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1.  ABSENCE OF CARDIAC TOXICITY OF ZIDOVUDINE IN INFANTS 
Background
Some evidence suggests that perinatal exposure to zidovudine may cause cardiac abnormalities in infants. We prospectively studied left ventricular structure and function in infants born to mothers infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in order to determine whether there was evidence of zidovudine cardiac toxicity after perinatal exposure.
Methods
We followed a group of infants born to HIV-infected women from birth to five years of age with echocardiographic studies every four to six months. Serial echocardiograms were obtained for 382 infants without HIV infection (36 with zidovudine exposure) and 58 HIV-infected infants (12 with zidovudine exposure). Repeated-measures analysis was used to examine four measures of left ventricular structure and function during the first 14 months of life in relation to zidovudine exposure.
Results
Zidovudine exposure was not associated with significant abnormalities in mean left ventricular fractional shortening, end-diastolic dimension, contractility, or mass in either non–HIV-infected or HIV-infected infants. Among infants without HIV infection, the mean fractional shortening at 10 to 14 months was 38.1 percent for those never exposed to zidovudine and 39.0 percent for those exposed to zidovudine (mean difference, −0.9 percentage point; 95 percent confidence interval, −3.1 to 1.3 percentage points; P=0.43). Among HIV-infected infants, the mean fractional shortening at 10 to 14 months was similar in those never exposed to zidovudine (35.4 percent) and those exposed to the drug (35.3 percent) (mean difference, 0.1 percentage point; 95 percent confidence interval, −3.7 to 3.9 percentage points; P=0.95). Zidovudine exposure was not significantly related to depressed fractional shortening (shortening of 25 percent or less) during the first 14 months of life. No child over the age of 10 months had depressed fractional shortening.
Conclusions
Zidovudine was not associated with acute or chronic abnormalities in left ventricular structure or function in infants exposed to the drug in the perinatal period.
doi:10.1056/NEJM200102083440613
PMCID: PMC4280909  PMID: 11221608
2.  MOLECULAR PREDICTORS OF SURVIVAL AFTER ADJUVANT CHEMOTHERAPY FOR COLON CANCER 
The New England journal of medicine  2001;344(16):1196-1206.
Background
Adjuvant chemotherapy improves survival among patients with stage III colon cancer, but no reliable molecular predictors of outcome have been identified.
Methods
We evaluated loss of chromosomal material (also called loss of heterozygosity or allelic loss) from chromosomes 18q, 17p, and 8p; cellular levels of p53 and p21WAF1/CIP1 proteins; and microsatellite instability as molecular markers. We analyzed tumor tissue from 460 patients with stage III and high-risk stage II colon cancer who had been treated with various combinations of adjuvant fluorouracil, leucovorin, and levamisole to determine the ability of these markers to predict survival.
Results
Loss of heterozygosity at 18q was present in 155 of 319 cancers (49 percent). High levels of microsatellite instability were found in 62 of 298 tumors (21 percent), and 38 of these 62 tumors (61 percent) had a mutation of the gene for the type II receptor for transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1). Among patients with microsatellite-stable stage III cancer, five-year overall survival after fluorouracil-based chemotherapy was 74 percent in those whose cancer retained 18q alleles and 50 percent in those with loss of 18q alleles (relative risk of death with loss at 18q, 2.75; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.34 to 5.65; P=0.006). The five-year survival rate among patients whose cancer had high levels of microsatellite instability was 74 percent in the presence of a mutated gene for the type II receptor for TGF-β1 and 46 percent if the tumor did not have this mutation (relative risk of death, 2.90; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.14 to 7.35; P=0.03).
Conclusions
Retention of 18q alleles in microsatellite-stable cancers and mutation of the gene for the type II receptor for TGF-β1 in cancers with high levels of microsatellite instability point to a favorable outcome after adjuvant chemotherapy with fluorouracil-based regimens for stage III colon cancer.
doi:10.1056/NEJM200104193441603
PMCID: PMC3584633  PMID: 11309634

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