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1.  Long-term outcome and effect of maintenance therapy in patients with advanced sarcoma treated with trabectedin: an analysis of 181 patients of the French ATU compassionate use program 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:64.
Background
The long term outcome of advanced sarcoma patients treated with trabectedin outside of clinical trials and the utility of maintenance treatment has not been reported.
Methods
Between 2003 and 2008, patients with advanced sarcoma failing doxorubicin could be treated within a compassionate use program (ATU, Temporary Use Authorization) of trabectedin in France using the standard 3-weekly regimen. Data from 181 patients (55%) were collected from 11 centres and analyzed.
Results
Trabectedin was given in first, second, third or fourth line in metastatic phase in 6%, 37%, 33% and 23% of patients respectively. With a median follow-up of 6 years, median PFS and OS were 3.6 months and 16.1 months respectively. The median number of cycles was 3 (range 1–19). Best response were partial response (PR, n = 18, 10%), stable disease (SD, n = 69, 39%) and progressive disease (PD, n = 83, 46%), non evaluable (NE, n = 9, 5%). Thirty patients (17%) had to be hospitalized for treatment- related side effects. Independent prognostic factors in multivariate analysis (Cox model) were myxoid LPS and line of trabectedin for PFS, and myxoid LPS and retroperitoneal sarcomas for OS. Patients in PR or SD after 6 cycles continuing treatment had a better PFS (median 5.3 vs 10.5 months, p = 0.001) and OS (median 13.9 vs 33.4 months, p = 0.009) as compared to patients who stopped after 6 cycles.
Conclusions
In this compassionate use program, trabectedin yielded similar or better PFS and OS than in clinical trials. Maintenance treatment beyond 6 cycles was associated with an improved survival.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-64
PMCID: PMC3620689  PMID: 23388156
2.  Efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor targeting in advanced chordoma: case report and literature review 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:423.
Background
Chordomas are very rare low-grade malignant bone tumors that arise from the embryonic rests of the notochord. They are characterized by slow growth and long history with frequent local relapses, and sometimes metastases. While chemotherapy is not efficient, imatinib has shown antitumor activity.
Case presentation
We report on a 76-year-old patient with EGFR-overexpressing advanced chordoma that progressed on imatinib and subsequently responded to erlotinib during 12 months.
Conclusions
We report the fourth case of advanced chordoma treated with an EGFR inhibitor. We also review the literature concerning the rationale and potential of EGFR targeting in chordoma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-423
PMCID: PMC3199017  PMID: 21970335
3.  Primary leiomyosarcoma of the seminal vesicle: Case report and review of the literature 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:323.
Background
Primary leiomyosarcoma of the seminal vesicle is exceedingly rare.
Case Presentation
We report a case of a 59-year-old man with tumour detected by rectal symptoms and ultrasonography. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging suggested an origin in the right seminal vesicle. Transperineal biopsy of the tumour revealed leiomyosarcoma. A radical vesiculo-prostactectomy with bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy was performed. Pathological examination showed a grade 2 leiomyosarcoma of the seminal vesicle. The patient received adjuvant radiotherapy. He developed distant metastases 29 months after diagnosis, and received chemotherapy. Metastatic disease was controlled by second-line gemcitabine-docetaxel combination. Fifty-one months after diagnosis of the primary tumour, and 22 months after the first metastases, the patient is alive with excellent performance status, and multiple asymptomatic stable lung and liver lesions.
Conclusions
We report the eighth case of primary leiomyosarcoma of the seminal vesicle and the first one with a so long follow-up.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-323
PMCID: PMC3161040  PMID: 21801386
leiomyosarcoma; seminal vesicle
4.  Neoadjuvant imatinib in patients with locally advanced non metastatic GIST in the prospective BFR14 trial 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:72.
Background
The role of surgery in the management of patients with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) in the era of imatinib mesylate (IM) remains debated. We analyzed the outcome of patients with non metastatic locally advanced primary GIST treated with IM within the prospective BFR14 phase III trial.
Methods
The database of the BFR14 trial was searched for patients with no metastasis at time of inclusion. Patients treated for recurrent disease were excluded. Twenty-five of 434 patients met these criteria.
Results
Fifteen of 25 patients (60%) had a partial response to IM. Nine of the 25 patients (36%) underwent surgical resection of their primary tumor after a median of 7.3 months of IM treatment (range 3.4-12.0). Per protocol patients received continuous IM treatment in the post resection period, in an adjuvant setting. With a median follow-up of 53.5 months, there was a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for patients who underwent surgical resection versus those who did not (median not reached vs 23.6 months, p = 0.0318 for PFS and median not reached vs 42.2 months, p = 0.0217 for OS). In the group of patients who underwent resection followed by IM, the 3-year PFS and OS rates were 67% and 89% respectively
Conclusions
Following neoadjuvant IM for non metastatic locally advanced GIST 9 of 25 patients (36%) were selected for resection of the primary tumor. OS and PFS figures were close to those of localised intermediate or high risk GIST (70% at 5 years) in the subgroup of operated patients, while the outcome of the non-operated subgroup was similar to that of metastatic GIST.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-72
PMCID: PMC3052196  PMID: 21324142
5.  Low-grade extraskeletal osteosarcoma of the chest wall: case report and review of literature 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:645.
Background
Low-grade extraskeletal osteosarcomas (ESOS) are extremely rare.
Case presentation
We present the first case of low-grade ESOS of the chest wall, which occurred in a 30-year-old man. Because of initial misdiagnosis and patient's refusal of surgery, the diagnosis was done after a 4-year history of a slowly growing mass in soft tissues, leading to a huge (30-cm diameter) calcified mass locally extended over the left chest wall. Final diagnosis was helped by molecular analysis of MDM2 and CDK4 oncogenes. Unfortunately, at this time, no surgical treatment was possible due to loco-regional extension, and despite chemotherapy, the patient died one year after diagnosis, five years after the first symptoms.
Conclusion
We describe the clinical, radiological and bio-pathological features of this unique case, and review the literature concerning low-grade ESOS. Our case highlights the diagnostic difficulties for such very rare tumours and the interest of molecular analysis in ambiguous cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-645
PMCID: PMC2995804  PMID: 21106072
6.  Genome profiling of ERBB2-amplified breast cancers 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:539.
Background
Around 20% of breast cancers (BC) show ERBB2 gene amplification and overexpression of the ERBB2 tyrosine kinase receptor. They are associated with a poor prognosis but can benefit from targeted therapy. A better knowledge of these BCs, genomically and biologically heterogeneous, may help understand their behavior and design new therapeutic strategies.
Methods
We defined the high resolution genome and gene expression profiles of 54 ERBB2-amplified BCs using 244K oligonucleotide array-comparative genomic hybridization and whole-genome DNA microarrays. Expression of ERBB2, phosphorylated ERBB2, EGFR, IGF1R and FOXA1 proteins was assessed by immunohistochemistry to evaluate the functional ERBB2 status and identify co-expressions.
Results
First, we identified the ERBB2-C17orf37-GRB7 genomic segment as the minimal common 17q12-q21 amplicon, and CRKRS and IKZF3 as the most frequent centromeric and telomeric amplicon borders, respectively. Second, GISTIC analysis identified 17 other genome regions affected by copy number aberration (CNA) (amplifications, gains, losses). The expression of 37 genes of these regions was deregulated. Third, two types of heterogeneity were observed in ERBB2-amplified BCs. The genomic profiles of estrogen receptor-postive (ER+) and negative (ER-) ERBB2-amplified BCs were different. The WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway was involved in ER- ERBB2-amplified BCs, and PVT1 and TRPS1 were candidate oncogenes associated with ER+ ERBB2-amplified BCs. The size of the ERBB2 amplicon was different in inflammatory (IBC) and non-inflammatory BCs. ERBB2-amplified IBCs were characterized by the downregulated and upregulated mRNA expression of ten and two genes in proportion to CNA, respectively. IHC results showed (i) a linear relationship between ERBB2 gene amplification and its gene and protein expressions with a good correlation between ERBB2 expression and phosphorylation status; (ii) a potential signaling cross-talk between EGFR or IGF1R and ERBB2, which could influence response of ERBB2-positive BCs to inhibitors. FOXA1 was frequently coexpressed with ERBB2 but its expression did not impact on the outcome of patients with ERBB2-amplified tumors.
Conclusion
We have shown that ER+ and ER- ERBB2-amplified BCs are different, distinguished ERBB2 amplicons in IBC and non-IBC, and identified genomic features that may be useful in the design of alternative therapeutical strategies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-539
PMCID: PMC2958950  PMID: 20932292
7.  A polymorphism of EGFR extracellular domain is associated with progression free-survival in metastatic colorectal cancer patients receiving cetuximab-based treatment 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:169.
Background
Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody targeting Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), is currently used in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), but predictive factors for therapeutic response are lacking. Mutational status of KRAS and EGFR, and EGFR copy number are potential determinants of cetuximab activity.
Methods
We analyzed tumor tissues from 32 EGFR-positive mCRC patients receiving cetuximab/irinotecan combination and evaluable for treatment response. EGFR copy number was quantified by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). KRAS exon 1 and EGFR exons coding for extracellular regions were sequenced.
Results
Nine patients experienced an objective response (partial response) and 23 were considered as nonresponders (12 with stable disease and 11 with progressive disease). There was no EGFR amplification found, but high polysomy was noted in 2 patients, both of which were cetuximab responders. No EGFR mutations were found but a variant of exon 13 (R521K) was observed in 12 patients, 11 of which achieved objective response or stable disease. Progression-free and overall survivals were significantly better in patients with this EGFR exon 13 variant. KRAS mutations were found in 14 cases. While there was a trend for an increased KRAS mutation frequency in nonresponder patients (12 mutations out of 23, 52%) as compared to responder patients (2 out of 9, 22%), authentic tumor response or long-term disease stabilization was found in KRAS mutated patients.
Conclusion
This preliminary study suggests that: an increase in EGFR copy number may be associated with cetuximab response but is a rare event in CRC, KRAS mutations are associated with low response rate but do not preclude any cetuximab-based combination efficacy and EGFR exon 13 variant (R521K) may predict for cetuximab benefit.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-169
PMCID: PMC2432064  PMID: 18544172
8.  Markers of subtypes in inflammatory breast cancer studied by immunohistochemistry: Prominent expression of P-cadherin 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:28.
Background
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a distinct and aggressive form of locally-advanced breast cancer with high metastatic potential. In Tunisia, IBC is associated with a high death rate. Among the major molecular subtypes, basal breast carcinomas are poorly differentiated, have metastatic potential and poor prognosis, but respond relatively well to chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the distribution of molecular subtypes in IBC and identify factors that may explain the poor prognosis of IBC.
Methods
To determine breast cancer subtypes we studied by immunohistochemistry the expression of 12 proteins in a series of 91 Tunisian IBC and 541 non-IBC deposited in tissue microarrays.
Results
We considered infiltrating ductal cases only. We found 33.8% of basal cases in IBC vs 15.9% in non-IBC (p < 0.001), 33.3% of ERBB2-overexpressing cases in IBC vs 14.5% in non-IBC (p < 0.001), and 29.3% of luminal cases in IBC vs 59.9% in non-IBC (p < 0.001). The most differentially-expressed protein between IBCs and non-IBCs was P-cadherin. P-cadherin expression was found in 75.9% of all IBC vs 48.2% of all non-IBC (p < 0.001), 95% of IBC vs 69% of non-IBC (p = 0.02) in basal cases, and 82% of IBC vs 43% of non-IBC (p < 0.001) in luminal cases. Logistic regression determined that the most discriminating markers between IBCs and non-IBCs were P-cadherin (OR = 4.9, p = 0.0019) MIB1 (OR = 3.6, p = 0.001), CK14 (OR = 2.7, p = 0.02), and ERBB2 (OR = 2.3, p = 0.06).
Conclusion
Tunisian IBCs are characterized by frequent basal and ERBB2 phenotypes. Surprisingly, luminal IBC also express the basal marker P-cadherin. This profile suggests a specificity that needs further investigation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-28
PMCID: PMC2267802  PMID: 18230143
9.  FGFR1 and WT1 are markers of human prostate cancer progression 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:272.
Background
Androgen-independent prostate adenocarcinomas are responsible for about 6% of overall cancer deaths in men.
Methods
We used DNA microarrays to identify genes related to the transition between androgen-dependent and androgen-independent stages in the LuCaP 23.1 xenograft model of prostate adenocarcinoma. The expression of the proteins encoded by these genes was then assessed by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays (TMA) including human prostate carcinoma samples issued from 85 patients who had undergone radical prostatectomy.
Results
FGFR1, TACC1 and WT1 gene expression levels were associated with the androgen-independent stage in xenografts and human prostate carcinoma samples. MART1 protein expression was correlated with pT2 tumor stages.
Conclusion
Our results suggest that each of these four genes may play a role, or at least reflect a stage of prostate carcinoma growth/development/progression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-272
PMCID: PMC1698935  PMID: 17137506

Results 1-9 (9)