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1.  What is the Need for Prostatic Biomarkers in Prostate Cancer Management? 
Current Urology Reports  2015;16(10):70.
Discriminating patients with a low risk of progression from those with lethal prostate cancer is one of the main challenges in prostate cancer management. Indeed, such discrimination is essential if we aim to avoid overtreatment in men with indolent disease and to improve survival in those men with lethal disease. We are reporting on the current literature on such prognostic tools that are now available, their clinical role and their limitations in individualizing care. There is an urgent need to incorporate such genomic tools into new platform-based clinical trial structures to further develop and validate prognostic and predictive biomarkers and provide prostate cancer patients with an effective and cost-efficient access to new drugs in the setting of personalized treatment.
PMCID: PMC4534510  PMID: 26267226
Prostate cancer; Genetics; Microenvironment; Treatment; Biomarkers
2.  Denosumab and Bone Metastasis–Free Survival in Men With Nonmetastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Exploratory Analyses by Baseline Prostate-Specific Antigen Doubling Time 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(30):3800-3806.
Denosumab, an anti–RANK ligand monoclonal antibody, significantly increases bone metastasis–free survival (BMFS; hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; P = .028) and delays time to first bone metastasis in men with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ≥ 8.0 ng/mL and/or PSA doubling time (PSADT) ≤ 10.0 months. To identify men at greatest risk for bone metastasis or death, we evaluated relationships between PSA and PSADT with BMFS in the placebo group and the efficacy and safety of denosumab in men with PSADT ≤ 10, ≤ 6, and ≤ 4 months.
Patients and Methods
A total of 1,432 men with nonmetastatic CRPC were randomly assigned 1:1 to monthly subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg or placebo. Enrollment began February 2006; primary analysis cutoff was July 2010, when approximately 660 men were anticipated to have developed bone metastases or died.
In the placebo group, shorter BMFS was observed as PSADT decreased below 8 months. In analyses by shorter baseline PSADT, denosumab consistently increased BMFS by a median of 6.0, 7.2, and 7.5 months among men with PSADT ≤ 10 (HR, 0.84; P = .042), ≤ 6 (HR, 0.77; P = .006), and ≤ 4 months (HR, 0.71; P = .004), respectively. Denosumab also consistently increased time to bone metastasis by PSADT subset. No difference in survival was observed between treatment groups for the overall study population or PSADT subsets.
Patients with shorter PSADT are at greater risk for bone metastasis or death. Denosumab consistently improves BMFS in men with shorter PSADT and seems to have the greatest treatment effects in men at high risk for progression.
PMCID: PMC3795889  PMID: 24043751
3.  Unmet Needs in the Prediction and Detection of Metastases in Prostate Cancer 
The Oncologist  2013;18(5):549-557.
Despite advances in therapy options, few guidelines or reviews address the optimal timing or methodology for the radiographic detection of metastatic disease in patients with advanced prostate cancer. This review discusses the current status of predicting the presence of metastatic disease, with a particular emphasis on the detection of the M0 to M1 transition, and reviews current data on newer imaging technologies that are changing the way metastases are detected.
The therapeutic landscape for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer is rapidly evolving, especially for those patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CPRC). Despite advances in therapy options, the diagnostic landscape has remained relatively static, with few guidelines or reviews addressing the optimal timing or methodology for the radiographic detection of metastatic disease. Given recent reports indicating a substantial proportion of patients with CRPC thought to be nonmetastatic (M0) are in fact metastatic (M1), there is now a clear opportunity and need for improvement in detection practices. Herein, we discuss the current status of predicting the presence of metastatic disease, with a particular emphasis on the detection of the M0 to M1 transition. In addition, we review current data on newer imaging technologies that are changing the way metastases are detected. Whether earlier detection of metastatic disease will ultimately improve patient outcomes is unknown, but given that the therapeutic options for those with metastatic and nonmetastatic CPRC vary, there are considerable implications of how and when metastases are detected.
PMCID: PMC3662846  PMID: 23650019
Imaging; Lymph nodes; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neoplasm metastasis; Prostatic neoplasms; Radionuclide imaging
4.  New and Emerging Therapies for Bone Metastases in Genitourinary Cancers 
European urology  2012;63(2):309-320.
Bone metastases are a common feature of advanced genitourinary malignancies and a prominent cause of morbidity and mortality. Clinical manifestations can include pain, hypercalcemia, pathologic fractures, and spinal cord compression. Optimal systemic therapy for the skeletal component of these cancers often features a combination of disease-specific therapy and bone-targeted therapy. Some agents such as the radiopharmaceutical radium-223 blur the line between those two categories. Osteoclast inhibition is a validated strategy in the management of selected patients with bone metastases and can best be accomplished with one of two agents. Zoledronic acid is the most potent available bisphosphonate and is approved for the prevention of skeletal events due to solid tumors metastatic to bone. Denosumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody that binds and inactivates receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa-B ligand and is approved for the same indication. Radiopharmaceuticals represent a distinct strategy. Beta-emitters such as strontium-89 and samarium-153 can be effective for the palliation of pain due to bone metastases, but their use is often limited by bone marrow suppression. The alpha-emitting radiopharmaceutical radium-223 has recently been shown to improve overall survival and prevent skeletal events in selected men with castration-resistant prostate cancer metastatic to bone. Multiple ongoing clinical trials are designed to examine the potential for therapeutic inhibition of additional targets such as Src and hepatocyte growth factor (MET). This review discusses the incidence, pathophysiology, and management of bone metastases in the most prevalent genitourinary malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3661203  PMID: 23201471
5.  Treatment patterns and characteristics of European patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer 
BMC Urology  2013;13:58.
European treatment guidelines recommend the use of hormonal therapy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, including castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), but there is little understanding of how common practices in prostate cancer treatment compare across Europe. The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the management of CRPC patients across five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK).
Data were drawn from the Adelphi Real World Prostate Cancer Disease Specific Programme (DSP), a cross-sectional survey of patients undertaken between December 2009 and May 2010. The study is based on physician interviews, physician-completed detailed patient record forms, and a patient-completed questionnaire.
A total of 348 physicians (191 urologists and 157 oncologists) reported on 3477 patients with prostate cancer. Of the 3477 patients, 1405 (40%) were categorised as having CRPC, and 1119 of these had metastatic CRPC. Bone metastases were the most common (78%), followed by liver (37%) and lung (30%). The mean age of CRPC patients was 71 years, 35% were current or ex-smokers and 10% had a family history of prostate cancer. CRPC patients had a mean of 1.8 comorbidities; 66% had hypertension and 32% had diabetes. Most physicians estimated their patients would stop responding to initial hormone therapy after 19–24 months. Overall, addition of an anti-androgen to a luteinising-hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist was the most commonly prescribed therapy when patients failed initial LHRH agonist therapy, although there were considerable variations between countries. While 72% of physicians in Europe would choose chemotherapy as the next treatment option after diagnosis of CRPC, 31% of this group would initially prescribe this without an LHRH agonist.
Results from this analysis highlight inconsistencies in common hormonal therapy treatment patterns for CRPC and hormonal therapy across the EU.
PMCID: PMC4226263  PMID: 24206580
Castrate-resistant prostate cancer; CRPC; treatment; hormonal therapy; Anti-androgen; LHRH; Chemotherapy; Survey
6.  Leuprolide acetate 1-, 3- and 6-monthly depot formulations in androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer in nine European countries: evidence review and economic evaluation 
Leuprolide is an established luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist used as first-line treatment in advanced prostate cancer. As different formulations and dosing schedules are likely to have economic implications, we aimed to evaluate their efficacy, safety, and costs in nine European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal.
Database searches identified 13 clinical trials of leuprolide 1- (1 M), 3- (3 M) and 6-monthly (6 M). Only data on leuprolide with Atrigel were compared for all three formulations, which had the same efficacy, safety, and adherence. Cost-minimization analysis accounting for cost of Eligard®, specialist consultations, and diagnostics during up to 12 months follow-up was conducted. The perspective was that of public payers.
No significant differences were observed in the percentages of intention-to-treat patients achieving testosterone levels ≤ 50 ng/dL following treatment with Eligard® 1 M (93.3%), 3 M (98.3%), and 6 M (97.3%) (P > 0.05), and adverse event profiles of the three formulations were comparable. Overall, 6 M was the least expensive, with average total annual costs from €788 (Belgium) to €1839 (Portugal). The 3 M option was between 2.5% (Hungary) and 37.6% (Belgium) more expensive than 6 M; 1 M formulation was the most expensive, with costs 15.5% and 151.6% more expensive than 6 M for those countries, respectively. The 3 M option was 11.2%–45.3% less expensive than 1 M. Total costs were associated with frequency of visits for injection and monitoring. The 1 M required twelve visits, 3 M 4.4–4.8 visits, and 6 M 2.1–2.3 visits. Up to 50% additional visits could be funded with the savings resulting from switching eligible patients from 1 M and 3 M to 6 M. Results were stable in univariate and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.
Eligard® formulations offer comparable efficacy and safety, but different dosing schedules require different number of visits. The 6 M formulation offers the greatest cost savings and should be considered the treatment of choice in eligible patients in Europe.
PMCID: PMC3699057  PMID: 23836996
prostate; cancer; androgen; leuprolide; Eligard; cost-effectiveness
7.  Denosumab and Bone Metastasis-Free Survival in Men With Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Results of a Global Phase 3, Randomised, Placebo-Controlled Trial 
Lancet  2011;379(9810):39-46.
Bone metastases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in men with prostate cancer. Preclinical studies suggest that osteoclast inhibition may prevent bone metastases. This phase 3 study evaluated denosumab, a fully human anti-RANKL monoclonal antibody, to prevent bone metastasis or death from any cause in men with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
Men with non-metastatic CRPC at high risk for bone metastasis (PSA ≥8.0 ng/mL and/or PSA doubling time ≤10.0 months) were enrolled in 319 centers from 30 countries. Patients were randomised 1:1 in blinded fashion using an interactive voice response system to receive monthly subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg or placebo. The primary endpoint was bone metastasis-free survival, a composite endpoint determined by time to first occurrence of bone metastasis (symptomatic or asymptomatic) or death.
1432 patients were randomised, 716 to receive denosumab and 716 to receive placebo. Denosumab significantly increased bone metastasis-free survival by a median of 4.2 months over placebo (hazard ratio 0.85 [0.73–0.98]; P=0.028). Denosumab also significantly delayed time to first bone metastasis (hazard ratio 0.84 [0.71–0.98]; P=0.032). Overall survival was similar between groups (hazard ratio 1.01 [0.85–1.20]; P=0.91). Rates of adverse events (AEs) and serious AEs were generally similar between groups, except for osteonecrosis of jaw (ONJ) and hypocalcemia. Yearly cumulative incidence of ONJ for denosumab was: 1%, 3%, 4% in years 1, 2, 3, respectively; overall, less than 5% (n=33). Hypocalcemia occurred in under 2% (n=12) of denosumab and under 1% (n=2) of placebo patients. The blinded treatment phase has been completed.
In men with CRPC, denosumab significantly prolonged bone metastasis-free survival and delayed time to bone metastasis. This is the first large randomised study to demonstrate that targeting the bone microenvironment prevents bone metastasis in men with prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3671878  PMID: 22093187
urology/prostate disease; denosumab; prostate cancer; prevention; bone metastasis; survival; hormone refractory; castration-resistant
9.  Designing the selenium and bladder cancer trial (SELEBLAT), a phase lll randomized chemoprevention study with selenium on recurrence of bladder cancer in Belgium 
BMC Urology  2012;12:8.
In Belgium, bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in males (5.2%) and the sixth most frequent cause of death from cancer in males (3.8%). Previous epidemiological studies have consistently reported that selenium concentrations were inversely associated with the risk of bladder cancer. This suggests that selenium may also be suitable for chemoprevention of recurrence.
The SELEBLAT study opened in September 2009 and is still recruiting all patients with non-invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder on TURB operation in 15 Belgian hospitals. Recruitment progress can be monitored live at Patients are randomly assigned to selenium yeast (200 μg/day) supplementation for 3 years or matching placebo, in addition to standard care. The objective is to determine the effect of selenium on the recurrence of bladder cancer. Randomization is stratified by treatment centre. A computerized algorithm randomly assigns the patients to a treatment arm. All study personnel and participants are blinded to treatment assignment for the duration of the study.
The SELEnium and BLAdder cancer Trial (SELEBLAT) is a phase III randomized, placebo-controlled, academic, double-blind superior trial.
This is the first report on a selenium randomized trial in bladder cancer patients.
Trial registration identifier: NCT00729287
PMCID: PMC3352119  PMID: 22436453
Selenium; Bladder cancer; Transitional Cell Carcinoma; Chemoprevention; Randomized clinical trial; Urology
10.  The Role of Adjuvant Hormonal Treatment after Surgery for Localized High-Risk Prostate Cancer: Results of a Matched Multiinstitutional Analysis  
Advances in Urology  2012;2012:612707.
Introduction. To assess the role of adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in high-risk prostate cancer patients (PCa) after surgery. Materials and Methods. The analysis case matched 172 high-risk PCa patients with positive section margins or non-organ confined disease and negative lymph nodes to receive adjuvant ADT (group 1, n = 86) or no adjuvant ADT (group 2, n = 86). Results. Only 11.6% of the patients died, 2.3% PCa related. Estimated 5–10-year clinical progression-free survival was 96.9% (94.3%) for group 1 and 73.7% (67.0%) for group 2, respectively. Subgroup analysis identified men with T2/T3a tumors at low-risk and T3b margins positive disease at higher risk for progression. Conclusion. Patients with T2/T3a tumors are at low-risk for metastatic disease and cancer-related death and do not need adjuvant ADT. We identified men with T3b margin positive disease at highest risk for clinical progression. These patients benefit from immediate adjuvant ADT.
PMCID: PMC3286887  PMID: 22400018
11.  Modern Detection of Prostate Cancer's Bone Metastasis: Is the Bone Scan Era Over? 
Advances in Urology  2011;2012:893193.
Prostate cancer cells have an exquisite tropism for bone, which clinically translates into the highest rate of bone metastases amongst male cancers. Although in the latest years there has been an active development of new “bone targeted” therapies, modern diagnostic techniques for bone metastases still relies mostly on 99mTc bone scanning (BS) and plain X-ray. BS dramatically lacks specificity and sensitivity. Recent publications using modern imaging technologies have clearly pinpointed that BS grossly underestimates the true prevalence of bone metastasis. In addition BS does not allow tumour measurement and is, therefore, not appropriate to monitor response to therapy. This might be extremely important in patients harbouring high-risk localized disease that are eventually candidate for local therapy. Here we reviewed what are the emerging imaging strategies that are likely to supplant BS and to what extent they can be used in the clinic already.
PMCID: PMC3195676  PMID: 22013439
12.  Chemoprevention of prostate cancer with nutrients and supplements 
As the adult population is increasing, prostate cancer (PCa) will become a considerable health problem in the next millennium. This has raised public interest in potential chemoprevention of this disease. As PCa is extremely common and generally slow to progress it is regarded as an ideal candidate for chemoprevention. At present, the 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors finasteride and dutasteride have been identified as preventive agents. This review describes whether selenium, alpha-tocopherol, isoflavones, lycopene green tea polyphenols, calcium, and resveratrol may be useful for decreasing the risk of PCa in men. Although encouraging results are present, some studies show negative results. Differences in study design, sample size, dose administered, and/or concentrations achieved in the body may be the reason for these inconsistencies. Today, chemopreventive agents may be appropriate for high-risk patients like those with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and other high-risk groups such as patients with elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) and negative biopsy, rapid PSA velocity, and with a family history of PCa. Although larger randomized controlled studies are needed and epidemiologic evidence should be placed in a clinical context, physicians must be aware of these preventive opportunities in PCa care. Combinations of chemopreventive agents should be carefully investigated because mechanisms of action may be additive or synergistic.
PMCID: PMC3097798  PMID: 21629831
alpha-tocopherol; chemoprevention; isoflavones; lycopene; polyphenols; prostate cancer; selenium
13.  Cardiovascular risk during hormonal treatment in patients with prostate cancer 
The objective of this review is to provide information on cardiovascular risk following androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) in prostate cancer patients and to suggest potential prevention and management strategies. Androgen deprivation therapy can cause peripheral insulin resistance, increase fat mass and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and induce type 2 diabetes. While recent studies have reported an association in patients with prostate cancer between ADT and increased risk of cardiovascular events, other studies have not detected the association. However, at this time, it is plausible that ADT could increase cardiovascular risk because of the adverse effect of ADT on risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It is advisable that prostate cancer patients in whom ADT is initiated be referred to their physician, who will carefully monitor them for potential metabolic effects. Therefore, physicians should be informed about these potential side effects. This especially applies to men aged >65 years and those with pre-existing cardiovascular comorbidities. Adopting a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet and regular physical activity is recommended. Patients with cardiovascular disease should receive appropriate preventive therapies, including lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, glucose-lowering, and antiplatelet therapy. ADT should preferably not be unnecessarily administered to prostate cancer patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, certainly not to those in whom the risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality is low. The physician should carefully weigh the potential benefits of ADT against the possible risks in individual patients with prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3064405  PMID: 21448299
androgen-deprivation therapy; cardiovascular disease; complications; prostate cancer
14.  Prognostic relevance of number and bilaterality of positive surgical margins after radical prostatectomy 
World Journal of Urology  2011;30(1):105-110.
Positive surgical margin (PSM) status following radical prostatectomy (RP) is a well-established prognostic factor. The aim of the present study is to evaluate whether number of PSMs or bilaterality of PSMs might have prognostic significance for biochemical recurrence (BCR) in the population with a PSM status following RP.
We evaluated 1,395 RP pathology reports from our center between 1980 and 2006. All patients who underwent (neo)-adjuvant therapy were excluded, leaving a cohort of 1,009 patients, with 249 (24.7%) subjects having a PSM at RP of whom 29.4% had multiple PSMs (≥ 2 sites), while 13.6% had bilateral PSMs. Median follow-up was 40 months (range 0–258 months). We used BCR-free survival as the primary study outcome. BCR was defined as any rise in PSA above or equal to 0.2 ng/ml.
Of patients with a PSM status, 41% (95% CI: 33–49%) developed BCR within 5 years, compared to 12% (95% CI: 9–15%) in the population without a PSM. Multivariable analysis identified PSA at diagnosis and RP Gleason score as independent predictive factors for BCR. Increasing number and/or bilaterality of PSM did not lead to significant higher rates of BCR.
In patients with a PSM, the number of positive sites or bilaterality of PSM status does not add prognostic information for risk of BCR. Survival curve slopes were different for patients with bilateral PSM, showing a significant tendency to progress to BCR earlier during follow-up than patients with unilateral PSM.
PMCID: PMC3264849  PMID: 21240506
Prostate cancer; Surgical margin; Biochemical recurrence; Bilateral; Number; Prognosis
15.  The application of adjuvant autologous antravesical macrophage cell therapy vs. BCG in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer: a multicenter, randomized trial 
While adjuvant immunotherapy with Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG) is effective in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (BC), adverse events (AEs) are considerable. Monocyte-derived activated killer cells (MAK) are discussed as essential in antitumoural immunoresponse, but their application may imply risks. The present trial compared autologous intravesical macrophage cell therapy (BEXIDEM®) to BCG in patients after transurethral resection (TURB) of BC.
Materials and methods
This open-label trial included 137 eligible patients with TaG1-3, T1G1-2 plurifocal or unifocal tumours and ≥ 2 occurrences within 24 months and was conducted from June 2004 to March 2007. Median follow-up for patients without recurrence was 12 months. Patients were randomized to BCG or mononuclear cells collected by apheresis after ex vivo cell processing and activation (BEXIDEM). Either arm treatment consisted of 6 weekly instillations and 2 cycles of 3 weekly instillations at months 3 and 6. Toxicity profile (primary endpoint) and prophylactic effects (secondary endpoint) were assessed.
Patient characteristics were evenly distributed. Of 73 treated with BCG and 64 with BEXIDEM, 85% vs. 45% experienced AEs and 26% vs. 14% serious AEs (SAE), respectively (p < 0.001). Recurrence occurred significantly less frequent with BCG than with BEXIDEM (12% vs. 38%; p < 0.001).
This initial report of autologous intravesical macrophage cell therapy in BC demonstrates BEXIDEM treatment to be safe. Recurrence rates were significantly lower with BCG however. As the efficacy of BEXIDEM remains uncertain, further data, e.g. marker lesions studies, are warranted.
Trial registration
The trial has been registered in the ISRCTN registry under the registration number ISRCTN35881130.
PMCID: PMC2893125  PMID: 20529333

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