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1.  FemZone trial: a randomized phase II trial comparing neoadjuvant letrozole and zoledronic acid with letrozole in primary breast cancer patients 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:66.
Background
The objective of this prospectively randomized phase II trial (Trial registration: EUCTR2004-004007-37-DE) was to compare the clinical response of primary breast cancer patients to neoadjuvant therapy with letrozole alone (LET) or letrozole and zoledronic acid (LET + ZOL).
Methods
Patients were randomly assigned to receive either LET 2.5 mg/day (n = 79) or the combination of LET 2.5 mg/day and a total of seven infusions of ZOL 4 mg every 4 weeks (n = 89) for 6 months. Primary endpoint was clinical response rate as assessed by mammogram readings. The study was terminated prematurely due to insufficient recruitment. We report here on an exploratory analysis of this data.
Results
Central assessment of tumor sizes during the treatment period was available for 131 patients (66 LET, 65 LET + ZOL). Clinical responses (complete or partial) were seen in 54.5% (95% CI: 41.8-66.9) of the patients in the LET arm and 69.2% (95% CI: 56.6-80.1) of those in the LET + ZOL arm (P = 0.106). A multivariate model showed an OR of 1.72 (95% CI: 0.83-3.59) for the experimental arm.
Conclusion
No increase in the clinical response rate was observed with the addition of ZOL to a neoadjuvant treatment regimen with LET. However a trend towards a better reponse in the LET + ZOL arm could be observed. This trend is consistent with previous studies that have investigated the addition of ZOL to chemotherapy, and it may support the evidence for a direct antitumor action of zoledronic acid.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-66
PMCID: PMC3937056  PMID: 24499441
Zoledronic acid; Neoadjuvant treatment; Breast cancer; Letrozole; Aromatase inhibitors; Bisphosphonates
2.  Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer significantly reduces number of yielded lymph nodes by axillary dissection 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:4.
Background
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NC) is an established therapy in breast cancer, able to downstage positive axillary lymph nodes, but might hamper their detectibility. Even if clinical observations suggest lower lymph node yield (LNY) after NC, data are inconclusive and it is unclear whether NC dependent parameters influence detection rates by axillary lymph node dissection (ALND).
Methods
We analyzed retrospectively the LNY in 182 patients with ALND after NC and 351 patients with primary ALND. Impact of surgery or pathological examination and specific histomorphological alterations were evaluated. Outcome analyses regarding recurrence rates, disease free (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were performed.
Results
Axillary LNY was significantly lower in the NC in comparison to the primary surgery group (median 13 vs. 16; p < 0.0001). The likelihood of incomplete axillary staging was four times higher in the NC group (14.8% vs. 3.4%, p < 0.0001). Multivariate analyses excluded any influence by surgeon or pathologist. However, the chemotherapy dependent histological feature lymphoid depletion was an independent predictive factor for a lower LNY. Outcome analyses revealed no significant impact of the LNY on local and regional recurrence rates as well as DFS and OS, respectively.
Conclusion
NC significantly reduces the LNY by ALND and has profound effects on the histomorphological appearance of lymph nodes. The current recommendations for a minimum removal of 10 lymph nodes by ALND are clearly compromised by the clinically already established concept of NC. The LNY of less than 10 by ALND after NC might not be indicative for an insufficient axillary staging.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-4
PMCID: PMC3884010  PMID: 24386929
Lymph node yield; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy; Lymphoid depletion; Breast cancer
3.  Cancer testis antigens and NY-BR-1 expression in primary breast cancer: prognostic and therapeutic implications 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:271.
Background
Cancer–testis antigens (CTA) comprise a family of proteins, which are physiologically expressed in adult human tissues solely in testicular germ cells and occasionally placenta. However, CTA expression has been reported in various malignancies. CTAs have been identified by their ability to elicit autologous cellular and or serological immune responses, and are considered potential targets for cancer immunotherapy. The breast differentiation antigen NY-BR-1, expressed specifically in normal and malignant breast tissue, has also immunogenic properties. Here we evaluated the expression patterns of CTAs and NY-BR-1 in breast cancer in correlation to clinico-pathological parameters in order to determine their possible impact as prognostic factors.
Methods
The reactivity pattern of various mAbs (6C1, MA454, M3H67, 57B, E978, GAGE #26 and NY-BR-1 #5) were assessed by immunohistochemistry in a tissue micro array series of 210 randomly selected primary invasive breast cancers in order to study the diversity of different CTAs (e.g. MAGE-A, NY-ESO-1, GAGE) and NY-BR-1. These expression data were correlated to clinico-pathological parameters and outcome data including disease-free and overall survival.
Results
Expression of at least one CTA was detectable in the cytoplasm of tumor cells in 37.2% of the cases. NY-BR-1 expression was found in 46.6% of tumors, respectively. Overall, CTA expression seemed to be linked to adverse prognosis and M3H67 immunoreactivity specifically was significantly correlated to shorter overall and disease-free survival (p=0.000 and 0.024, respectively).
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that M3H67 immunoreactivity could serve as potential prognostic marker in primary breast cancer patients. The exclusive expression of CTAs in tumor tissues as well as the frequent expression of NY-BR-1 could define new targets for specific breast cancer therapies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-271
PMCID: PMC3700769  PMID: 23731661
Breast Cancer; Cancer-testis Antigen; NY-BR-1; Immunotherapy; Prognosis
4.  Prognostic and Predictive Markers for Treatment Decisions in Early Breast Cancer 
Breast Care  2011;6(3):193-198.
Summary
Breast cancer clinically represents a heterogeneous disease. Over the last decades, the integration of prognostic and predictive markers in treatment decisions has led to a more individualized and optimized therapy. While prognosis describes the risk of disease recurrence and disease-related death after diagnosis without the influence of therapy, prediction illustrates the probability of efficacy or response of a specific therapeutic measure. The substantial decline in breast cancer mortality seen over the last 20 years is primarily due to the delivery of adjuvant systemic therapy. It is important that clinical decisions are made to minimize overtreatment, under-treatment, and incorrect treatment. Improved understanding of breast cancer biology together with the utilization of classical biomarkers and the identification of new markers or profiles is increasingly defining who should receive cancer therapy and what therapy offers the best efficacy. The molecular targets as the prerequisite for successful concepts of specific therapies like anti-estrogens, antibodies, or small molecules, have therefore high clinical value in regards to prognosis as well as prediction.
doi:10.1159/000329471
PMCID: PMC3132966  PMID: 21779224
Prognosis; Prediction; Early breast cancer; Biomarkers
5.  Immunological Approaches in the Treatment of Metastasized Breast Cancer 
Breast Care  2009;4(6):359-366.
Summary
A better understanding of tumor biology has led to the development of a number of antibody-based targeted therapies in breast cancer. Several of these newer agents, such as trastuzumab and bevacizumab have demonstrated clinical activity and have improved the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the extracellular domain of the HER2 receptor. The addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy and also to endocrine therapy has enhanced efficacy of treatment. New antibody-based strategies directed against HER2 are under development. These new approaches include pertuzumab, an antibody with a different binding epitope that inhibits dimerization of HER2 with other members of the HER receptor family and TDM1, a trastuzumab-based antibody chemotherapeutic conjugate. Another approach to the treatment of solid tumors is inhibition of angiogenesis. The anti-VEGF antibody bevacizumab has been approved for treatment of MBC. Although the mechanism of action is still under investigation, bevacizumab is tested in other clinical settings such as adjuvant therapy, maintenance therapy, and in combination with both chemotherapy and other targeted agents. In this review, we will summarize the most important studies on trastuzumab and bevacizumab, and describe new antibodies currently under clinical development.
doi:10.1159/000262454
PMCID: PMC2941998  PMID: 20877670
Breast cancer; Metastasis; Antibody; Therapy
6.  Lactate-Dehydrogenase 5 is overexpressed in non-small cell lung cancer and correlates with the expression of the transketolase-like protein 1 
Diagnostic Pathology  2010;5:22.
Aims
As one of the five Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) isoenzymes, LDH5 has the highest efficiency to catalyze pyruvate transformation to lactate. LDH5 overexpression in cancer cells induces an upregulated glycolytic metabolism and reduced dependence on the presence of oxygen. Here we analyzed LDH5 protein expression in a well characterized large cohort of primary lung cancers in correlation to clinico-pathological data and its possible impact on patient survival.
Methods
Primary lung cancers (n = 269) and non neoplastic lung tissue (n = 35) were tested for LDH5 expression by immunohistochemistry using a polyclonal LDH5 antibody (ab53010). The results of LDH5 expression were correlated to clinico-pathological data as well as to patient's survival. In addition, the results of the previously tested Transketolase like 1 protein (TKTL1) expression were correlated to LDH5 expression.
Results
89.5% (n = 238) of NSCLC revealed LDH5 expression whereas LDH5 expression was not detected in non neoplastic lung tissues (n = 34) (p < 0.0001). LDH5 overexpression was associated with histological type (adenocarcinoma = 57%, squamous cell carcinoma = 45%, large cell carcinoma = 46%, p = 0.006). No significant correlation could be detected with regard to TNM-stage, grading or survival. A two sided correlation between the expression of TKTL1 and LDH5 could be shown (p = 0.002) within the overall cohort as well as for each grading and pN group. A significant correlation between LDH5 and TKTL1 within each histologic tumortype could not be revealed.
Conclusions
LDH5 is overexpressed in NSCLC and could hence serve as an additional marker for malignancy. Furthermore, LDH5 correlates positively with the prognostic marker TKTL1. Our results confirm a close link between the two metabolic enzymes and indicate an alteration in the glucose metabolism in the process of malignant transformation.
doi:10.1186/1746-1596-5-22
PMCID: PMC2861018  PMID: 20385008

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