RGCT on treatment decisions and on psychosocial health.
In this randomized controlled trial, 255 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with at least a 10% risk of carrying a BRCA gene mutation are being recruited from 12 hospitals in the Netherlands. Participants are randomized in a 2:1 ratio to either a RGCT intervention group (the offer of RGCT directly following diagnosis with tests results available before surgical treatment) or to a usual care control group. The primary behavioral outcome is the uptake of direct bilateral mastectomy or delayed prophylactic contralateral mastectomy. Psychosocial outcomes include cancer risk perception, cancer-related worry and distress, health-related quality of life, decisional satisfaction and the perceived need for and use of additional decisional counseling and psychosocial support. Data are collected via medical chart audits and self-report questionnaires administered prior to randomization, and at 6 month and at 12 month follow-up.
This trial will provide essential information on the impact of RGCT on the choice of primary surgical treatment among women with breast cancer with an increased risk of hereditary cancer. This study will also provide data on the psychosocial consequences of RGCT and of risk-reducing behavior.
Trial registration
The study is registered at the Netherlands Trial Register (NTR1493) and (NCT00783822).
PMCID: PMC3022885  PMID: 21219598
3.  Validation of previously identified serum biomarkers for breast cancer with SELDI-TOF MS: a case control study 
Serum protein profiling seems promising for early detection of breast cancer. However, the approach is also criticized, partly because of difficulties in validating discriminatory proteins. This study's aim is to validate three proteins previously reported to be discriminative between breast cancer cases and healthy controls. These proteins had been identified as a fragment of inter-alpha trypsin inhibitor H4 (4.3 kDa), C-terminal-truncated form of C3a des arginine anaphylatoxin (8.1 kDa) and C3a des arginine anaphylatoxin (8.9 kDa).
Serum protein profiles of 48 breast cancer patients and 48 healthy controls were analyzed with surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS). Differences in protein intensity between breast cancer cases and controls were measured with the Mann-Whitney U test and adjusted for confounding in a multivariate logistic regression model.
Four peaks, with mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) 4276, 4292, 8129 and 8941, were found that were assumed to represent the previously reported proteins. M/z 4276 and 4292 were statistically significantly decreased in breast cancer cases compared to healthy controls (p < 0.001). M/z 8941 was decreased in breast cancer cases (p < 0.001) and m/z 8129 was not related with breast cancer (p = 0.87). Adjustment for sample preparation day, sample storage duration and age did not substantially alter results.
M/z 4276 and 4292 both represented the previously reported 4.3 kDa protein and were both decreased in breast cancer patients, which is in accordance with the results of most previous studies. M/z 8129 was in contrast with previous studies not related with breast cancer. Remarkably, m/z 8941 was decreased in breast cancer cases whereas in previous studies it was increased. Differences in patient populations and pre-analytical sample handling could have contributed to discrepancies. Further research is needed before we can conclude on the relevance of these proteins as breast cancer biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC2639617  PMID: 19152674

Results 1-3 (3)