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1.  Feasibility of isometric spinal muscle training in patients with bone metastases under radiation therapy - first results of a randomized pilot trial 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:67.
Background
Spinal bone metastases are commonly diagnosed in cancer patients. The consequences are pain both at rest and under exercise, impairment of activities of daily life (ADL), reduced clinical performance, the risk of pathological fractures, and neurological deficits. The aim of this randomized, controlled pilot trial was to investigate the feasibility of muscle-training exercises in patients with spinal bone metastases under radiotherapy. Secondary endpoints were local control, pain response and survival.
Methods
This study was a prospective, randomized, monocentre, controlled explorative intervention trial to determine the multidimensional effects of exercises for strengthening the paravertebral muscles. On the days of radiation treatment, patients in the control group were physically treated in form of respiratory therapy. Sixty patients were randomized between September 2011 and March 2013 into one of the two groups: differentiated resistance training or physical measure with thirty patients in each group.
Results
The resistance training of the paravertebral muscles was feasible in 83.3% of patients (n = 25). Five patients died during the first three months. The exercise group experienced no measurable side effects. “Chair stand test” in the intervention group was significant enhanced with additionally improved analgesic efficiency. Patients in intervention group improved in pain score (VAS, 0–10) over the course (p < .001), and was significant better between groups (p = .003) after 3 months. The overall pain response showed no significant difference between groups (p = .158) There was no significant difference in overall and bone survival (survival from first diagnosed bone metastases to death).
Conclusions
Our trial demonstrated safety and feasibility of an isometric resistance training in patients with spinal bone metastases. The results offer a rationale for future large controlled investigations to confirm these findings.
Trial registration
Clinical trial identifier NCT01409720.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-67
PMCID: PMC3923729  PMID: 24499460
Bone metastases; Spine; Physical exercise; Stability; Isometric training
2.  Phase I study evaluating the treatment of patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer with carbon ion radiotherapy: the PHOENIX-01 trial 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:419.
Background
Treatment options for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer include surgery, chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy. In many cases, surgical resection is not possible, and therefore treatment alternatives have to be performed. Chemoradiation has been established as a convincing treatment alternative for locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 1.16 and 2.46 depending on the pancreatic cancer cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed. Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy showed promising results for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Methods and design
The present PHOENIX-01 trial evaluates carbon ion radiotherapy using the active rasterscanning technique in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer in combination with weekly gemcitabine and adjuvant gemcitabine. Primary endpoint is toxicity, secondary endpoints are overall survival, progression-free survival and response.
Discussion
The physical and biological properties of the carbon ion beam promise to improve the therapeutic ratio in patients with pancreatic cancer: Due to the inverted dose profile dose deposition in the entry channel of the beam leads to sparing of normal tissue; the Bragg peak can be directed into the defined target volume, and the sharp dose fall-off thereafter again spares normal tissue behind the target volume. The higher RBE of carbon ions, which has been shown also for pancreatic cancer cell lines in the preclinical setting, is likely to contribute to an increase in local control, and perhaps in OS. Early data from Japanese centers have shown promising results. In conclusion, this is the first trial to evaluate actively delivered carbon ion beams in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer within a dose-escalation strategy.
Trial registration
NCT01795274
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-419
PMCID: PMC3849371  PMID: 24034562
3.  Phase I/II trial evaluating carbon ion radiotherapy for the treatment of recurrent rectal cancer: the PANDORA-01 trial 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:137.
Background
Treatment standard for patients with rectal cancer depends on the initial staging and includes surgical resection, radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy. For stage II and III tumors, radiochemotherapy should be performed in addition to surgery, preferentially as preoperative radiochemotherapy or as short-course hypofractionated radiation. Advances in surgical approaches, especially the establishment of the total mesorectal excision (TME) in combination with sophisticated radiation and chemotherapy have reduced local recurrence rates to only few percent. However, due to the high incidence of rectal cancer, still a high absolute number of patients present with recurrent rectal carcinomas, and effective treatment is therefore needed.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological advantages. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increase relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed.
Japanese data on the treatment of patients with recurrent rectal cancer previously not treated with radiation therapy have shown local control rates of carbon ion treatment superior to those of surgery. Therefore, this treatment concept should also be evaluated for recurrences after radiotherapy, when dose application using conventional photons is limited. Moreover, these patients are likely to benefit from the enhanced biological efficacy of carbon ions.
Methods and design
In the current Phase I/II-PANDORA-01-Study the recommended dose of carbon ion radiotherapy for recurrent rectal cancer will be determined in the Phase I part, and feasibilty and progression-free survival will be assessed in the Phase II part of the study.
Within the Phase I part, increasing doses from 12 × 3 Gy E to 18 × 3 Gy E will be applied.
The primary endpoint in the Phase I part is toxicity, the primary endpoint in the Phase II part is progression-free survival.
Discussion
With conventional photon irradiation treatment of recurrent rectal cancer is limited, and the clinical effect is only moderate. With carbon ions, an improved outcome can be expected due to the physical and biological characteristics of the carbon ion beam. However, the optimal dose applicable in this clincial situation as re-irradiation still has to be determined. This, as well as efficacy, is to be evaluated in the present Phase I/II trial.
Trial registration
NCT01528683
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-137
PMCID: PMC3342902  PMID: 22472035
4.  Monitoring of patients treated with particle therapy using positron-emission-tomography (PET): the MIRANDA study 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:133.
Background
The purpose of this clinical study is to investigate the clinical feasibility and effectiveness of offline Positron-Emission-Tomography (PET) quality assurance for promoting the accuracy of proton and carbon ion beam therapy.
Methods/Design
A total of 240 patients will be recruited, evenly sampled among different analysis groups including tumors of the brain, skull base, head and neck region, upper gastrointestinal tract including the liver, lower gastrointestinal tract, prostate and pelvic region. From the comparison of the measured activity with the planned dose and its corresponding simulated activity distribution, conclusions on the delivered treatment will be inferred and, in case of significant deviations, correction strategies will be elaborated.
Discussion
The investigated patients are expected to benefit from this study, since in case of detected deviations between planned and actual treatment delivery a proper intervention (e.g., correction) could be performed in a subsequent irradiation fraction. In this way, an overall better treatment could be achieved than without any in-vivo verification. Moreover, site-specific patient-population information on the precision of the ion range at HIT might enable improvement of the CT-range calibration curve as well as safe reduction of the treatment margins to promote enhanced treatment plan conformality and dose escalation for full clinical exploitation of the promises of ion beam therapy.
Trial Registration
NCT01528670
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-133
PMCID: PMC3350391  PMID: 22471947
5.  Phase i study evaluating the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with carbon ion radiotherapy: The PROMETHEUS-01 trial 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:67.
Background
Treatment options for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are often limited. In most cases, they are not amenable to local therapies including surgery or radiofrequency ablation. The multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib has shown to increase overall survival in this patient group for about 3 months.
Radiation therapy is a treatment alternative, however, high local doses are required for long-term local control. However, due to the relatively low radiation tolerance of liver normal tissue, even using stereotactic techniques, delivery of sufficient doses for successful local tumor control has not be achieved to date.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 3 depending on the HCC cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed.
Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy showed promising results for patients with HCC.
Methods/Design
In the current Phase I-PROMETHEUS-01-Study, carbon ion radiotherapy will be evaluated for patients with advanced HCC. The study will be performed as a dose-escalation study evaluating the optimal carbon ion dose with respect to toxicity and tumor control.
Primary endpoint is toxicity, secondary endpoint is progression-free survival and response.
Discussion
The Prometheus-01 trial ist the first trial evaluating carbon ion radiotherapy delivered by intensity-modulated rasterscanning for the treatment of HCC. Within this Phase I dose escalation study, the optimal dose of carbon ion radiotherapy will be determined.
Trial registration
NCT 01167374
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-67
PMCID: PMC3045987  PMID: 21314962
6.  Treatment of patients with atypical meningiomas Simpson grade 4 and 5 with a carbon ion boost in combination with postoperative photon radiotherapy: The MARCIE Trial 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:615.
Background
Treatment standard for patients with atypical or anaplastic meningioma is neurosurgical resection. With this approach, local control ranges between 50% and 70%, depending on resection status. A series or smaller studies has shown that postoperative radiotherapy in this patient population can increase progression-free survival, which translates into increased overall survival. However, meningiomas are known to be radioresistant tumors, and radiation doses of 60 Gy or higher have been shown to be necessary for tumor control.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed.
First data obtained within the Phase I/II trial performed at GSI in Darmstadt on carbon ion radiotherapy for patients with high-risk meningiomas has shown safety, and treatment results are promising.
Methods/design
The Phase II-MARCIE-Study will evaluate a carbon ion boost applied to the macroscopic tumor in conjunction with photon radiotherapy in patients with atypical menigiomas after incomplete resection or biopsy.
Primary endpoint is progression-free survival, secondary endpoints are overall survival, safety and toxicity.
Discussion
Based on published data on the treatment of atypical meningiomas with carbon ions at GSI, the present study will evaluate this treatment concept in a larger patient population and will compare outcome to current standard photon treatment.
Trial registration
NCT01166321
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-615
PMCID: PMC2996393  PMID: 21062428
7.  Randomised phase I/II study to evaluate carbon ion radiotherapy versus fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy in patients with recurrent or progressive gliomas: The CINDERELLA trial 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:533.
Background
Treatment of patients with recurrent glioma includes neurosurgical resection, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. In most cases, a full course of radiotherapy has been applied after primary diagnosis, therefore application of re-irradiation has to be applied cauteously. With modern precision photon techniques such as fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT), a second course of radiotherapy is safe and effective and leads to survival times of 22, 16 and 8 months for recurrent WHO grade II, III and IV gliomas.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological characteristics. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the GBM cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed. Protons, however, offer an RBE which is comparable to photons.
First Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy for the treatment of primary high-grade gliomas showed promising results in a small and heterogeneous patient collective.
Methods Design
In the current Phase I/II-CINDERELLA-trial re-irradiation using carbon ions will be compared to FSRT applied to the area of contrast enhancement representing high-grade tumor areas in patients with recurrent gliomas. Within the Phase I Part of the trial, the Recommended Dose (RD) of carbon ion radiotherapy will be determined in a dose escalation scheme. In the subsequent randomized Phase II part, the RD will be evaluated in the experimental arm, compared to the standard arm, FSRT with a total dose of 36 Gy in single doses of 2 Gy.
Primary endpoint of the Phase I part is toxicity. Primary endpoint of the randomized part II is survival after re-irradiation at 12 months, secondary endpoint is progression-free survival.
Discussion
The Cinderella trial is the first study to evaluate carbon ion radiotherapy for recurrent gliomas, and to compare this treatment to photon FSRT in a randomized setting using an ion beam delivered by intensity modulated rasterscanning.
Trial Registration
NCT01166308
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-533
PMCID: PMC2958944  PMID: 20925951
8.  Randomized phase II study evaluating a carbon ion boost applied after combined radiochemotherapy with temozolomide versus a proton boost after radiochemotherapy with temozolomide in patients with primary glioblastoma: The CLEOPATRA Trial 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:478.
Background
Treatment standard for patients with primary glioblastoma (GBM) is combined radiochemotherapy with temozolomide (TMZ). Radiation is delivered up to a total dose of 60 Gy using photons. Using this treatment regimen, overall survival could be extended significantly however, median overall survival is still only about 15 months.
Carbon ions offer physical and biological advantages. Due to their inverted dose profile and the high local dose deposition within the Bragg peak precise dose application and sparing of normal tissue is possible. Moreover, in comparison to photons, carbon ions offer an increase relative biological effectiveness (RBE), which can be calculated between 2 and 5 depending on the GBM cell line as well as the endpoint analyzed. Protons, however, offer an RBE which is comparable to photons.
First Japanese Data on the evaluation of carbon ion radiation therapy showed promising results in a small and heterogeneous patient collective.
Methods/Design
In the current Phase II-CLEOPATRA-Study a carbon ion boost will be compared to a proton boost applied to the macroscopic tumor after surgery at primary diagnosis in patients with GBM applied after standard radiochemotherapy with TMZ up to 50 Gy. In the experimental arm, a carbon ion boost will be applied to the macroscopic tumor up to a total dose of 18 Gy E in 6 fractions at a single dose of 3 Gy E. In the standard arm, a proton boost will be applied up to a total dose 10 Gy E in 5 single fractions of 2 Gy E.
Primary endpoint is overall survival, secondary objectives are progression-free survival, toxicity and safety.
Discussion
The Cleopatra Trial is the first study to evaluate the effect of carbon ion radiotherapy within multimodality treatment of primary glioblastoma in a randomized trial comparing this innovative treatment of the treatment standard, consisitng of photon radiotherapy in combination with temozolomide.
Trial Registration
ISRCTN37428883 and NCT01165671
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-478
PMCID: PMC2944178  PMID: 20819220
9.  Proapoptotic activity of Ukrain is based on Chelidonium majus L. alkaloids and mediated via a mitochondrial death pathway 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:14.
Background
The anticancer drug Ukrain (NSC-631570) which has been specified by the manufacturer as semisynthetic derivative of the Chelidonium majus L. alkaloid chelidonine and the alkylans thiotepa was reported to exert selective cytotoxic effects on human tumour cell lines in vitro. Few clinical trials suggest beneficial effects in the treatment of human cancer. Aim of the present study was to elucidate the importance of apoptosis induction for the antineoplastic activity of Ukrain, to define the molecular mechanism of its cytotoxic effects and to identify its active constituents by mass spectrometry.
Methods
Apoptosis induction was analysed in a Jurkat T-lymphoma cell model by fluorescence microscopy (chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation), flow cytometry (cellular shrinkage, depolarisation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, caspase-activation) and Western blot analysis (caspase-activation). Composition of Ukrain was analysed by mass spectrometry and LC-MS coupling.
Results
Ukrain turned out to be a potent inducer of apoptosis. Mechanistic analyses revealed that Ukrain induced depolarisation of the mitochondrial membrane potential and activation of caspases. Lack of caspase-8, expression of cFLIP-L and resistance to death receptor ligand-induced apoptosis failed to inhibit Ukrain-induced apoptosis while lack of FADD caused a delay but not abrogation of Ukrain-induced apoptosis pointing to a death receptor independent signalling pathway. In contrast, the broad spectrum caspase-inhibitor zVAD-fmk blocked Ukrain-induced cell death. Moreover, over-expression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL and expression of dominant negative caspase-9 partially reduced Ukrain-induced apoptosis pointing to Bcl-2 controlled mitochondrial signalling events.
However, mass spectrometric analysis of Ukrain failed to detect the suggested trimeric chelidonine thiophosphortriamide or putative dimeric or monomeric chelidonine thiophosphortriamide intermediates from chemical synthesis. Instead, the Chelidonium majus L. alkaloids chelidonine, sanguinarine, chelerythrine, protopine and allocryptopine were identified as major components of Ukrain.
Apart from sanguinarine and chelerythrine, chelidonine turned out to be a potent inducer of apoptosis triggering cell death at concentrations of 0.001 mM, while protopine and allocryptopine were less effective. Similar to Ukrain, apoptosis signalling of chelidonine involved Bcl-2 controlled mitochondrial alterations and caspase-activation.
Conclusion
The potent proapoptotic effects of Ukrain are not due to the suggested "Ukrain-molecule" but to the cytotoxic efficacy of Chelidonium majus L. alkaloids including chelidonine.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-14
PMCID: PMC1379651  PMID: 16417634

Results 1-9 (9)